Yesterday, I invited a couple girlfriends over for an early lunch and quilt pinning party. Angela and Sandy came over to help with Ang's kiddos as lively observers. Nick was actually pretty intrigued with the process. He came in the door asking how many squares are in the top.. I reported that there are 758! I made the favorite Provencal tuna salad from the How to Eat Supper cookbook, blueberry wheat bran muffins, and no-fuss Betty Crocker brownies. We snacked and pinned. and snacked and pinned and snacked.
The process is pretty simple. All layers were pressed, then the muslin backing was smoothed and taped to he floor. I prepped the room by rolling up the rug and mopping before friends arrived. Next the cotton batting was smoothed on top. The quilt top was sandwiched on top, smoothing from the center out. Ang and I started pinning in the middle and spiraled out part of the way before Sandy arrived to pitch in and finish it up. Casey even put in a few pins and took some pics. The whole affair only took around 2 hours.
No work for me today (hooray for long weekends), so I decided to jump right in on the next step - definitely the most time-intensive - the quilting, which is the part that binds the layers together. Quilting for this pattern consists of sewing 56 rows in one direction, then turning 90 degrees and sewing another 56 rows with seams on both sides of the quilt top seams. I read the pattern for her tips with this stage and began by rolling up one side of the quilt to the approximate center. The instructions are to sew long rows from the center out while unrolling the quilt. The quilt is so big and bulky that just rolling it takes a few minutes of fiddling. The roll fits easily under the arm of the machine. The tricky part is dealing with the tendency of the fabric to pucker and pull while going the length of the row. It is a bit frustrating to see the layers bunch up and takes some concentration to keep the seams relatively straight while the foot is trying to pull everything through.