Friday, July 1, 2011

Finishing The Watermelons

It's getting down to the wire for the upcoming wedding so I've been diligently working on the Watermelon quilt. You may remember on my previous post "Watermelons for Miles and Courtney" I was struggling with not enough fabric for the backing.

No matter which way I calculated it, the 3 yards of beautiful watermelon print I had just weren't enough because it's directional.

I ironed it, I measured it, I flipped it around, I ironed it again, I flipped it this way, then that way; I tried and tried and tried to make it work. The harder I tried the harder it got.

Finally, I decided to use the print as a center panel and put a border around it. Off to the fabric store for some green "rind" colored fabric. I found a great match and stitched the whole thing together but had to call the Lorri to let her know I'd be late with dropping it off.

Lorri Wurtzler, whose longarm quilting business, Seventh Heaven Quilting, is just minutes from my home in southern NH has been doing a great job on the quilts I've brought her. The watermelon quilt is just one of three she has quilted for me recently. Working with Lorri to choose the pattern and the thread for the finishing touches is a great part of the creative process that's really fun for me. I usually have an idea of how I want the quilting done and she is able to take that idea and execute it with beautiful results.  Longarm quilting is a life saver for me! I would never have been able to quilt any of my projects, by hand or machine, and get them completed when I wanted them.

Here's a peek at the back corner before I got the binding on. The border on the watermelon fabric turned out fine. You can clearly see the vine/leaf pattern here on the green border.

But what really makes the whole quilt top is the contract of the deep pink threads on the whites of the quilt top. It is pretty in the pictures but just beautiful in real life!

With the quilting completed it was time for binding.  I had been using the same binding instructions for the past ten years.  One of the things that I really didn't like was how bulkie the closure was when you got to the end.

I decided to go on line to see if there was an easier way. I saw a tutorial on the Missouri Star Quilt Company's You-Tube site. They were demonstrating a new template used to make bindings. I was so excited I was ready to send away for it right then and there! That is until, after a few watching a few other videos, I came across one that showed how to do the very same thing without the template. Since time is always of the essence for me I studied the video and tried the new technique. So, I'm not usually the first to do most things but I catch on pretty quickly.  With a little practice, this technique worked like a charm!


Oh, and a second tip I found was winding the prepared binding into a coil. I used to just gather it all up and drape it over my shoulder for safe keeping as I sewed. The coil worked much better.

All the machine stuff was done. Now to the relaxing part, hand sewing the binding. I've seen some videos of people using the machine to finish off their bindings but unless it's a small project I'm not sure I'd want to do that. I enjoy taking my work out of the sewing room and spending time watching TV with the family. Sports are always a good choice for this activity. Luckily here in New England we have four championship teams: the Celtics, the Patriots, the Bruins, and the Red Sox to keep us entertained. Since it's summer now we are taking in the Red Sox games. So I grabbed the quilt and my sewing basket and headed to the living room.

Now you may remember that Guppy is often fussing around my sewing table as I sew but I don't think I've mentioned Alice. Alice is Guppy's sister. She's pretty and she knows it. She feels no need to get involved with the noisy sewing machine activities (although the ironing board does appeal to her so I always have to close it up if it's not in use). Instead, she naps in the kitty bed placed on what was supposed to be the comfy chair for me to use in my sewing room. Oh well . . . 

Alice decided that getting a close up view of the hand sewing of the binding would be a good way to get involved in the watermelon quilt. One evening she strolled in to the living room as I was getting all comfy and ready to sew.  You know how it is, you get the lighting arranged just right and everything within arms reach. She announced herself with a meow, then parked herself on the coffee table. Watching me from across the room.  Just taking it all in, no big deal. Certainly nothing she was interested in.


As I started to sew she came closer, sitting beside me, just touching the quilt at the edges.


She gave it her best "I'm ignoring you" pose, acting as if she really wasn't interested in any old quilt. After all, quilts are all over the house, what's so special about this one? (Settling in a little closer.)

I asked her how I was supposed to get anything done if she was on the quilt. Her ears twitched back and forth in the "don't bother me" pose, which lead to full on relaxing in anticipation of a good nap!

Well, on this particular day the temperature was in the 80's with very high humidity. The quilt in my lap was hot enough but adding the lounging cat was more than I could take. All I needed now was a random hot flash and I be a gonner! I left her and the quilt in the comfy spot, with the lighting just so and everything within arms reach.  I got myself a big glass of iced tea to enjoy the rest of the baseball game leaving the sewing for another day.

Over the course of the next few evenings, as the Red Sox climbed higher up in the standings, the weather cooled considerably and I was able to finish the binding.  Alice never showed any more interest in the watermelon quilt!


Next up, the label.  Check back in, it'll be finished soon because the wedding is July 4th weekend!

In the meantime, do your pets enjoy your hobby as much as you do?

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