The oldest trick in the book

October 16, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Posted in Quilting | Leave a comment

For a bit of quiet stitching time without having to think too much about what I’m doing, I like to have a handquilting project in progress most times. Over the last few years, that’s usually been small pillow covers, since doing anything bigger by hand still intimidates me, and would probably take a decade or more to finish.

Even as is, the latest pillow took me a couple of years to finish, and pretty much only because I managed to forget the oldest trick in the book. So, for jogging my own memory and maybe yours when needed, I’ll lay out the details here.

The pattern was a nice preprinted panel sized 40*40 cm square. I’m using this as the back of the quilting, with the front a colourful Oakshott fabric that would be very hard to mark. I’m quilting along, starting in the middle like a good quilter, and all through the center and the ring of leaves around the center, things go fine.

Advancing into the corners, I suddenly run out of fabric for putting the panel into the quilting frame, and things start to be very awkward. Normally you can avoid this problem by cutting the batting and back a bit bigger than the actual quilt, so you can use that overhanging fabric and batting for framing. Since I had a pre-cut panel as my back and a very limited amount of the Oakshott fabric as the front, I didn’t do that here.

This is the point where I stopped for a while (half a year, a year? something like that) because I couldn’t face the project anymore. Quilting right next to the frame and not being able to properly frame the parts I needed to work on pretty much took all the fun out. And the obvious solution didn’t appear to me at the time. So what I did was to completely ignore the project, even though it was lying around in plain sight.

With the upcoming yearly exhibition of my quilt group and the realization that I wouldn’t have much in terms of finished projects to show, things started moving. Together with another pillow cover I had finished earlier (also with much awkwardness in the corners), this one would make at least one decent-sized exhibit.

So, I needed to finish this, which meant I needed a bigger piece of fabric to be able to frame the part I needed to work on properly. Hmm, bigger piece of fabric? Sewing machine? Where’s the problem? Come to think of it, there isn’t one. I grabbed a few leftover fabric strips, each about 10cm wide (I knew I was saving them for a reason), and sewed one to each side of my project with relatively big straight stitches:

After about 10 minutes of work, I could properly frame the project again in just the right place to continue working on it:

And after that, if took me maybe a couple of weeks to get to a finished panel. Let’s not talk about the backside yet, because that one was another drawn-out ordeal. But I do have a picture of the finished pillow:

Sorry for the picture, it’s the kind or orangey red that’s almost impossible to photograph well. But I think you can see that the quilted straight lines go very near to the seams. Without that little trick, I could never have finished it. It just irks me a bit that it took me so long to remember that it was possible to solve my problem in that way! Hopefully I’ll be a bit faster on the uptake next time round.


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