April Fool’s Day
Apr 1st, 2017 by Wendy

Let’s catch up a little bit:

Evelyn & SK doll, early 2017LR






Evelyn, the granddaughter of my friend and coauthor Pat Pease, loves her quilt by Pat and her Skinny Kitty by me!








David and I made a mess of the kitchen last weekend. We served chicken in simmer sauce, lentil dahl, naan, brown rice pilaf with caramelized onions, carrot coins (picked carrot slices), and cherry pie to our guests- our nephew and girlfriend. You should have seen the sink! P.S. The vulnerable part of our food processor broke again! One new “pusher assembly” is on the way, but not under warranty this time. And it’s back ordered- probably because this part breaks all the time!


Marching MorningLR

March Morning 2LR






This is a view out the back door. We’ve been getting light snow falls that melt off during the day. In the first photo, there are so many hints and tints of colors. Because of daylight savings time I was actually up for the sunrise. The other picture captures a rare sight- for me anyway- of the light coming through the trees, shining on the light layer of snow. Beautiful!


The cats have spent a lot of snoozing and window watching in the sewing room. I caught Izzy dozing next to a 20 year old stuffed kitty (that’s another story).

Izzy & KittyLR







Announcement: The E Quilt is Finished!!!! This began- 1 or more years ago- with a shopping trip with my niece. Ericka asked for an E quilt for her queen size bed. She itemized the Want List: 1) interlocked E’s; 2) lots of drape over the sides of the bed; 3) all taupes as Ericka defines it; 4) repeat blocks. Then the collaboration continued with Ericka’s mother, Barbara. Today, April 1st, the dream quilt became a finished reality!!!!









I designed two versions of the interlocked E block- my trial blocks. Barbara made most of the E blocks and assembled most of the quilt top. I added a narrow border on all sides and a wide border on 3 sides. I volunteered to do the quilting, with narrow, vertical, parallel straight lines (about 1/2″ apart). It’s a good thing I have a big lap (I’m tall) and a large worktable to support the weight of the 104″ by 104″ basted quilt.


You can see the water soluble stitching, forming a grid, on the fabric. I use a spray baste product first, to seal the layers together. I use Sulky KK 2000 or 505 Spray Baste in the blue and orange can. Both are good products. After allowing the basted quilt to stay flat and dry out for 2 hours or overnight, I stitch a grid through the quilt with Superior brand Vanish Lite, a water soluble thread. Now I (or you) can handle the quilt like a maniac and the layers stay connected.

E-Quilt- Quilting processLR

E_Quilt_Quilting process 2LR







When I talked to Barbara about the quilting process, I sounded like such a geek about the way the texture and feel of the quilt changes as the layers are stitched (quilted) together. Anyone who has made a few quilts probably can relate. It feels great but it looks like a mess before going into the wash- with the quilting lines & the water soluble thread grid fighting each other.

after quiltng, not washed 1LRafter quilting, not washed 2LR







I put the quilt in the dryer for short 10-20 minute time periods (the larger & heavier the quilt, the longer the time), so I can pull it out when it is still a bit damp. I block the quilt on carpet and tape down the edges. I’ve never blocked a hand knit sweater, but I think the concept is the same. I make sure the corners are at right angles and the seam lines are as straight as possible (when there are rows and columns). It dries the rest of the way like this.


blocking detailLR







Finally it’s time to do the binding. I square up the quilt first. I wanted an extra wide binding for this extra big quilt, so I cut strips on the bias, at 3 1/2″ wide. Bias binding is better for functional quilts, because the folded edge wears better over time. I sewed the binding right sides together to the quilt top, mitering the corners. I iron the binding away from the quilt top, careful not to stretch the edge. Then I used my machine topstitch method to finish the binding- the secret is in the basting thread, hand stitched with big stitches along the edge of the binding. From the front, the basting line shows where the edge of the binding is on the other side, so you can machine topstitch just inside the basting line (and right along the folded edge on the back). You can find earlier posts on this method or find it in my latest book, Creative Quilt Challenges c.2016, with Pat Pease, C&T Publishing.

binding detailLR







Looks nice on our queen size bed- maybe Ericka won’t like it? Ha! She will love it. I’ve enjoyed the collaboration with my sister-in-law and niece. First Ericka and I chose the initial fabrics, then I designed the interlocked E block. Of course, we needed more fabrics! The E’s, finished size 10″ by 12″, took a lot of fabric per block. (We shopped before I drafted the block.) Barbara made extra E’s so Ericka could pick and choose her favorites. Ericka really liked the Essex Yarn Dyed fabric in the “espresso” colorway, so Barbara found a deal at Fabric Depot in Portland on a whole bolt of 14 yards (for the border, backing, and pillowcases).


our bed 1LR

our bed 2LR







Post Script: I keep measurements of my quilts in progress. The quilt top measured 104″ square before we basted the layers. After quilting, the quilt top measured 99″!!! My theory is that the Yarn Dyed Essex fabric, which  is a coarse weave & very soft, got sucked up with the 1/2″ spaced parallel lines. I think if we’d used a high thread count backing fabric, it wouldn’t have shrunk this much with just the quilting.

After washing and drying, the quilt top measured 95″. I expected it to shrink in the washer/dryer about 3-4 inches. I did not expect it to shrink 5″ with the quilting. It shrunk a total of about 9″ total! Good thing we started extra large for the queen sized bed- there is still at least 15″ of drape on the three sides.

All the fabrics were prewashed. We used Quilter’s Dream Request Loft cotton batting. In my experience, it’s a combination of the quilting and the dryer that does the shrinking. The more dense the quilting or the more the stitching lines cross in the quilting, the more shrinkage. I don’t think the water temperature (ranging from cold to lukewarm) is a factor, but next time, I will measure the quilt before it goes in the dryer to find out.

In 1995, with my first book,  I did experiments with small quilt tops (8″ square, as I recall), to back up my claims about shrinkage. I did identical sets of small quilt sandwiches to compare fabrics prewashed or not, types of batting and density of quilting and washing & drying and thread fiber types. I had a LOT of samples. My samples showed proof that it’s the density and criss crossing of quilting lines that result in the most shrinkage. (Note: I did not compare water temperatures, so maybe that should be next.)




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