My third finished quilt!!! It's full of
mistakes... sorry, things to improve next time, but I LOVE it!!! Actually, there are only three Peter Rabbits, so I probably should rename it to the Beatrix Potter quilt. I've always adored Beatrix Potter's books... the intricate drawings and imaginative stories, all packaged up in those cute, tiny books.
This quilt started with the gorgeous Beatrix Potter fabric, acquired from a friend who was de-stashing. Picture a large tub full of beautiful quilting fabric and two females politely sharing... hmmm. My daughter scored the Beatrix Potter fabric, but my pile of material was larger.
Fast forward a few months and I was asked to turn the fabric into a quilt. Each character was outlined with a black square. Without measuring, I began cutting just inside the squares. Problem was, towards the sides of the fabric, it became obvious that the squares were not squares. Why is it that patterns are not consistent across the width of the fabric?
So I just eyeballed the squares. Not sure why I didn't measure as I cut... next time I will. I squared up the finished blocks which made some of the outside strips a little wonky, but it doesn't seem to have affected the overall look.
The strips around the characters are ALL from my scraps basket. I've mainly chosen blues and mauves, with a few contrasting colours thrown in. I cut the strips 1.5" wide and sewed them in a log cabin type formation. There is no rhyme or reason to the placement of the colours; just what I thought looked OK at the time. I know lots of log cabin blocks have a light / dark design, but mine's random.
The purple sashing, also cut 1.5" wide, is from my stash. I know it sounds like I have a rather large stash, and I do, but I often make things up as I go, as with this quilt and I don't like having to interrupt the process by driving to a fabric store. Shopping from my stash, is much more convenient.
Here you can see one of the biggest problems I had. I wasn't very careful basting the quilt and so there's lots of puckering on the back. I've since basted my strip quilt, (but not yet quilted it) and am much happier with the result. With the strip quilt, I taped the backing fabric to the carpet first. Feel free to leave suggestions as to how to improve the basting. The backing fabric is also from my stash.
I had one block left over and so chose the wonkiest one for the label. It's just hand stitched as the final step. I should have been more organised and sewed two of the sides into the binding, but didn't think of it till after the binding was finished. The binding is also from my stash and is sewn on by machine. When the photo was taken, I hadn't yet written on the label, which I just did with a fabric marker.
This is rather a small quilt, measuring 34" x 43". Even though this quilt is really too small for a single bed, in reality, Little Mister doesn't take up the whole bed, so the quilt will be plenty big enough for now. It'll also be a good size if he wants to take it out on the lounge to snuggle under.
Little Mister has his own Peter Rabbit, known by the name of Hop Hop. Hop Hop goes to bed with him EVERY night, so the theme of the quilt is perfect for him. His little face beamed when I showed him his new quilt... Little Mister that is, not Hop Hop.
If you follow Threading My Way on Facebook, you'll know that I began the actual quilting quite some time ago. Various other projects came up and the Peter Rabbit quilt was put aside. When I began again, I'd forgotten the settings I'd altered my machine to. I knew I'd decreased the presser foot pressure a lot, but couldn't remember just how much. I couldn't find the answer with Google, but I did find something else that was much more important.
On my previous two quilts, the Zig Zag quilt and the Scrappy Blocks quilt, the top layer always seemed to stretch and bunch up a little, even though I was using a walking foot. The same thing happened when I began sewing the Peter Rabbit quilt, so I decreased the presser foot pressure, which helped a little, but didn't eliminate the bunching.
While trying to find out the settings, I came across a site which showed quite clearly that I was putting the walking foot on incorrectly. There's a little lever at the side which needs to go over the needle screw and I hadn't done that. You'd think that I would have read the directions that came with the walking foot, but not so. Seems so obvious now, but things always do when you know how they should work. Never mind, lesson learnt!!!
With my walking foot put on correctly, quilting suddenly became much easier and the top fabric lay nice and flat. I did also decrease the presser foot pressure just a little.
Every now and then, after moving the quilt through the throat, (Is that what you call it?) the stitches became smaller. After much unpicking, I eventually realised that the little lever had been pushed up off the needle screw.... another thing to watch out for.
Something else I discovered was that it seemed easier to push the quilt away from me through the throat, rather than pull it towards me. (Not when I'm sewing, but when I'm turning the quilt to change the direction I'll be sewing in.) I'm not sure why this would be so.
I'm thrilled with the bright, fun colours in this quilt. My eye is drawn to the colours and not so much to the bunching from an incorrectly installed walking foot. I suppose I could have undone the initial quilting; about one sixth of the quilt, but I didn't. I know Little Mister couldn't care less and quite frankly, neither do I. It still looks good (well, I think it does) and I know I've learnt heaps. I really am enjoying climbing the learning curve of quilting.
My Peter Rabbit quilt will be joining the 160+ quilts in the ongoing Quilting & Patchwork link party here at Threading My Way.