Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Bob Dylan Quilt Series: The Last Step

So last week I began hand-stitching the border in place, and I am happy to say that I've finished!  It's definitely relaxing to do while watching some TV that doesn't require constant attention, such as a documentary on Netflix.  I sat through almost the entirety of Ken Burns' Prohibition while working on the border.  Here's a quick shot of the front and back of one of the corners:

And here's a look at the original seam where the bias tape edges were put together:

Looking pretty good so far!  Technically, I could probably stop at this point.  BUT.  This is a quilt, I'm gonna finish it like a quilt and make it as good as possible.  Now comes the actual "quilting" portion of the project.  Basically, front and back of this blanket/quilt are not connected anywhere but the border.  Quilting solves this problem and prevents shifting of the material in the middle.  There are a number of options here:

1) You have tons of free time to hand-stitch awesome quilting patterns all over the blanket (not staying on the seams)
2) You could attempt to machine-stitch patterns all over the blanket (at your own risk)
3) You could pay someone to do this for you.
4) You could make this into a "tie" quilt where you tie little pieces of the quilt together in strategic places. (I think this as more for baby blankets, am I wrong?)
5) You could machine-stitch "in the ditch", meaning along the existing seams on the front.
6) You can hand-stitch "in the ditch" (in the seams).

I'm goin' with #6 you guys.  My reasons for this is that I've never done it before (and I'd like to try), I think it'll create a nice looking finished product, and while I may not have a LOT of time on my hands at this point, I'm pretty fast at stitching and don't think it'll take too long.  So far I've stitched across two seams, and it's going fairly well.

A few issues:  I don't have a quilt stabilizer thingy to stretch the quilt out nicely so I can do this.  I'm basically stitching this with it in my lap.  Due to the difficulty in placing each and every stitch perfectly on both sides (I'd have to keep flippin' the dang thing over!), I'm working by only looking at the stitching on the top of the quilt and using my hands (below) and my eyes (on top) to estimate the stitches coming up from the bottom layer.  So, what does this mean?  The stitching on the front will look perfect, and the stitching on the back will be less than perfect.

By the way, I really hate this.  IT'S NOT PERFECT?  AAAAAAAHHHHHCK!

Here, take a look.  Below, the top seam has been quilted.  Hard to see, right?  You can tell compared to the bottom seam, which hasn't been quilted yet.

However, here's the back of that seam.  Straight, mostly uniform, but some of the stitches are a little wonky.  AAAAAACK.  If I had machine stitched, the back would look perfect, but it would be HARD to get the front to look perfect.  At this point, because I would rather the front look perfect with a little back issues, I've gotta just go with it.  This is the side that will be against the person getting warm anyways!!!

One thing to note is how to hide the edges of the thread at the beginning.  I had to call my mom on this one:

"You make a small knot in the thread, smaller than you normally would, about one or two knots.  When you start your stitch you make sure the needle goes through the batting.  Give it a small little tug so it goes into the middle of the quilt, and gets stuck on the batting and doesn't come out the other side."

Guys, I was amazed.  This woman has a wealth of handicrafts knowledge.

Oh, and to hide the thread at the end of the hand-stitched seam:

1) Stitch to the end
2) Make one last tiiiiny stitch as close to under the border as you can, but don't pull it all the way through
3) Loop your needle through the loop of thread two times
4) Now pull it tight.
5) Stitch into the middle of the quilt and out the very edge of the quilt (to hide the little tail of thread) & cut the thread at the edge.

I'll work on getting a video or pictures up on this process, because it can be confusing!  And now I'm off do do some hand-quilting. ;)

Make sure to check back next week, I'll be posting updates about this project!  If you are unsure of anything I'm doing here, please let me know and I'll clarify.  And as always, Thanks so much for visiting. I really appreciate everyone who reads and comments. If you like what you've seen here, please follow me on Facebook and Pinterest to receive updates.

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