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:
- Having the right tools makes the quilting process much easier and more enjoyable.
- I don't have the right tools.
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.