Saturday, April 29, 2017

When it's wrong, it's just wrong!

This month I took an excellent design based workshop from Bethany Garner, a well-respected quilter from Kingston, ON. ( I heartily recommend her)  I was left with a great deal to think about, and the germ of an idea for another project in my brain.  While that percolates, I've been making charity quilts.  Yes, I do make some traditional quilts for a good cause. ( Don't tell anyone)

My charity quilts are generally scrappy, and put together fairly quickly.  I would hope they are well put together, and I try to make them pleasing to the eye.  But after the first couple, now pieced, sandwiched and ready for machine quilting, I was looking for a little more of a challenge and I came up with a technique I learned many years ago from ecclesiastical fibre artist, Iris Rountree. I make a variation of her technique.  This can be scrappy or planned, but I've found it an excellent way to use up those cut squares that are left over after other projects.

You create a sandwich of a 4" square for backing, a 4" square of batting, and 4" square of cotton for the top, and then a 2 1/2" square for added visual interest.  The hexie  is my addition, as I had them and needed to use them up--somehow.  I make some of my hexies from cut circles rather than an English paper piecing method, as it gives them some surface interest from the folds. After stitching the 2 1/2" square through all the layers, they are stay-stitched around the edge, and joined together in rows with dense satin stitch. Before they are joined, Iris will cut some of them at an angles, and rejoin them in different colour combinations, but I haven't done that here. 

 Rather, thinking that it was a waste of time to cut up yardage for the backing squares ( this is a charity quilt, after all), I cut it in strips.  Then I layered the strip with a strip of batting, before starting to add the 4" squares, side-by-side. These are then topped with the 2 1/2" squares, and everything pinned into place

Once everything is pinned, the machine satin stitch is done through all layers.  Then the strips are joined, again with machine satin stitch.  I add the hexies here and there, just for surface interest, before the strips are joined. After ten strips are joined, the outside edge is just bound, as usual with a quilt.
 Sounds good doesn't it.  Well, the first couple of strips were joined, and then I checked the back of the satin stitch.  OMG! On both joins there were places where the backing hadn't been caught in the stitching.  What to do??  Well, I widened the setting for the satin stitch and re-stitched those areas.  It was okay, not great, but still bothered me.  There is a good chance that no-one would ever know who had actually made the quilt.  I could hand it in, and walk away.  I worried about it all night, and then forced myself to accept that to do so would be just wrong!  

So, this morning took on the daunting task of taking out both rows of satin stitch. Turned out that, after by running my seam ripper along the back, I could just pull on the upper thread and the whole thing came apart!  Bonus!  And thank Goodness for a good lint roller!  lol   (The backing is really a dark brown, not blue--trust me)

 I was then able to trim the edges, and stay stitch them, so that the satin stitch would cover and control everything.  I did have to widen the setting for the satin stitch, but by re-doing the whole length  of the join, everything looks fine--front and back. The entire job took less than an hour.

I plan to link this with Nina-Marie Sayre's Off the Wall Fridays, and The Needle and Thread Network.

Monday, April 3, 2017


The beading is finished.  Looking at it, I realize that the design is poor, so this will never be exhibited, or sold.  However, as I was beading it, my mind was mulling over whether I could add a section on encrusted beading to the workshop I teach on "Beading for Quilters".  I've decided to prepare such a section in my hand outs and class notes, and offer it as an optional add-on for future classes.  This means that this piece can be finished as a simple hanging, and used only as a class sample.

Here's the finished product. full view and close-up.