Fifth Finish – Tender Heart

Heavens to Betsi! The comments I have received recently have been OTT with kindness, fanaticism, and sprinkles of love. I’m honoured that you care so much! Trust that I will be replying to each of my loyal fans individually, but sometimes I do fake carpal tunnel syndrome, so give me a few days.
Unless you’ve been living under a proverbial rock, Jennifer over at Ellison Lane is hosting a Modern Mini quilt challenge. The goal is to try something new on a small scale, so you can find out if it works for you. If you were to ask all my previous paramours they would tell you, “Molli doesn’t do small.” There is some truth to that, but for quilting, I decided to make some exceptions.
While I was developing my String Piecing Without a Foundation tutorial (um, hello, it’s totally I hate to iron friendly!) I knew I wanted to take my string block and turn it into something full of modern fabulosity. I started improv-ing, and designing on the fly, which is totally freeing and altogether anxious at the same time. (Ah, I can do whatever I want, but what if I totally fuck it up!?) In the end though, it may be small, but oh so big where it counts! The red-orange tertiary colours and blue tints really leave a girl beggin’ for more!

For a split second, when I decided to quilt the sucker, it was going to be some dense line quilting, as that seems to be what everyone else is doing. And then I was like, “Bitch, please, you are Molli B. Sparkles! You do your own thang.” So I kept on with the improv and did triple line quilting across random sections of the quilt. These lines help reinforce the fractured angles of the strip piecing, and like a crazy woman, are barely holdin’ it all together.

Oh honeypies, there are mistakes! You do not even want to see the back of this quilt! For some reason my machine decided she was gonna get all tense (performance anxiety?), skip stitches, and pull the thread out too soon. Silly me didn’t even look at the back until it was finished. I get it, lesson learned! I wanted to show you this so you know that mistakes happen to the best of us! However, remember, this is a mini quilt, and the point of the exercise was to explore something small, so you can enjoy the benefits of something big.
So on top of all of this, I machine bound a quilt for the first time. I’m not gonna lie, I’m not in love with it. Don’t ask me what tutorial I used because I just made it up as I went along. Yeah, I hear ya, it’ll get better with practice, but it will never disappear completely. It will never be so smooth it’s shiny, and I just don’t think that can be #mollisparklesapproved. With that binding attached, it finished up at about 23.5″ square, on the bigger side of a mini, of course, of course.

But y’all know what? Even with its size, Tenderheart is totally rockin’ out with it! Like seriously, he won’t give it back. (Sharing is caring, my ass!) In honour of him, and a few other creative directions that I’ll let you interpret, I’ve decided to entitle it Tender Heart. Look, but don’t touch, or else you may get Care Bear Stared.

26 Responses

  1. Vera says:

    Hilarious but back to business. I like the layout. I like the colors but what were you thinking with that quilting? I don't get it! You saw a guy with addidas shorts on?

  2. Ashley says:

    I can't. You have a care bear in your post. Why are we not neighbors. This post is too much. love your mini- and the quilting. Keep doing your own thang, girl!

  3. Leo says:

    Oh my two posts in one day … you do keep your readers busy … I'm still curious how everyone is always messing up their quilting – I can only say use an old trusty machine at least 20 years or so – never had any problem. Use the normal sewing foot, and go with straight, big circles, spirals and waves …. ohh and do pin moderately

    And I totally go with the "no machine"-binding assesment. No matter how well you do it, invisible hand stitching always looks better – and with such a tiny Quilt that's two movies at most …

    Did anyone doubt you can do string piecing without a foundation? But back to the quilt: I think the white and the red are a bit "harsh" – but yeah I know that's modern at the moment to do contrasts with white. If it ever shoudl become loose – you can do by hand a few tiny stitches and finish off by loosing the threads in the batting – I sometimes do that for star or pinwheel centers I don't quilt over so they don't stand out too much … or just trust the clinging abilities of the batting.

  4. Katy Cameron says:

    May I be the first to say that Tenderheart looks totally posessed?! I'm seriously worried about those glowering eyes…

    Anywho, that aside, I never think dense quilting, who has time for that?! Oh, and my entry for this last year? Well suffice to say the ends are still not buried. And there were a looooooot of ends sticking out the back!

  5. Kelly Young says:

    love your mini, love your Care Bear (is he sticking out his tongue??) and love your humor! awesome!

    by the way- the backing thing is something I had to learn the HARD way. ūüôā

    Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation

  6. Adrianne says:

    I'm gonna second Katy's comment about Tenderheart – I'm sorry, but that is one manaical bear. I'm almost afraid to say that because I have a suspicion he is the type to hunt down anyone who crosses him.

    When my sewing machine starts playing up, one (or all) of the following usually fixes it:
    – cleaning all the lint out of the bobbin area;
    – changing the needle; and
    – re-threading the machine.

    I'm with you on hand-finishing the binding – you just can't beat the result, plus I find it quite soothing. I do sometimes machine stitch the binding on large quilts, especially if I'm in a major hurry, but I'd rather not. By the way, I have been implementing your ironing method – love it.

  7. There is definitely something evil about that bear….

    Great quilt though – hang it on a wall and no one will ever see the back :o)

  8. Sooli says:

    Well its nice that your bear has a quilt now but I've never looked at bears and toys the same since I watched Toy Story (1, 2 or 3)! That bear is going to come alive at night and suffocate you one day – don't say you weren't warned!
    I've done a few quilts with machine stitched binding and I think they look a lot better if you use a decorative stitch to finish the binding off. I tend to use them on children's quilts (which will get lots of washing) or table runners, that sort of thing. If I'm making a 'special' quilt, then I would hand finish.
    Good choice on the random triple line decision. It works for me. Sparkle on!

  9. I love it! I love the layout and the quilting!! It looks fabulous!

  10. Kelly G says:

    This is just gorgeous. I love it! Another colour way to add to my I want to make it quilt list.

  11. I love the orange and the composition of the four sections. It is like a stained glass window. Great finish.

    BTW – hopefully my new blogger account works:-)….also I think I previously posted on the chinese restaurant in Newtown – if it was still there.

  12. Stephanie says:

    Love having found you through the hop – all quilt blogs should be this fun!!

  13. joanne says:

    What a wonderful mini! And I love your quilting! I wish I was brave enough to give machine binding a go!

  14. Ha, love it! Great quilt and great post! Way to go!

  15. Jess says:

    Ok – you are hilarious. And I despise machine binding too. I have tried, I have failed (or at least been disappointed) so I am sticking to hand binding. Why spend all that time on a quilt just to rush through the finish and end up with something sub-par? (I know people can do it better than I, but still, I can't imagine it's as pretty as hmm..invisible stitching).

    And I agree with some previous commenters – Tenderheart up there, he's part Care Bear part Chuckie doll…glad he's not in my sewing room giving me the Care Bear stare! Yikes!

  16. Well, Molli… I was so pissed about my first attempt with machine binding, but did not give up – and it does get easier and can turn into something wonderful with practice. After that first horrendous mess, I started using this method http://www.52quilts.com/2012/05/tuesday-tutorial-susies-magic-binding.html

    You just gotta love that Susie's Magic binding! After using this method almost exclusively, I can now machine stitch regular binding like a pro… or at least in my mind I can. Ha, ha!

    Love reading all your posts. Glad you are part of the hop with Plum and June.
    I gotta go cinch my waist now… Bye!

    • Am L says:

      Thanks for posting about this method. I did not like my first attempt at machine sewing a binding either, but with three kids, sitting and hand stitching a binding equals a stack of unbound quilts. I'll give this a try, so thanks again!

  17. Camilla says:

    Love those colours and no ironing?! That sounds like me!

  18. Your quilt is beautiful! You did a great job on it!

  19. Emily says:

    I randomly found your blog about a month ago, and I love coming back to read more. You are so funny! I love your blunt honestly with a finger-snapping twist. Your quilts have all turned out beautiful. The blue one you made with Grandma Sparkles was beautiful. Also, I love the random three line quilting you used on your mini. Very cool ūüôā

  20. JB says:

    Fab, just fab.

  21. Erica says:

    When I grow up I want to write as well as you do – so funny and so real! Gorgeous quilt, fantastic colour palette, and yay for ironing whenever it feels right!

  22. Liz says:

    Well I've just found you Molli Sparkles. I'm sulking a bit, because you're funnier than me, but I'll try and cope. To fix that machine binding, bind to the back first, then top stitch by machine on the front second. It's that easy!

  23. Am L says:

    Love the mini quilt. Thanks for sharing. Hmm, I've never tried rayon thread. My first quilt teacher lectured against using anything but cotton thread for quilting, so I've been a "good student" and always followed her advice. Perhaps I need to be a bit naughty and try the rayon. ;p

  24. CitricSugar says:

    This is lovely. When I decorate my abode, I usually stick to neutrals but then pop it up with orange and blue, so I'm drawn to those colours and therefore, totally in love with this. (I'm addicted to orange but I look like a radioactive, sickly pylon when I try to wear it so I have to stick to decorating with it.)

    Love the quilting! Always do your own thang – it is clearly workin' for you. ūüôā

  25. sonia says:

    Love your style! You are so funny! The mini is amazing, and I love the quilting!

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