Urban Worm Completed

27 09 2011

Urban Worm has been completed! Which means that my Rock Valley Modern Quilt Guild ‘Habitat Challenge’ is done. Whew!

I should probably be mortified to tell you all just how glad I am this project is done. Seriously, folks, there were moments that I wanted to just burn this pile and walk away. Mostly because I just wasn’t invested in the fabric. I felt obligated to complete the project because we’d signed up for the challenge, but also because we’d been given the fabric.

Then there was the whole challenge portion of this. I’m totally not in love with the Habitat line. Not even close. It’s got some interesting prints in it, but overall… Not my bag. And I was working with a whole freaking line! I just don’t do that. I’ve only deliberately bought most of the prints in a line once…

All that said, once I finally buckled down and decided that I would work on this particular project, did I make this mini-quilt easy on myself? Nope. Not. At. All.

I decided that I would hand applique a ‘worm’ made up of one quarter Dresden Plates. Then, once the top was done, nothing would do but for me to find one yard of just the right marigold color for the backing. On top of that, I need to get perl cotton in at least four colors to do some chunky, sashiko-style quilting.

Thankfully, I had the top done by the time we were due to to go to the Wisconsin Quilt Expo and I was able to find both the perfect color backing and perl cotton in four colors that were just off enough to bring some more interest to the top.

The backing ended up being a Kaffe Fassett cross-weave cotton, which has a really loose weave. I like it for the texture that it added to the quilt as a whole, but I don’t think I’ll ever elect to use it again. It’s a little pricey, and I don’t like the looseness of the weave.

The sashiko-style hand-quilting seemed to take forever.  I don’t regret doing it, really. I think it gives a warmth and rustic feel to the quilt, that is desperately needed to alleviate the otherwise unrelenting gray.

Overall, I’m very happy with the final product. I wish I hadn’t procrastinated as long on it. It really made Urban Worm drag on when it didn’t need to. I still have to wash the quilt; we’ll see how it turns out then.


FNSI and a Couple of ‘Dur’ Moments

18 09 2011

I worked on ‘Urban Worm’ for Friday Night Sew-in.

Right off the bat I had some issues.. My tension wasn’t cooperating. At all. So, I mucked about with it, re-setting the top thread tension several times and running some test lines with my walking foot. Running the gamut from setting 0 to setting 9, my top thread tension was too loose. So I decided that Bessie must need a tune-up.

So, I opened Bessie’s bobbin casing up and removed shameful amounts of lint. More test lines. No resolution to my tension problem.

Okay. Let’s try a new needle. Nada. About ready to pitch Bessie out the window at this point, as I wouldn’t have Saturday to quilt, I had a *facepalm* moment.

Re-thread the machine, Jeanne. Always remember to re-thread the machine after making tension changes.


Yeah. That fixed Bessie.

That was Dur Moment #1.

I finished quilting Urban Worm in about an hour and half, after figuring out my tension problem. I was left with a few dozen tails hanging out of the front of my quilt sandwich to bury, because I have decided that I really dislike the look of taking some back-stitches to lock my threads.

At which point I taught myself a Quilter’s Knot.


A dog’s age ago, when I taught myself to quilt, books mentioned the quilter’s knot and explained how this magical thing was supposed to be done. Unfortunately, the descriptions and diagrams available to me at that time made about as much sense as an engine schematic. My clearly addled seventeen year old self found an alternate and far more time-consuming method of burying and securing my tail ends.

Fast forward to Friday Night, when I realized that my method would take forever and would actually mar the look of the finished quilt. Youtube and this video to the rescue. It took a stupid number of tries to get it right and have the motions become muscle memory.

And, one must remember that the knot needs to be buried in the layers. If the thread happens to snap before burying said thread, then one will probably have to redo a line of stitching.

Yes, that happened. Welcome to Dur Moment #2. I still have to go back and pick that line of stitches out and re-do it.

Anyway, the grand sum of my trials and tribulations for Saturday was:

The photo is a little wonky, and I have a lot of excess to trim off. I’m hoping to get the binding done tonight, and then I can spend my commutes over the next week on the hand-quilting.

Back Again

10 09 2011

Yes, I’ve been gone a while. Life sort of took off at a gallop and left me behind, grasping for the reins. It’s been busy – Zebediah went back to school, I’ve been working two jobs, and the fall semester started at the campus on which I work.

This two jobs thing is nice for paychecks. Too bad I’m not spending the ‘extra’ money on fabric. Nope. Not at all. (Well, except for tomorrow – tomorrow is the Wisconsin Quilt Expo in Madison) I’m being a responsible adult and paying off the credit card debt and school loans. Yay, me. **stalks off grumbling about adulthood**

So anyway, two jobs makes for not much quilting time. However, I have a half hour commute to and from work each day. I should get my act together and put together some hand-sewing. I *was* working on the applique for a challenge quilt, but I finished putting the top together tonight. I need more hand-sewing projects. Really.

The challenge top is to the left… They’re Jay McCarroll’s Habitat. I honestly didn’t really like the fabrics at first. It took a while for me to warm up to them – like, I had my stack of fat eighths in hand for a month before an idea came  to mind.

Overall, I’m quite happy with this so far. I wish my applique were better – it’s a little bumpy in places. I probably should have basted everything down instead of working it freehand,  but live and learn. I plan on adding sashiko style embroidery for quilting, combined and contrasting with straight line machine quilting. I’ll be binding it in the navy solid, I think. I want to find a marigold solid to back this with.

It measures about 24″ inches wide. I’m not sure how long it is. I didn’t actually measure from top to bottom, as this design sort of grew on its own. I started with struggling with the need to ensure that the challenge fabrics have a chance to shine on their own, which was hand-in-hand with the problem of design. I ended up deciding to contrast a traditional design against the ultra modern fabrics, which is how I selected the Dresden plate pattern. I wanted to incorporate more of the prints, which is why I added the top and bottom borders.

I’ll be calling this one “Urban Worm”. Now to get started on the solids challenge top.