Wednesday, 15 August 2012

A First Attempt at Hand Quilting

Earlier this year, I made some mushrooms out of felt to keep myself busy on a long plane ride. I wanted to recreate Natalie Lymer's mushrooms on a larger scale to use with her Woodland fabric. Sewing on a plane isn't easy since bringing scissors on board has become an issue, but if you cut all your materials in advance it's a great way to pass the time. I left with a baggie full of tiny felt pieces, and came home with two adorable mushroom houses.

If you look closely, you will notice that these are exact reproductions
of the Woodland mushroom in the centre, down to the smallest dot.

Last week's visit to Winnipeg seemed like the perfect opportunity to get these out and finally use them to sew something for the bathroom. I put together a quick mini quilt, pinned it thoroughly, and stuffed it into my travel bag along with pre-cut lengths of thread.

Over the past week, I've been working away at this during my spare moments, including a plane ride and a car trip. Turns out it's quite difficult to sew sitting in the back of a truck driving on a dirt road! I resolved not to pull out any stitches no matter what. The crooked ones would just give it more personality.

The front of the quilt turned out awesome! I whipstitched the mushrooms on first, and then went around them a few times with black thread to create a bit of contrast with the similar colours of the background.  Next, I quilted around all of the solid red areas with matching red thread.

No learning experience would be complete without a few mistakes. The major thing I'd like to improve upon next time is the appearance of the stitching on the back. When you flip the quilt over, those mushrooms are nowhere near as adorable, and the red lines nowhere near as straight...

Mistake number two was in the placement of the mushrooms. One of them is so close to the edge that once the quilt gets trimmed to size and bound, half or more of it will disappear.

It will be a shame to cut through that mushroom on the left edge, because a lot of work went into sewing it on. I predict the binding will also be annoyingly misshapen in that spot because felt is quite thick. Unfortunately, I didn't take into account the final shape of the quilt when I starting sewing.

Overall though, I'd say these are great results for a first try. I doubt anyone will ever see the back once the project is finished and takes its place in our bathroom. What is this mini quilt destined to become? Stay tuned to find out!

I am linking up with Quilty Embelishment Day over at Color Me Quilty.


  1. Too cute MC! Perhaps you could save it by adding a bit of a border? Either way - you did a fantastic job!!!

  2. SO cute! I love it!

    I always hate how the layers shift and stitching that looks nice and straight on the quilt top can be all messy on the backing. Have you ever heard of the curved hand-quilting needles? I've never tried them, but I've heard that they make it easier to get even stitches on the top and bottom.

  3. Gnomes are fabulous! Thanks for linking up to QED!