Saturday, October 31, 2020

Goodbye, October 2020! Baby Quilt Update (and Happy Halloween)

 Well, October is officially a wrap.  The trick-or-treaters have gone home and my husband, younger son, and I have set ourselves to the task of finishing off the leftover candy.  I've powered off my long arm machine for the night, even though I'm only 2/5 of the way through quilting the baby quilt that was supposed to be Part Two of my One Monthly Goal for October.  Here's what Charlie's quilt looks like so far:

My Letter Home Monogram Baby Quilt is 2/5 Quilted

I loaded this quilt on my frame upside-down, so I'm actually quilting it from the bottom up.  There are five rows of 8" blocks in this quilt and the first row took me awhile because I only had a fuzzy idea about how I was going to quilt this one.  I wanted to keep the quilting fairly light and open, similar to the density of the pantograph design I quilted on my October OMG Part One quilt (below), but this baby brother quilt is getting SID, light ruler work, and a little bit of free motion rather than E2E pantograph quilting.  

Big Sister's Quilt, Aiming for Similar Quilting Density in Baby Brother's Quilt

I don't normally quilt such a large scale meander freehand, though, so keeping the size of that pattern big and somewhat uniform is challenging, and I'm also reminding myself that LARGE quilt blocks with LONG ruler lines to quilt are a lot harder than quilting the exact same designs on smaller blocks.  So my "quick and easy" quilting plan has evolved to require a bit of marking, which is helping to keep lines straighter and more evenly spaced.

Doubting Design Choices After the First Row

One thing that slowed me down was that, since we took the machine head off the frame to install the interchangeable hopping foot upgrade, my horizontal channel lock hadn't been holding as securely as it had previously.  I use my horizontal and vertical channel locks to keep my seams straight and square as I'm quilting, and this was bugging me, so there was an interruption of troubleshooting that yesterday with Bernie and the folks at APQS Tech Support (One little washer was all it took to snug that wheel back up to the carriage and correct the problem).  But, while I had Bernie and Anders available, I had them lower my frame about 3 1/2" so I could quilt from the front of the machine more comfortably.  I'd been wearing high heel platform sandals the day before, since we'd raised my frame a few inches for quilting pantographs from the back side of the machine.  We also moved my laser light from the back of the machine to the front, where it will be more useful to me once my IntelliQuilter gets installed.  But I digress.  Back to the quilt at hand:

40 wt Fantastico in #5007 Wales (Lime, Bright Green, Turquoise, Green Variegated)

I selected a cone of Superior Thread's Fantastico variegated 40 weight trilobal polyester thread in shades of Lime, Bright Green, Turquoise and Green, which I auditioned against the Kona Bone background as well as on the Indigo and the green fabrics.  I wanted to use one thread color throughout to "keep it simple," but knew that a white or off-white background thread might look really harsh against the dark blue.  I was excited about the variegated thread until I started quilting with it, and then I second-guessed myself midway through the first row.  

Superior's Fantastico Thread in #5007 Wales

I was tempted to start ripping out all the quilting I'd done so far, because I felt like the quilting was just screaming at me instead of playing a supportive role to the piecing design...  But the next day, when I came back to it, I reminded myself of my self-imposed deadline and how I wanted most of all to have this finished, so I soldiered on.  And, you know what?  I'm glad I kept going rather than reaching for my seam ripper, because the more I got quilted, the more the thread began to grow on me.

By the End of the Second Row, My Thread Felt Like the Right Choice

This is a good reminder to TAKE A STEP BACK before making rash decisions involving seam rippers!  With my face 8" away from the quilt surface, the green pastel threads seemed like they were too loud and fighting with the quilt, but from a distance it's much more subtle.  If I'd ripped out all the variegated thread and switched to yellow, green, navy and white, not only would I have slowed myself down considerably, but the quilting designs would have disappeared into the fabrics more -- and I might have been disappointed that I couldn't see my quilting designs well enough!  Knowing how the quilt will soften and smoosh and crinkle once it's finished and washed for the first time, I think this thread will be just fine.

So now my only question is whether those giant green 8" HSTs have enough quilting in them.  I mean, I know they have enough quilting to meet the requirements of the batting.  I kind of like the way they look right now, but maybe I'll come back and add something when everything else is finished.

Speaking of finished, I did finish the big sister's quilt, which you can read about here.  Here's a glimpse of how that one turned out, freshly washed and ready for gifting:

October OMG Part One Was Finished On Time!

That's it for me for tonight.  I'm going to eat too many Twix bars with my husband and son while we watch Saturday Night Live.  I just realized that this is probably the last Halloween that I'll have a kid at home with us, since Anders is a high school senior this year.  They don't come home from college for Halloween, so this will be an Empty Nester Holiday for us from now on.  So strange to think about that!  Okay, I lied.  I'm leaving you with one more picture, from my favorite Halloween in 2006 when the boys were 3 and 5 years old:

Halloween 2006: Anders is Batman, Bernie is Aquaman, and Lars is Spiderman

Anders is in the Batman costume on the left, Lars is Spiderman on the right, and my wonderful, amazing husband is wearing what is supposed to be an Aquaman costume.  I did not have an Aquaman pattern, so I made this costume from a Jalie men's figure skating costume pattern, out of green stretch velvet for the figure skating pants (more revealing in real life than they appear on TV during the Olympics) and an orange sequined lycra figure skating top, because the sequins were the closest thing I could come up with at JoAnn fabrics that looked like scales.  Bless his heart; he got more than a few catcalls from the neighbor ladies as he was out trick-or-treating with the kids, but my sons were SO HAPPY to be their own little Justice League with Daddy!

Happy Halloween, everyone!  I'm linking today's post with:


·       UFO Busting at Tish in Wonderland

One Monthly Goal at  Elm Street Quilts


·       Frédérique at Quilting Patchwork Appliqué

·       Oh Scrap! at Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework

·       Slow Stitching Sunday at Kathy's Quilts


·       Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts  

·       Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt

13 comments: said...

Your quilting is lovely and the thread is a wonderful compliment to the fabric and piecing pattern. There is enough quilting in those huge HSTs. Perhaps, your quilt will give you that message too! Well done!!!!!

Vicki in MN said...

I like how you are quilting your green quilt. A nice mix of ruler and freehand and your meander looks great!

Jenny K. Lyon said...

Awww, how is is that that photo was only 14 years ago? They were so tiny!

CreationsbyPaulaMu said...

This quilt is looking fabby! I love the variegated thread. I learn so much reading your posts! It's a whole new side of sewing that is foreign to me!

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

the quilting is looking good sounds like you have a team to work on the long arm when needed. Love the old costumes :) it is a hardship eating the left over candy isn't it but then it is gone and you don't have to worry about it anymore - I had my one child as usual stop by and tossed her candy bar in the bag from the door way

LIttle Penguin Quilts said...

I have to admit, Halloween has never been nearly as much fun since our kids grew up, and I still get a little sad about that every year. It was fun making all those costumes and roaming around the neighborhood with them! We'll just have to find our fun in other places, won't we?! Your green and yellow baby quilt is looking great! I hope you do keep that pretty, variegated thread. I think it's so interesting as it comes and goes through the different colors!

LA Paylor said...

twix... yum... we didn't buy one candy bag this year and blocked the stairs. All the non believing of pandemic homes went about the neighborhood mixing it up as usual. I made a wonderful fresh pear crumble that was better than my usual candy so we did okay! Watched SNL too.. it starts at 9 here, so early it feels weird. Love Mya Rudolph
what did the puppy go as? I hope he dressed up like a poodle lol

SJSM said...

Love how the baby quilt is coming out. The quilting is making it so expressive.

I hear you about empty nest Halloween. We enjoy seeing the little ones come around. This year most of out neighborhood, including us, did not hand out candy. The ones who did had various means to social distances while delivering. Some had shoots, others tied bags to fences and some with a table where the candy was placed then the children called forward. We took a walk around about 8:30. There was only one family going around to trick or treat. We usually have a huge social gathering at the confluences of the streets. Usually wine or beer is offered to the adults at some houses to keep the spirits going. This year, all is quiet. I hope next year we can have a normal holiday.

Kathleen said...

I miss my old neighborhood the most on halloween. We were all out, visiting in between trick or treaters, and of course my son was there. We did sit out with neighbors in the street, with the firepit....rather enjoyed that. One set of trick or treaters came by. Now, the quilt is perfect. I like the plan of quilting the rest then figuring it out - always what I advised my quilting students with samplers...onto the next block, fix it later if it keeps bothering you! Technically, there is enough; inspiration may tell you something else.

chrisknits said...

I love the quilting!! I need to be more inventive in my designs, so I may have to steal your ideas.

Andree G. Faubert said...

Hi Rebecca, good for you for taking a break before removing all of that quilting. It's looking really good so far. Good luck! If you get a chance, please come link up to Free Motion Mavericks. Take care.

Lynette said...

Awww - what a fun Justice League Halloween memory. :) This quilting is great, Rebecca! The thread really is very good on it, I can't believe how nicely it works on the bone, because you'd look at the cone and think that it would be far too dark against it, but then it's really delightful! I love it on both the background and the darks.

Frédérique - Quilting Patchwork Appliqué said...

Wow, your baby quilt is coming out beautifully, I love it!
Thanks for sharing your beauties (and cute family souvenir!)