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03 December 2006 @ 07:43 pm
It's a Quilt, Charlie Brown!  
The Charlie Brown Quilt has the BluesWhen I first thumbed through Denyse Schmidt Quilts almost a year ago, the Big Zig Quilt was the first quilt that caught my eye. Referred to by me as the Charlie Brown quilt, I just had to have it. But before I took my first official dabble in quilt making, I thought I'd start with something simpler than that and do Redwork out of The Modern Quilt Workshop. I didn't think I was ready for piecing and Redwork seemed simple enough in that all you had to do was take two different colors of fabric and decoratively topstitch them together. Simple enough right? Well, problem was that I didn't know if my machine had the capability to allow me to do free motion quilting. So as many of my great ideas end up, it got filed away for months and months until finally my friend discovered she was going to have another child, a boy. Her baby shower was coming up (it was this weeked) and I still had to come up with a gift. So what better way to force myself to do something than to commit to giving it as a gift. So off I went the fabric store and ten days later, viola.

Pattern: Big Zig aka the Charlie Brown Quilt, Denyse Schmidt Quilts
Size: 40 x 50" (more or less)
Fabric: Country Cotton Solids
Started: November 20, 2006
Finished: November 30, 2006

Notes: Quilting is hard work! The pattern is written as a queen-sized quilt so I had to do a bit of math (and some fudging) to get it to crib size. Instead of 83 x 97", I wanted it to be a 40 x 50". I cut up 4.5 x 4.5" squares instead of 11 x 11" as instructed in the book. I got all my pieces cut out and started assembling them. When I finished my first row I realized I goofed big time. Instead of carefully reading the instructions on how to line up the triangles that form the zig zag, I just matched up the edges and sewed away. Bad move. If you end up doing that, you'll have lopped off triangle tips when you sew your rows together. And that's not a good thing when you're trying to make a zigzag. So note to self, read the instructions carefully. Piecing everything together was pretty tedious, but since I was working on a smaller quilt with only 4 rows to piece, it wasn't that bad and went by rather fast (except for the part where I had to rip out the first row and resew it.

The Charlie Brown Quilt has the Blues

The topstitching for this quilt was pretty straight forward since it was all straight lines. But this was the exhausting and tiring part. Because I don't have a free arm or fancy quilting machine, I had to roll up my quilt and manuever it through my trusty Singer Touch-tronic 2000. It was quite interesting trying to get the quilt out of my way while sewing. Sometimes it was over my left shoulder, sometimes my right, sometimes just bunched up and shoved to the side. This is why basting your quilt together before you top stitch is super important. I hoped to get all of the topstitching done in one evening, but no go. I got 2/3rds done, but I was just too tired to continue and saved it for the next day.

The major headache from the quilting process was attempting to make the bias tape. My first attempt was to make continous bias tape using instructions I found here. And this is where, boys and girls, it is always helpful to test out a new technique on scrap before you try to do it for your project. I was going to originally bind the quilt with the light blue fabric I used for the background of the top. But since I didn't do a test run, I ended up wasting all of that fabric and had to resort to using the royal blue fabric and cutting and sewing the individual strips together. Once I finally had all my bias strips sewn together, I attempted to use my bias tape maker. I had no problem feeding the tape through. But my problem was in trying to iron the tape so that the ends met evenly in the middle. After many attempts and burnt fingers, I just decided to do the binding the "old fashioned" way and sewed down one side with my machine and then blind stitched the other side by hand. Not fun. (And thanks btw if you left a tip on how to use the bias maker -- I have a strange feeling (and hope) that my inability to use the bias tape maker isn't due to user error, rather, that it's due to a poor choice in equipment. I basically attempted to make the tape as you've instructed but it didn't work. So now I'm hoping it's because the Dritz bias tape maker is inferior to the Clover one (which I have just ordered).

There was much relief once all the stitching was done. The next part was the exiciting part as it was now time to throw the quilt into the wash and wait for the rumplely goodness to emerge. Here it before and after The rumplely-ness is pretty subtle and hard to see in photos, but believe me, it's there.

The best part about the quilt was that my friend loved it! What's even more exciting is that once her son out grows it, she's planning to hold onto it for her son as a keepsake. I think this is what I love most about knitting, sewing and just crafting in general, making things for people who appreciate and love them. The other exciting part for me was that I finally finished that second set of softies and was also able to gift them to her daughter this weekend as well. When she opened the box and pulled them out she instantly named one Pinky and the other Bluey.

So would I make another quilt? The answer is yes? Will I ever make a full sized quilt on my machine? I'm not sure. But more quilts will definitely be planned for the future. What's up next? Anyone hungry for a hem sandwich? I told y'all I was working on a sweater. Do you believe me now?

Hem sandwich
(Anonymous) on December 4th, 2006 04:26 am (UTC)
Ya. Just reading through that gave me a headache. You're much craftier than I'll ever be :). Gorgeous!

(Anonymous) on December 4th, 2006 12:34 pm (UTC)
Oh wow! This is impressive! I started one months ago and I still haven't quilted it or bound it. And that jacket is one of my favourite from Knitting Nature although I'm unsure about the sizing, seems too big for me.

Siow Chin
(Anonymous) on December 4th, 2006 01:47 pm (UTC)
Big congrats on getting through the quilt! And you made me feel better that yes, maybe the Dritz bias maker is wonky (and not me). In reading some quilt sites, I know there are a couple places where you send off your quilt and they sew the top but sorry, of course I never thought to bookmark the sites :( Gonna make the sweater? I know that one!
(Anonymous) on December 4th, 2006 02:42 pm (UTC)
wow, that is some quilt story! I think it looks great with the bright blue border. Great job overall.

and I can't beleive you are knitting that sweater and didn't mention it! I bought yarn for that sweater months ago, then started second-guessing on the color choice.. looking forward to seeing yours!

(Anonymous) on December 4th, 2006 03:03 pm (UTC)
la,la,la...love it! Even cooler than I'd imagined. I like the way it looks with the darker blue binding too...I'd never have guessed that it wasn't exactly how you planned it.
(Anonymous) on December 4th, 2006 04:03 pm (UTC)
beautiful quilt!! i love how modern it feels with the solid colors and the offset of the zig zags. i'm sure it'll be loved for a long time.

(Anonymous) on December 4th, 2006 04:59 pm (UTC)
The quilt is gorgeous. I actually think the royal blue binding is perfect for it, so maybe it worked out how it was supposed to. The sweater is coming along nicely. I can't wait to see more of it.

(Anonymous) on December 4th, 2006 05:43 pm (UTC)
Sooo cool!!! Congrats, you made your first quilt! I love the colors, love the pattern, everything about it. Did you do the stitch in the ditch thing? How was that?
Are you finished with the sweater too????

(Anonymous) on December 4th, 2006 07:23 pm (UTC)
The quilt is totally amazing! I am so impressed. Kudos to you for sticking through all the challenges to create such a thoughtful and meaningful gift!
(Anonymous) on December 5th, 2006 04:00 am (UTC)
The quilt is just gorgeous!! You would never have known the behind the scenes craziness just from those pictures. It's good to know all the gory details! :-) I'm looking forward to starting my own quilt, but I'm like you, taking months just to think it through.
(Anonymous) on December 5th, 2006 04:00 am (UTC)
The quilt is just gorgeous!! You would never have known the behind the scenes craziness just from those pictures. It's good to know all the gory details! :-) I'm looking forward to starting my own quilt, but I'm like you, taking months just to think it through.

(Anonymous) on December 5th, 2006 04:03 am (UTC)
very cool!!
oh wow...you did a fantastic job Angela. Your friend is so lucky. The quilt is a great gift and I'm sure it'll be treasure for years.
(Anonymous) on December 5th, 2006 04:05 am (UTC)
Re: very cool!!
Is me girl... I always forget to leave my name here when I comment :)
(Anonymous) on December 5th, 2006 09:16 am (UTC)
Your quilting is so good! I can't believe it's your first quilt! And oh my goodness, it took only 10 days? I have a teeny piece to quilt and it's been waiting patiently for months! opportunityknits
sandraknitstoo on December 5th, 2006 09:31 pm (UTC)
that quilt is so cute! i'm so jealous. i would love to be able to make gorgeous quilts like that.

(Anonymous) on December 5th, 2006 11:35 pm (UTC)
It turned out so fantastic!!! Man, I'm jealous of your skills! Maybe someday.....

(Anonymous) on December 6th, 2006 04:50 am (UTC)
um, wow... i am dizzy! quilting makes my eyes go all googly. ten days?!? you are a goddess. it looks fan-tastic - not that you intended to shame anyone, but it's going to put all the other baby gifts to shame. shame. shame. so awesome!

jess / figandplum
(Anonymous) on December 7th, 2006 04:21 am (UTC)
wow, it's stunning! and totally charlie brown. i have to hand it to you because quilting seems trul tough. (love the hem sandwich. what book is it hiding?)