quilts, treadle sewing machines, crochet, watercolor, dogs, & other fun stuff

“HST Herringbone” Quilt

I recently bound a second quilt, and it’s been a long time coming!  I can’t recall whether I started this before or after the original string quilt (kit from Mom), but it was either the first or second “real quilt” I ever pieced.

The finished quilt top went into the closet and stayed there a long, long time.  Eventually, I decided I was confident enough to try quilting it, so I put it on the frame.  I think it was actually going pretty well, but then out of the blue I started having problems with the tension on the quilting machine.  Problems with tension, problems with stitches skipping– it was a mess.

I was very frustrated and tried adjusting things as best I could, but some of the quilting ended up being not quite right (even by my beginner’s standards).  I eventually discovered that the machine wasn’t sitting correctly on the carriage. I’m not sure what had happened– if it had bumped loose somehow or if it had never been seated quite right (though I hadn’t had problems with skipped stitches before that)– but we adjusted the wheels, tightened the encoders, and it seemed to go more smoothly after that.  (But using the quilting machine is still something of a balancing act. It’s not as easy and carefree as a decent domestic sewing machine. There’s more potential for things to go wrong. You have to be prepared to diagnose problems and fiddle with it a bit to work out the kinks.)

In any event, the quilt came off the frame a long while back, but I just recently got around to trimming it and attaching a binding.

The design is based on some inspiration photos I found online– a herringbone pattern composed of HSTs. I made mine fairly scrappy in a rainbow of colors paired with white-on-white for the background.  The batting is 100% cotton with polyester scrim.  Backing and binding are a bright pink cotton sheet with a slight tone-on-tone pattern.  I quilted with white (or maybe it’s actually a light cream) polyester thread. 

This is probably the best-planned quilting I’ve done, to date (which made it even more frustrating when the machine started acting up).  I designed a pattern that would take me from one tip of each diamond to the opposite tip, so I could work my way across the whole width of the quilt without needing to backtrack or stop and start unnecessarily.

I quilted stylized leaves in each colorful diamond, then alternated between rows of wishbones and rows of ribbon candy for the white/cream background diamonds.  Looking at it now, I think it might have been better to reverse that and put the leaves in the white diamonds, where they might possibly have shown to better effect, but it’s fine this way, too.

The finished quilt is approximately 59 inches by 80 inches.  (So a large lap quilt/big enough for me to lie down under and be fully covered, but not twin size.)

As with “Bars and Crumbs”, I took plenty of photos before and after washing, to observe the crinkle effect.  They’re kind of repetitive, but considering how many years this was in the making, I wanted to be sure to get enough photos. ;o)  Maybe this way I won’t accidentally leave out the best two or three from the bunch.

They’re arranged with the pre-wash photos before the post-wash ones:

Here it is (washed) with “Bars and Crumbs”:

And in these last two photos, the next quilt top (“Scrappy Arkansas Crossroads”) is hanging in the background, along with the flannel backing I chose for it.  This quilt is now on the frame, not too far from being ready for trimming and binding (though I’ll have to choose fabric and make the binding first).

– – – – – – –

To end this post, I’m going to blather on a while about Mr. Frodo, so if you’re not a dog person, see you next time!

Earlier this week, we took down Frodo’s “pen”/fence that we’ve had up in the main room since we brought him home over a year ago. 

The pen was a huge help during his puppyhood.  We put down a raggedy old quilt with a sheet of vinyl flooring on top to protect our new floor from all his “accidents”, and of course the fence kept him from testing his needle-sharp teeth on furniture, rugs, upholstery, etc.  We figured he’d eventually discover he could climb or jump the fence, but he never did! 

(There was one day when I came home from grocery shopping, and in his excitement to see PEOPLE!!!1! he jumped a little too high and ended up balancing– “inelegantly stuck” is more like it!– on one corner of the fence, but that was the closest he ever came to jumping out, and even that was unintentional.  It’s funny how similar our Eskies are in some respects, yet they’re quite individual in others.  Luna was an escape-artist puppy hell-bent on finding her way out of whatever barrier we rigged up to keep her in “her room”.)

Frodo did at some point realize that he could move the fence over to the edge of the vinyl sheet flooring, which he’d chew, so we put some concrete paving stones at strategic points to prevent the fence from sliding so easily.  That worked for a while, until he learned that he could bite the fence and lift it onto the stones, then wriggle out from underneath.  (Little stinker!)  Donald came up with a way to stop that, and Frodo evidently decided it wasn’t worth fighting the system any longer.

As he’s grown, we’ve been trusting him out in the house, under supervision, for longer and longer periods– and to be honest, I just really wanted the main room back to its former layout, without the giant puppy pen… and I felt it was time for Frodo to become more integrated into “family life”.  Getting rid of the pen would force us to fill in the gaps in his training, and he has a perfectly good crate that he can go into if we or he need a time-out.  (He’s been sleeping in his crate since he was a tiny puppy, so he’s very comfortable with it.)

Eskies are supposedly slow to mature, as a breed.  Puppyhood and crazy puppy energy/antics apparently last up to a couple of years.  I’m not sure how other breeds mature, but in our experience with Eskies, they do seem to take a while to completely settle down into more grown-up doggy behaviors.

That said, Frodo’s doing pretty well.  We have had to scold him sometimes and move a few things out of his reach (path of least resistance ftw!).  He also still likes to play bite a little too much, so we’re still working on that.  But on the positive side, he hasn’t destroyed anything (yet– knock on wood), and he seems to have taught himself (maybe from watching Trixie and Luna) to jingle the string of bells we have hanging on one door handle– our homemade “doorbell” that the dogs use to let us know they want to go outside.  (Trixie will sometimes just bark a single, deafening woof instead of fussing with silly jingle bells, but Luna and Frodo prefer to ring the bells and circle at the door to attract our attention.)

All in all, it’s going better than I would’ve expected– so far!

Frodo does pester the other dogs sometimes, though.  He seems to know how far he can venture without crossing into the Danger Zone and when to back off– and a certain amount of it is reciprocal play– but it can be loud and scary-sounding.  Someone unfamiliar with our dogs might think they were actually fighting, at times.

Here’s a typical scene… Luna and Frodo on the bed…

Frodo: (has no concept of the canine equivalent of personal space)

Luna: (slightly grumpy expression and grumble)

Frodo: (more of the same…)

Luna: “Back off, Mister!”

Frodo: “This sure is fun, isn’t it, Luna? I can always tell when you’re enjoying yourself by the way you growl, scrunch up your nose, and show your teeth!”

Luna: (does impression of demon-dog; “fight” ensues)

Luna: “I’m a good girl, I am!”

Just an innocent little dog. So sweet and delicate and sensitive. Why would anyone ever scold her?


I’m Michael (a female Michael, to remove any doubt).  I live on the Alabama Gulf Coast with my husband, Donald, and our crazy American Eskimo Dogs. 

I love to fill my spare time with various crafts and other hobbies, and this blog is where I share photos, record my progress, and ramble endlessly.

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