When starting a new craft, I find people are often advised to start with an easy project. Take knitting, it's always garter stitch scarves and woolly hats. And then they end up with a drawer full of projects that they don't really need or want, from yarn that they wouldn't choose with more experience (admitedly, I'm sure many early projects are much loved items...). But anyway, I'm so impatient, I just chose a project I love the look of, regardless of difficulty rating and plough on. This is probably terribly foolish. And it leads, often, to half finished projects. But, it is also a process that lends itself to learning very quickly through making mistakes.
Take the Spring Quilt. Michelle's pattern is lovely, but I would have done a better job of it had I known what I was doing. These are some of the things I tripped up on learnt, by just doing.
Using a tape measure, school ruler, pencil and a pair of scissors (albeit proper fabric scissors) to cut 2.5" strips isn't fun, quick or accurate. Will be buying a roller cutter and proper patchwork ruler before the next time.
Choice of sashing fabric:
I blithely went into John Lewis and chose white cotton. I choose what was super wide and therefore excellent value. It also turned out to be sheeting (don't laugh). It doesn't hold up well to being pinned and seems stretchier than the quilting cotton (looser weave?) so when I pulled it taught to baste the quilt sandwich (get me with the lingo) the sashing was then left 'baggy'. It is also see through. Which leads me onto my next point. I should have pressed my seams to the dark fabric. So don't look too close, OK? I am dying to try Kona Solids, after seeing how much they are loved in the Blogosphere
I tried REALLY hard. With thanks to Sarah, who suggested (via her blog post) to stick it to the floor! Although this worked better than I thought on carpet, I think a nice non-carpetted floor would have been better and stuck firmer.
Look, I even bought special pins. Did I do it the right way? Should I have put the pins in the 'ditches'?
Quilting and choice of batting:
On the first attempt I chose the only batting they had in John Lewis (some, lofty, fluffy, platisticy stuff) and off I went with my standard machine foot. Yep. So that didn't work at all. I stitched two lines and went straight back to Google Blog Search. With help from the blogosphere I chose a more appropriate cotton batting and invested in a walking foot. And off I went agian. Much better!
But, the main problem I had with this quilt is that I still had a lot of movement in the layers and hence this problem.
I think, in an ideal world, I would have further quilted the whole thing. But, I stopped where I did as I was worried that it would be a whole squooshed up mess if I went any further. Anyone have any ideas? Did I not baste firmly enough? Rush with the machine? Have tension issues? Any ideas greatly received. Can I still call it a quilt, since large sections aren't quilted? Will the batting disintegrate over time for this reason?
The biggest lesson:
That the world of crafty bloggers is amazing. I haven't picked up a book, or attended a real-life quilt group (which I should do!). All the advice I have gotten, for fixing problems and answering questions has been from you all. So thank you. You're amazing.
Anyway, these are my lessons. But, I still love it, and enjoy the colours every time I look at. And, when I fell asleep under it whilst watching Miss Marple (I didn't rate Angela Lansbury in that role, she should stick to Murder She Wrote) on Sunday afternoon, it was bliss.