I was going to say that this is my second quilt finish for January, but somehow we have slipped into February already! First finish for February then, and certainly not too late for a polar bear/snowflake themed quilt. :) Originally I had hoped to have it finished by Christmas, but since there are no trees or lights or ornaments in the design, we're still good, right?
The fabrics used are, of course Brrr! by Laurie Wisbrun (which I think I've mentioned a few times ;) for the panel and the binding, along with Kona Iron and a similar shade gray fleece for the backing. Finished size is approximately 55" x 75".
See that light blue colour in the top right in the photo below?? That's called blue sky. Something we haven't seen around here much lately. :)
As you can see, I quilted straight-ish vertical lines in the gray sections, and what you can't see very well is the couple of straight lines in the Brrr! panel, one on either side of the two main vertical seams. I'd planned to do the horizontal seam lines as well, but honestly I ran out of steam and decided that it was enough as is!
My favourite part of the quilt is the binding. I used two of the fat quarters from the Brrr! bundle and it was more than enough to bind this quilt. I had set them aside right from the start, not wanting to use the striped fabric in the disappearing 9-patch panel. And it is so perfect for a binding. I just love it!
I used a different method this time for joining the two ends of the binding strips. I despise that part of quilt making, getting those two ends lined up and seamed together. I remembered that I had pinned a tutorial for "French binding" and decided to give it a try. This method has you create a pocket at the start of the binding strip, which you eventually tuck the other end into. I have to say, it worked great! It does create a rather bulky spot there, and it's more noticeable (probably only if you're looking for it), but for me it might be worth it and I think I'll definitely do it again on future projects. You end up with a spot in your binding that looks like this:
This post is getting quite long, but I do want to leave you with a few points on my experience working with a fleece backing:
- the fleece I used was really stretchy, and I ended up having to re-baste the quilt because I had stretched the fabric too much when taping down - all went great until I removed the tape and the backing pulled in. Ooops! I'd say don't stretch the fabric at all, just make sure it's flat and smooth with no wrinkles or creases and tape it down like that.
- this particular fleece (100% poly) had absolutely NO cling, not even with the batting. I wanted to avert as much shifting as possible so I spray basted the backing and batting together. I don't tend to spray baste but for this I would recommend it.
- after spraying the backing/batting together, I pin basted the top like crazy. Lots and lots of pins. I still had some shifting. I don't know if it can be entirely avoided, unless maybe I'd used spray baste on the whole thing? Jury's out on that one...
- the fleece adds a lot of weight and bulk (much more so than the minky I used earlier this week) and it was difficult to get through the machine. I won't be rushing to use fleece for a quilt back on another quilt this big, any time soon.
- I decreased my presser foot pressure quite a bit. It's normally on a '3' and I switched it down to '1'. It helped, but there was still quite a bit of pressure with all of the thick layers.
- one last note - I still hand-stitching the binding to the back of the quilt as usual, with no problems whatsoever.