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1  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / Re: Space Invaders Quilt *new pic* on: June 08, 2005 02:26:59 PM
Totally awesome. I've only done more traditional designs, but I really like this idea.

For those new to quilting, some terminology.

Technically, this is a comforter not a quilt. A quilt must be quilted -- this is "tied". So, while it's patchwork, it's not a patchwork quilt. The terms get confused a lot, especially in the US. And it isn't terribly important, but I thought some might like to know.

Usually in patchwork the seams are 1/4 inch and are pressed to one side, not open. That's to reduce bulk at the intersections. Of course, it completely depends on the pattern whether or not open seams will reduce bulk. But if you've got four squares coming together, and the seams are pressed open, there's a sort of lump at the intersection.

If the seams are pressed to one side in a sort of spiral pattern, the seams interlock or mesh at the intersection, and it's much flatter. This is difficult to explain in words. There's a decent picture at:


Getting this to work out isn't as hard as it might sound, and there are techniques for assembly that make it easier to do. But it certainly isn't a requirement.
2  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Re: Sewer's block leads to a cherry purse. A natural progression? on: December 01, 2004 10:42:02 AM
Very cool!

Is that a strap that closes the top? How does it work? I prefer to make bags that are somehow secured shut, and I'm looking for ideas. (Right now the zig-zag function on my machine is kaput, but after I get it fixed I'm going to look into using cool buttons.)
3  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Re: Sassaman bag on: December 01, 2004 10:37:03 AM
Yes, the green square inside is a pocket. I was planning to use the main motif (the "wreath") as the pocket, but it was surprisingly difficult because it's not symmetric. When I cropped the fabric down, it always looked lopsided. So I found a bit of coordinating green fabric and went with that.

The cat is Ike, a shelter cat I adopted a few years ago, looking pleasantly photogenic in this picture.
4  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Sassaman bag on: November 30, 2004 06:50:06 PM
I've just recently discovered craftster -- this place is great!

Here's a bag I just finished:



It's from a Jane Sassaman pattern. The exterior is one of her fabrics, too. Here's the link for the free pattern (Fall 2003):


I had a heck of a time figuring out the strap, but in the end I was able to make it work (especially if you don't look at the lining seam at the top of the strap).

But now I'm all inspired to try making my own pattern, after seeing the great things posted here!
5  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Re: Modern Quilt Ideas?? on: November 30, 2004 02:17:07 PM
Jane Sassaman is another artist you might find interesting:


She also has great fabrics.

A source for ideas (you can buy these quilts, but no patterns or kits) -- "drunk love" is a favorite:


Kaffe Fassett also has some very modern designs (though not exclusively). Glorious Patchwork sells his lovely fabrics and has some kits (called "fabric packs") so you can see what some of his designs look like:


6  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Re: Question - Fabric for quilting on: November 16, 2004 01:09:34 PM
Sounds like a cool idea.

One thing about log cabin patterns -- there's a lot more seams for this pattern than others. The skinnier the strip of fabric, the trickier the seams become. I'd probably go no smaller than a 1-inch wide strip (finished; that is, the strip that's cut is 1.5 inches wide, to allow for two quarter-inch seams), and it might be better to go even larger.

Chenille is really bulky, and your seams will be on the lumpier side. If you're careful to press the seams in the proper direction (the directions should explain this), and you press cleanly and evenly, you should be able to steam them into submission (normally I don't use steam when pressing because it makes it too easy to distort the fabric, but in this case I'd risk it). The worst bit will be at the corners where four seams meet. But if you've pressed in the proper direction, the seams should nest nicely and you won't get a big lump.

If the chenille begins to "roll" along the cut edge -- i.e., not laying flat -- you may want to try using a product called "Magic Sizing." It's not as stiff as starch but will give some body to the fabric.

I second bees knees and thing a polyester batt is your best bet. When you quilt across the log cabin block, you'll be sewing the seams down in their flat position. This will also help keep the seams from scrunching up and getting bulky.

Of course, there's always the option of making a "rag quilt" block. In rag quilting, the seams are turned to the outside. When the piecing is finished, the seams are "fringed" by clipping every quarter-inch. Then you machine wash and dry it to get the seams to turn fuzzy, like strips of chenille. It gives a great texture.

Good luck and let us know how it turns out.

7  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Re: English Quilting on: November 12, 2004 10:38:41 AM
English quilting is typically defined as whole-cloth quilting. That is, the top is not pieced but is a single piece of fabric. The emphasis is on the quilting, not the piecing -- similar to American Amish quilts (though they are pieced with very large blocks).

It uses a standard quilting stitch -- a running stitch (not backstich). The batting varies. If you want an "antique look", typically you'll use a thin cotton batting material. Puffier versions could use polyester (though it can be difficult to hand quilt this material) or wool -- or two layers of cotton batting, but hand-quilting will be difficult. Quality wool batts can be hard to find, but are wonderfully soft if you get a good one. Silk is even more difficult to find, but is even more luxurious.

Traditional English quilts would have been hand quilted, but it's certainly possible to machine quilt one, too.

There are many books out there with traditional quilting patterns.
8  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Re: Quilt Kit as Xmas gift? on: November 12, 2004 10:26:09 AM
Both piecing (assembling the quilt top) and quilting (sewing the quilt top to the backing fabric with batting in between) can be done without a machine. For the piecing, you'll need to be able to stitch with smallish stitches (to keep the pieces together), but after you do it for a while, this becomes quite easy. For the quilting, typically you just want to have even stitches (but if you want to get arty, anything is possible!).

It is possible to cut pieces with scissors, but a rotary cutter is much faster. But it's also more dangerous, since a rotary cutter is razor-sharp. If you're buying a rotary cutter, you'll need a decent-sized cutting mat (at least 24 inches in one dimension) and quilting straightedge (they look like clear plastic rulers; a 6"x18" is a good starting size). Rotary cutters really started a revolution in quilt-making, taking the drudgery out of cutting large amounts of fabric.

For hand sewing you'll need a standard needle, thimble, small scissors to snip threads, and 100% cotton hand-sewing and hand-quilting thread. Yes, you can use other thread -- but 100% cotton that's made for hand-use will be much easier to work with. Generally quilters use off-white, beige, or gray thread for piecing. You want the thread used for piecing to "disappear". It's not like when you make clothing and match the thread to the fabric. For quilting, it's entirely up to the quilter. Sometimes you want to see the thread, other times you want the thread to disappear and just let the puffiness of the batting show off the quilting pattern.

For batting, I'd recommend cotton batting. Polyester has a higher loft, but it can be harder to hand-quilt this material. Some poly-cotton blends are reportedly easier to hand-quilt. A widely-available standard batting is "Warm-and-Natural" or "Warm-and-White". It's a thin bat that gives pieces an "heirloom" quality.

I highly recommend a book for instructions, not simply a pattern. The patterns have basic instructions, but for a first quilt it's nice to have lots of details and options. Most beginner books have several projects in them. There are many books out there, but I think the key is to find one that has some projects you think your daughter would like. Lots of books have very "country" or "overly cute" quilts; if this isn't her thing, then make sure the book has at least one pattern that's more flexible.

I suggest starting with small projects; a small wall quilt, table runner, pieced pillowcases, etc. (Bigger projects can take so long to finish that a beginner runs out of steam.)

As for fabric, the amount you need depends on the pattern. Also, the configuration of the fabric depends on the pattern. In the quilting world, there's such a thing as a "fat quarter". This is a quarter yard of fabric, but it isn't cut selvage-to-selvage. It's approximately 18"x22"; half a yard long, and half the distance from selvage-to-selvage (approximately 22"). This size is popular with quilters who like to use lots of different fabrics; they get a small amount of fabric but you aren't limited to 9-inch-wide pieces (the standard quarter-yard would measure 9"x44"). Some patterns require fat-quarters. Some patterns require "skinny" (standard) quarters. It all depends on the pattern and how it's put together.

Of course, you can avoid this buy buying fabric in half- or whole-yard lengths. That's more expensive, but a few nice pieces of fabric for inspiration are a good start.

I recommend buying quilter's (cotton) fabric. It's more expensive, but it's much higher quality. That means it is easier to work with (unless you find some handmade loose-weave stuff) and it has a really nice "feel" to it. Cheap cotton "calico" fabric runs about $3-$4 a yard; quilter's fabric is about $8 a yard. Quilter's fabric typically has better dyes and a better print job, too. More and more you can buy quilter's fabric at regular fabric stores -- go by price. Stick with cotton, too -- it's much easier to work with and there's lots of gorgeous colors and prints out there. (Btw, "quilter's fabric" really isn't a term; I'm just talking about high-quality woven cotton fabric meant for use by quilters.)

For inspiration, you might want to pick up a few quilting magazines. They're always great fun to look at. Most of them are quite "traditional," but your daughter's tastes are more modern, I recommend "Quilting Arts" (http://quiltingarts.com/qamag/qahome.html).

Hope that helps.
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