Quilt as a Wedding Guest Book

One of our daughter’s former room mates is getting married and asked if I would make a T shirt quilt from shirts both she and her fiance have gathered in their various athletic pursuits. 

She decided to use the back of the quilt as a guest book, then use the quilt on their couch as a wedding memento.  I thought that was a great idea!  Who ever looks at the wedding guest book again?  The quilt, however, is a fun combination of “his and hers” and will serve a useful purpose after the wedding.

I ordered this cross-hatched backing, thinking it would be relatively good for people to sign.

Carolyn Friedlander fabric, 108″ wide

I used very thin polyester batting (Quilter’s Dream Request Loft poly) so the quilt will be fairly flat for signing. We’ll use fine point sharpies  I am leaving the backing unwashed in the hope that the finish on it will limit bleeding.

The wedding is only a couple of weeks away, so I’m off to deliver the guest book!

Quilt Alliance Contest 2017

After 3 weeks and 3 quilts, here is the one I finally finished for the 2017 Quilt Alliance contest. The first two quilts were OK, but I like this one best, so off it goes.

quilt alliance contest

For Quilt Alliance contest 2017, 16″ x 16″

The contest theme this year is “voices”. As I made this little maze, I thought of college students in their world of endless possibilities, talking all night about the meaning of life. I thought the bright colors and the maze were a good representation of that.

Cherrywood Fabrics

Detail of the quilt for the 2017 Quilt Alliance contest

The fabric is Cherrywood hand dyes, except for the bright yellow, which is a batik.  I presume it is obvious that I cut everything with scissors and improvised the piecing as I went along.  I quilted it on my Bernina, using lightweight medium grey thread to lend texture without showing too much.

Next week: a quilt to use as a wedding guest book.  Thanks for visiting!

YOW! I’m teaching curved piecing!

To be exact, YOW is the name of the quilt, not my reaction to teaching a curved piecing class 🙂

curved piecing

YOW is the class I’ll be teaching at Studio Stitch in Greensboro

The class is at Studio Stitch in Greensboro (NC), one of my favorite shops. To my surprise, I don’t have a picture of the quilt I’m using as a class sample, so I had to lift this one from the Studio Stitch website. There is no pattern for this quilt; it is just what I did with some really bright batiks and some nice templates from Elisa’s Backporch Designs.

I’m going to teach at least 3 different ways to piece these curves, so most anybody with some sewing experience can find success with at least one of the methods.

I got out some examples of my quilts with curved piecing yesterday to have them for display in class, and I was surprised at how many there are.  Then I found all these pictures of other things I’ve made with curved piecing, so here are a few.

curved piecing

An attempt at improvised New York Beauty blocks

My “cocktail pillow”–to put out when you have people over for cocktails! (As if!)

stack, cut, shuffle block

This block was made with curves cut freehand

This was made for my modern sampler

Quilt Alliance

Cat Circus, my 2015 Quilt Alliance challenge quilt

Metrol Hoops baby quilt

This was made using the Quick Curve ruler.  I don’t love it–but the baby did.

Applique quilt

Radiating Orchid mini-quilt for the Radiant Orchid Challenge, 2014

A Fun Gift Wrap, and A Fun Gift

My friend Gwen sent me her book on Christo, which she has used to write several blogs recently. Christo is the guy who goes around wrapping stuff in fabric, and Gwen got interested in the fabric involved. You can check out her blogs on the topic here.

So the book came in the mail yesterday, and look how it was wrapped!gift wrap ideas for quilters

This is such a great idea, to wrap a gift for a quilter in colorful fabric!  And I’m enjoying the book, too 🙂  Here’s a picture of it.Christo artist

Gwen is a textile expert, so I’ve been meaning for some time to ask her for any ideas abut this little table cloth I inherited from my Grandmother. early 20th Century textiles I don’t know whether it was the era or she was just pretentious, but Granny had a lot of stuff that’s much fancier than anything I’ve ever cared to acquire.  Here’s the back side of the cloth.early 20th century weaving

I thought at first it was hand-woven, but on closer inspection I believe it may be too regular and tight for a hand-woven cloth from the early 20th Century.  Here’s a close-up.My only thought is Arts-and-Crafts era (early 20th Century) interest in handmade and ethnic textiles may have influenced this.

If Gwen has any ideas I’ll let you know.  Just in case you like textiles, too 😉

 

Straight Pins: A Brief Review

I’ve used the same straight pins for years because they are smooth, sharp, and a little flexible, with glass heads that don’t melt if you happen to iron over them.  Pins are very important in quilting!  ( As always, I do NOT get payment or product for this review; I’m telling you about these pins because I use them.)

These pins used to come from the Clotilde catalog (IBC stands for “Imported by Clotilde”), but that business was sold to Annie’s Catalog a few years ago.

Recently when I ordered pins I noticed that Dritz also makes silk pins, and they were just a tad cheaper.  I decided to try them.  Here are both boxes of pins:

Those are the Dritz pins on the left, the IBC pins on the right.

The Dritz pins came in a nicer box than the pins from Annie’s.  They might even be better pins if I were sewing on thin, lightweight fabric.  However, they were thinner and even more flexible than the IBC pins, and that made them actually difficult to get through quilting cotton!

There is a larger IBC straight pin for quilting, 1-3/4 inches long!

I don’t like the size of these larger pins, but I expect that for some projects they would be better. For now, I’m sticking with my regular IBC pins.

Any other suggestions for great quilting straight pins?

 

A Practice Piece

So, while I was on a Jane-Sassaman-fabric kick, I got this piece to use for practice.

Sassaman fabric

Flower Fiesta by Jane Sassaman

And I cut it up into triangles and made this top.  This was just for practice, so I sewed it together all the way and added borders of another Sassaman fabric.

one block wonder quilt

This practice quilt is 54″ square

I think I like the print borders better than the solid black I was trying out on the “real” Sassaman quilt I blogged about last week.  This practice one is about 54″ square.

Meanwhile, my friend Jean suggested I look at quilts by Bruce Seeds.  He doesn’t distribute the blocks randomly as suggested in the One Block Wonder books, he uses them to make a big design (from all the blocks with fancy little designs).  Check out his quilts here:  BruceSeeds.com.  They are terrific!  He has used little strips of fabric to outline parts of quilts, as I was thinking about doing. And he’s obviously used more than one fabric in some quilts.  I’m definitely going to study his quilts more before I decide on a final design for mine.

Thanks to Jean for the great suggestion!

Finally, A Quilt Design

I’ve had this Jane Sassaman fabric for several (5?) years now, but I love it so much it’s been hard to decide what to do with it.

one-block wonder quilt

Garden Divas fabric by Jane Sassaman

Coincidentally, I’ve also been meaning for years (more than 5?) to make a one-block wonder quilt.  In case you don’t know, one-block wonders are hexagonal blocks made out of 6 equilateral triangles.  Usually the triangles are identical so that the block looks like a kaleidoscope.

hexagon block

I think you can see the outline of the hexagonal block and its triangles here

Finally, I got the fabric and the one-block wonder idea together, and here are the blocks. They are just pinned together, and I expect to re-arrange them many times before I decide on a final design.That black half-hexagon in the upper left corner is what I’ll do to make the edges of the final design even.

I thought about adding some focus to the design by inserting small, solid-color lines at random places, line this:

I’m not sure I like that, but scattered black triangles are a possibility:

Or maybe not.  Suggestions?

Threads of Resistance

My friend Claire made me aware of Threads of Resistance, “a juried exhibition of work created to protest the Trump administration’s actions and policies”. I usually avoid politics here, since this is a blog about quilting.  But I am very concerned about some of the Trump administration’s plans, so I’m making an exception.  Here is my quilt, the Statue of Liberty wearing a hijab, because it’s un-American to exclude immigrants based on religion.

Threads of Resistance quilt

The Statue of Liberty stands for freedom, including freedom of religion.

As always, I learned a lot doing this.  First, there are a TON of public domain pictures out there.  I finally found a couple showing the Statue from the perspective I wanted, and sort of improvised from there.  Second, it IS possible to find verdigris-color fabric, and it’s easier than I thought because everyone seems to have a different idea about just what shade “verdigris” is.

I drew my design on a big piece of paper then traced it onto the verdigris fabric.  I quilted the rays on the background, then cut out the statue and horizon pieces and fused them to the background.  I consulted one of Sue Bleiweiss’ books about how to do the black outline, but ended up not using her method because I was too far down my own road before I consulted the book!  I would like to say I think a project through thoroughly before beginning, but the truth is that often I have no idea how I’m going to do something until I’m doing it!Threads of Resistance quilt

I outlined most of my drawn lines with black thread, but then had to go back over the lines in the face with marker to make them stand out.  One final lesson:  Kona cotton was a poor choice for fusible applique; the weave is much too loose. I had to fray-check the edges even after I fused them, and then had to go back and trim some “whiskers” even after I had satin stitched the edges.  From now on I’m sticking to Michael Miller Cotton Couture, which is a much finer weave (similar to the hand of the batik here, which gave me no trouble with fused applique).

If you’d like to make a quilt to submit for the Threads of Resistance exhibit, which is juried, click on the highlighted name and it will take you to the link you need.  And if you disagree with my politics, please do not take offense–allowing differences is what America is all about.

 

Not Arkansas Crossroads

Arkansas crossroads is a block I’ve wanted to make for some time, but I can’t put my hands on a picture of it right now.  Anyway, I ran across this very similar block last week and just had to make a few of them.

donatin quilt

This block is not Arkansas crossroads, but it’s the same idea 🙂

This quilt will be a Ronald McDonald House donation when finished.

Also this week, I gave away a quilt I made several years ago to a friend who is retiring (again) after volunteering for many years at the free clinic where I work.  I don’t recall the source of this block, but I do recall the quilt was a lot of fun to make using scraps.

scrap quilt

This quilt was made from real scraps left over from other projects.

How was your week?

 

Which Permanent Markers for Quilts?

I’m making a quilt to be used as a wedding “guest registry” by a friend. It will be a “couch quilt” after the wedding, used for naps, watching TV, etc., so it will be washed. This led me to wonder what type pen the guests should use to sign.

Although a laundry pen would seem obvious, I ruled that out because it can be difficult to get it to move smoothly over fabric. That left Sharpies and Pigma pens as the primary contenders, and both are available in a variety of colors, which is nice.

pens for use on quilts

The Contenders

I’ve heard pros and cons regarding both, and when I asked a vendor at a show for suggestions, she expressed shock that I might use a Sharpie.  I have to admit that I had doubts when I first read Mark Lipinski’s remark about using Sharpies to “fix” a quilt, years ago.  However, I’ve tried them since and they’ve worked out fine.  Mind you, I’m not concerned about archival quality, I’m concerned about the ease of use of the pen and how well the signatures will hold up to washing.

Since I had both types of pen on hand, I made a couple of little quilt sandwiches, one with poly batting and one with cotton batting.  I was concerned that either or both types of batting might absorb the ink and transfer it to the other side.

Permanent marker for quilt

After Washing and Drying

Yes, these are the “after” pictures.  Both inks were essentially unchanged after washing and drying in cold water on the delicate cycle.  The pigma pen had a broader tip, so the mark showed up better both before and after washing.  Neither pen bled significantly during writing, and neither soaked through the batting into the backing.

Because Sharpies are easier to find, I’ll probably use those for guests to sign the quilt. And I’ll show the quilt to be used as a guest registry in a later post.

Anybody out there have suggestions for permanent markers to be used on quilts?