Thursday, December 12, 2013

First quilted projects

Since I was blessed with my new quilting set up, I have been practicing as I mentioned and finally decided to try a real project.  First up is a table runner I was making from scraps for myself.  I love the Fall and leaves and have a thing lately about trying to use up what I have for fabric, so I decided to make myself a new table runner.  I managed to get it finished just in time for Thanksgiving and brought it down to my mom's house for dinner and then brought it back home again.
I took these photos after having washed/dried it so the quilting looks slightly different from when I first finished it.
The top is a linen-like center fabric with machine appliqued leaf shapes made from a bunch of different scraps I had on hand.

The border is an all-over leaf pattern fabric and the back and binding is a different all-over leaf fabric.  The quilting is a free-hand meander/stipple using King Tut Superior thread (purchased from Sew Thankful) in a variegated cream/sand color tonal color.

My second project was a challenge and a labor of love for a very special man.... my Dad.  He rarely asks me to make things for him, but he just had a knee replacement done about a month ago and is dealing with feeling cold a lot right now.  He had plenty of crocheted afghans thanks to my amazing mom, but also likes the feel of cuddly fleece sometimes.  At Thanksgiving he asked me if it was possible to make a double layer fleece blanket with batting in between and quilt the entire thing.  I told him I really wasn't sure if it was possible as fleece stretches and if you put in on the frame I wasn't sure how it would work.
The more I thought about it my mind started considering possibilities, so I started doing some web searches to see if I could find any information on quilting fleece on a frame set up.  Surprise!  It can be done!  I found some posts on various quilting sites and after doing some reading, decided to give it a shot.  I figured if nothing else, I'd have something that could be used for one of the dogs or cats to sleep on.

I used 2 lengths of the same pattern fleece - an all over cardinal print that came from some of those tied blanket kits my Mom had bought a few years ago and never used.  I loaded the backing piece of fleece on the frame rails and stitched the top edge of a piece of cotton batting to the top end of the backing.  I then 'floated' the top piece of fleece over the batting.  This just means I didn't pin it or stitch it down but let it rest freely on the top allowing me to smooth it as I quilted.

I used a pantograph of a simple leaf design and using the same variegated thread as above, I quilted edge to edge on the fleece. 
It was a bit challenging to keep things smooth and I did have to adjust the height of my rails toward the end as the the take-up roll was getting large!  Two layers of fleece plus batting is a lot of bulk on a roll.  Thankfully I'd loaded the fleece sideways otherwise I think I'd have had to take the whole thing off half-way and turn it upside down to finish since my quilting area is limited with my machine.  In the end I was pleased with the way it came out and my Dad loved it when I gave it to him this week.  It was exactly what he'd had in mind and I'm sure it'll be warm for him as he rests in his recliner chair.