A Monster Quilt in more ways than one, McCall 6411

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Let me preface this post: Greta, if you or your children or husband are reading this – look away! And to make sure you get the chance to leave here is a cute photo of my cat, Peanut.

Ok, now that that’s over we can move on to business – this Monster quilt. It is both a “monster” because it features cute fuzzy monsters but also because of the monster amount of time and energy put into this thing.

McCall 6411

I don’t often sew quilts. Ok, I’ve only even finished like, what, 3 in my whole life??? But I saw this pattern (McCalls 6411) in the crafts section of the pattern catalogue at the store and thought “Hey, this would be so cute for my nephews!” They’re all under the age of 7 so a fun monster blanket would be good for them, right?

Oh, famous last words!

McCall 6411

I began this adventure in November of last year and it’s only been, let me count… 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, April – SIX MONTHS!?! I know that intricately pieced quilts take quite a long time but I never imagined that something like this would take forever!

I worked on bits and pieces of the quilt every week or so until I’d get tired and frustrated. I had to sew on each felt eye, pupil, tooth, and scale. I had to hand stitch mouths and decorative spots with embroidery thread. I stuffed tails and horns and legs with poly-fill. And then I had to attach each monster to its base (some better than others) and add borders.

McCall 6411

Finally I had the quilt top finished but it wasn’t until a few days ago that I attempted sandwiching the batting between both layers and quilting.

Finally I decided to hand stitch the sides of the quilt closed because I didn’t want any visible seams. I think that was roughly 14 feet of slip stitching! I seriously spent hours non-stop hand sewing. If it wasn’t for listening to audiobooks I would have gone mad!

McCall 6411

Anyway, I’m glad this monster of a quilt is finished. Next time I’ll try to go the more traditional route sans-fleece (the fleece makes the blanket super warm, though). Although I think I’ve had my fill of quilting for quite awhile now!

McCall 6411

I’ve sewn with fleece before but never this much at once. Here are some things I learned this go around.

Dixie’s Tips for Sewing Fleece:

  • Use weights and a rotary cutter to get a precise cut. For smaller bits like monster feet and ears I used scissors as it didn’t matter if things weren’t perfectly square.
  • Have a lint roller handy. The fuzzy fleece shed like crazy on the cut edges and even the blizzard fleece left dust all over. All that fuzz will end up in your machine, too, so be sure to brush out or vacuum inside your sewing machine when you finish.
  • While you could sew through several layers without a walking foot, I highly recommend using one because fleece can get thick! Thank you to my boyfriend’s mom for gifting me one for Christmas last year. I’ve gotten so much use out of it on both quilting and regular sewing projects.
  • Fleece is a knit so use a ball point needle of the appropriate size. I read that fleece can wear out your needle extra fast. I found this to be the case and had to change needles a few times during the project because the needle would break or skip stitches. Frustrating!
  • I like using a longer stitch length. I think it helps to move the fleece under the foot better. I used a straight stitch for my quilt since the seams don’t need to stretch.
  • There are many types of fleece, some more stretchy than others. For example, the fuzzy fleece that has a pile on one side and a flat side on the other was more stretchy than my thick blizzard fleece.
  • If you use the textured fuzzy fleece with the raised dots, don’t iron it. I expected those dots to be permanent but they were not! Ooops. I found this out when using the crafty-fuse, double sided interfacing to attach the eyes to one monster as you can see in the photo below.
McCall 6411

 
If you have more tips to add leave them in the comment section, thanks!

I was out of town this weekend for the Easter holiday but now I’m back and I have a bunch of projects to get started on. Exciting!

First Baby Quilt

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Greta! If you are reading this look away now!

This quilt is a gift and I know the recipient’s mother will read this so, Greta, skip this one! Just come back tomorrow or something!

And just in case this pops up in your blog reader here is a cute picture of my cat sitting by my sewing machine to avoid important photos being exposed in the preview.

Phew… that was a close one. On to the important bits!

Baby Quilt

I finish my quilt! And in a surprisingly short amount of time.

Well, I did start this quilt a few months ago – January to be exact. I gave it a good week of work then stuffed it away until it re-emerged in my new house and I finished it up in about 3 days. Wow! I’m impressed not with myself but with how much easier this process was once I finally knew how to properly put together a quilt.

Baby Quilt

I made it for Justin’s sister’s third baby who is due to arrive in about a week!

The quilt measures about 45 in x 6 in, a little smaller than crib size. Perfect for a little boy (or perfect for when he’s big enough to run around the house dragging a blanket along with him). And it is “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” themed! One of my favorite books from childhood – and so colorful!

Baby Quilt

After piecing together the quilt top (I had a few headaches with that – I kept cutting and sewing the wrong lengths) I used Patti the Snug Bug’s advice and bought a walking foot. That would have been a good idea had the thing worked properly.

I must have bought a faulty one because the foot kept leaning forwards causing my needle to constantly whack the metal foot. I had to work extra slow or risk breaking a needle (or 5, which did happen) and nothing I tried seemed to fix it. The thing also didn’t come with instructions. Super lame.

So, armed with only my needles meant for delicate fabrics, not three quilt layers I finished quilting using a normal foot. I returned that walking foot to the store today.

Baby Quilt

Then I Googled how to sew binding on corners which helped immensely. Although my binding isn’t exactly perfect by any means if you look on the back. It’s borderline hot mess material back there but it’s the back – no one’s looking, right?

I don’t know if I’ll be tackling any other quilts any time soon but I do feel accomplished that I finished this one.

Quilting Adventures

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I ordered a bundle of fabric fat from Fat Quarter Shop today to make a quilt for my boyfriend’s new nephew due in July. This is Justin’s little sister’s third baby and I wanted to make something for him that wasn’t clothes (hand me downs, anyone?). I thought about making baby shoes but really, baby’s don’t need shoes for a while and what size would I made them anyway? I don’t know anything about baby feet. And a summer baby doesn’t really need a hat – not a fleece or knit one anyway.

So instead I’m making a baby quilt and – get this! – it’s going to be The Very Hungry Caterpillar themed! I was so excited when I saw the fabric set. It was perfect! And I loved this book as a kid. It’s the first book I remember reading and probably the only book that I remember owning when I was a wee one. I didn’t know it until just recently but the book is now over 40 years old. Talk about a classic.

I am not much of a quilter. In fact I’ve never finished a whole quilt. Let me explain my past quilting adventures while showing you more of the patterns of the fabric I bought.

I started out using scraps to make a quilt top that I eventually decided was going to be big enough for a queen size bed. It was just plain squares in a grid, nothing fancy, but as the quilt got bigger and bigger I needed more fabric. Finally the top was done but the thing was so huge that trying to put a backing on it was so difficult. Pinning the two sides together and trying to stitch frustrated me to no end because the fabric would never stay flat. So I packed it up half finished and haven’t looked at it since.

I tried again a year later using a quilt pattern and buying the exact amount of fabric I needed up front. I also intended this quilt to be huge and cover my bed. About halfway through the quilt top construction process I got bored and gave up, packed the quilt top with pins still holding parts of it together and stuffed it in a big Rubbermaid bin.

Funny story, this was at my old apartment and Justin had friends staying over one night. They slept in the second bedroom (Justin’s office) on an air mattress. It must have been very cold that night because the friend went looking for extra blankets and found my half finished quilt thinking it was an available blanket. Boy, was he wrong! He ended up be pricked by needles half the night before he realized what was in that quilt!

This next quilt that I’m going to attempt will be much smaller – think something a 2 year old could drag around the house with him – and therefore I can hopefully finish the top part quickly and assemble the back cover easier than with a big fat quilt. I’m crossing my fingers.