sewing

quarterly quilt retrospective

2016-q1-quilts (1)

At my day job, we have quarterly retrospectives where we discuss our successes and failures for the past quarter. I decided to carry over the practice to my quilting, to help document the last few months of “serious” quilting.

I’ve set myself a goal to make one original quilt per month in 2016. I’ll do my best to reach it, but obviously life gets in the way of free time activities, including my family and job responsibilities, as well as the ebb and flow of photography work. So far, I’ve exceeded my quota in 2016, sewing ~4 original quilts!

What Worked

  • Finding my style, as in, making enough quilts to begin gravitating towards specific quilting styles. Specifically, you might notice I am attracted to geometric, graphic, modern and contemporary designs with lots of solids.
  • Experimenting outside of stitch-the-ditch quilting. With the purchase of a walking foot about 6 months ago, I’ve improved my machine quilting techniques, and in my most recent quilt (the yellow one), I quilted outside of stitch-the-ditch. I loved the result.
  • Joining a monthly quilting class. Before I started attending a monthly sewing class, I had few friends and very little socializing with sewing. But now, I can attend monthly classes, watch a tutorial, and get lots of questions answered to improve my techniques. By attending the class, I was encouraged to experiment with paper piecing to produce a lovely yellow quilt! And I also picked up the tip to begin using better quality thread than I was using for quilting (Aurifil!), and I saw an improvement right away.

What Didn’t Work

  • It feels silly to admit I didn’t know how to deal with thread tails until now. I don’t know how I came across it (on Instagram?) but until now I’ve only been backstitching on starting and ending points of quilting, but I’m sure to bury thread tails from now on since it’s much cleaner.
  • In my paper pieced quilt, I had lots of bunchy spots where many fabric seams meet. I’d like to revisit this design and figure out how to minimize this issue.
  • I’m still working on my precision in both cutting and sewing a quarter-inch seam. I’ve improved greatly, and the purchase of a quarter-inch foot has helped, but I still find areas where seams don’t line up quite as perfect as I’d like.
  • Another technique I’m still improving upon is binding corners. I’m happy with my machine + hand stitching approach to applying binding, but the corners can be a little rough at times.

I like writing these things out, since it gives perspective on how to develop good techniques over time and I can go into my next class and make sure I ask the right questions to further improve! Anyways, enjoy all the photos and stay tuned for the next round!

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