Monday, June 26, 2017

Washing and blocking a quilt

I almost always wash the quilts that I make as soon as I am done making them.  This blog is to show you how I do it.  (I wrote a previous blog about the products and steps, so this is a bit of a repeat).  I urge you to also do this for several reasons:

1.  If you use a disappearing blue pen to mark the quilting lines., like I do.  This helps to get rid of them completely. Instead of just spritzing the areas that are marked, get the entire quilt wet.

2.  If you use a lot of dissolving products in your applique quilts, like I do.  This includes a dissolving foundation (like Ricky Tims Poly Stable Stuff), school glue, and dissolving thread for basting.  Soaking the quilt is the only way to insure that all of these products are dissolved.

3.  If you use starch, and I don't like to leave it in the completed quilt.

4.  If you like to be able to block your quilts.   Getting them wet helps to be able to get the fibers to relax and stretch a tiny bit.  It also helps to get the quilt flat if you're entering competitions.

5.  The quilt is almost always dragged around from house to house as it is being constructed or finished (especially the binding part).  If you want to get all of the dirt, pet hair, and body lotions removed; maybe even some food or blood; it needs to be washed.

OK, so here are the pictures of the process.

Here is a completed quilt, showing the blue markings and the wonkiness (is that a word?) from the quilting phase.

Fill a tub with just barely lukewarm water and add 1/2 cup of Orvus Paste (horse shampoo).  I buy it in a big jug from the farm supply stores and it last me about 4-5 years.  I also toss in a color catcher.

Then I dunk in the quilt and swish it around gently with my hands.  If the water starts turning color, I don't let it sit for too long, because this could be fugitive dye.  I let the water out, and refill the tub in that case.  If the water is milky or gray looking, this is OK.  It's probably the dissolving products.

Let the quilt soak for 10-15 minutes.  Then let the water out and gently squeeze the quilt.  Fill the tub and rinse the quilt a couple of times.  Do this until the water is running clear and the soap is clearly out of the quilt.

Gently squeeze excess water from the quilt.  Remove the quilt gently and put it into a plastic laundry basket.  Put the quilt into a washing machine and run ONLY the spin cycle.  Put the quilt into the dryer and on air or very low setting, dry it for 5-10 minutes until the quilt is still damp, but not sopping wet.

Lay down a sheet on the floor, then the quilt (smoothing it out as you go), then another sheet.   You can start to square up the corners and even out the sides now, but don't do too much yet.  Put some fans on the quilt and air dry for a couple of hours.  Jamie Wallen suggests that you purchase some indoor/outdoor carpet and lay the quilt and sheet on top of this.  Let this sit flat until the quilt is nearly dry.

Remove the top sheet and pin the quilt so that it is square and has even sides.  You may need to smooth out the quilt or pull gently on the corners or the sides to get this into shape.  Remember that knitters and crocheters have used this blocking technique for years.  It is an important last step to get a nice flat and square quilt.  Some people will put something large on top (like their large cutting mats) to help flatten out the quilt.

Use large rulers to get the corners square

Use T-Pins to pin the quilt to the carpet
If there is a gap on the sides, gently pull and pin the quilt until it lies even with the edges of the rulers.  I put 2 end to end, or even 3 (since I have 3 large rulers and a couple of large square rulers).

See the gap?

Fix the gap

Let the quilt dry completely as it is laying flat.

Well, that's it.

I hope you will wash your quilts and try blocking them too.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Painted Flower Completed

I wrote an earlier blog about how fun it was to take a class from Susan Brubaker-Knapp.  She taught her painting on fabric technique at Asilomar this spring.  The flower that I chose to paint was from a picture taken by my friend, Rachael Brake.

In an earlier post, I showed the painting part.  Now I'm showing you the finished piece.

I quilted it in several colors of thread.  I did rocks and gravel in the gravel background, leaves in the leave background, and very little stitching in the flower so as not to cover up the painting.

Rachael's flower by Joanne Roth

close up of gravel quilting

close up of leaf quilting

I hope you like it!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Modern Chic and Jazzy, Part Two

I wrote a previous blog about sewing the top for this fun and modern quilt.  This one is about the quilting.

I played around with a couple of different ideas for the quilting.  At one point, I thought that I might do feathers.  At another point, I thought that I would do a lot of circles and other fun stitches.  In the end, I went with the more modern approach, and I ending up liking it a lot.

The quilting templates that I bought from Jamie Wallen a make it so easy make nice small circles.

Since I made this quilt for our charity auction, I was not being that careful in the quilting.  I don't know if this is a bad thing or a good thing, because once I give myself the license to NOT worry about it being judged, it gets progressively sloppier and sloppier.  But sometimes, it's nice to give yourself a little more artistic freedom and go for the fun and not for the perfection.  Don't you think so too?

So here it is all complete, with a close up to show you the quilting.

Modern Chic and Jazzy by Joanne Roth

Close up of quilting

I hope you like it!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Binding Services

I've offered binding services to raise money for the auction for Clark County Quilters for a couple of years in a row now.  I wrote a blog about the scalloped edge quilt that I bound last year.  This year I finished a quilt that is large, but had nice straight edges.

The person that bid on the services made a quilt for a friend's son who is undergoing cancer treatment in Texas.  What a special gift this person made, and what a special person she is.  I have run across so many generous and giving people in all the years I have been quilting.  Yet it always amazes me when I hear the stories.  Do you go to your local quilt guild meetings and hear the same kind of stories? I bet you do.  And if you aren't a member of a local quilt guild, why not?  Get out there and absorb some of the kindness in this world.

While I worked on the binding for this quilt, I vibrated my good thoughts for this unknown son.

Quilt by Monique Clark of Portland

I hope you like the quilt.