Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Stained Glass quilt finished!

I finished the stained glass quilt. If I could do this two more times I might get this to an acceptable stage skill-wise. To the naked eye and to non-quilters this probably looks pretty good. The colors are nice, the church looks like a church, it is not falling apart at the seams (much) but to another quilter this quilt has quite a lot of flaws. In case I ever make another one of these here are some of the lessons I learned.

  1. Cut fabric a bit larger than the applique paper. When I got to the tape sewing stage many of my pieces pulled away from each other and left gaps that could barely be covered by the tape. That means that in some places the fabric did not get caught under the tape and frays. Bad. It would have been much better to err to the "too much" fabric side because there is nothing to be done to fix an "not enough fabric" situation.

  2. Same goes for the black tape. Instead of cutting to just hide the raw edges under the adjoining black tape I really needed a smidgen extra in places and pulling on the bias just makes it thinner and less likely to cover the edges underneath.

  3. Ideally I should have been able to quilt and sew the black tape at the same time and cut out a lot of extra work. I think with practice I might be able to improve my skills but I abandoned that plan fairly quickly and just sewed the tape down first.

  4. For all of you suggested a double needle, YES!!! That would have been a god-send! Going around the black tape on both sides, trying to turn corners, pulling the quilt here and there really messed up things. The tape started coming loose before I'd get to the section to sew it down. Sort of a nightmare in the making. Every time I reloaded my bobbin I put the quilt back under the iron in hopes of holding down the tape a bit longer but it was a race to see if I was going to get the tape sewn before it all came off. And no, I tried gluing down in some places and now have glue residue that I can't get off.

  5. The blind stitch to sew the tape down was not that successful. I probably would have done better to just sew a straight stitch right on the black tape. I had thought stitch in the ditch with a zig on the tape would work but DEFINITELY NOT! It looks so messy with the black thread on the fabric pieces. Half way through I opted to just sew directly on the tape (black on black) and that made the stitches much less visible.

  6. When I finally got to the quilting stage I gave a try at SITD but that was terrible for the same reason as above. So I figured "what the heck, just freehand quilt on the black tape and go over and on top as much as needed". The tape doesn't poof but at least you can't see the quilting (much).

  7. Unfortunately their are a few puckers on the backing. I am not taking this out! I consulted Noriko-san and decided that since NO ONE in my church knows up or down about quilting they are not going over this with a judge's list. That goes for any further quilting. You and I know that the blank areas should have some design quilting in the larger areas but no one else knows that. I'm afraid I'll ruin this if I put much more work into it. IT IS DONE.

All in all this was a very enjoyable project. I started this August 29th or 30th. It took me about two weeks. The final quilt is about 30 inches by 40 inches. I have the satisfaction of knowing I made an original quilt from the planning and drafting stages. I learned new techniques like how to use a computer to draft, how to machine quilt bias. I'm left with a desire to master other techniques such as sewing with a double needle. I enjoyed pawing through my scraps to find fabrics that might look like stained glass (the hand-dyed fabrics were the best!) I hope I've honored one of God's houses but if not, maybe He'll smile at the effort.

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