Friday, June 27, 2008

Terrific Binding Technique

Recently, Debra Spincic mentioned using Sharon Schamber's binding technique as shown on this video. (There are three parts, but it's worth watching.) Sharon uses Elmer's School Glue instead of pins at all stages of the binding to hold everything firmly and it gives amazing results. I tried this out on a charity quilt that I just finished binding, and it's wonderful. Sharon says she does this for her show quilts, but I think it also works beautifully on something quick that you just want a fairly neat looking machine stitched binding. It's actually much quicker than the pinning I have to do for decent looking results, especially on the second stage. I didn't have her glue applicator tip either, just the regular tip of the bottle. You can see my results here. I didn't even try very hard, and they still look good, although they'd look even better if I had my glasses changed so I could see the ditch to stitch in better! The slightly-out-of focus first photo has the same effect :) Forgot to stitch down the miter too--mea culpa.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

News Flash!

Okay, everyone! What we've been waiting for! While waiting at the library yesterday, I came across this book, and HAD to sit down and browse through it. I have mixed feelings: it's good for what it is, but part of me wants to scoff, and much of it I knew already or had decided I didn't give a damn about anyway. As you might expect, it's full of tips about clothes, shoes, makeup, hair, underwear, etc., so you can look Y & H (young and hip, I guess), rather than OL (Old Lady). The author is probably in her mid forties. Being more than a bit past that is why I don't care about some of it, but still... I did go and buy Sally Hansen airbrush for legs, a recommended product.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Thoughts on Color

Lately I've been feeling negative about quilting--much of what I see seems stale and based on current "trends", the latest techno gizmo, or hot new technique. So I've been trying to go back to basics and connect with what has always drawn me to any kind of fabric work, which is color. Looking back on what I've made, I find that the things I like best and am happiest with are pieces that I based on a particular color plan that spoke to me. Some of them have come from art or photographs.

The first is a painting by Picasso of his mistress Dora Maar. This combination is bizarre, and I can't analyze why it works, but I love it. I used it to chose fabrics for the quilt at the top of the blog. Some one else liked the combination apparently because I actually had a novelty child's fabric to use for the border.

Then there is this Christmas card, which I've used several times. It's not in the same category as the Picasso, but what makes it special to me is the zing of the red orange. Perfect!

I chose color plans from nature too. This quilt was inspired by flowers and foliage on my deck. I don't like the quilt because I didn't get the value placement right, but the effect of pink/red scattered through the different greens still pleases me.

I also like this quilt, where I tried to capture different grasses and wild flowers along the roadside.

I've wanted to make something in the muted, greyed, greens and browns of winter for a long time, but I haven't been able to decide on a design for that. Currently, I'm thinking of something based on this Science cover that I've saved for over a year. Unfortunately the reproduction isn't good; there's quite a bit of green in the stone of some of those spear points, and that's what makes it particularly striking. This would make a stunning quilt I think, very contemporary looking, and rather masculine, although no one I would make it for is hung up on that sort of thing. Maybe this project is what I need to get me out of the doldrums. I'm going to need some fabric...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Pleasant Surprise!

I received this beautiful postcard from Liz. Liz and I discovered each other through the Take It Further Challenge, and were struck by the similarity of our blog names. When I realized she was making hats, I sent her a book that I wasn't using any longer about millinery techniques. I'm always so impressed by lovely handwork like hers on this card, and the various embellishments add just the right touch. Thanks, Liz. It's a great addition to my collection.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Towel Bib

Valerie asked how I made the two bibs I showed in the last post, so here's a quick tutorial. This is pretty basic sewing, so I'm not going into much detail, just giving a general idea.

You start with a hand towel, about 16 x 24 inches, and cut it in half, crosswise. It's better to use one without the plain-weave band, but I just ignored the band and appliqued over it this time. I use a purchased bib as a template for the neck, but if you don't have one, the opening is approximately a 4" diameter circle.

Then you can decorate as you choose. There are lots of options, but for this I was using up a little piece of rather poor quality fabric that I got in an exchange. To make this oddly shaped applique around the cat, I put a piece of muslin on top of the image, drew around the shape I wanted with fabric marker, and then stitched on the line. Then I trimmed around the stitching, leaving 1/4 allowance, and slit the muslin to turn it right side out. After turning and pressing, I trimmed the excess fabric away leaving 1/2 inch seam allowance, pinned the image to the bib, and stitched it down.

For binding, I cut a bias strip 2 1/4", folded it in half and stitched it to the front of the neck. You can use purchased binding, too, but I think this kind works better actually. The curve is rather sharp, and so this is a little tricky, but there aren't any quilt police here, so if it bunches a bit, it's ok. Then I folded the binding over to the wrong side and pressed it. I did use Sharon Schamber's technique of putting a line of Elmer's School Glue on the seam allowance, and then pressing down the binding. This holds it securely and evenly so that you can stitch-in-the-ditch on the right side easily. Then, add velcro strips for closing, wash it to get out the glue and be sure it's clean for the baby, and there you are.

They're great bibs: big and thick enough to sop up lots of STUFF, and the extra size is also good for wiping the face.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Catching Up--Again

It's been a big reunion time. First, friends of ours from our long-ago days at Cornell dropped by on their way home from visiting family, then there was a family reunion in Missouri, and then a get together of the cooperative house where I lived in college. So I haven't been home, and definitely haven't had time to post or read blogs for about two weeks. And then there's all the activity on Stitchin Fingers ring, so I'm a bit overwhelmed. But here's the beautiful postcard I received from Ruth.

It's a very effective combination of texture and techniques with a bit of three dimensional embellishment too. Thank you, Ruth. My part of the exchange will go in the mail today, I hope, and then after cleaning, laundry, and unpacking, I hope to catch up on all the on-line reading. Maybe I'll sew later in the week...

The only creative activity in this time frame has been two baby bibs,

and sending my quilt, Unintended Consequences, to the AQA show in Columbus. If anyone is going to be there, say hi to it for me.
Catch you later, everybody.