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The Witch Quilt: A Finished Project

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.

Witch quilt 03

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.

Anyway.

I finished the freeform quilting:

Witch quilt 01
I quilted around the witches and then in loopy swirls in the sashing.

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.

Witch quilt 02

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!

Witch quilt 04 binding

It only took me three years!

Do you have any unfinished-for-years works in progress?

Comments

Amy Coose

Amazing, Amy! It's fabulous!

Margot

Good things take time - the witch quilt is gorgeous and cute!
(Some of my quilts are going to be VERY good, the amount of time they have been languishing in boxes at the back of the cupboard - I don't want to confess just how many of them there are....)

Pamela K.

Love the quilt! I have plenty of UFO's. It's cause for celebration when I actually finish a project. :-) I have been tempted to sew my binding by machine front and back, but am nervous about it. Even though it would cut so much time off my sewing. With this blog entry, I am motivated! Thanks for sharing!

Wendy

Must come back and explore your blog more thoroughly at the end of this writing month, but did want to pop in to see if you'd posted photos of Italy yet. Now, must respond to your question: one of the novels I am working on this month happens to be one I started, haltingly, eons ago. I am hoping I don't peter out on it entirely, but perhaps it just needs more time to simmer. Great projects can be like that sometimes. Love your Halloween quilt!

Carol storch

How can you order the fabric

Lucia

How big is the finished quilt. I have the same witch fabric and would love to make a quilt

Kim

I love the fabric i too have a interest in witches do you know who the fabric is by? I would to locate it

Chris

Here it is 2020 and I just found your quilt. Right before Halloween. I just bought some dinosaur fabric because one of my grandsons loves dinosaurs. I like what you did with the sashing and I think this idea may work with the fabric I have. I have many UFO’s but still start new projects. Thank you for the inspiration.

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