Ok, last post you got to witness the ugly truth of how long it can take to lay out a quilt so that it can be basted and prepped to be put through a domestic machine. Such fun! Now I need to do some basic base stitching so that it holds together, doesn’t bunch, or some other cockamamie shenanigans.
With a a pieced quilt (think more traditional blocks or patterns that are literally little pieces of fabric sewn together to make a square) you would “stitch in the ditch” around the blocks to stabilise the quilt sandwich. After a quilt has been “ditched” you can go nuts with free motion quilting.
That is a little simplistic, but you get the gist. A wholecloth, cannot really be “ditched”. My current project is another wholecloth. So I have made some design decisions where heavier threads need to go and will sew those areas first to achieve a “ditched” stable status.
Before I even think about stitching on the behemoth, I make up a practice pad that is set up just like my quilt. This helps me set tension, machine foot height, etc. I always stitch a few swirly things and a few “V” shapes to check how the thread is flowing. Nothing says wacky tension or other issues like circles with weird railroad track type stuff… So setting up the practice pad and fiddling with the machine takes about ½ hour.
Now the quilt is super heavy with the two battings and it is way larger than my table and I do not have any spare tables to shove up against the back of the machine to help take the weight off of my back, shoulders, elbows, wrists, and fingers. The quilt probably weighs in the neighbourhood of 5 pounds (2 kg) at this point and will only get heavier as I stitch and add thread to the equation. So to see if I can help my body a little bit I rigged up a clothing hanger with bungie cords and clamps. I also pushed one of my rolling bins up to the side to help out.
So far it is ok. A decent temporary solution. So now I am set up to “ditch” my major bits of quilt… Have my coffee, gloves, snips, etc at the ready and I am off and running!
Just got nice new quilting gloves! No more manky, gross, shreddy gloves! Thank you Stitching Post in Arrowtown!
Here is a little video of this part of the process… this part is just the basic stitching, pulling the threads through etc… and just think these are only the really basic shapes in the design, not the detail. This is probably about another 6 hours worth of work here…
After I have stitched in about ⅓ of the basic design, I need to bury the threads and rip out areas that I messed up on…
Lots of messy threads to bury! And this is just the beginning!
The burying of the threads and ripping of mistakes has taken about 7.5 hours thus far! Yikes! Here are some shots of my fun rippty, rip, rips…
So now I have cleaned up all the hairy bits. The mistakes have been ripped out, buried, trimmed, and marked so they can be corrected. So I am ready to set up and go again!
The tally for the hours on this post are…
Set up = .5 hours
Sewing the base lines in = 6 hours
Burying threads/fixing errors = 7.5 hours
Total hours for this segment: 14 hours
Total overall hours so far: 138.5
Additional materials cost: $20
Total cost overall so far: NZ$233.00
The cost will consistently climb as I have had to order more thread/needles/and paint…and the labour cost will grow quite a bit.
The sore neck and shoulders only lasted for a day or so! But there will be more where that came from…I have so far to go on this quilt!
I realise that no one really cares how many hours go into creating a work of art… But I do find the process fascinating. I am also hoping this will help quilters take a moment to value their time and energy. This is part of my mission on educating the general population and other quilters to value this art. It isn’t some magical process, but one that takes a lot of creativity, thought, acquired skills, and effort.
I forgot to thank my local suppliers last post! Big “Thank You!!!”s to:
Cathy at the Quilting Shed for the fabulous batting!
The Oamaru Silk Centre for the plain white cotton fabric!
The Stitching Post in Arrowtown for the Invisifil black thread!