Sunday, May 1, 2016

Inconsistent Suggestions for Making a Hanging Sleeve for a Faced Quilt, (or Any Other Quilt for that Matter).

Yeah... that's a long and confusing title, but a true one. Let me explain...

I'm doing this post because I was asked how one would attach a quilt binding to a faced quilt in the comment section of my tutorial on how to make a faced binding. (Which is a good question.) My answer, was basically just make a sleeve like you would for a traditionally bound quilt, add some slack and stitch it down just under the top portion of the facing, along the stitched edge... and then I promised to do a little post on it, as words without pictures can sound confusing when it comes to instructions.

But then when I took some pictures, I realized just how inconsistent I am when it comes to making a hanging sleeve, whether it's for a faced quilt or a traditionally bound one, I tend to be a bit less consistent then I probably should be, so I probably am not the best one to ask about it. However, I was asked, so here we go... 

Sometimes I have the slack folded at the bottom, sometimes at the top. I generally make my slack about 1/2", but sometimes 1/4" and sometimes as in this case it's closer to 1". And sometimes I forget to add any slack at all, as it's not the way that I originally learned, and old habits die hard. (But really, you should add slack, it does help a quilt hang better.)

Sometimes on a small quilt my hanging sleeves are only 2" wide, as opposed to 3.5" wide to 4" wide on larger quilts.

And then there are the seams... sometimes I fold the side seams in 2 times, (for a nice clean finish). Other times, just once, (to reduce bulk) and use a zig-zag to cover the raw edge. Usually I like to have the raw edges of the long back horizontal seam on the outside, hidden against the back of the quilt, as opposed to inside the sleeve itself, but sometimes I forget and do it the other way... oh, well.

My point is, there is more then one way to bake a cake, paint a wall, or make a hanging sleeve. (In earlier days we use to say "more then one way to skin a cat" but that's a weird and rather uncomfortable saying.) But I digress... back to my point... in the end, and in my experience, there isn't that huge of a difference, so do what feels appropriate and if the end result produces a quilt that hangs nicely, you succeeded!

Note: If you are entering the quilt into a show, then you should check to make sure your hanging sleeve complies with the rules, (I believe 4" wide is often the standard) and I would definitely add some slack as quilt shows seem to often use thicker and wider rods or slats then the thin metal ones that I would use on my own quilts hung at home).

But just for shits and giggles, below are pictures and words describing this one pictured hanging sleeve as well as reminders that this isn't the "gospel of how to make a quilt sleeve". This is just one example...

Okay, so here is the back of a faced quilt with a finished hanging sleeve. I've cut the length of the sleeve a bit shorter then the width of the quilt and in this case, I turned the raw sides in just once and finished them with a zig-zag stitch. 

I pressed the sleeve flat, so there is a pressed edge along the top and the bottom.

I lined the top edge of the sleeve about 1/2" from the top of the quilt. (Reminder... you are free to line it up closer to the top, I often do. You just want to make sure that the sleeve won't show when the quilt is hung.)

I pinned it all in place and with tiny stitches sewed the bottom edge of the sleeve down, careful not to stitch thru to the front of the quilt.

Next, I removed the pins and folded that top pressed seam down until I came to the stitched edge of the yellow facing section...

I then carefully hand stitched the back section only of that folded area of the sleeve right along where it butts up against the stitched edge of the facing, leaving that top portion of the sleeve as the slack. (You can pin again if you wish for this.)

Reminder... you don't have to have this much slack, but it works just fine if you do, as the folded section of facing gives the quilt enough stability that it won't flop around. And the reason I stitch it along that edge is that I generally like to stitch my sleeves to the stitched edge of the top binding sections, as it provides a nice niche to butt up against and a straight line to follow.

Next, I stitched the hemmed backside edges of the sleeve down. 

Then I just smoothed the slack back down, so the sleeve is all nice and flat again...

All done. And, as you can see in the top photo of this rambling post, everything hangs just fine and dandy.

And here is a photo of the thin, steel metal rods that I use to hang my quilt. I buy them at the hardware store... have no idea what they are officially called or what they are officially used for, but they are nice and strong and come in various widths, (I get the 1/8" size) and lengths. They can be cut with a hack saw to the length you want for small quilts. 

Friday, March 18, 2016

Happy International Quilting Weekend!

Did you know that this Saturday, March 19th is the 25th anniversary of National Quilt Day? To celebrate I will be attending a lecture  given by quilter and author Sarah Fielke and hosted by the newly formed Lancaster Modern Quilt Guild, (Yay! We finally have one!) 
(And for the record, I had nothing to do with helping to form it... way too easily overwhelmed and scattered to ever even attempt such a feet. Kudos to those that rose to the occasion!) 

I've also gotten an early start to celebrating by being the guest lecturer for the Spring City, PA Loose Threads Quilt Guild's 25th anniversary, and gave a trunk show at their annual tea. 
I shared 26 of my quilts up close and in person while discussing their inspiration and encourage everyone to look for their own personal inspiration sources. 
It was a great day! 
Below are some of the little Moo business cards I had printed up for the occasion. Some show my quilt work while others show my local photography of the old barns,  
which of course give me constant inspiration!

And, I also attended the Lancaster AQS Quilt Show which is still going on through the 19th, 
so if you are in the area, you may want to check it out. 

Now, of course with all of these quilt celebrations going on, I've got some new work to share, 
(sneak peek in that top photo). 
But first I've got this little fun announcement...

In honor of it being International Quilting Weekend, the renown hosts of The Quilt Show, Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims have asked me to join with them and other quilt bloggers, to let all of you know that they are opening their doors to all quilters this weekend, giving free access to The Quilt Show, where you can watch their quilt shows this weekend non-stop! (And that's over 200 shows!!)

Along with that they are also having a CONTEST with over $11,000 worth of prizes, including the grand prize of a Bernina 570QE! Just click on that contest link above to enter!
(But first check out my new quilts below!)

Okay, and now for the new quilts...

This may look familiar as it's a quilt top that I pieced way back in 2012, but never quilted. It's very rare for me to not finish a quilt before moving onto the next. (I gather that's a little unusual in the quilt world, yes?) My intention at the time of piecing was to machine and hand quilt it just like it's sister quilt, "9 Patch Quilt in Red and White" seen below.

But I just didn't have it in me at the time to commit to all of that hand quilting, due to the hand pain which was just starting to be a real problem around the time this was made. 
And while I can now once again hand quilt on a small scale, (yay!) I don't think I am quite yet ready to tackle anything past the small size. 

So, I finally made up my mind to pull her out of storage and quilt her up. I was tired of letting her languish, waiting for me to hand quilt her when all she really wanted was to be quilted.
I decided to just go with texture and did a large all over stipple. 

And hey! Sister and brother Modern Quilters, listen up please... stop disparaging the stipple! 
Yes, it was over done, but at this point so is matchstick quilting. 
However, both are worthy of doing if that is what the quilt calls for and you enjoy doing it!

So happy to have "9 Patch Cross Quilt in Green" finally done!! It was inspired by the greens in the  farm fields. The one red strip was added because I like a little happy and unexpected something and it reminds me of the low, long barn that belongs to the farm behind my house.

Here she is with the golden morning sun shining on her... love that texture!

Last but not least, here is the newest quilt that I've made...

This one is called "Off-Kilter". In a previous blog post I talked about gathering quilt inspiration from the sad dismantling of barnes... when all that is left are the beams, (which I call the bones.) This quilt takes similar inspiration, but at an earlier stage... where just one wall is missing, (and there is still time to save the barn!) At this stage, I can peak in and see all the off-kilter odd angles of the barn's interior along with it's contents, 
(which more often then not is a compilation of rusty old farm machinery.)

This quilt is pieced from various shot cottons, cross weaves and chambrays, 
and quilted with improvised meandering waves, 
reminiscent of the rolling hills and newly plowed fields.

So there you have it... all in celebration of National Quilt Day and International Quilting Weekend!
Don't forget to enter The Quilt Show's contest 
and enjoy watching those 200 + free quilt shows this weekend!

Happy Quilting! 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Windy Mansion Road Quilt

When we first moved to this area, one of the first road names that caught my eye was "Windy Mansion Road". The name conjured up wonderful images, and I can not tell you how many times I drove down that road, in the hopes of finding the old mansion that I imagine inspired the road's name.

Alas, no mansion was ever found, at least not by me... I imagine it fell to ruin long ago. But the name is still wonderful, and I thought fitting for this quilt, which is the 4th in my Lancaster County series, all named after local roads and inspired by my, (abstract) impressions of this area, which I have discussed so much on this blog, I will spare you all further words on that subject matter.

Made with assorted shot cottons, chambrays and cross weaves, I worked in an improvised back forth manner between log cabin and house top construction methods, 

(For new quilters, log cabin construction would be when pieces are stitched in a clockwise, (or counter clockwise) direction around a center piece of fabric. House top construction is similar, but pieces are added to the center swatch first along the sides, then to the top and bottom, 
then back to the sides and so on and so forth.)

A back and forth baptist fan quilting design seemed appropriate, echoing the idea of a windy scene. 
(Plus, I just really like quilting baptist fans lately).

I did the binding in two tones of green each pulled from the inner quilt 
and which you can see in the first full size photo at the beginning of this post.

And that's all she wrote on this one folks...


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Barn Bones

I just completed two new small quilts, and I am so happy because I was able to actually hand quilt them, (and it's been a long time since I have been able to do that). If you have been a long time reader of my blog, you may remember that I have mentioned a couple of times my problems with on-going arthritic hand pain. What I didn't say was how the pain gradually increased until I was feeling it throughout my body. I was feeling like I had the body of an 80 year old, and knew something was wrong. I decided to hold off on seeing the doctor and first do a little sleuthing, as my gut instinct told me this had something to do with something I was ingesting.

I thought about what might have changed in my diet over the last two years, (as that is when I first started feeling pain). I quickly realized that was around the time I switched from drinking primarily coffee, to drinking mostly tea. And I was drinking a lot of tea, often 8-10 cups a day, both black and green, both caffeinated and decaf, and brewed pretty strong.


A quick google search of tea and arthritic pain led me to a lot of hits. Seems that while a small does of tea can be anti-inflammatory and thus helpful, higher amounts can lead to arthritic pain, and that is thought to be possibly caused due to the high amount of fluoride, (yes fluoride) that is naturally found in black and green teas, (but not herbal). 

The fluoride is absorbed into the tea leaves from the soil, (why, I do not know). Old leaves, (black tea) carry the most, while young leaves, (white tea) the least, and green tea falls in the middle. 

(Note: I am no expert in this... and different reports say different things. If you really want to know about  this, you should do your own research, and come  to your own conclusions!)

After finding this all out, I decided to switch to mostly herbal tea, (every now and then I have a cup of black, but not that often.) After doing this for many months, I have found that the hand pain has greatly decreased. I still have a bit in my right thumb, but it no longer feels crippling and searing. And my over all body aches have greatly improved... I think what I feel now is just normal for my age.

And so I tested myself out by doing some hand quilting, and Hooray, Hooray, I was able to do it, (granted on a small scale, but nevertheless, I was able to do it)!!

So now... the quilts...

 Barn Bones no.1

The quilts, "Barn Bones 1" and "Barn Bones 2" were made in response to seeing so many local, beautiful old barns and farm structures dismantled, or neglected and left to fall apart, piece by piece. 

There is a point between the coming down and the all gone, where skeletal beams still stand, and the sky shows through open areas that once stood walls and roofs.  

I admit, I get rather mournful each time one is lost. 

                    And it's an odd feeling to gather inspiration from something that makes me sad, 
                        and then to use that inspiration to make something that makes me happy.

But my hope is to pay some sort of final tribute to those structures, 
some of which once stood humbly, and others that stood rather majestically...
but they all stood with dignity.

Barns Bone no.2

I pay tribute to each of them, for the lives and stories that they witnessed, 
and for the years that they served and survived.


Sunday, October 18, 2015

Scrap Control Mini Quilts

I have decided to embark on a new method of scrap control. 
(Is their really such a thing as scrap control?) 
I don't know, but I hope this is a step in the right direction. 

The idea is that after a project is complete, I must use the scraps right away. 
No saving and holding them for future projects. 

I decided to do this because I have come to realize that when I save scraps for some future, unknown use, I start to feel really bogged down by them after awhile. No matter what form of organization I use, I just feel weighted down my those small, (and seemingly light weight) bits of fabric. 

I feel guilty and wasteful if I throw them out, and resentful of their demand that I DO something with them. And finding a place to store and organize them 
is just a continued drain of time that I would rather spend sewing.

So... why not just make something out of them right away? 
A fun little activity that keeps my creative juices going, while cleaning up my scraps seems like a great way to transition from one project  to another. 

And so here are three little scrap quilts, made from the left over bits of my last project
I'm calling them "Harvest 1, 2 and 3" which seems fitting to me.

Hoping  that  this new method proves workable and more enjoyable to me then collecting my scraps in boxes, bins and baskets as previously done. So far, it feels like a win-win!

What forms of scrap control have any of you found helpful? Feel free to share in the comments!

"Harvest #1" and "Harvest #2"are both listed in my Etsy shop if you would like any further info. Links can be found below.