* To see the overview of this Master Crafters campaign click here
* To read more about the Brother SE-350 Embroidery and Sewing machine at Brother's website click here
.Brother SE-350 - Embroidered Music Quilt
Last fall, I heard a rumour that a friend from high school was pregnant. We've lost touch over the years, but at one point, she was one of my closest friends and I really wanted to make something for her/her baby. In about November, I went searching for fabrics, specifically wanting a fabric that was music print. At that point I didn't know if she was going to have a boy or a girl, and I didn't know if her husband (who I've never met) was the type to be anal about "boy" colours and "girl" colours, so I went with the basic primaries.
Fast forward to 2 weeks ago, and I'd yet to cut the fabric! The baby has been born, obviously, and is at least 8 months old! However, when I bought this memory card from my local Brother dealer, I knew there was a reason that I'd waited so long to start the quilt (other than laziness of course, that's a given!).
The mom is a musician and a composer who teaches piano and plays both piano and trombone beautifully, so I'm certain that the baby is going to grow up in a music loving household. The treble clefs on this card were perfect!
To start, I preshrank the fabric. I don't usually do that with quilts (which is debatable -- some people say you HAVE to, and some people say you NEVER should!), because I rarely use light fabrics where I'd have to worry about bleeding, and I really like the wrinkled slightly vintage look that quilts get when you wash them after quilting. But since I was embroidering on the blocks, preshrinking was a must!
I chose a square in square block design and got started cutting. I quickly realized that I didn't have enough fabric for the larger quilt that I'd planned -- oops. I recalculated my blocks, and decided to go with 5 across and 5 down, making a quilt that's about 43" x 43". One of the really nice things about this pattern is that you can make the blocks any size you like, and I chose 8 1/2" blocks. Then I sewed the blocks together, LOVING the stop/start button on the machine! So fast and easy!
After the blocks were sewn and pressed, I went about folding them into quarters and marking the centres.
I used the guide for my hoop to match up the centres when I stretched the blocks with the tear away stabilizer,
And then, because I'm paranoid, I also lined the centre marking up with the needle as well!
Once I'd embroidered the centre of all the red squares, I pieced the quilt squares together. Again, the stop/start button was AWESOME! (Please note that patchwork is apparently NOT my forte! My squares don't look nearly perfect!)
At that point I realized that I really didn't have enough of the backing, so I started piecing that as well. I did three long strips across the back, two really narrow and simple and one wider, with a square in a square block, and then I did two skinny strips going down the quilt, along the same lines as this tutorial
. I really love how it turned out - the back suits my personal taste more than the front! (The front squares turned out a bit more traditional looking than I was expecting - I don't know why I didn't realize that they would!)
I layered the front and back with batting in between, pinned, and then started stitching in the ditch. Remember, it's been YEARS since I've done much quilting, so I was extremely grateful for my clear thread to help hide some of my oops!
(Note that the walking foot is an optional attachment for the SE-350! my pre SE-350 machine was also a Brother, and the walking foot from it was compatible)
I stitched around each diamond square (the red and the blue) because I really wanted them to be the focus of the quilt, and I'm going to fill in the rest with stippling.
I did get started on the stippling, but ran out of time. I was really excited when I saw that the machine came with a stippling stitch, because I'm TERRIBLE at stippling. I've never been able to master it after lots of attempts, lots of reading, and even a class on it! I played around with using that stitch on this quilt, but decided the stitches were too close together, making the quilt rather stiff, and that's not really what I wanted for a baby quilt. It would be PERFECT for an art quilt or a quilted wall hanging though!
However, I could still use the stitch to help make my free hand stippling less random! So I used the darning foot to freehand stipple (Don't worry, I checked that the stitches would fit inside the opening first! I don't need any broken needles!
), and that worked pretty well. You can see the parts I managed to get done in the picture above.
Once I finish the quilting, I'm going to bind the edges with more of the blue music printed fabric (I was so glad the store still had some this many months later!)
Hopefully that'll happen before the baby starts school! (Though it would make a good naptime quilt....