Last Christmas I made 3 identical-ish American flag quilts for my family. They are small wall hangings. The kicker is I really bought enough fabric to make 4. I just never finished the one I planned to make for myself. So I decided to get that fabric out last week and finish that quilt.
Its hard to believe how much I have learned about quilting in just the last year. Previous to last December I had quilted via the knowledge from blogs. Because of this, I have so many tips and tricks under belt that it is crazy. The problem is that I was missing some fundamentals. At the beginning of this year I started taking Craftsy and in person classes. I joined a guild in my area all of which has taken my quilting to the next level. Last year I was only comfortable giving things to my family because my skills were not polished. Now I feel like what I produce is of real quality and presentable to other people.
This quilt is really a reminder of where I was about a year ago and makes me happy that I spent so much time practicing this year. This was a simple quilt but I remember it taking me so long to do each step. Now I know why! I picked the project up with some of the rows already assembled. You can see all the thread at the start and end of each square. I would sew each one of these individually with no chain piecing. Not only is chain piecing faster but it saves thread. You also get a much neater row when you are done. That was not my only snafu but lets not focus on bad technique.
I got all my rows together and the quilt up on the design wall. I quickly put all the rows together for a complete top. I had to decide how I wanted to quilt this one. Remember I have made this quilt 3 times before. The first I did free motion wavy lines (because I didn’t know that was a stitch on my machine), the second I did matchstick quilting, and the third I did mountains. The mountains were by far my favorite but I am not a fan of how the sky turned out on those. So for this one I decided to do mountains again but do a different sky.
Instead of filling the mountains with echos I decided to do some free motion quilting. I have gotten pretty good with the walking foot but am still a novice with free motion. I did some practice pieces then started to fill. The first mountain I did with swirls. I love swirls and want to become good at them. I then filled another with pebbles. This was my first time using pebbles in a quilt ever. Finally I filled a mountain with some random straight lines intersecting.
I filled the sky with loops. This is my personal favorite meander and the only one I would consider myself good at. I was sure to separate the mountains from the sky with a double line. I felt like one mountain line would not be enough to allow them to be visible.
I decided to hand bind the quilt. My hand binding is something that I want to be better at, so I figured with this small quilt I could take the extra time to bind this by hand. This is actually the only reason it ran into December. If not for the hand work I would have been done last month.