I get stressed out when I have a lot of partially finished projects and planned projects piling up. To help myself feel organized and productive, I decided to work on a Dogs in Sweaters quilt, pattern by Elizabeth Hartman. I chose to work on it “full time” until it was done, so I can have a clear idea of how much time it takes me to complete a quilt. (Two days to piece, one day to quilt, a few hours to bind.)
I started with my collection of Dachshund fabrics. I’ve been gathering these for a while. For dog bodies I chose a fat quarter assortment of Essex Linen. There were plenty of dog colored neutrals in there. I like having the different textures on the blocks. I chose to use Michael Miller Cotton Couture in Linen as the background. I looked at the pattern and ordered the correct amount of fabric for the small quilt from the Fat Quarter Shop.
Once I gathered all of my supplies together, I started thinking about the 45″ x 60″ size, and decided the 45″ was too small. This will be a gift for an adult, and that just felt too small. I re-drafted the layout, deciding on 5 doxies, rather than 4.
The first block came together so nicely. 4 hours of work, and I was thrilled with how Frank looks. My always supportive college-attending son informed me that I am crazy. Duh.
I went ahead and cut out the next four dogs. Partway through I realized I had missed a step, requiring me to unpick three seams on all four blocks. When I chain piece, it allows me to make mistakes very quickly and efficiently. A little later I realized I had mis-cut some pieces. More seam ripping. Overall I had three errors during construction. I added probably an extra hour of work for myself through carelessness. Good lesson – pay more attention.
A quick note – if you are doing a quilt like an Elizabeth Hartman one with blocks going in different directions, be kind to yourself and chain piece them in groups where each goes in the same direction. It is challenging to do it the way I did, and I don’t know that the efficiency in chain piecing made up for the confusion I caused myself.
After all 5 blocks were done there was much celebration. Until I realized I didn’t have enough of the background fabric to complete the new layout. Ugh. You can’t just make a quilt larger and not need more fabric. Well, you can, but when you mis-cut the largest pieces four times, there goes your wiggle room. I did a little bit of swearing, then decided to add two heart blocks on either side of the center doxie. Perfect! And thank you to Allison at Cluck, Cluck Sew for the heart block tutorial. It worked perfectly.
So, here is my finished top. This represents 12 hours of work.
I decided to do a pantograph on this one. I found the perfect one at Urban Elementz, called puppy play. I don’t think it was designed to be a dachshund, but is a longish dog, so close enough. It went very easily, and came out great, even when my circles are not quite perfect. All dogs play with mangled balls, right?
Please take note – many of the dogs in the prints are dachshunds in sweaters. Perhaps my son was on with something, but I think I’m more in the category of genius than nutball. I guess it’s a fine line.
I was able to add the binding on the longarm, which was amazing. Life changing. No pins, no wrestling, just put it down and sew slowly. I pressed it to the back, and used glue to fasten it down. A little fussy, but quicker then pins. And I didn’t find a single spot missed after I stitched it down with my machine.
For the backing I chose to use my “Fuck Cancer” print. I’ll order more to finish my mom’s Flamingo quilt. I do believe I shocked a few members of my quilt guild when they got a peek at the back. Sorry ladies. Some situations call for profanity.
The quilt has been sent off to dear friends. They are actually Oscar’s breeders, so very special to me. I hope this quilt brings them some happiness during a dark time.