Sunday, April 21, 2013

Round the corner

My quilting projects are incrementally growing bigger, up to a lap quilt now. But boy did that thing seem monumentally huge on my first go at handsewing the binding.

The inspiration was this Film in the Fridge tutorial on strip quilts and this amazing September Lights fabric I stumbled on while doing a little crafty perusing on etsy.

It's pretty simple - cut a bunch of strips of various sizes, arrange them until you're happy, then start sewing. Easy peasy. On the back, I sandwiched a few strips between two large pieces of the two fabrics I especially liked.

Foreseeing the epic battle on the quilting ground between me and my sewing machine that, make no mistake, I would lose, this was my first outsourced quilting project. And she did such a lovely job, both straight lines and a simple pattern inside the wider strips. Worth every penny.

All that was left was the binding. And so it sat. All my smaller quilt projects I zipped around the binding with my machine. But with such painstaking handquilting, it seemed wrong to do the binding with any less effort. So armed with a needle and thread with a stack of movies at the ready, I got started.

And kept stitching, stitching and stitching. Then stitching some more.

I finished this afternoon and immediately headed outside, quilt tucked under my arm and camera in hand to capture the last of the afternoon sun. Unfortunately as I was taking pictures of a quilt spread out on the grass, I was joined by my neighbour, the strong silent type who was doing the uber-manly task of charring meat on the backyard barbecue. I stuck with small talk instead of attempting an explanation, and I'm sure he headed back inside with yet another tale of the crazy neighbour. But, seriously dude, any crafter would know in an instant what was going on and jump in to hold it up for a photo.

A post addendum ... I got up to toss my new quilt into the dryer and immediately noticed the dog bed at my feet. Which is about the same size, only the pattern - a split nine patch - is far more intricate. Not to mention the crazy amount of quilting, including the bottom side of the cushion. The fabric was more expensive, too. What the heck!? I made my dog a better quilt than myself!

Sunday, April 14, 2013


Despite my general embargo on weekend shopping because the only thing worse than shopping is shopping in a crowd, I braved a trip to Fabricland for their half-price sale. How can I resist the siren call of everything 50 per cent off?

I always forget they have a pretty good selection of quilting cotton that includes many popular lines - like the ikat I used for my wiksten. The new spring collection included one with delicate pink and orange flowers on white that looked like watercolour. As I held the bolt and a co-ordinating one with soft rectangles in oranges and pinks, I wondered what could I do with this fabric too beautiful to not buy. The answer popped into my head as quickly as I dismissed it - pillow cases. I need a crafting intervention. No more pillow cases. That is after I post these two sets, one for a friend's birthday with Jay McCarroll fabric and the last with Hawaiian fabric earmarked for bedding:

How pretty is this Hawaiian print?

Now, that's not to say I don't have more Hawaiian fabric. I bought a bunch more for napkins, including this hibiscus print on red. Again I was seduced by the siren song of a sale. As I unfolded and unfolded and unfolded the whack of fabric, I remembered the good price and the moment of craziness when I asked for four yards. Four yards! Let me tell you ladies, that is tricky to iron! Especially since I washed it first, which meant trying to do a decent job folding that length in half.

I cut it all up to make 18-inch square napkins - the maximum size with the minimum wasted. Consulting Martha's sewing bible, she said the standard dinner napkin size is 20- or 24-inch square. Wha!?! That's practically a tablecloth.

So now a dozen Hawaiian napkins are on the crafting list. And no more pillow cases (thus the blog post name: PA - pillow cases anonymous). Right now I am handsewing the binding onto my lap quilt, going along at a snail's pace. But yesterday I turned a corner on that - two literally - and the end is in sight.