Thursday, February 13, 2014

It's been a long time

So, what sort of shenanigans have I been up to? Too many, to be sure, but the craziest thing I have done lately was make my nephew Peyton a Super Mario Bro quilt for his birthday & managed to complete it in one month! I found this quilt-a-long on Cuttopieces. Let me begin by saying that I have, technically, made a quilt before. Three others, in fact. The first quilt I made was completely hand-stitched & the layers were tied with yarn. The second was machine stitched and the layers were tied with yarn. The third quilt was done before Christmas. It was a t-shirt quilt & was machine stitched & "quilted" by stitch-in-the-ditch method. I guess you could say I have been improving my technique as I went along. I had in my head a very distinct image of what I wanted this quilt to look like. The problem was that my sewing machine was very basic & didn't allow for free-motion quilting. My uncle found out from my mom that I was looking for a new machine that had quilting options & on Christmas day he said he still had my aunt's machine that had been just sitting all covered up since before she died a few years ago & did I want it. WHAT?! I was super excited. A week or so later, I have my new quilting/embroidery machine. I had already started piecing the quilt together.

The directions in the blog were excellent & although it was time consuming, it was enjoyable. I would sit for a couple hours listening to an audio book & putting all those tiny squares together. The top picture is the mushroom square all ready for sewing. You can see in the bottom picture the size difference between the sewn square (star) and the unsewn square (Mario). I had to spent quite a lot of time on square placement. Apparently I wasn't being as careful as I thought because not all the square were the same size. They were close, but not all of them were close enough. I managed to get it to work though. I knew my backing was going to be a twin size sheet so I didn't have to deal with lining up material for the back. I also used adjustable spray adhesive to get the back, batting, & top all put together into a sandwich.
Then it was time to figure out the new machine. I made a bunch of scrap quilt sandwiches together to work on tension. It took some time & to be honest I was starting to worry that it wasn't going to work out right. I did, after some internet searching, manage to find the right needle, thread, tension, etc & off I went. I can honestly say that this is by no means perfect. Tension was still a little off because of all the seams, but it was working for the most part.

 I can not describe how excited I was for this to start working like the image in my head! I had never done this part before. There were a few times that I had to get up, walk away & take a deep breath. It seemed to take forever. Peyton's party was just a few days away! The Friday before the party I finally finished the quilting, added the border & put a tag in it. I love how the lime green border made the other colors pop! 

Obviously, this present was not being kept a secret from his family, so by present opening time I think everyone was very excited to see the finished product. He, of course, had no clue, so we saved my present for last. I did manage to snap a picture of him doing the actual opening. In case you haven't guessed, his entire party was Mario themed.

And then there is the final result. He came up to me and gave me a big hug! The look on his face made all that time completely worth it. 

I had some people on Facebook wondering exactly how big it was going to be. Some people kept assuming it was going to be a lap blanket. Obviously, it isn't, but I did take a picture of the cloud block with a penny in one of the tiny squares. 

Now, my only problem is that I loved the quilt so much I want one for myself!

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