Have you ever noticed that, whenever you try to finish a big project, other little projects just creep in?
Since I always have at least one “big project” going, I guess it’s inevitable that the other things that need doing have to be fit in sideways. Lately there’s been a lot of that.
First, I appliqued an orphan block to a bag for a speaker I invited to our modern guild.
This is a great use for orphan blocks. Just attach to a bag, and you have a handmade gift!
Then I found a tutorial for a pyramid bag and had to make a few…plus one more this week!Finally, our travel wine glasses (they are Lexan, and disassemble for safe travel) needed a travel case:In the midst of all this, I started having trouble with my walking foot while trying to quilt another project! Does a walking foot wear out???
In any case, I think I have procrastinated with little projects as long as I can, so I’d better go bind a few quilts. Have a good week!
So I went to the Asheville Quilt Guild’s annual show, which usually has lots of inspiration. There were many nice quilts, but two quilt makers stood out, in my opinion.
The first is Diana Ramsay, whom I know from the Modern Quilt Guild, which used to exist in Asheville. Here are her quilts:
Dutch Holiday by Diana Ramsay
Detail of Dutch Holiday
Fascinating Rhythm by Diana Ramsay
Bulls Eye II, by Diana Ramsay
Although I don’t know Linda Fiedler, I was very impressed by her quilts, as well:
Moonglow, by Linda Fiedler
Detail of Fusion by Linda
Fusion, by Linda Fiedler
The guild’s gift shop always has something I wish I had made, and this year it was a little pyramid bag. Of course I bought it.
I’ve always liked pyramid bags, which I first saw years ago in a craft store in Berea, Kentucky. I had a pattern to make one, but it seemed pretty complex. The internet to the rescue! I found several sets of instructions and even videos. Here are the instructions I used:
And here is the first set of pyramids.
They were quick and easy! Do I hear a Christmas gift idea?
One of the classes I took at Quiltfest last month was a little bag from a pattern by Penny Sturges. It was taught by Carrie Licatovich of Tennessee Quilts, who did an excellent job.
Carrie had made numerous modifications to the instructions for the bag, and it was one time I was really glad to be making something in class rather than on my own. Her changes were improvements in the construction process, and I would not have wanted to make the bag without them. Carrie was a warm and encouraging teacher and the class seemed to go well for everyone, even relatively new sewists.
Here’s my bag:
I enjoyed the class and I like the bag. Next time I want a cute little bag, I think I’ll buy one!
I recently took a one-day class in Shibori dying with natural indigo, taught by Debbie Maddy. This was part of QuiltFest, put on in Jonesborough, TN, by Tennessee Quilts. It was a good time as usual, and I’ll post more about QuiltFest later.
Debbie Maddy–her Shibori dying class was excellent!
Debbie brought many beautiful examples of Shibori dying with her.
In addition to the class, she gave a lecture about her adventures with Shibori. To hear her tell it, she became interested in Shibori and immediately signed herself and her husband up for a 10 day Shibori class in Japan! I can’t even imagine!
She gave us an introduction to how indigo is used for dying in various places around the world, then showed us how to mix the dye vats and prepare the cloth.
As always, the most fun was seeing everyone’s fabrics drying on the line!
Here are a few more examples made by students. I’m sorry to say I didn’t get their names.
When we got home, we had to neutralize the dye in a vinegar bath and then remove excess dye with pH neutral detergent in hot water.
And here are my finished pieces:
More about Quiltfest in future! Stay tuned 🙂
I’m a big fan of Mary Ellen’s Best Press because it does a great job of getting out wrinkles and smoothing fabric without leaving flakes like starch can do. I recently tried Flatter and found that it works just as well.
I’m also a fan of Pinterest and recently found a recipe for “Quilter’s Moonshine” ironing spray. The original post, by Joanne Hubbard, gives the recipe here. So off I went to the liquor store to buy the cheapest vodka I could find. I guess if your quilt isn’t turning out you can drink your ironing spray 😀
Another ingredient in the Quilter’s Moonshine is liquid starch, so I went looking for that, as well. Not, of course, at the liquor store. The only starch I’ve seen in years was in a pressurized spray can, but sure enough, there was actual liquid starch in a spray bottle at the grocery store. They also had powdered starch that had to be mixed with water, but I passed on that.
To my surprise, I found another ironing spray right there on the shelf in the grocery store! I’ve tried it now and it works really well. My only objection is that it has a strong scent. Not unpleasant, but not something I really want to smell all day, either.
Finally the ingredients were assembled! The recipe makes over a gallon, so I cut it in half. I used a funnel to get it into the best empty spray bottles I found around the house, and voila! Ironing spray! It worked just fine and the faint scent was not a problem.
So check out the link to Joanne Hubbard’s blog and give it a try!
This is part of my occasional series on guild programs, with the hope that it will help others who need to come up with program ideas.
Our modern guild has no money to hire speakers, so we are taking turns sharing our talents. One of our members recently volunteered to teach us block printing on fabric, and she furnished all the materials herself!
Suzanne brought a beautiful print she had made as an example
A few of us had done block printing in the past, but these blocks were much easier to carve. Apparently the block medium is now made of soft rubber rather than linoleum–a big improvement for the hands and wrists.
Some people carved abstract designs, using the whole block
Everyone got a square of rubber to carve. Some people carved a design on the square using the entire thing. Some carved an object and then cut out around the object so that it could be glued to a board backing for easier handling.
It was fun to see what everyone did.
Then we were given ink and encouraged to mix the colors, either to produce a variegated print or to produce a secondary color.
The prints were amazing and fun.
I didn’t get a picture of the block used for these fish, but they were very successful.
Our challenge for next month is to use the printed fabric in a project. Can’t wait to see what everyone does!
My modern guild loves dirty Santa games and loves pincushions, so a recent challenge involved making a pincushion to swap. I found a nice cup and saucer at a thrift store and decided to make that into a pincushion.
I previously researched tutorials for making pincushions and learned that ground English walnut shells are one of the best types of stuffing for them. The shells are heavy (dense) enough to keep the pincushion from coming up with the pin you are trying to remove from it, and they are ground fine enough to allow pins to be stuck in easily. Ground walnut shells are available in pet stores, where folks apparently think I want them for my pet lizard to use as desert sand. (They’re mistaken about that, but I bought the ground walnut shells anyway.)
The problem was how to get the walnut shells firmly packed into a nice round ball that would fit smoothly into the cup. I solved that problem by rescuing a discarded athletic sock from the trash, which is why there’s a sock in the picture of the cup above!
I cut off the toe of the sock, stuffed it with ground walnut shells, and closed it tightly with a rubber band.
I patted the filled sock into shape so that it fit nicely in the cup.
Then I cut a circle of fabric and gathered the edge with a long machine stitch.
After drawing up the edge of the circle as much as I could around the base of the sock, I finished drawing it tight by adding another rubber band.
And before you ask, the size of the circle was a guess–I just used the largest circle on my circle cutting template.
Finally, I stuffed the whole thing into the cup, rubber band side down. It was heavy enough and fit tightly enough that it did not need to be glued in. I did glue the cup to the saucer, however.
And that was it! So easy and so fun!
Jayne published instructions on how to make fabric pinwheels on her blog. This was just in time for me, since I needed decorations for my Christmas packages. Check out her tutorial here.
Naturally, I made a few changes to her instructions 🙂 Jayne’s pinwheels were small, but I needed to decorate a big package. So I used some of my 5″ squares. (Remember the Nickel Quilt craze? That’s how old these squares are; I was in a swap group.) If you want to use your own 5 inch squares to make bigger pinwheels, follow Jayne’s instructions but trim them to about 4-3/4 inches after fusing the two fabrics together. Then make your corner cuts (see her instructions) 1-1/4 inches. I just marked the center while marking for the corner cuts, so I didn’t need her measurement for the center dot.
Also, Jayne used Steam-A-Seam, which is a good product, but I had Heat-n-Bond, and that worked just fine. I did try gluing the center together rather than sewing it, but I wasn’t patient enough to hold it until it dried.
Finally, Jayne noted that “there will be fraying” since the edges are unfinished. I think that is unlikely with Heat-n-Bond; I’ve never had trouble with it. But just in case, I trimmed my edges with pinking shears rather than my rotary cutter. Remember pinking shears? Those were what we used to “clean finish” the inside seams on our garments back before everybody had a fancy machine with overlock stitch. They still work just fine if you saved yours!