Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pink 80's Sampler

It's done!  Finished it on Sunday, but this is the first chance I've had to take and upload photos.

 Those of you who blog have probably realized Blogger has changed the way that's done.  Took me a while to figure it out.  However, here are lots and lots of detailed photos--that loaded really quickly.

This quilt was full of lots of new challenges.  Even when I'd machine quilted similar blocks before, I'd not done these designs, and, in fact, I had never had the opportunity to quilt some of these by machine--although before I understood my own mortality, I had hand-quilted quite a few.
I'd never really enjoyed those brownish 1980's pinks--and I'd not been very happy with pink fabrics until I was able to dye my own.  In truth, I see these old pinks as being just very light orange reds.
So very many memories in these blocks--and now the memories are in a finished quilt along with some new memories.

Happy quiltmaking.....

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Disappearing Blue Pen 22 Years Later

In the late 70's and early 80's a lot of people making their money from presentations to quilt guilds, at symposiums, etc. were saying things like, "There is no history with these disappearing blue markers.  Even if you do wash them out, your quilt could fall apart in 50 years!"
I haven't had 50 years to test those theories.  But now I can show you the results of spraying with water after the marker was in the fabric for 22 years.
You can right click on the photo and open it in a new tab or window to see if you can detect any remaining marker damage.  You might see some tiny spots where the water from my spray bottle skipped an area, but the marks are gone!  I remember a relatively famous quilter (30 years ago, anyway) warning me that the marks would turn brown, and that they just might shred the quilt.  That didn't happen either.

Okay, it hasn't been 50 years--yet.  And I admit that these days I rarely have a reason to use those disappearing blue markers.  And more often than not I just choose not to use them--but, frankly, that's because they used to arrive with a full tank of the ink--these days the tanks are much shorter, are rarely more than two-thirds full, and the price of the markers has escalated by 400-500%.

Still, I feel a whOle lot better about blue disappearing ink pens now.
The flip side is that if you live where there is lots of humidity, the ink would have disappeared in a lot less than 22 years.  (I know that because I marked a lot of my grandma's nursery rhyme designs on blocks for a quilt for Sweet Teen when she was two.  Life became so complicated that the embroidery didn't happen--and the ink is gone.)

Here's a peek at the Circling Swallows block in the same quilt.
I apologize that today's photos leave so much to be desired.  Last night the needle was in the fabric when Sweet Teen phoned and said, "Come and get me, Mom."  So the machine needle is still in the quilt and I just shifted the quilt a bit to get photos.
I'm so glad I decided to make these old blocks into a quilt.  The fact that it's a sampler made it fun to piece into a top, but it's even more of a challenge to decide how to quilt it.  I love the fact that it's giving me the opportunity to try some new quilting ideas in smaller spaces--as well as an opportunity to try variations of designs I've quilted before without committing to an entire quilt.

Yard work needs to come first today, but then I plan to get back to quilting, fabric organizing, and, oh, yes, weekend catch up chores including making more yogurt.  Mmmmmmm.

Happy quiltmaking.........

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Splicing Batting

I had measured and labeled a fairly large piece of batting.  However, as I neared the end of the quilt, I realized that I was a few inches short.

First, let me be clear that I would not do this in most instances.  Normally, I would just fold up the batting and get a larger piece. But, this is kind of a salvage quilt anyway--it's a way to keep those 20+-year-old blocks from aging unseen in a box somewhere.  I'd also use it if I encountered a similar problem with a quilt that would spend a lot of it's life at outdoor events or a quilt that a child would drag around and wear out--or even a quilt for a pet.  And if I were quiltmaking while snowed in, I might even splice batting for a nice quilt; who knows.

Here's how I did it....
First, I laid a strip of batting on top of the first piece so that about two or three inches overlapped.
I slipped a narrow cutting board between the quilt back and batting and cut both layers of batting in a nice, gently curving line:
I pulled away the narrow waste pieces and abutted the two pieces of batting.
Then, using very fine thread, I lashed the two edges together so they met but did not overlap.  I used my KwikKlip tool because it helped me grab the needle.

And, truthfully, I stitched most of it with a quilting needle, not with the large needle shown above.  My stitches, perpendicular to the cut edges, about 1/8 inch into the batting.
I left the narrow cutting board beneath the batting and moved it along as I stitched so that I wouldn't have to worry about catching the quilt back.

The reason for the wavy cutting/sewing line is that the place the batting joins could create a ridge in the finished quilt if the line were straight.  This way the join will be less noticeable in the finished quilt.

This particular batting is a Quilter's Dream Request--it gives a thin antique look.  More often, when making the kind of "drag-around" quilts where I'd find this technique acceptable, I'd use a thicker batt.
As you can see, the joining is barely noticeable.

I hope this technique will work for you if you're ever caught just a little short in the batting department.

Happy quiltmaking........

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Waning Summer and a Re-Store Task

Another alfresco breakfast....Saturday morning...but, honestly, it was so cold I had to wear my down vest.  But I'm going to enjoy outdoor breakfasts while I can.

The other big task I tackled was.....

...ironing (again) and refolding fabric, and putting it on shelves like books.  That fabric used to occupy more than one and a half shelves.  I folded them around sheets of high quality card stock--for the longer pieces I used two to four sheets as the base.  I think this will work.  One of my on-line groups have been exploring options for stash storage.  Actually, this isn't exactly stash--it's for quilts that are already planned.  (I do have plenty of stash--and I ironed and folded some of those pieces today.)

The antique sewing machines on the upper shelf aren't yet ready for sewing--they need more cleaning, and needles, which I haven't yet ordered.

What is it about blue and yellow quilts--they're a bit like potato chips--can't have just one, and the process of making one is so joyous!

I also worked on layering the pink/white/etc. quilt I put together on Labor Day.  I'd mismeasured and/or mislabeled the batting and it was too short---so, since it's purpose was just to use up those blocks and become a quilt instead of blocks stuffed in a box, I added some batting that I'd cut off the edge of another quilt.  I took pictures of that process so I could post about that in a couple of days.

Happy quiltmaking.....

Monday, September 6, 2010

Cyber TOGA Flimsie 2

Yesterday I pulled these out of a box where they've been stored since I made them in the 80's.  They've been out a few times as I remembered the classes I made them for.  Some were sample; some were made in class to show students how I made them.
All that hand piecing!...
Below is the above block on the front:
My mom's Aunt Bessie made a quilt from this pattern for my Aunt Louise, who was allowed to have a quilt top because she got married (I didn't).  However, she just gave Aunt Louise the quilt top, and in the early 80's, Aunt Louise put it in the washer.  Choral "duh....." right here.  I agreed to repair it and add a border--the sides of those tiny diamonds are only an inch long! I replaced quite a few of those stars.  Aunt B had used a plain white for the background, and Aunt Louise supplied me with some that was almost identical.

She eventually had some Kansas Mennonite quilters do the quilting--and I have been privileged to sleep under it.

Now that block I made to commemorate all the work on Aunt Louise's quilt is part of this:
I finished it about 6:00 p.m. tonight and took it outside to photograph--which explains all the sunny spots on the flimsie.
A closeup of some of the pieced sections:
And the project from 20 years ago that started this quilt top:
Hard to see, I know.  You might want to right-click and open it in a new tab or window.  I found that layered and with one little heart handquilted--so I ripped it out and decided it could be the star in a new quilt because I could machine quilt it.
When I found the blocks that included more of those 1980s brownish pinks, I knew I could put them to use in a quilt top so they'd bring people a lot more joy than if they were just stuffed in a box somewhere.
All those brown pinks and smoky blues in the 1980's did inspire me to learn to use fiber reactive dyes so I could have fabrics in the colors I saw in my mind.

I knew that putting a bunch of those odd sized blocks together would be a challenge.  I didn't know it would take all day. 
The pale pink in the border is a Benartex printed with a white paint-like floral design.  I'm thinking it was the very beginning of the white on white background phase, although Benartex had printed them on really pale pastel goods.  (I remember the fabric chain I was teaching for getting in yards and yards of those flatfolds.)

I did start my long day of sewing by having breakfast outside--probably the last time I'll get to do that on a weekday this year--unless my next day off (around October 22) finds us still having warm weather.
I hope all the other people taking part in the cyberTOGA had fun too.  (TOGA stands for Treadle On Gathering & Academy--this wasn't the same as having an in-person gathering, but at least I knew that around the country there were other people working on their projects at the same time I was.)

Happy quiltmaking (and may everyone returning to work tomorrow have a glorious day!)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Weekend Piecing

Here's a new flimsie.  I thought it would be done Friday night, but I didn't finish it until tonight.  It's 46 X 56, and I need to find some fabric for backing and then will need to piece some more fabric into it  (why do most little quilts exceed 40 inches by just enough to need more backing?)
Close ups:
These are leftovers from a jelly-roll and yardage of Charisma that I purchased a couple of years ago to make a quilt for a long-time friend. I still have a few pieced blocks, some 2.5 inch strips, and a bit of yardage, so I can make another small quilt if I can find some vanilla-ish fabric to go with it. I wanted some high contrast in this one so I used a white on white I've had for more than 15 years--I'd thought I would use a white solid, but when I found the white on white, I thought it would add more character and would still let the quilting show up even if I choose white thread.
I'm thinking I'll use some boards from my hand quilting days to use Sharon Schamber's method for layering the quilt.
However, since this weekend I found some fabrics I'd marked for quilting in a class I was teaching over 20 years ago.  I think the heart wreath I had marked will adapt for machine quilting just fine, so I want to piece some more fabrics around the square and then layer it again.
Sure wish I could figure out a way to spend more time quiltmaking while I'm earning a living and insurance!  Our next school holiday is six or seven weeks away.  Sun is already rising too late and setting too soon to suit me.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Little Quilt Adventure

Judy chose and cut the fabrics.  Julie pieced it.  I volunteered to quilt it.

 I quilted the star points and then, because the intense busyness of the setting squares and triangles, I turned the quilt to the pack to quilt those areas.
 I used gold Sulky sliver thread in the Asian looking floral fabric.  The rest of the quilt was treated to Fil-Tec Glide thread.
And that reminds me: If you haven't yet tried the Fil-Tec thread, you might want to check out the September specials at  They're having a 10% off sale on their "mini-spools" of Glide thread--their mini-spools contain 1000 meters/1100 yards.  Sign up to be a member and the spools will be $2.00 each--Cool, huh? (Their matching Glide Thread magna-glide bobbins are also on sale.)
Takes a while for the shipment to arrive in NM, and the anticipation is followed by opening a package that is better than the prettiest candy store--and sugarless!

I am determined to have more quilting adventures this weekend.  We'll have a long wait for our next school holiday.

Happy quiltmaking......
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