At Long Last – More Practice at Quilting!
After a long winter away from my sewing machine, we were reunited in April and I chose to make a pair of checker board place mats. I chose this pattern from “Quilting 101” a complete quilting course in a book. ISBN 978-1-63159-657-5. I wanted to challenge myself by putting together a small project which required a lot of piecing together a lot of small pieces.
The pattern was for four placemats and assumed that I had been to the fabric store to purchase the fabric necessary. Wrong – I decided to make 2 placemats using Fat Quarters I had on hand, and consequently I ran out of fabric for the binding. I re-visited my supply of fat quarters to find a suitable piece to make a co-ordinating binding. I was able to incorporate some of the original fabric at the corners to tie it all together.
This project really drove home the need to measure and cut accurately. I discovered that using my sewing ruler to check the placement of the quilting ruler before I cut often prevented errors in strip width. IT LOOKS SOOO EASY on those U-Tube videos! Also, I had to be very alert for the possibility of the ruler shifting during a cut.
The next thing I learned was that, after decades of sewing garments, I really need to practice sewing in a straight line! I chose to do the quilting part of this project by stitching straight lines through the diagonals of the squares. Easy, right? Simply stitch from one corner to the opposite corner of a 2” square. How hard is that? Well, it’s definitely easier if you align the project with the presser foot – not just the first bit. By setting your needle, then taking a second to sit back to look at the alignment of the fabric with the presser foot, you can determine if you need to adjust your feed angle before you start stitching.
The last lesson I learned was the value of using lots of pins placed parallel to the seam line to ensure the binding is secured on the back while you stitch in the ditch on top. On my last project, I hand stitched the binding to the backing. This time I was able to catch the binding back by machine because of my careful pinning of the binding.
So – all in all, a successful project despite a few oopsies! Some lessons learned – you really can teach an old dog new tricks!