It's done. C slept under his sparkly stars last night.
You'd think I'd be elated about having one less project nagging at me, but I only feel a sort of tired relief—like when you've been in labor for hours and the baby is finally there, small and wet and wrinkled. Sure, you're happy, but you also can't help wondering: after all that effort, well, shouldn't it be a little more...attractive?
The free motion quilting turned out to be a bear. I finally gave up on the Singer and took out a newish (90's) Pfaff that had been passed to me when its owner died. This modern machine had several advantages over the vintage Singer:
1. electronic control, which allowed sewing at an even, steady speed.
2. an integrated walking foot, which made it easy to feed through the layers of the quilt.
3. a free motion foot calibrated specifically for it, rather than a generic aftermarket version.
4. needle stop in the down position (oh, how I love this feature now).
On the other hand, it had less space under the arm than my old machine, and it sat several inches above the table, forcing the quilt to go over it like a bump—not the easist way to sew a big project like this.
This is the best set up I could come up with: the quilt spreading out over two plastic folding tables, foot control against a weighted cooler so it wouldn't slide around, and me sitting on a barstool in order to gain a little elevation. But I still wished for a bigger machine surface to be able to freely move that quilt in all directions.
On the very last day, it occurred to me to search online for some product that might help. I found this. Too late for this quilt, but maybe not for the next.