Monday, 7 May 2012

Project Progress: Liberated Alphabet Quilt

It was back in February 2010 that the Block Lotto (now here) had Liberated Patchwork Letters as that month's block.  I did a set of letters in pink to have a go here, but didn't do any more in the right colours at the time and didn't enter that month.  I added sashing then took a photo of them on my board, then put them in a box, waiting to be sewn together.  Another unfinished project....
Raw State

Then last month I finally bought myself a quarter inch foot with guide for my Bernina, not from Bernina themselves in Wales, because as it turns out the local sewing shop in Whitley Bay has cheaper postage (excellent! one day I need to go to Whitley Bay and visit their shop, it looks interesting, but it's about 30 miles and petrol costs are high so it'll have to wait until I've got other reasons to go too).
All Sewn Together!

And how amazing is a quarter inch foot? Oh yes, well worth the money.  So now the quilt is all sewn together, with two more crumb blocks, and a fairly narrow border strip having been added.  Not only that, but also with batting and a backing made up of various sized leftover pieces from the same set of self-dyed fabric, and all tacked together with huge stitches in the middle of my sashing.

With hindsight, I should have paid more attention and centred the letters within the white background BEFORE adding the sashing, getting rid of the excess fabric (or at least restashing it and now I can't find it again) and then having to accept it and just sew it all together.  It's particularly evident with the D which has no white on two sides and is a very wide letter, but it's an issue with lots of the letters.  Perhaps if I'd put the crumb blocks differently, it wouldn't have been so obvious.  Never mind, I've learnt a lot with that mistake! So I thought I'd move on, trim them all to the exact size (another thing I've learnt to do before sewing it all together) and get it quilted. By hand.
The Back

Then I got stuck.  I tried to handquilt 'in the ditch' thinking I'd do this along the bottom of each letter horizontally then vertically - just a simple hand quilted grid following the sashing.  But all those random seams, some of which are quite thick, make it really hard!
Handquilted along top of Z

It's not that hard to sew evenly along the main seam at the front (I've done a full horizontal from W to Z, and half from T to Z).  But there's something about my stitching angle and my needle can go HORRIBLY wrong through the layers, requiring quite a bit of ripping out & redoing, and even now it's not great....

What I'd like to achieve is even stitches in a straight line on both sides.  But despite never having had the problem before (albeit on plain cloth), I don't seem to be able to get it right (as clearly seen above).  Maybe I should have ironed the creases out of the backing too, but I'm going to wash it after it's made up, so hopefully it won't matter.

Any tips?  Should I be using a hoop? I do own some of that paper quilting tape that you pin down for even stitches, but it's smaller stitches than I want to use and won't help with the angles? 

Should I just give up & machine it with a meander or a straight stitch?  

HELP!!!!  All advice gratefully received!

This is why for the first time in ages, I'm posting my Design Wall on Judy Laquidara's blog, I KNOW you will know where I'm going wrong, and hopefully you'll tell me how to put it right....



  1. Not a hand quilting expert, haven't done any for ages but I couldn't have managed at all without a hoop. I used a small needle and a rocking motion to get a few stitches on the needle at a time. But it's going to be difficult with all those seams, to be honest I wouldn't worry too much about the back!

    I like the wonky uncentred layout of the letters, it suits the style of them. A happy accident I think!

  2. Also, because of the layout of the letters, both within the blocks and on the quilt itself, this qualifies as a "primitive" quilt. Your stitches are perfect for that. It looks like a young girls first quilted piece, which it is, and exactly right for a beginners piece. I think it is great!!

  3. This a great "primitive or wonky" style quilt so any type of quilting stitch goes so don't worry about it too much. Same thing goes for the letters and background ratio thing. I think it is charming.

  4. I love it and liberated means that wonky is ok in the letters. Keep the stitches liberated and dont get too hung up on them. It looks great, keep going!

  5. It's wonderful! What about doing some big stitching using perle cotton down the centres of all the letters? Very fun quilt!

  6. I love this quilt! It reminds me of a cross stitch sampler - another crafty endeavor of mine. Your quilting compliments this design perfectly.

  7. Now there's an idea, using perle thread, I've got LOADS of that.

    Maybe if I do more basting closer together and use a hoop and use perle, it could work....
    Or even just do a hand stitch meander rather than straight lines?
    Lois TootHillMedley


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