February 27, 2011

Sawtooth border added to appliqué quilt

I spent a satisfying day sewing yesterday, adding a sawtooth border to my appliqué quilt.  The colored triangles are mostly the very dark blue that predominates in the appliqué, but I also used a smaller number made from the other colors—green, light blue, brown, and orange/red (more visible in detail below).  The next step will be a 6" border, repeating the light gray background with some kind of appliqué design.  So, the next step is to figure out a border design that will work with the variety of motifs in the squares.

February 21, 2011

Machine stitching a binding

This Saturday I got together with several quilting friends from the Chicago area for a day of showing our work recently completed or in progress.  We had a great time sharing ideas and getting feedback on our work.  The issue of machine stitching binding came up, and I mentioned that I'd been helped by some online tutorials.  I thought I'd share the list here, in case anyone else is interested too.  I've listed a number of tutorials below--one video, the rest photos and text.  How is it I have ready access to a list like this?  They're all things I've saved as I've come across them to "tada lists"--a nifty site for saving lists of one sort of another.  I searched for the term "binding" in my list for tutorials, and easily found what I was looking for.  If you're curious to see what other tutorials I've collected, you can see my full list at: http://pgold45.tadalist.com/lists/1291659

Start by sewing binding to front
sew binding to front, pin binding all around and sew in the ditch for a straight-stitch finish on the back--Judy Laquidara (video tutorial—very clear)

same method from Melody Johnson:

and from Rita of Red Pepper Quilts (she pins a little differently; very clear instructions—scroll down some to get to this final part of the binding instructions)

Marny & Jill do something very similar, using clips instead of pins to secure the binding, and using an edge-joining foot):

Start by sewing binding to back
sew binding to back, finish on front with a narrow zig-zag stitch (Wanda Hanson).  Mary Beth Clark sometimes uses this method, often using a machine blanket stitch.  This method shows more on the front, but can be done without pinning, and without any worry about catching the binding on the back.

February 10, 2011

Big Dots Done

 (about 36 x 42")
I'm pleased with the finished quilt!  I had fun with the machine quilting of this one.  I quilted the dots first, with several different patterns used.  Then I came up with an overall design for quilting the background that I'm very happy with.  My favorite design in the dots is this "Flower Ball" design from Leah Day.

The light blue dot below has another Leah Day design: "Stomach Lining." Thee rusty red dot has a maze, and the olive green dot has a lily pad design.

Next: The final design I used in the dots is a bunch of spirals, below in the light blue.  The background design is a maze (like in the navy blue dot below), but with the occasional curved line thrown in.  That made it more interesting to do, and I like the look, too.  Double-click on the image for a better view.

And here's the back, a piece of snow-dyed cotton I did last winter. 

While I am very happy with the quilt as it turned out, I wouldn't do this design again--turns out I didn't enjoy working with circles so much.  I thought I'd try a different placement from that suggested in the pattern (dots spread equally around), but I couldn't come up with anything.  I also found it quite difficult to find a pleasing arrangement with the equal spacing--not as simple as it looks!  I think I'll try something similar in another quilt, but use rectangles rather than circles. 

About my final choice for the machine applique technique:  Thanks for all the comments and suggestions!  I was about to implement Judi's suggestion of a line of straight stitching close to the edge, which looked very nice on a sample, when I saw a tip in a recent issue of American Patchwork and Quilting, suggesting a very narrow zig zag stitch.  You can see the comparison of these two below (double-click).  I went for narrow zig zag in the end.  (The tiny holes in the cloth below the zig zag are from where I ripped out the straight stitching to try the different stitch.)

A little about thread for the quilting geeks among you:  For quilting the dots, I had on hand suitable colors of my favorite thread for both piecing and quilting, Aurifil cotton, 50 weight.  But I didn't have any that would work for the background.  So I tried a new thread that I had picked up several months ago in Chicago; I had purchased a set of six small spools of 100 weight polyester thread.  The pale apricot color quilted up very nicely (used on top and in the bobbin).  It's WonderFil Invisafil thread, should you be interested.  Almost transparent because of how thin it is (almost like silk), but with color.

And some disappointment in the finale:  I just took the quilt out of the dryer.  One of the fabrics (navy blue) I used for the dots was not my own hand-dyed; can't remember where I got it.  It bled badly in the wash.  I guess I'll try washing again with a Shout Color Catcher sheet, but it's undoubtedly too late.  I should have thought of that when I threw it in the washer!  I was so confident about my own fabrics (all the rest), that I forgot about the other.  Here's a close-up.

And the whole quilt.  Not entirely ruined, but marred.  Sigh.