Friday, October 18, 2013

Maybe My Fabric is Alive?!?

I guess I just need to accept the fact that things move.  Just when you thought you knew where the grocery store stocks toothpicks....they move them.  Just when you thought you knew where the remote to the TV's not there anymore.  One day you take a good look in the mirror and realize that certain parts that used to be one place have, umm...shifted - usually south.  And just when I thought I had two pieces of fabric lined up exactly, well, I don't.  Somewhere along the line things move, fabric shifts, the sewing machine feeds a bit unevenly.  It just doesn't cooperate or behave.  So I've decided to try to compensate for my active fabric by measuring and remeasuring and trimming as needed.  It helped some on this last project, as did a new technique for making the quilt sandwich.  I can't show you the whole quilt yet, but here's a peek:
I may be late to the party on this one, but here's how I did the sandwich:  I took some kabob skewers, cut off the pointy ends and taped them to the center of my table making a cross.  Then I found the very center of my backing, lined it up with the cross and secured it tightly all around using binder clips and tape.  I did the same with the batting and the top, got it all smooth and pinned the layers together.  I found this suggestion online at several places.  My apologies for not remembering where so that I could give credit. The main difference from my previous sort of haphazard technique is that I started in the center.  Before this I would try to start from one corner working out in two directions.  It never seemed like I had everything square and even.  I like this a lot better.  There was still some fabric movement, but it was a lot less than my last few quilting attempts.  I also became very generous with the size of batting and backing taking advice from Elizabeth Hartman in her Craftsy class on quilt backs.  She recommends adding two inches to the size of the top all around for the batting and then another two inches on all sides for the back.  So the backing ends up being four inches larger than the top on all sides.  The nice thing about this is that you have a lot of coverage if the fabric shifts.

This was also my first experience working with precuts.  I used a charm pack and some 1 1/2 inch strips (honey bun, maybe....I mix up all those names).  In general I like the idea of pre-cuts since I'm a bit rotary cutter challenged. With precuts you know that everything is the same size.  The pinked edges took some getting used to.  And my take away is this:  Not every piece in the charm pack will work with your design so even if you only need one pack, you might want to get two since you might not be able to use the really low volume or high volume pieces.  I ended up utilizing the last few blocks on the back of my quilt for that very reason.

So this is my Iron Quilt for Jenny Doan's Iron Quilter II challenge at Missouri Star Quilting Company.  Once it gets closer and I've entered the photos I'll post it here and probably suggest that you consider voting, particularly if you like the quilt.  I was encouraged by the husband's reaction to this one.  I think he really likes this effort.   


  1. I am right there with you! I can think I am in control of everything, and then something will move when I sew it! ARRRRGH!

  2. I've not thought of centring everything before I start, but I can't really see how that would stop things shifting whilst I'm quilting. Then I get ripples on the back or, even worse, on the front.

  3. Love your ideas. Thanks for sharing. You write so it is easy to understand what you are describing. I was going to try to tell you my method for centering, but it sounded like jibberish. I'm going to have to write a post about that some day with pictures. I can't wait to see the quilt.

  4. I do something similar, Nina, when sandwiching a quilt except that I mark the centers on the edges. If I've pieced a backing and want it to line up at a particular place, I mark it on the quilt top edge so that I can tell when everything's where I want it to be. I start pinning from the center, too. The whole thing is easier when there's lots of extra fabric around the edges and nothing has to line up exactly from front to back. I'm looking forward to seeing your whole quilt.