Sunday, December 4, 2022

Precise mitered corners with water soluble sticky tape

There’s a cool sewing notion that’s a grand slam for getting precise mitered corners on quilt bindings: 1/4", double-sided, water soluble, sticky tape. The shop owner at Chattanooga Sewing Machines recently introduced me to this ingenious product from RNK. I tested it on a charity quilt and here are my findings...

Mitered corners on quilt binding made easy with double-sided sticky tape.

Using sticky tape for mitered corners and quilt bindings

On nearly all my charity quilts, I stitch the bindings on by machine. Although this sticky tape could be used for holding the binding in place around the entire quilt, I used it specifically on the corners. I find that stitching down the corners—while keeping the miter in place—is the most challenging part on the machine. 

  • When do you pull out the pins (or remove clips) that hold the binding? 
  • How do you keep the miters in place after the pins are removed but before the needle sews them down? 
  • Do you use a stiletto or seam ripper to hold the miters while feeding the quilt under the presser foot? 
  • How many hands do I need to make this task easy and achievable? Perhaps an octopus could do this easily. 

Here's where the sticky tape comes in...

Double-sided sticky tape from RNK. 1/4" wide and water soluble.

I cut strips of sticky tape approximately two inches long. With the binding already attached to one side of the quilt, I placed one sticky strip on the cut edge of the quilt, starting at the corner. [Note the tape will be between the quilt sandwich and the binding.] 

Bringing the binding around the edge of the quilt sandwich to enclose the unfinished edge, press the binding onto the tape. The tape holds the binding in place. Do the same on the adjacent side to create the miter. The sticky tape holds down the binding on both sides of the corner and keeps the miter in place.

I still used pins to hold the binding down at the sides, between the corners.

Sticky tape holds down the binding and the miter before machine sewing.

Here is a close up of the sticky tape holding the binding in place before stitching. 

Close up of mitered corners before sewing.

Other uses for sticky tape

This tape comes in at least one other width. It could also be used for hand and machine stitching bindings, inserting zippers (garments, pouches, bags), embellishing with trims and ribbons, sewing hems, and with other tasks for which you wish you had another hand or two.

The tape is flexible and lightweight. It was easy to needle, and didn't make the binding or the quilt stiff.

Preparing more bindings.

So get yourself a roll of sticky tape and sail through attaching bindings and nailing those mitered corners!

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Supporting artists supporting the Arts and Community

Thanksgiving. A time for giving—your time, your talent, or from your abundance. 

This is the time of year when I try to make charity quilts with my stash and discontinued fabric swatches. The cute prints go into cuddle quilts for my guild's community service to support Chambliss Center, and the funky bits and scraps go into improv quilts for the kitties at the Cat Clinic of Chattanooga. Last year, I sent a kitty quilt to my new friend, printmaker and artist, Jim Sherraden. He "adopted" a feral cat, Misho, so Misho received a little kitty quilt for the winter months. 

Fabric care package going out.

I recently checked in with Jim and Misho. Through our conversation, Jim told me he volunteers as an art teacher at Friends Life Community. Some of the art projects they work on, he mentioned, include quilts, masks, wall art, and even printing on fabrics. With Jim giving of his time and talent, I'm sending some textile love from my abundance to this organization.

Fabrics for art projects.

I've put together a fabric care package that I hope Jim can use. Under his guidance, I hope the contents will inspire new textile art projects in his community. 

A kitty quilt for Misho.

I'm also tucking a flannel kitty quilt into the box for Misho. This one is flannel on both sides. 

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Discovering a UFO en route to looking for something else, and the final Make Nine 2022 finish

Sydney J. Harris, long-time syndicated columnist for the Chicago Daily News and Chicago Sun-Times, occasionally wrote a column called, "Things I learned en route to looking up other things." I was reminded of this recently while looking for a quilt top I took with me to my Intro to Free-motion Quilting class at John C. Campbell Folk School. I used the quilt top to illustrate how I pin-baste quilt tops.

Anyway... while en route to looking for the pin-basted quilt top, I found another UFO quilt that was pieced and quilted about 6 years ago. The top was made to showcase a vintage, sewing-themed fabric line. A long-armer friend quilted it, but I never put on the binding.

Finished quilt with binding. 37.5" x 37.5"

This weekend, I decided to finish both quilts—the quilt top I was searching for, and the 6-year old UFO that lacked a binding. 

UFO that needed a binding (left) and basted quilt top ready for quilting.

Thankfully, a black binding was conducive for both quilts. Convenient!

A black binding was used on both quilts.

Cool quilting motifs

My friend, Sherri, long-arm quilted the UFO with some really cool computerized motifs. Below are photos of the different motifs in each of the corners.

Computerized quilting motif.

Circular computerized quilting motif.

Computerized quilting motif.

Linear computerized quilting motif.

The free-motion quilting on the other quilt is not as elaborate as Sherri's work, but serves the purpose for a kitty quilt that will go to the Chattanooga Cat Clinic. The kitties will love it and the staff will be happy to have a new kitty quilt.

Finished kitty quilt. Finished size 28" x 24".

Back of kitty quilt showing the quilting design.

My 9th Make Nine 2022 finish

I wasn't sure which UFO I would need to complete to fulfil my last Make Nine 2022 prompt. This one is as good as any! And it fulfills the second UFO prompt. This quilt is headed to my quilt guild this week—along with 5 other cuddle quilts—for its community service project.

Pile of 6 cuddle quilts for the guild community service project.

Going down the rabbit hole unearthed two projects that are now complete and heading to new homes.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Linen stitch dishcloths: a color study and portable stash buster

I diligently strive to meet the daily goal of my 2022 Create Daily tracker—doing something creative in stitch or mixed media every day. Portable projects that can accompany me on the road make achieving this goal possible. Over the last 3 months, knitted dishcloths have become my standard take-along stitch project... and they've been an intriguing study in color as well!

Three knitted dishcloths in linen stitch.

Attributes of the linen stitch 

Most of my knitted dishcloths are knit in linen stitch. Below is a photo showing 9 of them. The stitch pattern's attributes are reasons why I like this pattern for this project:

  • the linen stitch pattern is easy to remember;
  • the slip stitch in the sequence makes a tighter fabric structure that is conducive for using this knitted fabric in water... to wash dishes;
  • it adapts well to using multiple colors of yarn;
And for the color study:
  • the slip stitches cause different colors of yarn to interact with each other in a single row.

Linen stitch dishcloths using variou yarn color combinations.

A fun stash buster project

Using up partial skeins and leftover yarns works well for these small pieces. 

Cotton yarn stash.

The smaller yarn lengths allow experimenting with various color combinations on one dishcloth or perhaps on only a few rows. Because the slip stitch brings one color up (from the row below) into another, interesting things happen with color.

Color play with linen stitch.

Depending on the lengths of the yarn leftovers, I'll work with two or three solid colors, two variegated yarns, a solid and a variegated, or use one main yarn and work stripes with limited yards of other colors. It's fun to watch the textures emerge as the yarn slips through your fingers.

The linen stitch also offers interesting color play—and a knubby texture—on the back side of the work.

Linen stitch back side.

Other slip stitch patterns

The knitted dishcloths project was prompted by the Modern Daily Dishcloth Knit-along this summer. Other slip stitch patterns I've used for dishcloths are the brick stitch and Three-and-One Tweed. I've made 12 additional dishcloths since fulfilling the Slow Stitching prompt for Make Nine 2022 in early September.

Brick stitch (left) and Three-and-One Tweed (right) stitch patterns.

My most recent dishcloth used up a leftover ball of the turquoise yarn. Talk about playing "yarn chicken!" The last row was completed with only a few inches of yarn remaining.

Three-in-One Tweed dishcloth: aone variegated yarn and one solid.

The edges of the dishcloths are crocheted—usually with two rows of single crochet.

Knitted dishcloths—a portable colorwork project.

As the yarn stash dwindles, the dishcloth stack continues to grow...

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