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Got a good reason For taking the easy way out
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Before Prozac, there was quilting...

...and this'll end up being a long recitation, I'm sure--

Last week, I posted that I finished my afghan sized Halloween Quilt. And I titled that post "...the wicked quilt is done"! To be honest I was never more happy to call it quits!! You see, I truthfully haven't sewn anything since our kids were young and still at home. And our youngest has been gone from home since 1994. If my math is correct that is just shy of the 20 year mark since I've really attempted any large project with the sewing machine. One thing, I did remember how to thread the machine. LOL -- that part was just like learning how to ride a bike; once you master it you never forget.

Okay, so it was considered by me a colossal challenge. I knew when I bought the first cute panel of a cute witch, I was in for the long haul. It just took me about 10 years to finally build up the courage and get it back out of storage and begin. For years I had it in my mind to just make a simple patchwork quilt that surrounds the large panel in the middle. Of course, Halloween colors of yellows, oranges, black, purples, and greens. I had enough material saved up to make a 74" x 42" quilt. I started cutting the pieces. I really wasn't going to make each a perfect square. I would just fit all the cut pieces until the dimension reached a close 70-75 inches long and 40-45 inches wide. Something to just use as a throw on a chilly night....which there aren't very many of those in South Texas in October. Once the pieces were cut, I sewed them together making rows. Fitted them together and sewed them onto the original panel. So far so good. Then, I considered what to do for a back of the quilt. I had in mind to have something a bit flower-y. And made use of the witch's hat and one of the jack-o-lanterns that were extras on the panel I bought long ago. I cut those out...pinned them onto the back side and used the machine's zig zag stitch. After that came the batting. I've never EVER made a quilt before, so choosing the right batting was something new to me. I went to Hobby Lobby, Joann Crafts, and Michael's and read online the differences in quilt batting. And decided on the light fiber batting in a 'heavy' texture. In other words a product that would have a soft quilting effect and still be light weight when all put together. Cutting that was no challenge. I laid it on the floor, put the top quilt section on top of the batting and cut. Then, pinned both the back and the front of the quilt to the batting. And began sewing. Once online, I learned the technique of "Stitch in the Ditch" stitching. The tutorial also advised me to use transparent thread for the top piece and close-to-matching thread for the bottom piece [what was on the bobbin spool]. That was when I ran into some problems....the bobbin tension on the machine...I was never able to get it set perfectly for the use of the transparent thread I used on the top!! My transparent thread kept breaking; VERY OFTEN!! Frustration was setting in. And I don't know how many times I sat there, rethreading the needle, and/or replacing the BROKEN needle. A few times I mindlessly, silently threatened to just throw it all out. As Butch Cassidy said in the popular western movie about the posse that was after him and the Sundance Kid...it was "beginning to get on my nerves". Whatever did I get myself into? Why did I even think I could do this without any knowledge whatsoever before I began? You're a fool to think you could accomplish this Anni! So many negative remarks ran through my head.

After about a month of constant battle and frustrations, the quilting was done. If I never hear the term "Stitch in the Ditch" again, it'll be all too soon. After this, I even have MORE admiration of those who quilt and call it a hobby or do it for a living!! More power to them.

Then, the binding. Once again I went out online to do research and watch videos. That all seemed simple enough. Math came into the picture. Measure the quilt; multiply it by 2 and you have the sum of the inches needed for the length of the quilt's binding!! Got it!! If you recall, I chose a contrasting orange for binding [photo shown in this post with Tahoe's help]. I decided that the narrow biding would look best......WRONG!!! I cut my binding 2 inches in width. Had all six strips of 45" in length sewn together to make one long strip. Pinned it on...sewed it and mitered the corners. After two corners done, I had some more bobbin tension problems. I forgot to readjust the tension on the machine, and the matching orange thread bunched up at one point while sewing it on that there was no turning back, I had to rip that completely off and begin anew!! I wasn't about to go and buy more orange, I had a lot of black material in my storage bin of scraps, so decided to use the black for binding instead. And the first go-'round I cut the six strips 2" wide. This time, with the black, I measured a wider strip...this time it was 2 1/2 inches wide. I ADJUSTED THE TENSION, and off I went. Sewing miraculously around the entire quilt.

I wasn't about to use that nasty transparent thread again, so I chose to finish the quilt binding off, by stitching the backside of the binding to the back of the quilt by hand!! The stitch is a blind stitch and nearly invisible to the eye. It worked out very smoothly, and I had the hand sewing done in a short two days!!

Guaranteed it's NOT a perfect piece of work. But it will suffice. Project completed in one month's time. Lots of hours put into it. The labor, the time, the expense of the material and the batting...it wouldn't make much of a profit if I sold it for $100. roflmao!!

...but it's done. And to be totally honest, I'll never make a quilt again. I'll leave it to the experts and those that enjoy doing this. I'll stick to birding in October and decorating with already made Halloween decorations.

So, here is the finished quilt in photos [they will enlarge if you wish, just click on 'em for a slideshow]:





...and if you're still here with me, and read the post in its entirety, step up to the bar....DRINKS ARE ON ME!! I'll make the first toast: "May your sorrows be patched and your joys quilted. Just not by me!"

47 comments :

  1. Oh Anni I was w you every witchy step. I was a seamstress too before I was a cat lover. Guide sheets and pins and cats are not a good match. I did make my daughter a new winter robe my first year of retirement. Madi was a 'big' help too! my daughter was thrilled but not nearly as thrilled as I was to finish it. She put in a request for a spring robe...I am still thinking about that.
    Hugs
    Madi and C

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    1. There are two kinds of robes now? I only have one, I best get to thinking about the 'new styles' and what to get 'round here.

      Sewing and cats...not a good combination to be sure. In fact, forget the sewing and pay attention to the cat's antics....much more fun.

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  2. PS
    I ALSO MEANT TO SAY THE QUILT is just as beautiful as all your projects!
    C

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  3. First I'd like to say that I really do like the new header.
    I was with you the whole way through every stitch and I must say that you should have a drink. It is a beautiful job and I am happy for you that it is done.
    I am not one to be that patience so I have not done anything like this.
    Hugs dear friend

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    1. ....Now this is really eerie!! Just today I was thinking of how you were doing....glad you stopped by to say hello Sharon. You're missed 'round here.

      Hope your long holiday weekend turns out with loads of fun and good times. And, thanks!!

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  4. I hate and detest that transparent thread!!!!
    You did an amazing job!!! Beautiful! Don't you love 'stitching in the ditch?' I do!
    Okay, I read every word in every sentence! YOU are the one who deserves the drink......but if you insist I will take mine! Cheers!

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    1. ...stitch in the ditch was just an 'okay thing'. All I can say is even tho I didn't like the 'threading' of the transparent thread, I like the idea of it not showing up. LOL

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  5. I used to do some quilting when I was young, but haven't for some time. It's been a long time.
    Your quilt turned out beautiful, even with all the frustration it caused!

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    1. ...if you do make a quilt, all I can say is 'more power to you'. Thanks Mari.

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  6. Ha, funny quote and I love the quilt. Glad you had the patience to finish. Have a great evening and a happy weekend!

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    1. ...thanks Eileen. You too, have a safe holiday weekend.

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  7. Hi, We had dinner tonight with Dad Adams to celebrate his 101st birthday.... He ate well--including a Brownie and Ice Cream...

    Love the quilt, Anni, and I am proud of you for finishing it... That is perseverance for sure.. Not sure I could or would have ever finished that project... SO--I'm proud of you for doing it... But---I don't blame you for not ever making another one...

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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    1. Awwwwwwwwww, that birthday dinner musta been a fabulous time. I still can't get over it was his 101st birthday!!! Amazing. And, thanks Betsy.

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  8. Well, I do not know if this was worth your nerves being so shot, but it sure is AWESOME and TOTALLY cool!! I would love to sew things, but the reason I don't is that it gets on my nerves so bad and frustrates me so much. You could sell this quit for a considerable sum of money.

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    1. ...my sister is the same way. She does NOT like anything 'domestic' except cooking. When it comes to sewing, she passes every time.

      Thanks Ginny

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  9. I read every word, and thanked my lucky stars that I have never been tempted to make a quilt! Congratulations, Anni. And it's totally, completely COOL! :-)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. ...I know it was a very long post. I had to share my frustrations along with the finished work. Thanks DJ!!

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  10. I would be very proud of this if I were you. It's adorable!
    I made crosstitch/patch wall quilts for each of my kids when they were babies - over 30 years ago. Those two were all I ever did.
    My late MIL quilted so I know the time and effort for large pieces. You persevered and your efforts are simply wonderful.
    A Halloween girl like you should have such a quilt too!! :)

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    1. ...I don't think I even would want to do a quilted wall hanging after this. But this was something I always wanted to try...and I can say with pride, I did quilt. But not wanting to do it ever again. Yep, of course, it had to be a Halloween quilt. LOL

      Thanks Carletta

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  11. Well, I read the entire post and felt your frustration at the breaking thread and needle and the thread bunching up....I thought to myself, "I think it'd be easier hand sewing it!" which you ended up doing! We think alike! And you should be so proud of yourself!!! I love it! And my daughter, who is my oldest child and almost was an only child, graduated from high school in 1993....and that is 20 years ago...seems like yesterday in some ways!

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    1. Glad you like the quilt. It DOES seem like just yesterday so many times when I look back.

      Thanks!!

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  12. Replies
    1. ...as are you Denise. Thanks!!

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  13. It is a wonderful quilt! I appreciate what you put into it beyond the cloth; I have a couple of 20+ years projects that I will probably never work on again.

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    1. ...isn't that the way it is with some projects? I don't blame you one bit Nick!!

      And....thanks!!

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  14. Oh, I'm so sorry that you had so much trouble. I've never machine quilted, and I have to say that from your experience, I have no desire to learn. ;-) Your quilt is beautiful! I always like to say that done is always better than perfect!

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    1. ...oh, thanks Kathy. Coming from you, knowing of your beautiful quilting work, I am happy to read what you had to say. Much appreciated.

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  15. Sorry I have not visited lately. I like the new blog look though.

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    1. ...thanks Wayne, for stopping by.

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  16. I have the utmost respect and admiration for anyone who can do any thing with thread, yarn, string etc. I never mastered even threading the machine. I took SO many classes too.
    This quilt is adorable and wow it was a lot of work!
    Are you going to make a Christmas one now:)??

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    1. LOL....nope. At the beginning of this I thought since I've seen so many adorable Christmas quilting panels, I'd make one. But...after the problems with this one?!! No way.

      Thanks Doreen.

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  17. I wish I could say more on this dumb phone, but it turned out wonderfully! Gosh, you are talented!

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  18. Wow, congratulations on finishing it! It is very cute and that is an ambitious project to tackle after a 20 year break!

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  19. Hey Hootin'
    Stopping by to say hello.
    Have a wonderful weekend :)

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  20. Well, you persisted and you finished your quilt! It turned out just darling! Hang it on the wall! Frame it! Keep it out for all to see even if it's a Halloween quilt! ;) I made a quilt top when I was a teenager - pink and white tiny little squares and then decided I'd never make another quilt. I didn't! ;)
    Thanks for popping in to see my little doll.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

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  21. Well I've always wanted to learn to quilt and I've considered just jumping in and giving it a try. Somehow I think my experience will end up being a lot like yours though. I must say your quilt looks awesomethough.

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  22. Wow! Good for you! I sewed clothes in college and I am thinking of trying to sew again but I don't think I would be that brave. You did very well.
    Have a great weekend!
    :-)
    Traci

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  23. I guess I'm too tired and should go to bed. I have a bit of difficulty publishing a comment. Here goes again... I think your quilt is unique, but never would have attempted such a project in the first place. The only quilts I ever made were ones when I covered old wool blankets with fabric squares sewn together. My mom always had a quilting rack set up over the dining room table with a quilt in progress, and just olled it up when the table was needed. Good for you to complete this in spite of difficulties.

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    1. I meant rolled it up! See what I mean? Go to bed nookworm!

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  24. I'm gonna have to do the Prozac! I love, love, love the quilt and you did a great job! I don't sew a stitch so I won't be starting at this age.

    I also love your header! Talented lady!

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  25. Haha! I love your toast! Pat yourself on the back, tho, that is a cool quilt and you did a great job. I don't think I have the nerve to tackle one myself. I've quilted a patchwork pillow top, but that's about as big a quilting job as I'd want!

    I've been slow getting around to blog reading. Too many irons in the fire, as they say. Hope to get back on track soon. Take care and have a nice weekend!

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  26. Hahahaha, I totally understand. But hey, it's finished and beautiful and you can look at it completed. Good feeling to be done... maybe forever ;-)

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  27. It's beautiful,Anni! I've never learned how to quilt. Too much work! The closest thing to quilting I did was a patchwork blankie! I don't remember completing it!

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  28. Well cheers to you my friend - it is positively wonderful. I think you cut yourself short. I really do. You just have artistic abilities in you and you do everything well! :)
    Have a great Labor Day.
    sandie

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  29. Anni, I am a quilter and many hours are spent making a quilt. I don't even quilt my own. I let someone else do that for me. I have used the invisible thread before and once I loosened the tension it worked great. Binding the quilts is my favorite thing to do. I too sew it by hand on the back. I find it relaxing. I bound two smaller quilts for our annual quilt show this week. Great job on this and I think you will love it even more after you forget about all the stress it caused you. Kind of like having a baby. After a few years you forget about all the pain and have another one. lol! Thanks for sharing with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

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