Monday, October 29, 2007

Innovative Fabric Imagery

OK, three post in 24 hours - unbelievable, but true.

I'm even more excited about going to the Houston Quilt Festival because I just found out that my quilt Grotto won first place in the Innovative Fabric Imagery exhibit!! I'm absolutely delighted. I can't wait to see everything - the IQA show, the Innovative Fabric Imagery exhibit, and the accompanying book. Many thanks to C&T Publishing for sponsoring the book and exhibit, as well as the category I entered in the IQA show - Digital Imagery.

Quilting & Blocking Tips

Even though I've been quilting for a long time, I still learn new things with each project. While quilting my latest quilt (back in May/June) I tried using several products that were new to me, and they really made a difference.

The first product is the Free Motion Slider. It's a teflon sheet that lays on the bed of the machine, and reduces friction between the quilt and the top of your table and machine. There's a hole in the sheet where the needle goes through. I loved it, and felt it really made all that free motion work easier.

I also tried using gloves specially made for quilting. I used several different brands, and they all cut down on hand fatigue. I don't use them for every situation, but I was pleasantly surprised by how well they allowed me to grip with little effort.

I'd only used wool batting before for sample quilting. I wanted to use wool to showcase the quilting I planned to do. I love the look I achieved, especially on the quilted feathers, but a word of warning! Thorough basting is always important, but I found it to be even more so using the wool. Try it and see what you think.

Someone recently posted a question about blocking quilts to the quiltart list. I responded, and then realized that maybe some of you might also be interested. I do not block all of my quilts, especially if they are heavily fused, but some quilts benefit mightily from a good blocking. Here's what I posted to the list:

Here are two ways I've successfully blocked a quilt:
1. Soak the quilt in the washing machine in cold water, then spin dry. Lay the quilt flat on a carpeted floor covered with towels.Pull, push, and prod it until it's the shape you want it to be. If it has straight lines (like borders) try to make sure they're straight.Use a large t-square if you want the edges square, and measure the quilt from corner to corner on both diagonals - if you want thequilt to be square, both these measurements should be the same. Be sure when you're transporting the wet quilt that you supportit so that it doesn't strain the stitches. Once the quilt is the shape that you want, let it dry completely in place (flat) before moving it.The whole process is much easier if you have someone to help you!
2. Recently I blocked a quilt that was finished (including binding). I didn't want to immerse it in water so I used a different method.With a Sharpie draw the outline of the size you want the quilt to be on pink foam insulating board.Let the Sharpie dry completely.Put the quilt on the foam board and start pinning from one corner out both sides. Spritz the quilt with water as necessary while stretching the quilt to fit. When it is completely pinned make sure to spritz it well, then let it dry overnight. Having a fanblow on it helps. If you end up with little scallops where the pins are just remove the pins, leave the quilt flat where it is, respritz and straighten out those scallops, then let dry again.

Tomorrow I go to Houston - woohoo! The last time I saw the show was nine years ago so I'm totally psyched.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy Halloween!!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Nearly There

Long time readers (all 3 of you) might remember that this is the time of year when we have 4 family birthdays, Halloween, and soccer season all in the span of about 7 weeks. I'm still madly redecorating/refurbishing, but we've also gotten through 3 birthdays, so yeah us!

Some years I have several Halloween costumes to make, others none. This year I was tasked with making a wolf costume. It's pretty standard - faux fur jumpsuit, hood with ears. But times have changed. Schools around here no longer allow children to wear masks for the Halloween parade. This presented a conundrum, as we'd located a fine (commercial) wolf mask with ears. But if the hood had no ears, how would this work out for the school parade?

(Obviously, he's not wearing the jumpsuit here. He's a little geared up because his big brother just got back from Cub Scout camp, so I was happy with getting any picture at all. Also, he picked out the fur - the fur that matched the mask looked "too cartoony" according to the Wolf Boy.)

The solution - retractable ears! Yes, it's a craze that no doubt will sweep the nation. When sewing the hood I attached the ears to only the front portion of the hood. When sewing the front of the hood to the back I left the seam open by the ears, and also left an opening in the lining for the ears. I whipstitched the lining to the outside at the openings.

And here are the ears in the up position.

My husband is not grasping the genius of this solution, so I'm hoping that some of you will, and might be able to use it to solve your own future mask/ear issues.

I'm very, very excited because I'm headed for Houston on Tuesday for the IQA show. If you're there and you recognize me I'd love to meet you! The only quilt related wearable I've manged to finish is a Magic Card Case (as featured in Quilting Arts, the Winter 2006 edition).

It's very fun.

Well, I need to go reupholster a couch (not to worry - it's a mid-century design that can be done with a staple gun) . If I don't post again before Tuesday I hope everyone has a happy Halloween!

Monday, October 01, 2007

(St)Art at Home

I thought once school started I'd be doing some serious quilting, but some other projects have intervened.

I don't know about you guys, but I can only watch the HGTV crews transform so many rooms before feeling like I need to do a little work myself. Three weeks ago today I started my campaign.

The children's bathroom needs some serious updating, and this involved skillz that I wasn't sure I possessed. I dove in anyway, stripped wallpaper, and spackled and patched with abandon.

Here I am, ready for action. Look carefully and you'll see the spackling dust on me.

A children's room also needed some wall work and updating. Virtually every window in the house has unpainted trim (just stained) and though I've seen it work great in other folks homes it's not to my taste.

Here's the before (the plastic was beneath a wall I was patching) ...

And after

(The window treatments and art work still need to be hung.)

Work continues on the bathroom, and is kind of stalled out because of trying to decide on a new medicine cabinet.

Curiously the walls match a Perfect Periwinkle Turtleneck I've been working on from Fitted Knits.

They also look a lot like some of the fall color that's starting appear.

A few weeks ago I raided my parents' basement and retrieved some paintings by my grandmother . (The second link is to my cousin's website, and tells a little about my grandmother's art.) I'll post pictures of them another day, but they're also part of my grand scheme to whip this place into shape. Wish me luck!