Thursday, January 6, 2011

Quilted Potholder for Mom

My mom's birthday is three days after Christmas, and I usually like to make sure that her gift doesn't include any Christmas-related items.  I think a person's birthday should be their birthday, regardless of when it falls during the year.  But this year, I broke my own rule.  For good reason!  My parents host Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter dinners with my many aunts, uncles, and cousins.  My mom started to sew around the time that I did, so we've been learning together.  I thought it might make the holiday a little more special if I made her a couple of potholders to use during Christmas dinner.  Since we got my parents a combined Christmas gift, it made sense to give her the potholders for her birthday, just a few days early.

So, after much perusing on Fat Quarter Shop, I decided to buy Christmas fabric for the potholders.  Using Elizabeth Hartman's the quilted potholders design on Oh, Fransson!, I chose three prints from Colorful Christmas by Mind's Eye for Riley Blake and a couple of Kona cottons. 

I had the best intentions of finishing a pair of potholders in time for Christmas, but Santa's Workshop took over and I barely had enough time to finish sewing Christmas gifts, so the potholders got pushed back to an after Christmas project.  Then, it decided to blizzard, and my husband bought us snowshoes for Christmas (and I wasn't about to pass up such great timing), so I ended up only getting one of the potholders done in time for my mom's birthday.

I know, I am a bad daughter.  In my defense, it took me a lot longer to put together the potholder than I expected, so I'm not sure if I would have finished both even without the 3 mile snowshoeing excursion.  To make up for it, I took my mom on a trip to the local Bernina dealer to help her pick out a new sewing machine on her actual birthday.  I helped her ask the questions, took her and my Dad out to lunch to discuss, and she paid the bill—for the sewing machine, not lunch.  What kind of daughter do you think I am?  She ended up with a very pretty Aurora 440 Quilter's Edition, complete with a walking foot, embroidery module, and Bernina Stitch Regulator.  And she even offered to let me borrow it to quilt whenever I want!  But I am getting ahead of myself.

I decided to try freehand quilting on the potholders so I could get more comfortable with it and maybe eventually use freehand quilting on regular sized quilts (when I progress to making regular sized quilts, that is).  I had never attempted freehand quilting before, and I think it turned out pretty good.  I started out practicing the loopy motion on a piece of paper before I quilted the actual pieces together.  I was so nervous that I was going to ruin the quilt top!  There are a few unintentional sharp edges, but all in all, I'm happy with how the quilting turned out.

Best of all, my mom really liked the potholder, even if the second of the pair is still forthcoming.  I hope to finish it up on Saturday in time for our weekly Sunday Family breakfast.  I'm going to try out a few more projects that include freehand quilting to see if I can get the hang of making the loopy designs without any points.  And if that fails, I can always go over my mom's and user her fancy new machine! 

This project was also my first time cutting fabric on the bias, which hasdfreaked me out up until now.  What was I so nervous about?  After reading a couple of tutorials online, I realized that it was no big deal and cut out the strip without any problem or error.  These potholders have taught me that my fears of unfamiliar sewing techniques can be cured by the interwebs.  It's like magic!


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