Quilting: you can’t cut corners

8 Feb

At the beginning of my sewing journey I found Craftsy and I really loved it. I adored that I could make all my errors in the comfort of my own home and replay the instructor again and again until I got it right.

In this first wild flush of attraction – imagine me running through the flowery meadow oozing joy whilst holding hands with Mr Craftsy and gazing lovingly in to his eyes – I thought participating in Amy Gibson’s free class Block of the Month would be super easy. It’s not like I’m entirely new to quilting and piecing. I’ve completed smaller projects like baby quilts etc and know some quilting techniques; I’ve even done a bit of free motion and didn’t sew my fingers together. It’s just this would be my first large scale patchwork quilting project. Confidence was high, I repeat, confidence was high. Dear readers, I know you can see my folly.


The first issue was my general approach to long tasks. I was the kind of kid who’d be set a big homework project to complete over weeks and weeks and would start it the night before. I have not grown out of this awful habit. I watched the videos each month very dutifully, I just didn’t actually do any sewing. Finally I bought the fabric at Creative Stitches in Exeter in September and I started cutting the bits in October thinking I’d be whipping up this quilt in no time. I laughed in the face of these weaklings who aren’t hardcore enough to crank out projects in long gruelling sessions like me – ha ha ha. Oh dear. Quilters I can hear your echoing laughs…

First major quilting discovery
It takes bloomin’ HOURS to piece stuff together!
Yes. What a naive fool I was. These blocks are really HARD! I was decidedly less smug already. After all my faux quilting bravado do you know how I finally finished it? I started doing a couple squares every now and again. Yes, quilting brought me what umpteen years of education had not.


So now to the quilting…
Second major discovery
It takes bloomin’ HOURS to quilt a 20 block quilt!
Researching and praticing the techniques before you even get near the quilt top is not included in above equation. You are also absolutely terrified you are going to utterly ruin the work you’ve already done!

Dogwood technique blogged about here

Third major quilting discovery
the bloomin’ thing can’t fit properly in the sewing machine!


So you think ‘ah I’ll do a bit of echo quilting around that square with my walking foot’ like Amy suggests. BUT that means you need to rotate the thing 360 degrees – so at some point the biggest bit of the quilt needs to be rotated into the ‘throat’ of the sewing machine. I’m there stuffing the thing in, then it is so wedged I can’t actually sew. If force fed geese are unethical then the same protections should apply to sewing machines! Utter nightmare. On a more positive note – seriously good upper arm workout! I was ‘feeling the burn baby!’ It took me weeks to quilt the thing, again I was reduced to doing little and often.

Which leads me to…
fourth major quilting discovery
I bloomin’ love my finished quilt!


Taking in to account all of the above I was ready to be much less enamoured with the finished item, frankly I thought I’d be sick of the sight of it, but I really do love it! I snuggle up under it and feel so proud of the journey I’ve been on with this project! What’s more, after all of the above moaning, I am missing having a ‘big’ project going on that I can dip in and out of… I think I want to start another one! Dear quilting friends, is this how it begins?


Here it is adorning my favourite sofa in the lounge, ready to snuggle in to!

Tell me what you think:
Have you ever done a really big project like a large quilt?
Did you participate in the Block of the Month?
Are there any ‘discoveries’ you’ve made in a project which took you totally by surprise?

Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Linking up with Finish it up Friday


15 Responses to “Quilting: you can’t cut corners”

  1. DeAnna Jordan Stanga 08/02/2013 at 2:34 pm #

    Your quilt is gorgeous! You did a very good job and your quilting looks great!. Oh yes…this is how it gets started! And yes…your shoulders and upper arms will gain strength. It will all get better with time and practice and more practice and more practice! Have a great day!

    • hannybobbins 08/02/2013 at 5:42 pm #

      Thanks – this is certainly a labour of love! I did enjoy the prcess, yes, I think I’m hooked…!

  2. Becky Coyle 09/02/2013 at 3:08 am #

    That’s how it begins!

  3. V 10/02/2013 at 3:29 am #

    Yes, this is how it begins. If you think machine quilting takes forever, try HAND quilting! Oh yes, I was that stupid. šŸ™‚ The beauty of a quilt and the thing that sucks so many of us in is that the dratted things are just so darned snuggly when they’re all done. I’m told a Jelly Roll Race quilt takes about 2 hours to make the top and there’s shops and ladies with these amazing long arm quilting machines that will quilt the beasty for you in about the same amount of time. It’s like child birth. Wait long enough and you’ll be itching to make another because you won’t remember what a bear the last one was to produce!

    • hannybobbins 10/02/2013 at 10:27 pm #

      Ha ha ha loving the childbirth reference! Can’t speak from experience there but it seems exactly as you say amongst my friends! Now hand quilting is something I can completely assure you I will never do – I can’t stand hand sewing! What are t,hese jelly roll races?? That sounds like fun! OMG look what I have just done!? Committing myself to another quilt already!

      • V 10/02/2013 at 11:46 pm #

        It’s a terrible illness! šŸ™‚ I haven’t done a jelly roll race myself, but I’m planning on one or ten for Christmas gifts this year. All I can give you is a youtube link – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bEJLnaZQOU

        Watch at your own risk! At least have a cup of tea at the ready. šŸ˜€

      • hannybobbins 11/02/2013 at 6:54 pm #

        Oh my god that is earth shattering! I LOVE it! That could become a serious addiction for me. Off to buy jelly rolls…

  4. salliesue 11/02/2013 at 3:10 am #

    Yes, this is how it begins. And the jelly roll race quilt is a wonderful thing – it literally can yield you a completed quilt top (flimsy) in a couple of hours. Really good for the instant gratification gene!!

    Your quilt is lovely – whoop whoop!!

    • hannybobbins 11/02/2013 at 6:56 pm #

      Thankyou. I have just seen a video on the jelly roll quilt… Oh my goodness that looks amazing! Instant gratification gene is something I am pretty much governed by!

      • V 11/02/2013 at 8:09 pm #

        In rummaging in my supplies, I’ve managed to unearth a previously disregarded walking foot for my machine. I think the jelly roll could be easily quilted in long straight lines to avoid at least some of the swearing, right?

  5. JulieB 11/02/2013 at 11:02 am #

    I love this post. We have all been there and I can honestly say, two years in, that I am still as hooked as I was after my first big quilt. Actually, I am constantly amazed that there are people out there in the world who are NOT hooked! I can’t see from your blog where you are (geographically). I suspect from your use of the word “bloomin” that you and I come from somewhere close by (UK, Midlands)

    • hannybobbins 11/02/2013 at 6:22 pm #

      Hya Julie
      Thanks, you are making me feel ‘normal’!
      I am from the UK yes, but not the Midlands. I am from Devon in the South-West. Bloomin’ was a bit of a misnomer – I was uttering stuff a LOT stronger when I was shoving that quilt in to the sewing machine! Lol


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