Friday, January 13, 2023

Finished or Not Friday: A Jelly-ish Snowflake!

Another one of the "was supposed to be ready for Christmas" quilts bites the dust!

This is my version of the Fat Quarter Shop's "Jelly Snowflake" wall hanging.  I needed mine to be a smaller size to fit my display space so I cut my strips 2" wide (1-1/2" finished) instead of 2-1/2".  Hence the "jelly-ish" moniker! 

The top for this had been finished back in November but I worked on a lot of projects for the holiday and then didn't start quilting them until right before Christmas.  I thought I had found my groove doing free-motion quilting on Rhubye my vintage Singer 401 after using it to quilt part of a fat quarter quilt.  Which means it would be easy and simple to get this one done too, right?  

I had chosen the colors for my "Snowflake" quilt because I was inspired by one made by quilter and paper crafter Nicole Sphor.  Where she used pink, I used "Strawberry Reds".  So my plan was to follow her lead again and quilt this with all over swirl designs which also brings to mind swirling snow.  Just as long as it doesn't bring any real snow, LOL!! 

However, there were a few snafus before getting started.  First was batting:  I was all set to layer this and went to look for an appropriate batting for it in my stash.  Because the background fabric used is white, I didn't want to use any natural colored battings.  Since this is a wall hanging where the top and back were a little under 40" wide, I hoped I had a smaller batting like crib or craft size.  Also after the issues I had with the polyester batting used in the Fat Quarter quilt, I really wanted to stitch with a cotton batt this time.  Problem was I had nothing that fit those criteria!

All of the white cotton battings I had were twin size or larger and I really didn't want to cut into a batt that big.  Okay, I know I have a lot of white batting scraps. maybe I could make up a "Franken-batt"? 

Unfortunately all the scraps were "after quilting" edge cutoffs so most were about five inches wide or less.  I had a few large squares that would still need to be sewn together to create pieces the width of the backing and would then need to be attached to multiple other strips to fill out the length.  Sigh!  A little more work than I wanted to do at the time.  Ironically, I had shopped for batting for my "Christmas Ribbons" project in early December.  I was kicking myself that I didn't think about the batting issue right after I had finished this top. 

So I had to make a run to get batting.  After I got it layered, I set out to do the quilting.  Even though I've done swirls in the past, I gave myself a quick refresher by watching an Angela Walters video on the subject.   

And away we go!  Except, away it didn't go.  I would start stitching and my thread kept breaking.  What gives?  Is it the fact that I was using cotton batting rather than polyester?  I also felt a little "drag" on the quilt as I stitched.  That made me finally pull out my make shift "Supreme Slider"  which is actually a plastic sled sheet as recommended some time ago by Laura Coyne of "Sew Very Easy"

I installed it on the machine bed but found it didn't help much --- the friction of moving the quilt was a little better but I was still getting thread breaking every few inches of stitching.  I tried for two days and then gave up!  I switched machines, going back to Nova my Brother Nouvelle mid-arm.  Fortunately I had also thought to do the zigzag edging on the ribbon applique I added to the "Ribbons" quilt before needing to give up on the 401 since the Brother is straight stitch only.

Once the Brother was set into the table, the stitching began again and voila!  No problems what so ever.  I spent two days stitching this up, added the binding and now it's done.

You can see the quilting a little better in this shot.

Another scrappy pieced back.

I threw all the extra blocks and a label area that were made up in the alternative fabric choices into the back.  Also added in were the test block for the center square and piecing scraps made into two more filler bits.  I surrounded them with more of the background fabric from the front to finish it off.  Now with this done,  I finally get to see it hung near the tree!  

And now that I've fulfilled that vision, the tree can finally come down, LOL!  I still have two more Red & White holiday quilts to finish up but the good thing is, the next holiday is Valentine's day so the Red & White quilt decorating scheme can still stay up through to then.

I really liked this quilt design but even more I liked seeing all the color scheme variations that people made this up in.  Check some of these out if you think you might like to make this one up:

  • FQS Shop 2020 QAL finishing post with designers versions is here.
  • A blue & white version I saw at the Virginia Quilt museum back in October (scroll down to the bottom of this post).
  • In Pat Sloan's New Year's Eve video she shared a bunch more that quilters in her Facebook community made (starts at about 8:43 in the video).  
Now I have to break from finishing up the Red & White quilts to work on a deadline project.  After that, I'll get back to them soon because I'd like to get at least one more done before the end of the month.  Fingers crossed that gets done!

Linking up at Alycia's Finished or Not Friday


Alycia~Quiltygirl said...

Oh what a fun finish!!! but the saga of the quilting - oh boy!! Did you check your thread? Every so often I get one spool that just can't handle the quilting.. I wonder. But I am so glad you persisted!! it looks great!

Vicki in MN said...

I absolutely love your snowflake quilt!!

Pat at Bell Creek Quilts said...

the pink is so pretty in this snowflake pattern!

Vireya said...

It looks great! So good hanging beside your pink-themed tree, too.

Rebecca Grace said...

Your finish looks fantastic, Vivian! Those thread break gremlins are the worst. When I was quilting in my Bernina dealer’s shop and thread would start breaking on me, the dealer would say “When’s the last time you changed your needle” or “That sounds like a dry hook — when is the last time you oiled it?” So now those are my two first trouble-shooting attempts whenever I get thread breaks, shredding or skipped stitches — a fresh needle if it’s been eight hours or so of stitching since the last new one, and stopping to clean, oil, and retread from scratch. I’m glad you were able to get your quilting done on your other machine in time to enjoy displaying this quilt for the holidays!