Tokyo Subway Top Complete

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Tokyo Subway quilt top is finally complete! I started to work on this quilt at the inaugural AMQG quilt retreat, shortly before leaving for a month long trip to Japan, where I would be working the majority of the time in Tokyo. I thought it would be a fitting reminder of the time that I spent there. Little did I know, it would be a trip I would never forget! One day before I was scheduled to leave, the fifth largest earthquake in recorded history occurred just 200 miles north of where I was living. Prior to that week I had never been in an earthquake in my life. By the end of the week I had been in four earthquakes (all greater than 6.0, including the 9.0) and several dozen aftershocks. I was extremely lucky to be far enough away from the epicenter that the Tsunami did not impact where I was. The devastating images that came out of the area north of us were unfathomable. My heart goes out to all those whose lives were impacted by the quake and subsequent tsunami and nuclear disaster.

This past weekend we held the 2nd AMQG quilt retreat at the Wimberley Quilt Ranch and I was able to finally finish piecing the top. With the exception of two fabrics (I'll never tell which ones!), I used fabric that was from my stash. My fabric addiction, ok hoarding, finally paid off!

Two things that I did on this quilt I will likely never do again. The first is that I did not chain piece. While I felt it was appropriate for this particular top, because it would have been impossible to keep all the blocks straight had I chain pieced, when you don't chain piece, the start point for every seam is not locked as tightly as when you do. This lead to several spots where I had to redo the seams because they were coming apart. (I'll try and post an example image of this later.)

Second, I pressed the seams open. While the modern art movement has embraced pressing the seams open, I do not like it. First of all, it is cumbersome to do. Secondly, it made matching the seams difficult. Thirdly (is that a word?), when you insert the pins to match the seams, you have to put the pin heads on the outside of the fabric (see image to the left). This makes it difficult to sew over the seams with your quarter inch foot. It also caused me to break many, many needles. Normally, when I pin, I put the pin head on the fabric side, and make sure the tip of the pin is just about 1/4 inch from the edge. This way, when you sew over the pins, you are barely sewing over the tip of the pin, which can move out of the way if need be. When you put the pin heads outside the fabric the pin seems less free to move around. Next time I will stick to pressing seams to one side.

Checkout some more pics here.

Now, onto quilting it....

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