Show and Tell

In 2013 I worked on a great many quilts, but did not finish any sewing project except that peach dress.

However, this year has been completely different. I have finished four quilts that were all in process last year in the last two months. Here are a couple.Susannah Feb 2014 7This is the back of one I finished for my sister, Susannah. She had a baby last summer, and I usually make one for each new-mom-sister of mine. It just took longer than usual for that one to get done.Susannah Feb 2014 9This is the binding, which I thought very cute, and below you can see the top. I just stitched together a layer cake, and quilted each block with a different free motion pattern.
Susannah Feb 2014 1The pictures below are of the heaviest quilt I have ever made, and the first one I finished on my insane Christmas present (a long arm machine, which my husband explained by saying “We’ve been married almost ten years, and this quilting thing does not seem to be going away.”)

This quilt is a t-shirt / memory quilt my brother asked me to make. It was a major headache in some ways. I had to iron interfacing to the backs of all of the stretchy t-shirts. After extensive fruitless internet searching about what interfacing to use in a t-shirt quilt, I just used the cheapest non-stretch stuff they had at JoAnn. It worked great.

The only problem I had was initially my cruddy iron. It was small, broken, and given to me as a wedding gift. Or maybe I bought it at  a thrift store in college? I can’t remember. After much weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth on the first part of the project, I bought the cheapest iron at Costco to replace it. The new iron has a significantly larger footprint, magnificent steam power, and it made the rest of the backing process not nearly so dreadful. Also, my husband’s shirts actually look pressed after I iron them now. Bonus.

I backed, and bound the quilt with cotton fabric. Gray business in the front, bright striped party in the back. Jesse Tshirt Memory quilt-8This is the final product. It contains t-shirts from his high school and college days and travels, parts of his white shirts, suits and ties from missionary service, and even part of the back of his college graduation gown. Notice my attractive model’s strained neck? I was not kidding. It is a heavy quilt. Jesse Tshirt Memory quilt-2I warned him it might be five years or so before I got it done, but I had his name in the sibling exchange on both sides of my family for Christmas, so he got a rush job. I am glad, because that was a large heap of shirts and memorabilia to store in my sewing room. I am also glad because I love my brother, and it gave me joy to do this for him.

I have finished a couple more items, too, but I need to photograph them with a better camera than my phone before I post.

Hack: Ripping Strips

Apparently I have not posted since before I conceived the little nugget I shall be delivering sometime at the end of April or beginning of May. So, I am pleased to announce that my fourth reason to make a baby quilt will be arriving in approximately 7 to 9 weeks.

In other news, I have finished several quilts since January, and in finishing these things, my attention has been drawn to borders of quilts. They take a lot longer than I think they will to finish, every time.

This is a hack I learned from my quilt guild ladies, and let me tell you, they do not lie. If you need to cut a very long piece for borders, you should rip it instead of cut it. The photo below is of a strip of fabric 80+ inches long. I had it left over from the quilt for my dad, and decided to use it for my baby’s quilt’s border. I snipped at 3 inches on one end, and voila.

rip it goodMore than eighty inches away, and it was still a tight 3″ width of fabric. My main notes on this technique are:

1. Rip aggressively and quickly. The more slowly you do it, the more time there is to stretch the edges of your fabric.

2. Ripping works parallel to or perpendicular (90 degrees) to the edge of your fabric.

3. There may be about a 1/4 of an inch next to the edge that looks a little pulled, but that will be inside of your seam, and if you are very worried by it, iron it, and it will smooth out nicely.

On a non-ripping note, make sure you measure the edge of your quilt, and then measure the borders. Mark the centers, and pin them. This prevents you from having the border or quilt stretch if the top or bottom of your machine feeds faster or slower. That stretching can make the quilt lie funny or be harder to quilt later.

I will be back soon to post my show and tells that I have finished!

One Darn Thing

dressI was feeling sorry for myself that I had not finished a darn thing all year, and then I remembered: I finished this peach dress! My brother Jesse got married in July, and I made that dress out of rayon. It breathed very nicely, and I loved the drape of it, but my baby son fell asleep in my arms and sweated all over it and wrinkled it almost to death later in the evening. I still love the dress. It is so nice to have an article of clothing that fits exactly the way you want it to, because you made it that way!

So I can’t say I haven’t finished a darn thing all year. I have. One darn thing.

PS, is my new sister in law not the most gorgeous creature? I am very fond of her.

Post Christmas Post

I always have blogger frustration in the fall as I finish projects that I have been excited about all year and cannot post about them because, “What if the recipient accidentally saw?!”

When I gave this quilt to my sister, she cried. I was very satisfied. She has often lamented that she wished someone would give her a nice quilt. I was inspired by this quilt:

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By a Blogger Crafter from across the Sea (I assume). I loved her modern layout and color choices. I also needed something to distract me from the endless flying geese and squares of the quilt for my dad, so when I got sick of working on the repetitious one, I would make a star from my guild’s block of the month for the one for my sister.

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When the time came to piece them all together, I took them to my local quilt shop to borrow their design wall. In the end, since they are not open during my late night quilting hours, I laid it out on my bed, and it ended up having wide borders with nothing on them. That didn’t bother me, though, because the borders hang on the side of the bed.

Sara Quilt

I found out that one of my guild friends rents time on her machine for less than the shop I used last time, so I quilted it on her long arm. She was a wonderful teacher, and I highly recommend Judith Davis, of Primrose Creations. She took this photo for me with her iPad.

And here you can see the result on my sister’s bed, because I ran out of time to have a proper shoot with it before I gave it to her. Those pesky busy holidays.

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My next block of the month for this year is this America the Beautiful Quilt, by McCall’s. They did it as a series, and then in a magazine at the end of the year they included the entire pattern, which is a great deal for the cost of a magazine. I have started working on it, but I am pausing for a little while because I am in the middle of a forest of blocks I can’t see for the trees.

Quick Easy Project, Paired with a Long, Arduous, Hard Project

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What is this, you might ask? Let’s zoom out about eight months: Patriotic Quilt

Back in February I went to some political breakfast with my dad, where he saw a quilt very similar to this one. Tired of purchasing endless raffle tickets and never getting his own quilt, he asked me to make him one. So I did! I have made 37 quilts, and this is the first queen sized one I have made.  I will admit, there were some boring parts, but I have a great sense of accomplishment now that it is done.
Detail Tag
Instead of the traditional tag on the back, I tagged it along the bottom in free motion quilting. It says, “Over 750 pieces of love for my dad,” because he used to write me letters when I was far away, and instead of newsy gossip I wanted to hear, he would write, “I have this many cows, this many businesses, etc. blah blah blah.” So I wrote an approximation of how many pieces went into this top.
Detail back
I rented a long-arm machine at Let’s Quilt, in St. George, and chose a stars and swirls pantograph. It was pretty challenging, so don’t look too closely for neat, precise stars.
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Close-up, you can see how it is really just a bunch of flying geese sewn together and set en pointe.
Oval hot pads
After I finished, I wanted something quick and easy to throw together, so I made these hot pads. They are probably my favorite hot pads I have ever made. Thank you, bias binding!
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