Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Sandwich Making & Some Nibbles

This week I intended to make quilt sandwiches.

Today I seamed the backing for Simple Gifts. The backing fabric was originally purchased to be two lengths running sideways across the quilt back. I just noticed the backing fabric has a direction. Since I want the written lyrics to the Christmas carols to read horizontally, seaming the backing became a bit more complicated.

I did not have enough length of fabric to run twice the height of the quilt. I needed to finesse this backing to have one lengthwise section with a second horizontally seamed lengthwise section joined next to it. I also want the print to match along the seam lines. Alas, the sandwich process on Simple Gifts has been slowed down by ... the need to think! Here is my PowerPoint diagram to help me figure out how to do this. I was hopeful that I could match the one long vertical and one short horizontal seam if I was careful where I cut the pieces. The pattern has an approximate 12" vertical repeat.

After several hours of measuring many, many, more times than twice, and finally cutting only once, I convinced myself that it was not possible to match all the seams to my desired level of accuracy. I did eventually come up with a pieced backing I am content with.

One part of the pieced section needed to come from near the left selvage and the other part from near the right selvage. What I had not recognized was that the fabric had been printed with a bit of upward drift to the design so it was not possible to match that horizontal seam along its whole length unless I cut the fabric at an angle, sort of on a slope. Then I would be totally out of luck for the vertical seam. Here is my compromise seamed backing. Overall the spacing and flow of the dominant red reindeer appear uninterrupted.

The horizontal seam is pretty good at the corner near the vertical seam. It diverges from a good match toward the outer edge. I have cut the batting and need to put them all together. I am resolved to be wiser in the future in my choice of backing fabrics. This was a real time sink for not much gain. I did not accomplish the sandwiching today but I am in a good position to do it tomorrow or the next day.

While I was at the sandwich stage of Simple Gifts I intended to resurrect my Classic Cars top and make the backing, batting, and top quilt sandwich for it at the same time. I'd started Classic Cars a couple of years ago from these fabrics and a black background fireman novelty print.

The top has been sitting around with its already pieced backing since my post on it August 3, 2013. Re-reading that post reminded me I also had plans for a matching pillowcase. Maybe I will do that tonight so I feel I have some accomplishments. The upstairs hallway outside my sewing room, both sides of it, attests to the fact that I am in quilt sandwich mode but do not have much to show for it.

Earlier this week I nibbled away on some smaller sewing exercises.

I played a bit more using striped fabric and a flying geese components assembly technique from my Lynn Wilder Patchwork Math Workshop. I thought long and hard and now understand just how to orient the fabric to make sets of four geese at once and have stripes go the way I want them to. I captured my conclusions in PowerPoint again. Hmmm, seems like I played on my computer this week as much as in my sewing room.

Here are those four-component sets of flying geese arranged as stars. I got the striping as I intended and not just by luck! I can now make an all one direction striped star (left), a radial striped star (middle), and a perimeter striped star (right), at will by orienting the corner squares appropriately. Of course, I could do this by making one flying goose at a time instead of the speed method of making four at once... but that's no fun!

I hemmed a dress I wore to a Great Gatsby themed dinner dance on Friday night. I procrastinated until two hours before leaving to do this – guess I did not learn much from my May 20, 2013 post on how not to hem a dress. This long black dress had two layers to hem, an outer shear slippery one with glitter and an inner knit slippery one. I least I did not make a scarf as well, this time. I wore a fluffy feather boa instead.

This week I also added my son's name to his pants to identify them. I love this feature on my Pfaff. The only trick is to remember to use the foot with the central raised channel so the letters can pass through unconstrained as they are embroidered. I put his name on the front pocket, the rear pocket and the bottom of one pant leg.

The last time I posted my projects list was January 7, 2015.  Here are my stats since then. I figure giving my stats once a week is too often to show progress. After a minimal progress week though, I needed to see that I was getting somewhere.

Completed projects since January 7, 2015:
    1. December Table Topper (January 13, 2015 post)
    2. Blogged about Patchwork Math Workshop (February 6, 2015 post)
    3. Blogged about and put away purchases from San Mateo show (February 21, 2015 post)
    4. Name on Alex's pants (February 25, 2015 post)
    5. Hemmed black dress (February 25, 2014 post)
    Ongoing projects:
    1. Simple Gifts quilt - pieced backing, ready to sandwich
    2. Making patchwork math components from Moda's Jovial fabric, designer BasicGrey
    3. Classic Cars strip quilt (August 3, 2013 post) - resurrected to sandwich, quilt, and bind
    4. Overlapping square wall hanging - paired with thread, awaiting FMQ
    5. Mask quilt (October 19, 2011 post) - packed away... again ... may abandon
    New projects since January 7, 2015:
    1. Simple Gifts quilt started
    2. Patchwork Math Workshop (1/31/15)
    3. Name on Alex's pants (2/15/15)
    4. Attended San Mateo Quilt, Craft, and Sewing Festival (2/19/15)
    5. Hemmed black dress (2/20/15)
    I am hooking up to today's Freshly Pieced post for WIP Wednesday.


    1. Love your Simple gifts quilt - the Jovial deer backing will be perfect for it too!

    2. Ugh! I hate it when you work to match seams and then it turns out the fabric is printed with a drift! That happened to me on my Christmas Traditions; I was lucky because in that case I had a lot of extra, but it was still a pain! Your compromise does look pretty good though, so well done. It's super exciting to see Simple gifts hanging around waiting to be quilted, and seeing your discussion of the dress reminds me of the saying about quilters as master chefs and sewing a button on as making ready-made soup!

      1. I think next time I need to piece a backing I will add two vertical and two horizontal inserts of a contrasting fabric near the outer edges. It divides the back into nine sections, kind of like a tic tac toe board with a really really big center square. I have seen that approach on the front of a quilt for sashings and it looks pretty good. Sure would be easier than attempting to match!