Quilt ADD in therapy

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Colorado, United States
Other than my family, the passion of my life is quilting. An eclectic, I love a wide variety of styles and techniques encompassing both machine and hand work. Instagram: lyncc_quilts

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

WIPs - Flannels & 17 in 2017


Geez, I get distracted so very easily these days. . .  Now that the bird is happily bathing in some cold defrost water, I can take a social moment.  :)

I usually wake long before the others, so it wouldn't be cool to work on my priority quilt at the longarm, as it would wake some of them. So I have "putz around" projects I do in other places. 

Right now, that's working with this really luscious flannel jelly roll my daughter gave me for my birthday. I'm doing it up race style, with diagonal joins and some spacers. Those spacers and the whole backing are done with harvest gold Silk Radiance. It'll get a  leafy vine meander for quilting, with leaves highlighted at each of the gold bits. It's a nice project to see in the mornings during Thanksgiving week.

Also, when I have odd moments that aren't really long enough to get good piecing in, I've been working on my "Plums in November" quilt, which is on my 17 in 2017 list. I had started its quilting at my domestic machine last year. 

Almost all the black SID work is finished (hooray!), and a wee bit of decorative quilting had gone in.

So far I've removed the over-500 quilter's safety pins, marked the rest of the diamond centers, trimmed back the batting to get the backing edges easily accessible, and I've made sure those are all squared up.

I still need to make some extenders to baste on so the clamps don't interfere with the quilting at the longarm. I grabbed this huge amount of ugly-fabric yardage that's been in my stash forever. 

Which is inspiring me. . . 

You know that concept that if you don't like a fabric, you haven't cut it up small enough yet? I'm going to work up a nice pattern to use an ugly piece from stash, coupled with two nice colors and a good bit of "neutral" to make a really appealing quilt. It has to be after the holidays, though. 

So the first Stash Rehab 2018 will appear this February 1st. 

This one will be designed to utilize a piece of yardage that's been sitting in stash. As I have more than one piece that's been stagnant in there, I'll do periodic Rehab projects, some of which will focus on using pretty fabric that we just don't know what to do with. Rehab will culminate on St. Patrick's Day so we can see what those little magic leprechauns can do for us. I'll figure things for several sizes. I hope you'll join in! 


Thanks to Lorna for hosting Let's Bee Social.  :)

Sunday, November 19, 2017

BOMs Away - How to Prevent Wavy Binding & Avoid Lumpy Corners

Welcome to the link-up for BOMs Away Mondays!
Where we share what we're doing on a BOM-type project 
so they don't stall out in UFO-land!
(Linky at the bottom.)

Because my need to finish up the third Thanksgiving quilt Right Now left me with no BOM sewing time this week, I thought I'd share some binding tips. The first one I figured out on my own, the second I picked up a couple years ago from who-knows-where.

~*~ Preventing Wavy Binding *~

Have you ever taken a quilted quilt with nice, flat edges, and carefully machine finished its binding, only to have the edge be all wavy out of nowhere when you're finished? I'm talking about the kind of wave that I've simulated here by putting spools under my quilt's edge:

I can help you banish those waves!

Except for the few times that a design need demands a straight-grain cut (like totally cool stripes along the quilt's edge), I always cut my binding on the bias.

That's because fabric folded along the bias is much, much more supple than it is when folded on the grain. This yields a binding that wears better on the very edge and has a softer bend as a quilt is used. It is also the ONLY kind of binding you can use for scalloped quilts.

But the same traits that give a bias binding its wonderful suppleness are the same traits that give you an undesirable outcome on machine-finished bindings if you don't handle it properly.

We all like to work smarter, not harder, so we use the quickest, easiest way to accomplish quilting tasks that we can find. Sometimes these short cuts aren't worth the time saved, though.  (Like cheater borders where you don't bother to measure your strips and you end up with bowed or waving borders instead of flat ones.)

Another shortcut you have to watch out for is failing to pin when you're putting a binding on by machine. I don't mean we you first attach it. I never pin for that, except when I'm marking my stop point as I come into each corner, and when I'm doing the invisible join at the end of it all. 

But when you're doing the final stitching to put the second edge of the binding down, if you forego pins and just pull the binding around as you go, stitching a few inches, pulling the next bit around, stitching. . . etc. . .  you *will* get a wavy binding because the flex in a bias cut allows the binding to stretch in unattractive ways. You can kind of get away with this short cut on a straight-grain-cut binding, but not always.

The solution is very simple. Just use pins. I work with only 10 or 12 of them, folding over and pinning however much of the binding those pins reach along. I pin *along* the binding instead of across it, like this (and you can see that I stitch right up into that pin's business before I remove it:

Now, when you  sew the second binding edge down, start ahead of the first pin (you're going to leave that one in until you get back around to that point again - you can see my red-head here at the end of my stitching that was the first pin in, and it stayed in all the way to this point):

And MAKE SURE you always leave the last pin in your line-up in the binding in front of your needle when you stop to pin up the next segment. If you don't, you'll get a little wave in the spots where your pins ran out each time. So, this pin STAYS IN while the next ones get added:

And the magical outcome of the simple practice of pinning your binding before that final stitch-down is a perfectly flat edge. Happiness!

I'm sure you could use the little binding clips just as well (I wouldn't space them further than 2" apart for this use) - I'm just too lazy to go upstairs to get them from my hand-stitching station, which is how I usually finish a binding.

~*~ Avoiding Lumpy Corners *~

You know how the corners can get super lumpy on your binding? 

Some people (and I've been guilty of this approach years ago) actually snip a wee bit off the corner of the quilt to reduce the binding bulk.

Oh, my! DON'T DO THAT! Never cut bits of your quilt off.

Instead, you snip off the binding dog-ear, and here are the two steps to do that:

(Please note that I was making a faux-piped binding, so one side is gold, and the other is brown, which you'll see in these photos.)

After you've attached your binding all around your quilt, pick up a corner 

and insert some good scissors into that fold on the top, between the uppermost layers and the triangle-fold on the inside.  (Big scissors work better than little scissors for this job.)

Now snip that fold open to the cross seam.

After that, you can carefully fold back the top flap and the quilt so that the inner dog-ear is exposed. 

Binding is folded down to the left,
Quilt is folded down to the right

Now, even MORE CAREFULLY, snip off that dog-ear pretty darn close to the cross seam. You don't want to get so close that you snip any stitches, and heaven forbid the actual quilt or outer binding! 

This removed a huge amount of the bulk for the corner, although you will still be able to feel that necessary tiny bit of ridge if you palpate a finished corner. Can't be avoided, but it's waaaay better than the bulk of leaving the dog-ear in.

Now, the last step to getting the flattest corner possible is to fold the second side of the binding down in the opposite order that it was folded on the first side. You want the bulk of each side to lay on either side of the corner instead of both together on one side. When you hand stitch those folds closed, this corner will be FLAT with a nice, clean angle. Super lovely!

~*~ Final tips for a binding that's lump free all-around ~*~
  • Join the strips with a diagonal seam, never a straight up-and-down seam. 
  • Press those seams open, not to one side, and clip off the dog-ears.
  • Before you attach the binding, Run a quick long zig-zag around the perimeter of your quilt that's about 3/16 inches wide.
  • Use the never-ending join-up when you attach the binding so that no-one will ever know where your binding starts and stops, and that point will be lump-free. (Nancy made a great tutorial to do that meet-up: How to Finish Off a Binding.)
  • Always hand-stitch the corner folds closed as your final task. Keeps corners sharp and flattest they can be.
And they don't get wonky in the wash if you stitch them closed.
Here's the freshly cleaned, softly crinkled quilt
ready for its gifting.


So, those are my secrets for how I get bindings and corners that always receive compliments when I have a quilt appraised, whether I hand- or machine-finish them. Now, if you're making a quilt for stiff show competition, there's another level of OCD you want to go to, like using glue, etc., but I'm talking about us normal folks who are finishing normal quilts where we want to pay attention to detail, yet be realistic in our approaches.

And now back to BOMs Away - 
I didn't have any work to share, but do you?

Thursday, November 16, 2017

TGIFF is Here Today, and It's About Thankfulness :)

Hello from Colorado, USA! Welcome to this week's TGIFF link-up!
Have you finished something lately that you'd like to share? Link up at the bottom of this post, and be sure to visit some of the other links to find some great eye candy and help your fellow bloggers celebrate. :D

This quilt's story is one of Thankfulness and progress. I have a very special friend, Karen, who has been more like family over the years. 

She took our young-adult daughter, Devon, in several months ago when her life took a rough turn and she wanted to try a fresh start down in Florida. Karen's that kind of friend, and this quilter's mama heart needed to make her a Thanksgiving throw quilt as a bit of a Thank You.

It's one of a trio, as there was enough fabric to do up three of these diamond-lattice throws. One is for our neighbors, the Heinz's, because they do so very much for all of us on the cul-de-sac, contributing more than anyone to keeping the snow cleared on our hill (we don't get winter service from the county).

The other is for us to keep, largely because I'd only done 6 quilts ahead of these on my new longarm machine, and I hadn't tried diagonal work or feathers on it yet. The one for us provided a foil to figure things out on first.

Good thing, too - I got a little ahead of myself with this design! If you don't have a longarm, you need to know that diagonal lines are not easy. It takes ruler work to keep them not-wobbly, and I hadn't tried that out yet. Naive braveness on my part for these quilts, but it's gone well enough to gift to a friend. 

Quilts 7 & 8 on my longarm - APQS Millie, hand guided

My 12-foot frame was just large enough to sew two backings together top-to-bottom, so I could load two up simultaneously. 
(I found that I *greatly* prefer to float the top so I have full control over any shifting that may need to happen, I can double-check the flatness of the back and batting (and presence of dark run-away threads behind very light fabrics in the top) with each advance. I use painter's tape lines on the quilt-top bar of my APQS frame to give myself marks for the vertical lines. This keeps the top square from side to side. I use the channel lock feature on my machine to make sure horizontal lines are square, and you can see the pins I've used beyond the working area to make sure the top stays in square for that section of work.)

Diagonal work went fairly well - if I were doing this for a high school term project, I'd give it a "C-" for the wobbles that I couldn't avoid (which show quite well since my thread was dark. (Affinity 40-wt variegated "Satin")  

Early bobbles in diagonal ditchwork

Feather work went better. I would give those bump-backs and free-hand shaping in the diamonds a C- on the early ones, but a B+ on the later ones, and quite a few stretches in the borders would get an A. I'd also give myself an A on keeping the quilts perfectly square and having no tucks in the backs or problems with the tension. So something is going well already. :)

Early bump-backs
Later bump-backs

Still feeling like I had to concentrate at a calculus homework level just to shape things and watch the fabric play, I wasn't confident enough to free-hand the border work. So I made templates of feather sections and chalked them onto the quilts. Worked great, although it made me sneeze a lot!

I also wasn't up to trying the feathers on the vertical, even with templates. So I rotated the quilts to do the final borders. 

NOTE: If you think you might be rotating a quilt (which is really quite easy with a squared-up backing), make sure you don't start the quilt top right close to the take-up bar. Otherwise, you have to work with hyper-care slowness at the edge against the clamp!

I can tell that my precision control will improve steadily with more practice, and look forward to my machine and I becoming really great friends. As I do each new quilt on my Milli, I tend to do the grading game in my mind - not to criticize myself, but to mark my progress in terms of attaining the professional excellence I got to on my domestic. As that initial development took a good eight years, I'm quite pleased to find that the learning curve is shorter than that to transfer it to this new way of working. 

The Heinz's will go on the frame this afternoon

Each quilt has its own border and backing fabrics. Ours won't get its binding until the Heinz's is quilted and gifted.

The first one to be quilted will be the last fully finished

I am super happy with these quilts, imperfections and all, and I know that Karen will love hers. 

I'm giving these quilts a faux-piped binding. My favorite approach to this is to cut the outer color at 1-3/8" width, and the accent color at 1-5/8" width (I normally use a 2-1/4" double-fold binding - if you use 2-1/2", add 1/8" inch to each of these figures)

I press the joining seam toward the accent color, which isn't the easiest. You have to go SLOWLY, finger press first, and be super precise both with this seam press and when you press the double-fold into the created binding to get a nice piping line. Pressing toward the accent color will make the faux piping have substance, and after the final topstitching, it will look like real piping instead of a flat flange. (I attach this binding to the back of the quilt with a 1/4" seam. Orient it so that the accent color is shown, then when you fold it over to the front, you see the main color and the piping line.) Do your corners exactly the same way you do for normal binding.

Anyone who lets a friend's daughter live with them, helps her get her car fixed (more than once!) and borrow a vehicle while it's in shop, gives her rides and support for a bicycle century, and just loves on her in general definitely deserves a quilt, and who has time to wait until skills get perfected?  :)  

Love you, Karen. Happy Thanksgiving!


Now it's your turn to share a finish. We love to see your accomplishments, and hope you'll visit a few of the fellow link-ups.
Also, per link-up etiquette, please include a link to TGIFF on your post.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

WIP - Feathers and Sleds

I needed a break from the machine, where I'm super happy with how well my first feather work has been going on the longarm. 

Two almost-identical quilts have been loaded on my machine, and I'm on the last of the border work. This shot is after I rotated them, because I wasn't comfortable doing the feathers vertically. I need to put a practice piece on the frame to work on that. 

I also need to work on free-handing my feathers instead of chalking them in first with templates that I made. The chalk works just fine on these quilts that will go straight into the wash after binding, but WOW, does it make me sneeze! And there's nothing wrong with using templates, but it sure will be a LOT faster to get them in my system without the templates.

I'm pushing for a full finish in time to post for Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday. (By the way, TGIFF is hosted here this week, so if you're close to a finish, get it whipped up so you can share!)

The other priority project I've got going is a set of cute little ornaments for a family crafted exchange. Basic construction is complete, and now the fun dressing-up can begin.  

Hope you're having a good week!

Thanks to Lorna for hosting Let's Bee Social.  :)

Sunday, November 12, 2017

BOMs Away - ~*~Flimsy Alert~*~ Sapphire Stars Mystery top

Welcome to the link-up for BOMs Away Mondays!
Where we share what we're doing on a BOM-type project 
so they don't stall out in UFO-land!
(Linky at the bottom.)

What could be more perfect for Veteran's Day weekend than finishing my top for Kevin's Sapphire Stars Mystery?

This is a nice, big quilt at 74 x 94 inches. Before quilting, that puts it slightly larger than the limit for a Quilt of Valor (72 x 90). That would be a little disappointing, as I'd intended this for a QOV all along, except that my Father-in-law, who served in the Vietnam War, never got one, and when we started this mystery I knew I'd be making one for him in the quick future. Problem solved! He won't be one bit worried if this doesn't pull up enough during quilting to make that 90 inch cut!

As he put in an entire Air Force career, the scraps of this fabric are perfect, and I have yardage in my stash still for at least a majority of the backing. 

Thanks again, Kevin, for hosting this terrific mystery. It let me make something wonderful straight out of my scrap bins (with just a wee bit of supplementing from stash).


How about your BOM-type projects? Have you done any work on them recently?

Kate over at Katie Mae Quilts has joined me in hosting this meet-up,
and linking up from either end puts you on the party at both sides.

Friday, November 10, 2017

~*~ Finish Report ~*~ "Fall All Around"

I'm really in love with this finish, and it's so nice to have a post for TGIFF!

(By the way, TGIFF will be hosted here next week, so if you're on the verge of a complete finish, get it whipped up so you can report it next Friday and link up!)

Scott helped me catch some shots a bit ago with the early morning frost still on the hills behind us. 

"Fall All Around" is the Quilting By The Bay version of the 2011 Patchwork Party quilt, but my kit remained untouched until this year. 

This was one of my "17 in 2017" list items. It finished at 86 x 96", and I used the Hobbs Tuscany washable wool, which I pre-shrank as my fabrics were all pre-washed.

The only change I made was to round off the cream corners when I added the final border, and I just placed the feature blocks however they wanted instead of paying attention to how they were arranged on the original rendition.

I am a stickler for details, so a backing made from the pretty plaid in the collection would not have made me happy unless I matched up all the cross lines when I pieced it. That wasn't something I felt like doing at the time, so I made a central strip using left-overs from my 1/4 yard bundle. (The yardage I used does not have a brown read, like the camera sees outside, but a very green read like the detail shot a couple photos down.)

This was the 6th quilt on my longarm machine. I used a gold Glide thread, size 40, which has a really nice sheen that approaches a metallic gleam in this tone. The sheen of Glide is not my personal favorite in thread (being a cotton, tiny-weight lover), but it went very nicely with this quilt.

I used the Urban Elementz pantograph, "Utopia - petite," and really like that one. I'm sure it will be a staple for fall quilts, or garden-y ones with its pretty scroll-tipped leaves. It's moderately dense work-wise - took 14 1/2 Magna Glide bobbins (L size) for this quilt. You can see how it played out for a confident beginner:

By the way, the fabric collection in this quilt is "Bittersweet" by Nancy Halvorsen, put out by Benartex. It is absolutely gorgeous in real life, with a glow in the prints that totally captures that magical look of fall colors in a pretty afternoon sunlight. It's not metallic or anything, just has phenomenal magic of color play. I have enough fabric left to make pillowcases, but I need to figure the math for making that kind in a king size

Note to self: This is the shot wherein you can see dots of Canadian Geese on the tiny background strip of golden knoll on the right of the shot, 1/3 down, if you zoom it in.  :)

Linking up: 

Meridithe's 17 in 2017

Sunday, November 5, 2017

BOMs Away - A Cat and Some Stars

Welcome to the link-up for BOMs Away Mondays!
Where we share what we're doing on a BOM-type project 
so they don't stall out in UFO-land!
(Linky at the bottom.)

Today I got my center put together from Kevin's Sapphire Stars Mystery

It was SUPER easy to choose the gray constant - I only had one piece in my stash that was large enough. Sometimes I really don't mind having decisions made for me.

One of the things I did is different from Kevin's plans. (I'm going with that description instead of "mistake"! But as you see in the photos, my grand-kitty thinks it's all Cool Beans as it is.)

I didn't pull up my computer and check Kevin's instructions, as I was sure I remembered what it looked like, and so I put yellow corners and red corners together with each other instead of alternating.

I still like it! This is going to be a super Quilt of Valor.

P.S.  Am I the only one whose vacuuming is scheduled not by a day of the week, but by the need to lay a project out?   :D

(The carpet is freshly clean under these - I was just having fun with the filters.)


How about your BOM-type projects? Have you done any work on them recently?

Kate over at Katie Mae Quilts has joined me in hosting this meet-up,
and linking up from either end puts you on the party at both sides.