Thursday, August 26, 2010

Finishing the Dragon Quilt

The Gus approved layout
A few days later, I unrolled my design wall, and let Gus look over the dragon pattern. He approved so I started stacking squares.

Partway - with my reverse order squares
before figuring out I was pressing
everything in the same direction
My intent was to sew the rows first so that when it came time to sew the rows together they would be shorter (7 squares wide versus 9).  However....  my logical mind failed me.  I now know that I needed to have 9 piles not 7. Rather than lay everthing back out, I decided to suffer through the longer columns. So - I chain stitched the first pair of columns.  Then, when it came time to add the next column, I realized that I was going to end up with a lot of quilt to the right of the needle - and since there is a distinct pattern to the dragon arrangement this could be a problem.  Ever resourceful, I simply turned my tray of squares upside down and chained 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 instead of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.  It worked.

Monkey found a new way to
be helpful.  I think I like it better
when she just rests her head on
the cut fabric...
Over a period of two evenings, I chain stitched the columns and sewed the first three together. Two thirds of the way through the columns, I realized that I had been pressing all the seams in the same direction - which would create problems in the joining step - so I had to go back and redo the block pressing. Glad I figured it out then, instead of when I reached the step. Because some of the dragons were bias cut, I had to be very careful while stitching and pressing to not pull them off square.  A gentle touch can be a very good thing.

On Sunday Gus decided it was time for him to learn to sew - so together we made him a tuck-away tote bag. Several months ago he picked out a rose/skull fabric with a red contrast fabric. Later I found a FQ of white skulls on black.  Thinking I'd be able to use my old machine, and so that I didn't have to rethread my Bernina and wind another bobbin, I got him set up.  And I confirmed my wisdom in purchasing the Bernina. Both Gus and I fought the feed dogs on the Singer to sew a straight stitch.  For the strap, I set up parallel tape guides which did help as that was a 120+ inch seam.  We took turns, and there are several "imperfect" seams - but overall both Gus and I are pleased.  I learned how to sew French Seams and really like the effect as these are unlined bags.  He did protest me ripping out a few of his seams for him to redo - but not too loudly.  On Tuesday, we went back to Thimble Pleasures so we could purchase the next set of fabrics - and webbing for the handle (my forefinger and thumb are still tingly and painful from turning a 120+ inch tube with a pair of tweezers - before I do one of those again, I'll get a tube turner - probably would have taken much less time too).  This weekend, I'll let Gus use the Bernina.  And I'll also keep an eye out for good sales on fabrics to make gifts that won't break the bank account.

Dash has decided he will get
more attention if he sleeps on or
at least in front of the pedal.  He was
showing a great deal of interest in the
area near my fabric stash, and I was
worried there might be a mouse. Nope
just a stray grape (thanks Gus).
Fortunately I found it before Dash.
So back to the quilt. Tuesday night, I completed the top and then starched it a few times prior to storing until I reach the borders & bindings lessons.  Gus is very happy.

I did notice something in the pictures, which I downloaded AFTER all of the columns were pieced. If you look carefully at the red dragons, there are several that have great swirls behind them. Unfortunately, I didn't space them apart, so they are a bit clustered together.  The contrast didn't show up in the room lighting. Oh well. Now I know to check the pictures during the process.

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