Sunday, June 27, 2010

June Interpret This!

Butterfly Days  18 x18

You can read more about it on the Interpret This! blog.

In addition, I've been binding,



Monday, June 21, 2010


Thanks, everyone who offered suggestions about the bleed.  I tried Tide stain stick, and it faded it a bit, but I could also see more bleeding appear around the edge on the front of the quilt from the wetting.  I decided against a full washing because I was afraid of worse bleeding that would come through to the front, and also I was concerned about too much shrinking with the wool batt.  That would have been a totally different look than I had planned, and I don't know how it would have affected the total look.

So, I took out some quilting stitches, and used something called Pentel dye sticks, which seem to be very waxy and crayon-like.  It then occurred to me that actual crayons might work too, so I added them.  Wish I'd thought of that first because the color match was better and the sharper point worked well with the pattern on the backing.  Then I used a hot iron to set both and remove the waxy stuff.  It's better; it looks like a slightly darker section of the fabric, and doesn't jump out at you like the pink did.  But if you look closely you can see something is odd.  (There is actually less pink visible in reality than in this picture.)

I was afraid I'd made the wrong choice and was too timid, but just heard from someone with a horror story about trying to remove a bleed with Synthrapol, so I feel better.  Next step will be to distract by adding a very elaborate label!

I'll also try to remember that the oil spill is worse.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Just now when I unpinned my challenge quilt from where it had been drying after I spritzed it and blocked it, this is what I found.  It's the back, it does not show on the front, and this is the worst one of two spots where a particular fabric seems to have bled.  I tried dabbing it with a solution of Synthropol, but it didn't help and I'm afraid rewetting will make it worse.  Any ideas?

I'm feeling a bit ill about this, but unless someone knows what to do, or I think of something, I think I'll just trust to the judges' mercies.  The only other way I know right now is to wash the whole thing with Synthrapol, on the assumption that it's ruined and nothing can make it worse.

P.S.  Several people on the Dharma website said they had used Synthrapol to remove bleeding from quilts or  pieced blocks.  So maybe I'll try that. Scary.  But I guess the Synthrapol would prevent that nasty fabric from bleeding more, which is what I'm really worried about.   I have to bind the quilt first though, so this will be a tense time.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Busy Two Days

The quilting is done, and I'm ready to bind this!  I'm very happy with the background quilting.  For the third line, the one that makes the star pattern, I found that using the seam guide didn't work.  The slightest error compounded itself over several lines, and the pattern became more and more uneven.  So after quite a bit of ripping, I used one inch blue painter's tape to mark each line before I stitched it.  This was quite easy and accurate, but at the same time allowed tiny adjustments to keep the effect right.

The outline quilting around the motifs, which you can't see, isn't as good.  I FORGOT that I could take off the walking foot and use the regular foot (one of the advantages of doing the background first).  So after I made ugly outlines with the walking foot,  I tried free motion, which looked worse.  THEN I remembered the regular foot, but it was impossible to rip out all the tiny free motion stitches without messing up the applique.  I took out the most obvious part, and have let it go.

I also made good progress on Interpret This! yesterday.  My husband is at Argonne National Labs this week doing an experiment, and I treated myself to a two day quilting camp at home.  It's amazing how much you can accomplish that way.  Back to regular life now.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

So Far, So Good

I'm about halfway through the second line of the grid--there is one more set of lines to go to make the hexagons and stars that I'm aiming for.  Turns out it is possible to achieve the fashionable quilted-to-death look with only a walking foot!  Then I will quilt around the applique motifs.  I used to do that first, but I've found it easier to do them last, they look puffier, and I haven't had any trouble with wrinkles--so far.

The quilting is going smoothly up to now, although I had to rip a few lines because the stitching guide slipped and made them too far apart.  Too bad there's no way to lock it in place.  I've put bits of masking tape to prevent slipping, but it will still slip a bit, so now I check it regularly.

Monday, June 07, 2010


The June Interpret This! photo:

I have two ideas.  One is very twenty-first century both in theme and technique, and the other is more retro.  Which I choose may depend on the amount of time required for each, because...

I am doing the Hoffman challenge.  I put the top together in record time for me and am very pleased with it.  All I'll say is that it includes some colors and fabrics that I posted about recently.

 I started the quilting today with a bit of trepidation.  That's always a chance to mess up.  I'm doing a grid quilting pattern from Charlotte Warr Anderson's book One Line at a Time, one of the simpler ones.  But even so, I think this kind of quilting can be as time consuming as free motion quilting.  I'm just hoping it works out.  I even did a 12 inch sample block first, cleaned the machine, and all the things you're supposed to do before a quilting project.  Fingers crossed.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Knotty Problems

The Janome automatically knots the thread when you begin zig-zagging, but after almost two years, I finally realized that to keep the knot on the underside, you have to hold the BOBBIN thread.   Then you can cut the top thread short and pop the knot to the back by tugging the bobbin thread.  If you hold the top thread or no thread, the knot and the bobbin thread always pop up and look ugly.

Two or three thoughts:  why did it take me so long to figure this out, why did no one tell me this when I took a class on the machine, and why did Janome design it that way?  It requires some contortion, as you can see.  When you end the stitching, the machine knots the thread, and then the scissors tool cuts the thread and pulls the knot to the back.  Pretty slick.  Wouldn't it have been nice to pull the knot to the back at the beginning too?

No matter though.  I'm thrilled to have figured this out.  It improves the look of the stitching tremendously.