Monday, April 24, 2017

A Big Reveal!

  I was delighted to learn that a quilt block I submitted to Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks was accepted for publication, and I will be posting a blog of the quilt I made of that block  as soon as the publication is released on May 2.
   The quilt is big, and bright and happy, and just in time for Spring and Summer.  I can't wait to share. Here is the link to the publication's blog page!

Friday, April 14, 2017

New York Beauty - Block #5


     I finally finished the last of the five sample/test New York Beauty blocks I was experimenting with.    This last one was most challenging with two narrow curved bands to piece, and diminishing useful scraps of fabric to work with.  As you may recall from earlier posts, this is made of mostly Kaffe Fassett scraps from an earlier quilt.  
   One of the benefits of this project has been to improve the paper piecing process.  Ever frugal, I print the patterns on the back of scrap copy paper.   When I first started this project, I didn't tear off any of the paper until the entire block was completed.  This meant that I had to tear off paper in the seams, which usually ends up leaving a mess like this:
Later use of tweezers and fingernails will remove those bits! 
       I have now wised up and removed the paper before sewing the parts together.  This leads to a much cleaner back!  
      I think the three blocks are lining up a bit better as I go on, as well!
      With all the blocks done, I needed to decide what to do.  I tried setting them out as a table runner.  
Chester clearly likes this runner! 
 I am not willing to tackle that pointy edge at this point, so I tried some setting triangles, and all of a sudden, the design seemed lost.   The size was too big even for my generously sized dining room table.  
      I decided on the smaller square piece, which I can make into a wall hanging.    

The finished (but not entirely pressed) top!   

     I hope to finish this off during the upcoming month.  I had one idea in mind, but recently attended a lecture and workshop with Mark Sherman of and got some new ideas on what to do with this piece.  Stay tuned!  
We are finally getting some Spring weather!  Enjoy!
Take care,

Friday, April 7, 2017

Pleated Bed Skirt

The new bed skirt
      I have been paper piecing the New York Beauty blocks, and blocks for another quilt that I cannot yet share.  I needed a break.  I also need to do something about my son's room, which had featured a Civil War border.  He has since graduated from college, and lives and works in another state, so a little refresh was in order.   Removal of the border led to a full redo of the room, and the making of this pleated bed skirt from a canvas drop cloth.
The border that was coming down.

The Log Cabin quilt I made for my son in 2005 using Civil War reproduction fabrics.
        In 2003, I had redone the walls with a two color (and glaze) dry brush treatment that resulted in a parchment paper look.  I couldn't recall if I had done the whole wall and under the border.  I hoped so, since otherwise, a full repainting was going to have to happen.   Fortunately, the paint treatment was under the border. The room looked bigger and brighter with that dark border gone.   It also looked bigger and brighter because I removed two bookshelves, and extra chairs and boxes of books, papers, and other items which were just being stored in the room!
        Once I had the border off, I decided to remove the dark drapes which had been hanging in this room.   Earlier this year I had made a pair of grommet top drapes from canvas painters' drop cloths, which I lined, and originally put in a different room.  
     I liked how soft the canvas is after washing once or twice, and drying (stopping often to remove lint).  I realized that different brands were quite different shades of beige - one brand more yellow, and one much more grey.   I used the yellowy fabric for the drapes, but they really didn't go in the original room.
Drapes as originally hung.  Okay, but not great!
     I ended up rehanging those drapes in this room, and they looked perfect.

      With the walls and windows looking nice, I turned to the bed, which was on risers to accommodate storage needs,  and I thought about getting a bed skirt to hide the under bed storage.  I looked around pinterest boards, and saw a very cute pleated bed skirt made from canvas drop cloth here.   With lots of pictures, but no tutorial, I decided to give it a try.    I love how it turned out, and how it looks with the Civil War quilt.

      Unfortunately, I didn't take too many pictures during the process, but I'll share my process here.

     My first step was to measure.  The drop (with risers) was 18 inches, and I measured the twin bed at about 72 x 36.
      I think the drop cloth I used was used a a 9 by 12 cloth, which included a heavy seam in the middle length.  I washed the cloth twice, and dried twice.  Warning:  much shrinkage!!!!!
     I removed the heavy seams.

       The real challenge for me was the bulk of this project, and I started trying to make it manageable.  I knew I wanted 20 inch pieces at the end, so I cut strips a bit bigger (maybe 22 inches wide, but the length of the piece - they varied - this was an initial rough cut).  Each piece was about 10 feet in length.     I also added up the yardage I needed for the skirt, figuring 8 inches for each pleat, and about 10 inches for the overlap on the back end.   I needed about 25 feet of bed skirting.

       I then sewed three pieces of the 22 inch wide fabric together, keeping one end of each piece even.

     I then used some heavy duty hem tape (5/8 inch) on a 1 inch hem.  I was very careful with the sizing of the hem, checking it every few inches.  This makes for a sharp hem.  

       Once I had the hem done, I very carefully then cut the piece to a finished 19 inches.  I used my cutting mat, and the dining room table to accomplish this.  

     I had figured that I would pleat the skirt every 12 inches, with pleats on the corners.  Again, I used my cutting mat, and lots of pins.   Once the whole piece was pleated, I sewed about 1/2 inch down from the top to keep the pleats in place.  I broke three needles!   I also tacked down the pleats at the bottom and pressed them all with loads of heat and steam.

      Once I had my pleats sewn down, I marked 7 inches from the top, and top stitched 1/4 inch from the middle of the pleat.   
Close up of top stitching and mark
         The website which inspired this used buttons covered with the canvas fabric.  Try as I might, I could not get those buttons to work with the canvas.  It was just too thick.  I tried plain muslin, but that was too bright, so I found a little print  in my stash that I thought would work, and made 16 little covered buttons. (about $5 using a coupon at Joann's).  
The muslin seemed too bright. 
The finished little button on the skirt. 
     I used an old sheet I had for the platform.  I decided against using the canvas for that purpose, since it is so loose, and I thought would be hard to get precisely fit on top.

     I started pinning this together at the end (which shows the most) centering the two middle pleats, and  sewed together with a 1 inch seam.  Again, I was precise with this, using a guide bar on my machine.  The corners were tricky, but not impossible.  I used hem tape to finish the top of the sheet and overlapped the skirt just a few inches on each side at the head of the bed, which is against the wall or against the headboard, if we had one!
A view from the top of the bed
     I love how this redo turned out.  My son will be visiting this week, and I hope he likes it too.

Take care,