Thursday, April 21, 2016

Heavy Starch

Do you starch your fabric before cutting?  I usually press my fabric with a light spritz of starch before cutting but after reading this blog post by Carrie Nelson on the Moda blog, I decided to try her method.  I gave the strips a pretty heavy blast from the can and hung them to dry on my portable lingerie drying rack in the bathtub in Miss Main Street's bathroom (she's away at college so won't need to use her tub for a few more weeks).

Warning - this method uses a lot of starch, about a bottle-and-a-half for the packaged strips and the background yardage.  And where do you buy your spray starch?  Our local supermarket discontinued it long ago so I was buying it at Target but they stopped carrying it too.  I made a trip to Walmart but they didn't have it either.  I stocked up at but the prices there seem very high.   Now I see from the Target website that I can order Faultless spray starch for pickup in the store but they won't ship aerosol products to homes.  I really prefer the trigger spray bottles but they sell for more than Best Press on  If I end up liking this heavy starch method, I'll order several cans at a time for pickup at Target.

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Monday, April 18, 2016

Color Inspiration

I began a pin board to hold color inspiration on Pinterest.  I use it to pin photos that have combinations of color that call to me, not necessarily because I like the photo itself.  My next quilt project is based on several of the photos I pinned, particularly Beach Blues.

I'm using a set of 2.5" batik strips from Wilmington Jewels, appropriately called "Ocean View,"  I've got a sand colored batik for the background.  And the pattern is Simply Woven Quilt from Moda Bakeshop.  I've had this pattern on "my list" ever since I saw Thelma's version on her blog.

This project will be a sort of fast fix after working on La Passacaglia for so long.  La Passacaglia is slow sewing at its finest but sometimes a quilter craves a strip pieced top from pre-cuts that can be finished in no time!

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Fourth and Final

The photo below shows the start of the fourth and final large rosette for my La Passacaglia quilt.  This one includes some more fussy cutting.

I'm in the process of making all the rosettes for the upper right quadrant of the quilt then I'll attach them.  My mental deadline for this quilt top has been Christmas 2016 but it now looks like I could be done earlier!

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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Merrily We Roll Along

With Mr. Main Street glued to the television watching basketball, I've had some extra time to sew and made some real progress on La Passacaglia in the last week.  The third big rosette is now in place in the upper left corner.

One big rosette to go, along with some of the small rosettes and some partials to fill in along the edges.  The end is in sight for a project I thought would take forever!

The top has grown big enough to be unwieldy as I sew on additional pieces, hard to hold and manipulate, hard to line up the pieces exactly.  I'm thinking of removing some of the paper pieces, just leaving then in around the edges for stability.  My hope is that this will make the top easier to manipulate.  Does anyone have experience with EPP and want to offer advice on this issue?  I'm also wondering if it is worth it to save the paper pieces for re-use?

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Monday, March 28, 2016

The Wall Street Journal Comes In Handy

I've made some progress on my La Passacaglia project, my English paper piecing, extremely slow going, hand sewing project.  In my last post on this topic, it was this far along:

Now I'm here:

I've added three more rosettes to the upper left side.

Wondering what connection the Wall Street Journal could possibly have to quilting?   I used pages from the newspaper to make a template the size I want my finished quilt to be.  My plan is for this quilt to be a wall hanging, to hang in a specific space in my house.  This means it needs to be a little bit smaller than the original in the book with the directions so I need to make some modifications.  I taped newspaper pages together to the size I want (roughly 40" by 55").  

With the quilt on top of the newspaper template, I can see how much more work I need to do.  Importantly, I can see where I need to insert partial rosettes along the edges to square up the flimsy.  I don't want to piece a lot of rosettes only to wack off large parts of them. 

I'll use rulers to square up the final top but this newspaper template is a big help in the meantime.

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Monday, March 7, 2016

The Quilt & Sewing Fest of New Jersey

On Saturday, I went to the Quilt & Sewing Fest of New Jersey.  It is an annual show put on by the Mancuso organization but a smaller operation than their fall show that is nearby in Pennsylvania.

I started with the exhibit quilts and this one quickly caught my eye.  Humor and quilting, so perfect together!  Fortunately, Mr. Main Street is no Brad; the Mister is pretty much oblivious to how much fabric I have (and how much I've spent on it).

Dottie"s Lament by Suzanne Bower, Dublin, PA

Here is another eye-catching quilt.  It is an abstract depiction of a flower bed at the peak of summer, pieced in half hexagons.  

Summer Peaks, by Irene Marchetto, Chatham, NJ

Summer Peaks, detail of the piecing

I'm afraid I'm getting jaded.  Perhaps it is the impact of the internet.  But I did not see many quilts I really liked this year.  The exhibits included the award winning quilts from the 2016 Mid-Atlantc Quilt Competition (another Mancuso show, it took place in Feb. in Virginia).  Yes, the award winners were spectacular but most were very densely machine quilted and I am not really a fan; I like a quilt that drapes.  The other exhibit quilts were  mini collections from various places.  For example, I saw several Kaffe Fassett quilts from Liza Priory Lucy but they look familiar, like I've seen them before at other shows.  

What made the show worthwhile for me was several new-to-me vendors with unique merchandise.  I picked up some Oakshott fat quarters from Pinwheels, purveyors of Daiwabo taupes from Japan, ball and chain zippers, wood buttons, as well as the Oakshott.  Her booth was very attractive and welcoming, lovely to browse.

Then I discovered Atelier D'Isabelle, selling her original design stitcheries in kit form, along with linen fat quarters and trims from France.  (Isabelle is actually French and her website is in French.)  Really cute and different; I bought two kits that can be made into small pictures or pillows.  

No, I haven't finished mine already.  These photos are from the booth.

Both L'atelier D'Isabelle and Pinwheels will be at the AQS show in Lancaster, PA next week.  If you are going, I recommend you check them out.

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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Organizing My Sewing Space

Have you ever been to Target and bought something that wasn't on your shopping list, just because you liked the look of it and the price was right?  Ha!  Do birds fly?  Here are my latest impulse purchases.  First, this wire basket (only $3!).  I thought I could put it on the floor under the table and use it to collect scraps, the ones that are too small to re-fold but too big to throw away.  Good idea but it is filling up fast.  Temporary solution but not long term scrap storage.

I also found these baskets that look like they are knitted but are made of plastic.  Also very inexpensive so I bought a few.  This smaller one is holding leftover binding I'm saving for a future unknown project where I just need a short piece.

I'm using the larger version to hold fabric I pulled from stash for a planned project.  I have two of these going now (but I have about 12 projects planned in my head).

As you may have surmised from my destash sale, I've been cleaning out and re-organizing my sewing space, or sewing "studio" as I've begun to call it.  Studio sounds so active and professional.  The gym I go to refers to their facility as the studio, which certainly sounds better (though less accurate) than torture chamber.

Getting fit and strong at OTF

Pulling my stash fabric out of the closet, refolding it, and putting it back in the closet was quite the workout.  Next up, the space around my sewing machine table.

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