18 July 2006

How I Quilt and other stuff

HomeDec: I have been sewing on the homedec projects lately. The two insulated roman shades that I made for the bedroom are really, really nice if I do say so myself. A funny thing about them is that they are so room darkening that CarGuy and I have been sleeping in about an hour longer because the room is dark. This past weekend, I made one for the master bath but do not have it installed. I am not going to use the magnets in this one because of the humidity in the room. Next on the agenda are the clearstory ones. I now have all the fabric and hardware, I just have to do it.

Quilting: I started quilting my own tops when I decided that I really like to machine quilt. I have purchased all these machine quilting books over the years and have read them from cover-to-cover more than once. I usually build up a stack of tops and then have a quilting frenzy in the heat of summer. That seems to be the best time for me to quilt since my sewing room (studio seems a bit pretentious) is in the basement and it stays cool all year 'round and can actually get COLD in the summer!

When I have a large top to quilt I generally pick a thinner batting. The thinner the batting the better it fits under the arm of my machine. For these last two quilts I used: Fairfield 60/40 Machine Blend Quilt Batting on the Yellow Brick Road and an unknown poly bat on the X&O quilt. I don't use poly bats normally because they don't grab the fabric very well and will shift as you quilt, but I am trying to use up stash. My favorite bats are the Fairfield 60/40, Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 and Warm and Natural. I use the Warm and Natural mainly for wallhangings because it lies nice and flat. The other two bats needle on the machine beautifully and are thin enough to stuff under the arm easily. I like Diane Gaudynski's (or was that Paula Reid?) "fluff and stuff" technique. I don't roll or fold.

To quilt my tops I use my Bernina 1080 domestic machine. I add a Slider to the bed of the machine and it really does help. I just got a pair of Machinger quilting gloves and find I like them better than the other pair that you see in the picture on the June 30 post. I do both free motion and straight line. The X&O quilt was a meander with a loop and I did that without marking. On the Yellow Brick Road I started out not marking but found myself getting smaller and smaller so I ended up marking it. I don't hesitate to mark when I know it will help. The quilting pattern on the Yellow Brick Road is also a meander but instead of the loop, I paused here and there to add a flower. The border will be quilted in large lower case L's and E's. I always 'set' the block/quilt with stitch-in-the-ditch using a walking foot. The best advice I can give is: practice. And more practice.

I started marking the Paintbucket Quilt. This quilt lends itself to cables and ropes so that is what I'm marking on the red bars. The pieced bars will just be quilted in the ditch at each side so that the focus will be on the other quilting. It took almost 12 hours to mark and baste this one. I used Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 for the bat and backed it with a small checked fabric of which I have a whole bolt. I'll post an after pic when I get it quilted. For now, here's a pic of the marking. Oh, yeah! I found the most perfect marking pencil. It's in the picture. It is a Pastel Chalk pencil and it works just wonderfully! That is a handmade stencil that just fits in the red bar.

Down memory lane: every time I clean a toilet I think of something that happened when I was a freshman in college. I shared a "suite" (really 2 bedrooms and a bath) with 3 other girls. This was a small 4 year college in a southern Colorado town about 30 years ago. There were no fraternities or sororities. If those organizations had been present on that campus, I believe my roommates would have been members. And therein lies the crux of the matter. I was and will never be a sorority type of person. In fact, when I was in college, I wore bellbottoms, and love beads and participated in peace marches. There could not have been worse match-up of personalities. What does cleaning the toilet have to do with this? I'm getting there... Anyway, on the last day of checkout from the dorm, the RA came up to me and said that my roomies said I stole (used) their shampoo. Whaaaa? Yes, we all used Jheri Redding shampoo, but they were brunettes and I was blonde and we had our own shampoos. Remember that shampoo? It was supposedly formulated for your hair color? Brunettes used red, blondes used yellow? I kept my (yellow) shampoo in a kit in my room and they kept theirs on the edge of the tub. I was being accused of using their (red) shampoo and replacing it with water? I don't know what I did to tick them off but the RA told me I had to clean the toilet before I could leave. The toilet, BTW, was clean except for the ring of mineral deposits at the water line. Yep, you guessed it. I had to clean off that deposit. I used a razor blade. Probably scratched the heck out of the porcelain, but I was a kid and didn't know any better. I wonder if my roomies (and they made such an impression on me that I cannot even remember their names) think about what they did to me and feel guilty every time they clean a toilet? Or do they still snigger?


  1. I was looking over your post and am so glad you gave out your quilting instructions. I have been wanting to free motion quilt a large quilt but always shy away from it. I've done regular machine quilting on two big quilts and I found it such a struggle. My hands were so sore.Thanks a lot for the pointers.

  2. Thanks for the quilting instructions. It is always nice to see how others do things. That's so funny about the toilet cleaning. I'm wondering if the RA didn't make it all up just to get you to clean the toilet.

  3. Thanks for the quilting instructions. It is always nice to see how others do things. That's so funny about the toilet cleaning. I'm wondering if the RA didn't make it all up just to get you to clean the toilet.

  4. Paula, I have a pile of machine quilting books to rival yours LOL! I still need lots of practice!!! I had some roommates like that too my freshman year in college--not pleasant, huh?

  5. I loved this post, Paula. It's all in the details, as they say, that make us unique and fascinating.Only thing I would have done differently about the toilet cleaning?...I would definitely have cleaned it with Jheri Redding shampoo, red, formulated for brunettes ;)