Friday, December 27, 2019

Finished Or Not Friday: The NewFO is Gifted!

Welcome to another edition of "Finished or Not Friday", hosted by the lovely Alycia of Alycia Quilts!

This week I'm linking up with the follow-up to my earlier FONF post.  At the beginning of December, I had embarked on making a quilt that was to be part of the gift I was giving my MIL for Christmas.  I ultimately named that quilt "Scrappy Inspiration".



This is the MODA Bake Shop Pattern "When Life Is Scrappy Quilt" designed by Vanessa Goertzen of Lella Boutique.  Back in 2016, MODA did a "Spell It With MODA" Quilt Along using letter blocks designed to be made from Jelly Roll strips and this was one of the patterns offered during it.  I had downloaded the letter patterns when the QAL was going on but thought I had just discovered this pattern recently when I was on the site looking for something else.  Being a scrappy quilt loving girl, I immediately went to download it only to then discover I had already done so back in 2017, Lol!  The letter block patterns are still available on the web and if you download Vanessa's pattern, she explains how to access them.

I'm completely happy with the finished quilt.  It was also completely made from scraps and stash, further supporting the theme of the quilt.  The downside:  I TOTALLY didn't meet ANY of the deadlines that I had set for finishing this!  When I mailed the package, I was told that it wouldn't arrive until Saturday.  However, I've got to give credit where credit is due:  my MIL called me last night and said the USPS delivered the package yesterday!  Woo hoo!  If you're interested in all the gory finishing details, then read on my friend....

So to start:  I had decided to make this for my MIL (who is also a quilter) because when we visited her back in October, she and I had a conversation about scrappy quilting.  She is just getting warmed up to the idea of making a quilt with more than just a few fabrics.  Although the original pattern is designed around using Jelly Roll strips to make a large lap-sized quilt, I made this version half size to finish as a wallhanging.  I had made a wallhanging for my MIL's sewing space waayy back in 2008 (which she still displays and can be seen in my previous FONF post) so wanted to give her another one that will hopefully encourage her to continue to explore working scrappy.

My original plan was to get this finished to make the USPS early holiday mailing deadline on December 14 and I thought the piecing was simple enough to do so.  I have to to say, this turned into a much harder project to bring to completion than I expected although the piecing was the least of the issues I dealt with.  For starters, I also want to make one of these for myself in the original lap quilt size so my plan was to start by making blocks for both of us.  I figured that once the letters and star blocks were all made, I'd then switch the focus to finishing her quilt to meet the mailing deadline and then finish mine afterwards.

Not! Oh, it started out well but I erred in not mapping out, in detail, what blocks I'd make on each day and whether my production plans actually worked for meeting the deadline I had set for myself.  Add in a couple of unexpectedly busy holiday prep days and it soon became apparent I wasn't going to make the original deadline that was set.  By the time I reached that mailing deadline, I knew I had to switch gears and only continue to work on her blocks if I was going to get this thing done!

Then of course, Murphy's Law showed up!  My quilting chair broke so I had to switch from stitching on my mid arm machine (glimpsed in the lower right of the picture above) to stitching on one of my vintage Singers.  Not a problem in and of itself.  I figured I'd use my 401 since it had a wider throat space than my Featherweight which would help when I got to the quilting part of this.  I also realized that since this top was constructed in rows, this would be a good time to employ the "Quilting In Sections" technique.

I know about this from Marti Michells's book but she also has a Craftsy class on the subject as well.  I figured that planning to quilt each row separately and then putting this all together would make it easier to work with the smaller throat space of the machine.  Once the rows were all pieced,  I was ready to move to backing them.  I had chosen some "Mrs. Bobbins" comic novelty prints to fussy cut and use as the backing for each row.

Ironically I had purchased these last year on a whim (well, and a sale!) while shopping for a quilt kit for my MIL as her gift.  As opposed to the stripe print (which was WOF), the actual comic panels were not wide enough to span the full width of the letter rows so I had to add filler (in the form of a black on white micro polka dot print) to the ends of those rows to make them wide enough to work as backing strips.   However, after I decided on my free-motion quilting plan for this, I realized I didn't want the stitching to obliterate being able to read the comic panels.  So I revised the stitching plan and decided to layer and back each row with muslin first, quilt them and then secure the comic panel rows to the back by only stitching in the ditch between the letter and star blocks from the front (there are pics later showing how that turned out).

Except, when I started trying to free motion quilt the rows as planned on the 401, I was having problems with it.  Since I was working on the dining room table (so the machine is raised up) and not with the machine recessed into my sewing cabinet as I'm used to (which I can't do since the chair broke),  the FM quilting did not go well.  Ok fine, maybe I can change my stitch plan to one that utilizes a walking foot instead.  That would be a little more forgiving with the set-up I was using.  Except that the 401 is a slant shank machine and I don't have a slant shank walking foot for it!  I've had one on my "Quilt Notions Wishlist" ever since I got the machine but it hadn't been a priority to purchase it up until now.  Guess I now know what will be one of the first quilt purchases in 2020 that I'll be making!

Ok, but I was already past my first deadline and the late mailing deadline for Christmas delivery was by now quickly coming up, what was I going to do?!?!  Go figure:  my Featherweight came to the rescue!  It just so happens that I do have a walking foot for my Featherweight machine which is a regular low (straight) shank machine.  And the "Quilting In Sections" set up is just as forgiving on that machine as it was in the 401.  So at this point I made another machine change!

This is how the back panels looked after being attached. 

Whew!  Well that saved me on getting the quilting done.  However, the walking foot quilting was waayy more time consuming than I expected the free-motion work to have been.  Did I mention I had a looming deadline?  Yeah, time consuming was not what I was looking for right then but at this point, I was committed to getting this finished --- no matter when!  Needless to say, I also missed the late mailing deadline (ok, breathe, it was not going to be the end of the world if she didn't get it by Christmas).  Even once I got the quilting all done and the rows all connected, the "Finish-finishing" also presented its own problems.

Of course, it starts with wanting to use a specific fabric.  I've had this fat quarter set sitting in my quilt space for a long while now.  It was originally purchased to make a sewing/quilting themed piece for display in my own quilt space.

I thought the turquoise tape measure print was perfect for either a border or wide binding on this project.  However, I calculated that it would only be enough for a regular binding.  Ok, at this point I'd settle for that.  I had also by now envisioned that I'd like to  give this to her with a scrappy mix of top tabs with the idea that she could hang the piece from a rod or dowel.  (Note To Self:  Past due deadlines are NOT the ideal time for "Design Decisions"!)  So the top "binding" would be attached last and applied as two separate strips with the tabs sandwiched between them.

So I cut the strips needed for the top of the quilt and then cut the binding strips for the bottom.  When I connected the bottom strips together and laid the prepared binding around the edges of the quilt --- wait for it -- it was just-not-quite-long-enough!!   Even though I only had to go around three sides, I was about six inches short of what I needed.  Akkk!  Of course I could add the remaining top strips to this to finish it off but then what to do for the top?

Fortunately, this is a scrappy project so "Scrappy Is As Scrappy Does"!  I had another turquoise print with large polka dots that I had used to make one of the letters for my quilt.  I hadn't used it in hers because I felt the scale of that print wouldn't translate well in the smaller strips I had to use for her letters.  However, the color coordinated well with the tape measure print and for a binding -- already past deadline -- it would work just fine!  So I added the former top strips to the binding to go around the bottom of the quilt and cut new strips for the top as well as pulled more scraps to make the tabs.

Sheesh!  What I hadn't figured on when I started this journey was to be sewing right up to the Monday before Christmas!!  Yet F-I-N-A-L-L-Y in the wee early morning hours (yes, I was up all night!) this project was D-O-N-E done!  Even then I still had to do some clean up work.  I had not caught the edges of some spots of the between-row sashing strips in the back when I stitched in the ditch from the front so had to go back and hand stitch those loose spots down.  I had pieced in some muslin strips on the back (to make the comic panel on the back of the gray "Scrappy" word row equal in height to it) and those served as my (pieced in) label area.  So once I wrote that information in, the quilt was now ready for transport!

I had purchased a vinyl project bag (Quilt In A Day frequently has major sales on these) and I packed the other quilt tools and the folded quilt into it, wrapped it and -- because I had kept the box the rulers I had purchased for her came in -- had an appropriately sized shipping container all ready.  One last thing:  I also bake peanut butter cookies for my MIL and her sister every year and usually send those with their gifts.  Fortunately, my MIL's sister was in New York for Christmas and my husband had her for the Kringle so we didn't have to mail her gift this year. My husband dropped it off to her Christmas Day since she was in the midst of holiday cooking for the elderly relative she was visiting.

So the second to last thing I did was to bake a big batch of cookies and Foodsaver them to be included in my MIL's box.  The last thing I did was to head to the post office STAT!

If you've stayed with the story this long, bless you!  Now, if I haven't monopolized all of your blog reading time, why not head back over to Alycia's and check out what everyone else got done this week.  I'm sure there are a lot of gifted quilts in the finishing queue!


Teri Lucas said...

Well, that's quite the journey from beginning to end, complete with a few left turns and switchbacks. Whew. I hope you're well!!

The Joyful Quilter said...

That was SOME Christmas quilt saga!! SEW glad that it all turned out well. Even if it WAS a tiny bit late (I'm pretty sure that your MIL will forgive you for that!)

Vireya said...

That is a wonderful quilt! I love all the scrappiness about it, and the comics on the back.

Thanks for the link to the pattern. I'll have to save that one for future use.

Alycia~Quiltygirl said...

Oh my!! but what a great quilty gift!! and too funny that you had already downloaded it... I might have done that a time or two! and the cookies! Yumm!!! I am glad it all worked out !!