Sunday, September 30, 2007

More of My Cheater Bindings

Because the photos of the cheater binding on my Directions? quilt didn't come out too well, I thought I'd show you two more of my cheater bindings and explain how I made them.

The first is from my quilt Quality Time that I made in 2004 (and originally posted to my blog on 12 May 2006) so you can see that I've been breaking the rules for quite some time.

I made this for the Sydney Quilt show that year and was coming down to the wire. I had to drop the quilt off in 2 hours and didn't think that I could make a proper French double-fold binding in that time, even though this is a small quilt. So I tore some strips of black fabric, ironed them in half and sewed them on with the quilt edge tucked into the fold.

But the strips were too wide and it didn't look right. So I folded the raw edges to the outside and, using red variegated thread, held the folded strips in place with a simple machine embroidery stitch. Much better. Liked the softer edge that the torn strips gave this quilt. And the stitching did give it a bit of an edge so it looked finished.

If it hadn't worked and the quilt had been late, I probably wouldn't have ever done another cheater binding. But there is nothing like a bit of success in breaking the rules to encourage you to do it again. But some of us need less encouragement than others ... it can just be a matter of principle.

My second cheater binding is on my 2007 journal quilt, Joie de Vivre, that I just sent off to Houston. I can't show you any more if it (and you've already seen the back so I'm not really holding out on you) but this shot of the binding at one corner.

This time I don't really have an excuse. I had time to make a proper binding but decided not to. So I tore 4 strips for my cheater binding, sewed them on with the quilt edge tucked into the fold and decided I didn't like it.

Because I just made it up the first time, I had no idea how wide to tear the strips. I got it right for Quality Time but made them too wide this time, even after flipping the torn edges to the outside and sewing them down with green/blue variegated thread and the same machine embroidery stitch. Something had to be done.

So I trimmed the top strip close to the machine embroidery and used pinking shears to take the back strip back a bit. And I ended up with the binding you see here. Not what I'd planned or imagined but I still liked it.

And, truth be told, for my cheater binding for Directions?, I'd planned to fold it over so the torn edge was to the outside but I tore them too narrow for that. So, Goldilocks, one was too wide and one was too narrow and one was just right ... and I still have no idea how wide the just right one was.

I guess I'll have to keep making cheater bindings until I figure it out, eh?

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Scatterday Challenge - W

This week's Scatterday Challenge is brought to you by the letter W - Black Things, Tools and Games.
For Black Things, we have Wine. Tools was a bit tough, but I came up with allen wrenches. And for Games, I give you Wooden Pieces from my almost authentic Parchessi game.

Next week is brought to you by the letter C and the categories are Hobbies, Furniture and Pizza Toppings.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Directions? -- My Cheater Binding

So, here is the finished top, ready to be trimmed to size and bound.

Now, I could do a proper French binding, cut on the bias and folded in half, you know, just like they do it in the proper quilting books. I've done it before and it has always turned out great. But, given the rather chaotic approach I've been using for this quilt, I think you'll agree, it's a bit late for that now.

So, I'm going to let you in on a little secret. I'm trusting that you will keep this just amongst us girls. If the Quilt Police ever find out ...

First, I ripped 4 1" strips from some of my leftover backing fabric. Then I tore off the selvedges and pressed them in half. Because it's a hand dyed fabric, there wasn't any right side or wrong side to worry about. But if there were, I'd have pressed it wrong sides together.

Then, I cut the 1st strip to size, opened it up and put the edge of the trimmed quilt top. Using the walking foot, I sewed it down with a scant 1/4" seam allowance.

Then, I folded over the strip to encase the raw edge of the quilt, and sewed it down with a decorative stitch down the centre of the strip.

And I did it to all four sides ... long sides first, then short sides. And it ends up looking like this, first the front:

And the back:
It ends up with some lovely raw edges which fridges a bit when you pull off the odd threads. This goes well with the front which ended up with lots of threads from the rough handling that the raw edges get as I finished the quilting and binding. Fragile and delicate quilts wouldn't last too long at my house.

If I'd had time, I'd loved to have tossed it into the washer just to see what happened. But I'm working to a deadline here and will have to save that for later.

I dropped this off at the Guild office on Friday morning and just now realised that I didn't take a photo of the finished quilt. Bummer.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Directions? -- Update #1

I decided to go easy on myself and assemble the strips into units -- one brown strip with either a green or orange one on top and stitched with a decorative stitch. I thought that the top strips were too overpowering with their plainness. Here they are laid out one more time.

So, how to attach them to the quilt top? I could measure and pin carefully and then stitch them down. Instead, I put fusible hemming tape on the back of each one

And did a lot of them.

I ironed them in place by eyeballing where I thought they needed to go, sort of straight, and pressed them down. First I ironed and sewed all the strips going in one direction, then ironed and sewed the ones going in the other direction. And, much to my surprise, remembered to leave space for the green strips.

And here are the green strips sewn in place, forming the tartan effect I was going for. It sort of looks woven even though it isn't.

And a close-up shot which shows where my sophisticated joining technique isn't quite as invisible as I'd hoped. I'm sure that the Quilt Police will just love that.

Best of all, it's already quilted. I made up the sandwich using 2 layers of felt instead of wadding, pinned it for machine quilting and put on the walking foot. As I sewed down the strips, I quilted it at the same time. Pretty clever, eh?

Binding is up next and I'm trying to decide: proper binding or my cheater binding?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Directions? We Don't Need No Stinking Directions!

The NSW Quilters' Guild has a members' challenge every year. The theme this year is Looking Forward : Looking Back. It's been a while since I did one of these challenges, so I thought I'd give it a go. I was on a roll -- I'd finished my journal quilt and posted it off to Houston with time to spare. I grabbed two patterned FQs and a bundle of co-ordinating hand-dyed FQs from my stash and I was good to go.

I took a class from Quilt University and learned to make structured fabric by weaving strips together and using iron-on interfacing to hold it together while sewing and adding additional strips to make a fabric that looks like a tartan (plaid).

I wasn't happy with the fusible interfacing I had used while taking the class so thought I'd try again but using water-soluble stabiliser instead.

So, I wove the strips ...

... and sewed the edges to the stabiliser.

I noticed that the longer the stabiliser was out of the plastic bag that it wasn't lying as flat. I guess that it had started to absorb some of the moisture in the air after the rain during the last couple of months. This caused the woven fabric strips, that were flat when I wove them, to pull in and pucker. But faint heart never won fair lady, so I kept going.

BTW, that is what they call 'foreboding' in literary circles.

Next, I found some flat braid at Lincraft that went with the green and orange in the print fabric and sewed them on the diagonals. First orange, then green going the other way so that they crossed in the squares of the patterned fabric.

OK, now it was time to get rid of that stabiliser. So I dunked the structured fabric into a sink full of water, rinsed it out well and hung it up to dry. And it dried alright ... and the flat braid shrank as it dried. The drier it got, the more the braid shrank. So, instead of being relatively flat, quilt top looked more like Galloping Gertie.

It doesn't look to bad when you are looking at it from above ...

... but it's another story when you check out its profile.

There is a size restriction for this challenge and this piece was just about the right width when I started. Shrinking in any form was not going to be a good thing. The Guild Quilt Police may let me off with a warning if it's a centimetre or two too small, but somehow I don't think they'll be too impressed with my topographical map in three or more dimensions.

So, after I stopped using some rather colourful language (which I won't repeat here), HRH suggested that I iron it once it was dry. She's not just a pretty face, that girl. So I did. I ironed the bejezus out of it with a very hot iron. Front and back. Let it cool and did it again. And I think that it is looking a bit better.

I've just realised that the braid was supposed to divide the printed fabric into squares and not into triangles. Well, I haven't been following the direction so far. Probably a bit late to start now.

Damn the directions ... full speed ahead!

Just for a change, I thought I'd lay out the next couple of layers to see where I'm likely to end up. Here are the brown strips ...

... and the next layer after that with the green and orange strips.

It doesn't look too bad but I wouldn't make book that it will turn out looking like this. With the Friday deadline looming, time to stop blogging and start sewing.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Scatterday Challenge - B

This week's Scatterday Challenge is brought to you by the letter B - My Favourite Things, Big Things and Shop. This week was so much easier than last week.
For My Favourite Things, we have Books. I usually prefer science fiction or mysteries, but I've lately started reading a lot about the Middle East and Islam.

Big Things was a bit of a tough one, but I managed to take a photo of a Boiled Lobster. This one measures about a metre long ... if only they got this big in real life. This one is at work on a counter near a big fancy copier. I won't even start to wonder why.

And, finally, for Shop ... Bottle Shop, featuring Boags beer in honour of the Rugby World Cup, affectionately known as 'Bill', and getting a bit carried away with the 'B' theme for this week.

Next week ... don't know yet. Guess the other players didn't get up at 5am to watch France play Ireland in the rugby. Heavy sigh.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Little Textile Collage

This is really a bit bigger than a post card and is made up of layers of stuff (threads, scraps, ribbons and I can't remember what else) using MistyFuse.

It was looking pretty good until I put this holographic organza stuff on as the top layer. Now you can't really see what's underneath. Should have used something more transparent or at least not holographic.

I don't have a heat gun so I tried to melt it a bit with a hair dryer but it didn't get hot enough to make any difference at all. Might heat up my Bejeweller with the blank tip to it and see what happens ...

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Scatterday Challenge - Q

This week's Scattergory Challenge is brought to you by the letter Q - Music, Clothing, Square Things. Who picked the letter Q?
For music there is really only one choice: Queen, my all time favourite band. I've got all their CDs, quite a few concert DVDs and have downloaded even more of their music through iTunes. And Queen can only be listened to at one volume: very loud (much to HRH's endless embarrassment). There is a reason that 'fan' is short for 'fanatic'.

For clothing ... that was a tough one ... but I seem to have quite a few pieces of quilty jewellery. And I've read The Devil Wears Prada and now realise that accessories make the clothes. And that some woman are really, really scary.

And finally, for Square Things, well, a quilt of course. This was from the Belle France year of the annual kambrachallenge.

Thank goodness Q week is over! Next week is brought to you by the letter B - My Favourite Things, Big Things and Shop.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Extreme Decorating

What is 'extreme decorating'? When your cat is colour co-ordinated with the outside of your house.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers ...

... is Tiggers are wonderful things!

After the foiling workshop on Friday, I saw something odd on the top of one of the poles holding up some safety mesh around obstacle in the car park. Upon closer inspection, I found that it was an orphaned Tigger mitten.

What a blast from the past!

Most of you don't know this, but during one part of my misspent youth, during uni, I worked in the summers as a counsellor at Girl Scout camp in Louisiana. I usually worked waterfront, canoeing and primitive camping. Yes, primitive camping ... no running water, no showers, no flushing toilets. I told you it was part of my misspent youth.

One of my waterfront jobs was buying out all the sanitary napkins in the local town so that they could be soaked in kerosene, wrapped around a metal frame of a trefoil, floated out into the middle of the lake on a platform lashed to a canoe and set alight for the final night bonfire for each session of camp.

In a small, conservative North Louisiana town, it was sort of hard to blend into the crowd with an armload of sanitary napkins packages. First, there are no crowds. Second, this was a part of Louisiana where things related to "Aunt Flo" were handled with the utmost discretion by women and totally ignored by men. It wouldn't have been so bad except for my fellow camp counsellors shouting rude things to me from the sidewalk outside the drug store. Fortunately, they didn't use my real name, they used my camp nickname ... and some still do to this day.

My camp nickname was Tigger ... I know, but it's a camp counsellor thing ... and I learned the words to Tigger's song.
The wonderful thing about Tiggers
Is Tiggers are wonderful things!
Their tops are made out of rubber.
Their bottoms are made out of springs.
They're bouncy, trouncy, flouncy, pouncy.
Fun, fun, fun, fun, FUN!
The wonderful thing about Tiggers
Is I'm the only one!
Of course, I also told those believing little cherubs that came to camp that I was happily married with three children (two boys and a girl) and that my husband was a doctor and I taught maths at the local uni. Ah, those were the days ...

Sunday, September 09, 2007

My Latest Work-in-Progress

While I was in exile in Canberra this weekend, a couple of us had a bit of an art quilt-y day. Our first projects were to make a small faux felt work using those wonderful hand-dyed wool and silk tops. I've used them before, but the others hadn't.

Here is what I started with some wonderful wool and silk tops that my friend Norma gave me for my birthday.
I think it looks a bit like the flames of a fire, but will know more once it's quilted. It currently had Solvy pinned to it and is waiting for machine quilting.

I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Scatterday Challenge - R

My apologies, Miss, I am late because I escaped APEC and ran away to Canberra for the weekend.

This week's Scattergory Challenge was brought to you by the letter R -- Childhood, The Arts and Plant World.
My childhood was dominated by Reading, so a selection of what's in my bookcase now. Next are some of my favourite Recording Artists. And, surprise, another item from my kitchen from the plant word, a Rhizome that I believe is ginger.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Foiling Workshop

On Friday, while in exile, I went to Diane Groenewegen's Foiling Workshop organised by The Canberra Quilters. It was a good day and here are some of my samples that I rather liked.

This one was foil vlysofixed on piece of courdory. The vlysofix was cut with pinking shears and the nap on the fabric gave the foil some texture.

For this one, I used a large paper punch to cut shapes out of vlysofix sandwiched between two pieces of paper. The individual shapes are at the bottom and the original piece of vlysofix is at the top. The fabric had a bit of texture in it but it didn't have any effect on the texture of the foil.

In this sample, the foil was fused to the fabric with fusible thread. This one was my favourite and now I'm on the lookout for fusible thread.

And, finally, my little brain flash.

I trimmed up all the samples from this workshop, even the ones that didn't work very well or that I didn't like, and attached them to the right-hand pages of an A5 visual diary with double-sided tape. On the left-hand page, opposite each sample, I made notes of how I made it, what worked well, what didn't work so well and whether or not I liked the result.

Now, where are the samples from other workshops I've taken ...