Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Fabric... Welcome to the Patriotic Quilter where I like to share all things quilty as well as red, white, and blue! Please feel free to look around and enjoy yourself! I would love to hear from you.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Speck: Love Letters

Since it is very nearly the end of the month, I need to take time to post about my September project for Another Year of Schnibbles!  As usual, I can't wait for the parades that appear on Sinta and Sherri's blogs each first day of the month.  Seriously, it is better than payday!  I also know that it must take a lot of coordination and effort to pull it off each month.  Thanks ladies!

This month's project featured one of the new Little Bites projects by Carrie.  They are patterns designed to be used with Moda's new Candy--packs of 2.5" squares.  I have yet to get any real Candy, however, one charm pack can be cut to yield 4 stacks of 2.5" squares, so these patterns are a great way to use "orphan" (one charm pack only of a given collection) charm packs.  So I went to my stack and looked through my choices and decided to use my charm pack of Laundry Basket Quilts "Sweet Sixteen."

I have to confess that some of these monthly projects are very easy, and some I've really struggled with.  This was another month of struggles!  The whole reason, at least in my opinion, is my fabric choice.  I cut up my charm pack and then proceeded.  The pack consisted of some fabrics that are very light as well as mediums and darks.  My primary problem was that there wasn't an obvious background color choice.  Since many of the lights were printed on a cream background, I couldn't use cream.  I proceeded to go through my stash looking for a possibility for background and nothing wanted to "play nice" with the candy squares. 

Knowing the Edyta is a master of combining prints with batiks, I even checked my stash of those, but no luck!  Finally, when I looked at the larger scale prints (and not all of them are in the above photo) I noticed that there seemed to be a bit of red in all of them.  See it there on the left?  So I pulled out my stack of reds and came across a piece of red "quilters sateen" which I bought over a year ago and have been "saving" for the perfect project.  I wasn't sure if this was the perfect project, but I was determined to use something I already had on hand.

So I started constructing blocks.  I had decided on the "x" version as opposed to the "o" version.  However, I made the mistake of using the same color for all 4 patches that make up the "x" block instead of varying them like the pattern photo.  Was this a problem?  I didn't know.  I laid out the blocks and wasn't happy. 

The possiblility of making both blocks--thus an"XO" quilt was mentioned by other members of our group, and frankly, I had considered it from the get go, myself.  I decided to try that and it only took one seam being ripped from each block to turn the x's into o's.  I'm really happy with my results now.  I think the red sateen, plus the XO makes for a lovely Valentine's Day quilt! 

Struggle number two:  The sateen was crying out to be quilted with silk thread.  I could see a lovely feather in the border.  I had the silk thread and I attempted to free motion my first-ever feather!  It didn't work at all.  I'm going to need much more practice on feathers!  I spent two hours ripping out what only took minutes to free motion!  I ended up using a stencil for the border.
I am calling it "Love Letters" because of that Valentine's feel.  Plus, it is special to me because I always text "XOXO" to my husband when I want to tell him that I love him!
Have a great day!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Bounce or Hubble?

The Another Year of Schnibbles project for October is to do Bounce or Hubble.

Image of Bounce ~ RQC No. 118 ~ PaperImage of Hubble ~ Schnibbles No. 467 ~ Paper

They both finish at the same size.  I couldn't decide which to make.  I didn't really have a need for either, but of course, need doesn't always drive the making of a quilt!  After considering things, though, I remembered that my niece, Alex, had asked me to make her a new bed-sized quilt.  She turned 7 and has decided that she is more sophisticated than pink and purple now, and likes other colors like blue, etc.

I decided to make her a Bounce quilt.  I made her a quilt for her wall back here using Me and My Sister fabric.  They have a new line out, Good Morning, so I got some of that.

Here are the completed blocks before I "bounced" them.

I needed to make this quilt larger, and what I really like about Carrie's patterns is that she has suggestions for doing so.  I'm making 56 blocks, for a 7 x 8 block arrangement.  I also used my 9.5 inch square ruler to trim them down (the bouncing process as you manipulate the ruler into different areas of the block to trim) instead of squaring them to 9 inches.  I'm not sure if you can tell in the photo, but the background fabric is light blue. 

Just what is the bouncing process?  It is quite fun, actually.  The blocks come together larger than needed and you trim them down in different ways to get the stars to look like they are "bouncing."

You can center the star and trim it down:

You can center the star across the ruler but have one edge closer than the other:

You can push the ruler all the way into one corner:

And finally, you can be really daring (which I'm not) and even trim it off-kilter:

The above ways are the basic configurations, but they don't have to be quite so exaggerated.  All in all, you can trim and manipulate the block into really varied  positions.

Here is how they might look when the trimming is done and they are all arranged:

What is really fun is that the trimmed blocks will now have their seam allowances in different locations, so when you sew them all together, you don't have to match any of them and thus worry about which direction they are going!  It made it so easy and fun!

Carrie also offers several variations.  I chose to use on large square for the center of my stars, so that the star is made up entirely of the same fabric.  You can also choose to piece the star center by making a 4-patch block of other scraps.  I chose the first option because it was easier!  Yep, I'll admit it!  Sometimes I like the more complex version, but this time I wasn't feeling it.  I'm glad I did it this way, too, because this fabric is fairly large scale, and the larger pieces let it show more.

Another variation is that you can make all the blocks one size, or you can make some a bit smaller.  I did do this.  Can you see in the photo above that the purple star in the upper right corner is smaller than the dark pink one to its left?  It is just that subtle difference that accentuates the "bounce."

There were some variations in the border, as well.  I'll talk about them next.  I plan to spend the day quilting my Speck so it is ready for this month's parade.

Have a great day!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fabric Acquisition #2 Or, "I Can't Believe I Bought The Whole Thing!"

Goodness, water aerobics was quite the workout this morning!  The Tuesday/Thursday class is more intense than the M/W/F class.  Wow, my abs are singing!  (I'm tired, too!)  I am trying to get myself to go 5 days a week, but so far it hasn't happened yet.  I do have that as a goal, though!

I spent a lot of time up in my quilt room yesterday, working on a pieced border.  I started sewing a bunch of strip sets together--there were 36 10" long strips--and when I had 4 left (32 sewn) I ran out of bobbin.  During the "break" I realized I had sewn them all wrong and so I had to rip them all out.  I'm just glad I realized they were wrong before I subcut, or I would sure have been unhappy.

Back to fabric acquisition.  I had a "heads-up" about this collection from Linda at the Quilted Pineapple.  She sent me a note about it when she got to quilt some sample quilts using it.
 It is Primitive Gatherings new collection "Old Glory Gatherings."  Linda sure called it right.  This collection was MADE FOR ME! 

Just look at those lovely red, blue, and creams!  I'm drooling!

It is very rare that I indulge like this.  I have only purchased a fat quarter pack of an entire collection maybe only two other times, and one of those was 50% off.   I'm still feeling a bit guilty about it, but then I got a chance at a one-day job!  (Well, one day plus a two-hour training class before.)  For both the day and the training, I will receive  $120!  (That will go to assuage my fabric $pending guilt!)  And I must say, it ties into the whole Patriotic thing quite nicely!  I'm going to be working the polls during the big upcoming election!  I'm pretty excited about it, mostly not about the money as I didn't know I would get paid, but also because my grandmother and my mother have worked elections in the past and I feel like I'm upholding a family tradition!  I also feel like I will be doing something for my Country.  Of course, I'm realistic enough to realize that it probably won't be all that Idealistic.  I'm also hoping for some great anecdotes. 

Have a great day!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fabric Acquisition #1

Back a few days ago, I said I would share how I'm sorely being tempted by all the lovely fabric that is out now, and how I feel I could go broke if I'm not careful.

Several boxes have arrived on my doorstep in the past few weeks.  The latest one contained fabrics needed for my upcoming class.

Do you remember this?

This is the Old Elegance quilt that I'm taking a class to do in a couple weeks.  I liked the blue, but I also was leaning towards using red, as it is my favorite color.  I was hoping for red, but I needed something magnificent for the border with both colors in it, so I was leaving the final decision until I saw what was available.

I found this:
It is a Judie Rothermil, and a wide backing fabric, so I will be able to cut long borders without piecing them!  Best of all, though, it is the perfect mix of brown and RED! 
I perused my stash to see what else was needed and I found it to be somewhat lacking, so I had to order a fair amount of pieces.  This is the collection that I assembled:

I think it reminds me of one of my favorite treats--a chocolate-covered cherry.

Cherry colored fabrics.  These remind me of all the colors you see in the bin of bing cherries at the produce stand.   I usually try to get the darker red ones.  But the lightest red reminds me of the maraschino cherries that I use when making homemade chocolate-covered cherries.

The browns are the chocoate, of course.  From milk to dark.  Some have bits of red already  sprinkled in. 

Finally there are the creams and caramels.  I know, there isn't any caramel in a chocolate-covered cherry, but you can't go wrong with caramel. 
I think I'm going to get hungry while working on this quilt!

The class is going to run from 9 AM until 6 PM, so it will be a long day.  I may just need a bit of a treat to keep me going!

Have a great day!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Twine Pumpkin

Never mind that I have several quilts in process or that I STILL haven't gotten everything hung up upstairs--I got distracted from all of that with this:

I was clicking around in blogland (no pinterest, yet, I figure I get into enough trouble with blogs) and came across this project here and was smitten.  All the supplies you need are a ball of twine, a glue gun, a stick for the stem, and then a roll of toilet paper.  Yep!  The full roll!  If you are interested, click over to the link and read her instructions.  They are spot on.  The only thing different for me was that I used a full ball of twine, but maybe ours is a different thickness or something.  Basically, you wind the twine around the roll of TP until it is all covered.

I began and was having fun but then it got old fast.  I forgot how much I really don't like the glue gun.  Those strings drive me bananas and I always burn my fingers.  Also, you will want to pay attention when she says to cut the string into manageable lenghts.  My lengths were a bit less than a yard, but it was still no fun stuffing the end through the tube of TP.  In retrospect, I should have used a bit of masking tape to tape the end to a bamboo skewer or something to make it easier.

Regardless of the process, the result is fabulous!  The fact that it was looking so neat is what kept me at it.  I also was doing it in the living room so I could watch tv, and the mess was keeping me focused, too.   I had asked my husband if we had a branch in the compost pile that could work for a stem and he brought me this one.  It couldn't be more perfect, and he said it was just laying out in the yard!

Now that it is complete, I love it!  I'm really pleased with how it came out, but I don't think I'll be making any more!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Recognition Day

I'm interrupting this quilt blog to discuss a very important day.  Today, the third Friday in September, has long been designated as National POW/MIA Day.

I would not be surprised if you have not heard of it.  The news media probably doesn't think there are any stories about this day that are "current" or interesting, but I can think of at least three.
This is Bo Bergdahl.  I'm not sure if you know that he is being held captive by the  Taliban-supported Haqqani network in Afghanistan since June 2009.
Can you even imagine what the past three years have been like for his family?  He deployed with his unit from Alaska.  When we lived there, I had a job working in a Rec Center for soldiers who live in the barracks.  Bo was a customer and I knew him.  I pray for him and his family every day.

This is a photo of Scott Speicher.  He was a US Navy pilot shot down over Iraq during the first Gulf War in January of 1991.  His fate wasn't known until his remains were discovered in 2009.  For quite some time, it was believed he was being held by Saddam, but luckily it appeared that he didn't survive the crash of his jet.  (Luck = No torture)  I prayed for his family often in those 18 years.  Can you image how his family suffered for those 18 years?  Eighteen??!!!
This is Charles Lane, Jr.  He was shot down over North Vietnam on August 23, 1967.

For the past 45 years, he has been Missing in Action (though declared dead).  JPAC (the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command) has been investigating his fate.  The crash site was discovered in a remote location in North Vietnam in the early 90s.  He too, is believed to not have survived the crash.  Twice they have gone to excavate the scene and search for remains.  They have never located any. 
 I never met him.  I was a month and two days old when he was shot down--he had already gone overseas before I was born. 
He was my father.
Please take a few minutes today to think about some of these people--especially Bo Bergdahl--and say a prayer if you are so inclined. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I'm Bonafide!

Do you see the title of this post?  Well, when you say it to yourself, be sure to give it that southern/hillbilly-like accent.  Our family's favorite movie-to-quote is Oh Brother Where Art Though--so if you are familiar with it, you know exactly how to say "bona fide!"

And just why am I "officially official?"  I finally got registered to vote here in Virginia.  It is a swing state, so I'm just sure my vote will be the one to decide everything!  Really, if we all thought that might be possible, wouldn't everyone make an effort to vote?  I think it is so important, but so many people don't even bother. 

I also got my library card!  I didn't know where the nearest library was, so I finally googled it and found out it is right across the street from the "Y" where I go for water aerobics every morning.  And I never noticed?  A library?  That is so unusual, because I'm such a library fan.  Anyway, I was waiting to do both of those tasks until I had a bill with my name and current address to verify my residency. 

Have you ever spent two weeks or so just holed up in your quilting room, barely going out much at all?  That has been the story of my life lately.  I didn't have much going on yet, so I was really indulging in my quilting.  Meanwhile, I was ignoring other things like the registration and library, finding a new hair stylist, a dentist, yardwork, etc.  Then reality hit and I needed to take time to get to some of that.  Reality arrived in the form of my hair.  I think that finding a new salon/stylist is one of the most difficult things when we move.  The other is finding a new/good dentist.  Anyway, I hadn't had my hair done since Hawaii--way back in June.  Frankly, it hasn't been too bad.  Until Monday.  I swear, I can be fine with my hair until I wake up one day and can't stand it.  I found myself holding my scissors in my hand and fantasizing about cutting it so I came to my senses, put down the scissors, and picked up the phone.  There is a salon in the neighborhood so I decided to try it.  Luckily I could get in on Tuesday.  I'm really pleased with the results, too.  The only problem was that I got color, too, and so I haven't been able to get into the pool for the past few days.  From now on, I will schedule my hair appointments for Friday, so I won't have to miss any pool days.

Since I made a hair appointment, I decided to contact a dentist.  I had a recommendation for a good one, also in the area, and miracle of miracles, he takes our military insurance!  I'm not due for an appointment yet, but I wanted to get the process started because I'm occaisionally having a little discomfort in one area and if it gets serious, I will have to have an emergency appointment, and I'd rather be a "bonafide" patient if that happens, and not just someone "cold calling," desperate for an appointment.  I'm really hoping that it isn't a tooth problem, because if so, that will probably mean a root canal or some other form of torture.  I really can't think of a more unpleasant way to spend time or money!

That brings me to the yardwork.  As I may have stated before, we were not used to this climate:  the heat and humidity has been awful to get used to.  I don't even think the locals can stand it much, so I haven't been doing much outside.  My husband has been keeping the grass cut, but that is about it.  It finally cooled down last week, so we started tackling some of the needed jobs.  There were quite a few weeds in the front, so we were pulling them and scattering seed in the turned up dirt.  There was also weeding to be done in the landscaping beds, etc.  I was enjoying it until I started noticing that about every 2-3 times I pulled out something, a pretty large spider would also pop out.  Frankly, it was creeping me out, so I retreated.  I hate bugs, but spiders especially!.  Four years ago this month, I apparently got bit on the ankle by a brown recluse.  If you are unfamiliar with that type of spider, the venom is basically "flesh-eating."  I had to have the area debrided.  It was extremely unpleasant, to say the least! ((shudder))) 

It hasn't all been tedious tasks, though.  Yesterday I went to a small quilting bee!  It meets on the first and third Wednesday of the month and I must say that it was a nice group of ladies!  I had a really good time getting to know them and stitching with them.  I took along my Sarah's Revival and worked on a block for the first time since getting settled in.  It was a great day!

I plan to be back tomorrow discussing why I may just go broke if all this awesome fabric keeps coming out!


Monday, September 17, 2012


I hope everyone had a great weekend!

On Friday I ended up staying home from guild to help my husband with the delivery.  Even though he said he didn't mind if I went, I figured that if our roles were reversed, I wouldn't want him to go.  Also, he doesn't really know where anything goes!

Here is the pile of most of the book boxes.  Two more showed up later.  I opened the first one, and lo and behold.....
It was full of quilt books!!!!  Considering 4 of them were full of Civil War books, I think it is cool that the first box opened was full of my "missing" books.
(In case you don't know the story, these were not supposed to go into storage!  I didn't know they had until we got to Hawaii over 3 YEARS ago.  I assumed they accidentally went into storage, but I was a little worried that they may have been lost.)

Sigh.....   I missed these so much!  I just wanted to love on each and every one, but instead I hauled them upstairs to my shelves in the quilt room.
These weren't the only books that were fun to discover.  I also came across these:

My Trixie Belden books!  I was such a fan.  I didn't like Nancy so much, or the Hardy Boys.  The Bobbsey Twins were okay when I was younger but I loved these!  It's funny, but I reread some a few years ago and they are really sort of terrible!  The poor girl--at the beginning of each "mystery" she is sure she knows that something "mysterious" is happening and no one will believe her.  At first it is okay, but really 16 books in and they still don't believe her?!!!  I have all of them except one--my favorite:  The Queen's Necklace--when they travel to England.  Probably it was my first taste of being an Anglophile and is probably responsible for my secret longing to visit that country.  Hopefully I will one day!

Now Trixie is in the attic with all the other stuff.  There was more than I feared!  I warned my husband that we are going to do a serious "edit" of stuff later when it isn't so hot.  Maybe if I keep reminding him, he will be used to the idea when the time comes.   I swear, the man could be a hoarder...

I hope you have a great day.  I plan to spend time fawning over my quilt books and sewing!


Friday, September 14, 2012

Full Friday

I feel like I've been a bad blogger this week.  It has been busy, and adding working out to the mix hasn't helped.  I made it 4 of the five mornings to water aerobics, though.  (I missed yesterday because my husband had an upset stomach most of the night and he being awake kept me awake.)

Today our "lost crate" of stuff is supposed to be delivered!  Hopefully this whole move will be over and a thing of the past by this afternoon.  I'm also still hoping that my quilt books are in this shipment.

The morning guild meeting is this morning as well.  I'm not sure yet if I'll be going to it or staying for the delivery.

By the way, this is the project we will be making in the class that I signed up for in October.  I'm trying to decide if I want to stay with these colors or use red instead of blue.

#117 Old Elegance - Instructor: Marcie Patch

I hope eveyone has a great weekend.  We have no specific plans, but I'm assuming we will be putting more junk in the attic!


Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Yesterday I went into my quilt room and was confronted by a mess of piles on my cutting island.  I couldn't stand it anymore!  I started going through things.  On top were half-finished bags that I'm making with the petals, off to the side was my Speck disaster, in another corner were the pieces I've been cutting for my king-size star quilt, and mixed in were pieces and parts to another project:  adding a fabric band to the bottom of some curtains to lengthen them.  I should have photographed the disaster, but it was a bit embarrassing.  So I set to work organizing.

The truth is that Monday night, I got a fabric delivery for a new project and I wanted to start playing with that, but I decided I need to tackle the other stuff first.

The bags are at a stopping point while they wait for some hand work to be completed, so I put away all the extra strips and fabrics.

The bed quilt stars are not going to get done all at once, so I put the pieces in a bin and set it aside for now.

I have one set of the curtains completed, but the other pair needs to be done.  I have to be in the "right mood" for doing them, because it involves long measurements and if I'm not in the right frame of mind, I know I will make a cutting/measuring mistake.  The pieces I need are already cut, so I put them in a "safe place" and put the rest of that mess away.

That just left Speck.

Speck, if you remember, is September's Schnibble project.  I've been seeing some really excellent ones appearing out there in blogland, but here I'm stuggling.  I think I need "Speckacles" or something.  My first struggle is with the pressing--some of it seemed counter-intuitve to me, so I was constantly needing to repress.  (I MUST add that the pressing instructions make the blocks go together like a dream, though, so it was worth it.)  My next problem was with fabric selection.  I've noticed that whenever I'm stuggling with one of these Schnibbles it is because of making a poor choice.  I really struggled to find a "background" fabric that would go with the charm pack that I chose.  I wasn't "in love" with the project from the get-go, but I had the required 20 blocks done when I realized that the color balance wasn't good, so I started 5-6 more blocks and once again pressed them incorrectly.  That was the mess I unearthed yesterday.

I managed to finish the 5-6 blocks and laid them out.  I still didn't like it!  So I tried something else, and then a third idea, and I could live with that, so I sewed everything together.  I'll share pics and more details later towards the end of the month.  The important thing for yesterday was that I finished something!

I had a few minutes to play with my new stuff, but then I had to get ready to go to guild!

It was my first visit to the local guild and I was excited.  The guild has a night meeting and a day meeting each month.  Last night was the night one and Friday morning I plan to go to the day meeting.  I met some really wonderful ladies last night.  One thing going on was to vote for the yearly challenge quilt.  The instructions were to select a magazine, turn to an assigned page number, and make a quilt (28" x 30") based on inspiration from that page.  The quilts were lots of fun to look at, but reading the artist statement was great, too.  The program consisted of a presentation of an upcoming "expo" put on by a local shop.  They are bringing in instructors and teaching lots of fun projects.  I ended up signing up for one.  That will be in the middle of October, so it gives me something to look forward to.  I also mentioned when I stood to introduce myself that I was interested in getting into a Bee, and three different people approached me to invite me to their bees!  I felt so welcomed.

Have a Great Day!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Petal Projects

I hope everyone had a good weekend!  When we moved into this neighborhood, we were aware that not too far away is a really nice YMCA.  We looked into their offerings and liked what we saw, so we have been meaning to join.  But, we have been busy and managed to procrastinate until yesterday.  When the Sunday paper arrived, on it was an advertising sticker that announced that the Y was offering to waive the signup fee for most of September.  That was all we needed, so we went over in the afternoon and joined. 

So this morning, we got up around 5, and got out the door by 5:40.  It was supposed to be earlier and indeed I was waiting at the door when my husband decided he needed to get a towel (our bags were supposed to be readied the night before), and then when he had gone upstairs and back he decided he needed to fill his water bottle.  I was trying not to tap my toe.  In our house, it is not the lady who is "high-maintenance."  I went to water aerobics and he went to a workout class.  It felt great to be in the pool working out and not sweating!  The Y not only has water aerobics, but they have 5 or 6 different kinds of water aerobic classes.  Cool!

Needless to say, it is nearly 10 AM here now and I'm...    tired.  Ha ha.

But, back to quilting...

This is the project I'm making with the petals from my last post.

This is the back of the bag.  This is a "prototype" and after making it, I'm tweaking it a bit.  I'm actually using this pattern from the Moda Bakeshop

Here is the front, with the flower in place.

Here is a closeup.  Can you see that bit of green felt showing behind it?  There is a reason for it.  I'm in an organization here and this is our logo:

So I was trying to replicate the look for the bag.
The problem with this prototype is that you are supposed to pinch the corners and stitch across them to give the bag a flat bottom, but I sewed the felt square too close to the edges, so that didn't work.  I'm also going to use more than just pink fabrics.  Hopefully I will have one of those to show tomorrow?  At least this week sometime. 
  PS.  I HAVE to mention the ric rac.  I LOVE ric rac!
Have a great day!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Pretty Petals

I suppose that I have quilter's ADD, but don't we all at times?  This week I set aside the star blocks to begin my Schnibble, and then yesterday, I set that aside in order to play with petals.

Have you or did you know that you can make fairly realistic petals pretty easily?  All you need to do is get some polyester fabric in the color of your choice.  This is pink, pongee lining.  It MUST be 100% polyester or some other chemical fiber.  No cotton!
I find that cutting it into strips that will accomodate my pattern is the easiest.

I drew a rounded heart shape a tiny bit larger than I want the finished petal.  I pinned the pattern to the fabric.  This is 8 layers, so I get 8 petals with one cut.


Now that you have fabric petal shapes, it is time for the magic!
For the next step you will need the following "tools:"  a candle with an accessible flame (not something down in a jar or other holder) and a bowl of water.
The bowl of water is for safety:  if you catch the petal on fire--and this is pretty likely if you haven't tried this technique before--then you want to be able to drop the burning petal into it to extinguish the flame. 
I would hate for your house to get set on fire!!
 Take a petal in your hand and approach the flame with the edge.  You don't have to get very close to the flame, just near enough to melt the edge of the fabric.

 Can you see here below that the fabric is just curling?  That is absolulety what you want.  You don't have to get it any closer to the flame.
 Just keep moving the petal around to melt the entire cut edge.  It will "draw up" a bit, too.  That is also what you want.

When you are done, the petal will look something like this.

In no time you will have a whole pile.  I think the texture of the fabric really makes the petals look real.
You may be wondering what you can do with these beauties!  I will show you what I'm doing with them next time!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Hanging Quilts

A while back, after I posted my quilting room reveal, I was asked by Carmen how I hang my quilts.  I emailed her a response but thought it would make a good blog topic, as well.

The most important tools I use are these:

A level, hammer, blue tape, and either applique or sequin pins
If you aren't familiar with these kind of pins, they are shorter than regular pins.
When I began the wall of small quilts, initially I laid out the quilts on the floor and then moved the composition to the wall, but the spacing wasn't just right, so in the end I decided to just tape them up so I could move them around until I got the arrangement just right.
The blue tape was enough to hold these small quilts up.  When the arrangement was completed, I used the hammer to "nail" the pins right through the quilt and into the wall. 
Don't have a heart attack!!!!  This does no damage to the quilt.  It is just a pin hole, and it disappears easily when the pin is removed.  I have been doing this for 15 years with no deterioration whatsoever.  And believe me, they come down and go back up on a different wall every time I move!
Furthermore, when you do take them down, all that is left on the wall is a tiny pin hole.  You don't even need to fill it with spackle.  (This is very helpful when you move all the time.)  These little quilts only require one pin in each corner and maybe one in the middle of the top edge so that it doesn't sag.
Can you see the tiny head of the pin there in the corner?
Larger quilts can be easily hung using this technique, as well.  Here is how I do that:
First I use the level to run a strip of tape horizontally where I want the top edge of the quilt to be.  I used about 10 pins evenly spaced across the top, aligning the binding to the bottom of the tape.  You can see, though, that it isn't hanging nicely.  I use the level again and run vertical strips of tape on each side so that the quilt can be pinned on the sides to make it square.  
What you don't want to do here is grab a bottom corner and yank it over to the edge of the tape.  You don't even want to drop just halfway down and pull the edge over like this:
See how it curves the binding?  If you do this, you will never get the edge straight, it will just scallop all the way down the side, whereever there is a pin.
Instead, start at the top and place your hand in the interior of the quilt and smooth it over to the tape.  When the binding is nice and even with the tape, put in a pin.
Work your way down the side of the quilt and then do the other side.
See how the quilt is now smooth and perfectly square!  It works like a charm.  You may want to pin the bottom edge, too, if there are any ripples or if the bottom wavers a bit. 
Experience has taught me that if you don't put the pins close enough together, especially on the top edge, the quilt may sag over time.  It is pretty easy to put some more pins in, but usually I take it completely down, wash it, and then put it up again, this time using more pins.
The other big, big tip to keep in mind is that you really have to support the pin with your fingers and tap gently with the hammer.  If you don't, the pins will bend.  Even with all the practice I have had, I still manage to bend some, but once you get the "feel" of it, you won't bend so many.
I emailed this technique to Carmen, but she replied that it wouldn't work because her walls are plaster!  I've been mulling it over ever since, but the only thing I can come up with is if there may be a Command removeable adhesive thing that might work.  Do any of you have any potential solutions?
Have a wonderful day!