I definitely have a type of ADD when it comes to doing any project. I like to do one project for a while and then switch to another one and maybe another and then go back and repeat. I really can't just do one project from beginning to end without sometime going nuts, which I realized when I have done commissions. As a result I have an unbelievable number of UFO's. BUT the thing I love about my method is that week when things all get finished. YAY! Big payoff.
But are they really finished? What criteria should we use to determine when a quilt is finished and ready to move on? Is it when the binding is finished? Or is there something else we should do? I think there are a couple more steps after the binding is done.
1. Final inspection
It is important to put the quilt under bright lights and go over it carefully checking for any puckers, skipped stitches, toe-catchers, hanging threads, loopy stitching, missed areas.
I have mentioned the pucker problem previously and that is something that needs to be checked out as you go along. Nothing worse than getting all done and then having to tear out!
The skipped stitches problem may only be my machine but for some reason it occasionally will start sewing and then skip an inch or two then keep going. HUH? You need to really look for this because you don't want the next problem.
Toe-catchers--These are loops of thread. I don't know if this is just quilting Urban Legend or what but I was told a story when I first started out about a baby getting a toe caught in one of these loops and he ended up losing a toe because it got caught and circulation was cut off. I don't know if it is true, but it could happen! So I go over the top with my hand going every direction looking for any loops that could be dangerous.
Hanging threads--They all have to be cut off at the end. No more needs to be said about this!
Loopy stitching-- Sometimes the tension gets messed up and when I look at the back entire areas are loopy and have to be torn out. Another reason to check as you go along
Missing areas--I've had this happen a couple times but the worst was the quilt I made for Kristi and Sam that I took to Cd'A as a gift. I had to finish the binding there and as I was binding I realized there was an area that still had basting pins! CRAP! I had to go to my sister-in-law's and borrow her machine, thread, and walking foot to finish it.
2. Label it
Every quilt should have a label. You don't want your work to go out into the world without any identification. It may be just your initials in Pigma Pen hidden on a charity quilt or a beautiful sewn on label. I've embroidered on the quilt, embroidered a label to sew on later, made the label one of the blocks, but usually I print the label on muslin from my computer. I make my own "fabric paper" by pressing the fabric very smooth, then pressing to the waxy side of freezer paper, and cutting 8 1/2" x 11". After printing, I press again to set the ink and let it set a day before sewing onto the quilt. As far as I know these labels have survived!
I feel that each label should include: Name of the Quilt, who it was made for, if it is a gift, who made it and when and where. Then any other important info like maybe the birth weight and length if for a baby, or wedding date if a wedding gift. I make a lot of I Spy quilts so the I Spy poem is part of the label. The one I did for Jackson is a bug quilt and includes a cute poem about bugs.
3. Clean up
After I am completely finished, I run it over with a lint brush to remove all batting fuzz, and loose threads.
After all these things are done, THEN IT IS FINISHED!