Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sweet and Sour Quilt Finished

I finished Sweet and Sour on Sunday night.  On Monday I gave the quilt to soon-to-be-retired co-worker Greg A., who is known for singing Happy Birthday very badly on purpose.  He is accompanied by fellow co-worker and violinist Ramin T., who plays a verse on the violin the right way.  Then Greg joins him singly loudly and off-key.  The duo is known as Sweet (Ramin) and Sour (Greg).  People love to be serenaded.

Sweet and Sour Quilt  60" x 75"
Original Design
Mostly from stash

Birthday Card found at grocery store
The card reminded me of Greg, and was the inspiration for the quilt.

I transferred the image from the birthday card to an inkjet fabric sheet, then worked it into the quilt.  I included fabric featuring oranges (sweet) and lemons (sour).  Also included is a tropical jungle print, referring to the Hawaiian shirts that Greg wears often. The quilt pattern looks more difficult than it really is (please see previous posts for the process).

A bit of trivia:  Several years ago a group of quilters and I made a quilt for Greg's wife Lillian as she was going through a serious illness.  Now they both have a quilt.

The rest of this post shows details from quilt top to finished quilt.

Usually do a pillowcase finish when I tie.  Trying a traditional quilt sandwich, tie, then bind.  Hairclips hold layers together. 

By the way, I lay out quilts on my bed.  Years ago I moved into a small apartment and had no room on the floor to lay out a throw-sized quilt.  The top of my mattress worked well.  I use a fitted plastic mattress cover from Wal-Mart ($5), which makes it easy to move the quilt around--no drag from fabric against fabric.

Hairclips all the way around the edges of the quilt.  Could use pins, but why stick myself?

Quilt ready for tying.  I like to start tying in the center.

DMC embroidery floss--had these on hand
I like to use floss that coordinates with the fabric, usually several colors per quilt.  If I don't have what I need in my floss stash, I take samples of fabric or the whole quilt top with me to the craft store.

My best tools for tying--curved needle and needle threader.  Found in needlework section of craft stores.

Needle threader through the eye of the curved needle, then loop the full 6 strands of floss through the threader.  Pull the threader to draw the floss through the needle's eye.

Ready to go

With this complicated pattern, using straight pins to mark where the ties will go, about a dozen per block.

Take a 1/4" stitch through the quilt layers.  Curved needle comes right through in one step.

2.5" - 3" tails

Surgeon's knot:  loop twice, pull; loop twice again, pull. 
Trim tails to about 1".

Trimmings.  I use a paper like this to collect the trimmings.  I dump the trimmings in the trash as each row is finished.

I usually string a whole row in one color before I cut the tails.

When I get to the end of a row, I cut tails, pulling thread as I make my way across the row. There isn't much thread wasted, and I only have to thread the needle once per color per row; I tie knots for that color before moving on to another color.

A section of the first row with ties

Trimmings from the first row...into the trash

Once all the knots were tied, I attached the binding, one side at a time.  I haven't decided whether I prefer the pillowcase or binding method with tying.  Certainly with the binding, it's a nicer finish.  I'll give it another try sometime and see what I think.

Another WIP finish.  Enjoy retirement, Greg!  We'll miss your singing.

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