quilty goodness

“Q” is for “Quilt.” “O” is for “Oops,” Part VI: Assembly Time!

The human female is back at work on the quilt.  A quilt is more than just the sewn-together pieces of the top, you know.  There’s the backing to consider, and the batting.  Batting is so important.  The human female is very, very picky.  She has been to two shops, looking for just what she wants.  (The craft room, as stuffed with stash as it is, apparently does not contain the Perfect Batt.  There IS one in there, butt it’s queen size, and it seems wasteful to cut a baby quilt out of it.)  She doesn’t want wool, as wool dissolves in Oxy-type cleaners and hellobaby quilt, with all the spit-up and leaky diapers that entails. She doesn’t want some weird, off-brand that she’s never heard of, because who knows how that will “needle?”  Some of the cottons are too thick for anything but machine quilting, so they are out.  No, it must be polyester.  Ah!  She has found a display with batts that fit her fussy standards.

Here is the purchased Chosen One, ready to spread out and layer.


Nota bene:  Her quilt is 48″ square.

Of course, she has not discovered this unfortunate fact until too late in the evening to go back to the store and buy one that is large enough.  However, rootling around in the stash like a desperate piglet has turned up a throw-sized batt that someone gave her once.  It’s not precisely what she would have chosen, but it will have to do.

(later.)  The “quilt sandwich” is all basted with safety pins in the middle (I was not allowed to help for some reason) and with thread round the edges.  It is ready for quilting!  Except for this bit:


Looks fine on top, doesn’t it?  Yes, indeed!  But on the back, a great lumpy fold of backing has been caught in the basting.  I wonder if she’ll notice before she quilts it into the finished product?

The quilt is now laid out on the ironing board, set low in front of the sofa, ready for stitches.  Time to find the quilting thread!   The human female is “pretty sure” she has a spool or three left from the last project.  Come, Sigyn, let us help her look.  Stick close to me, though–the craft room can be a scary place!


This is the right color, but it isn’t quilting thread.

This baglet is full of quilting thread, but it’s all the wrong color.


Sigyn likes it, though!  Oh, well, perhaps the right thread will turn up eventually.  Or she can buy a fourth spool..

While we are in here, we should look for the quilting needles.

(much fruitless searching through two boxes of quilting supplies and two sewing boxes later)   She has found them!  And the thread as well!


These are called “betweens.”  Between what?  The sofa cushions–what else!

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Pee Ess

I… I was a teensy bit mistaken.  It seems that the first image in my previous post was somehow reversed (Space Boy’s balloon should be in his left hand, and the young misses with their Geiger counters should be facing the other way.) So the embroidered blocks are correctly placed.  But all of the other faults remain!

As well, the gold-colored thread seems to have run ever so slightly in the washing of the blocks.  Such that if one peers very closely at the center block, it appears as if Space Boy may have peed his pants…

The human female is hoping no one will notice this wee problem.

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“Q” is for “Quilt.” “O” is for “Oops,” Part V: All’s Well That Ends. Well…

She did it. She finished the quilt top–and managed to do it without sewing her fingers together or burning up the motor on the antiquated machine.  Let’s have a look.

For starters, she has sewn the embroidered blocks in the wrong places. Compare with the original plan.  That’s not good.

finished top

It’s possible no one not privy to the original sketches will know, but it will bother her forever.  Which makes me happy.

What do you think overall, Sigyn?  Personally, I find it unsatisfactory.  The embroidered squares are too pale and the dark blue are too dark.   It’s very “meh.”  She says it’ll look better once it’s quilted, but I have grave misgivings.  It’s not going to get any better.

However, upon, closer inspection, I can see that, as far as my work on this project is concerned, it’s a small masterpiece.  Look here, Sigyn–all the little rocketships in the smaller dark blue squares are meant to be pointing inwards.


This one is actually headed off-quilt.  Hardy explorers, in that one.

And look at the larger dark blue squares. They’re the right size.  Now.  But that’s only because she had to re-cut them.  They were all too big!


I have the trimmings to prove it. (Told you the math was vague!)

The back is no better than the front.  I don’t know much about sewing, but I can tell that this is a good corner seam:

good corner

See?  It lies flat.  Now look at this one over here:

Bad corner

The first seam was sewn down in the wrong direction, so the second won’t behave.  Appalling!  Again, the human female swears it won’t be noticeable in the finished quilt, but I feel sure that with all of the poor execution, all of the frustration and despair, all the wonky cuts and mis-measurements, all the false starts and swearing-laden stops, this particular textile will be so imbued with negativity that the infant recipient is sure to bawl like Thor when he was a baby and would have his pudgy little fingers swatted for making grabby hands at Gungnir.

And we haven’t even gotten to the basting yet!


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“Q” is for “Quilt.” “O” is for “Oops,” Part IV: If You Make Something Idiot-Proof…

As I have noted before, the human female’s sewing machine is older than she is.  Kinda dinged up, some of the finish peeling, no fancy whistles and bells, no clever electronic brain, no fool-proof safety features–and the machine is pretty basic as well!   Still, it manages to turn out a pretty good seam.

foot up

Providing she remembers to lower the presser foot.  Tsk, tsk.  It’s a good thing that Mister Seam-Ripper is our friend.


Let’s try again!  Edges aligned, foot down, and…go!


The human female is pulling at her gray hair and muttering.  What’s that?  Oh.  Well, why didn’t you TELL me you needed me to hand you the pieces right-sides-together?


There!  Pat yourself on your pointy little head, mortal!  You successfully managed a three-and-a-half-inch seam!

sewn right

Or you would have, if you had remembered to check the bobbin…


I can see that it is going to be a looooong afternoon.  I shall have to supervise your every action carefully.   Take a deep breath and calm yourself, lest you fill this quilt with so much negative energy that the tot cries every time he sees it.

Here, let me help.  Tell you what:  I’ll match up the pieces, right-sides-together, pin them, and hand them to you to sew.  You can manage that, can’t you?

Proper pinning is essential. Most people don’t use enough pins, and the work slips.


No chance of that happening today!   Hogun’s topknot, woman!  Quit your crying!  Here–I’ll even feed it through the machine for you!  Do I have to do everything myself?


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“Q” is for “Quilt.” “O” is for “Oops”, Part III: Making Little Pieces out of Big Pieces

Time to cut the rest of the quilt pieces!  The fabric has to be ironed first.  Rats!  The human female has forestalled me by owning an iron that shuts itself off after sitting unused for five minutes.  I was hoping for some interesting scorchy smells.

This speckledy red fabric will be in the body of the quilt and is meant to be the binding as well.   Long, precisely-cut narrow strips are needed for that, so it is crucial that the ruler not slip during the pass with the rotary cutter.


Oh, too bad!  I assure you, I had no idea a sneeze was coming just then!  There is extra yardage, is there not?  (And Jotun snot washes out.  Mostly.)

Not so the yellow fabric.  No, you will have to cut most carefully.


You really are appallingly bad at this, aren’t you?

Sigyn, be careful!  The human female’s almost done, and I’d hate for you to be swept up in the tidying process.


There.  All the quilty bits are cut.  Norns’ nighties!  Look at how much fabric is left over!  I think there is more than we started with.


I shall have to get into the craft room later and hide it all, just in case the female has the least inkling of a notion to make me anything with creepy sputnik space babies on it.

Although that darker blue fabric isn’t too hideous, and I understand that lucky rocketship underpants are a thing.

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“Q” is for “Quilt.” “O” is for “Oops,” Part II: Cutting Out and Cutting Up

Having finished the embroidered blocks, washed them, and pressed them, the human female is preparing to “square them up” to just the right size.  Let’s start with this flying saucer.


After all the hard work of doing the embroidery, it is critical to trim the blocks correctly.  The motifs must be centered top to bottom and side to side. This is to be accomplished with the use of a cutting mat, a ruler, and a wicked-looking rotary blade.


Loki likee…   Here–I’ll show you where to cut.


Um, you DID remember to account for seam allowance, didn’t you?


No?   Eheheheheheh!  Brilliant!  First cut on the quilt and it is WRONG!  A block that will be nine inches across must be cut nine-and-a-half inches in either direction.  Look at how close those “zoom” lines are to the edge!   The human female has enough fabric to get the nine and a half inches she needs, but that poor saucer will never be centered now!

Hmm, how can we torture Space Boy…?


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“Q” is for “Quilt.” “O” is for “Oops,” Part I: Doomed From the Outset

The human female, in what in retrospect has proven to be a miscalculation on her part, made a baby quilt with hand-embroidery for the first grandniece. I’ve never understood the Midgardian fascination for cutting up perfectly good cloth, only to sew it together again in a different fashion, nor spending countless hours on an object that will be dragged about and subjected to a wide array of bodily effluvia, but at least the results were colorful.


This quilt Established a Precedent, so she was compelled to make one for the second grandniece.  That one featured three anthropomorphized ursines and their adventures with a small, blond, vandal…


When the grandnephew made an appearance, she once again set about creating a quilt with what she terms a “period kitschy” style.  That one had circus animals.  It must have been forgettable, though, because I can’t find any photos of it.

Well, apparently, there is another grandnephew, so there is yet another quilt in the works.


That’s it?  This is the great future heirloom and repository of toddler drool?  Vague scratchings and even vaguer math.  This could be bad.  Very bad.


The first quilt featured animal designs from the 1920’s.  The next two featured 1930’s prints.  The featured fabric for this one… Oh, Sigyn, look away!  It’s TOO HORRIBLE! 


Creepy Sputnik-era Space Babies!  Sigyn thinks the kitten in the space ball is cute.  I think this is going to give the child nightmares.  I must stop this monstrosity from coming into being—but how?

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A Quilty Post-script (Sigyn Speaks)

What did you think of Loki’s diary entry for yesterday? He let me see it. You know, underneath the helmet and the horns and the perpetual scowl, I think he might be a big old softy. About some things.

After we were done taking the quilt photos, a few friends dropped by. Yelp, of course, liked the blue “neighborhood” of the quilt. I pointed out that the Y was down around the pink part, but he wouldn’t budge.


मलाई चिसो कहिल्यै छु, तर यस रजाई सुन्दर छ।

Benno found his B in the mostly-black-and-white part of the quilt, which was quite appropriate.


After tinkering with the camera, the human female took this shot. Benno says it does a good job of capturing the sadness of no one ever having made him a quilt.


Poor Benno. We all made popcorn and watched some movies because it was pouring down rain and too wet to go out, but I don’t think it cheered him up much.

: )


Was it really only a year ago?

One year ago today Sigyn and I had our first date. We spread a quilt and enjoyed a lovely picnic—at least, until her harridan of a sister showed up.

Now we are cuddled up on another quilt, one the human female made years ago. (Why Midgardians feel it necessary to cut up a lot of perfectly good fabric just to sew it all together again is beyond me.)


It is, uh, very… colorful.

I like the green squares best. This one is green and yellow, which will do very nicely.


No, wait! This one is better. The plants on it look all prickly and fierce.


Sigyn likes the red area of the quilt and is quite taken with one particular patch.


She says the alligator looks friendly.

Hmm. I didn’t notice before… The “blank” spaces in the quilt have the Midgardian alphabet quilted into them. Here’s an L.


And Sigyn has found her S.


Sigyn, look! They’re right next to one another. It’s almost as if the human female knew we’d be coming along!


And in the center, two hearts, just for us. Happy Anniversary, my sweetling.


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