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?

A Finish, and One Lovely Blog Chain

After several years (due to my dislike of free motion quilting) I have finished this little quilt, which I started in a class years ago at Quiltfest in Jonesborough, TN.

Art Quilt

Mount Pisgah

In other news, one of my fellow bloggers, Morgan Lipkin, has included me in the “One Lovely Blog Award” chain.  As I discovered a few years ago, this isn’t a contest, it is a way for bloggers to promote each other, and I’m all about that.  You can see Morgan’s blog at BrambletonThreads.com.  She’s does a lot of other fiber-related things in addition to quilts.  Thanks, Morgan!

The rules for the One Lovely Blog chain are:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and leave a link to their blog.
  • Post about the award.
  • Share 7 facts about yourself.
  • Nominate at most 15 people.
  • Tell your nominees that you have nominated them.

I’m nominating the following bloggers because they do fiber-related things, too, but are a little different from me.  So if you check them out you’ll add some variety to your reading!

Pauline Barrett at Reflectionsofafiberartist.wordpress.com

Sue Janson at Sue’s Journey

Lori Brewer at QuiltingNeeds.com

And now for 7 facts about me, which is part of the deal:

  1. I live in a rural area,
  2. which means that my “local” quilt shop is 45 minutes away;
  3. but I get to visit a midsize city fairly often.
  4. I have a demanding day job as a physician assistant,
  5. which cuts into my quilting time!
  6. Besides quilting, I enjoy reading
  7. and cooking.

Check out the other blogs above to broaden your blog experience!  And have a good week!

Pamela Wiley Quilts in Savannah

While in Savannah for QuiltCon, my husband and I happened on an exhibit of quilts by Pamela Wiley, a professor emerita of SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design).  I’m sorry I missed her class at QuiltCon, but the exhibition of her quilts was terrific!

SCAD, Pamela Wiley quilt

As Above So Below, by Pamela Wiley

Pamela Wiley’s quilts are stretched tight and framed, so that when we looked in from the street we were not sure at first whether we were looking at paintings or quilts.  Once in the gallery, it was apparent that these were real quilts.

Pamela Wiley quilts

Mineralogie by Pamela Wiley

Little information was given about the materials used; each label simply listed “stitched cotton”.  However, the stitching was used to distort the cotton, not just in the usual way by making raised and depressed areas with stitching and batting, but also by slightly moving printed lines so that the surface appeared warped.

Pamela Wiley art quilt

Detail of Outside In, by Pamela Wiley

Stitching was used to add layers of color and to distort commercially printed fabric in ways that fooled the eye.

art quilt, Pamela Wiley quilt

Outside In by Pamela Wiley

I took a number of pictures, with permission of the guard for the exhibit.  If you want more, there is an article about her work in what I call “art school language” here, and many pictures of details of her quilts on Instagram here.  I’ll be looking for quilt shows where she may teach in the future!

Pamela Wiley quilt

Houndstooth Hurdy Gurdy by Pamela Wiley

art quilt, Pamela Wiley

Detail of Houndstooth Hurdy Gurdy by Pamela Wiley

Pamela Wiley quilt

Detail of Houndstooth Hurdy Gurdy by Pamela Wiley

Pamela Wiley art quilt

detail of Holding Space by Pamela Wiley

Pamela Wiley

Holding Space by Pamela Wiley

Pamela Wiley art quilt

Full Circle by Pamela Wiley

art quilt

Detail of Full Circle by Pamela Wiley

Pamela Wiley

Detail of Full Circle by Pamela Wiley

Oh, and if you aren’t already intimidated, let me tell you that all these quilts were dated 2016!!!

Tech Shirts in a T Shirt Quilt

I’m making a T shirt quilt for a friend, so she sent a large sack of T shirts to be used.
This friend and her future husband are both very athletic, so many of those T shirts are tech shirts–meaning they are 100% polyester knit!

I searched the internet for specific instructions for using polyester T shirts in a quilt and found NOTHING useful. So, here’s how I solved the problem, and I expect it will work for you, too.

The blocks for T shirt quilts are backed with fusible interfacing to stabilize the knit fabric. I buy lightweight interfacing so the quilt will drape well. A while back, I bought a bolt of Pellon 906F for that purpose. It is very lightweight and is intended to be used with semi-sheer fabrics, so it bonds at a relatively low temperature–very important for polyester T shirts!Polyester T shirts in a quiltAs you can see, the 906F is lightweight and thin.  It fuses just fine at a temperature between the silk and wool settings on my iron. That setting requires only a few seconds to fuse, so there is no damage to the polyester shirts! Score!

This interfacing is working fine with the 100% cotton shirts as well. All that’s needed is a backing that keeps the T shirt from stretching as it is sewn and quilted, and this does the job.Tech shirts in a T shirt quilt

Here’s a look at some of the quilt blocks, waiting for final arrangement on the design wall.  My husband came along and said, “How did you get T shirts so flat?”  The answer, of course, is the backing 🙂

I’ll have a picture of the finished quilt as well as more information about it in a few weeks. Meanwhile, be warned: another friend who requested a T shirt quilt ended up making it herself (with my help)!

Review: Annie’s Soft and Stable

A while back a bag pattern called for “foam interfacing” and I had NO IDEA what that was. Luckily, the folks at my local quilt shop DID know!  They sold me Annie’s Soft and Stable and it has worked out very well!

Quilted Adventure

Roxie bag made as part of Quilted Adventure online retreat

The bag above was the one that initially required foam interfacing.  I used the foam interfacing again recently, when I made a new version of the Market Tote from Bijou Lovely.

Kraft-Tex for bags

Finished Bird Bag

It worked just as well on the larger bag as it had on the smaller one.  It gives the bag lots of structure with little weight.

The very BEST part was making handles with foam interfacing rather than the usual turn-the-tube method!  I just cut strips of foam interfacing, wrapped them with fabric (turning under the last edge), and sewed three straight lines–one down the middle of the handle to close the fabric and one about 1/4″ from each edge of the handle as decorative top-stitching.  It made comfortable, sturdy handles for the bag. Definitely making handles that way in the future!

There are several other brands of foam interfacing, including a couple (from the reliable Pellon company) that are fusible.  It also comes in more than one thickness.  I haven’t really tried any of the other brands, but this one worked out well.

A Few Studio Upgrades

I have a great quilt studio with natural light and plenty of storage, but of course there’s always room for improvement!  For starters, I was given a robot vacuum cleaner for Christmas!

It runs on Friday mornings while I quilt, and I’ve pretty well learned what I need to block off or get out of the way so that it runs without glitches.  It’s great to have “somebody else” cleaning the floor while I sew 🙂

A while back, I got tired of having my main rulers “lost” on the cutting table all the time. You probably know what I mean–always under the fabric, looking for the big one but find the little one, etc.  I didn’t want one of those ruler racks taking up space on my table, so I finally settled on attaching hooks to the sides of the table.

quilt studio hacks

Hanging rulers from the side of the cutting table means I can always find them

The hooks have worked out well!  For some reason, the manufacturer (these are Command hooks) thinks the hooks need to flip up and down, so they have tape over the part that would flip.  However, they seem to stick to the table just fine, and now I always know where to find my rulers!

My final “upgrade” is a new rotary cutter.  I’ve been looking at the Martelli Ergo cutter for some time, wondering if it really is easier on the hands and wrists.  Finally, one of my friends bought one and confirmed that it really does make cutting easier.  She is left-handed, so was especially glad that it comes in a design specifically for lefties.

I bought one of my own, and II agree that this is much easier to use than any of my standard rotary cutters. It makes for less strain on (aging???) joints and better control while cutting.  I can recommend this cutter without reservation.

What’s new in your studio?

 

Giving Kraft-Tex a (Second) Chance

I made a couple of bags using Kraft-Tex for a sturdy bottom section a while back, and wasn’t that happy with it.  My review is here, if you want to read it.

Kraft-Tex review

Tote bag made with Kraft-Tex for the bottom section

However, when I got some lovely bird fabric in a guild swap, I decided to make another tote bag and use Kraft-Tex to protect the bottom again. I pre-washed the Kraft-Tex to soften it a little, then crumpled it in my hands to soften it a little more.

Kraft-Tex for bags

Since I didn’t really want the thick Kraft-Tex in the seams, the shortage worked out OK

I had BARELY enough for a shorter-than-recommended bottom section, but it worked out fine.  I used the same pattern as before, the Market Tote which is free at Bijou Lovely.

Market Tote from Bijou LovelyAs you can see, I had some beautiful birds-in-the-grass fabric (a Moda print) for the inside.

Kraft-Tex for tote bagI used a buttonhole stitch to secure the top edge of the Kraft-Tex.  Overall, the Kraft-Tex was much easier to use this time.  It makes a sturdy bottom for the bag, is washable, and presumably will wear better than a plain fabric bottom.

As before, the Market Bag tutorial was very well done and easy to follow.  The only change I made was to revise the way the bottom was attached so that I didn’t have Kraft-Tex in the seams; that would have been quite bulky.  I laid the Kraft-Tex on the top fabric and secured the edges with buttonhole stitch just inside the seamline, so it wasn’t necessary to have Kraft-Tex in the seams to hold it in place.  That worked a lot better.

Kraft-Tex for bags

Finished Bird Bag

In other words, I am now revising my opinion of Kraft-Tex and probably will use it for this purpose again!  It still does’t really look like leather to me, but in this case that isn’t the point.