Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Halloween Quilt- the Devilish Detail's in the Binding!

I am making this Halloween wall hanging from a kit of Jason Yenter In The Beginning Fabrics.  The autumnal leaf wreath with Jack O' Lantern decorations originally had a Bat bow worked into it but I left that out because I think bats are creepy and I kept the jolly Jack O' lanterns.  I pieced the top fairly quickly and though I am in CA I shipped it off to my daughter's quilter  in OK who does awesome free motion quilting.  The pumpkins were appliqued even though I prefer piecing to the "A" word.

I fussy cut the binding from some coordinating striped fabric very careful to get a row of jack o' lanterns lined up just so.  Here is both sides of the binding.  Either the cats will be inside and pumpkins will be showing or vice versa.  Can't have my cats and pumpkin (pie) too!

I just now figured out that I have to sew it to the back of the quilt and bring it around to the front to get the pumpkins to show.  This means I must do the hand stitching on the front.  I have the vague recollection that I intended to machine stitch the binding on and so that was why I cut it to wrap to the front.  I really need to keep a notebook to remind me of my decisions.  Actually, even though I am new to this blogging I have referred  back to my past blogs to see how I have done stuff! 

Whether I do cat binding or jack o' lantern, it needs to wrap to the front otherwise I should have put these motifs aligned with the raw edge and not the fold.  I just now realized the decision to hand or machine bind affects how to cut the binding if it has a feature I am trying to display.  I was leaning toward hand stitching it but now, with this new wrinkle, I think I will just go ahead and get it DONE by machine. Here is the binding pressed to the front and clipped, ready to stitch.   The grey stitching line is from attaching the binding and not the final fastening after being folded over.  It will be covered by the edge of the binding.  I think for the top stitching of the binding I will use a rust colored thread and use a zig-zag stitch to echo, on a smaller scale, the line along the stripe that says Happy Halloween. I will straddle the fold.

I think a ribbon at the fair is out of the question with machine stitched binding but I was never a contender for that anyway.  After all, what is the intended end use?   I plan to hang it on my wall for a few weeks out of the year.  Hope to complete this for TGIFF.

Here is a summary (and reminder list for me) of what other irons I have in the fire.  

Ongoing projects:
  1. Complete binding on Halloween quilt
  2. Knit on cream/red/navy 2010 winter Olympics ski cap
  3. Bind Tool quilt
  4. Border Doll quilt
  5. Pick design/pattern for D&N baby quilt- request colors pink, pale purple, pale lime green
No progress:
  • Get Fire and Ice from closet and decide backing
  • Grinch quilt
  • Layout mask fabric hexagon quilt on design wall
  • Get chicken quilt from closet and revisit to make bigger or call good enough
This week's stats:
Completed  projects-0
New projects - 1
Currently in progress- 6


WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Doll Decisions

I really resonated with a recent blog post from Freshly Pieced last Wednesday.  She spoke of lots of thinking and planning and not much doing so I decided to post on this top I have been sitting on since 1993.  I belong to a small at work quilt club and each month of the year one member would present a block pattern and give a color combination preference. Those participating would make one block and give it to the owner who then had a lots of blocks that she just had to assembly in some fashion to be well on her way to a quilt. I provided the pale blue background fabric and requested that the dolls of the pattern I presented be dressed in jewel tones for a sort of UNICEF type feel. Their aprons be shoudl be white and could be made of any fabric and finished any way.  I loved the different aprons each doll has.  I learned from this experience that the ladies were quite creative, had different tastes, and slightly different variations of 1/4 inch seams.  The different block sizes I could deal with no problem and the extra effort in assembling was was well worth the variety of doll blocks I got back.  I inserted hearts between the dolls holding hands.

However, I did realize that I much prefer to create blocks than finish a quilt so this type of guild project, was good for me as a block giver but not as a block receiver.  Also each lady signed a 4"x6" rectangle of the pale blue background fabric with her signature on the wrong side of the fabric.  I was going to incorporate these somewhere on the back of the quilt.  And so the top is still not a quilt to this day.  I could not decide how to incorporate those signature blocks and also could not decide on a border and backing.   I have decided on a  border of coral paisley to pick up the color of the hearts with a binding of coral basket weave.  I did not have enough of either to do border and binding the same but I think the two together will add texture.  I plan to insert the stripe, about the width of a doll's leg or arm, between the  coral paisley and the quilt top as an edging to bring out and tie in with with most of the dress colors.

So this is my WIP but I cannot complete it until I figure out how to incorporate those twelve signature blocks.  I have them stapled to a piece of paper in the same placement as each associated block on the quilt so I know which lady did which block.   Since this is almost twenty years ago (gasp!) would any of them really care if their name was on it or not?  Some of the ladies I remember very fondly; other names I am quite embarrassed to admit I read and say "Who?".  Many have moved away and several have passed away.   This is the year to complete these random tops that have been "in progress" far too long.   But at least I can move forward and make a bigger top to sit around for awhile... and I am determined for it to be far less than another nineteen years!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Friday, January 13, 2012

Turquoise and Grey Spiral Runner

I just loved this turquoise and grey color combination of a fat quarter collection.  My daughter pointed out that when you put off doing a project, your enthusiasm and excitement of over the fabric tends to wane as other newer purchases steal the thunder.   So this fabric color combination... I wanted to sew it NOW!

I decided to make another spiral table runner.  It would fit no occasion.  It would match nothing in my home decor. I made it none the less.   I made it with a 10 degree ruler instead of a 9 degree ruler.  

With the 10 degree it came out a bit wider and longer.  When I made my  Thanksgiving spiral table runner I need 3/4 yard for backing and that is what I bought for this one.  Alas, I needed a yard so I had to go off to purchase another length of fabric. I really loved the print, anyway.  The color combination is just so unique and luscious. Guess the first 3/4 yard will just get added to my stash. I love the little rusty brown colored squirrels and hedgehogs and the itty bitty red tortoises.

Here is the top assembled... 

.. and here it is backed and quilted.

I quilted this one with an in-the-ditch zigzag along every other color interface. You can see it better on the back. Isn't that apple print just adorable?  

Here are the two spiral runners, laid on top of each other for a size comparison- the turquoise/grey one beneath made with a 10 degree ruler and the autumnal one on top made with a 9 degree ruler.  It is not much difference but enough that 3/4 yd of backing is insufficient with the 10 degrees. Just for a sense of scale the step offsets between the colors are 3/4 inch each.  The turquoise/grey runner came out thicker, too, but it's a pretty good bet that that was due to my using whatever batting I had on hand. ;•) I actually prefer the thinner Warm and Natural I used on the Thanksgiving runner.  Light weight glassware can sit on it without feeling tipsy and it seems more decorative.  The thicker batting  thermally insulates better but has a more functional look.

One especially nice part of this project was that I finally remembered to get out my good iron.  I had been sewing with my old Black and Decker clunker because of sewing glitter table covers for my daughter's wedding.  I did not want to gum up the bottom of my good iron. 

Once I resumed using my Rowenta, I was amazed at what a difference an iron can make.  Every seam was crisp and every shot of steam was strong and quick.  It was such a pleasure to work with. Filling was a dream and the pointed tip was so much easier to guide around. I had not realized how badly I was limping along with my backup iron.  Yep, those more pricey irons really are worth the extra investment.