Read the instructions!

There are some things that I think I know so well that I don’t need to read the instructions. As it turns out, I’m usually wrong. Batting is a case in point.

I have a small quilt to hand quilt and I decided to try silk batting from the Tuscany Collection made by Hobbs. It has a reputation for being easy to needle which sounds good to me. I did read the instructions before basting and I learned that I need to use cool water and little-to-no agitation when washing, and to NEVER DRY IT IN THE DRYER!!! FYI: Wool batting needs to be handled in the same way.

Silk Batting.jpeg

I don’t know about you, but I tend to forget which batting I put in a quilt. That is just one reason why laundering information should always be included on the documentation patch. I may not always own this quilt and whoever ends up with it needs to know how to wash and dry it.

In addition to the laundering information, there are instructions in the chart that are  important. For example, I would not have thought to test the batting for use with dark fabrics. I suspect that it could beard with some fabrics and I’d want to test it before using it in a quilt.

I am looking forward to seeing how this batting differs from the cotton batting I’ve been using. I’ll let you know when I know more. Until then, keep reading those instructions :-).

TuscanySilkBatt

 

Tension is a tug-o-war…

I had the opportunity visit with Jean Impey at the Utah State Quilt Fest. I’m not sure how this came up, but she told me something that she learned from Libby Lehman back in the day. It relates to an article written by Bob Purcell at Superior Threads that you can find here: https://storage.googleapis.com/vw-superiorthreads/docs/tug-of-war-diagram.pdf

Imagine a machine loaded with pink thread on top and blue thread on bottom having a tug-o-war match. The number of people on the pink ‘team’ is represented by the number on the tension dial.

When the tension is correct, all is well. But what if the pink thread is being pulled too much to the back of the stitch? You need more people on the pink team to pull that thread up. You can add them by moving your top tension to a higher number.

If you see blue thread pulling to the top of the stitch, it means that the pink team is pulling too hard… it has too many team members. Turn the tension to a lower number.

I don’t know about you, but I struggle to remember which way to turn the tension dial. This helps a whole lot. Thank you Libby, and Jean, for sharing the perfect way to remember!

anna-samoylova-535880-unsplash.jpg

Image by Anna Samoylova, #535880, Unsplash

 

One thing leads to another…

I spent 12 years with an admittedly fine sofa from Crate and Barrel. I loved the chocolate brown color, until I didn’t. CandB announced their annual sofa sale 2 weeks ago and I did a happy dance. Our new Petrie sofa is exactly the same as the old sofa except that it’s a little shorter, charcoal gray, firmer, and cleaner.

I have 2 midcentury modern arm chairs whose cushions were covered with a lovely brown print that I had also grown very tired of. They looked so bad with the gray sofa that I couldn’t put off recovering them.

Why is it that there are so few choices in upholstery fabric, especially if you don’t live in a big city? I could have shopped online but I wanted to see and feel the fabric. I was amazed that I found the perfect fabric at Hobby Lobby — and it was even on sale!

You know me and dots…

Just so you know, recovering cushions is not hard. You have the skills to do this. Use the old cushions as a guide and go for it!

I made the brown the cushions years ago and it wasn’t hard to use them as patterns for the new covers. The foam inserts did not need to be replaced. I spent a few hours carefully cutting all the pieces for 2 seat cushions and 2 chair backs.

And then I sewed. It took longer than I thought it would, partly because I made the covered cording too. My trusty BERNINA 1140 handled the many thicknesses of this thick fabric just fine. I love that machine!

I finished the last cushion just before the eclipse which, when you look at the fabric, felt perfect.

I bought more of this fabric than I needed. There’s probably at least a yard, but there are diagonal cuts from where I cut the bias for the cording. If you would like what I have left and are will to pay the postage, it’s yours :-). Email me at becky.pieceocake@gmail.com. The first person I hear from gets it. I’ll send you a PayPal invoice for the shipping.

Why didn’t I think of that!?

HexieGardenCover

The Hexie Garden Quilt pattern is made up of hexagonal blocks. Each block is made up of 6 wedges. You don’t want to cut the backgrounds into wedges until the applique is complete because of the bias edges. In the pattern, I tell you to cut a rectangle for each background. I did that for two reasons:

  1. In many of the blocks, I was matching stripes and other lines.
  2. I liked working on that size of background.

Char Kirscht has been working on her Hexie Quilt Garden quilt and she wrote to tell me that she handled her backgrounds in a different way. She cut strips 10″ x width of fabric (40″ or so). Then she drew 60° angles to simulate where where the blocks will be cut apart after they are appliqued. You could use either a 60° ruler or the block template to get the lines.

BlockOnAStrip-CharKirscht

Please note that some fabrics may not be 40″ wide, especially after washing and drying.

I would still mark the vertical and horizontal centers of each block to match the overlay to during applique. You might be tempted to just use the 60° block outlines but if you do that, be very careful not to let the flowers shift or tilt.

Once the applique is done you can press the strip and cut the blocks apart and follow the remaining cutting directions in the pattern.

If you aren’t matching patterns or stripes in the background fabric, and if you like work on a long, narrow background, this is a good option. If I’d have thought of it, I’d have included it in the book. Thank you, Char, for making this very fine suggestion!