Friday, March 23, 2007

Could have been an 'oops' (or Why I pre-wash my fabric)

Boy, do I love these batik flannels! Totally love them. As Woody Allen told Annie Hall, it's more than love -- I lurf them. They are gorgeous! I bought some for the back of Jocelyn's African Coins quilt and more for the back of Val's Ocean Waves Monkey Wrench quilt. When Sew Sassy put all the batik flannels on sale, I bought a little of each of them because I knew I would use them eventually. Eventually is now.

Flannels can shrink. Actually, they DO shrink -- they are more loosely woven than quilting cottons and when you wash them, well... they shrink. With all the dye in these batik-like flannels, they also bleed. When I prewashed the flannels I threw in a Shout Color Catcher, as I always do when I wash new fabric. Sometimes they get a faint tint, sometimes a more noticeable one, sometimes you can't tell they've been through the wash. But look at this! The blue sheet was washed with the flannels. The unused white one on top of it shows what it looked like when it went into the washer. Nuff said.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Cookie cutters

I started collecting cookie cutters in the 1970's. For a few years I was semi-serious about it, but later I realized that I didn't make cookies that often. I just can't eat cookies all the time and I didn't want my kids to grow up feeling deprived unless they had a cookie. But I did love the cookie cutters!

Eventually I pruned my collection, but I still have quite a few cookie cutters. They came in handy on Make A Blanket Day (Feb. 17). A snow storm prevented me from attending the Big Event in Forsyth, so I decided to spend the day putting together one of the Linus kits the guild has (and which I store in my sewing room). This one had lots of cute fabrics, but there were also several solid, pale peach squares that forced you to look at them and really detracted from the quilt. I wish I had taken a photo so you could see that. So after the entire quilt had been assembled, I decided I just had to do something. I found one applique pattern in a magazine (the flower with the center) and then wham! Suddenly I remembered my cookie cutters. They were the perfect size to use as templates. I traced them onto fusible web and made some appliques. It's definitely easier to applique the squares before assembling the quilt, but this wasn't too bad.

It's a cute top and I think the appliques add that extra something special.

Animal panel

Here's a Linus quilt made from a simple panel (the squares and the yellow dotted border surrounding them). Someone added the blue/green/yellow striped border and turned it in for a Linus top. I thought it was still too small, so added some green dotted fabric of my own as an outer border before quilting and binding it. You may recognize the fabric from Cool Brian (California Dreamin' s first incarnation).

I tried quilting this a new way, and it was wonderful. Whenever I have stitched a long, anchoring seam down the middle (as I was taught to do), I inevitably pull the fabric on the back and it gets puckered. I have tried several ways around this problem but have been unsuccessful. This time the quilting worked out great. I quilted the edge of each square, making it look pieced. This also kept me from having to start off with a long anchoring line of stitching. When I stitched in the ditch in the borders (and I must say I do a mean stitch in the ditch!), it still looked great. It's a baby quilt, so was easy to work with on the machine and I felt really good about how it came out. Nothing fancy at all, but it worked. Yay!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Quilts everywhere!

Again, behind in my posts. The problem is with iPhoto -- I have it waaay too full, so it takes forever to download photos, edit them, and get them to the desktop for uploading to Blogger. I need to move photos out of iPhoto and just use it for downloading and editing, but that will be such a long task that I haven't I keep adding photos...making it a bigger task when I do get around to it. But I have now moved several photos to the desktop and will get a few posts done soon. Here's a picture taken in my family room.

The pile of quilts on the chair is donated Linus quilts that I brought home from guild the other night (you can see them on the Hearts for Linus blog, link to the right). On the couch back are two Linus quilts I contributed to making. The quilt on the bottom normally resides in the family room -- it's the first quilt I ever made, which goes with nothing and is too small and has too big a border, but I like it anyway.

Below is my design wall (sorry, I forgot to rotate the photo and there's no way I'm going back into iPhoto to do it!). The green strips are Laurel's I Spy and other is a table topper I made in my Quilt University class. I haven't decided whether to join the red and yellow triangle borders to it or just be done, so I'm leaving it up to look at it both ways. I don't much like the piece, but I learned a lot making it.