Thursday, April 11, 2013

walking foot

For those of you who quilt this will make total sense.  For those of you who don't, I'll explain what a walking foot is in a bit.

So I'm ambitious.  If you know me well this isn't news to you.  So when we moved Greta into her toddler bed and talked about the day that we'd have both girls in bunk beds I said to my loving husband that I'd love to make their quilts for their Big Girl Beds!  Little did I know the work it would take to accomplish such a feat.  Also- the tools.  Also- the money.

But I trudged on.  It all started with a trip to Joann with my dear Shelby for fabric.  I quickly found 5 or so that I fell in love with and knew I wanted to do for Greta's.  They are feminine but also not super girly.  I bought what I could afford and we had a day of cutting- deciding to do a quilt of squares and rectangles that will make rows that would make a complete, twin size quilt.  The squares that we had cut would piece together to make about a third of the entire top.  Not enough.

So I saved.  And bought more.  And pieced them together.  And realized that they were still not enough.

So I saved again.  And cut coupons.  And went back a third time for the rest of the materials I would need.  Mind you- this was just for the top.  I hadn't even dreamt of the back yet or the batting for the inside.

Then the sewing started.  My lovely mother-in-law loves to sew and is quite good at it so she was forced volunteered to help!  We made all the rows in one weekend and I quickly fell in love with the quilt.
Liz- my lovely mother-in-law taking a moment to sip some iced coffee!

And so I did what anyone would do.  I took about 6 months off from it :)
The whole quilt top!

And then Christmas came.  And with it came the sales.  And so I bought the batting one day on a solo trip to Joanns.  And then that sat there.

I made a mini quilt for Audrey's baby elephant so I could practice all my new skills before I tried it on a larger scale.
And then that same mother-in-law made plans to come visit in February.  So I got my act together and had everything ready to go for when she came that visit.

The backing all taped down .
Top on and pinned!
And because the quilt was so large and I didn't have a piece for the back large enough I had to make one.  Took a little math but we got it figured out.  Once the back was ironed we taped it, face down to my living room floor- the only room with enough floor space to work.  Then the batting gets smoothed down on top of that.  Then the quilt top gets placed face up on top of it all.  And then you start pinning. They make these great safety pins that are curved and perfect for this step so I invested in some of those and it made the whole thing go much smoother.  And once it was pinned I immediately wanted to start sewing. I got a row in and realized I didn't have enough thread.  My man and I took a late night trip to Walmart (because Liz was still with us we could leave right when we wanted to.  So fun!) and bought 4 spools of grey.  And headed home.

To which I proceeded to sew four rows (the long way) only to realize that I hadn't dropped my feed dogs and the bottom of the quilt was sewn faster than the batting and the top.  We had to rip them all out.  And I was sad.

And so I didn't touch the quilt for a couple more weeks.  Seemed logical.  Breathe.  Look at it.  Feel sad again.  Then, get your act together and get it done!

Liz purchased a Walking foot for me (well two actually since we didn't know what would work) and I got to try it out on a different machine.  My oh my- this made all the difference.  A walking foot has feet under the presser foot that pulls the top fabric at the same rate as the bottom fabric.  It's incredibly smooth. Of course I had to re-lay out my entire quilt and re-pin it because of the mistakes we had already made but that wasn't as hard I thought it would be.  Once pinned and ready to go I set to sewing it. For the second time.  And with the help of Shelby again I was able to get quite a bit done that first night.  With motivation running high I finished "quilting" the giant thing.

Then came time for the trimming. Which made me more nervous than I care to admit.  But from what I can tell it looks pretty square.  The next step was to sew our bias tape right onto the edges.  Success.

Checking with other bloggers who quilt made all the difference!
Then I needed to bring the bias tape around and do the hand sewing.  Which I was totally not interested in before but once I had spent so much time and money on this puppy I really wanted to finish well.  The last step is washing and drying.
Here's a terrible photo of the finished quilt.  Dan is holding it with his arms stretched up all the way just to show how huge it is! 
It's done.  And we love it!  Greta can't wait to get a bed big enough to use it with and I can't wait to start on Audrey's.  Good thing I already started buying her fabric!!

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