Monday, February 15, 2010

patriotic salute quilt :: complete

I finally finished this quilt for my dad for his 60th birthday, and only about 4 days later than I had planned.  I'm extremely happy with the completed project (so much so that I had to show everyone at work), but not every part came easily.  Although I did enjoy the process of quilting this quilt more than Trenton's baby quilt, I learned a few things that will probably make my next quilting experience even better:
  1. Having the right tools makes the quilting process much easier and more enjoyable.
  2. I don't have the right tools.
I debated for weeks on purchasing a darning foot for free-motion quilting, and I finally broke down and forked over the $7.  After staring at it for 2 days, I chickened out and decided to quilt in straight lines.  I thought quilting squares in each of the blocks would be easier.  I didn't have time to practice with my darning foot, so I thought sticking with straight lines using my embroidery foot would cut down on the mistakes and frustration.  Oh, how I was wrong.

The frustration came from not realizing all the stopping and starting I would have to do.  Once I got the hang of it, the process became faster, but the backstitching shows up quite well on the back of the quilt.  It's a really good thing I don't care about (and actually appreciate) those kinds of things that scream "handmade."

The binding and I are not speaking after the episode with this quilt.  I followed a very good tutorial on binding, but I just wasn't happy with the width of the binding.  The tutorial said to use a strip 2-1/4 inches wide, but I like mine much wider.  Not only is it easier to sew, but I just like the look of wider binding better. 

And (if you are a real quilter, you will want to cover your ears while reading this next part) I did not enjoy hand sewing the binding to the back of the quilt so I machine stitched it.  I know!  Shame on me.  I tried the hand sewing thing--I really did.  I got about a quarter of the way down one side and decided it was way too slow of a process for me.  And so, yes if you are wondering, I do have wonky stitch lines on the front side of my quilt that sometimes overlap the binding on the front and sometimes don't.  But I think it adds even more charm.

This is the back (sorry, it was overcast and snowy and a snowflake made a home on the lens, but I had to ship the quilt that morning).

Since this quilt is a salute to soldiers and patriotism, I added a small memory of my brother on the back.  The iron-on phrase says "Remembering Jimmy, US Army Specialist, 1st Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division."  The dog tag is a copy of his that didn't turn out as well in the iron-on transfer as it printed on paper.  But I went with it anyway.  Just knowing it's a copy of his is enough for me.

I made the three stars out of a t-shirt I've never worn.  The color was just right and the shirt was way too big for me anyway.  I was originally going to add many more stars, but the hub suggested that I go with a modest three to reflect my brother's hockey number (the high school that my brother attended just retired his hockey jersey last Friday).  So three it was and it was perfect.

I also added this tag--that I really like by the way--to name the quilt.  I was going to put this in a patch at the bottom, but later decided on this and I like it much better.  Subtle.  Modest.

All in all, I would add quilting to my list of enjoyable things to do in my free time.  It was definitely worth all of the effort and headaches because I know my dad will love it.  I will have to practice my free-motion skills on some smaller projects because I really do think it would be fun to try on another quilt someday.
The Patriotic Salute Quilt measures 50 x 62 inches after washing.

ps. it wouldn't be one of my photo shoots without at least one tiny hand creeping into a photo . . .

1 comment:

  1. I love your quilt! You did an incredible job for your first quilt ... great design and color. You give me the inspiration to try one of my own. I only hope I can be as creative as you ... and I love the little hand in the picture! Give that little guy a hug from me. Your Dad will love the salute to Jimmy. What a nice keepsake. I smiled as I read your comments. I am amazed at how quickly you finished this project since we were just out buying the material a little over a month ago. Good job Michelle! We all get better with time ... Enjoy your creativity!