Friday, December 20, 2019

Elephants : Quilted, Bound, and Done!

Last time I showed the Elephant Squares quilt I'm making, it was being pin basted. I think the first time I found time to work on the quilting, I was supposed to be packing for a trip but Troy was napping in the bedroom. What can ya do? ("Quilt" is always the answer.)

I found a rainbow variegated thread in my stash that matched the colours. I'm not crazy about the look of variegated threads, but I was happy to use something I already had and it did match really well. It was a 30-weight (meaning thicker) thread so it did show up nicely on the front.

I put on my walking foot and stitched on both sides of each seam.
I got through the one direction in about an hour and finished the other direction on another day.

I was disappointed that even though I used the walking foot, the fabric was still distorted.
Can you see how the middle seam (from top to bottom between the pink and blue, the left polka dots and right polka dots, and then the green and pink) is lower than the seams on the left and right sides of the polka dots? It definitely was off enough that it affected the stitching going in the other direction because the seam wasn't straight anymore. I'll have to see what more I can do to control the fabric movement (on the next quilt).

I ran into one snaffu. While quilting, the edge of the backing fabric got caught up in the stitching.
I was not happy about the thought of undoing all those seams and sewing them again. (The variegated thread wouldn't match; there would be all these starts and stops in the quilting.) But then I realized that all of the fabric folded back under the sewing was excess fabric. (You always make the backing bigger than the top and cut it off at the end. It works better; trust me.)

So I took some sharp scissors and cut the fabric away right beside the seam:
Then I took a thin tool I have and ran it along the seam on the other side pulling the fabric from under the seam:
Here, no longer a problem:
I did that to the fabric everywhere it was caught under some stitching and got it all straightened out:
Ok, it looks like a mess, but that's all getting cut off anyway!

Once the quilting was done and the quilt trimmed, it was time for the binding. I had been thinking about this a lot because the colours of the front and back aren't perfectly agreeable. I thought about a red to match the backing (or some of the backing itself) but the only red on the front are a few of the elephants. Not enough for a red binding to look good.

I finally decided that I would use the blue from the front. It would match the back well enough. But when I looked, there certainly was not enough blue. (I only started with a fat quarter, after all!) My next idea was to do a scrappy binding with the four solid colours from the front. Would there be enough?

I looked at what I had:
One strip of each colour. But they were a little more than 5 inches wide and about 20 inches long. So I could get about 40 inches of 2.5 inch binding from each of them. Was that enough? I measured a side of the quilt and it was about 35 inches. Since there are four sides at 36 inches and four colours of binding with 40 inches...yes there was enough!!

I cut them up and sewed them end to end.
Since I didn't have a lot of extra, I did a perpendicular seam instead of a bias one. I might have anyway because I liked that the colour changes were straight perpendicular lines instead of an angle.

I decided to sew the binding to the back of the quilt first,
and then flip it to the front to be sewn by hand.
I had been thinking I would sew it by machine while I was making it, but near the end I had the idea to hand stitch it with some visible big stitch sewing with the variegated thread.
I like it! I had some issues sewing down the corners with the visible running stitch until I realized I should sew the miter folds of the corners before I sew the edges down with the running stitch. That fixed it.

And here is the quilt:
It's fun to step back and see all the elephants marching across the quilt. :)

Here's the back (for the record):
I used a solid thread on the back that matched the red. And yes, those are gloves on my hands. Yes, it was freezing. I couldn't feel the tips of my fingers by the time I was done taking pictures. So cold!

I did not planning at all for where the binding colours would land. Sometimes it matched a block,
and sometimes it didn't.
The only thing I did plan for was to end with a green strip so there would be less green when it got trimmed. (Sorry, green. I'm just not that into you.)

I still have to wash the quilt and make a label. But that doesn't keep it from being done. :)

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