Posted in quilting

String me along

I’m teaching myself to quilt, so that I can teach my older fiber arts students to quilt. So there is some time pressure here. While perusing The Encyclopedia of Quilting Techniques by Katharine Guerrier, I learned that the string quilt is one of the simplest of techniques. So that is what I shall make today. This method was developed to use up long strips of fabric, such as leftovers from dressmaking, and pieces of worn-out clothing and blankets. The sample I am making uses 3 inch wide strips cut or sew together from fabric fragments in order to span the width of the piece. I’m excited to be using one of the heliographed fabrics from Monday’s work.

Here are my selected fabrics. There are six strips in total, four at 3 inches wide and two at 1/12 inches wide. My color scheme comes from the marble and rice swatch in orange.

First I sewed the shorter pieces into the length of strips that I need. (14 in.)

Here’s the heliographed fabric under the needle. Notice the cute red clips I just purchased. They hold the fabric while you sew it, in place of pins. Fantastic! I highly recommend.

Next I position two strips, right sides together onto the upper half of the batting, and sew in place. The seam allowance is finger-pressed to one side.

Ready to sew.
The top half is sewn into place. Uh oh it appears that my batting base is now uneven. I will persevere and hope that it gets sorted out in the end.
Here is the completed quilt top. I will have to square-up the edges with scissors.

I’m liking what I see. Once I got into the flow, the sewing was easy and fun. I hope that this piece will inspire my students. Next week I will add the backing fabric, top stitch the quilt and sew up the edges.

Posted in colorwork


I have been waiting for the right weather to try my hand at heliography. In this technique, a color wash is applied to the damp fabric, and then various objects are laid on the surface and the piece left to dry in the sun. The weather must be just right – clear sky, not too cold and no wind. Today’s weather met the mark, so out I went into the garden to paint. I learned this technique from Cindy Walters, who presented this technique in a class on, aka It works because the fabric under the object will dry more slowly than the fabric exposed to the sun. With Jacquard Dye-na-flow paint, the faster it dries, the darker the color. Here are the results of today’s experiments:

A nice assortment of leaves, violas, and a few twigs

First I determined my arrangement. Once the paint is laid on, you must work fast.

Objects on dry fabric. I am using a square of white cotton bedsheet.

Here is the arrangement laid on after painting:

And here is the finished fabric after drying:

My next experiment used pebbles, marbles and rice.

And lastly, I used a bunch of fallen pecan twig, with flowers attached.

This was a lot of fun, and only took me about an hour. To make the color fast, I’ll wait a few days, hand wash in cold water, and then machine dry at high heat. The fabric will then be ready for whatever technique I want to try next.