M’s Quilt – BEHIND SCHEDULE – But I’m OK With That

Let me get this out there in the open first thing. I’m behind schedule. I wanted to have M’s quilt quilted, bound and finished before today. Didn’t happen.

I could tell you a million different reasons why I let things get in the way and all the unforeseen interruptions that occurred. But I’m not going to waste your time or mine doing that. What I am going to say is that I own it and I’m OK with it. Things come up. Things happen. I’m tired of fighting the flow and taking it out on myself when I don’t meet my own expectations. Do you ever do that?

OK. So where am I in the process? I am a bit over 1/2 way finished with the quilting, which I decided to do wonky echo quilting (using King Tut #918 thread) instead of wavy horizontal or vertical line quilting. Once the quilting is finished, I will apply the binding which is a randomly pieced scrappy binding made from the colors/fabrics that were used to make the M and accent strip. The binding has already been pieced and prepared, so it is ready to go (a PLUS!). I really like the look of the variegated thread on the solid navy background. I can’t wait to get it finished and wash/dry to see it all crinkly.

I think if I push myself and work really hard I might be able to get it finished today. But if I’m being honest, I need to admit that I already know that’s not going to happen. (See where I’m going with this self-honesty thing?) With all the uncertainty in the world right now, virtually EVERYONE is under incredible stress. That includes me. I was never a particularly fast quilter to begin with. Stress makes me even slower. You know what? That’s a perfectly normal response to stress.

SEW. What am I going do to help myself so I don’t revert to Perfection Paralysis and allow M’s quilt to join my UFO pile? I’ve decided I’m going to lower my expectations of myself–and of others. I’m going to stay true to my personal values but I’m also going to cut myself–and others–some slack. This is all new territory we are in and no one knows when it’s going to end. Sew. YES, I’m going to sew, quilt and work at a healthy pace, allow my process to just be. It will BE imperfect and I’m going to celebrate that because I AM IMPERFECT. I’m going to take breaks when I need to go for a walk. I’m going to spend time with and care for our chickens, goats, and seeds I’m starting for our garden. I will make frugal but tasty and nutritious meals for my family every day. I’m going to take care of myself so I can “be there” for Jeff (husband) and Jacob (son who is a college student finishing his semester online from home) and 3 adult children serving active duty in the military. I’m going to do my very best to be kind, extend love and encourage others. I’m going to look for the good and I believe I’m going to find a LOT of it everyday.

When I feel myself getting sucked into negative thinking and doom & gloom, I’m going to come back here and read this post to remind myself how to get back on/stay on track.

No matter what the situation, giving up is never a good answer. We can always choose to tweak, adjust or even change course entirely. But as long as we remain honest, stay responsible for our own choices and keep moving forward, we retain our own personal power and dignity. With that there is peace and satisfaction at the end of every day.

OK. Enough about me. How about you?

What are you going to do to take care of yourself and keep moving forward?

What do you think about M’s quilt so far?

As always, I absolutely value and appreciate constructive comments and sharing. Please remember that in order to protect the blog and my readers from hideous spam posts I must approve each comment that is submitted. I have numerous responsibilities, so sometimes it takes a bit for me to get to reading and approving posts. Thanks in advance for anything you care to share. It means a lot to me.

How I pieced a utility/throw quilt on my longarm quilting machine

Recently I pieced this utility/throw/snuggle quilt for my eldest son.

Piecing...on the longarm.

Laid out over the quilting machine

Lighting muted to show quilting texture on top

Back Side -- Sample of the Freehand Quilting Textures

Once I finished piecing the quilt on the longarm, I used the long rectangular strips as “freehand practice blocks,” doing something different in each strip/rectangle.

I have received numerous requests for how to do the piecing on the longarm What I am able to provide by way of  free instruction is limited to text description.

TERMS OF USE: This basic process is presented “as is” and does not constitute any type of warranty or guarantee for your outcome.  If you choose to use my process, you agree that you are using it at your own discretion, at your own risk and that you alone are responsible for your results.

My basic process for piecing on the longarm:

Backing fabric loaded on the longarm.

Quilt batting loaded on top of backing fabric.

Begin piecing top (on top of the batting & backing).  Personal side note: My favorite thread to use for piecing on the longarm is Superior So Fine.

Select a variety of strips, allowing two strips (same width of strip, but differing lengths) per row.  By having differing lengths, the center/off-center joins of each row will be staggered.

For each 2 strip (per row) section, I pressed the short, raw edge of one strip under (to the wrong side) 1/4″ — this is what will form the join in that row.

FIRST ROW: Lay fabric pieces right side up on top of batting, placing the pressed short edge of the one strip over (overlapping)  the other strip’s raw, short edge by 1/4″.  This is the row’s center (off-center)  join.  It can be be off center or wherever you want but please make it a DIFFERENT place in each row to eliminate bulk build up at the joins. Secure with a few pins.  Turn on channel locks of the longarm.  Stitch across the top edge of the pieces making sure not to hit any pins and going at a slow pace, smoothing as you go.  You may wish to remove the pins as you go or after you have finished stitching across the row. Once you get to the other side of the row, turn off the channel locks, go back to the center join and topstitch the pressed edge (center join).  Pull up the center join/topstitching threads as necessary, as you go.  I like to tie them off and bury them as I go using a Spiral Eye Needle.

ALL REMAINING ROWS: Row by row, lay the two strips wrong side up on top of the previously stitched row with the pressed short edge on the bottom and raw short edge on the top at the “off center” join. The raw short edge should overlap the pressed edge by 1/4″. Place a few pins across the strips (out of the way of  the stitching line) to keep the strips from shifting during the stitching process. Channel lock stitch 1/4″ (long raw edges) across the width of the quilt. You may wish to remove the pins as you go or after you have finished stitching across the row. Once you get to the other side of the row, turn off the channel locks.  Bring your iron over to the longarm. Press the long seam all the way across to set the seam.  Open and press the new row forward, toward you and on to the batting so that fabric is now right side up and the next row is formed.  Bring your longarm back to the center join and topstitch the pressed edge (center join).  Pull up the center join/topstitching threads as necessary, as you go.  I like to tie them off and bury them as I go using a Spiral Eye Needle.

Repeat as often as needed until the quilt reaches the length you desire, advancing your backing & batting on the rollers as necessary.

LAST ROW: Stitch 1/4″ from bottom edge.

Keep in mind that the piecing/stitching also acts as quilting and it is visible on the back (as rectangles).

Now go back and fill in all those rectangles with lovely freehand quilting!

Happy stitching.

About this technique: I am NOT the first to “piece” a quilt on the longarm. I learned the basics  from Deb Levy through her videos available to “Premium (paid) Members” at MQ Resource.   HOWEVER, my method is not exactly the same as hers.  Additionally, Deb stated in the video that piecing on the longarm was not original to her.  She did not say who was first, nor do I know who was.  Further, what I learned from Deb did not involve the center/off-center joining strips together within the rows. She demonstrated the sewing of single strips which were complete rows themselves.  I don’t know if others have done the ‘join’ or not.  Certainly, someone out there may very likely have thought of it. But no one ‘taught’ that part to me, nor did I ever see, hear, read about how to do it.  It was just something I thought to try when I was trying the basic technique and it worked for me.

32 NEW Superior King Tut Quilting Threads available to order

Just released by Superior Threads, ON SALE and now available to order at SewThankful.com!

32 new colors of Superior King Tut Quilting Thread — SEW fabulous to quilt with!

32 New Colors of Superior King Tut Quilting Thread