About a year ago, after teaching myself to sew on Craftsy and Youtube, I made a king size quilt for my older sister. Shortly after that, I made the mistake of telling people that I needed more practice so now I have a list of 5 more people who would like quilts made. Unfortunately, they all want full or queen size quilts. Yikes! What did I get myself into?
So ~ I told everyone I would do them on a first come first serve basis and right now I have 5 people on a list. A volunteer quilt maker. (Shaking my head …)
And so it was that my 2nd to the oldest sister came to visit me in Minnesota last June and we picked out the fabric for her full/queen quilt. Everyone has been told that I work on my sewing projects “as I have time” so I didn’t start hers until August after the summer projects were over.
The design? Well, I seem to lean towards contemporary/modern style quilts although since they have to be densely quilted, it’s quite a challenge on my small sewing machine.
Yet, I showed a design to my sister that I found in a book called Quilts Made Modern by Weeks Ringle & Bill Kerr. I had taken one of her classes on the Craftsy platform which is where I learned about the design of contemporary quilts. My sister liked the design called Big Dots and I agreed to make it.
I really really really should have looked at the directions for this quilt design before my sister fell in love with it. I have to keep telling myself “I am a beginner, I am a beginner …” Alas, the design requires 75 circles that need to be cut then appliqued onto the main fabric. At this point in my sewing “career” (I say that tongue in cheek), I could neither pronounce the word nor applique.
But … I guess that’s what learning is all about. At least no one can accuse me of not exercising my brain cells …
So, between Joann’s Fabric store and online shopping, I was able to get the fabric fairly cheap. Yay for me!
Here is the fabric my sister picked out …
I liked the bold colors. The circles were cut using a template that was in the book. They aren’t perfect but since they were going to be sewn under, who cared?
After I finished cutting the circles, I had to turn them under on the edges, iron them, then measure the main off white fabric that they would be appliqued on and lay the circles down on it making sure they were randomly placed. Next I pinned each circle in place.
Notice that the “field” fabric (that’s the off white one) is in 3 sections. This would also be the first time I make a quilt in 3 parts and bring it all together. (Shaking my head … I’m nuts!) But I felt a little confident because I took a class, again on Craftsy, using this method.
Here’s one section that’s appliqued (see below). Oh ~ you must be wondering why some of my circles are not on the field fabric but hanging off the sides. The outer sides of the end sections will have binding on it so the excess will be cut off and it will look like the circle is continuing outside the quilt. (No, that wasn’t my idea ~ it was in the book.)
After the three sections were appliqued, I then added the batting and backing to each section. In the “Quilting Big Projects On A Small Machine” class, I learned that the middle section is the only one that can be quilted edge to edge. The sections that will be attaching to the middle part have to have 3 inches on the ends so they can be sewn together.
Things were going along fairly well. I decided to spray baste the top, batting and backing instead of pinning it together. This worked surprisingly well as the three pieces of fabric stayed together. But, because of my inexperience, I pinned the quilt in a few places after it was spray basted ~ “just in case.”
As I sewed the middle piece I was feeling a little proud of myself. And then, IT happened. The sewing machine was making weird stitches. No! No! No! I couldn’t figure out what was happening.
I called my cousin whose a sewing guru and she told me it was the tension. Well, I had already tried fiddling with that and nothing worked. I called another friend who has been sewing awhile, and she suggested adjusting the tension on the machine also but I knew that wasn’t it. I read the sewing machine manual. Tension, it said. Everything pointed to the tension and unfortunately the adjustments I was making weren’t working.
Then, I had an idea. I must’ve gotten this idea because of all the brain learning I had been doing working on this quilt. Oh ~ I guess I should share the idea, eh? (Laughing.)
I took out the bobbin and with a slightly damp q-tip, I cleaned out the bobbin area. Sure enough, all kinds of fabric fuzzies were coming out. Once I finished cleaning the machine and putting all the pieces back, everything was back to normal. Whew!
And so I finished quilting the middle section, hand sewed one of the outside pieces to the middle (another first!!!!! ~ are you hooping and hollering for me???) and then hand sewed the third piece to the middle section.
“Almost” everything went fine so I took my pride and joy, put it in the washing machine in cold water and prayed that it would not come apart. (That’s always been one of my fears which is totally unwarranted …)
Once the quilt came out of the machine, I tossed it in the dryer on the delicate cycle for 32 minutes. Then I took it out of the dryer and hung it on the shower rod to dry the rest of the way.
But, I said “almost” everything went fine. The quilt stayed together quite well but I noticed a little puffiness between the middle and third sections that I had hand sewn. Can you see it below?
I figured what had happened, since it only happened on one side, was that I did not cut enough of the back off before I sewed the two pieces together. Oh well, I decided to leave it “as is” as it will hardly be noticed spread out on a bed.
So ~ big drum roll for me, ready to see the final result?
I used blue and brown fabric for the binding.
Not too shabby for a beginner.