Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Two Methods for Facing the Edges of a Quilt

Rian asked about the facing method I mentioned in my last post, so here's a brief explanation.  This technique comes from the book Circle Play by Reynola Pekusich.  I didn't go back and look up the details, so although she gets credit for the idea, the details and any mistakes are mine.  Here's a photo of a quilt I made using this technique.

Cut a square with sides about twice the width of the facing, and round one corner of the square so it will make a smooth curve joining the facing.  The facing strips for the sides are cut length of side, minus width of two squares, plus one inch for seam allowance.  One side strip is cut in two pieces to make the join.  (On a large quilt you might want to make a join in the middle of every side.) You sew the strips to the squares, turn under and stitch a 1/4 inch hem,  and attach the entire facing to the front of the quilt, right sides together.  The final join is made by overlapping the two ends.  I don't have a photo of this because it's under my hanging sleeve.  Then turn the facing to the wrong side, pushing the bulk firmly into the corners and squaring them, and slip stitch the facing down, or fuse if you want.  This makes a neat facing.

Here's the other method that I don't recommend, although perhaps it would work better with a bit more care than I used.  I don't remember where I saw this, so I can't give credit or blame.

A facing strip is cut for each side, about an inch shorter than the quilt.  Then cut four squares large enough to cover the facing when it's folded into a triangle as shown.  Fold the squares in half, press them and pin a triangle to each corner of the quilt on right side.  Pin the strips to the sides of the quilt on top of the triangles.  Stitch around all sides, and turn to the right side.  The folded triangle should cover the raw ends of the side strips.  Turn under the edges of the strips and slip stitch or fuse them down.  Slip stitch the triangles over them.  This method is easy, because there are no joins and the measurements don't have to be so precise, but I think it's bulky, and I had trouble making a smooth square corner.

On a very small piece those triangles could be left un-sewn, forming a place to slip a hanging rod.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

March Interpret This

Eyes Wide Open
16 x 12
Photo transfer on cotton and organza,  machine piecing, applique and quilting, hand embroidery

This is my interpretation of the March photo shown below.  You can read more about it on the Interpret This blog and see other quilters' versions in the coming days.

Photo transfer was the technique I used for this interpretation.  I took many photos of my old doll, edited them in Photoshop to select the head and provide a solid background, increased the saturation by 25 %, and printed them on cotton and ExtravOrganza by Jacquard.  Then I began arranging them until I found something I thought worked, and added the quotation, also printed on organza.

I chose not to use a binding, and used a facing technique I read somewhere that puts squares folded into triangles in the corners.  I don't recommend it, because it creates too much bulk.  Next time, I'll go back to having a join in the center of the sides.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


I'm currently between projects, and have been looking at some of the fabric I have, thinking about where to go next.  I bought this piece of fabric several years ago.  It shades from lemon yellow to a rosy peach and back to yellow again, all the while blending different sizes and shapes of dots.  There should be a way to really show this off, but I have trouble visualizing how.  (I have lots of it.)  I've started making these simple blocks, thinking about shading the backgrounds according to where on the fabric I cut the pieces.

Although I like the colors, this idea doesn't seem interesting enough for that great fabric.  I may make a few more blocks to see what develops.  If nothing else, I'll have a start on what could be a pretty, small quilt for a baby, and there's more of the fabric for something else.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Interesting Project.

Many of you will remember Susan Lenz from the Cyber Fyber Exhibition a couple of years ago.  Read about her new project here.  Any volunteers?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Nellie of Nellie's Needles sent me this photo of one of my quilts displayed at the Smoky Mountain Quilt Show in Nashville, Tennessee this weekend.  It was an unexpected pleasure to see it, and to know that it looks straight when hanging.  A bed-size quilt looks so different on the bed than it does on display.  I made this quilt about five years ago using blocks from Alex Anderson's book Simply Stars,  adding a few other star blocks.  The variety made this fun to do.

Nellie will be posting more pictures from the show next week, something well worth looking for.  Thanks, Nellie!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Terrific New Foot

 Janome just announced this new foot a few months ago, and I ordered one as soon as I saw the information.  I've had it now for several weeks, and I absolutely love it.  The clear plastic allows a wonderful view for accurate 1/4" or 1/8" seams.  It rides over seams fairly well also.   If you want, you can attach the 1/4" guide.  I don't want.  I hated that guide on the older quarter inch foot and the fact that it is removable was the main attraction for this foot.  The other guide is for stitch in the ditch.  This would probably be helpful, but I haven't tried it since I don't stitch in the ditch except for quilting.  I can think of uses for it in garment sewing however.

So if you have a Janome that this foot will fit (horizontal rotary hook models), I'd really recommend it.  It cost about $17, as I remember.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I'm feeling good about yesterday's work!  My Interpret This piece is finished.  It was very simple to construct once I finally had an idea of what I wanted to "say,"  so it went together quickly.  Reveals begin March 27.  Look at the blog for some hints of what people are doing with that doll photo.

With that cleared away, I  sewed the borders on this little give-away piece that I began assembling at the end of February.  It's made with orphan blocks, framed using Sharyn Craig's ideas.  I'm very happy with its bright cheerfulness, and am looking forward to practicing some free-motion in the spaces of those blocks.  It's a size I think I can manage.  The quilting can be done after I finish the baskets.

Yes, I gritted my teeth and sewed together all the rows on the basket quilt.  Now just the  borders from the focus fabric are left, and the top will be done.  Maybe I'll do that today.  Notice the ray of morning sunshine falling across the quilt--spring!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Signs of Spring

The colors don't look spring-like, but nevertheless blooming branches picked from my yard do mean spring.  This witch hazel bush actually blooms in February when the snow is still on the ground.  Unfortunately I planted it away from the house at the edge of the woods, so the blooms aren't very visible, and I didn't wade through the snow to cut some branches until yesterday. when 50 degree temperatures had cleared that area.  The snow is finally gone along the streets and roads too, so I can walk outside instead of on the treadmill at the gym.  That's a good thing.

Another good thing is that lightening struck on my Interpret This piece.  I have a concept, a rough composition plan, and materials ready to go.  Later today I hope to be brave enough to start cutting and sewing.  It's odd,  but according to my notes, I finally got a real idea on exactly the same day last month.  I'm obviously a slow starter.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Three Favorites from the IHQS

Best of Show at Indiana Heritage Quilt Show
Star Berries by Gail Stepanek
Quilted by Ronda Beyer

This is a lovely quilt--it doesn't shout "Look how flashy I am," but it grows on you and repays careful study.  The seven pointed stars, the asymmetrical setting, and the subtle colors all give a traditional quilt a new spin, and  the beautiful quilting enhances the whole effect.  Click so you can get a good look--it's fabulous.

This quilt, The Geisha and the Serving Girl, is by Claudia Meyers and Marilyn Badger.  It makes very effective use of metallic fabric paints to enhance the designs, and has beautifully balanced quilting, with very dense filling but leaving some puffy areas too.

This quilt doesn't make a huge initial impact, but it's fascinating.  One of a series of alphabet quilts by Janet Stone,  this one includes fourteen sheep as part of the design.  See if you can find them.  The detail on this quilt is delightful; be sure to click on it for a close-up view.

I had more favorites, but this is a taste.  It was a very good show this year.

Saturday, March 06, 2010


 Third Prize, Ensemble Bed Quilts!

What a surprise!  People often say they're surprised if they receive an honor, but honestly, I was amazed.     I walked in and was handed the list of prize winners, which I didn't even glance at.  I wandered around, taking in the big winners, found my wall quilt entry inconspicuous in a corner, and was unable to find Peppermint Stars, until finally, I looked down at the list and saw my name.  Stunned, I kept looking and there it was, with its ribbon and its sign crediting the sponsor of the prize.  Thank you Deb Geyer, for the beautiful quilting, which really shows up in this picture.

This was the highlight, but I had a very enjoyable trip in general, and will post some more show pictures in a day or two.

Monday, March 01, 2010


It's 40 degrees, the sun is shining, the sunlight is falling across our north-facing deck:  spring is coming!  I'm looking forward to driving down to Bloomington, Indiana, the sunny south to me, to see the Indiana Heritage Quilt Show.  I always enjoy this trip; I love the quilts, the town, staying in a hotel room alone, the chance to take an interesting class.  This year I'll be taking a class from Mickey DuPre called "Permission to Play--Yes, You Can Draw. "  Right.

Whether I can draw or not, the class should be fun.  We're supposed to bring lots of scraps.  Does this really mean I should throw all the plastic scrap bags of sorted by color pieces in my suitcase, or should I be more selective?  It may depend on how much time I want to spend packing tomorrow.

Yesterday and today I spent some time sewing those blue basket blocks together.  Maybe I can actually finish that top this month as well as work on the Interpret This challenge.  Here's the picture:

I'm the person responsible for this photo.  Choosing a photo is not easy.  Do you choose something pretty, something you would like to do yourself, or look for something out of the box?  I chose two of the first type, and then threw in this one as an afterthought, and fate made the choice.  I do have an idea for it although I don't know how it will work out.   The members of the challenge group are sure to create some great work from this.   Check back at the end of March.