2012 Year in Review

2012 mosaic
1. FinalWhole, 2. FQ-Close, 3. Front_garden, 4. Full_front, 5. BlueBlack-staggered, 6. Henrietta1, 7. Notebooks, 8. Sarah’s potholders (front), 9. Black bag 1

In 2012 I started quilting seriously, started blogging, met a whole bunch of really lovely people and learned tons from advice and tutorials and quilt-alongs, and finished a lot of small projects and several quilts, including one that isn’t featured in this mosaic.

In 2013, I’ll be joining the Inspire circle of do. Good Stitches (which I’m really looking forward to) and trying my best to keep up with the Pile O’Fabric Skill Builder Block of the Month in hopes of learning how to sew curves at the very least. And ideally, I’ll be a little bit better at keeping up with this blog during the spring semester than I was this fall.

Finished quilt!

It’s finished! I’m really very proud of it. And I still love the back, the way the four nine-patch panels sort of hover:

I quilted it along the seams, and it doesn’t show up much on the front, but I like the grid it creates on the back: (ignore the fact that I didn’t brush off all the thread scraps, please!)

I’m really pleased with the way the corners came out. This is the top side:

And this (blurry) picture is the back of the quilt, and you can sort of see the way the binding folds over, and 1/4″ inside that (give or take) there’s a line of stitching from where it’s sewn down on the front of the quilt. I kind of like the look of it.

So that’s the quilt I’m considering as my first quilt, since it’s the first time I’ve followed a pattern or really known what I was doing. :)

Now I just need to figure out what to do with it…

Quilting the Nine-Patch Lattice Quilt

Well, this week has been a thorough fail in terms of posting on-schedule.

In any event, I’ve all but finished the Nine-Patch Lattice quilt, so here’s a look at how I quilted it. I followed the instructions in The Practical Guide to Patchwork, with the occasional look at Elizabeth Hartmann’s very helpful tutorials on her blog.

First I laid out my quilt batting and top, and rolled them together. (I forgot to take a picture of this step.)

Then I laid out the back, and while the instructions I was looking at suggested stretching the back out and taping the edges so it doesn’t move, I thought – hey, I can totally do this, it’s tiny! – not my best idea.

I unrolled the quilt batting&top onto the back, and trimmed around the edges.

I’d decided to quilt along the lattice design: nice straight lines seemed like a good idea for a first try at really quilting something. I initially thought of quilting all the lines, including those within the nine-patch blocks, but I decided I didn’t want it to look quite that busy. And the batting I was using said it could be quilted up to 10″ apart, so I didn’t feel too bad about these blocks.

I attached a walking foot and a 14 needle (instead of an 11) and I started quilting along the lines of the lattice blocks. I started stitching on the batting, beyond the edge of the top’s fabric.

I rolled the quilt up as I went, and it’s a good thing it was fairly small, because it definitely took me a little while to figure out the most efficient ways to move it around.

One thing I didn’t think of for an embarrassingly long time is the idea of folding up not only the side that was going under the arm of the sewing machine, but the quilt on the left of the sewing machine as well. This made things a lot easier to manage.

Remember how I said I didn’t follow the instructions quite exactly? Well, it turns out that if you rely on just crawling around and smoothing, and you don’t really quite know exactly what you’re doing just yet, you end up with a couple of tucks in the fabric of the back of the quilt. I am surprisingly okay with this, because, really, for a first quilt (I really don’t count the two I made for my cousin’s kids, because they were so small and so completely without guidance or plan), it’s not that bad. But I still didn’t take pictures of the tucks on the back.

Once I’d finished quilting it, I trimmed the edges straight and cut and pressed my binding.

I pinned it to the wrong side, and sewed about 1/4″ from the edge, all the way around. One of the corners gave me some trouble (overstitching both sides of it? Not the best plan.)

Then I unpinned it, turned the binding around to the front of the quilt, and pinned it down. Then I sewed the binding down about 1/4″ from the edge of it. This left a second line around the edges of the quilt on the back, but I don’t mind the effect, and it was a lot faster (and I trust it a lot more) than hand-stitching the binding. I have very little confidence in my ability to sew things by hand.

You may notice, in this last picture, that I managed to put the pins in with their sharp ends facing me: OW. Not doing that again, if I can help it. I stabbed myself on their tips more times than I really want to remember.

When I get some decent light, I’ll photograph the finished quilt. And now that the Lattice quilt is finished, I’m working on a quilt for a friend’s son. It’s all greens and purples, and I’ve already finished all the blocks for it.

Nine-Patch Lattice Quilt

This is the Nine-Patch Lattice Quilt from Oh, Fransson!, Elizabeth Hartman’s quilting blog. I stumbled across her tutorial on how to make crazy nine-patch blocks a year or so ago and thought it was genius. So when I got the urge to try my hand at quilting something that actually had a pattern, I thought of the tutorial, visited her blog, and found the Nine-Patch quilt. The practice blocks I did were mock-ups for this project.

I didn’t end up going for crazy blocks, because I preferred the lattice effect of symmetrical squares. I strip-pieced the blocks, which made everything much faster and easier, and aside from learning that I can’t sew a scant 1/4″ seam without a guide of some kind (and even then, I sometimes manage to sew a slightly wider seam, just enough to throw things of a teeny bit overall), it went very smoothly.

I used nine fat quarters I’d picked up at a Joann Fabrics to use together. Originally I was going to use the green sheet I used in the test pillow squares as sashing, but something about it didn’t quite look right to me. So when I went down to Brooklyn General to pick up a 6×24″ quilting ruler, I brought along one of the squares, and laid it against some of the fabrics they had there. This is Kona Cotton in Navy (if I recall the color correctly: a dark blue, in any case) and I really like the way it sets off the greens.

One of my favorite things about this pattern is the back:

The little squares remind me of stained glass windows, glowing in the darker wall of blue fabric.