More Hand Quilting Progress

I’ve been spending a lot of time curled up on the couch, stitching away at the Girly Quilt.


I’m hand quilting it in three colours of pearl cotton: pink, green and orange.


I had intended to use mostly pink for the quilting, with just a bit of orange and green here and there, but I didn’t have enough of the pink.


And I didn’t want to wait a month for more thread to arrive in the mail, so I’m using more green and more pink. The unofficial theme of this quilt is Work With What You Got. (Isn’t that a great video?)


A Leap Forward on the Girly Quilt

After a few days of slow-going hand quilting, I was ready to tackle a project with big immediate obvious results. I also wanted to tidy up some of the sewing detritus in the living room, as the clutter was starting to get to me.

So I finished piecing together the top of what I’m calling The Girly Quilt, and then I pieced the back, and then I sandwiched it all together, and then I tidied up.


This tutorial from Film in the Fridge is probably the best spray basting tutorial I’ve seen out there, and it’s very close to how I approach things. Although I don’t wear a mask when I’m spraying since I’m punk rock and like to live dangerously.

Here’s a rundown of my process:

  1. Move the ottomans (ottomen?), roll up the rug and give the floor a good vacuuming;
  2. Spread out the quilt batting and smoosh flat;
  3. Lay out your freshly-pressed quilt top on the batting, allowing for a few inches of excess batting along the edges;
  4. Pin the quilt top and the batting together along the top edge;
  5. Gently fold the quilt top back until you reach your row of pins;
  6. Begin spraying and smoothing: working in about 12 inch wide sections, spray the batting with the basting spray and then unfold and smooth down the quilt top, working towards your knees and out to the edges;
  7. Continue spraying and smoothing until you have reached the bottom edge of the quilt, and then go back up to the top: take out your row of pins and spray down those top few inches;
  8. Trim away any excess quilt batting and let the basting spray set for 10 minutes;
  9. Flip over your half-sandwich and repeat 3 to 7 to secure the quilt backing to the sandwich;
  10. Allow the basting spray to set for a few hours before rolling or folding the sandwich (I wanted the living room back in order, so I spread out the sandwich on the bed).

Generally good things to note:

  • Many spray basting tutorials suggest that you put your quilt backing right-side-down on the floor and then smooth your batting on top of it. This is how I did my first quilt in the past, and it was terrible: so much more difficult to make sure that the backing is smooth and wrinkle free.
  • The Film in the Fridge advice to use notches to ensure that your pieced back lines up with your pieced top is very, very smart. Do that!
  • Okay, yeah: I don’t wear a mask but I do keep a window open when using the basting spray. Common sense!

Also, when re-researching quilt basting tips and tricks, I found this tutorial from Color Me Quilty that involves using two boards and a table for basting, rather than crawling around on the floor. It looks like such a good neat trick and I’d like to try it sometime–once I have a table that’s long enough to accommodate a 50-inch-wide-plus quilt.

I would say, however, that the advantage to basting on the floor is that, after crawling around on my hands and knees, curling up on the couch with some hand-quilting was awfully nice.

Sleeves, and a Mystery

When I bookmarked this Chic Knits blog post, I re-titled it “Sleeve Genius.”

I was in need of a sleeve-related kick in the pants: I have two (two!) almost-finished sweaters that just need sleeves and final touches. Also, it snowed again earlier in the week–yes, snow in April! Thanks, Yukon!–which was another hint that sweaters are still seasonally relevant here. So: sleeves on sweaters happening now.

It’s not that the Chic Knits advice is particularly ground breaking. It really just boils down to two things: get comfortable and use stitch markers. But it was some much-needed inspiration.


(Please ignore the mural behind the futon. I rent. There is nothing I can do but bleed from the eyes.)

I settled in with some classics (The X-Files and Fringe) and tackled my Narragansett first. I added one thing to the Chic Knits advice, which was to work both sleeves at the same time. I think one of the reasons I hate doing sleeves is the whole they-have-to-be-the-same thing, so working them both at the same time was an easy way to avoid lots of counting and re-checking and trying to remember what I did on the first time around.

I was feeling great about progress on the sleeves. Things were going swimmingly and I was so sure this sweater would be done and on my body in no time. And then I noticed something funny about the body of the sweater.



The collar of the seater was cast on and knit in a 1 x 1 twisted rib pattern. The bottom hem is knit and cast off in a 2 x 2 rib. Huh? I can’t remember if this was a deliberate move–if I cast off the body not in pattern because I hate working 1 x 1 twisted rib. Or did I just screw it up? I’m just not sure.

I have decided to cast off the sleeves in the correct 1 x 1 twisted rib, and if that amount of 1 x 1 twisted rib doesn’t make me want to die, then I’ll frog the bottom and finish the sweater properly.


I don’t have a quilting room/ studio–except in the sense that I have a quilting room which is also a living room and a dinning room and a library, etc. etc.. The one bedroom apartment I’m in right now is a big step up from the one room cabin I lived in for a few years, but it still feels small quickly once I open up the sewing machine table, and set up the ironing board, and set up the clothes rack for fabric, and take over the table with my cutting mat.


A couple of days ago, I became sick of all the mess and extra stuff out in the room. I moved two small projects forward to the hand quilting stage, so that I could pack things away and have a few low-impact things on the go. There’s the top and bottom for the Modern Crosses cushion I’m making, as well as another cushion top to match the first quilt I made a few years ago.


I used 505 basting spray to hold the sandwiches together. I’m a big fan of this stuff: better quilting through modern technology! The sandwich backs are pieced out of that creepy teddy bears fabric.

I really like this stage of a quilting project. It’s so nice to just settle into the couch with a project on my lap.

Modern Crosses Cushion

I hit the pause button on the pink and orange quilt I’ve been working on. The top is now pieced into four strips, waiting for me to figure out what to do for the backing–a not particularly easy question to answer when the nearest quilting shop is 550 km away.

In the meantime, on to the next thing: this afternoon I started piecing together a cushion cover. Someday I’d like to make a quilt that coordinates with my very traditional living room rug, which sort of goes against my fondness for very bright, very rich, very fun quilting fabrics. So I picked up half a dozen fat quarters recently just to play around with.

Probably should have vacuumed before taking this photo?

Probably should have vacuumed before taking this photo?

I’d like to pick out the blue and cream shades in the rug–more red would just be overwhelming. I love the look of Modern Crosses quilts; I had been ogling pictures of them without thinking about instructions or a specific pattern, so it sort of blew my mind when I read this post and discovered that Modern Crosses are just a variation on the log cabin block. That’s just too easy! Of course I’d love to get the book with the official instructions, but I’m not letting myself buy any new books until after I’ve moved in a few months.


So for now I’m just making a little 16 by 16 cushion cover and figuring out the crosses for myself–with the occasional silly mistake.


I find these blacks way too busy with the patterned backgrounds. I have such a funny mental block when it comes to picking solids and neutrals–I’m so into the patterned fabric that I forget to choose a few plain fabrics that would help the patterns really stand out. This is why a test cushion is a good idea for me–when it comes time to shop for materials for the full quilt, it will help guide my usually impulsive fabric purchasing tendencies.