In Progress…

It has been a while since I just wrote something unplanned for this blog.  Actually, both my blogs seem to be perpetually on the farthest back burner.  Even writing weekly is too much for me, but I want to do more than once per month.  Sigh.  I am happy to not stress over it and let whatever blog posts that do happen, happen.

Over the summer, I was too busy socializing to have spent much time crafting.  I did knit a few dishcloths.  But I was too busy to take the time to take pictures and write about it.  Part of it is that I don’t see the value of writing all the details of what I am doing unless I can see some benefit to you, the reader.  Mostly, it is time.  It is time consuming to write a decent tutorial.  I love the process of doing that, but it does eat time.  So does photography.  As I am a novice with the camera, I am probably going about things inefficiently, too.

Speaking of inefficiency, my latest quilting experiment’s basting was the most tedious of processes.  I ended up basting 2 quilts a total of 5 times.  How did this happen?  Well, as the experiment involves 2 quilts made at the same time, things get complicated.  Quilt number 1 is a giant double nine-patch on the front, with a giant snail’s trail for the back.

This one was basted 3 times.  The first time was my usual method.  When I was all finished, I noticed the back was wrinkly – too wrinkly to be able to leave it.  Argh.  I fixed the issue by starting in the center and slowly working outward, removing a section of pins and smoothing out the wrinkles and repinning on the backside.  Then, when I had completely gotten all the pins on the back, I did the same thing to get the pins on the front of the quilt, since I intend to quilt from  the double nine patch side.  But I am thinking I really want to rebast it again to get the pins back on the back to quilt from that side.  The person who is getting the quilt reacted so favorably to the back that I think it would be best to make it the front.

Which I did for the second quilt.  Originally, I intended this be the front side of the quilt.  I am very pleased with how it came together and like it mucho.  I decided to do another giant snail’s trail for this backside.  It came out so well, I decided I had to quilt it from this side. I learned a lot from doing the first one and applied it to this one, but even so, there are plenty of errors.

The most important thing I learned is that it is absolutely critical to heavily starch the fabric for a giant snail’s trail.  I didn’t do that on the first and I am sure that is why it wrinkled so badly.  On the second, I starched both fabrics with undiluted Sta-Flo and had zero wrinkling issues, plus, it was a ton easier to work the fabric during the sewing process.

I also learned the limits of what I can cut size wise.  I can cut up to a 28 inch square with my 15 inch square ruler.  Larger than that would be a pain to cut.  On the first quilt, I got to that point and discovered I did not have enough of the white fabric to cut the next size square anyway, and just finished it to size with the dark paisley.  On the second quilt, which I think looks much better, I was still 28 inches shy of what I wanted as the finished size, so I sewed strips on, continuing the illusion of a spiral.

I really like the way this came out and am seriously debating making this the standard backside of my quilts.  I am going to do this as the backside at least once more, posting my notes from that, with pictures of some of the pitfalls.

Of course, this brings up the quilting part of finishing these quilts.  I think I am going to try all white on the double nine patch on both the front and back.  I am curious to see how keeping to the traditional white thread will look on all of it.  For the second quilt I am thinking I will use white on the white part of the spiral and a brown on the dark spiral.  I am trying to decide if I want to use those colors for the other side or use a blue and green.  I do have a pretty blue green, so I may try to work that in for the patchwork side.  I am going to stick with a plain simple meander for both because i think that will make both sides look good at once.

Doing 2 quilts at once has taken all my crafting time since I started them in the beginning of November.  I am aiming to get them done by the end of December, but they are not even quilted yet and here it is the middle of the month.  I am also trying to knit my roommate a hat and this has been very slow going.  I am just not watching enough tv to get any appreciable knitting done.

I hope all of you are having a good winter so far.  Keep on crafting!

Another 9 Patch

I have recently made a top and back for a quilt I am giving to a friend moving to Chicago.  The top is a  double 9 patch and the back is a giant Snail’s Trail.

I paid special attention to my workmanship in making this quilt.  I tried to get the corners to really line up, using pins when necessary.  The back became a real challenge to put together as soon as i reached a size larger than my rulers cut easily.  It got to be darn difficult squaring up after every round.  But it is done and I think it looks very nice and will be a good quilt for my friend.

Waterwheel Quilt Finished!

Actually, the Waterwheel quilt I made and used to teach my friend, Amber, quilting has been done and gone since September.  Amber did a great job quilting it, especially as doing so was her first time quilting.  She took to it like a fish to water and I think the results are wonderful.  We ended up giving the quilt to our friend, Kate, for her birthday.  I think she liked it.  The quilt got many oohs and ahhs at the party and I felt really good about that.  This is a pattern I will revisit someday.  It was very easy to do, but looks complicated.  Amber and I did manage to photograph it before presenting it to Kate:

The whole quilt measures about 85 inches square, as I recall.  It has been awhile since I thought about it.  Here is a detail of a corner:

I did the quilt in a sample of all my fabric with flowers and Amber quilted it with leaves and vines and blooming flowers.  It is a decidedly feminine quilt and I think I did a good job with it.  I suffered quilter’s block though and could not get the darn thing quilted.  Serendipitously, Amber was wanting to learn how.  She had made several quilts, but only tied them.  I figured this would be a great quilt with which to learn, because the blocks are quite busy and will hide the learner’s mistakes nicely.  Plus, there is plenty of border with which to play and experiment, too.  This quilt took too long to finish – I sort of stopped working on it.  I am so glad my friend was there to actually do the quilting.  Getting this quilt done enabled me to clear my head and begin a new project, about which I will write in another post.

Copyright, Artists, and Big Companies

In my rss feed this morning was this from Dude Craft.  It is about plagiarism and copyright issues.

This is a hot topic for crafters and we need to know all we can about this.  You can find a free e-book on copyright here

I am troubled by 2 recent incidents of what I believe to be copyright infringement on artists.

Both artists had created something original.  Both have a distinctive style and a narrow focus.  Both are real artists struggling with their art and making beautiful designs.  Both have had their original designs show up in products they did not authorize.  One is in the UK and one in the US.

The UK saga can be found here

The US saga is here

It seems that other artists copied the original artists’ designs and sold them as their own to large companies.  Both of these companies used the designs in products.  And both companies deny their culpability.

Both companies appear to have reacted to the original artists as if the artists were wrong and even a cursory look shows this is not the case.

Both companies have missed an opportunity to create a new partnership with these infringed upon artists.

They could have listened with an open mind and evaluated the artwork and admitted they made a mistake.  They still could come clean and work with the artists rather than referring to lawyers.

They could do the right thing and be honest and fair.

These infringed upon artists do not have the resources that the big companies have – they can’t just call their team of lawyers and make the companies listen.

The only way I can help is:

  1. not purchase anything from these companies until this issue is resolved equitably
  2. contact these companies – ask them to do the right thing
  3. ask you to do the same

The UK company is Paperchase

The US company is Fabri-Quilt

The above are links to contact these companies.  Here is the letter I am emailing to both companies.  I urge you to do the same.  Feel free to copy this letter.

To Whom It May Concern

It has recently come to my attention that  you are not being fair to an artist that has contacted  you about copyright infringement.

To Paperchase, I am referring to Hide n Seek.  To Fabri-Quilt, I am referring to Greetings from Kimberly Shaw

When an artist comes to you with a grievance, before you react in fear, you should listen and investigate the artist’s claim.  Upon seeing the facts, you should be willing to work with the artist to resolve the issue.

I cannot in good conscience support you unless you have done the right thing, so I will not be purchasing your products until I read on the artist’s blog a resolution has been satisfactorily reached.


A long term project started

I am inspired by John Lennon’s line drawings to learn embroidery.  These are my first real attempts.  I am thinking these can go into a quilt for myself.  I haven’t made any quilts just for me yet – I really like making them for others.  I saw John’s drawings in a book years ago and thought, “Ooh, if I ever learn to embroider, I could start with these”.

They are relatively simple and casual.  The mistakes I make on these are not as noticeable as they would be on a fancy piece.

I love them all, but my favorite drawing is the one above.  It has never failed to make me smile.

I did these in the simple back or outline stitch. I found a video showing how to take this easy stitch from Needlerific

Changing Perspective

When I saw the movie Sweet Dreams, about Patsy Cline, I had not yet heard of her.  As I watched the movie, I fell in love.  She was an amazing singer. She died in a plane crash in 1963.  Finding out via the movie,  I had to pause at the crash and have a good cry, I was soooo upset.  She recorded 3 studio albums.  We are lucky Patsy recorded as much as she did.

I start my day catching up with favorite blogs and discovering new ones while I have my morning latte.  Somehow, I found the blog, from my farmhouse window.  The creator, Lynda, only began blogging last October, but died suddenly February 24.   In only 33 posts, we have a glimpse of Lynda and her quilts.  We are lucky.

After having a good cry for Lynda, I thought how cool that her blog remains.  I did not before think of blogs as a Public Testament to a Life, but they are, aren’t they? What do you think?

Making Miles of Binding


I found a 100% cotton, dark blue, twin size, fitted sheet at my local Value Village for $4.  I cut off the elastic, washed, dried, starched, then ironed it flat. I now had a ~64”x72” piece of fabric.  I carefully folded it in half lengthwise and ironed the fold.  It was still wider than my 24” ruler, so I again carefully folded and ironed it.

I then cut 3” strips to yield a 3/8” finished binding.  I ironed the folds out of the strips and stacked ‘em right side up.

I used a ruler to see the line of the needle. binding30

  • I marked it with tape on my kenmore binding15 binding41

and a sharpie on my bernina. 

I used my walking foot and the guide to sew the strips together. I simply kept the angles in the two opposing corners on the guide.

binding7  I set the stack of strips on my lap  right side up.

I put the first 2 strips right sides together at about a 90 degree angle.  I lined up the 2 opposite outside corners with the marked line and stitched, keeping it lined up.   I put  strip 2’s unsewn end face up and put strip 3 face down repeating the process of sewing the 2 strips together.  I continued in this fashion until the strips were sewn together, being careful to not get the binding twisted.  I snipped them apart and fed the now really long strip into a basket, checking as I went to be sure my seams all ended up on one side. They did. Yay!

binding39 As I fed the strip into another basket, with a rotary cutter and no ruler, I carefully cut off excess seam allowance.binding31binding24 

I then fed the strip back onto the first basket, ironing the seam allowance open as I went.

binding33 binding11 binding19

I ended up with about 1300 inches – slightly more than 100 feet. 


Binding a Quilt Part 1

My cat Luna got me out of bed at 4 am, so I thought I’d use the time to research quilt binding online.  Previous to now, I have been making my own straight grain binding using a bias tape maker.  The result is a single fold binding I attached to the quilt by machine in one step.  The problems with this method are

  • difficult to attach front and back at same time, sometimes requiring me to re-sew parts,
  • single fold means a single layer of fabric means not as durable.

The traditional method is to machine sew the binding to one side and hand sew the other side. These links illustrate that:

I went looking for a 100% machine sewn binding. This is what I found:

These are miscellaneous links:

Review: bobbin washers, needles, and gloves

A few weeks ago I bought a package of Little Genie Magic Bobbin Washers™, a pair of Machingers™ Quilting Gloves, and a package of easy threading needles.

The bobbin washers have improved my stitch quality and the machine seems to run better with it.  Since putting one in my free motion machine (a kenmore from the 1970s), I have sewn thru 5 full bobbins with no problems whatsoever.  They are little Teflon washers that sit between the bobbin case and the bobbin.  They may seem expensive, but they are worth it.

The quilting gloves have greatly improved my control when free motion quilting.  The gloves make moving the quilt around much easier.  I thought I would loath wearing gloves, but they are comfortable and I was able to thread my machine while wearing them.

The needles are to sew in my starts and stops on the quilts.  These needles have a groove at the thread end thru which the thread snaps and is threaded. Works great. Now I can sew my ends in neatly.

All 3 of the products performed as expected or better and I highly recommend these items to improve your own quilting.

A Lot in Progress

I pin basted the double four patch and pin basted 2 little quilts.  I also lined up 4 little quilts for piecing. plus, I started a hat for myself.

I pin basted the double four patch rather than thread bast, because I used washed flannel as the batting (an experiment) I didn’t feel thread basting would be worth the time as I could put the pins farther apart than the stitches.