Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Little DaGMT Jump Start

Three days to go before the official start of DaGMT, but I know I am not alone in jump starting my sewing because I see so many of you out there already bragging about finishing a project or two. Well then. La de da. I can do that, too. So there. And because I signed up for 90 minutes a day again this year prior to realizing that I was going away for five days in the middle of the month and that is a LOT of time to make up later, I'm making it up now. Two days down, three hours sewn. I'm feeling the thrill!

I personally have finished only one thing, the cover quilt for my newest pattern, which I will show you at some point when I get the photo fixed by my photo fixer woman. Yes, I have a photo fixer woman. It is amazing the leagues of minions one designer can amass, mostly out of necessity when one is as inept on the computer as I tend to prove myself.

But as many of this year's DaGMT participants have picked up on in their mission statements, the point of DaGMT is not necessarily to finish every UFO in your basket, but to make sewing part of your everyday life, and to celebrate the small accomplishments that bring your projects one step further along. So this morning I embarked on a "UFO Sandwiching" journey. You know, when you have a top, maybe a big enough piece of batting but probably not, and random bits of fabric that need to be pieced together for a backing, which if everything was the right size this would take you 10 minutes, but because nothing is the right size, it is going to take you an hour.

I love those journeys. They are kind of like a real life version of those dreams where you can't find your shoes and you have to be somewhere 20 minutes ago.

You know I am cheap, but I am about to prove it in a new and exciting way with this confession: Almost all of my smaller quilts contain pieced battings. By now my creations know it going in - if they aren't lap size or larger, they aren't going to get a solid piece of batting, and they are going to have to deal with it. Most don't complain too much, although now and then I get a primadona top that gives me a hard time.

For those of you who don't piece your battings and have never considered doing so but may be slightly intrigued, or for you newbies who have never even heard of such cheapness a thing, behold.

All you have to do is butt two straight edges of the batting up against each other and feed it through your machine using a blind hem stitch. I usually set my stitch width to about 4 and my stitch length to about 2 (I have a Janome something something - a mid range mid cost machine). Look how flat and smooth it is! And I haven't wasted any ends of batting!

If you need to, and I usually do, you can even trim off some from the end of your newly sewn piece and add it to the side if you made it too long but not wide enough.

 See? Still flat, still lovely. And remember - seriously, WHO CARES what the batting looks like???? If you have any skill as a quilter at all, you will not have ANY of it showing in the end.

So then it was time to move on to the backing. I had enough of my selected fabric to make a proper sized back, but it was in five pieces. Sigh. Some days you just don't set any speed records. Eventually, though, I was able to sandwich the three layers.

Note how I was able to sew the batting together in such a way that I made it fit perfectly even though it isn't quite square in that lower right corner. Or maybe that was a total streak of luck. I'll never tell.

Here I would like to give a shout out to spray baste. Believe me, it is not without a small amount of guilt for the state of the ozone layer that I proudly salute 505 basting spray, but man alive, the fact that I had forgotten I ran out of it last week almost reduced me to tears today as it meant I had to pin baste. I have not pin basted in about 8 years. I hope never to do it again after today, even if this was a small project. Just when my nails were looking pretty good, too.

The "Taking Names" group project is underway, which means that I have a stack of projects in my studio that need to be sorted out to all the participants who will be working on other quilters' projects. But since I have all the projects in house and have to work on eight of them myself, I felt it would be okay to get started. So I made some for Angie using her red background and my b/w scraps.

I think they came out pretty cute.

Glen, who will be joining us in this endeavor, seems to have gotten all hopped up about the project too, because she sent me a photo of the blocks she made for her own quilt while waiting for her packet of other people's blocks.

I'm definitely sensing a b/w sort of theme going on here. Although Glen wanted greys as well. Very cool!

In honor of so many people starting their DaGMT-ing early, including myself, I have the 2013 flickr group open for business. So go ahead and start posting your photos of projects you are hoping to accomplish in February as well as any you may have started already.

Are we all just tingling with excitement?


Kim said...

Woohoo!!! I am excited! Loved your post!

judabelle said...

I'm getting a jump-start on DaGMT, too, and there must be something in the air, 'cuz I made a "Franken-batting" for my current project too! Gotta use that mountain of leftover too-good-to-throw-away batting hunks somehow. And the backing is pieced, too, but that's pretty normal for me, dontcha know. :-)

Living with the Lioness said...

Okay .... that made me put a reminder on my calendar that tonight or tomorrow I need to get pictures of my UFOs so I can track my progress

Glen QuiltSwissy said...

You bet I am on fire! I am loving this taking names group and can't wait to get my blocks to work on!

Glenda in loiuisiana otherwise known as glen

Deb@asimplelifequilts said...

I save batting chunks too... but I'm going to try some batting fusible tape to be lazy AND frugal. LOL Bring it on - 2 days to DaGMT.

Kelli Fannin Quilts said...

That is some good advice! I have used batting pieces, too.. but just overlapped them by about an inch, never stitched or fused them together. Wow, I guess I get the lazy prize. ;) I will chalk it up to inexperience, not laziness. Surely now that I'm in the know, I'll do it right. :)

Kate said...

I always use pieces in my table runners and placemats. Why cut up a perfectly good piece of batting, when I have all these bits lying around. Of course, it helps if you always use the same kind of batting so the bits are the same thickness.

cyndiofthevortex said...

I'm cheap and lazy too, I guess. I am a true convert to basting spray and never pin anymore. I also piece batting for small project but join them only using the spray to adhere them to the front and back of the quilt sandwich. It works like a charm.

Crystal said...

I also got a jump start. I hope to be gone several days in Feb - been snowed in almost 7 weeks now and really hope to spend DD's birthday with her mid-month! And I've just discovered spray baste and am using up my batting scraps, too. Isn't life grand?

Anonymous said...

I love this tip!!! I have so many pieces of batting- long narrow pieces I have saved for some reason or another. And now I know why! Thanks for sharing!

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