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I’ve been making a quilt for my Dad, since it’s his 85th birthday. I ordered the fabric online months ago, choosing patterns from nature. There are butterflies, bees, dragonflies, birds, trees and leaves, and one fabric is tree bark. Dad is and always has been a lover of nature. I got the top pieced quite successfully, and this week started to put it together with the batting and the backing.

I laid it out on the biggest table I have, since it’s not a big quilt, only single bed size. Designed more as a lap quilt or knee rug than anything else. I had to join the backing, so I did that first and laid it on the table, then the batting on top. I used Warm & Safe,  a rather advanced batting from America which is made of sustainably grown trees (more nature) and is also rated as being fire retardant, which I thought was a plus. It comes from The Warm Company, but this particular product doesn’t seem to be on their website yet. Then I put the quilt top over that, and smoothed it all out.

I’d decided to pin baste rather than thread baste, and used as many safety pins as I had. Then I took the quilt to the machine and started to quilt. Nothing fancy, just quilting round the edge of some of the blocks to start with. I had done maybe a third of what I intended to do, then got too tired and went to bed. Next morning I laid the quilt back out on the table. Disaster! What I thought was a nice reasonably smooth job looked shocking, with more wrinkles than a Shar-pei puppy. Nothing for it but to indulge in a spot of reverse sewing and start again.

This time I thread basted, lines of long stitches about four inches apart over all the quilt. Then I looked on the web for any hints as to how to get a reasonably good result. This was one of the best pages I found. Put the sewing machine on a bigger table was first, with clear space all round, and so that the weight of the quilt would be supported and not dragging against the needle. Closer basting also helped, other things I could have done but didn’t include spraying the table with a silicone based furniture polish to help the fabric move over the table evenly, wearing gloves so that I could manoeuvre the fabric better, and making an extension to the sewing machine bed so that I had a bigger flat area to work on. I decided to try without all these things since I don’t quilt often (actually I think this is only the second time). The furniture polish I would have done except I didn’t have any and it was Sunday.

Then, with some trepidation (I’d already done enough reverse sewing for one project) I started again. This time I’m pleased to say that the result was satisfactory, although more practice might have improved it a bit. Now all I have to do is add the binding, and the quilt is done. Oh, and I need to remember to take a picture of it when it is finished.

I titled this post Lessons Learned Whilst Making a Quilt, and I bet you can guess what the lessons were! As with almost everything in life, preparation is the key to good results, isn’t that boring?

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