Posted in quilting

Slightly Stuck

It’s been a while since I wrote about the state of “stuckness” For me, this means that the project is not flowing very well. Over the last few days, I have been toying with a technique called “Stitch and Flip”. I learned it from a class on how to piece improvisationally. The instructor is Jacquie Gering.

Basically, you sew a piece of contrasting fabric across the corner of a square, then flip the piece over to cover the corner. You can cover one, two, three or all four corners of the square. I was struck by how much the finished squares resembled little fish. This drove my desire to give it a try. Here is a sketch of what I envision:

And here are the fabrics I have chosen. The batik is the front half of the fish sewn over corners of two squares. On two more squares I am sewing triangles to represent the belly and tail of the fish.

Then the whole block is assembled. A four by one inch rectangle finishes the block.

I had hoped to easily make a several “schools” of these little fishes, with five or six in each block, ultimately creating an underwater scene on a lap quilt. Cute, Fun – right? But somehow I kept screwing up the assembling. Much ripping, muttering and re-sewing ensued. My completed blocks are not lining up right! I can’t seem to square them properly! In addition, I don’t have enough background fabric to proceed! And of course, the fabric I need is in Hobby Lobby, which is closed indefinitely!!!

So this project is in limbo. I did sketch a few sea turtles, which might get included in this project, if I can figure out how to get them there.

So sadly, I will set the fish aside while I ruminate on the process. It won’t be the first or last time that I got stuck in the middle. Meanwhile my paint order from Dharma Trading has arrived. So I will play with paint until the lightbulb goes off in my brain.

Posted in quilting, sewing

Blocks with Curves

At a quilt show I attended recently, I saw several quilts that featured circular piecing. It looked so mysterious. How did they do it? Here is an example from the show.

I am very interested in making contemporary quilts in a similar style. So it is necessary for me to learn to this technique. For today’s exercise, I will be making blocks with pie-shaped wedges sewn into the concave edge of a background fabric. I turned to U-Tube for a little help. One of the instructors is Leslie Tucker Jenison. Here is a tutorial on fitting concave and convex shapes together.

My design inspiration was the sun and planets. Because of the fabric selection I had available to me, I decided to make a piece featuring a gaseous planet.

Dark grey for the background fabric, green and pale blue for the pie shapes.

After cutting out the two types of blocks, I marked the curves with a compass. The trick is that, at the curved line, the pie shaped piece needs to be 1/2 inch wider than the background piece, to accommodate the seam allowance. I used a compass to draw the curves and cut them out with scissors. Here are the four blocks pinned and ready to sew.

It’s important to mark and pin the two centerpoints and align the block edges. Then place a pin about every inch. Stitch with the concave piece (background) up, so that you can ease the curve. Here are the blocks before pressing.

I have most the points matched up pretty well. Next is to sew the pairs of top and bottoms together and then sew the center vertical seam, matching the pie shape edges and nesting the center seam.

My planet block, sewn and pressed

I’m relatively pleased with this first attempt. Only the lower right block is slightly off. The final dimension is 18 and 1/2 inch square – a very good size for a cushion cover.

Posted in colorwork, quilting

Salty Squares – Recovery

I’m back today to finish my nine-patch square project. Boy, if it takes other people three days to make one quilt patch, there would be far fewer quilts in the world. Anyway, I’m over it now. After considering touching up the ruined pink swatch, I decided it would be far faster just to start over. Unfortunately, I was almost out of pink paint. Here is the replacement swatch in the drying phase:

Did I say that I am a novice quilt maker? It is still true. I discovered Soooo many You Tube videos on making the nine-patch square. My favorite is by OurHalfAcreHomestead. Here she is, explaining everything very clearly:

So off I go! Cutting, stitching, ripping out because I sewed the wrong sides together, stitching again and pressing.

Finally I have ONE nine-patch square. To take advantage of the scale of the printed fabric, I used a 3 1/2 inch measurement for the pieces.

It is a pretty one.

Today’s lesson is to plan the size of my initial fabric pieces so that they match with the necessary lengths and widths of the square’s requirements. My You-Tube coach would probably tsk, tsk, at my wastefulness. But I expect that my mom will be proud.

Posted in sewing

Taking requests

Recently, one of my blog readers sent me a request. She asked me to make “baby napkins. My baby is so messy!” I said yes immediately. Then I started to wonder. What exactly did she mean by baby napkins? For you folks in the U.K, it isn’t what you might think. Baby nappies, or what we in the U.S. called diapers, go on the baby’s bum. She wants something more akin to smallish dinner napkins, for wiping the baby’s face during meals. I thought to myself, why doesn’t she just use a burp rag for this purpose? Then I realized that there was more than one objective here. This little fiber object will help to civilize and educate this child. So here is what I came up with:

I selected three cotton prints and cut them into 7 x 10 inch rectangles. Finished size will be 6 x 9. The tan color flannel will be sewn to the print fabric, making the napkins twice as absorbent. That will take care of the practical need to wipe messy hands and faces. The front and back will be sewn on all edges, right sides together, leaving a small opening for turning.

I’m using about a 3/8th inch seam allowance, which will be trimmed before turning.

After turning out to the right sides, I stitched all around the edges. So far, these are just like any ordinary napkins, only thicker and smaller. They can be laid on the table at meal times, along with the regular napkins for the other family members. Baby will eventually become aware of the patterns, rituals and customs of family dining.

The second little adjustment I made to the design is to machine-embroider two vertical lines, dividing the napkin into thirds. When baby is ready to help with chores, she will easily fold the napkins after they have been laundered.

Here are the finished baby napkins. Bon Appetit, Bebe!

Posted in Uncategorized

Colorwash Mash-up Part 2

My pieces of hand-painted fabric are now dry. So here we go with the mash up. The first step is to create a warp and a weft from the two fabrics:

  • Blue fabric on the left is warp. Cut vertically.
  • On the right is the weft. I made some artistic swoops with this fabric.

Time to get out my Bernina. I will admit that I am not an expert seamstress. My mother, who is, gave me this machine last year. It has languished largely unused on a shelf in my studio, but now it is urgently needed, to assemble my mash-up. First I cut a piece of fusible fabric in the same size as the “warp” fabric. Then I weave the pieces together like this:

All woven and pinned. Looks good to me!

After fusing the sandwich together with a hot iron, I start sewing the edges of the weft fabric down. Next I sew the warp fabric edges down.

Nearly done.

A quick press and the colorwash mash-up is complete. I used a royal blue thread to give a strong contrast to the watery colors in the fabrics.

Finished piece. On the right, the audience applauds with approval!