Quilting as Blood Sport

The day started out easy enough. I read my email, checked in on Facebook, helped Smitty chase down a shrew (admit it, you didn't see that coming). Then I had a leisurely breakfast, drank my coffee, did a little stitching...

I'm at that most wonderful of places on this design where the remaining area to be stitched can all be contained in one hoop. This one might be finished by tomorrow.

After that I went out and filled the bird feeders, set up the birdcam, and then checked in on the tomatoes. There I took a good look at my potting soil. Looks like I have my work cut out for me, doesn't it?

Weather cooperating, I've designated this weekend and next week to repot the tomatoes and plant my annuals. One of my terra cotta pots needs to be replaced since it broke into quite a few pieces over the winter. Also, I need to get my lettuce started.

After all that, I had about an hour and a half to kill before it was time to get ready to go to Zumba, and so I decided to get started on my Chili Rounder. This is where I left off:

If you missed how this quilt was put together, you can read my original post about it right here.

This quilt is "birthed" and so when I got it ready for finishing and quilting, I sandwiched it with the batting on the bottom, the bottom in the middle (right side up), and the top on top (right side down). Ordinarily I would use safety pins for this, but today I thought I'd cozy up to my inner masochist and use flower head pins...which have a pretty stout point, if you get my drift.

I know they have a stout point because I raked my fingers over them about a dozen times before learning to be more careful. My goal (at this point) was to zigzag stitch all around the edges of the chilies so that I could turn the piece inside out and then finish it off. How much bloodshed do you suppose occurred while I learned this lesson?

Fortunately, the blood only landed on parts that were hidden by applique or else were going to be cut off when I was finished. Now here's where it got ugly, because I had no sooner finished stitching around the whole thing when it occurred to me that I should have used a straight stitch. Argh! What an ultra-maroon (to quote Bugs Bunny). I considered leaving it, but I knew I wasn't going to be able to achieve a nice knife edge to the quilt when I turned it with that zigzag stitch there. I really needed a straight stitch right next to the top-stitching. I decided to stitch around again using a straight-stitch and then ripped out all of that zigzag stitching I'd just finished. 

(It was time to go to Zumba about then, but obviously, I couldn't walk away from all the ripping I had to do. And so this is the part where I would tell you I didn't go to Zumba if I weren't too embarrassed. But I am, so never mind. Let's just pretend that I went, and never mention it again.)

Once I had all the zigzag stitching ripped out...no small task, I might add...I turned it right side out. It turned pretty easily, and I was especially pleased that most of those little nooks and crannies around the peppers are lying pretty flat. I left an area open where the purple pepper is so that I could turn it and then stitch it shut. You can still see the pins in the image below.

A less adventurous person might have pinned from the top, but as I said earlier, I was embracing my inner masochist today. I wanted yet more pinholes in my fingers and I wanted to see just how easy it is to sew over pins when you can't actually see them. About this time, I found myself humming a John Mellencamp tune called "Serious Business":

This is serious business
[Quilts] and violence and rock and roll
This is serious business
[Quilts] and violence and rock and roll.

The pattern suggested hand-sewing the remainder of the seam, but I decided to do it by machine. All of the peppers are going to be outline quilted, and so I couldn't see any reason not to sew right along the edge by machine. So here's how it looked when I finished sewing the seam closed.

I wasn't completely happy with the amount of the white muslin foundation that was showing at the edge since none of the other peppers have that. They were sewn on the inside, and so the muslin is all turned under. I decided to use my purple Sharpie Paint pen to touch up the edge.

The color was a good match, and I think it looks better.

Each pepper and stem will be outline quilted and then another echo line of stitching is recommended 1/4-inch inside the piece. Mine is stitched right along the edge of the zigzag top-stitching, and so it's more like a 1/8-inch seam. I'll do that around all the peppers and stems.

The pattern also suggests quilting each pepper and it provides some ideas for quilting according to the level of heat one might expect from that color of pepper, thus:

I kind of like that idea, and so I'm going to go with that. For example, the purple pepper is to be quilted with the "hot" pattern, thus:

I'm not going to do the quilting yet, however. I want to start from the center and work my way out. For today, I just wanted to get the quilt turned and stitched closed. 

Here's how it's looking from the back. I'm using a smoky monofilament thread, and so it's a little difficult to see. The stitching I've done so far is encircling the avocado in the image below. Look closely, and you'll be able to see it.

By the way, if you like this pattern, it can also be a Christmas tree skirt...for those of you inclined to decorate your tree in a southwestern style.

So that was my day...a little less productive than I'd hoped, but I ended up farther along than I was when I started. Can't complain about that. It's about time to bring in the birdcam and see what I got. If I get anything interesting, I'll show you tomorrow.

14 comments from clever and witty friends:

crazy quilter said...

So sorry you had the stick with the pins! I don't pin much for that very reason no matter how careful I am the sharp end of the pin finds me... Ouch! Your chili pepper rounder is turning out quite NICE! So bright and cheerful. Keep on sewing....

Colleen said...

Every time I see your peppers I think pepper orgy! LOL!

LynCC said...

I love the purple pepper. The blood - something I would do, for sure! lol

LynCC said...

I love the purple pepper. The blood - something I would do, for sure! lol

Vroomans' Quilts said...

You do have those days where you are dangerous!

Patti said...

Barbara, I just ordered a package from a company called Pinmoor. Their product is small tubular shaped pieces of silicone that you push onto the end of your long pins when you pin-baste. I was impressed with their video and ordered some to baste my next top. Of course, I haven't gotten to that point yet ;) but thought I'd mention it just the same!

Dana Gaffney said...

It's probably amazing that there isn't blood on every quilt we make what with all of the sharp and pointy things we use. The chilis look great, I didn't realize that it's a "free standing" quilt.

Lyndsey said...

The chillis are looking great. It's a shame that you had to do so much unpicking and the pins thought it fun to attack you.

Jacque said...

I was mesmerized at the vision in my mind of you and Smitty pursuing the shrew..... haha!

Michelle said...

I saw your subject line and was just terrified that the blood was on Vintage Tin. Not that I want it on your peppers either...but all of that embroidery?! (My daughter's cat bled on a half stitched block for Hocuspocusville. I was so mad I haven't worked on it since.)

Was it an inside shrew or an outside shrew? I'm guessing inside, if you helped in the chase. I absolutely hate those things. But I'm a little relieved if I'm not the only one to have them find the way into the house.

treadlemusic said...

I thought for a few moments you were going to skip zumba in favor of the local hospital for a transfusion!!!!! LOL!!!!!

quiltzyx said...

One of our guild members, when we had a "First & Last Quilt" show & tell, talked about how much she was sliced & diced while working on her first quilt that was pinned with straight pins! Luckily she (& you too?) was a quick learner!!
The peppers look GREAT!

Brown Family said...

I guess I do not bleed easily. I am always sticking myself and having to squeeze it to make it bleed. My Mom told me that is will get less sore if it bleeds!

Kate said...

Progress is progress, sorry it left you a bit bloody. That had to hurt!