Recently, I finished two quilts from the same pattern. The plan is to enter them both into QuiltCon 2024 which is a quilt show for modern quilts. That means everything needs to be tight! However, after quilting the first one with thicker wool batting, the quilt looked a little wonky and lumpy. It’s how most of my quilts look after I finish them, but I really wanted these to look nice. After doing some research online, I figured out that I need to BLOCK my quilts!
Quilt blocking is foreign to me. I’ve never blocked anything before so I wasn’t exactly sure how to do it. I also have a hairy cat that does not allow me to use my floor for something like this, so I used my design wall. My design wall is 1″ thick foam insulation with batting wrapped around it. It is 84″ wide x 48″ tall – which is not quite big enough to hold the whole 60″ x 72″ quilt so I had to improvise!
I wasn’t even sure my design wall would hold a quilt – but it did! I didn’t get the quilt completely wet like some people do, I pinned the top of my quilt to the wall very well and made sure the top was even with the edge of the quilt. Using a bottle of water, I sprayed the seams and I worked out from the center of the quilt to the edges, pinning the seams straight and pulling the quilt slightly to stretch it out. I pinned right into the design wall – at least the part that was on the board.
Since I could only get half the quilt on the board, I had to wait until it was fully dry before flipping and doing the same thing on the other side. It worked pretty well, but there were still some issues in the middle where the seams just didn’t look straight. So, I did the other two sides (top and bottom) too. This is working! My quilt is super densely quilted and is hanging straight with no waviness at all!! I’m pretty excited about it – it will help my chances of getting it accepted into the show!
I’ve had difficulties getting into that show. It’s one of the very few I enter. That’s because they look more at the overall design aesthetic more than the technical issues. Blocking my quilt might make my work look a lot better in that regard! But still, it’s going to be a hard show to get into, so my expectations are zilch. That way I don’t get too sad if/when it’s rejected.
Speaking of rejections, I just deleted my last blog post draft because it was too depressing. I had found my little sister online last month and was so super excited to reach out. Quick backstory: My folks are Jehovah’s Witnesses and disowned/disfellowshipped me (religious differences) and so I haven’t seen any of my siblings since then. I have 3 sisters and 1 brother. This sister was 8 when I saw her last, so I thought that she may have also left the religion since she was online and doing artwork. I did what I thought was a good idea and sent an email letting her know how much I missed and loved her and how I wanted to get in touch. I was so excited I could hardly sleep.
Waking up the next day, the first thing I did was check my emails – but no response. I wanted to show my husband (we’ve been together 25+ years and he still hasn’t met any of my family) what my little sister looked like – but when I went to her IG page, I found I was blocked. No response – just blocked.
Yep. It still hurts. It’s like opening a totally healed wound and now I’m bleeding all over everything. Rejection really does suck. Religion really sucks more. I’m over it and feeling better now – but I was a mess a few weeks ago. You’d think after all this time that I would have learned my lesson by now: family is gone – over – done – finished. But I keep getting hopes up. It’s just like the Democrats thinking that Republicans will come to their senses – and that is never going to happen with religious zealots. It’s time to move forward and leave those people behind.
Today I’m starting to do the binding on these two quilts. I’m calling the quilt pattern: Treaded because from a distance, it looks like a tire track to me. Sometimes life feels like you were hit by a big truck – and you were ‘treaded upon’ – but still nice to look at and very useful. All my quilts hold some sort of metaphor for life. Quilting is really a therapeutic practice for me. I am extremely grateful to have the opportunity to create like this – especially since I’m still looking for a counselor I like.
For binding, I use 2.5″ strips and use a machine to sew to the top of the quilt and then hand stitch it to the back side. Usually takes me 6-10 hours depending on the size of the quilt. The quilting took about a week for each quilt. I always wonder if people keep track of the WHOLE process when figuring their costs and sale pricing for quilts? Do you keep track of your quilt making time?
I use a timer on my phone and hit it as soon as I start and stop it every time I stop – even to go to the bathroom… so it’s ONLY quilt time on the clock. But I do keep track of my cutting time, the sewing (of course), and also the basting, quilting, and binding. I have never finished a quilt under 50 hours. I’m pretty slow though too – kind of a perfectionist, so I re-do things that bother me and that takes more time. How long does it take you to make a quilt?