Epic Quilting Coming to a Close

It would be accurate and appropriate to say I'm closing out an epoch since I've been working on this quilt since February of 2013.

Let's think of it as the Gardener's Journal Quiltstocene Epoch. That works.

This morning I got right to work quilting the border of the Gardener's Journal quilt. After so much quilting in tiny little patches with designs that required some precision and slow stitching, it was liberating to be quilting a big flowing loopy design in the wide open spaces of my quilt border. It felt as if I were going at warp speed. I used this same design that I'd used in a small area in another part of the quilt.

My border fabric is busy, and my thread a neutral color. It didn't make a whole lot of sense to get too carried away doing something very intricate since it really isn't going to show. Here's how the finished quilt looks. The picture is a little off kilter...sorry.

Here's how it looks from the back:

When I started on the quilting, I unwrapped a spool of thread identical to the one on the right. Now it's slimmed down to the one you see on the left.

If only I could slim my own body down so easily. On the other hand, that would mean giving up baking, so never mind.

I wanted to show you a little trick I learned while watching some videos by Paula Storm. Her videos are excellent, and she quilts on a machine identical to mine...only the brand names have been changed to protect the innocent. Anyway, in one of her videos she talks some about tension, and as you know, I've had some tension headaches myself. She suggested flipping the excess backing fabric over the edge of the excess batting when you start and check the tension there. It was a "now-why-didn't-I-think-of-that" moment. 

So obviously the quilt isn't finished yet since I still need to sew on the binding and then hand-stitch it. Also, I'm going to add a hanging sleeve to this quilt since I'm planning to enter it in the 2015 Oregon State Fair. If I get busy, I can make the deadline for the Stitches in Bloom show in January. That's what I'll be doing for the rest of the afternoon and probably on into the weekend.

Still, for finishing up the quilting, what do you say?

And as long as I was taking pictures, I wanted to show you the little sewing space I've built for Eliza. If you've been following along, then you know I put her in my office upstairs next to a window. You can see our famous Oregon liquid sunshine through the glass there.

Eliza has a nice size Koala table to work on. That's her bobbin winder off to the left there, and her stitch regulator off to the right. (I haven't used the stitch regulator except when I'm practicing. I'm finding I don't really need it, and I might just disconnect it and put it away.) Also, I have my Ott light set up there, which gives me a nice bright space to work.

For the past couple of weeks, I've been purging books from the bookshelves behind my chair, and I've moved all my free motion quilting books upstairs. Obviously, I need more books. Look at that gaping hole! How can that be allowed to stand?

My Koala table has a little bit of storage directly below the work surface in the form of some narrow cubbies, but no good place for scissors, etc. We were happy to find this craft chest at our local megamart. It was inexpensive, and it serves my needs nicely.

We put a magnetic strip on the top drawer.

That's for sticking needles that still have some mileage left in them when I switch to a different size. I have one downstairs as well, more heavily populated since I use more different kinds of needles. Here's how the one from downstairs looks.

I got this idea from an article in Creative Machine Embroidery a while back. It's worked out well downstairs. I got my strip from The Container Store. At one end, I keep a needle nanny with the needle I use to bury the ends of my threads. It's a good secure way to keep a loose needle handy and safe for bare feet.

Above the window Mike hung a clock he got for me. I think he was tired of me yelling, "What time is it?" Problem solved. His mother didn't raise any dummies.

Also, last weekend, we hung a thread rack. I've moved the small amount of actual quilting thread that I own upstairs. In the way my book shelf needs more books, it obviously needs more thread. Look at all those empty pegs with no protection. They could get broken off, or worse. Obviously, I have my work cut out for me.

Speaking of having my work cut out for me, my walls are still needing some quilty-related art, which brings me to the next quilt on my quilting machine, the Never Underestimate quilt.

But that will have to wait a bit. I think I'll take a little break from quilting for a while and let Eliza catch her breath.

18 comments from clever and witty friends:

quiltzyx said...

Did you remember to put your hanging sleeve on before you stitched the binding on? Make it easier on yourself!
Eliza's space looks so nice. I'm not used to seeing bare horizontal surfaces myself...some day maybe.
I gave myself a Christmas prezzie of a tshirt with the Never Underestimate slogan on it! A bit different design, same words.

Patrica said...

You and Eliza have certainly learned to do the two step very nicely together before you know it you'll be a contestant on Dancing With the Stars - Quilter's Version! I bet you take another ribbon at the Fair.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

It looks wonderful and congratulations. Yeah, empty spaces need filling.

Quilting Babcia said...

Beautiful quilt, great setting!

Shanna said...

Way to go!!

Betty said...

Here's your Whoop Whoop!! It has to feel good to get to the end of a long term project. It looks really good! Maybe your productivity will inspire me to tackle some of my older UFOs.
Obviously Mike's mother didn't raise a dummy, he had the good sense to marry you!

Doreen Auger said...

Lovely sewing area and the Koala table is gorgeous! I didn't get the stitch regulator with my SS...by my choice. As with my Bernina 440QE, I do not like the machine to tell me how to stitch besides, my brain works faster than any stitch regulator!!!! A "break" is a good thing especially at this time of year!!!!!

Doreen Auger said...

I can safely say that I'm totally annoyed with all the recent changes in blogger that won't allow comments to post except using a Google acct!!!!!!! I really wish I could use my Wp acct!!!! Thanks...........................

Kate said...

Congrats on finishing up the quilting. It looks great!

Barbara said...

Doreen, I'm sorry for your difficulties. i've made all the changes I can think of, and it doesn,t seem to make any difference. I'm hoping someone can figure out a work-around.

crazy quilter said...

You certainly get a Whoop Whoop from me! How beautiful your quilting is! I see a ribbon in your future for this one but you should get it completed do it can make an appearance in both shows. Then Mike will have to devise something wonderful so you can display all of your ribbons. Can't wait to see the Never Under estimate quilting, I bet you do a beautiful job on it as well. Enjoy your weekend! Keep on sewing.

Barb H said...

Great job, Barbara. Completely finishing a quilt is such a good feeling! Whoop! Whoop!

Lynn - JnL4God said...

Barb that's great I still have that "UFO" in the closet. :) about 1/3 of the stitcheries done but that's it. Looks great finished and makes me want to dig it out.
Question on the quilting. I noticed you quilted inside a lot of the little blocks. Did you have a lot of little tails to bury. I was doing a small project with color changes and the stops and starts and ... it seemed like all I did was bury the tails. Did you run into that or do you have a trick?

Cheri, the Quilting Nanny said...

How many full bobbins do you think you used with this spool?

gram k said...

Love the quilt....so many varying stitches!

Tami C said...

Your Never Underestimate quilt is going to look wonderful hanging where you can see it while you are quilting! I just love it!

Brown Family said...

Whoop! Whoop! You have a wonderful quilting space. I am sure you will be filling those empty pegs and shelve soon!

Lyndsey said...

I love Eliza's space, a great working area. I like the tip about the magnetic strip for needles, I will try that when I set up my sewing area. My daughters still have some bits they need to move but when they do the room is becoming a sewing space.