Hello, pastel unicorn

Hooray updates! Yesterday afternoon, on the way home, I asked myself the question that often -- OFTEN -- leads to trouble:  "Okay, so I've cleared lots of the little projects out of the way. What big beast can I tackle tonight?"

I thought about Miss Pretty Primrose, and scratched my head. Hmm. Well, my objection has been that I'd never attempted to do a full-sized quilt on my machine at home, but I had such a horrid experience at the rented longarm quilt machine last time that maybe I should just tackle it.

The sign of doom is when I shift from saying "Oh I should do that sometime" to "Here's how I'd start." When I start laying concrete plans, it's over, buddy.

So I cleared off the sewing table (made easier because of this weekend's kitchen-change project) and taped down the backing and batting. Phew. I added in Miss Primrose and started pinning. I know I can't pin all of it at once, so I'll have to work in sections. That's fine. I know how to do that.

My table isn't big enough to pin more than a section at a time. Good thing I bought plenty of extra backing and batting. Step one will be to get each of the plates tacked down, thereby stabilizing all three layers.

What is this quilt? Why am I being so careful? See domesticat.net/quilts/primrose or today's blog entry, domesticat.net/2010/08/hello-pastel-unicornI'm ready for my closeup.

['I'm ready for my closeup.']

I know I can't do everything in the first pass. The plates are pretty big, though. If I get each of them securely tacked down, that gets the three quilt layers evenly stabilized, and makes me less worried about handling the quilt top. Every time I hold that quilt top, I think to myself ... I know you're stronger than you look. I know you are, I KNOW it. I can see it when I look at you objectively. But I'm nervous about it, because pretty pastel unicorns are rare beasties, and there are no refunds or second chances with this quilt.

So triage, triage, triage. Stabilize before embellishing. Got it.

Lots of pins. LOTS of pins. I don't want Miss Primrose to move a muscle while I'm getting these plates tacked down. She's waited an awfully long time to be quilted, so let's do it right.

What is this quilt? Why am I being so careful? See domesticat.net/quilts/primrose or today's blog entry, domesticat.net/2010/08/hello-pastel-unicornPin early and often

['Pin early and often']

This photo gives you an idea of what stabilization means -- at least in my head, for this project:

Nothing like popping into the kitchen the next morning, looking at last night's work, and saying ... yes. That will do.

Each plate will have a double line of quilting, one line each ¼' inside and ¼' outside the inner ring. I'm also tracing each petal roughly ¼' inside each seam. Later, when more of the quilt is stable, I'll go back and add the decorative motifs in the empty circles inside each plate, and in the empty spaces between each plate. 

Right now? This is triage. This fabric is strong but it IS nearly 80 years old. I don't want to handle it any more than necessary until it's got the extra strength of the batting and backing helping it out.

What is this quilt? Why am I being so careful? See domesticat.net/quilts/primrose or today's blog entry, domesticat.net/2010/08/hello-pastel-unicornMorning after? No hangover.

['Morning after? No hangover.']

  • Line of stitching ¼" inside the edge of the empty white area inside each plate
  • Line of stitching ¼" on the other side of the same edge, part of ...
  • Line of stitching ¼" inside each petal of each plate.

Once these are tacked down, THEN I will go back and do the fleurs-de-lis.


You're doing it! You're doing it! That looks intense and madly stressful. Better you doing that than me. I have no patience for carefully pinning pins everywhere. So bravo to your patience. And for laying out the layers so carefully- Another thing I have no patience for. And then quilting it- all by yourself! that's too bad about the long arm. I've seen them, never tried, of course. I can't wait to meet this pastel unicorn...

The good news is that the quilting for this one is really, really easy! As in, last night, I marveled at how much FUN it actually was. It's just simple, relaxing tracing.

Last night I said, okay, let's just get the sewing machine switched over from sewing mode to quilting mode. I got the tension right, and decided to try quilting one of the plates, and by the time I was done, I'd done three of them. My first one wasn't perfect, but I have a better idea now of what order to draw the lines in ... but it wasn't bad at all!

There's always a devil in the details, though, and i know where Primrose's is -- the binding. The quilting should be an easy go, but I want the binding to follow all those lovely curves on the outside, so that will be done by hand because it's the right way to do it. Not the quick way.