Beach Town Finishing

Last Saturday and Sunday, I had a lot of time for the first time in several weekends to work on quilt projects and I completely tanked in that department. Most of the time I sat around and couldn’t figure out what to do. I thought about making another giveaway for OWOH, but was talked out of it. I also just wasn’t motivated to do anything. I have a lot of quilt work to do and I really couldn’t focus.

Finally, on Sunday, I pulled out Beach Town and decided to get the facing on and the sleeve ready so that I could take advantage of some hand sewing time I will have next weekend.

Beach Town Trimmed
Beach Town Trimmed

Yeah! Progress on Beach Town! Trimming is easy.

Beach Town Problem
Beach Town Problem

However, after trimming, I found a little section that needed a repair. One of the hazards of working using this free form method  is getting too close to the edge. In an effort to avoid that problem, I didn’t get close enough. Yes, I could have trimmed it more, but I didn’t want to cut off any part of the sign.

Beach Town Repairs
Beach Town Repairs

I had to go rummaging for fabric to find a match. I found some in the scrap bin. Then, I had to carefully lay the fabric and a small piece of batting out so that it didn’t look like a repair (don’t tell, please!). Finally, after it was all laid out and pinned together, I machine quilted the three little sections in matching thread and trimmed it again.

Repaired Beach Town - detail
Repaired Beach Town – detail

One of the good things about this project was that I had to focus my mind on a  specific task. One thing I learned was to give the edges a little extra space from important design elements.

Facing on and Turned
Facing on and Turned

I dug out the facing instructions I had made awhile ago and applied a facing to the Beach Town. I still need to practice making more facings. I’ll make another one for FOTY 2010.

Facing detail
Facing detail

Here is the corner of the facing. As I mentioned, I have not sewn it down yet.

Facing and Sleeve
Facing and Sleeve

I use the Robbi Joy Eklow method of sleeve making. This most excellent sleeve making method method is in her book, Free Expressions. This time I made the sleeve smaller than her directions specify. I hope it works in terms of a hanging rod to fit.

Julie Tote

I spent some time sewing yesterday in between soccer and a movie. As a result, I finished the Anna Maria Horner Multi-tasker Tote. I keep thinking of it as the Julie tote, since Julie looked high and low and found the blue Denyse Schmidt fabric for me. She may get a gift. 😉

AMH MTT, finished!
AMH MTT, finished!

As I mentioned in my review, the construction of this tote is amazingly elegant. Putting the straps on was no exception. There is a part where you fold over the top and that becomes the channel for the straps. I am still completely in awe of AMH and her ability to imagine the construction of this bag.

In the photo below, I tried to show you the channel. Aside from having to turn the straps inside out, which is a big pain in the patootie, I got the straps on and the bag ready to carry stuff in a couple of hours.

AMH MTT, detail
AMH MTT, detail

My only concern is that the way the straps are held on means that I won’t be able to carry heavy stuff in it. I don’t plan to use this for groceries, but I routinely carry:

  1. a journal
  2. my Clairefontaine
  3. a book (can be hardback or paperback)
  4. the Word of the Day book (paperback)
  5. a pencil roll
  6. a water bottle

I don’t think the above list is outrageous…. I do have to have my stuff with me.

I plan to make another one now that I know the drill. I have ideas for different ways of combining fabric. I ended up buying some of the Peltex 2 from SewThankful (I think), so I need to do something with it. This Multi-tasker tote bag is a nice change from the Eco Market tote.

Facing Tutorial

I started out with Jeri Riggs’ directions, which Maureen pointed out to me. You need those directions. I needed some clarification and my additions to Jeri’s post comprises the info below.

You need to know the length of each side of your quilt before you start.

A=Top of quilt
B= bottom of quilt
C/D= sides of quilt

Facing on Side A & B
Facing on Side A & B

Cut your facing pieces as follows:

A: 5″ x width of quilt
B: 5″ x width of quilt

You can change the 5″ size of the A/B pieces depending on whether you have a large quilt or a small quilt. 5″ is my starting point and I look at the size of the quilt and adjust from there. You want to be able to double the the fabric so you don’t have to make a hem and not have the two sides of the facing meet each other in the center of the quilt.

C: 5″ x width of quilt minus 4″
D: 5″ x width of quilt minus 4″

You make the C/D pieces shorter because you want to reduce the bulk in the corners. The C/D pieces will be positions on top of the A/B pieces.

One of the things I really had a hard time understanding in Jeri Riggs tutorial was the difference between what I needed do on the top/bottom (designated as A and B) versus the left/right sides (designated as C & D). The whole idea for the different facing sizes is to reduce bulk in the corners.

Cutting facings: For the A/B (top/bottom) of the quilt cut a facing rectangle that covers the entire top or entire bottom from side to side and is your preferred width. I cut mine, as noted above 5″ for large quilts x the width of the quilt. Adjust as necessary.

I cut the piece a little longer (mostly because I am too lazy to measure more than approximately unless I MUST). Trim off most of the excess after pinning the facing to the top and bottom. You can see in the photo that I followed Jeri Riggs directions by pressing a 1/4″ on the long side of the facing that would NOT be machine sewed to the quilt. Instead of doing this, fold your strip in half and pin the raw edge side to the edge of the quilt.


Once the facing pieces are laid out, trimmed and pinned, I machine sewed one facing to the top (A) and the bottom (B). Note on the sewing: The key is to sew starting on the short side (Side C) of the A/B facing starting at the edge of the pressed over 1/4″ seam, go around the corner, continue on the long side (very top of the quilt t0 Side A), go around the corner and continue along Side D to the edge of of the facing where you have pressed over the 1/4″ seam. You are sewing the A/B facings using a seam that is shaped like a big U. You will have no part of the A & B facings flooping around.

Sewing Facing for A & B
Sewing Facing for A & B

Nota bene: The only reason I flipped the bottom of the quilt over (photo right) is because I have a small sewing table. You don’t need to do this. If you have a large sewing table, you only need to flip it if it is creating drag on the quilt as you sew it.

Nota bene: This is a small piece and I would recommend trying the process out on a small piece so you get the feel of the process. If you have an unused machine quilting test piece, it would be a perfect piece to use to try this technique out. Of course, you can always make a little quilt-let. 😉

Aligning C & D
Aligning C & D

This photo (left) is a little bit blurry and I apologize for that. In the photo you can see Side D laid over Side B (bottom). Note how it does not extend to the bottom of the quilt. You need to cut the facing pieces  for Sides C & D shorter than the facing pieces for Sides A & B. By cutting the facing pieces only 1/4″ – 3/4s” over the A & B facings, you reduce the bulk in the corners.

On Sides C & D, only sew along the long side of the facing. The raw edge of the short side of the facing will be covered by facings on Sides A & B once you flip the facings to the back.

Now the machine sewing is complete and you are ready to flip the facings to the back of the quilt.

Flip over Side C & D
Flip over Side C & D

The picture to the right shows the quilt after I flipped Sides C & D. Look at the bottom right hand corner (by the green olive) and you can see the seam with the batting. This means that after you complete the machine sewing you flip sides C & D to the back. I pressed the folded edge (edge of the quilt where you machine sewed) so that the facing would stay to the back. After pressing, I pinned the Sides C & D facings to the back of the quilt to keep it in place until I could hand sew it down.

Finished and Flipped Piece
Finished and Flipped Piece

This picture is serving two purposes. First, it shows how the piece looks after you flip all the sides. Flip Sides A & B after you have successfully flipped, pressed and pinned Sides C & D. After flipping Sides A & B, press and pin those facings as well. Because Sides A & B have been machine sewed in a U shape, pinning is optional.

After you flip all the sides, I finished the piece using hand sewing. I think this technique requires hand sewing as I can’t think of another way to finish it. You machine only people may be able to think of another way to finish the piece. If you do I would like to know. I don’t mind handwork, as you have probably noticed. 😉 I just sat down and did it with some matching thread and a Harry Potter movie. Only got through a small amount of the HP movie as the handsewing went really quickly.

After pressing and pinning, the only problem I had was not poking myself with the pins as I hand sewed. Normally, I use metal hairclips on a regular binding, however they won’t work on this facing technique, because it is too wide.

The picture above also shows how the quilt looks when the facing has been completed.

One thought about this process, which Maureen pointed out to me, but I didn’t understand until I did the process, is that the facing becomes a design element on the back depending on what fabric you use. In House & Garden, above, I used the same fabric I had used for the back, because I don’t really care about this back (may frame this piece; we’ll see ). One thing about testing this process is that you can see what you are facing on the back.

Remember I couldn’t have done this without Jeri Riggs laying the groundwork and Maureen helping me figure out the practical details.

Let me know if you have any questions or need further clarification. I also want to hear your stories of making facings. I may update this page based on new information and things that you tell me.

Learning Something New

It is always a good day when I learn something new. Yesterday I learned out to make a facing, made a facing and am thrilled! Maureen, a quiltmaker whose work I greatly admire, was making a facing at the CQFA Retreat. She pointed me to Jeri Riggs’ directions later.

A facing is a way of finishing a quilt so that the edging (binding) does not show on the front. You may not always to want a frame (binding) around your quilt. This is a design element that will work with some pieces. I think that this technique will work for a number of my Pamela Allen pieces.

I learn best when someone shows me how to do something, so reading the directions and trying to make the facing left me scratching my head in confusion. I finally called Maureen and she walked me through the process. She sprinkled in a few tips and tricks she has added to the web directions.

It isn’t difficult at all. It reminds me of making a tote bag the first time. Once you do it, you know it and can make the process your own.

This means that the House & Garden Quilt is done! YAY!

House & Garden, finished May 16, 2009
House & Garden, finished May 16, 2009

Well, it still needs a label and I need to decide about a sleeve.

Making Lemonade

When you have lemons, make lemonade.
As you know, the machine is gone and I can’t work on the Pineapples (Well, I suppose I could, but I want to be sure all of the problems are consistent by using the same machine). I have a Janome Jem, which I have only used a handful of times, so I have formulated a list of other things I can work on while giving the Jem a little workout. Here it is:

  • 6 baby blankets: three friends/colleagues are having babies-2 each
  • Binding for Sharon’s quilt.
  • Binding for Serendipity Puzzle.
  • Gift bags: I have lots of fabric for bags, and Christmas is coming.
  • Cut out fabric for test blocks. I am going to start looking at new machines soon and I want to have some piecing in my own fabrics, which I can use to test the machines.
  • Wash and press new fabric.
  • Replenish Pineapple strips.

I also have a lot of hand work, which I can now work on since the thimble came back from vacation:

  • Pamela’s self portrait from June 2006
  • Pamela’s garden from June 2006
  • Pamela’s house and garden from May 2007
  • Kissy Fish

So now I am going to get off my duff (computer) and start some of these projects.

One good thing about the machine being gone is that I could get a good picture of the Pineapple blocks.

One Last Pass at Binding Thoughts on Dots

After reading comments from Sherri and Laume last night, I decided that I needed to do my due diligence and try out green and purple/violet as bindings as well.

So I got up and applied some green to part of the quilt. The green is really good; I like it a lot. It works really well with the blues, pinks and the darker blue. This wasn’t the corner that I used for the other samples, so I removed the green and put it on the corner I was using for the sample.

I put the green on the ‘common’ corner and I think it looks just as good on this corner.

As a nod to Deirdre, I found a violet with some wavy stripes (with dots inside the stripes). I like the violet a lot, but I think the green is better. What do you think?

As an aside, in looking through my purple bins, I found that there were not really very many good violets in my bin. I don’t know if that is a product of my buying habits or the availability of violet. I’ll have to see as I see what fabric is available.

More Choices for Binding

So, I am at home instead of at the guild meeting, because I woke up with the beginnings of a cold. I have to be well. I have a lot of work and family obligations this week. Being in bed or coughing my lungs out are not on the agenda.

The bad side is that I don’t get to go and take friend, Julie‘s, class. She is teaching Freeform Fabric Collage. I am sure she will post photos on her blog, which I can’t wait to see.

The other bad thing is that going south was, probably, my only chance to see the sun today. While the rest of the universe are seeing over 100 degrees, we are fogged in. It is grey. I don’t know if it is cold, since I haven’t been outside yet, but I am sure it is not hot. However, it is not drippy like it was last night nor is the fog pea soup thick.

The other bad thing is that I don’t get to see my quiltmaking friends or all of their great works. Again, I’ll look forward to seeing them on the site. I even had something to show this time! Bleah.

The good thing, aside from trying to ward off the cold, is that I get to stay home. I have to admit that I have not had enough time to commune with my house lately. I will work on the Pineapples and the binding for Thoughts on Dots. Perhaps I will go with the husband to see a movie, especially since the child is gone.

I did finish another Flowering Snowball block (Cross Block) this week at Craft Night.
I like that I am making more an effort to make the background fabrics all different. I think it makes the blocks more interesting. I am really pleased to say that I have gotten a lot of compliments on this pattern. I am pleased that people have noticed and pleased that people are interested in blocks that have nothing to do with ‘quick piecing.’

In my last post (much too long ago!), I talked about possibilities for binding Thoughts on Dots. I also asked for feedback. Deirdre, Sherry, Sage and Cami all commented. Sherry and Sage thought a bright red or yellow, so I tried those. The red is really good.

Deirdre suggested a black/white stripe or a zigzag pattern. The above is what I pulled out first and it frames the piece nicely, but kind of ruins the whole cheerful energy that I have been working on. In all fairness, Deirdre did suggest a stripe or a zigzag pattern. The above is not a stripe or a zigzag.

So I hauled out a stripe. I couldn’t find a black and white zigzag, even though I think I have one. Even with the addition of the white, I don’t like the black. Sorry Deirdre!

Sherry suggested a solid red or a solid yellow. I really like the red (see above), but I also like the yellow. Neither the red or the yellow are solid, but they are tone-on-tones and are close to solids. I think the yellow is a top contender.
As I was pawing through fabrics, I also came up with this blue swirl, which I couldn’t not pull it out. I like it, but I think the yellow or the red is better. What do you think?

One Down One to Go

The Eye of God is bound and I am working diligently on Feelin’ Blue, Too. I have been working on one of the other of them every day. I expected to make more progress today, but worked on other things. Mostly “housecleaning” and kid wrangling. I haven’t gotten the sleeves on but am happy to be making progress.

My Garbage Can Runneth Over

The small garbage pail next to my sewing machine table is full. I found this to be an excellent indicator of my fiberart output in a week.

Trashcan 2005
Trashcan 2005

There have been too many weeks recently where my garbage pail has been completely empty. The quilts are back, however, so I cut off the excess fabric and batting in anticipation of sewing on the binding. This exercise quickly fills up the pail.

CG did a great job quilting them. She did the work quickly and it was reasonably priced. I am very pleased. The only thing that threw me for a loop was the way the edges were not straight. This can’t be unusual, so I don’t know why this seems so odd. I had to be very careful cutting Feelin’ Blue, Too, because there is no border, so if I cut too much, the blocks will look odd. I tried to err on the side of caution. This must be from the shrinkage from quilting the quilt.

Both bindings and sleeves are ready to go. Tomorrow: onto the binding. I know I have plenty of time and will get them done.

Fabric That Binds

I made the sleeve and the binding for The Eye of God this weekend. YAY! I am thrilled that I made progress. I feel like I am on a roll and will go to make the sleeve and binding for Feelin’ Blue, Too.

Both sleeve and binding are ready to be sewed on to the quilt when The Eye of God returns. I used Robbi Joy’s directions for making the sleeve and I am pleased with the result. I do like the way the sleeve went together. It also feels substantial, like it would protect my quilt from errant rods. Of course, we will have to see when I put the sleeve on the quilt.

Why You Should Have a Lot of Fabric

As mentioned previously, the quilts are gone and I have only to make binding and sleeves before they come back. Have I made progress? A tiny amount. I found that I don’t have enough of the dark purple batik fabric I planned to use for the binding on The Eye of God.

This is why you must have a large amount of fabric.

I went through my purple fabric bins to see if I had something that would go with the dark purple batik. The first bin was full of purples with lots of red in them. Not what I needed. Then….Voila! Not the same, but similar enough in value and amount of underlying colors as well as overall look to go with the dark purple batik. YAY! There will be extra seams in the binding, but that is life on the edge.

No other progress. We’ll see what happens today/this weekend.

No Progress on Feelin’ Blue, Too

I am worried about the quilting. My quilter is gone until the end of the month and I am anxious that I won’t get the two quilts back in time to bind and sleeve them for the show. I am so worried that I have been contemplating quilting it myself. Not sure the body can handle it, though, so I haven’t actually committed to the quilting process. And before I decide, I have to doodle my quilting idea for awhile to see if it will actually work.

My mom assured me that she would help me finish the quilts no matter what time it got back. Why can’t I have faith? This is a theme lately and it tells me that I am in the wrong space.

Sitting down and doodling the quilt design, working on the sleeve and the binding would all help me move forward. I need to break the process into baby steps and JUST DO IT. I could also decide to forget the whole thing.