Tuesday, June 01, 2010

One Down, One to Go...

OK, so my oldest friend's daughter is having a baby. The shower is in June. I figured, since there are no grandmas to knit or crochet, and my friend can't sew worth a lick, I'd do a quilt and afghan for the baby. Here's the quilt. I appealed to a friend of mine, a Quilt Queen, for "the most idiot-proof" quilt pattern she knew. This is as simple as it gets, and STILL - it took me all day.

It's basically a rectangle with 4 patterns of fabric. We know she's having a boy (and if the ultrasound is wrong, I hope she likes blue!), so I chose a pattern in the center that's comprised of red and blue bandanas scattered across it. The middle shade of blue is covered in small white dots - kind of like the sky with stars in it. And the end piece is a pale blue, cloud-themed fabric with actual white stars on it. The back piece is a dark blue paisley that folds up around the top. We mitered the corners and those were hand-sewn. There are two rows of straight stitching around the binding, and a fancy zig-zag on the straight parts of each of the stripes.

Well, part of the trouble is this reason: I wasn't using my own sewing machine. The last project I did on the sewing machine was a dozen "chapbooks" for Son #2 for his Creative Writing class. Chapbooks are collections of writings in a hand-made book format. Son #2 decided on the layout and all that, and I offered to sew up the binding. The sewing machine is an ancient Brother heavy-duty that has been my "old reliable" for over 30 years. I've had it repaired exactly 2 times, and each time the guy tries to talk me into some fancy-schmancy machine that I'll never use - much less learn to operate! I need forward, backward, zig-zag and zippers. That's it. Nothing more.

Anyway, I messed up the tension. As I was trying to get the bobbin to behave, the thread kept winding AROUND the bobbin compartment, instead of picking up and coming through. I have to work on that. And I was determined to get this quilt done this weekend.

So I used Hubby's machine. He has a Singer portable that he uses to sew leashes for our canine rescue stuff. It was fine for the top assembly. We were on the floor of my office pinning it together - which was another issue: no room (at least no dog-free room) to lay the thing out to put it together. As it was, our foster puppy kept coming by wondering what Mom and Dad were doing in there!

I used a natural cotton batting, so it'll be nice now as a floor quilt and then in the fall and winter in the crib. It's basically crib-sized, though we had to trim off quite a bit to get it to fit. I couldn't find 60" fabric, so it's about 48 x 36.

I go to assemble. While watching a marathon of "Deadliest Catch" - a show that's strangely addicting... And sewing on the dining room table, which was a good place, since I had room enough to turn the quilt without dragging it on the floor or over dogs. And the fold-over binding goes well. Then I try to do a fancy zig-zag down the strips. Well, all heck breaks loose. The tension gets all balled up and I have to rip. And rip. And rip.  I was not happy. Finally, Hubby figured it out and we got the tension fixed.

I'm finishing up the crocheted afghan this week. Picture will follow.

Not to sound mean, but I hope my friend and her daughter appreciate this!

I want to thank my friend Mary Lynn for her advice. I also want to tell her that I truly admire her quilts; I don't know that I'll ever really be a quilter. This one about kicked my butt. I can't imagine a Log Cabin or a Wedding Ring! I think I'll stick to knitting and leave the quilting to the experts.

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