Sunday, 21 October 2012

Groove Quilt - Step Four

Just as I was getting ready to order batting online for my Groove Quilt, I got an email announcing the reopening of my local quilt shop in their new location. Yay! I'll be heading down there soon to stock up. In the meantime, I've been making good progress preparing for the actual quilting step, and am linking up with UFO Sunday at the Free Motion Quilting Project for inspiration.

I came up with a design for the back of my Groove Quilt before I'd even started the front of it. It's inspired by some vintage fabric I found at Mitchell Fabrics in Winnipeg this summer. You may remember this photo of the fabric with my original sketch:

Once sewn together, this comes to an overall size of 105 inches square (8.75 feet!) and looks really groovy indeed. I haven't seen it fully laid out yet. It's been very windy this past week, so I wasn't able to take it outside, and it's bigger than the available floor space anywhere in the house. What I did instead was photograph two blocks and create a composite.

This will be the back - pictures of the front side are in my last post here

So my question for you is: how would you baste something this big?

I really like the idea of doing it in sections on a table using binder clips, but all of our larger tables seem to be either really thick or have rounded edges. The coffee table is a a contender, but it's pretty small. Alternatively, the wonderful folks on Flickr have suggested this basting technique by Sharon Schamber using two boards. I am also considering this method, but without the boards. I have to admit that I'm not looking forward to the basting step at all. I wish it was over with so that I could get on with the fun part.

One thing I noticed once all of the blocks had been sewn was a rip in my vintage fabric. It looks like this happened on the manufacturing end, since there are traces of a very faded quality assurance stamp right next to the hole. This small unplanned imperfection actually gave me the chance to add a really fun vintage touch to the quilt. With a little bit of crazy stitching, I gave it the look of having been darned by a grandmother. I love that detail.

I've also been putting together some samples on which to try quilting designs. On this first one, I tested three different colours of thread: off-white on the top, grey in the middle, and black on the bottom.

The grey thread in the middle is the definite winner on the lighter colours, and the black thread looks best on the dark fabrics. The only two colour/design combinations that really worked here are the loops on orange, and the stippling on green. I'll be using these in the quilt for sure.

I've prepared another practice piece with the other three colours in order to test some more combinations this week. I'm looking for a design that will be fast and soft. Eventually, all of these practice squares will be turned into a cushion to match the finished quilt using Leah Day's technique for connecting quilted pieces


  1. Love your mending job on the vintage fabric. Kind of "authenticizes" it, in a good way! I really like the look of the zig-zaggy gray quilting on that red sample too. Look forward to seeing this when you have it finished. I do all my basting on the living room floor, and I guess with one that large, I would have to fold the outer edges in a little to get to the center section, then smooth/tug them flat again as I move out. Floor basting works the best for me despite my 65+ years - I call it exercise!

  2. I like how you merged your 2 photo's together! As for basting, do you know anyone with a ping-pong table??

  3. haha at pingpong table! You might get permission from a local school to push some cafeteria tables together to lay the quilt on. My tiny mother was the member of her friendship group who crawled up on the tables and basted the center portion.

  4. I love that fabric, and so glad to see someone actually mend something, instead of ripping it out and buying new. I LOVE recycled, re purposed, vintage goodies! I use the table binder method, and used a 50% off Jo-Anns coupon to buy one of those folding roll away tables. Best purchase ever! I use it for my cutting table, basting table, work table, and when we have guests over, I clear it off, fold it up and tuck it away. If that's not feasible, you may be able to find a fabric store, library, classroom that may let you use their tables. I also have a small house, and when I bind a quilt, you can't get into my front door, as that's the only place I can even get my table folded out and be able to walk around it :-). But hey, where there's a will, there's a way!

  5. You've given me some great tips here! Thank you! I wish I had a good suggestion for your basting dilemma, I have two cutting tables that I haul out and put next to each other, but that has it's drawbacks too. I also realize that not everyone has two cutting tables just sitting around! Your work is lovely and I am glad to see that you are one of the ones who use, reuse and recycle instead of tear out and go new!

  6. Nice mend! Little details like that always make a piece more interesting.

    I'm curious, do you do your quilting freehand on a regular home machine, or do you have a quilting machine (because your quilting patterns are always spot on perfect)?