Quilting 101

Last Saturday was my first quilting class and it went exactly as I had expected. I ended up already knowing 90% of what was being taught. All was not a complete loss though, I at least learned how to make edge binding, which I’m sure I could have found a tutorial online, but oh well. 
The class ran from 9-12. There were 4 other students, all middle aged overweight hens toting VERY expensive machines that they did not have a clue how to turn on let alone operate. Do you see where this is going? Then there’s me dressed in patchwork with my Janome in hand. You should have seen the hairy eyeballs thrown at me! So the instructer begins explaining the 9 patch square and strip piecing. We begin working on our projects, which must have been exhausting since we, meaning they, had to break an hour into the class to chow on chocolate covered bacon. Yes, you heard me right. Chocolate. Covered. Bacon. And we actually have the audacity to wonder why 90 million Americans are obease…but I digress.
By 10:00 I was ready to dive into quilting my layers, this is where shit starts to hit the fan. One would assume that if someone is an instructor for a quilting class they would teach you the proper way to be doing things. Yeah, was I ever wrong on that assumption! The lady told me to sew a basting stitch down the center of my piece lenghwise, then again crosswise. Then, starting from the top, I was to quilt down each row, rotate my piece so the horizontal was now vertical and continue quilting. I had a funny feeling about doing it this way but then again, she was the instructor, not me. Well my instincts were right. Even though my layers were basted together they started to shift and scrunch forming a horizontal crease right above my anchoring stitch. Awesome. When I brought this to the attention of the instructor she simply replied, “Yeah, that can sometimes happen. Guess I should have taught you to start in the middle and work your way out to prevent that from happening.” Gee, Ya Think!

Below is a picture I took of my *almost* finished wall hanging. I had run out of time during the class and was unable to add my binding which was fine with me since I planned on ripping out the stitching due to the enormous crease through the center. I was also unhappy with my choice of cream thread. I had brought along a spool of green but decided to stick with the cream because I assumed, there I go again, we would be taught free motion quilting, once again I was wrong. We were told to simply quilt straight lines…where is the fun or skill in that??

Despite my lack if enthusiasm for the top I was very pleased with the neatness of my back stitching.
After much deliberation I decided to quilt my layers using a zig-zag stitch. Even though my squares lined up to a T, I thought it looked sloppy when my quilting was not perfectly hidden in the seam. Hence my excitement for free motion quilting, plus it’s just way cooler.
Wanting to avoid another fabric scrunching incident I decided to use safety pins to keep each layer securely in place.
I was happy with how the zig-zag stitching seemed to not only add a decorative touch but also break up the largeness of the printed blocks.
Another concern I had was how drastic the solid fabrics contrasted with the printed blocks. Even though the brown and green coordinated with the print they seemed to over power the piece. By using the printed fabric for my binding I feel I was able to create a better harmony among my color choices. And just look at that mitered corner! Not bad for my first time! I used the *stitch in a ditch* technique to attach my binding which I nailed the first time…Thank God! Because I was not about to stitch it by hand!
The back of my finished piece.
Initially this was to be a wall hanging but since it is so small I decided to use it as an accent piece on my table in the living room. Turns out it matches the furniture perfectly!

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