Saturday, February 20, 2010

Who's behind the quilt?

Sugie doesn't let much get by him.  He wanted to make sure that there wasn't something interesting going on behind the quilt.
This was a quilt that I did for a friend.  She is one that typically will tell me to do what you think will work.  She chose the thread, and I decided what I could do to bring out the best in the quilt.  I was not sure that I would have chosen a blue variegated with a yellow backing because it would be such a contrast.  It turns out that the blue on the front blended in with the blues and did not take away from the kaleidoscope effect of the blocks, and the stitching showed up very nicely on the back.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Staying busy

Do you remember starting a plant from an avocado seed/pit?  Seems like I grew a few of them in days long ago.  I was leafing through some older magazines that I ran across in a stack I haven't looked at in a while.  The magazine's name is Sphere, The World of Today's Woman.  It was around in the '70s. No longer available.  It has lots of recipes and some good craft projects... Like I need more projects.  Anyhow I ran across a picture of an avocado being started from a pit in a glass.  It gave a description of how to start an avocado from the pit.  Brought back some memories of one of the many things I used to dabble in.
The directions said that after you washed the seed in tepid water, drive 3 toothpicks into it and suspend it with the broad side down, covering only 1/2" with tepid water.  It needs to be placed in a warm spot, but out of direct sunlight.  It takes 2 - 6 weeks to root. When the stem reaches 7", cut it in half so it branches out.  Once roots are thick and the stem has leafed out, carefully plant in potting soil leaving seed half exposed.  Use a large pot with good drainage. I just may have to start one next time I buy an avocado.
I am not so unlike so many other quilters... I have lots of unfinished projects.  Not only do I have just a few quilts in progress, but I have numerous tasks that I need to get done, like replacing a leather color on a jacket/top for a friend.  I go into my sewing room and see the collar sitting there on the shelf and think, one day soon I will have a little extra time to get to that.  Well today was one of those days.  Louise's collar has been replaced, and it was with the assistance of Boston that I was able to get some blocks taken apart that I sewed together when I was supposed to leave them unsewn along the middle... that would make sense if you have sewn a quilt that has hexagons.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Wandering cord

Our quilt group at church meets on Mondays.  The closet/cupboard that we use to store our supplies is not locked because a couple other groups keep some stuff in there.  We do not typically have a problem with this arrangement.  Nothing of great value is in there anyhow, but the one item that is useful to many groups is a power cord/strip.  It isn't that someone is walking off with our power cords, but it is an issue of after they are done with using it, the last thing they think of is to put the power cord back where they found it.  After a couple of weeks having to search for a power cord so all of the ladies on the back table could sew, I decided to buy another power cord, and find a way to mark it so any potential "borrower" would be reminded to return it. 
Thanks to another blog, I got the inspiration to make a sleeve that would identify our cord.  This lady, Sue from Alderwood Quilts posted information about a sleeve that could be made for the tube on her CPAP machine, which is something you would know about if you or a loved one has sleep apnea.  The sleeve she has came from her therapist, but she analyzed  how the sleeve was made and gave a description.  Now the one I made for the power cord I bought will not come off unless you cut it off... that is the intention.  The sleeve is about 36" or so long and I sewed it on the machine (I did not have to use a zipper foot) after I had embroidered the message on my handy embroidery machine.  Now my embroidery machine has very large hoops because it is a commercial machine, so I was able to fit the whole 30" long message using only 3 hoopings. The message would definitely tell the person borrowing the power cord where they got it from, and when it would be needed again.
We shall see if it is helpful.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Feathers anyone

The art of doing feathers on a quilt takes a lot of practice.  When you spend a fair amount of time piecing a quilt, it might not want to be something you take a chance that the feathers won't look good.  Well, my sister sent me a quilt that she wanted me to quilt for her, and she didn't care what I did in regards to the quilting.  So I used her quilt to practice my feathers.  Now I have done a couple small practice quilts with feathers, but this is the first time I am doing them on someone else's quilt.  I still need to perfect my feathers, but I'm pretty pleased with how this quilt turned out.  Boston thinks it's pretty neat too.  I laid it on the bed to get a good look at it, and Boston was right up there trying it out.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Pillowcase Challenge

Have you heard about the Pillowcase Challenge?  Quilters nationwide have been challenged to make and donate one million pillowcases.  A few weeks ago I introduced this project to the quilt group I attend at our church.  On Monday we completed 17 pillowcases to add to the 17 we already had completed... so that makes a total of 34 pillowcases we will have to deliver on Wednesday to the hospital at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Two Zipper Leader

I made my zipper leaders using a bed sheet.   I used a brand new sheet with a good stitch count, so it was pretty sturdy.  The part of the leader that stays on the frame is made of canvas and is attached to the bars with a sticky back Velcro.  Once I have sewn one side of the zipper to the canvas leader, the canvas leader was attached to the bar with the Velcro.  These canvas leaders stay in place. I have two zipper lengths, a 120” black zipper and a 72” white zipper.  Both are sewn on to the canvas leader, one above the other.

I first find the center of the bar and mark it with a permanent marker.  I also mark the number on the bar.  Before I stick the Velcro on the canvas leader, I mark the center of the leader.  The Velcro needs to be the full length of the canvas leader.  After the Velcro is in place on the leader, on the opposite side (edge) I sew the zipper, or zippers.  I find the center of the zipper and match it to the center line that I marked on my canvas leader.  The first zipper is sewn about 1 ½ ” up from the edge of the canvas.  If you are using a second zipper, that one would be centered about 1” above the first zipper.  The side with the zipper pull should be sewn onto the leader that you take off and bring to your sewing machine.  The starting end of the zippers should be on the right of the leaders.

I have my bars at 120” which makes my black zipper the same length as the bars, but the canvas leaders are probably 10” shorter. This is how much longer my zipper is on both ends.  I think you probably have a good 8” on each side that you cannot stitch anyhow.

The width of your leader that you are going to attach the second half of your zipper does not matter.  I have my long leaders at about 6” wide and the shorter leaders are closer to 10” wide.  I cut my sheet about 13” wide and about 123” long (the length of the zipper plus a couple inches).  Fold the length in half with right sides together then stitch the ends.  Turn and press the length in half.  On one side press the edge under to the inside about ½”.  Now pin the zipper in place on the edge of the side that was not turned under, making sure that the center of the zipper and the center of the fabric are matched up.  You will not need a zipper foot, just have the foot positioned down the center of the edge of the zipper.

After you have stitched the zipper down the one side turn the zipper so the teeth are facing out.  Now you pin the edge in place that was pressed under.

Position the pressed edge so that it covers the stitch line but is still far enough away from the teeth to not cause a problem.

You will need a zipper for three leaders.  Two are for the backing and one is for the quilt top.

I have both the long and the short sets displayed here.  The folded ones show the pull being on the right end of the leader.  Each set of leaders need to be clearly marked with a permanent marker showing the center line and number plus the instructions as to the orientation of the backing and quilt top.  The center lines and corresponding numbers should also be noted on the canvas leaders that stay on your frame.

Leaders one and two are basically the same.
By that I mean that the right side of the backing faces the leader and is basted to the edge. Leader number three has the wrong side of the quilt top pinned to the leader edge.

When you pin the bottom edge of the quilt top to the leader, the pins should be inserted point to point.  This uses a lot more pins than I thought were necessary, but it creates a more stable edge.  I use corsage type pins because they are much sturdier than typical quilting pins.

The zipper leader is the full length of the zipper, even if it is longer than the canvas leader.