What joy the gospel gives me. I can approach the throne of God with confidence, not because I've done a good job at my spiritual duties, but because I'm clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. ~ C.J. Mahaney

A Stitch (Just) In Time

Well, it's a good thing I had this quilt finished a day early. My guests surprised me by coming in today instead of tomorrow! All I lacked was the last few stitches on the binding, and I was able to get that done while Abby napped and Jonathan entertained the littles. The latter goes without saying...

But, I said it anyway.

As promised, here is a brief overview of how to "sandwich" and finish a quilt.

This could be more excitement than you're typically used to.
Pregnant women and heart patients may want to take extra precautions.

I start by clearing a large space on the floor. Then I tape my backing fabric down, wrong side up, with masking tape. My backing needed to be pieced to make it fit the quilt, with a couple extra inches on all sides. The objective is to pull it tight, but not stretch it, making it very smooth and flat. (That dark streak is not a wrinkle, it's just a line on the wrong side of the fabric.)

Next, the batting goes on top of the backing. I cut it just a little bigger than the quilt, but not as big as the backing. I use Warm and Natural brand. It's cotton and I love the way it feels and holds up inside the quilt. And it isn't bulky. Few things make me as happy as a thin, low-loft batt. Beautiful, isn't it?

For the last layer, the finished quilt top goes down. I press mine really well on the ironing board after I'm finished piecing it all together. Carefully, I smooth out any wrinkles after I lay it out. Yes, I agree. It turned out really nice.

Now the fun part. Not!! This part takes me a while. However, getting down and crawling around on the floor keeps me flexible. And they say that flexibility is the key to longevity. So, at this rate, I should be around a while to needle all my kids and grandkids! These are quilt pins. They are just curved safety pins, bent to more easily go through all the layers. Who thinks up these things?

I pin every two or three inches, in rows, all across the quilt. I turn up the praise music and pin this baby together like there is no tomorrow.

Once that tedious job is finished, I'm ready to take the whole kit and kaboodle to the sewing machine. I roll it up on each end and start working from the middle. If I were rich and famous- or just rich- I would purchase a long-arm quilting machine. But since I am neither, and that little investment would pay for a Hawaiian cruise for my whole family, I'll just have to man-handle this thing under my conventional sewing machine. This is why I never machine quilt anything bigger than a lap-sized quilt. I did a twin size quilt for Brad a few years ago and almost lost my religion and said bad words before it was done. It's just too cumbersome for me to maneuver. But this lap-size is do-able. So, I make it work and just feel all, you know, thrifty.

Or something.

Starting from the middle and working my way outward, I quilt, using what is called "free-motion". The feed-dogs on the sewing machine are dropped down. Those are the little teeth-like things that the fabric typically rests on which cause it to move backward.

With free-motion, I'm doing all moving of the fabric myself, so I can go from side to side, forwards, and backwards. I quilt in a squiggly motion, which comes out looking almost like Mickey Mouse ears.

We're almost done!

After the entire thing is quilted, the quilt has to be trimmed down and the edges bound. I use my straight edge ruler and cut away the excess backing and batting, squaring up the corners.

The binding is 2.5 inch wide strips of fabric, sewn together, then folded in half lengthwise. It is sewn to the edges of the quilt. I have neat tricks for making the corners really square and for making it meet at the ends smoothly with no bulk. But I won't bore you with those details here.


Bottom line, I think she likes it. And him. Just sayin'.

Enjoy your weekend. And while you're at it, snuggle up with someone you ♥.

Laura Lee


Lacy said...

I LOVE your blog! :-)

Laura Lee said...

Lacy!! I love you!!!! Hey, did you know if you click on the pictures, they get REALLY BIG???

Anonymous said...

Pretty quilt and girl! I know she'll enjoy it.
Just be glad you CAN crawl around on your knees--------some people aren't so fortunate!
Love, G~Mama

bradley said...

So somehow i ended up on your blog page and i instantly became a fan and a follower. I love your awesome pictures of the fall colors! Next time theres a drawing I will be in it :) Mom I love you so much! Have a great day tomorrow!