Monday, July 18, 2011

Christmas in July quilt - not sure how to move forward...

sad. I have had this quilt top and back done since early this year. Maybe even as early as January since I meant to make it for the holidays last year but never started it until after Christmas.  Now it's been sitting in a neatly folded pile with the batting on a bookcase in my crafty basement and I don't remember when I finished it at all.

The top is made from a Moda Layer Cake of the12 Days of Christmas line from Kate Spain. I think "Piece of Cake" is the name of the pattern (or something similar). I remember it came together very quickly and I do like the result very much.

The back is pieced using the panel from the Kate Spain line plus a couple of the prints (below). I think the final size will be something like 60 x60 inch, though I didn't measure it today - it may be a bit bigger than that. I will definitely post the whole thing once it's actually quilted and bound in the red print I have already cut into strips for the binding.

Well, I meant to have it quilted professionally, but the quilter I used last year for a couple of quilts had an injury when I called (February? March?) and I don't think she's taking new quilts anymore and now I have TWO quilts waiting (the flying geese one I showed pix of before too...).

Since I needed to finish the Hands 2 Help quilt, I decided to be brave and free motion quilt one myself that was larger than a baby size. Now I know I can do it, so I'm thinking I should just tackle these and get them done. But I have to figure out a quilt basting strategy. i.e. where do I find a space large enough to tape down a quilt back, or at least a table I can use?  AND do I try pinning this time or give spray basting another chance? ...and I also don't know how I want to quilt it yet. Straight lines? I don't know how I will like that if I don't manage to get the pieced back perfectly squared with the front, or with lines stitched through the panel panes on the back.  So the standby stippling?  Or maybe some more interesting free motion quilting pattern?  What color thread should I use? A nice off white? I was wondering about straight lines in a grid with randomly spaced lines in aqua blue but with a few green and red scattered in. Or maybe I will look for a variegated quilting thread for a free motion pattern - I don't have any on hand but it seems like it might be a good option.

(furrowed brow) Any opinions?

I actually have some other unfinished projects I should finish or work on, and my Pay It Forward projects to make and send out. So maybe I have a little time to consider this before I jump into it. I mean this one is a Christmas quilt and that is ages away (right?) But once I tackled the H2H quilt I had this feeling I should charge ahead with my other unfinished quilts. It went pretty quickly and I really love the FO feeling.

Sometimes I wish paying the mortgage wouldn't get in the way of my obsessive compulsive crafting habits!


  1. You asked for an opinion, and here it is - jump right into it and get it quilted! Then you will know you'll have a lovely quilt to enjoy this Christmas, and it won't be hanging over your head! My friend Ann over at Renegade Quilter did a wonderful tutorial on spray basting ( that you can check out. When I don't quilt on my frame, I use spray basting myself - I clear out the middle of my living room floor and tape the batt down to the floor (full size out of the package), then lay the back of the quilt on top, about an inch from two edges of the batt. Once the back is in place I'll fold it back about halfway. I then spray the batt with a LIGHT coat of spray basting and gently smooth the folded back part onto the sticky batt. Pull back the other side and repeat. Don't be afraid to kneel on your backing - if it gets dirty, it will come out in the wash! Now trim your batting on the other two sides to about an inch from the edge of the backing. Fold up the remaining batt and store it away for later. Flip the back and batting, tape it to the floor, and repeat the process with the top. Easy Peasy! Remember that you can resmooth out any wrinkles, and even reposition the fabric if you need to (pull it up and stick it down again. If finding time to sandwich is difficult (small children, etc.) I sometimes do several at a time, because they will keep, folded on a shelf, for about six months.

    About the quilting - I have my best result when I've got a square design on the back with a stipple, because you don't have to worry that your lines are straight on both front and back. Or you could use an organic straight line, which isn't straight at all, just kind of wavy and freeform. Variegated thread is beautiful, but the colors in your quilt aren't quite traditional Christmas so I'd suggest taking your top with you to the store and lay some of the thread you're looking at on it to see how it will look quilted. If you don't go with variegated, I've found that a nice cream is usually a good choice - not quite as stark as white, so it doesn't stick out as much. I usually use serger thread to quilt with, which I've been told isn't as thick as regular thread, so it makes for a subtle quilt line. If you want more distinct quilting, you may want to go with a slightly thicker thread.

    It's going to be beautiful! Good luck!!

  2. I'm with Sarah, just get it done (why yes, I do live in a glass house, why do you ask ;) ). As for basting space, 2 tables at the parish hall, or the floor, works quite nicely if you can't clear space in your own house. Or come visit me.

    On the other hand, New Pieces in Berkeley has a quilting service - I've seen several examples of their work, and it's quite nice.