Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Stepping Stones...

I've been quilting for about 10 years now.  And in those 10 years, I've lost track of the number of quilts I've made.  (I really wish I'd blogged back then so I'd have a record of all of them.)  I've had fun learning/trying new techniques and I've given away more quilts then I've kept.  But in all those years, there is one goal I could never seem to reach - to finish a quilt for our own bed.  It's a king-size bed so it's a big undertaking, but I've actually made a couple of king-size quilts for others in the past.  I think it must be like the cobbler who never has shoes of his own.  However, on Memorial Day I finally finished our first quilt.

Stepping Stones - 113" x 104"
I started this quilt in June 2012.  It was a free Schnibbles pattern that Carrie Nelson was offering to participants in the Schnibbles parades.  I had a Layer Cake of Wiscasset by Minick & Simpson laying around so I decided to make a lap-sized version.  When I finished, I liked it so much, I decided to go even bigger and turn it into a king-sized quilt.  I had to do some searching on the internet to find another Layer Cake since this was an older line of fabric, but I finally found one.  Then I sat down and drew up a layout that would work with the fabric I had and the dimensions I needed.  The rest of the top went together pretty easily.

The quilting though has been  nightmare.  I have never had as many problems with a quilt as I did with this one.  The thread kept breaking on my machine.  I changed needles.  Cleaned it. Changed the thread.  Had my machine serviced.  Replaced the carriage on my frame.  And finally replaced the track on my frame.  (FYI - I have a Grace GMQ Pro frame.)  After all of that, it now purrs like a kitten!  But it was months of frustration where I didn't want to even touch it.

I have to loosen the leaders when I'm not quilting or the cats use it as a hammock.
In addition, the cats were wrestling in there one day and tore a hole through the batting.

This is the first time I've ever had to do a patch job on batting, but I think it turned out OK.

I used the Dusty Miller pantograph from Urban Elementz on this quilt.  It's the first time I've used it.  It's a dense pantograph, but very pretty.  I'll definitely use it again.

As usual, I used one of the blocks from the quilt for the label.  I just added a pre-made label to the top of it and hand-stitched everything to the back.

With 5 pets, I know this quilt is going to get a lot of heavy use and will undoubtedly be washed frequently.  I decided to sew the binding on by machine.  (Also because I don't like hand sewing binding down.)  I glue-baste my binding to the back with Elmer's glue before I sew it down.  It's water soluble and helps me get a nice even finish.  Just a tiny bead of glue and then a press of the iron is enough to make it stay.

Sam was ever so helpful while I was trying to finish the binding...

So, to sum up Stepping Stones:
  • Size: 104" x 113"
  • Fabric: Wiscasset by Minick & Simpson, Kona cotton for the sashing and backing
  • Batting: Quilter's Dream Request
  • Thread: Aurifil for piecing, Superior Threads So Fine #457 for quilting
  • Pattern: Adapted Leap Year by Miss Rosie's Quilt Co.

Because of the patriotic colors, I always planned for this quilt to go on our bed from Memorial Day through Labor Day.  So it was really nice to finish it yesterday and put it on there.  I have such plans of having quilts for our bed for all of the seasons, but considering it's taken me 10 years to produce my first one, there's no telling how long the others will take!  One step at a time...

Trust me in your times of trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory. 
Psalm 50:15 (NLT)


  1. Congratulations on a beautiful job Dee! I love the patriotic feel of this quilt! Simple elegance!

  2. I'm sew happy for you! It takes a lot of time and effort to make bed quilts. Who wants to make one big quilt when you can make several smaller quilts in the same amount of time?
    It looks great on your bed and matches your pets perfectly! lol

  3. Dee, it looks beautiful! I have never heard of "glue" basting before very interesting! I might have to try that some day.

  4. Oh I just love how the variety of fabrics works so beautifully. Sometimes "scrappy" gets in the way of the finished quilt and you can't appreciate the beauty that scrappiness brings. Congrats on finishing it in time. Hope to see you on Wed.