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This is my first ever quilting project. I have been sewing for over a decade but thought quilting was out of my reach.
I am legally blind so sewing perfect seams is near impossible for me.
Nevertheless, I've never been one to use my handicap as an excuse to not try something I am interested in. I read many tutorials including this site (thank you) and watched a ton of youtube videos to find tips and tricks for each step in this process.
I began this adventure with the intent of making a quilt for my husband and I. We lost a son to cancer six years ago and I wanted to make a quilt that incorporated things he loved as well as colors we love today.
I had a working plan for this quilt which will be an oversized king when finished but decided to do a smaller project to work out the issues I would need to overcome due to reduced vision so that our quilt could be as nice as it could be.
Our quilt will incorporate stars so I began by making one star block. Then another, and another and another. I didn't want to do the same star over and over so tried to make many different combinations using the same three fabrics. I ended up with 15 stars, each a little better than the last.
What was once simply going to be a table runner became a full-size bed quilt because I loved making the stars and became very personally attached to the project. As a result, I even gave each star a particular name. Some of the include: Sun Star, Chevron Star, Wonky Star, Diamond Star, Angry Star, Band-aid Star, Stained Glass Star etc.
Probably more info than you wanted to know but I really loved each one no matter how many imperfections.
Perfection wasn't what I was going for.
I knew I'd be making lots of mistakes and planned to learn from each one of them. My husband of twenty years has been great at finding unique ways for me to "see better" in order to accomplish my goals. A lot of my seeing is done by fingertip sight so he helped me make many personal adjustments to my sewing machine and table so that I could not only see where seams were feeding through but also feel them.
At any rate, by the 15th star, I was ready to do something with them.
My husband suggested using this quilt in our travel trailer (hence the name "Traveling Stars") so I had a surface by which to lay them out and measure the remaining fabric pieces needed to tie it all together.
Most of my star blocks did not measure close enough to each other to simply sew them together "as is" so I ended up sewing each to a large sashing, then trimmed them down to match.
I arranged them to look like the mismatches were purposeful and in the end, I love the look. A couple more fabrics were added for the border and then I set out to quilt it.
Sadly, because there were wonky stars and some odd seams, the quilt top did not lay flat on the sandwich. I hoped to be able to ease some of this out in the quilting process. Some I did, some I did not. And that's okay. I learned...and that is what was important.
I quilted this with both a walking foot and a darning foot. I cannot stitch in the ditch so went just to the side in all the major seams. I used the darning foot for some of the stars with lots of joints and for the entire outer border.
The invisible thread was a great idea in that any odd shapes did not stick out like a sore thumb. Unfortunately the invisible thread was totally invisible to me so the whole process was done by feel.
I cannot say I am sad about this because when I turned the quilt over to the back where I did not use invisible thread, I found I had quilted in some things my son would have loved. There were what my entire family agreed were several dinosaurs and even a decorated Christmas tree.
I could have never done these intentionally so I was pretty thrilled and amazed.
I really love this quilt and still can hardly believe "I" made it. My king size quilt top is underway and is much improved over the "Traveling Stars." I included a preview pic of it too.
Thanks for letting me share.
UPDATE December 19, 2014: I am happy to report that Jen is on a roll and has finished her third quilt. Click here to learn about "Daniel's Quilt". I can't wait to see what you do next, Jen! ~ Julie Baird
UPDATE November 10, 2014: We are lucky! Jen has just shared her second finished quilt with us. Please click here to see and read about "Interlude".