i finished my “practice quilt”!
this is the quilt top i made when i was still pregnant. then i got all huge & didn’t want to do anything but lay on the couch watching “the office” & eating cookies, so i passed it back to chepina to finish. but she had just started a fancy new job as a math professor, which wound up being far more time-consuming than she’d expected (thanks in no small part to a hundred-miles round-trip commute–!!!), so she gave it back to me when ramona was a few months old. i wasn’t going to finish it because i did such a sloppy, half-assed job lining up the seams, i didn’t press the seam allowances at all, let alone in one direction or another, i didn’t even trim the threads after chain-stitching. it was like i was sewing in some kind of black-out stupor. which i guess is as good a description of pregnancy as any.
but i decided i needed a quilt top i didn’t care too much about to practice machine quilting, because i’ve never ever done it before & everything i’ve heard about it makes it sound so fucking scary. all this talk of “steep learning curves” that will “ruin quilt tops”. you need special tools (presser feet) that don’t come cheap. i forget how much i spent on my walking foot. like $30? that’s a lot for a little metal attachment for a machine that only cost a little over $100 itself, you know? & then you see actual quilting machines that cost $1000 or more & you’re just like…damn. no way am i going to be able to do this shit on my crappy “project runway”-branded home machine.
but i HATE the way hand-tying looks, so i decided to try machine quilting. & lo & behold! it wasn’t nearly as difficult as i’d expected it to be. yes, it was a challenge–mainly physically. it’s very taxing to the arms & shoulders because you have to pull the quilt through the machine from the back more than just feeding/guiding it. this is a small quilt, like 30″ by 45″. smaller than the average crib quilt, even. i managed to quilt the whole thing in like an hour or so. a larger quilt will be A LOT more work–physically, & also logistically, dealing with that much bulk & fabric. but i’m excited to try it!
is this quilt perfect? hell no. aside from the sloppily-pieced top, the quilting stitches are sometimes uneven & even wavy in a few spots. but it’s not bad AT ALL for a first try.
basting was also much faster & easier than i expected.
i was procrastinating on it a lot because i was nervous about doing all that pinning & how long it would take & getting the quilt tops & bottoms flat & unwrinkled, etc etc. but i finally bit the bullet, pressed everything with steam, & got started. i used this tool called “kwik klips” that makes snapping & unsnapping safety pins a lot faster & easier on the hands. ramona cooperated by hanging out on the bed playing with her stuffed carrot toy. the whole thing was done in less than an hour. & that includes the learning curve of figuring out how to use the kwik klips tool (it’s a little awkward at first).
anyway. ramona is singing me the song of her people. i am on shift with her for about nine hours a day (10:30am to 7:30pm-ish, plus her evening bath every other day). usually she will nap for a good two or three hours in there. yesterday she gave me 45 minutes. today she gave me half an hour. if i can’t get her to go back to sleep, she is going to be a very grumpy, over-tired baby by the time jared gets home from school.