Three years ago, I was in a fabric store one late-summer day and came across a witch-themed fabric that I immediately feel in love with. See, I sort of have a Thing for Witches. The first research paper I ever wrote was on the Salem Witch Trials, and I am drawn to novels about that time period. Also fantasy novels with witches. And horror novels.
Not to mention cute Halloween witches.
So I bought the witch fabric and I gave myself a challenge: to freeform quilt on my very own machine. I kept the design simple and the quilt fairly small, because my machine just really can't handle something very big. I found the perfect sashing and binding fabrics and even a black striped flannel for the back.
I pieced. And then I took a deep breath and I freeform quilted on my very own machine. It's not perfect, but it isn't bad for a first (real) attempt at something I find incredibly difficult. It's a process of balance between thread tension and hand tension and how smoothly you move the quilt top and how quickly you press the foot pedal. Plus, even with a pen I don't have the best of handwriting, and freeform quilting is sort of like writing. In big swirls. With a needle.
I finished the freeform quilting:
I was entirely happy with the quilting, despite its imperfections. I loved the way the swirls turned out, and how the quilting around the witches' outlines helps them to sort of jump out of the quilt a little bit.
Then I started on the binding.
When I bind my quilts, I start by sewing the binding (which has been ironed in half, so it's two layers at this point) onto the back of the quilt. Then I fold it over (turning it into a double French fold binding) and sew it, with my machine, onto the top of the quilt. The traditional way is to do it the opposite (sew to the front first, then fold over to the back and hand sew it), but I do it this way for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, my hand sewing is atrocious and I have zero desire to do anything about that. Second, it's much faster. And third, my method creates an extra little border of stitching, right at the edge, that I am fond of.
And since this witch quilt was all about trying something new, I decided to sew the binding to the front in a different way. Namely, instead of a straight stitch, I'd use the loopy stitch on my machine that I'd long admired. I dug out my machine's instruction manual so I could figure out which foot to use. And how to change to the fancy stitching. And I learned that I needed to use the double needle that came with my machine (and which I'd never taken out of its packaging).
So I figured it out. I did a few practice swaths of swirly stitching. I took several deep breaths. Then I started sewing the front side of the binding. Everything was going just fine, it was looking just like I had imagined, and it was working, it wasn't too thick like I'd worried.
Until the double needle broke.
Yes...I got fifteen inches of binding sewn onto the quilt with pretty loopy stitching and then I was needleless.
And at that point I just gave the whole thing up. Because by then it was only five days until Halloween and I still had sugar cookies to bake and Nathan's Aragorn cloak to sew and a half marathon to run and I couldn't face the thought of going into the fabric store and finding a double needle. I just folded it up and put it in the closet under the stairs (home of several unfinished quilts, in fact) with the goal of finishing it the next year.
Except I forgot about it.
Until a week before my trip when I was dragging out stuff from the closet under the stairs, and I found the suitcase but I also found my unfinished witch quilt. So what did I do? Pack? Nah. Not until the day before I left. Instead, I bought a double needle. And I reacquainted myself with how to use it. And I finally finished my witch quilt!
It only took me three years!
Do you have any unfinished-for-years works in progress?