Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Aspens changing

Joe and I decided to go look at the aspens this weekend. We've had a very warm September, so there was lots of color. I think I finally understand how the leaves change colors, and because we haven't had a hard frost yet, or at least not many frosty nights, the aspens still mostly have their leaves. We drove up to Cripple Creek which is at 10,000 feet (well OK, it's actually about 9,600) and the trees were just amazing. The ones in our backyard have all mostly lost their leaves already, but as you can see form the pictures, not so here.
We left to drive up at about 8:00. It was a beautiful day, and because we left so early we missed the traffic going up.

I don't know if you can see it very well, but in the first picture there is a lot of orange and red (for aspens). We don't  usually see that. Very cool.  
I thought these rocks were really cool looking. I was thinking they might be able to become a quilt or something. Joe decided he would go stand in front of them to shave some perspective of the size of the formation.

Pretty cool, huh?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A bit more progress

This is how I am marking the fabric pieces. I traced all the pieces on paper, and cut them out. I pin and trace around each piece so I have the sewing line marked. Then I measure 1/4" away for the cutting line. I use a rotary cutter to cut each piece out. Oh, I also starched each piece of fabric so there is less stretching.

You can see the marks on the second picture. It really helps to have the seam lines marked, and the little tick marks to match one piece to another. It's a bit tedious, but gets the job done.

Here is what I have pieced so far.I Not too exciting yet, but I think it will look good when it's done. The green is just laying on the mountains at the moment. I'm too tired to sew it right now. More tomorrow after work.

If you want to see what other folks have on their design walls, check Judy's blog.

I love it when it works

I was trying to dye an ombre for the background of the banner. I knew I could mix different strengths of the dye and lay it out and squirt the dye on, but that process doesn't result in smooth transitions, and besides, I don't have a board wide enough to lay this piece of fabric out flat.

I decided to look around the internet and see what someone who's already done it had to say. I found a couple of sites, but they seemed too complicated. I finally looked at Dharma Trading company. It's where I buy all my dying supplies. Here is what I found. I have a clothes line I put up outside so I could dry my dyed fabrics more easily so I thought I'd try it. I didn't take any photos during the process because I forgot to bring my camera out with me, but here is the result. I was trying to give the idea of the red soil we have in Colorado, and I think I got a pretty good match if you look at the dirt in the picture you can see it's pretty close.

Here are the tools I used. I set this up under the clothes line and pinned the fabric to a plastic hanger. I tied a string to the hanger and looped it over the clothesline. I put the whole thing in the dye with 1 tablespoon of dye solution. I had pre-treated my silk with soda ash and dried it.  I put the whole piece in the dye and left it in for 5 minutes. I stirred it around to make sure it would be a pretty even dye. I also threw in another piece that I am going to use for the hanging sleeve. Every 5 minutes I added another tablespoon of the dye solution. I had pre-marked the fabric with safety pins so the gradations would be evenly spaced. I'm interested to see how it looks once I wash it. I didn't want the background to be too dark. In fact I pictured it just about this color, so YAY!

I have been using a book called the Fabric Dyer's Dictionary by Linda Johansen to get the approximate formulas for the dye solution. I am loving the book, because I don't have enough experience dyeing to know how to mix colors I want..

Banner Progress

Here is the fabric I dyed for the banner, laid out in the approximate places they will hold on the banner. I've decide that I'm going to take the leap and try some of the oil sticks I have to add detail. I plan to use some thread to draw details, then highlight them with the Shiva sticks. I haven't done this before, but I think I can do it. I'll use a piece of freezer paper and iron it down as the edge, then bring the oil onto the fabric from there. The first piece of sky (just above the mountains) looks a bit pink in the photo, but it's actually a very pale blue.

The next picture shows how I drew out the various pieces, and marked them so I can sew them together. I used Ruth McDowell's book as a guide to get an idea of the best way to cut the various pieces. Then I used that drawing and traced the pieces onto other sheets of paper so I can mark and cut them accurately. I'll take some more shots as I go along to show you how I'm actually sewing.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Design Wall Monday

The design wall isn't too interesting today. I've made a full size pattern for the banner and I'm working on the technique, and preparing the fabric for dyeing. I don't have a washer or dryer at home, so I used the wringer I bought a while back (just for this purpose) after I soaked the fabric in the soda ash. I bought stuff to make a drying line outside and dried it out there. It was a nice hot dry day, so when I got back from church everything was already dry. I threw some more stuff in the soda ash (I want to dye a couple of sets of onesies and socks, and some t-shirts of mine need over dying).
Now I need to get the recipes so I can get the colors about right. I know they won't be exactly as in the book...I'm using silk and it is natural rather than white, but everything is ready to go.

To see what others are doing, check out Judy's blog.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Design Wall Monday

I got the block section of the quilt done, now I just have the borders to do. Yay! If you want to see what the whole top looks like, check here. The borders shouldn't take too long, and then I'll be able to mark this one as done.

Next up, a banner for my church. I've ordered silk noil from Dharma and have figured out how I plan to piece it. I have Ruth McDowell's "Piecing; Expanding the Basics" and I'm going to use some photos of Pikes Peak to make a plan to piece it so it looks like it's a mountain, and not just a solid piece of fabric. I've started playing with how I will piece it. Here is a quick trial. It looks a bit too much like lava, so I'm going to have to change how the pieces form the mountain, but I think you can get the idea.

Ooops, I forgot to add the link to Judy's blog. Click to check out what other folks have on their design walls.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


I'm tired! Now I remember why I don't quilt a lot of my tops. I get bored, and it takes so long, and I don't like it when I'm done. Well, the last part of that statement is not true of the last two quilts I've worked on. I really like the quilting, but it's hard work and my shoulder hurts, and I'm only 5/8 done with the blocks on the top. How did I come up with that number you ask. Well, there are 8 rows of blocks and I have quilted 5 rows of them. That's 62.5 % completed with the blocks. I still have the borders to complete. Those don't tend to get to me as much because I'm not pushing the whole quilt around in the little bitty harp of my Bernina. It's not really tiny, just when I'm wrestling with a quilt that is 86x96 and backed with fleece. If you click on the picture you'll get a much larger image. You can see the swirls I'm doing. I really like the look of the ribbon swirls.

I've decided to stop for a bit and work on another project. I'm making a new banner for our church and I told the pastor I would work up a bit of the technique so he could see what it will be like. I'm going to do the actual banner in silk noil that I will dye myself, but I'm using some cottons just to show how it's going to go together. It is going to look something like this.

The mountain will be more purple (Pikes Peak...purple mountain majesty) and the banner background will be an ombre. It's meant to look like the color of the red rocks we have all around--only a bit toned down. I ordered the silk from Dharma and hope to receive it soon so I can see how it dyes. I'm going to follow the "recipe" on The Lazy Dyer and dye it just the way I do cotton. It should be interesting.

I don't plan to fuse it right now, but I might change my mind once I see the silk. It's going to be an adventure.

I just started drawing out the full size pattern. It will be 25" x 45". I'll see if it looks large enough when I have the drawing done.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Design Wall Monday

I've pinned and I'm ready to do the first quilting line on the next quilt top. I think I'm going to use a dark multi-colored quilt thread to finish this one. I'm going to use the same quilting style as the last one, swirling ribbons it is. If you want to see the whole quilt top, I blogged about it here.

If you want to see what others have on their design walls, check out Judy's blog.

I've started to quilt the top. I use my domestic machine. I draw a large meander then go back and do the swirling ribbons to fill in the rest of the space. 

Friday, September 3, 2010

Another one Done

It's quiletd, bound and labeled. I'm happy it's done. It doesn't have a recipient yet, but I'll figure someone out.I saw a label on someone's blog that I liked to I did a similar thing. I printed out what I wanted to say on a strip of fabric, traced it with a fabric pen, then enclosed the ends by sewing them together. Then, as I finished sewing on the binding, I included it. It's a little flap of fabric on the back of the quilt. It's soft enough not to be bothersome, but obvious enough that the quilt will stay labeled.
I'm going to start quilting the next one soon. It will have a fleece backing as well. It is the butterfly blooms top that I finished in June of 2009. You can see the whole top by clicking on the link above. That's one of the reasons I like blogging. I would have no idea how long ago I finished that one, except I've blogged about it.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Binding-how to make mitered corners

I have a friend who is just learning to quilt. She was asking how to add a binding, so I thought I'd write a short tutorial that she (and anyone else who wants to) can read. There are lots of pictures, and if you want to see them larger, just click on them.
Lay the strips together like this.

Measure the perimeter of your quilt. Cut enough strips to go all the way around the quilt with at least 20 inches extra. Cut strips across the width of your binding fabric. I cut between 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 inches widths. Lay the strips, right sides together, perpendicular as seen in the picture above.Sew the strips together on the bias to make one long strip.

The edge of the ruler shows where you will sew.
The selvedges would be the ends of the pieces you see above. I press the seams open so there is less bulk, but you can press to one side. Do this with each strip you previously cut until you have one long strip Press the long piece of biding in half, wrong sides together.

Start sewing the binding on the front side of the quilt. Start in the middle of one side and leave a tail about 6-10 inches long.
Note where the pin is. That is where I stopped before I came to the corner.
When you come to a corner, stop sewing 1/4 inch away from the end.
Fold the binding back so you have a 45 degree angle.
The folded edge on the right leaves just a touch of the fabric underneath showing.
Fold it back along the edge of the quilt. Make sure you can see just a tiny bit of the quilt where the fold is.
Begin sewing the binding down at the very edge. Sew the rest of the binding down, making sure to miter each corner as described above. When  you reach the side you started on, stop sewing down about 10-12 inches from where you began.
It's hard to see, but there is a gap between the two ends of the binding.
You left a tail at the beginning of your binding, cut it off at a 45 degree angle so that it is about in the middle of the gap. Notice that the fabric is opened up. Don't cut it while it's folded. (You wonder why I include that warning? I have done it wrong!)
It's difficult to see but I've put a pin where the first cut was made. Lay the second piece of binding underneath the first and make a small mark on the long piece where the cut was just made.
Add 1/2 inch for a seam allowance (the mark you see above was the exact length of the previously cut binding piece.) You have to add 1/2 inch, in this picture that means add 1/2 inch to the left of the mark. This piece of the binding is on the right side of the gap that was left, the previously cut piece was on the left side, so to add seam allowance add it to the left. Made sure to unfold the fabrics so you cut through only one thickness.
Pin the two ends, right sides together. Make sure you have a 1/4 inch seam allowance. You'll have to bunch up the quilt a bit to be able to pin and sew these two pieces together. Be sure you don't twist either of them.
Trim the dog ears. Press the seam. I press it open because it is less bulky.
I usually just finger press it open but you can use an iron.
Here is the binding piece folded in half again. I put a pin where the seam is, so you could see it. The gap is now ready to have the rest of the binding attached to the quilt front.
I often press the binding from the front side away from the quilt so I can turn it to the back more easily

I sometimes use a foot that allows me to stitch in the ditch. It keeps the sewing very straight on the front. I don't mind that that thread shows. I don't sew my bindings down by hand for a couple of reasons. I don't like hand sewing. It takes too long. I expect these quilts will be hard used. I expect they'll be thrown in the washing machine and dryer and this is a much stronger attachment method.

Here is what the back looks like. It's not perfect, but it's perfect enough for me.

I hope that was helpful.


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