The road ends, but the journey continues...

A Project for 'Now'

Often when I am stalled out creatively, unable to work on my main music or writing projects for whatever reason, or stressed out in the midst of life’s issues, I’ll dig through my fabric bins and baskets. The rooting about itself often gives artistic satisfaction and aesthetic relief in the form of color and design eye candy.
As I mentioned in a prior post, I needed a creative outlet during the ‘four weeks here’ part of my new Dad-visitation routine. Something to pursue requiring less focus than my Swimming with Swans related endeavors.  This lead me to begin work on the pre-printed quilt block fabric whole-cloth throw I’ve had in mind to do for quite some time.

1994 Fabricland allover quilt block print fabric

1994 Fabricland allover quilt block print fabric

About a year ago, I pulled out a large length of fabric kept in my stash for over 21 years. I finally cut into it and made some quilted potholders as a gift.
In my defense, I have to mention that I am a ‘purging’ fabricaholic.  What that means is that I periodically sort through yardage that hasn’t been touched in a while and give it away.  This particular length of material managed to survive several of those purges and I was more than thrilled to begin using it. Construction of those potholders gave me experience in machine quilting pre-printed fabrics using my new Bernina walking foot – installed correctly.
This is a very important distinction since after finishing the simple outline stitching on my Coffee Beans Means Love to Me quilt I realized the struggles I encountered were due to my own incorrect installation of that sewing machine attachment.
So, both Coffee Beans Means Love to Me and those small potholders taught me how to go forward with making the rest of the allover quilt block print fabric into its originally intended purpose – an ‘easy’ whole-cloth quilted throw.
I decided to challenge myself by using different materials and assembly methods.

  • Wonky pre-printed block fabric as top (straight of grain is often distorted since pattern is not woven into the material)
  • Poly-cotton batting (more like traditional low-loft batting)
  • Quilt-sized backing fabric (eliminates need for piecing)
  • All materials NOT pre-washed (launder after completed to see how this method differs)
  • Combination spray basting and hand basting
  • Machine quilt using properly installed walking foot (!)

wrinkled poly-cotton batting

wrinkled poly-cotton batting

ironing wrinkled poly-cotton batting

use press cloth to iron poly-cotton batting

One evening last week I ironed the backing fabric and the crumply parts of the poly-cotton batting; then spent an entire day on the living room floor putting together the quilt sandwich, getting it ready to machine quilt.
poly-cotton batting ready to use

poly-cotton batting smooth and ready to use

Once prepared, I zoomed through the vertical stitching, then on to the horizontal stitching. I noticed no gunking up of the needle from the spray basting. This is a welcome discovery as the spray basting with hand basting kept the quilt top, batting and backing from slipping and made for a pleasant sewing experience. I will definitely use this product in my future quilting projects.
Whole-cloth quilt top basted and ready for straight stitch machine-quilting

Whole-cloth quilt top spray & hand basted; ready for straight stitch machine-quilting

ready to spray baste

ready to spray baste

quilt ready for horizontal stitching

Quilt ready for horizontal stitching

check bobbin thread on Bernina

My sticky note suggestions often get ignored

Even though after each sewing session I put out a reminder to check the bobbin thread…I didn’t. This resulted in the last eighth of the fourth row of horizontal stitching to come up short of being finished.
No matter.
It’s a good place to stop for now.


  1. Lulu

    Wow! What fabulous work, Laura. Your quilt-in-progress is beautiful! I’m in admiration of your many creative talents.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Aww shucks…..

  2. Anna Scott Graham

    I love this post for many reasons, the largest being the ‘now’ element; how important it is to engage with where we are currently, regardless of what waits on the horizon.
    Now, for the quilt nitty-gritty… I am intrigued by your good fortune with spray basting. I’ve never tried it, but man I’m tempted; even basting a little table runner last night with safety pins gave me fits. Can’t wait to hear your opinion of what happens once it’s been washed, as I still do nearly all my work with unwashed fabrics and so far, terrific! I’m also curious about your thoughts toward a pre-printed design; just how wonky is the finished product? Inquiring minds are eager to know! 😀

    • laura bruno lilly

      Aha, most of your ‘inquiring mind’ questions are mine also, so will definitely keep you in the loop with answers as they occur.
      The spray basting I had tried years ago and ugh…a clumpy mess. So this new generation of stuff has a lot of potential for use, I think. We’ll see how it emerges from the wash and dry routine. Yeah, I’ve had it with the quilt safety pins after my scare of having ruined my Coffee Beans Means Love to Me quilt…never again!
      The pre-printed design fabric is always a gamble. I’ve used it in smaller projects since you can usually cut the best area to fit your needs…this one looks spot on vertically, but the wonkiness seems to manifest more strongly horizontally (meaning, if you look at it sideways, it doesn’t look straight, but if you look at it up and down, it looks normal – I think the eye just adjusts its view better on that perspective) Again, it will be interesting to see how it comes out after being washed and dried since the printed pattern isn’t 100% on grain…
      But this project is a fit for ‘now’!

  3. Linda W.

    Great look at your process, Laura. Your quilt is beautiful!
    I haven’t done any hand stitching lately, with the exception of doll-sized pillows. I crocheted a few flowers to go on presents.
    I did a purge on my yarn recently. I gave away some yarn that someone had given me last year. She had used it on various baby blankets. Since the colors were those that I probably will never use, I packed it up neatly and gave the bags to Goodwill. I only gave them the skeins with labels.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Let’s here it for healthy purges that contribute to the creativity of others! (including those who purged!)
      I always enjoy seeing your crochet work and tiny hand stitched creations on your blog. It being so hot now, your production is probably waning, though temporarily, I’m sure.

© 2024 Laura Bruno Lilly

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑