Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Colourful Learning Project

Although I haven't quilted much in the last few weeks, I did get a couple of projects finished. That's always a great feeling. Here's the first one.

I started my Beginner's Quilt-Along Quilt with the Quilting Gallery almost 2 years ago, in June 2012! I've been blogging about this project for a while now, in all of its various stages. That's what's so great about a blog; I have a record of what I did and when I did it! That is so much more reliable than my excuse for a memory. In June of 2012, I made the first 4 blocks and another 2 in July. By the end of August I had 11 of the 13 blocks completed. I was more or less up to date, until we had one week to put the quilt together and another to quilt it. That totally did me in.

Finished Beginner's Quilt-Along Quilt
Finished Beginner's Quilt-Along Quilt
I sort of left the project aside for a while. I'm not sure when I put in the sashing but I do remember adding the piano key border at a CTQG retreat in Cumberland. At some point before March 2014, the quilt was sandwiched and ready to quilt. I do know that I was waiting to learn to free motion quilt (FMQ) so that I could use it as a practice piece. At the beginning of March 2014, I had started to FMQ it using Angela Walter's Dot-to-Dot quilting technique from Craftsy. At the time of the blog, I had 5 squares quilted and 3 others marked.

FMQ on the border and sashing
FMQ on the border and sashing
In March, I joined a 30/30 challenge, where I tried to quilt for 30 minutes each day, for 30 days. I worked on the Beginner's Quilt-Along project during the first week and finished FMQ all of the blocks and sashing. It was a very hectic month with overly ambitious goals, but I sure got a lot accomplished! By the end of the month, I only had the piano key border to finish and the binding to attach. Of course, it didn't help that I couldn't find any more of my sashing fabric to use for the binding!

Since I didn't blog about it, I'm not sure when I finished the quilt. I have a vague recollection of having it done by Easter weekend. Once it was finished, I ordered some Breezy Color Absorber, because I was afraid that the red block would bleed. I had washed the red fabrics several times and even soaked them in salt, but when I rubbed off the marking pencil, some of the red still came off my wet towel. The Breezy worked like a charm and the quilt came out really lovely.

After all of that work, I still needed to create a label for the quilt. It's very pretty, even if it doesn't really look like a sunset.
Foundation Paper Pieced Label
Foundation Paper Pieced Label

Here are close-ups of some of the quilting on the blocks, sashing and piano key border.

What I learned:

  • This was a great project and my first Quilt-Along. I learned a great deal throughout the whole project, from planning and making the blocks to quilting them. 
  • The project was perfect for practicing my FMQ. I was able to use many variations of the patterns I learned in the Craftsy course.
  • For the FMQ, I used a different thread for the top of the quilt, so that it would blend or match each coloured block. In the bobbin, I used very light Bottom Line polyester thread that matched the back. The thread goes a long way; I didn't have to change the bobbin thread every time I changed colours; and the thread really works well in my machine. It was a real charm.
  • The one planning error I did was not putting aside fabric for the finding. I was able to find matching fabric, but I do hope that the next time I make a quilt top, that I'll set aside some fabric in a marked baggy, with the project so that I won't end up using the binding fabric in another project. And, if I don't have the binding fabric, then I should write myself a note in the pattern to say that I need to find fabric for the binding (that might save me an hour or so frantically going through my stash looking for fabric that isn't there!). Here's hoping I'll put this recommendation into action!
  • So what do you do with a practice quilt that is by all standards far from perfect but made with love? You find it a good home where it will be appreciated, flaws and all. Thanks Diane!

Enjoy the rest of spring, or the beginning of summer wherever you are!
Happy quilting.

Linking up to Show Me Something Rainbow link up with Sarah Goer Quilts


  1. I love my new quilt Andrée! When I showed it to the kids, they were really excited about the colours and wanted to sleep with it right away. Thank you so much for giving me one of your handmade quilts. I will treasure it forever. xox


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