Thursday, April 3, 2014

Buying Fabric Online?

I've never bought fabric online before and I have some questions.  Can you please share your experiences?

  • Have you found that the colors shown online are true to the colors of the fabrics when you receive them?
  • How can you tell the quality and feel of the fabric?
  • Is one company better than another?
  • Have you been satisfied buying fabric online?
  • What other questions should I ask but haven't and what else do I need to know?
I'm linking this post to Really Random Thursday at Live a Colorful Life.

Thanks for any help you can offer.  I appreciate it.


P.S.   Images above were screenshots made on April 3, 2014.  The first is from Connecting Threads, the second from Creating Keepsakes.

Choosing Backing Fabric(s)

I'm eager to begin quilting but I don't have a back ready for this quilt.  I've been considering the fabrics along the top of the photo below. 

They're in the color range I think might work.  Except maybe the light one is too light; I think deeper tones might be more comfortable for this quilt.  I don't have enough of any one of them and would have to piece the back. 

I'm fine with piecing a back but haven't had been too happy with the ones I've done that way.  I only have two leftover blocks from the front which I could incorporate into the back. Then too, I'm trying use up fabric instead of add more to what I have.

On the other hand, hand quilting through even more seams with a pieced back isn't quite so much fun. 

I've been doing some online shopping for (= looking at) fabric but haven't made a decision yet.

I'm linking this post to Really Random Thursday at Live a Colorful Life.

I hope you're enjoying your day.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Singer (almost) All the Way

I love shopping at thrift stores, though maybe just slightly less with bedbugs threatening to take over.

The other day I found a clear plastic bag with some sewing notions.  I saw the bobbins first, then the needles and decided it was worth $1.50. 

Many of the items will be useful but I don't recognize some of them.  Maybe some of you know....

Those flat bobbins just left of center toward the top... what kind of machine uses those?  I thought I could put them on the thread holder of my 201 but the hole is too small.

That needle plate cover.... what kind of machine is that for and what does it do?

Those little cream-colored plastic things toward the bottom....  What are those for?

And I'd ask you about the presser feet but the photograph probably isn't good enough for you to tell what they're for, other than the one at left which I know is a zipper foot.

Anyone want some ballpoint needles?  I think they're only good for knit fabric.

I thought it was interesting to see 4 different kinds of packages for Singer needles.  The little plastic cases look very handy.

That cloth pouch toward the top is folded over and closed with a safety pin.  It has about a dozen sewing machine needles in it.  I hope they're Singer brand.

The needle threaders all look the same but they are 3 different sizes.  Maybe I will try the Dritz magnetic seam guide.

Are you a thrift store shopper?


Friday, March 28, 2014

A Finish! Snowballs During the Winter that Won't End

This quilt is for little Olivia who is only 2 1/2 months old, and since it still feels like winter outside I think she'll have time to use this it before warm weather comes.  Whew!  She hasn't outgrown it before I finished it.  I'm new to this gramma thing and haven't got my timing down yet.

I'm still working on taking photographs that show the true colors....

Below, after a spin in the washer.

The finished quilt measures 41 1/8" x 52 1/8". 

I like to record details of each quilt I finish. 

Timeline  I record dates when part of the quilt was finished but not necessarily why it took so long.  Four months to quilt this little quilt is an impossibly long time except that I spent two weeks at my daughter's home before and after the baby was born helping her and watching new baby's toddler-brother.
10/14/13 - begun
10/26/13 - center blocks sewn together
11/13/13 - borders sewn on and applique finished
11/16/13 - quilting begun
 3/15/14 - quilting finished
 3/18/14 - binding cut, machine stitched
 3/20/14 - binding finished

Batting (info from package)
Soft n Crafty 80/20 (cotton/poly) from JoAnn
3/16" loft
2"-4" quilting distance
2-3% shrinkage

I found this batting easy to quilt through and I like the loft after washing -- puffed but not too much.  (After all, this quilt's meant to keep my grandbaby warm and it's the loft that adds warmth.  I might make another choice for a different quilt with a different perpson.)

Hand-quilted using Natural Essential 100% cotton thread from Connecting Threads. 

43" x 55" before layering
42 1/4" x 53" after quilting and before binding
42 5/8" x 53 1/2" after binding
41 1/8" x 52 1/8" after 6 washings and once in the dryer (because of the the pencil)

Actual shrinkage was about 9%.  Whew!!!  Much higher than the suggested 2-3% on the package.

I hope it will keep Olivia warm and comfy the rest of this winter and next year, too.

I'm linking this post to
TGIFF (Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday) at Devoted Quilter, Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, and finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.   Thanks, ladies.

Happy Quilting,

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Shrinkage Calculator

Do you ever find yourself in need of a shrinkage calculator?  I like to keep track of how much my quilts shrink from the time I begin them until they're washed and dried.  Oh, yeh, I can do it with a calculator, but I found this online one that's so easy to use.  I thought you might be interested.

Below is a screenshot. 
Go to Wazoodle Shrinkage Calculator to use the real one.

May your quilts shrink little!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Why, oh why?

I really want to see beautiful green outside, just as if it were spring blooming forth this moment.   Instead, this was our view this afternoon.

With Edna T. Helberg, I ask,

               Why oh why does it take so long?
               I'm sure the calendar can't be wrong.
               Sunshine fills my heart with cheer.
               I wish that spring were really here.

Maybe tomorrow... or next week... or next month?


Monday, March 24, 2014

Novice Quilt, New Eyes

The reason I shouldn't leave a quilt top too long between finishing it and layering and quilting it is this:  I notice all the problems and begin to reevaluate and reconsider.  If I think too long I'll have the whole quilt taken apart and redone. 

I see more obviously the side setting triangles and ...

... corner triangles that don't line up.

On the shortest pieces at the seams there is not a quarter inch to be sewn.  If I pretend there's no problem and sew the edges, the corners of some squares will be cut off.  I'm debating with myself whether to rip out and restitch those seams or chalk them up to inexperience and consider them "character."

This is the first quilt I set on-point -- made about 7 or so years ago.  Somehow, I think this will be a bear to quilt.  Even so, I'm eager to get it layered (though I still have to choose a backing) so I can have something to quilt.  I'm at loose ends with nothing to do with my hands when I'm sitting talking to my husband or watching TV.

Do you ever look at your earlier, unquilted tops and decide to make changes to them?

I'm linking this post to WOW = WIPs on Wednesday at Esther's Blog and to W.i.P. Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.  Thank you, ladies, for hosting.

Happy quilting!

P.S.  I'm just remembering that this quilt was inspired by a series of quilts by Nadi Lane called "She Did the Best She Could."  Maybe (maybe?) I should just take the title as a lesson and leave the quilt alone.  Maybe she had a challenge with the triangles, too. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

I Implore You, for the Sake of Your Quilt

On Thursday afternoon I was feeling excited about the ta-da moment of posting my washed and dried snowball and nine-patch quilt for little Olivia.  I'd finished the binding early in the day and tossed the quilt in the washer.  When I pulled it out and examined it I found that the pencil marks for the quilting had not washed out!  Drat!

I was disappointed.  I used pencil on my String-X quilt and it washed out completely.  And I'd sampled pencil on some of the fabrics in this quilt and they washed out.  I know nothing about the chemistry of pencil on fabric.  Maybe some fabrics soak in the graphite, or maybe the longer the pencil is on the fabric, the harder it is to remove.  It doesn't matter.  I would just rather not have pencil lead on a finished quilt.

Being the sensible sort, I did not panic.  I got online and searched how to remove pencil marks from fabric.  I found many suggestions.  I tried each then washed the quilt and air-dried it before trying the next.  Unfortunately none of them were completely effective. 

I tried
  • Goop.  It is my go-to stain remover and nearly never fails me.  Chances are it would probably remove pencil from jeans (where it matters much less than it matters on a new baby quilt!).
  • a white eraser.  That was a big mistake.  It rubbed the fiber the wrong way.
  • liquid hand soap which had no effect whatsoever.
  • a mixture of water, alcohol, and dish soap as recommended at Quilt History.  It was ineffective.
  • Fels Naphtha rubbed on the marks.  It had no effect.
  • ammonia.  This may have lightened some of the pencil lines but did not remove the darkest of them.
  • Lestoil.  This may also have lightened some of the lines but also did not remove the darkest of them.
Lestoil was my last resort.  I used a q-tip to dab it onto the pencil lines, washed it, then into the dryer.  While the pencil lines are still there, the puckers in the fabric around the quilting seem to camouflage all but the very worst of the lines.  I've decided it's a fact that pencil is nearly impossible to remove from fabric.  I can only take comfort in knowing that my great-grandmother's quilt, made in the 1920s or 1930s, also has residual pencil marks and it is no less beautiful nor serviceable than if they were not there.

Still, I implore you for the sake of your quilt,
Please do not use pencil to mark quilting lines!

And one last photo, just for the fun of it.  The view into my washer after the last wash.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Maybe On Point?

On point looks fun but I think it's harder to quilt because of the bias.  But it's a possibility.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Will I, Won't I?

I'm almost finished with these blocks.  My goal was 30 and I have 28 sewn.  I have 6 yet in progress.  When I'm making a scrap quilt I always like to make a few extra blocks to trade out if some don't just quite "fit" visually.

These are made from both old and new fabric, solids, prints, stripes, plaids.  Such a variety.  I love mixing old and new.

Now that the blocks are almost finished I'm thinking more earnestly about the other details.

Will I or won't I
-- use an arbitrary layout?
-- organize the layout by light/dark or some other way?
-- use wide or narrow sashing?
-- make stars in the sashing?
-- set them straight or on point?
-- be overly cautious and take the safe route with sashing?
-- be bold with sashing by using stripes or a completely different color?

I'm linking this post 
W.i.P. Wednesday at Freshly Pieced and
WOW at Esther's Blog.


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