Robbi Joy Eklow, who is an amazing quilter, shared a fantastic way of burying her quilt threads. It’s faster than what I was doing — well, I should say that I’m told it’s much faster than what I’m doing when I bury tail. K. Grace Howes posted a video of this methoc on YouTube, which I’m sharing here. Grace gives more insight here.
Free Video Tutorial
Tutorials & Help
Archive for the ‘Quilt-related’ Category
When making a hanging sleeve for a quilt, it is important to incorporate some give to accommodate the hanging device, which at quilt shows is generally some sort of pole. If the sleeve is sewn onto the quilt without any give, the hanging device can cause the quilt to buckle and not hang as it should. While there are many methods of creating a sleeve, the following method works for me. I also must credit quilt artist Libby Lehman on the instructions she shares on the IQA website. While I discovered sewing wrong sides together for a hanging sleeve by accident (there’s a story), her folding method resulting in the “D” shape for give is more exact than my older method of ironing in a pleat.
Cut a piece of fabric that is about 10+ to 11 inches wide by at least the width of your quilt.
I place the cut fabric on the back of the quilt, and I fold over the edges to the approximate width that I want the finished sleeve. I finger press it (no photo – sorry about that!). Generally I place the sleeve about 1/2 – 1″ from each side.
Fold the edge over twice and sew a seam away from the folded edge. If precision is more important, then you may want to trim, double fold, and then stitch closer to the edge. Or, you may prefer two seams — one by each edge.
When finished, lightly press the fabric in half, right sides OUT.
Open the fabric and then fold each edge to the center. Again, right sides of fabric out.
Press this with a hot iron and some steam to create a good crease on each side. Both crease lines will serve as the hand stitching line.
Grab the two edges of the fabric to seam together. The fabric remains right sides out.
Sew the entire length of the sleeve with a 1/4″ seam allowance. I start about 1/2 inch from the edge, back stitch to the edge, and then stitch the seam.
When coming to the end of the seam, I sew just about off the edge. I then swing around the fabric around . . .
and sew about an inch or so in. This way the end of the seam is in rather than right at the edge.
Iron open the seam, but take care not to create a new seam. I use a mini iron. If you use a regular iron, tilt the iron so that you’re only using the tip. Again, avoid making new creases (you only want the two to serve as your hand stitching line.
The seam is pressed open, but the original crease line is still there.
Pin the sleeve into position.
The important thing is maintaining the “D” shape. In other words, do not pull the sleeve taunt. If you’re more comfortable, baste rather than pin it into place.
Another view. Also, per Alison’s helpful comment, watch the top placement of the sleeve to confirm that it is not too close to the edge. Otherwise, you risk the sleeve peaking out from the top when the quilt is hanging.
Stitch the sleeve into place using whatever stitch you prefer — blind, whip, etc.
Here is the side stitched down (and if you’re more careful, you’ll line up the edges of the seam better than I did). Once the sleeve is stitched into place, the quilt is ready for hanging.
Again, Libby gets all of the credit for her folding method resulting in the “D” shape for give. If you’d like a copy of her instructions, visit the International Quilt Association website here. Scroll to the bottom of the page, and click the download PDF link. And, while there, if you’re not a member of IQA, consider joining.
Fibre & Stitch is a quarterly digital magazine by publisher Sue Bleiweiss. Besides the magazine being excellent, there are over thirty – yes thirty – free projects on the magazine’s website. They are the very type of projects I’d feature if I were still writing the Free Stuff on the Internet books.
Since I’m a subscriber to the newsletter, I periodically get an email alerting me to a new project added to the site. Every time I get a notice, I click over to see the latest. This time it’s a “Quick & Easy Zipped-up Pouch.” Other times it’s been fabric charms, fabric coasters, business card cases, and so on. All of the instructions are PDF format, complete with photographs and clear instructions. I’m into journals, so I particularly like the Padfolio and Mini Wrapfolio. If you haven’t visited the site yet, and if you like good, free projects, check it out.
Years back I was a faithful Bernina user. I never considered switching until the Janome 6500 came out. When the 6600 came out, the even feed system got my attention. I sold the 6500, bought the 6600, and haven’t regretted the decision.I’ve been very satisfied with my machine quilting. However, it was after learning that certain things do make a difference. They are:
- Hold the thread on the top of the machine while threading through the tension disks and leave the need in the up position;
- use the plastic cap thingy to hold the sewing machine thread in place;
- clean out the bobbin case regularly to remove lint; and
- periodically add a drop of oil on the wick within the bobbin case.
I visited my local sewing store because my quilting foot was squeaking like crazy. He told me to put a drop of oil on it.
But he also quickly added that he had “the new free motion foot” and the new “free motion bobbin case.” He raved about them — smoother, quieter, better stitches, and so on — but I wasn’t interested. Once home, however, I started thinking about it. I do like the idea of it being quieter and better stitches sounds good. A few weeks later (I can be slow) I purchased them.
My old foot is on the right. I used a heavy scissor to clip out a hunk of the plastic making it easier for me to see what I was doing (yes, I realize these are being sold but it wasn’t available when I was looking to buy). The new foot doesn’t have a front opening (and I’m not using scissors on it <g>), but it does have a screw adjustment above the spring. By turning the screw, you can adjust how high or low the foot sits off the fabric.
The bobbin case has a blue dot on it to distinguish it from the regular bobbin case which is marked with a red dot. I suspect the case is just about identical to the one with the red dot except that its tension is different. Anyone comfortable with adjusting their lower tension probably doesn’t need the case.
Knowing that I will not remember what color is for what, on the back of the sewing plate I wrote B=Q, meaning blue equals quilting.
After threading and starting, I snapped a needle! User error. I didn’t have the foot tightened.
After doing a lot of experimental stitching using various combinations of new foot and new case, new foot and old case, old foot and new case, I concluded that the front and back looked nearly identical to my eye. However, it was quieter and it felt better. The foot seemed to glide a bit better and it did seem smoother. I suspect this was due to me adjusting the space between the foot and the fabric, moving the foot up a bit. I also was surprised that for whatever reason I had no problem seeing where I was going and what I was doing. Generally when I use metal free motion feet, there is a small blind spot that bugs me.
I have read that many excellent machine quilters go full throttle on the presser foot. Not me. I tend to use a medium speed or even medium to slowish. Doing so helps me to get good tension front and back, and I get better control. With this set up, however, I was able to push the speed while still maintaining control and not having any problem with the back tension.
Even so, being that I didn’t see a difference in the quality of the sewing (drats!), was it worth that $50 plus for both? Several times I went back and forth, trying to determine if there was a difference that I was missing. Nothing jumped out at me. I will add that I only experimented with a rayon thread on the top, cotton on the bottom. It could be that if I do more experiments with difference types of thread that the differences could be more obvious.
In any event, I do recommend the foot. While I didn’t see any difference in stitch quality, it is quieter and you can adjust how high it sits off the fabric, making it glide better — totally worth the approximate $20 price.
For those who can adjust the bobbin case tension with no fears (like my sister-in-law, Sarah, who is brilliant with all things mechanical and has yet to meet a sewing machine that she wasn’t able to fix), the case may be a waste. However, for those who can afford the approximate $30 price, it certainly can’t hurt to give it a try.
(6-16 update: I heard from Pamela Allen, famed Canadian quiltmaker, and she tells me that the bobbin case made a very noticeable difference in her tension and that’s it’s very forgiving with mixing threads. So there you go — a great endorsement and reason to get both!)
I have a new top that I will hopefully be quilting soon. I’ll use both the foot and the new case with it. Generally, problems I have are all user errors (as in I messed something up). Even so, I’m curious. I hope it doesn’t fall into the “if it’s not broke don’t fix it” category but instead (like the 6500 to the 6600) goes into the “while that was good, this is better” box.
Our old starter house had a fantastic, full basement that was perfect for painting ad dyeing fabric. It had high ceilings, tiled floors, paneled walls, and several rooms including a laundry room with a big double sink. I use to put wooden boards on Rich’s pool table and paint. I had lightweight insulation boards with fabric drying all over the room, and sometimes I hung pieces to dry over his various weight lifting bars (which didn’t particularly thrill him, but a little paint on his weights isn’t going to hurt!). As a result, I painted, dyed, and airbrushed (airbrushing I did in the back yard) a lot of yardage over those years in that basement.
When we moved into our new home (which certainly isn’t new anymore), we were very happy with the main living area but we both made faces at the basement. It’s not a full basement, it doesn’t have utility sinks, and it’s too nicely finished rather than practically finished. In other words, it had polite-looking rooms with sofas and TVs. We wanted rugged, practical rooms for fish tanks and weights and paints and dyes. Initially we both felt reluctant to use it the way we did our old one because neither of us wanted to mess it up. Eventually we ripped out the rugs and installed tile. Out went pretty and in came a creative mess. Even so, it’s still not a good space for painting a lot of yardage. I generally only work on smaller pieces, paint on digital prints, or sometimes will paint a 1 or 2 yard piece if I move stuff around to make room for it to dry. I learned that the best way for me to paint yardage, is to go into the garage.
Some miscellaneous painted pieces.
I have a new piece that I want to quilt, but I realized I don’t have enough fabric for the backing. It’s not that I don’t have enough fabric, mind you. I’ve an embarrassing amount that I’ve collected over the years. Yet, low and behold, for years I’ve been using fabric that I’ve painted for my quilt backs.
I generally paint about 10-12 yards of something neutral — generally gray with tinges of other colors. It’s time for a new batch. I find this coloration works for me, as it goes with nearly everything and it keeps things simple. I use it for about 75% of my quilt backs. My mission this weekend was to paint.
First I go through some supplies. I am generally looking to see what accent colors I want to use, as I know I’ll primarily be using black.
It doesn’t take long for my dog, Buddy, to come downstairs and check out what I’m doing.
Notice the paint spots on the floor? You can just image what happened to the lovely wall to wall rug that was once in that room!
I select a Deka black (yes, I know Deka fabric paint isn’t available anymore, but I still have some), a Jacquard turquoise, and two Stewart Gill colors. I have a box full of Stewart Gills paints and highly recommend them.
I use house paint brushes to paint large pieces. I do so because I’m not painting detailed images. Instead, I’m painting sweeping strokes to cover large areas. I like house paint brushes better than foam brushes as they tend to fall apart too quickly. However, I never know when I may need them for something so I generally buy a bag full when Michael’s has them on sale 20 per dollar. I use a heavy plastic to paint on. I get it from Walmart’s fabric department. It’s sold on a roll and used for covering furniture. It’s very inexpensive, under a dollar a yard, and because it’s rolled, it’s flat (unlike the folded plastic I use to buy from Home Depo). While many do not like painting on plastic, I do. I like the different unexpected results from the paint pooling in areas.
First rule of painting in the garage is the same as the second and third rules:
Keep paint far away from the motorcycles!
My method for painting fabric for backing is very straight forward. I mix a large batch paint and water. I know many people have reasons for not using water. However, I get great results with it and haven’t had any problems with it over the years.
I start by pouring paint into a jar (in this case I’m using an old Versatex paint jar). I then add water to dilute it, often using more water than paint. Many prefer using Golden’s paint extender for fabric. While I use it for some applications, I like diluting with water for this method because I tend to paint in layers which I think of as washes of color. Often it’s very time consuming, and some pieces can take me days to finish because I’ll paint, let it dry, paint again, let it dry, and so on. Because this is for quilt backs, I generally only paint once.
I start by misting white fabric (I’m using two kinds — the last of some Test Fabric 400M, which is in the picture, and some Robert Kauffman PFD fabric that I bought from Debra Lunn some years ago). Then it’s simply a matter of painting the diluted black onto the fabric. I tend to scrunch it up the fabric and paint it in a blob (hence the house brush). After I finished with one color, I’ll then add accents of another or even a third color. In this case, I added turquoise accents. (The gloves are off … I couldn’t leave them on while taking a picture!)
Before it is dry, I open it up and hang it on a line to dry.
Once it’s dried, I iron it, and then I rinse the fabric with water.
I then put it in the washer and run the spin cycle. It then goes into the dryer.
Tomorrow I’ll post the ironed pieces (no ironing tonight!).
Carol Scheps is a quilt maker who lives in a nearby town. She makes beautiful wall hangings that she primarily sells at various galleries throughout the country. Her quilts hang perfectly on the wall. She explained that she adds a bottom sleeve to her quilts and inserts a flat metal rod, a similar flatness and weight as a metal yardstick, to weight the bottom of the quilt down.
I have made bottom sleeves, but I’ve only put wooden slats in them, and I only included them when exhibiting at a show requiring a hanging device. The wood is either very thin with not much weight or thick which creates a little bulge on the bottom.
I decided to visit the local Home Depo to see if I could find something metal and flat. The other issues were how I was going to cut the metal and how I could insert it so I could fold the quilt for shipping rather than rolling or putting it into an over-sized box.
I strolled around and eventually found flat pieces of metal called roof stripes. They seem perfect — inexpensive, like 69 cents or so for a small piece — and sold in a variety of lengths, meaning no need to cut. I bought several lengths to experiment with and silver duct tape to cover the metal to seal off any rough edges.
Next I decided that rather than adding one long pocket, I’d add separate pockets with space between each. For this quilt, I added three short pockets, each a bit longer than the length of the shorter piece of metal. I left about 1.5″ between each pocket so that I could fold the quilt into thirds to more easily ship. Being that I didn’t want to rods to fall out, I stitched the corners of the pocket down.
Here’s how I did it:
From Home Depo, I purchased silver duct tape and roof strips to add to the quilt bottom.
I cut a piece of tape a couple inches longer than length of the metal and placed it half on the metal and half off.
I then wrapped the tape over one edge of the metal, cut another piece of tape lengthwise, and repeated the process for the other side of the metal.
This left a tail of extra tape on each end of the metal.
I folded the edges over and secured them with another piece of tape. which I wrapped around the edge.
Both edges are secured with tape. Use your finger to smooth out the bubbles (which you can see above) in the tape.
Insert the metal into a pocket.
Stitch the edges of the pocket down to secure the metal within the pocket. I found this necessary because I didn’t want the metal falling out when the quilt was unpacked, as I couldn’t be sure that they would be reinserted but I’m sure that metal flying out of the quilt would annoy those who unpack the quilts. I used larger stitches in case I need to remove the metal for whatever reason.
I recently sent this quilt to a show. It will be interesting to see how the judges react to the metal being stitched into the quilt bottom. If I get any comments, good or bad, on my return sheet, I’ll write a follow-up.