My latest obsession: Zig Zag Lines. This quilt in the making, tentatively titled “Zag”, is a variation of the traditional Rail Fence pattern. I’m making “new” fabric to cut up and sew back together. Crazy as it was to make yards of this pieced fabric, I also quilted the pieced strips to batting, and preshrunk the strips. I’m ready to start cutting it up and sewing it together. In the end, I’ll add the fabric backing, quilt through all the layers a bit more, and call it done.
I started making new fabric to cut up about 25 years ago. I think it started in a Michael James workshop with black and white paper in 1990, in San Diego, in a workshop coordinated with the opening of the Visions art quilt show.
Michael James (http://michaeljamesstudioquilts.com/) posed design problems, challenging us students to “exploit the parameters” of the problem in a set time limit. Then came the critique. I went home ready to do something different with my design and quilt making process:
* I made my design tessellate- fit together with no gaps and no overlaps. I did not have a plan for which fabrics went where.
* I put up my life size drawing on a “design wall” (actually, the wall in the living room).
* I made templates of my shapes.
* I made “new” fabric, which I cut up with my templates.
I continued to make “new” fabric to cut up, next with weaving and collaging fabric, with and without thread texturing. I included this idea in my book On the Surface, Thread Embellishment & Fabric Manipulation with C&T Publishing, copyright 1997.
I kept piecing new fabric too. In 2005, the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Golden, Colorado (https://www.rmqm.org/) included one of my quilts in their permanent collection: Falling Into Liquid, 2003. I used a construction method I call “cut & sew, cut & sew” to create the background. For the blue circle, I combined combined “cut & sew” with bias covered curved lines to make yardage, which I cut up into blocks and sewed back together.
I tweak and play with making new fabric, but the idea is the same: cut up the new fabric like you would with any purchased or hand-dyed yardage.
What’s next for my Rail Fence? Check in next time and find out.
Since 1964, children have loved the adventures of Flat Stanley, by Jeff Brown. Poor Stanley gets flattened by a bulletin board and his family must figure out how to inflate him back up again.
All 24 children in my nieces 3rd grade class colored, cut out and mailed their Flat Stanley’s to a friend or family member. My niece sent me her Flat Stanley. The letter from the teacher invited me (and the others) to show Flat Stanley a good time, take some photos, write a little something, send some souvenirs, and so on.
Flat Stanley’s Sunriver Adventure: Flat Stanley came to my hometown, Sunriver, Oregon. FS got to go golfing with my husband. He celebrated my birthday with chocolate almond cake. The next morning he had a stomach ache so he had to go to the doctor (who told him not to eat so much cake!). FS went shoe shopping. And he went to see the original Sunriver sign and he went to the Sunriver Resort. FS picked out a shirt for my niece and a matching shirt for himself. Finally, FS helped make quilt blocks using half-square triangles.
I sent Flat Stanley back to my niece wearing his new tee shirt and shoes, a golf ball, the quilt blocks, and the tee shirt for my niece. I included two journals of his activities- one for Sunriver and one for the quilt blocks. We had fun!
Our 31 year old Maytag died and an LG front loading washing machine took it’s place. We were pleasantly surprised by how clean our clothes get with much less water and dabs of high efficient detergent.
But beware of putting in too much detergent with smaller loads. Just like when Lucy tried to bake bread and used too much yeast, resulting in a 30 foot long loaf of bread, I must have put in too much detergent.
All I could see through the glass was FOAM, but I opened the door anyway. The FOAM spilled out onto the floor, but I had to take photos first before getting a large stainless steel bowl to transfer scoops of FOAM to the bathtub. At first it was funny, but the FOAM kept coming. Eventually, I tamed the FOAM and the washing machine survived (although we did have to clean the drain pump filter).
Since Gravenstein Apple Time, time has flown by. All of a sudden, I’m not just 64, but I’m 64 & 7 weeks. As you can tell, it’s really hard having a birthday and trying to capture it in a half-way decent selfie.
I love these apples, with their tart flavor, for making apple pies and apple sauce. They don’t keep, so they are only sold in season, for about 3 weeks, in late July or August. This year, the Gravenstein arrived early in Oregon. I made 21 medium pies, frozen raw. Now, we can have fresh baked apple pie any time of the year!
In 1973, I made some vast number of Gravenstein apple pies. I have been telling the story these days with 50 pies, but I’m wondering if maybe it was only 25, and my “fish tale” has just gotten exaggerated over the years. Either way, it was a lot of ingredients and a lot of pie making and one recipe per pie (25? 50?) of pie crusts with Julia Child’s recipe. Back then we were all “Martha Stuart” but didn’t know it yet: I made apple sauce and then apple jelly with the cores and peels. I don’t even like apple jelly, but it seemed like the thing to do with all the scraps. I paid 6 pies in “freezer rent” to keep them all in David’s mother’s freezer.
Then I got to the bottom of the box. Just enough for a few more pies, with 4 leftover. I found pot pie tins with plastic covers, which made it easy to stack on the shelf in the freezer.
I feel like a squirrel getting ready for winter!
The new quilt is on the bed with two new pillowcases and big 26″ by 26″ pillow for reading in bed.
It didn’t take long for the cats to try out the new quilt. Izzy did her rolley-polley thing and Cooper did his “vomity” thing. I have spared you photos of the trail of vomit. The quilt survived the trip through the washer and dryer.
Yes, in the middle of a heat wave, I am sewing wearing a long sleeved shirt and cashmere scarf. Actually, I’m modeling both for my friend Christine, from Santa Fe. She snapped the photo.
Christine and I got up early to go to Sisters for the 40th Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. Here I am in front of the Depot Deli before the crowds have arrived. We spent a lovely morning criss crossing the town, taking in the sights, running into old friends and meeting so many new people. Put the 2nd Saturday of July in your calendar for next year, the 41st Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show (and the surrounding events before and after).
On a recent sewing binge with my sister-in-law Barbara, we cut, sewed and pressed over 200 blocks in a few days. I forgot to pack my clapper, my all time favorite hardwood pressing tool used to trap steam in the fabric. I discovered that a rolling pin works really well in a pinch!
“U-TURN” is a small quilt for our local Studio Art Quilt Associates project called “Quilts for the Marketplace” . The quilts will be displayed (for sale, in an 11″ by 14″ mat with an 8″ by 10″ opening) at the Stitching Post/Twigs, in Sisters, Oregon sometime after August 20th, 2015.
I have been thinking of repeat shapes- with an underlying “shape shifting” focus. This first quilt plays with the capital E (and secondary capital U). I tried it in black/white prints and then polka dots, but these shot cottons make the shapes really shine.
What’s next? My focus has shifted to another idea while the shape shifting idea goes to the back burner. Or maybe it’s always about shape shifting when working with fiber.
One day I thought there had to be a better way to sew the binding onto the quilt. I know how to sew a binding to the quilt by either overlapping the ends or leaving a tail & joining the ends before finishing the seam, but I don’t love either method.
Aha Moment: Why couldn’t the ends get joined first, before pinning and sewing the binding to the quilt?
Reality: There is a way to do it with a little arithmetic and of course, some practice, because all new methods have some kind of learning curve. Try this method on a smaller quilt first before using it with larger quilts.
1. Measure all four sides: write down the exact measurement of each side and add together. Add 1/2″ and the cut width of your binding to get the total binding length needed for your quilt.
2. Make binding: cut the binding strips; join the ends to make the length needed plus a little extra; and fold in half lengthwise and press a good crease.
3. Cut the binding to size: A) Square-up the end of the binding with a clean cut (right angle to fold); B) Measure the total length on the binding and mark with a pin (Step 1) then measure again just to make sure. C) Cut at the marked spot (right angle to the fold).
4. Join the ends of the binding as shown in the illustration. TIP: make sure the binding is not twisted.
5. Divide the quilt top and binding into fourths: A) Place a pin at the center of each side of the quilt; B) Fold the binding in half, placing a pin in the folds at both ends. Refold in half, lining up the pins, and place a pin in the folds at both ends. Now your quilt and binding is divided into fourths.
6. Match the pins on the binding with the pins on the sides of the quilt. Cats like to help! Start to ease the binding into place between the pins, folding/mitering at the corners. The photographs show this step in progress.
7. Keep pinning and folding mitering the corners. Look closely at the mitered corner: the triangle of fabric is free to fold either way. The photographs show this process completed.
Start Anywhere! Pick a side of the quilt and start sewing to the next corner. With the triangle folded down, sew up to the pivot point where the seam line ends. You can feel where this is by touching the mitered corner and feeling the fold underneath. Stop sewing right at this pivot point/fold (see Illustration “A”). Refold the triangle of fabric (see Illustration “B”) and sew the next side of the quilt from the end to the next mitered corner- stop at the pivot point/fold . Repeat to sew all four sides. Finish the binding the way you usually do.
When I squared-up the border, everything lined up except…the corners. The corners were not at right angles, even though the width of the border was consistent with the vertical and horizontal seam lines.
I placed the quilt on the carpet and forced the corners into right angles. This just pushed the bulges into the middle of the quilt, but that was expected.
I taped the edges to the carpet, double checking the seam lines (to make sure they were straight) and the corners (to make sure they were at right angles).
I spritzed the quilt with water- lots and lots of water- until the quilt top was quite damp.
Then I used my steam iron to pump steam all over the surface of the quilt. After a few minutes, I repeated the steaming maybe two more times. Maybe three. I lost count. I kept steaming the quilt top until it was barely damp to the touch. While doing this, the bulgy parts shrunk up until the quilt top was mostly flat.
Then I let the hot weather do the rest- I left it on the carpet until it was very dry.
I removed the tape.
Voila: All Squared-Up
Check out the next posting for my “Continuous Loop Binding” photographs.
For this bed quilt, with a riot of over a hundred fabrics, I kept the quilting simple.
I stitched in roughly parallel lines- not marked- by using my walking foot and the seam lines of the blocks as a guide. I had seam lines between blocks and seam lines within the blocks to keep me on track.
I used Sulky Blendable 30 wt thread on top (a variegated color called Poppy) and an Aurifil 50wt solid color thread in the bobbin.
This is an “old school” method for machine quilting- roll up the sides, accordion fold the quilt in your lap, and let it unfold through the sewing machine. Twenty-five years ago bicycle clips got repurposed to hold the rolled up sides in place. What a pain that was! That’s why we don’t do that anymore.
I have a big lap, so large quilts accordion fold and fit in my lap quite easily. It’s easy to let it unfold and run through the sewing machine.
But there comes a point where the weight of the quilt on the table behind the sewing machine starts to make the stitch length get smaller and smaller. The solution is to put in ONE ACCORDION FOLD behind the sewing machine. This lifts the weight off the table and lets you keep on stitching to the end of the line with no problems.
I splurged on several half price mens shirts at our local Second Tern Thrift Store. For $10, I cannibalized 4 shirts to make one new fabulous shirt.
I started with a black shirt that fit me comfortably- not too big and not too small. This is what is left of that shirt. I removed the collar, cut off the sleeves, and whacked off the lower front of the shirt. Oh, and I swapped pockets with the green shirt.
I removed the collar from this red shirt and attached it to my Black Shirt. I discovered these sleeves have the Roll Up feature with a button and a tab. Looks great on the Black Shirt!
I took the back of this blue shirt and sewed it onto the front of the Black Shirt. Now my Black Shirt is a pullover!
I took the front of the green shirt and put it on the back of the Black Shirt. The green pocket went on the front of the Black Shirt, but that meant I had a black pocket leftover. Hey, I put the pocket on the back.
I still have lots of leftovers, and more untouched shirts, so I can make more fun clothes someday….