Sunday, December 14, 2014

Jacobean Journey Quilt - Putting it All Together

I admit I've been bad.  I haven't posted in weeks. After putting some of the rows together for this quilt and fighting a lot with it, I've taken a break from my quilt and yesterday I took my machine in for an cleaning.  So let me tell you how I started putting these blocks together.

First, I started with my sashing.  All the sashing does is hide the seams from sewing the blocks together. When I was picking my fabric, I admit I just didn't care what my sashing looked like at this point, so its the same fabric as the backing.  To make the sashing, I used 1.5" strips x width of fabric and folded each side in towards the middle about 1/4" towards the middle and ironed. The ends are not quite to the center which is fine.

I still don't have all the inner/outer border blocks done yet but I did start putting some of the rows together.  I used an all cotton thread to sew the blocks together.  Just line up what designs you can (assuming there are any) and pin. Usually, you can locate the block outline from where you attached your backing fabric but if I just sewed on that line, my patterns didn't always match.  I did have some trouble with the blocks moving so I started pinning the top and bottoms to stabilize any shifting.  I also eventually switched to my duel-feed foot which worked out much better but more on that later.

After getting one row sewn together, I ironed the seam open and trimmed it a little if I needed to. Then I took a piece of the sashing and glued it down.  Then I switched my thread to a monopoly.  It looks a bit like clear fishing line. I used Superior Mono Poly (very fine) in the top thread and pre-wound bobbins of the same in the bobbin.  This is because the bobbin thread is going to be on the front side of you quilt and believe me, you don't want to see it and mess up all that pretty embroidery.

So far I haven't had any trouble with this thread.  I was told that if I was going to wind my own bobbins to make sure you wind it SLOWLY to not stretch the thread as it winds. I decided at this point, I'm just too lazy to mess with it and paid the $10 to get the pre-wound bobbins. 

So after loading my machine with the MonoPoly thread, I used a blanket stitch to sew the sashing down. Now, your row is finished and can be sewn to another row.

Here's where I'm having trouble. These rows are really, really stiff.  I mean board like stiff. I admit. I had to sew, rip out, sew, rip out a lot more than I like to get a row together before I changed to my duel-feed foot. This is also called a walking foot. Do not attempt to sew these together with a regular foot. If that's all you have then hopefully your sewing skills are better then mine. I had a lot of trouble before I switch to the duel feed food. Mine looks like a conveyor belt type thing.  This foot helps feed your material from the top, while the feed dogs move your fabric from the bottom. This "sandwiching" helps keep everything moving together. 

When sewing two rows together, don't bother pinning the entire row.  I pinned 2 blocks together at the seams and at the design in 14" lengths or the length of 2 blocks in my case.  Don't do any more than small segments. After you've sewn that, open it up and see if your seams and design matches.  If not, then you don't have as much to rip out. If it's okay, then pin your next 14"segment and so on until your row is attached. 

I tried to baste at the seams and that didn't work out at all but that's not to say it wouldn't work out for someone else.  My sewing skills are not the best but that was a suggestion we got in class so I tried it. But I like my current method. The only thing I do now (that I've had more practice) is I trim all the seams after putting the blocks together before I attach the sashing. That get's rid of a lot of the bulk and the sashing lays flatter. 

Once I got a row together, I labeled it just to make sure I don't get confused which row is which. And finally, I've attached a picture of the center medallion part laid out in blocks on my bed, which doesn't really fit but you'll get the idea of how its coming along. 

So after I get my machine back, I'm going to finish the remaining blocks and get this quilt sewn together over the winter.  I'm thinking my next project will be the "Affairs of the Heart" quilt. I've got the pattern and lots of batik scraps. And I'm thinking I can get my machine to do some of the applique and give the quilt a little different look than all needle turn or fusing everything down. And I've also decided instead of a black background I'll make mine white although, the black is tempting.