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:  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.