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Adventures in Quilting

February 25, 2010

Laura’s Blog Entry

Last weekend I wrapped up a quilting project. It was really my first successful attempt at quilting. I had pieced some pillows together before but had never applied the cushy batting or did any machine quilting. Except for that handbag that turned out kind of lame. But I digress.

The lovely Susan P. gave me two lessons for this project. First she showed me how to use the string quilting technique to assemble the pillow tops. I used some fabrics I had left over from other projects and Susan generously let me raid her amazing quilting stash for a few more. Here is a link to a great tutorial on string quilting using a paper piecing method.

Fact: The term “string quilt” comes from the tradition of quilters using the strips of fabric trimmed from their quilt blocks – which they called “strings” – and piecing them together to make another quilt. Very thrifty as well as an exercise in sustainability.

After returning home and putting together a second pillow top I went back to Susan for another session. She showed me how to use her amazing sewing machine to do free motion quilting. Wow! That was a bit intimidating at first, but really cool. Basically you just move around in a random pattern and make loops and curlicues.

The first pillow was a little rough and I swear it took me a good 45 minutes. But by the time I got to the second one it was going very smoothly. I think it only took about a third of the time and looks better.

One big learning was that quilting the pillow top really shrinks it down, so be quite generous with the border when planning it out. I ended up going down a pillow size from what I originally planned. Luckily I had some pillow forms that fit, but it could have been a disaster if it had ended up a non-standard size or something.

I really enjoyed making these. It’s a very different experience than knitting. Lots of sitting at the sewing machine, then getting up to iron, then sitting, then ironing. Not a project that I can do for a few minutes then set it aside. It really takes a number of uninterrupted hours to accomplish the task.

I am looking forward to getting back to my hexagon quilt that I started last summer. If I can just finish the sweater and bag I am knitting, I can devote some time to that again. The process of creating is wonderful, but I like the feeling I get from completion best of all!

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Erin Campbell permalink
    February 25, 2010 8:11 am

    Beautiful! My grandmother was a huge quilter but her talent didn’t rub off on me. Great job!!

    • February 25, 2010 8:28 am

      Thanks, Erin! My grandmother was a seamstress, so I always think of her when I sew. She made wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses, though!

  2. pelicanito permalink
    February 25, 2010 5:50 pm

    Nice job! 🙂 I actually was looking at some quilted bags last night and wanted to make one. My grandma was a seamstress too, and I used to sew a lot when I was a teenager, but then computers dragged me off the good path. 😛

    • February 25, 2010 8:06 pm

      My Pelicanito, you look suspiciously like Trent Reznor… hee hee. How cool that your grandmother was also a seamstress. I used to sew really ugly clothes when I was a teenager. I made the most horrible mauve miniprint Laura Ashley full skirt and puffy sleeve jacket. Dreadful! Now I stick with accessories and draperies. Nice straight seams.

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