Friday 30 July 2021

A Quilt in a Day

I had a dream.......not the Martin Luther kind, but a quilting kind.

I would make a little baby quilt in a day....from start to finish.  I had nothing on today, so that was my plan.  So how did I go?  You know, the best laid plans of mice and men.....and all that.

Mick reckons that if you don't have a plan, it can't go wrong........yeah right.....Well, I didn't really have a plan for this project, I just winged it.  So, it couldn't go wrong, could it.
The only real plan was to use some fabrics tucked away in a little box.  They have been sitting there for thirteen years.  How can I be so specific? Well, my niece turned fourteen earlier this month and these are the leftovers from her first birthday quilt.  I wasn't sure what exactly would be in the box, so I was a little surprised to find a nice roll of binding, ready to go and 21 squares cut to 6 1/2 inches, as well as more fabric.  You can't tell from the photo, but the lemon dragonfly fabric, as well as the purple with silver stars have a glitter finish to them.  There is a pink and silver star fabric and blue dragonfly fabric as well, that are buried in the piles.  That is the main reason I haven't just added these to the main stash.

Now I had to decide how to make a quilt using those pieces of fabric.  In the end I used the KISS principle.  Keep it simple, stupid.
I just laid the squares out, with one left over.  I would join them into a panel and add a couple of borders.  Too simple.  I'd have it knocked over in no time flat..............Now, what did I say about the best laid plans?
I'm not sure if you can see it clearly, but the bobbin tension on my Janome machine started to go hay wire.  It wasn't like your usual top or bottom tension being too tight, the bobbin thread was just loose. But it wasn't all the time, just intermittent.  No worries, I could fix that with a bit of a fiddle.

1.    Rethread bobbin - nope
2.    Rethread top thread - nope
3     Fiddle with tension - nope
4.    Remove bobbin housing and give a good clean - nope...and it wasn't very fluffy either
5.    Change needle - nope
6.    Fiddle with foot pressure - nope
7.    Try a different thread - nope
8.    Phone fabric shop to book in a service - nope - the service man lives and works in Sydney and is in lockdown.
9.    Pack up machine and get out Mick's Mum's early 1970s Elna - Yes

The fabric shop did suggest I could bring the machine in and the owner would have a look at it, as she is pretty good with tension problems.  In the meantime, I decided to give it a drop of oil on the wick under the bobbin housing and see if that did anything.

Anyway, after this wasted quite a bit of time, I pieced the rest of the blocks using the Elna.

I then planned the borders - one plain border, one pieced from 6 1/2" x 2" strips and then a second plain border.

I added the first border, worked out the lay out of the second and added it.

Then, I went and checked on my machine.  The oil took a while to soak in, but it eventually did.  I turned it over by hand and it was sounding lovely and quiet.  I had noticed it was a bit noisier lately.  I think it may have been thirsty.  I know to oil my old machines regularly, but don't normally do the Janome.

Anyway, I decided to give it another go and see if the oil made any difference.  Yes!!!!  I did have a bit more fiddle with the tension knob, but I was able to get it to stitch nicely again.  What a relief.  I wasn't looking forward to machine quilting on the Elna, which, as much as I love using it, doesn't have all the features, or throat size of my Janome 6500P.

I added the final borders, basted it and quilted it.  Just cross hatching on the main panel and echo quilting in the plain borders.

Why am I showing you this needle?  If you look closely, you can see it is one of those easy thread needles, which don't have an eye, as such, but you pull the thread through a barb.  I read recently where a lady was using one for burying threads.  What a fantastic idea.  I'm a bit anal, in that I tie off and bury threads when I machine applique and quilt.  It's a pain threading the needle with two threads that are generally different lengths.  I bought a packet a couple of weeks ago and this was the first time I'd tried one.  Oh my goodness!!  What a time saver.  I love it.
Anyway........Ta Da!!  One very simple, but pretty, baby quilt completed in a day.  It measures 39 inches by 33 inches.  The centre blocks finish at 6 inches and the borders finish at 1 1/2 inches.
You can see the quilting a bit better here.
I once again used some flannelette for the backing.  I had one metre of these sheep, and, as it was non directional, it fitted perfectly.  The colour matches the mint green squares nicely.  Happily, I had some left over batting in a tub, which was just the right size as well, with nothing left over.  It was obviously meant to be.
I have never finished off a binding on a quilt by machine before, but I thought this would be a good project to try it the day was marching on and I did want to get it finished before midnight.  I think it turned out rather well and is even not too bad on the back.  Oh, and I just had to add one width of fabric to the binding roll that was already prepared for it to be long enough, so that was rather handy.

I'm not sure how long it actually took to make, as there were some breaks along the way, but it was definitely well and truly finished in a day.

There is probably enough fabric left in the little box to make another quilt.  I'll just have to set aside another day for that one.

Oh, and maybe Mick's theory worked this time..... there was just a little speed hump along the way.


Maria said...

Well done Janice… you achieved your goal of making a cute quilt in a day….
I use one of those open ended needles all the time and keep one next to machine.
Also do 99% of my bindings by machine much quicker and stronger when quilt is washed a lot.

loulee said...

A lovely finish and a great way to use up left overs.
I'll have to loo into the self threading needles trick. In my experience they self unthread too, just what you need in this circumstance. LOL

Jeanette said...

Lovely quilt. Well you learn something new every day. I too like to knot & bury my thread ands & it's always fun & games getting them threaded so now i'm off to see about buying some of those easy thread needles. :) Hugs, xx

Gail said...

Too cute! I feel your pain with the sewing machine but you got it all worked out! Good job all around.

Fiona said...

What a great day make... love the little quilt and you cleaned and oiled a machine aswell.... I seldom do machine binding too but will more often.... I think it's especially great for those quilts that are going to 'work' hard and need lots of washing...


simplestitches said...

very cute quilt even with the speed bumps of machine not working properly, glad you got it fixed

Lianne makes stuff said...

A lovely little quilt and good on you for finishing all the other things, I hope your machine is feeling better soon

Chookyblue...... said...

well done and it looks great Janice.........