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...

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Why a sketchbook is a MUST for free-motion quilting

When I teach my Intro to Free-motion Quilting workshop, one of the items included on the Student Supply List is a sketchbook. Yes, a sketchbook!  It serves multiple purposes and many of the students at a recent class mentioned this was a valuable tool and an important take-away from the class.

Drawing free-motion quilting designs in a sketchbook.

Where to get a sketchbook?

I always advocate supporting and buying from your local quilt shop or online with any of the thousands of independent quilt shops across the country for purchasing your quiltmaking supplies. A sketchbook, however, is one of the very few items you get a "pass" on if you don't buy it at the local quilt shop. Check your local craft/hobby store or an online art supply store and get a sketchbook with 50 to 100 pages

Note: use the craft store's coupon to purchase the sketchbook, then apply the savings to buy more fabric at the quilt shop.

What kind of sketchbook? 

Get a sketchbook specified for drawing. The pages will be a soft white color. The paper will have a nice, smooth finish, and will easily take marks from dry drawing media—pencil, pen, gel pens, etc. Generally, the paper weight is from 65 lb/96 gsm to 80 lb/130 gsm and 90 lb/160 gsm for a sheet that is slightly heavier and more opaque. 

Jackie at Intro to Free-motion Quilting at John C. Campbell Folk School.

I prefer a spiral bound (wire bound) sketchbook so the sketchbook lies flat when drawing. The spiral keeps the pages bound together for future reference. However, many spiral bound sketchbooks also have a perforation on each page should a page need to be removed for some reason. 

A sketchbook page filled with free-motion motifs. 

What size sketchbook?

I recommend a sketchbook that is at least 14" x 17". Why? Because you'll find there are a LOT of quilt blocks that are 12" so a larger sheet of paper will accommodate this popular block size.

Karen (left) and Karen (right) at Intro to Free-motion Quilting
at John C. Campbell Folk School.

What goes in the sketchbook?

In class, my students start with simple drawing exercises—drawing basic free-motion quilting [FMQ] shapes.

Katy (left) and Wendy (right) at Intro to Free-motion Quilting
at John C. Campbell Folk School.

After drawing and quilting the basic shapes on practice quilt sandwiches, we work through designs that can be used as edge-to-edge, all-over quilting patterns, and background fillers. 

Diane (left) and Kathie (right) at Intro to Free-motion Quilting
at John C. Campbell Folk School.

Where do you find new FMQ designs?

In search of new ideas for free-motion quilting designs? Use the motifs and designs from your fabrics as a reference. In a recent workshop at the John C. Campbell Folk School, students received complimentary fat quarters from Art Gallery Fabrics as inspiration for developing motifs and continuous line patterns for their free-motion practice.

Dina at Intro to Free-motion Quilting at John C. Campbell Folk School.

Kathy at Intro to Free-motion Quilting at John C. Campbell Folk School.

Keep that sketchbook handy... and use it!

Use your sketchbook as an on-going FMQ reference book! It's a resource and tool for:

  • learning shapes and paths for new (or new-to-you) designs
  • auditioning different designs for quilt blocks, sashings, and borders
  • creating new designs
  • getting familiar with a design and its path before going to the sewing machine
  • exercising muscle memory
  • developing your repertoire of potential quilting patterns for current and future quilts.

And if you don't like a design, or you think you made a "mistake" in your sketchbook, you don't have to pick out any stitches!

Remember, your sketchbook is YOUR sketchbook. It doesn't have to be pretty. It doesn't have to be "perfect." You don't have to show it to anyone if you don't want to. It's a work-in-progress... a reference tool for your FMQ practice.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

My free-motion quilting class at John C. Campbell Folk School: magical and fun

There was a hint of crisp, fall weather in the air, the colors of the landscape were turning to reds and golds against a clear "Carolina blue" sky. Like a picture postcard, the scene was beautifully composed for a long weekend of free-motion quilting at the John C. Campbell Folk School.

Last weekend, I had a fabulous opportunity to teach an Intro to Free-motion Quilting workshop at the John C. Campbell Folk School. I had a group of inquisitive and motivated students, as well as a top-notch studio assistant (who was also my tour guide) and more than any instructor could ask for. The campus was magical, and the weather, perfect. All that to say, my first experience at the Folk School was wonderful and inspiring.

Arriving at the Folk School

Folk School instructors arrive early Friday afternoon for weekend classes. I met Geri, my fiber arts friend and studio assistant, at 2pm at the Keith House for registration. After dropping off my suitcase in my room at the Orchard House, Geri took me over to the Louise Pitman Fiber Arts building where the quilting and weaving studios are located.

Fiber Arts building at the John C. Campbell Folk School.

The Quilting Studio has all the technologies!

The spacious quilting studio was technology-enabled with all the necessary “high” and “low” tech equipment—a large digital screen, iPhone camera for real-time filming, wi-fi, a white board, and a flip chart. Students had long tables to work on and flannel boards were mounted on the walls. A supply closet was filled with cutting tools, rulers, irons and other quilting equipment.

Inside the Quilting Studio at John C. Campbell Folk School.

Class began Friday evening, immediately following dinner. On Saturday, we worked a full day in the studio drawing continuous line designs in sketchbooks, quilting various free-motion designs on practice sandwiches, banishing the FMQ [free-motion quilting] myths, and discussing quilting strategies. Sunday morning entailed more drawing exercises, free-motion practice, and a trunk show of several of my quilts.

Drawing swirls and shell motifs.

Discussing quilting strategies: where to start quilting, combining motifs, etc.

A Bed-turning style Trunk Show

With the nice long tables in the studio, I opted for a bed-turning style process for showing and discussing a few of my quilts. The quilts illustrated various FMQ concepts—auditioning threads, determining thread weights and colors, adding texture with background fills, and using the patchwork to define areas to quilt.

A bed-turning style trunk show.

How to audition threads for quilting.

Free-motion designs inspired by the fabrics and the apppliqué.

One of the quilts I included in the presentation was a fabric panel that was quilted and incorporated LED lights, a soft circuit with conductive thread, an Arduino computer chip, and a battery. This quilt was of particular interest to Geri, my studio assistant, as she was the person who sparked my interest in incorporating electronics and computer technology into quilts.

A small battery powers a soft circuit that is stitched into this quilt. 
Switches sewn to the quilt turn on/off the LED lights.

I brought several quilts from Guild Challenges because these quilts always have interesting stories to accompany them. My most recent Challenge quilt, Alone Together, was from last year's Guild Challenge. For documentation on the process of this quilt, see this blog post about the design and patchwork process, this post for the quilting process and quilt stats, and my experiments and discoveries through working on this piece.

Discussing various aspects of Alone Together, a guild challenge quilt.

Impromptu discussions on faced bindings, flat piped bindings and a request for an improvisational quilting workshop came out of the bed-turning exercise. I now have some marching orders.  ;-) 

Practice sandwiches

Students made several practice sandwiches for learning FMQ motifs and getting warmed up. We also used pre-printed placemat panels from Paintbrush Studio to try FMQ on a patchwork design (without having to deal with seam allowances).

Free-motion quilting on pre-printed placemat panels from Paintbrush Studio.

Fillers, feathers and continuous line free-motion designs.

Thank you!

Here are the FMQ stars from the workshop. Thanks to everyone for a great first-time experience at the Folk School! And a special Thank You to Geri for the in-class candid photos. I hope you all continue to grow in your quiltmaking journey and enjoy all the creative possibilities free-motion quilting has to offer.

October 21-23, 2022 Free-motion Quilting students at John C. Campbell Folk School.
From left (back row): Wendy, Karen, Diane.
From left (front row): Geri (studio assistant), Karen, Kathy, Kathie, Dina, Katy, Jackie and me (Veronica).
Not pictured: Suzanne 

And this is the view in the morning from outside my dorm room. The Folk School can definitely change you!

View from Orchard House on an October morning.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

I'm teaching Free-motion Quilting at John C. Campbell Folk School

Way back in 2018 or 2019, my friend, Karen, from Bless My Stitches Quilt Shop, invited me to teach a workshop at the John C. Campbell Folk School. Because of the disruption of the pandemic, the folk school was closed for some time so my class didn't come to pass...  until this year! I'll be headed to Brasstown, North Carolina this coming weekend to teach a favorite workshop of mine, Intro to Free-motion Quilting!

Quilts for free-motion quilting workshop Show and Tell.

My workshop is full! I have 10 students and I get a teacher assistant. This will be a treat for me. 

Gathering class materials

I bring a big pile of quilts for show and tell when I teach this workshop. Large, small, bed and wall quilts are real-life examples of what can be accomplished with free-motion quilting. I've got several sketchbooks, stitch samples, and other supplies too.

Sketchbooks are a major part of FMQ [free-motion quilting] prep.

I pieced two scrappy quilt tops to use for warm-up and demonstrations. These will eventually turn into charity quilts for the kitties.

Quilt tops and quilting samples.

It will be wonderful to be back in the classroom again, meeting new quilters, and dropping the feed dogs.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...