Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Leah Day has been doing UFO Sunday (see the button in the side bar) to encourage herself and her blog followers to get those UFO (unfinished objects) done.  UFO’s are common to most quilters (and other crafters, I suspect).  I know I have a bunch of them.  Everything from stacks of blocks yet to be assembled into tops to quilts that are pin basted.  Today I got one done that has been basted since last Christmas!  I got the middle row quilted and then got distracted.  In the meantime I have finished 2 baby quilts, four placemats, two notebook covers, a pillow and 2 art quilts.  But this quilt has been blocking me from making any progress on some larger projects.  So this week I decided, no more excuses, let’s get this sucker finished.  I just did.  YAY!  

It is now blocking – after it dries, it will need trimming/squaring and then binding.  

About blocking – I always do this to a completed top before I baste it, so I know that it is flat and square before I start quilting.  I also know what its dimensions.  After quilting, I block it again, trying to achieve something close to the beginning dimensions.  I use one or more tailor’s boards, which are made of corrugated cardboard and have grid lines on them.  That helps me pin the top square.  I dampen the top with water from a spray bottle.  This relaxes the fabric and makes smoothing it easier.  I pin the edges about every 2 to 4 inches with fairly heavy duty sewing pins.  I first roughly pin one edge, following a grid line.  Then I start smoothing the other sides.  I use the flat of my hand and stroke the quilt from the middle outwards – firmly but not too hard.  I don’t want to over stretch or distort the quilt more.  I use seam lines, sashing lines and the board lines to help me slowly work around the quilt until it lays flat and as square as possible.  I respray as needed.  I might have to go around the quilt several times, but it is totally worth the result.  I spray it one more time and let it dry – at least 6 hours, sometimes over night.  Ideally when I pull the pins, nothing moves.  Otherwise I do it again.

My finished quilt that is blocking.

This is the first larger project using my rubber finger tips.  I hate gloves and saw these recommended in a book by Nancy Zieman.  They are cheap, too.  However, I didn’t like that the fingertips weren’t free – so I cut them off.  I now have the grip I need, but my hands are able to do fine motor things like cutting and burying ends, threading the machine, filling a new bobbin, without having to take them off.  I find one on the thumb and one on the first finger of each hand enough.

Rubber fingertips I use to quilt.

Now to tackle the second quilt I have pin basted.  I am out of pins – so I really need to get these projects done before I can baste the other two tops that are ready.


Erilyn said...

Good work on finishing so many UFOs! I'm trying to get some out of the way too, but the journey is slow, and full of hazards :) Love the idea of a board to block your quilts.

patsroamin said...

Oh my gosh! I just finished a top that is almost identical to this quilt! The only difference is mine were Card Trick blocks, not as many points, and my border is a piano key. Colors are almost identical. Oh, and may I say I LOVE your quilt!!!!!! What is that pattern in the main blocks?

The Thompsons said...

Beautiful quilt! I love the black background against the rainbow.

Moni said...

Thanks for all the kind comments.

The background is actually a really dark brown.

The pattern is paper pieced. I got it here:

Danielle Hudson said...

Thanks for all of your great tips. Love the rubber thimble suggestion. Beautiful quilt!