My new embroidery foot showed up recently and I finally got a chance to wield it; first on some test scraps and then, finally, on my rainbow Bargello! It was quite a challenge to keep the machine running at a sensible speed – fast enough to make nice stitches but not so fast that I couldn’t keep up and feared for my fingers – and there are a few places where I found myself in a quilting cul-de-sac and panicked, but all in all I’m quite pleased with how it came out and with the rainbow variegated thread I chose. I think it really works well with the rest of the quilt top.
The top is now neatly trimmed and just needs the binding to be a completed quilt! However, I’ve run into a fabric-shortage problem with the binding, and it’s entirely self-inflicted. I’d been to Annie’s to pick up assorted fabrics to finish off a couple of projects, including binding for the Bargello. After measuring and doing some very generous calculations, I ended up with almost a metre of dark red-orange fabric to use, which was more than enough for my needs. Unfortunately, I’d been tempted by a FQ pack of five blue-and-white Japanese prints on eBay, and after they somehow found their way through the front door I immediately launched into making a bag with them. Initially I’d had my eye on a different fabric to use as the lining, but it became apparent that it really wasn’t a good match, whereas the red-orange solid fabric I’d bought for binding was just perfect. The fabric had spoken, so I cut up what I needed for the bag and then cut the remainder into 2 1/4″ strips to bind the Bargello. It probably says a lot about how much fabric I bought that, even after using a lot in the bag, I’m only about 24″ short for the binding of the Bargello! It’s frustrating to be so close and yet so far, but it will just have to wait until I can get more.
Thursday was Quilt Club again, and the day that I’d designated to finally assemble and quilt my rainbow Bargello with the elaborate back. I’d left all the components there the last time and Stef had promised to clean the floor so I had a good area to assemble and pin-baste my quilt sarnie. The first clue that I might have problems was the fact that I couldn’t get my tape to stick to the floor (possibly due to some residual cleaning product left behind). This meant that getting the back stretched out nice and tight was extremely difficult. I wrestled with the back and the batting anyway, then laid down the top and basted it as well as I could, dreading what I was going to see when I lifted it.
Shortly after I got back from travelling, in the middle of a bloody freezing March 2013, I decided to pick up where I left off with some my craft hobbies.
Long before I set off on my epic train trip, I’d declared an intention to make a wedding quilt for my sister and her husband (who got married in 2011 – better late than never?), but realised that the one basic patchwork class I’d been to way back in 2005 was unlikely to be sufficient training for such an undertaking. I had a collection of assorted fabric (I LOVE fabric), including a strip roll, and decided to start a “practice” quilt – a generously sized Bargello in a dizzying rainbow of colours, on the basis that the best way to achieve good 1/4 inch seams would be to do a LOT of them. I dedicated a number of evenings and weekends to sewing my rainbow together, carefully alternating the sewing direction for each strip to avoid the dreaded “banana effect” – one of the few things I remembered from that class of ’05. Eventually I got my Bargello strips prepped and cut and started sewing them together, but kept finding that the fabric walked and crept and generally refused to stay lined up along the whole length. I could see I was not doing it right, but did not know how to correct myself. After 7-8 wonky strips, I gave up and concentrated on packing up life as I knew it and getting ready to go travelling.