Tuesday 6 May 2014

Fairy Panel Quilt...

I'm on a roll. I've just finished my 4th quilt!!! I've actually had the fabric for AGES, but couldn't motivate myself to make it into a quilt. There's no piecing involved, as it's a panel and I think that's actually why I had trouble getting started. Is it real quilting if half the work is not there???

To get myself motivated, I had to try something new. I've done plenty of embroidery and hand stitching in the past, but never hand quilting. I skimmed through the following:

Using Gutermann Quilting Cotton, I hand stitched around of the objects in the centre of the panel. I'd had the Gutermann Quilting Cotton for ages, but had never used it, as it's only meant for hand stitching, not to go in a sewing machine.

The main thing I focussed on, was getting the stitches even. They're not too bad on the front, but the back is another story. I used a smallish needle, but not as small as recommended. Next time I'll go even smaller. Maybe I'll try an embroidery hoop next time, too, however for this quilt I didn't. Everything I read suggested using thimbles as well. I've never mastered sewing with a thimble, but maybe it's time to try again.

I also learnt how to make the knot at the end of the thread sit in the middle of the quilt sandwich, so it couldn't be seen. I'm keen to see how the knots, both starting and ending, hold up to the wear and tear of a child. 

I cheated for the binding, using the backing fabric, bringing it to the front and hand stitching. I know lots of people hand stitch their proper binding to the back, after machine stitching to the front, so I thought this quilt was a good time to see how hand stitched binding looked, even if it was on the front, instead of the back. It certainly takes longer than machine stitching, but does give a nice finish. Again, time will tell whether the stitching is suitable for a child's quilt.

Ah, the basting... the big downfall of this quilt. Although it's the 4th quilt I've finished, it was the 2nd quilt I ever basted. I certainly think I've improved my basting skills since then. And if you want to hide imperfect basting and hence lots of puckering, use a patterned fabric for the backing instead of a solid colour.

I know lots of quilters spray baste their quilts, but I don't have any hard floors, not to mention I make a terrible mess with glue at the best of times. I think my preferred method will always be pin / basting, but I'm curious, how do you get on if you baste and only have carpets for floor covering?

As you can probably see, the outside of the quilt is machine done, in a light pink Gutermann thread (not the same hand quilting cotton).

An example of my uneven stitching at the back. If I was hand quilting a cushion, I'd be happy with this, as it wouldn't show, but on a quilt, I'll have to lift my game.

I was lucky enough to have a matching fabric in my stash, left over from the Mary Go Round Dress and the Katie J. Jumper and so was able to make a matching pillowcase.

This is the first time I've been able to do a semi decent photo of a rolled quilt... LOL!!! It needs a more scenic background, though.

Although I wasn't at all keen on starting this project, I'm actually very pleased with the result. And, most importantly, Little Miss loves her fairy quilt. I forgot to take measurements, but it's roughly the same size as the Peter Rabbit quilt. It's light enough and small enough to be carried where it's needed... perfect for snuggling under while watching TV.

My fairy panel quilt will be joining the 160+ quilts in the ongoing Quilting & Patchwork link party here at Threading My Way. I'd love you to add your quilts.

... Pam


  1. Awwwwwwwwww it's beautiful, Pam! But you know I'm going to have something to say about your post!
    1. Of course it's still a quilt, even if it started with a panel. Did the quilting fairies come in and do the rest of the work? NO, I thought not! You did it, and it's a quilt! If someone gave you a pieced top that they had made but couldn't finish - would the finished project be a quilt? YEP!! So put that one to rest :)
    2. The hand quilting is lovely, and really frames the designs in the quilt top :) I don't use a thimble either - it's too awkward. However, I don't do a lot of hand stitching because my hands are too fiddly. I think yours worked out well - I personally could maybe get down to 3 stitches per inch, but probably not any lower than that :D
    3. Are YOU the one that has the quilt police living at your house? No? Then using the backing for binding isn't cheating - it's just another technique, and now you have a finished quilt for a little one - so - how can that be wrong?
    4. (See - I told you I was going to have comments, lol!) Basting is my downfall - that is one back-breaking job most of the time. ARGH. I'm familiar with the "use patterned fabric for the backing" technique - I figured it out for the same reason you did - it hides a multitude of design decisions, HAHA. Since I'm pretty much only doing QAYG quilts now, I don't need to baste, but when I did, I used spray baste. That stuff is a back saver, if you can possibly finagle a way to use it! I have carpets - I do the backing in sections on my table - it's not perfect, but it's what I have :)
    5. CONGRATS on another lovely quilt finish - you've learned some things, you've busted some stash, and Little Miss loves her quilt. In my world, that's a big win, my friend!

  2. It's definitely a quilt Pam, plenty of wholecloth quilters around to back that up! Basting is my least favourite bit too. I have spray basted quilts on the garden table but not yet a full bed size quilt. Have seen a suggestion to hire a hall to baste on a larger table and might give it a go one day as our local church hires out a room in their hall for a very reasonable price and the reduced wear and tear on my knees would definitely make it worth my while :)

  3. Well done, Pam! Your stitching looks great! I have yet to try hand quilting, I'm afraid I'll get bored and will end up with another WIP! Did it take you very long?

  4. Your quilt is so magical and lovely!! I like the hand stitching in quilts, it adds the feel of extra warmth!

  5. well done Pam! It is a quilt, wholecloth quilts are pretty common in the quilting world! Your hand quilting looks fine to me, from the back too. Remember, other people will see it, but other people won't scrutinise it! I was interested to learn this is the first time you've hand stitched binding, machine stitching binding is so incredibly hard!

  6. It's lovely the way that it is. I like the hand stitching. It's a reminder that it was made with LOVE and effort.

    1. Thanks, Eska. I think most quilters would agree with you there!

  7. It's beautiful and definitely a quilt. I love hand stitched quilts but unfortunately I don't have the patience.

  8. Very pretty! That fairy panel fabric is divine!

  9. One of my first quilts was a panel I hand quilted. I thread baste if I am hand quilting and use a hoop with a thimble. I hardly know how to hold a needle without the weight of the thimble on my finger. I actually use spray basting even with carpets. I t-pin my backs to the floor, and am careful to always point the spray towards the center of the quilt. If I lightly push on the spray, I don't get much overspray or a gummed up needle. I figure if I do get my carpets then I can just shampoo them. My sweet husband has never complained. Oh, the joys of living with a quilter.

    I just wanted to add that this is such a sweet, beautiful quilt. I am sure it will be much loved, which is what is the most important.

  10. Hi just found your site and I love it. i live in NSW as well and it was good to find some local talent blogs in sewing. I love the fact that your quilts are not perfect , but we do put a lot of effort and love into them and that counts for more than perfection does.
    I have a big problem with basting and that is why I have more completed tops than completed quilts. I found this video on utube 'Basting a quilt The Easy Way ' by the Pattern Box from Bowral NSW. The lady uses two planks to roll the quilt on and then herringbone stitches them together.
    I have used this method successfully on two medium size quilts but can see that it would work on larger quilts as well. It's great and no pins, no sprays no crawling on the floor as it is done on a table.

    I have never attempted hand quilting but may try it now, I have a few panels I didn't quite know what to do with.

    Hope this may be of help to you.

    1. Just watched the video - awesome. Thank you so much, Robyn. I have never seen this method before. It's certainly easier on the back and knees as opposed to crawling on the floor.


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