Thursday, July 11, 2013

Quilt Finish: On A Picnic

This here is the simple picnic quilt I made for my sweet friends, DnA, who got married just a little while ago. Yahoot for their beautiful matrimonial union! Let us drink to their long and blissful wedded life!!! Hugs to you both, DnA!

Previously pictured in progress here and here, this is the quilt I quilted on Betty, my old White sewing machine. It's my first attempt at free-motion quilting (FMQ) a large-ish project. And I'm pleased with it!

And, as usual, every quilt has its lesson.

What did I learn this time 'round? Well... a few things actually.

Lesson 1: I learned the value of a good marking tool. After fussing with a regular HB pencil, a so-called quilting pencil, and a new but-soon-dry-as-the-desert quilting marker, I finally settled on the wonderful chalk pencil to mark the quilt with my quilting designs. It doesn't even compare with the rest. The heavens opened up, as I recall.

Lesson 2: For my next project, I will be taking a new approach to FMQ designs.

Part A: I ended doing gobs and gobs of unpicking because my quilting lines were designed long and smooth yet SO often ended up wobbly and crooked. Given Betty's minimal throat space, it was quite tricky to maneuver the quilt along these lines. Shorter lines would be far less challenging for Betty and me.

Part B: A little more space between the quilting lines themselves would also help. Then I wouldn't have to fret so over the fabric buckling. I was constantly checking for buckling and bunching on the backside of the quilt and it had a negative impact on my flow. It seems to me that more space between quilting lines is the answer here. That's my theory anyway. Still have to test that out in my next project though.

Lesson 3: I love the modular quilting design idea. By that I mean working in a small area on a discrete motif, as opposed to an all-over quilting pattern. Being limited by my machine's tiny throat space is not necessarily a bad thing, it just means having to think differently about how to accomplish the quilting. Modular quilting designs are one solution to the space problem.

Lesson 4: This project shows me the potential of my simple old machine. So what if it's old? I am not limited by it. IT is limited by ME! I'm supposed to be the one with the brain after all.

Lesson 5: Except for batting and thread, I could probably make 20 more quilts from my scraps/stash alone. Like really, I had everything for this lap quilt in my house! This is an old, old lesson. An oldie but goodie.

Lesson 6: If you want motivation to finish a quilt, plan to give it as a gift for a big day like a wedding or a birth. There's nothing like a deadline to set one's butt astir.

Yeah... So I think that about covers it! I hope to get started on THIS colourful one soon. Poor thing's been waiting most patiently in the wings...  I think I may need to set a deadline of some sort, eh?


KITTEN UPDATE:   Thanks so much for your kind input on the kittens. Of which there are now three (I named the third "Twigs")! We've put out food and water for them. They aren't touching it from what I can tell. So the mom must still be around?...  They've begun to meow at me when I look in on them. Am I scaring them? The Humane Society said to give them a call if we decide to hand them over. Also, after last posting, Lo reminded me that Elle (my eldest) is highly allergic to cats. That fact had totally fallen out of my head, if you can imagine!!! I'm so worried about the poor little things. I just want them to be safe and alive...


  1. Your quilt makes me weak at the knees, You learned lots of lessons, mebbe, but my favorite (applicable to non quilters like me) is motivating yourself with an event date.

    Twigs! So cute! The allergy answers your burning question - you musn't take the kitties. If they're not touching the food and water, they're not in dire straits.

  2. Beautiful quilt! I can only imagine the hours that would go into something like that. My goodness. What an amazing wedding gift. Congrats to the happy couple!

    Interesting fact: Cats do not meow to communicate with each other; they meow to communicate with humans. This means they are talking to you.
    That is odd about the food though....hopefully a good sign. Is it kitten food – like the wet mushy stuff? Their teeth may not be strong enough to handle the crunchy stuff yet. Or they may have just not had the opportunity to learn by example yet. How allergic is allergic? I have a couple of friends who are “highly allergic” and are just fine in my house for a weekend so long as they have clean sheets and don’t have to directly pet Lola. Regardless, if you decide to move forward, perhaps there are alternatives to the humane society? I have a friend who finds homes for feral cats via Craigslist all the time. But maybe the Humane society in your area is better (less dismal) than the one in mine… Oh Michele, I do not envy your position. :(

    1. Hey Peaches,

      So since I wrote this post this morning the kittens have all gone... I think I may have scared them away with my constant checking in on them. Is that why they were meowing at me? Were they telling me to "Back off, Lady"?... Sigh...

      I remember one time when my Elle was small, we went to visit someone who had cats and her face completely puffed out. Like, in minutes. It was scary. She's 25 now though and lives on her own but I want her to feel good when she comes home, you know?

      Anyway, I'm sad about the cats because now I won't know if they're dead or alive, or well-cared for even.. They're just "out there" somewhere...

    2. don't be sad. you did the right thing & offered them food.
      i have a hunch that they'll be back ♥

    3. Since they are born wild, you nor anyone else might not have been able to tame them down. I've had in the past a tame mother who gave birth to lovely wild kittens that would not let me lay a finger on them even when feeding. If they are wild, Momma cat will teach them to hunt and do as well as they can.

    4. Oh sadness :( I wish I knew too!
      Well, in a way, if it removes the heartache of having to give them up, then in a way it is easier. They were lucky to have you as a source of kindness. That counts for something!

      ...don't forget, if you turn cat lady, hairless cats are always a possibility! :)

  3. your quilt is beautiful! but daunting! i'm tucking away your advice "to set one's butt astir" : ) what lucky friends DnA are. may your quilt wrap them in wedded bliss.

    in the cat department, you could find homes for them yourself... without the humane society. craigslist is a great resource, especially if you can snap adorable photos of each kitty.

    or there's the option of keeping them as pets, just the outside kind {maybe a warm garage or shed for winter?}. you won't ever have to worry about a mouse problem with 3 kitties prowling about.

    you might just wait & see... these kittens might figure things out on their own ♥

  4. Wow. That quilt turned out awesome. I bet the new couple loves it. And makes them want to go on picnics! I don't know all the quilting things you're talking about, but I do remember FMQ. I'm glad to hear you're experimenting and learning more of what you can and can't do with it. And I agree, for some reason, when I am making something for someone, it motivates me more than just doing it for myself. Good luck with the other quilt.

  5. what a smashing gift I really like the quilted self colour effects.
    Chances are they are not that hungry and actually feeding on mice or insects. My bet is that one or other or all three may well pop back just keep your eyes open, cats are great at sussing out where us softies live!

  6. Gorgeous quilt and amazing FMQ. You did a fabulous job and I'm sure your friends will love it.
    I personally love deadlines. It's what makes me finish things otherwise I'd have UFO's all over the place.

  7. What a beautiful quilt, Michele! I am sure it will be treasured for years to come by your friends. Thanks for sharing all of your lessons- those are very helpful tips!

  8. Number 1. The quilt is superb.

    Number 2. I like the new blog lay-out. So professional.

  9. Lucky bride ( and groom)!
    I am buying one of those chalk pencils! You are not alone in being able to make 20 quilts without buying more fabric, and, yes, three cheers for deadlines!
    I think the kittens' mum must be near. The one you photographed looked healthy.

  10. Love this! I wish deadlines worked for me! I have a wedding quilt I was making. I mean am making. The wedding was coming on 3 years ago....

  11. Sua colcha ficou linda!admiro muito quem tem coragem de fazer grandes projetos!
    Será que alguém pegou os gatinhos ou a mãe os levou para mais longe? Se estivessem realmente com fome comeriam o que voc~e ofereceu. Não se preocupe!
    Um abraço!

    Her quilt was beautiful! Admire those who have the courage to do great projects!
    Does someone took the kittens or the mother took them further? If they were really hungry they would eat you ~ and offered. Do not worry!

  12. Definitely too pretty for a picnic blanket!!!! Lucky newlyweds!!!


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