Blog Archives

The Tandem Bike Quilt

I made one Christmas present in 2018, for my sister, Kathi, and sister-in-law, Stefi. They have a tandem bike, but I couldn’t remember what color it is and didn’t want to spoil the surprise by asking.

I started with the Bicyclist block from Quilted Adventures by Sara Nephew. I had a little trouble understanding the instructions, but managed to wrap my brain around it and then added the second cyclist. I sometimes have a kind of spatial dyslexia.

Since they are both musicians, I used musically-themed fabric for the shirts. I tried three times to make nice looking heads but they are both very blond and fair skinned. Translation: boring (and the first one was the wrong size). I opted for do-rags that matched their shirts.

I string-pieced the rectangular units…
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Made some mistakes…p1140194

Had to figure out where to put the bar (maybe not mechanically accurate, but it looked the best) …

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I added a small black border followed by more musical fabric.

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I have been pin-basting small projects and ran across a box of these foam pieces (a gift that included a wrist pincushion). I thought I would try them, as opposed to my curved pins. I am giving the foam pieces away as this method hurt my hands–I’ll stick with the curved basting pins and basting spray for larger projects. Leah Day likes using PinMoors, a product you can buy on her website. Some of my friends had never seen this basting technique and thought I was embellishing the quilt. You never know with me.

I straight-line quilted the background, the tires, and anything that wasn’t lying flat, figuring out how to quilt with the least thread breaks. Sometimes this requires diagrams.

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I changed the lyrics to “A Bicycle Made for Two” for quilting the outer border. I tried once again to sew the label into the backing fabric and still didn’t leave enough margin. I have been unhappy with my attempts at sewing in the label. Next time, I will sew the label into the center of the quilt backing, rules be damned (lower right-hand corner), allowing more room for information. I’ll be sending a better label to place over the original.

Quilting in progress.

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Once again, I have failed to take a final picture before mailing. It had a simple black binding and is called “Ever in Tandem.” Le sigh. Oh well, it arrived before Christmas. I think I put rings on the back for hanging. It’s all good. Till next time…

 

The Grandmother’s Flower Garden Project

Time to spray baste The Grandmother’s Flower Garden Project (and Gelato, as well).  It’s a cool morning, no wind, so I haul out my table and 4×8 piece of insulation.  I place my backings down, right side down, and pin.  I have decided to try not stretching the backing to make it super tight (tight enough to have no wrinkles), pin the corners and then the edges.  Next place the batting on, spray one side, flip and smooth it out.  Then spray the other side.  (For larger projects, fold half of the batting back, spray, smooth, and then repeat with the other half of the batting.) Next smooth the top onto the batting, remove the pins and bring it all inside.  TIP: It is best to spray your batting instead of the backing or top as the spray CAN affect the fabric with spots or stains.  I always spray outside and wear a mask just in case a breeze comes up–this only protects from direct spray, not the fumes.  I practice holding my breath while I spray and then run around the corner when I run out of air.  Not recommended for pregnant women and use a respirator if you have respiratory difficulties.

Spray Basting Quilts

Spray Basting Quilts

I had already spray basted my tablerunner (Gelato) but decided the batting was too fluffy and changed it out for Thermolam.  Gelato is one of the projects I spray basted last summer with June Tailor Quilt Basting Spray, anticipating a winter of quilting (haha).  The layers were still holding together well.  INFO: Some sprays are very temporary and I believe 505 will hold together for five years. Here is the backing, which needs to be smoothed out as you can see.

Smoothing backing

Smoothing backing

I usually smooth out the back, smooth out the front, smooth out the back, and then smooth out the front again.  For an all-over free-motion quilting design, you can just start in the center and work on one quarter of the quilt at a time. I don’t roll up the side of the quilt that is in the machine bed–I just scrunch it up. One last check to make sure the quilt is square–measure from one diagonal to the other and then measure the other diagonal.  They should be the same–if not, reposition until it is.  43-3/4 inches in both directions–I win.

Measuring on diagonal

Measuring on diagonal

Measuring on diagonal

Measuring on diagonal

Because I will be turning the quilt a lot, I place four pins–you don’t have to close the pins–then quilt around the center hexie and the other four hexies, removing pins as you go.

Pin basting

Pin basting

Quilting

Quilting

After that I resmooth both sides, pin another set, quilt, repeat.

Oops

Oops

Oops–I missed a point on the edge–will have to stitch that down by hand before I finish..

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I have finished three rows, weaving in thread ends as I go.  That’s enough for the day.  God forbid that I should have nothing to do tomorrow.

Update: I have finished quilting around each green hexie–only took me two days.   That’s the good news.  The bad news is that the flower rows are not lying flat so I’ll have to quilt around the flower centers as well.  Then I will stitch very closely to the outer edge and either echo or free-motion quilt some kind of design in the border.

My next post will include photos from the Jamie Wyeth exhibit, some of which were painted on corrugated cardboard, one of the artist’s favorite mediums.  I’m calling it, “Keepin’ ’em down on the farm.”  Till then, find something to crow about.