Monday, February 2, 2015

Quilting Like It's 1989

This is the book that changed my machine-quilting life:  Heirloom Machine Quilting, by Harriet Hargrave.

If you were quilting in the late 1970s to mid 1980s, you might remember how different things were then.  "Real quilting" was hand quilting.  Many quilt shows didn't even allow machine quilted quilts.  (Seriously.) 
Lots of people were doing utility quilting with their machines, but it was difficult.  And long arm quilting like we have today was virtually unknown.  Harriet showed us how to manage a large quilt for either quilting with a walking foot or free motion quilting.
I went back to this book when I got ready to quilt my Reproduction Chain quilt.
For years I have been basting my quilts with basting spray.  I have loved how easy it is to do, but I've been thinking lately of finding another method.  I don't like the fumes, plus I'm tired of always running out to get another can of it.  So I went back to the old way--pin basting.  Above is the quilt backing, laid out on the floor in the living room. 
My idea was to pin the top, batting and backing together in this larger space.  Of course, I had help.  Biddy the cat has to inspect everything I make.
This whole idea was new to Bella, since I usually spray baste in the basement and shut her out.  She was kind of worried about it.
She's still keeping her eye on what's happening here, lying on the part I've already got pinned.
After a while the novelty wore off.
It took the better part of an afternoon, but I got the pin basting done.
Not good lighting for this picture, but you can see I'm quilting on the electric Pfaff.  I have a card table set up next to the desk to support the weight of the quilt.
The built-in walking foot works great.  This is the first bigger quilt I've done on it, that wasn't done in sections.  I was worried about the throat space, which is not nearly as big as what I had on my Davis VF, but it was okay.
My biggest problem is wanting to go too fast.  Remember the commercial with the old ladies in the car, and one says to the driver, "Punch it, Martha!"?  I want to punch it.  Not the best way for staying on the lines.
Here's what it looks like on the table this morning, as I get ready to bind it.  I did ditch quilting in both directions first, and then quilted diagonals in one direction.
I had some trouble with the border quilting.  I've done lots of cables before, but this one had six strands instead of my usual four, and the markings kept disappearing.  I waited for a bright sunny day, ripped out the really bad places, remarked, and finished it.  It's not perfect.  I'm okay with that.
I'm binding it with strips cut from 4 different brown print fat quarters.  I really love finishing the binding by hand.  It's a pleasant task that I can work on while the laundry is getting done or supper is cooking.  I'm also trimming stray threads as I go.
This is the pattern I used, although I changed it a little.  It was produced by my favorite quilt shop in the world, J. J. Stitches in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin.  If you'd like to check out their web site, click below.
J. J. Stitches Quilt Shop
I didn't see this pattern offered on their site.  I don't need the one I have anymore, so I'd be happy to pass it on to the first person who asks.  Comment below, and we'll exchange emails so I can get your address to send it. 
Here's what it looked like from my sewing room window yesterday afternoon:
We've had a nice big snowfall, maybe 6 inches, with lots of drifts.  It was a good day to stay indoors.
Stay warm this week!  Keep calm, and keep quilting.


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