Monday, March 28, 2016

25% recycled Green Quilt, Part #1

This quilt challenge is right up my alley!  The theme is "It's Not Easy Being Green". 25% of the front of the quilt has to be recycled or re-purposed fibers.

OK, here's why I think this is right up my alley: (1) My favorite color is green.  (2) I love hiking and have been taking pictures of moss and mossy logs for years, which is pretty easy to find in the Pacific Northwest.  (3) I've been collecting fibers from all kinds of sources that are recycled or re-purposed.  (Logical step #4)  I just knew right away that I wanted to do a mossy log.  (I've been wanting a mossy log in my garden too, but am not likely to get one.)

Here are a couple of my pictures I used as inspiration and my sketches.

I gathered up some materials shown here.

I hand dyed and painted a lot of used color catchers that I've been saving for "that perfect project".

After they were dried, I cut out pieces of the brown for the bark and fused them down.

Then I cut out pieces of the green for the "moss" and added them to the background.  They were just laid down, not fused.

 Then I piled on some thread, buffalo tail hair, shredded pom-poms, wool roving, felted wool from the inside of my knitted slippers, yarn, and thread leftovers from a long-arm quilting friend.  This was all covered with brown tulle and sewn down to hold it in place.  Here was the progress at that point.

I'm not that happy with how dark it got after stitching down the brown tulle.  Hmm.  Back to the drawing board.  However, I have exceeded the 25% recycle requirement for sure!  I'd say it is close to 100% so far.  Now to make it look more like a mossy log and not rows of lettuce.

Monday, March 21, 2016


I believe that our world is abundant.  Whatever you wish for will come your way.  And whatever comes your way doesn't diminish what is available to me.  You just have to put your intentions out there.  And watch the tide roll in.  Just this week I was gifted 2 real nests!

If you've been following my blog, you'll know that I have been making a series of art quilts based on nests.  The nests are made of both man made fibers and natural fibers that are for the most part recycled or found.  This includes vintage bias binding, vintage rick rack, yarn, twine, embroidery floss, thread, pearl cotton, felted wool, cotton material, organza, tulle, costume fabric, hand dyed fabric remnants, shredded cotton fabric, Angelina fibers, feathers, lichen, goat hair, old book pages, ribbon, lace, and raffia.   

Where do you think all these fibers come from?  Friends who share my quilting passion, garage sales, estate sales, donations to our free table, found items from hiking and walks, a goat farmer, a hunter, hand dyers, and a wool dyer's scraps.  Thanks to all of these people in my world!

This week I also got 2 bags of thread and fiber scraps from a long-arm quilter, my husband brought home a feather and I found 3 on our walks, and I added a handful of scraps from a recent bed-sized quilt top.  

I think I have to make a gigantic nest quilt now!  I'm so grateful and thankful for my abundant world.  How about you?  

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Podcast Guest

This is a first for me!  I was on a podcast!

Marianne and Mary Fons started a podcast called, "Quilt Your Heart Out".  It is not a quilting show, but an advice show for quilters.  They interview several people each week, have a guest caller, give a shout out to someone, and have a great time.

A couple of weeks ago they called and we chatted about a question I had about what to do with my quilts and documentation, since there isn't a clear person to give this all to upon my passing.  No... I'm not going yet.  It's just that I turned 65 recently and now I'm thinking a little harder about what to do with all my stuff.  I still have 5 bins of quilts, even though I've given many away already.

Their advice is to keep giving them away.  So I think I'll have another bin opening day and give some more to charity.  I do love to give quilts to people that appreciate them and know how much work goes into making them.  So listen here, and let me know if you like their answer.  And let me know if you'd like one of my quilts.

Quilt Your Heart Out Podcast

Monday, March 14, 2016

Corner Binding Technique

I'm sorry to tell you that the Corner Mark-It Tool is no longer commercially available.  But I've been asked several times to show my corner binding technique to my local friends, so I'm going to show you too.

This tool is used to mark the corner of your binding so that you get a wonderful and perfect sewn mitered corner.  I've been using it for years to sew at least one corner of my bindings, and sometimes all 4 corners.  You see, I just don't like the method of starting and stopping in the middle of a side, then fiddling to get that seam to be in the perfect spot and trying to wrestle the quilt and binding under the machine.   What I usually do is to start and stop at one of the corners, leaving only a 2" tail (instead of the 10" required on the side).  I sew up to the second corner, fold it and continue on with corners #3 and #4, ending again at the same place where I started, leaving a 2" tail at the first corner (now the last corner too).

2" tails at the start and stop corner

Here's where the magic happens.  I use the Corner Mark-It tool to mark the little triangles and then sew the triangles together.

I first make a line where the stitching ends and where it meets the opposite binding seam (see below).

Then I line up the lines of the tool with the (1) fold line of the binding and (2) the seam line where the binding is attached.  This centers the tool on the binding.

 Then I draw around the pointy edge to form a little triangle.

Then I draw a little triangle on the other binding, line up the triangles and sew them together on the pointy part only, and trim.   This gives me a nice crisp sewn mitered corner.  (see by earlier blog on this step).  

Since you won't be able to buy the tool now, here's all you need to do.  Get a piece of heavy clear plastic.    Draw markings as shown in the first picture.  The 1/4" lines are 1/2" apart; 1/2" are 1" apart, etc.  The holes and the vertical line don't need to be copied.  Cut it out carefully.  Then use it just like the Corner Mark-It tool.

I've made a few out of template plastic, and although this works, it's hard to see the stitching line.  So find some heavy clear plastic and get going on making your own corner binding tool.

I hope this is helpful.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Binding on scalloped edges

Oh boy, I've gotten myself into quite a project.  Our quilt guild hosted an auction to raise money for a local charity and I agreed to offer binding services.  The person who won the bid brought over a huge 1930's Dresden plate quilt that has deep scalloped edges.  This is the hardest binding that you can do and it takes tons of time and fussy sewing.  But I did agree to do binding, so I'm into it now.  I have to just keep thinking about the money raised for charity!

Making the first bias cut
This quilt edge requires bias binding.  I have used a technique for a few years where the fabric is sewn into a tube, then cut into binding strips around and around until you have one long strip.  This saves you from having to sew all the seams on stretchy edges.  After this white binding got folded and pressed, I rolled it and put it inside a baggie to keep it clean and tidy.

Starting to cut the strips from the tube
The binding rolled up and put into a baggie
The baggie of binding feeding into the machine

Two or three things are critical when sewing binding on scalloped edges.  You have to pivot your needle at every dip between the scallops.  You have to "push" a little extra fabric around the outside edges as you sew so that there will be enough at the outer edge of the binding when it's turned.  And the final thing is that you need to fold a  crease in the binding as it's flipped over the edge in every dip between the scallops.  If you're ever looking for an excellent book on binding, check out Mimi Dietrich's "Happy Endings".   She has written clear and concise instructions with drawings.

Extra fabric on outside curve; pin marking pivot point

Binding sewn to front

Pin the tuck on the front

After the binding is sewn to the front, you have to gently turn it to the back side and pin it with a cast of thousands of pins.  Don't forget to pin the front fold first to keep that tucked inside.  Slip stitch the back in place.  And finally, give it a good press.

lots of pins

OK, so here's the quilt.  I tracked my hours just because I was curious.  What would you guess?  It took 14 hours to finish the binding on this 75" x 92" quilt.   I hope she likes it!

Leslie Hinton Dresden plate quilt