Between getting settled after our move and checking out our new home, I didn’t even get my sewing machine and supplies unpacked until the end of October. Some friends of ours in Minnesota welcomed a sweet little boy in mid-October, and it was the perfect motivation to finally get back to my machine. Since his gender was a surprise, I held off on starting anything until after he arrived, and I wanted to have it done before our trip over Thanksgiving. There’s nothing like a relatively short deadline to make things happen.
I didn’t have a design already planned, so I decided to make half square triangles (HST). HSTs are incredibly versatile blocks, and I figured it would be easier to decide once I could lay out the blocks in person. Little B loved helping me pick out the fabrics (girl loves fabric, I wonder who she got that from? 😉 ), and had just as much fun helping me lay out the design. It’s so fun to watch her excitement as she explores new things. Of course, much of the progress happened while she napped or after she went to bed, but I love being able to include her in my hobbies and work more and more as she gets older.
Of course, as with any project, it wasn’t without its share of bumps in the road. (What we be the point of doing it if it were easy, right?) I love to back my baby quilts with minky so they’re nice and soft. Unfortunately, minky isn’t always the easiest material to work with due its stretchiness, but I’ve got a handful of quilts under my belt and thought I knew the tricks to working with it. This particular piece of minky was different than the cuddle dot variety I was used to working with, though, and it kicked my butt. It seemed no matter how many pins I used, and despite using my walking foot, I was encountering major shifting while trying to get it quilted. My seam ripper and I were becoming the best of friends, and that’s never good. With the days before our departure numbered, I was incredibly frustrated and turned to the internet to hunt out a new strategy. The only new suggestion I found was basting spray. I was a bit disappointed at this point as a) I had tried basting spray in the past (albeit with different materials) without great results, and b) I wasn’t even sure I would be able to source basting spray in town, and a trip up to Jo-Ann Fabric in Kenai wasn’t in the cards. I decided if I could find the basting spray locally, I would give it a shot.
Lo and behold, Ulmers (our local drug/hardware store) came through! They have a small fabric/craft section in the store, and they carry basting spray. I brought a can home and that night after Little B was in bed, we opened up several windows in the house, donned our masks, and Papa B helped me get it basted. It only took a few minutes to get through the spraying portion, and I then set the adhesive with my iron as recommended by the blogger online. Now, for the moment of truth; I started sewing. It worked like a dream; my quilted layers didn’t budge. Thank goodness! Finally, I was back to forward progress, and I was confident I’d get it finished in the remaining few days before we left. (After the success I had this time around with basting spray, I think my prior issues were twofold; the first was not having enough space to lay my entire quilt out flat, and two, it was a different brand of spray so perhaps it wasn’t as effective.)
The day before our departure, the finish line was in sight. I had all the quilting done and just needed to get the binding sewn on. I plugged in my iron to work on the binding fabric, but nothing happened. I had just used it two days prior with no issue, but apparently the ol’ girl was done. For a cheap appliance, we had a good, long run. But seriously, iron, your timing was awful. I sent out a few text messages to some friends in town to see if anyone had an iron I could borrow for a few hours. No luck; apparently there aren’t many people around my age that own irons anymore. 🙂 So, back to Ulmers I went. They had several options and of course all of them were quite a bit cheaper on Amazon, but if I had to hold off on finishing the project until after our trip, the cost of shipping the quilt would negate any iron savings. Ulmers to the rescue again.
Ultimately, I was able to get the binding sewn on before we left. Phew! The final steps of hand stitching the binding onto the back and a wash & dry were completed in Minnesota, and I was able to gift it to its adorable recipient on our trip. Hopefully it will have a lot of cozy naps, snuggles with books, and forts in its future.