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….
I purchased my pair of Maytag washer and dryer appliances in 1984 at the Mountain Electric & Refrigeration Company in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. They pair cost $898.00 before sales tax, but surely I’ve gotten my money’s worth in the 31 years since. These faithful appliances crisscrossed the country with me until settling down in Sunriver.
We’ve never had any problems with either appliance until the washer sprung a leak. I really wanted to get it fixed, but besides the cost of this repair, surely all the other hoses and seals would sooner or later (probably sooner) also break down. We decided to buy a new washer. Hopefully, the dryer won’t give up living with its companion gone- but will make friends with the new washer.
Now we have Old House Syndrome. The built in cupboards in the kitchen and laundry room (more like small air lock) were designed around much smaller appliances. We managed to cram and wedge the washer into the space but just barely. If/when the dryer goes, we will have to take out the old cabinets and do something different.
I flagged the pages of the manual so I could Read All About It with each load of wash. I tried various cycles with and without default settings. I added extra water in the cycle and I added an extra rinse cycle. I tried the various spin speeds. For fun, I read the introductory warnings that no one reads, not even me. I discovered that I should never pour gasoline into the washer or try to wash clothes soaked in gasoline. To ensure safety, I was advised to wear safety goggles and long sleeved gloves when doing the wash. And according to the State of California, my washer may contain cancer and reproductive disorder ingredients, so I should wash my hands after touching the washer. The “best” part of this is that you know someone somewhere sued LG about these things.
After catching up with our laundry and learning about the new washer, I put the ready-to-be-washed quilt in with 11 Shout Color Catcher sheets. They are pricey, but when it comes to quilts, I spare no expense!
You can see the white Color Catcher in the washer as the cycle begins. Compare with the 11 Color Catcher sheets when the quilt came out of the wash. The Color Catchers did their job and the quilt came out of the new washer and old dryer looking great.
Now I need to finish this quilt. And pillow cases. And maybe a big pillow to go with it.
Magic happens at the Blue Star Salon in Bend, Oregon with Lonni!
In between doing loads of laundry, housework, clearing out our son’s room to make way for the new bed plus, cleaning the car (promised a month ago) and washing the first of many windows, I successfully machine basted the quilt-in-progress with Vanish Lite water soluble thread (by Superior).
Instead of beginning the quilting, I decided to take a break and make one rabbit postcard. Almost everything that could go wrong did go wrong. I did not read my own instructions which were right in front of me nor did I compulsively check the steps along the way: I cut the background fabric the wrong size; I forgot to add the cardstock paper back before zigzagging the outside edge and I ran out of the chosen bobbin thread with no more to be had in that color.
Each time I had to scramble for a solution. It’s good to remember there will be days like that and most times, everything will turn out okay anyway.
I am still chasing the goose ideas with or without a rail fence component, but meanwhile I’m working on the UFO for the new guest bed (arrives Friday) for the bedroom that our son has not lived in since the summer of 2006, when he delivered pizzas between his freshman and sophomore years of college. This long sentence is representative of the List of Things To Do to fully reclaim the bedroom.
I’m adding a pieced shot cotton border, using 44 differenct colors of fabrics.
Years ago I discovered the magic of stitching my seams open with water soluble thread (top and bobbin), especially with large quilts like this one. As more seams get added and ironed, it’s easy to start scrunching those previously beautifully pressed seams. I don’t understand why, but stitched seams also keeps the entire quilt top looking almost freshly pressed. Hey, it works, that’s all I know. (You can also stitched through pressed over seams, but please try stitching seams open and experience flat seams and intersections for yourself.)
After getting the quilt squared away on the batting, I rolled up half of the quilt top on a swim noodle. After spraying the 505 brand spray baste on the exposed batting, I easily unrolled the quilt top, a few inches at a time, smoothing the way from the middle the sides, slowly advancing the roll to the end. Moving my hand in big circles, I rubbed the spray basted part to connect the layers. Repeat with the other half. Let the spray basting dry a bit before repeating the process with the quilt backing fabric.
I love this method of spray basting the quilt sandwich because I can do it all by myself and it works really well. This time I let Side One (quilt top) dry while I packed up a few boxes of The Kid’s stuff, which we will store until he has a larger and more permanent home, before I repeated the process with Side Two (quilt back).
Meanwhile, I had two kitty helpers:
Izzy, the frisky kitty, played “attack the batting”.
Cooper, the sleepy kitty, found a sunbeam on the cat hammock in the sewing room.
State of Oregon Craft
Museum of Contemporary Craft
June 5 to August 15, 2015
You never need an excuse to go to Portland and enjoy all the Portlandia Things to Do, but if you get a chance, go see this exhibit curated by Nicole Nathan and Namita Gupta Wiggers.
“Craft is the stuff of everyday life. It is a tangible rubric for measuring the state of the state and for discovering how we live through what we make. In the same way that biennials of fine art demonstrate the state of “culture”, State of Oregon Craft and its related programming takes stock of how Oregonians make and live with craft objects today.”
I’d be excited about this exhibit even if my quilt, Autumn Textures, 2009, had not been invited to help tell the story of the “breadth, diversity, history and future of Oregon’s artisan craft makers…”. But now I’m even more excited to go to Portland.
I identify with being a “maker” along with having an eclectic range of primarily fiber arts interests.
Time to make some more stuff!
Note: photographs by Craig Howell, Studio Craig