In preparation for my Dear Jane quilt, I took a hand quilting class at a local quilt shop recently. Because of the traditional style of a Dear Jane, I feel I will have to hand quilt it … when I ever finish the top.
Instead of quilting a plain calico block as my class sample, I decided to make a block that I could turn into a cushion. Yes, I was the class rebel! I chose a flower from Ayumi Takahashi’s Patchwork, Please! book, and enlarged and modified the foundation paper pieced pattern so I could fussy cut the centre, which I hand appliquéd on after I had pieced the rest of the block.
I used Tanya Whelan fabrics, linen and some coordinating fabrics from my stash. Very girly, I know.
For the back, I fussy cut two flowers and used them on self-cover buttons.
I confess that I have only safety-pinned the buttons on so far. I will slit the buttonholes open and sew the buttons on properly after I have washed the cushion cover. I can still see the faint blue lines of the water-erasable marker I used to mark my quilting lines.
I am rather happy with how the quilting turned out. I am slow, but I think I am getting there.
So, I think the quilting class was a success. I still need more practice, but I will get heaps of practice quilting my Dear Jane quilt.
I hand quilted another cushion cover a few years ago. The end result was good, but it was not a fun experience. It hurt my hands. One of the things I learned in class was that the quality of your wadding makes all the difference when hand quilting. The heavily felted cotton wadding that is most commonly available here is difficult to push a needle through by hand. For my Dear Jane quilt, I am going to be on the lookout for a natural-fibre quilt wadding, preferably wool or cotton, that is light and easy to sew through. All suggestions are welcome!
Once again, however, I found myself wanting to sew piping on through layers of quilted cushion front, piping binding and cushion back. In some places, that meant eight layers of fabric and one of wadding. I love the look of piped cushions, but I hated sewing it on to bulky, quilted projects.
Sick of wrestling through all those layers with a not-quite-right sewing machine foot, I sought help from Kim and Lisa at Blackmore and Roy, the shop where I get my Janome serviced. I explained what I was trying to do, and they very helpfully organised an adjustable zipper foot, which is so much easier to use for piping than the standard zipper foot that came with my machine.
I can move the needle right up close! No more piping pain! Hurray!
On a different topic, the quilting blog hop I am taking part in next month is in its second week. Many of the participants have posted handy sewing tips. Click the button below and check it out!