This week I finished up a patriotic quilt that I made to donate to a veteran who is the recipient of Green Zone Housing’s first container home. Green Zone Housing is a great non-profit organization that is located here in Montgomery (http://www.greenzonehousing.com). The project is designed to create a community of veterans who need a hand up in order to combat suicide and unemployment. Will Franks is the first recipient and is contributing sweat equity to get his container built. It’s a great project that brings a lot of people from our community together.
I knew that I wanted to make a patriotic-theme quilt, but I didn’t know how much time I had to get it done. Thus, I was fortunate that my friend Joyce donated the blocks, which were part of an old bee block exchange. I didn’t have enough blocks to make a whole queen sized quilt so I sketched out an idea and ran with it! Since I didn’t include a lot of measurements in the sketching phase, I had to run to the quilt shop several times (and also got 8″ WOF delivered on a Sunday – thank you, Amy!!) in order to finish the quilt.
The block was a clever HST-type of construction. There are two ways to go with this – you could make everything into squares or HSTs and put those together in a 4×4 grid (so a combination of 16 HSTs and squares). In this case, the block was constructed by putting squares onto rectangles and making sewing across the diagonal on the square piece (this is how Elizabeth Hartman constructs her hedgehog pattern). By this method, you only need 8 pieces. I’ve done it both ways, and I like the accuracy of trimming down my HSTs. I truly struggle to do this with the rectangle/square pairing.
Joyce had also given me several fabrics that I was able to pair with a navy blue Kona to piece the back together.
Basting is my great nemesis. I always have had trouble getting the backing fabric taut – whether on the floor or stretched on the table. Joyce gave me a hand quilting contraption and my husband was able to mount it onto one of the walls in my sewing room. It’s up high near the ceiling, so I need to stand on a step stool to get the layers attached to the muslin (I use straight pins). Stretching is a small price to pay for easy basting! It’s definitely not how the original equipment was designed to work, but I was happy that I was able to modify it to suit my space and needs.
This is the biggest quilt that I’ve made, so I was nervous about using my new contraption for the first time. It wasn’t perfect, because the quilt was too wide, but I was able to fake it and everything worked out. Since then, I have basted several tops that have been languishing and hope to get a lot of quilting done this summer!
I ended up quilting the quilt in clear poly thread. It was my first large scale quilting project with the stuff and the results were a bit mixed. I had a few tension issues because the thread wouldn’t stay on the spool and kept getting tangled up in various parts of my machine. However, I did like not having to worry about choosing between a light or dark thread or changing thread colors every time I went between red & white.
For the binding, I used some Cookie Exchange fabric that echoed fabric that I used in the quilt top. For the first time, I finished with perle cotton. It wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought to work with. In fact, it was pretty much the same as using regular thread. I always have a tough time threading the needles with perle cotton, so that was a small complication, and I also had to adjust how many times I wrapped the needle when I was making a knot at the end of a piece. Once was enough, and I still had to struggle a bit to pull the knot under!
Thanks for reading!