Monday, April 1, 2013

Quilted with Love

Every once in a while I start a new project and I get a little...obsessed.  Rob's t-shirt quilt was definitely one of those projects.  It didn't hurt that it went REALLY quickly too.

So when I last blogged I had two columns of t-shirts done.  The next day I had 4.
It was going so quickly.  I think I sewed a whole column together during the commercial break of one of my shows.  Seriously.  The next day brought the blue strips between the columns and the sides. This part was a little trickier because for some reason the t-shirts wanted to stretch a lot more than they did from side-to-side (which still perplexes me knowing what I know about knit fabric). 
As you can see, I had a lot of help on this step. It sat like this for a few days because I was working a lot and wasn't looking forward to all of the precise trimming I needed to do to make it even horizontally. The Habitat for Humanity square had to lose an inch and a few others lost half an inch before the top and bottom blue went on. 
Somehow it ended up wider than it is tall.  Hmm.  Wasn't planning on that.  Luckily I had enough backing fabric to accommodate it. It's all good. So it sat like that for a few more days.  This morning I got up bright and early and met my friend Sally who happens to have a long arm quilting machine.  I was there at 9 and by noon we had this...
Using the long arm is fun and kind of scary.  It's an absolutely huge machine and I'm terrified I'm going to do something wrong and break it somehow.  So I enjoyed having adult supervision when I was working on it.  It's a really strange and complicated machine- I think it might actually be easier to fly a plane than operate a long arm.  And it's super noisy- it sounds like a weed whacker that's sending out morse code. Anyhow, it took about 2 hours to set it up on the long arm and an hour to do the actual quilting. Last time we did this, Sally programmed a pattern in to the machine and we just cranked the quilt up and over to let the machine keep quilting.  This time I free-handed it, which means I held handles that felt a little like riding a bike and steered in stitches.  It was pretty fun.  

Next I trimmed the batting so it stopped at the edge of the quilt top. 
Next I cut the excess backing fabric away so that only 2 inches remained on each side.  I didn't do a proper binding because I'm lazy like that.  So I pulled the backing fabric up, folded it over and stitched it down.  It took about an hour and I really like it.  I think the crazy fabric is great because it (a) was in my stash and I didn't have to pay for it this week, (b) ties in the different colors in the t-shirts and (c) isn't going to show as much dirt as a solid color backing, which is great because boys are pretty gross sometimes. So it's a win all around. 
Here's a sexy shot of the backing fabric.  I think it looks pretty cool with the front. And I don't think it's too girly. 
And now the quilt is in the wash because I had lots of kitty help and Rob is quite allergic. I used polyester batting instead of cotton batting this time because it was on super duper sale this week and I figured Rob wouldn't know the difference between the $6 batting and the $30 batting. It's still batting.  Sally thinks the polyester is going to poof up quite a bit more though and it will be more like a comforter afterwards.  So if there's a dramatic change post-washing, I'll post a new picture. 

Lastly, here's a couple of my little "secrets".  I figured I'd have a little fun with it since I was guiding the machine instead of programming it. 
(I put 3 hearts in it)
Proof that it's a labor of love. I considered putting an applique heart on it somewhere but I figured this was more subtle and that's how I roll.  I wanted to keep it as manly as possible. (Minus the hearts.  But those are my little secret.)

1 comment:

Alicia said...

The quilt turned out great, and the extra machine quilting touches are a nice idea.