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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…

 

April Challenge

I joined a private FB group in January.  Each month we set a personal goal to work on daily, the idea being to effect some kind of positive change in our lives.  Our goals range from enhancing a beauty routine, to weight loss/fitness goals, to organizing our desktops or files on our computer, to business goals.  You get the idea.  The psycho-experts out there estimate that it takes anywhere from 7-21 days to ingrain a new habit into our lives.  By putting our goals out there, we have continued support — daily if you want it — and hints about what works for others.  My April goal has been to work only on my self-portrait and UFOs (unfinished objects).  I worked on my self-portrait for the first five days and then started tackling my pile of unfinished quilts.  Some just needed to be quilted or have labels sewn on.  My pile of night time handwork has gotten bigger but that means things are getting done.  I did have to sneak in a small new project, a padded travel case for my daughter’s keyboard.  She is always putting her Mac and keyboard in a backpack and said keyboard finally bit the biscuit.  While searching for a new keyboard and carrying case, we spied a travel keyboard that folds in half to about the size of an I-pad but it doesn’t have a number pad so that one’s still in the store.  We’ll start with this project.  I used about a yard of fabric for both the outside and inside and some Soft and Stable byannie.com.  It’s a 100% polyester foam-like material, for bags and beyond.

http://www.byannie.com/

I searched in my Pinterest FMQ file for a simple quilt design and chose this one.

Spirl with Line quilt design

Spirl with Line quilt design

Here’s the loop for a button closure.  You can use ponytail bands for these.  I’ll get back to finishing this project as soon as I finish binding the edges.

Loop for button closure

Loop for button closure

 

I practiced on my white board before making a quilt sandwich.  Here are two spiral designs you can try.

Straight line with spiral

Straight line with spiral

Spiral

Spiral

In my ongoing effort to use up fabric, I pulled out this little print from centuries ago.

Quilt sandwich

Quilt sandwich

A lot of quilters like to back their quilts with a little print like this–you quilting stitches don’t show up much so it hides your stitching if you are less than a confident quilter, not that experienced quilters don’t have bobbles and mistakes.  Here’s a little batting hint.  One side of your batting is cleaner and smoother than the other so put that side up, facing your quilt top.

Batting

Batting

I did a lot of practicing yesterday and went through four small quilt sandwiches before finally deciding to use the same line with spiral design on my Gelato tablerunner.  Here is the quilt halfway done.

Quilting design

Quilting design

When I was ready to quit for the day, I looked up at my screen to see what was playing: It was Where the Rainbow Ends, by Northern Sinfonia of England, written by Roger Quilter.  I just can’t make this stuff up.  I’ll show you the table runner after I finish stitching the binding and putting on the label.

So back to my April challenge.  Here is where my self-portrait is–I have some Kreinik iron-on ribbon I’m going to use.  The stickiness has gone so I need to see if I can still iron it in place before stitching.  I’m on a spiral kick this week I guess because I made these spirals–my portrait is starting to look like a party’s going one here.  I’ll talk more about this challenge in a future post.

Adding flowers and spirals

Adding flowers and spirals

This quilt has been finished except for sewing on a label and one quilt square on the back. This is called Memory game–there are two of each center square, except that one square had to go on the back of the quilt.  It’s a variation of a quilt called Cappuccino, by Joyce Stewart, as seen in McCall’s Quick Quilts, November 2008.

Memory Game

Memory Game

This quilt also just needed a label: String Theory1, inspired by Heart Strings by Jennifer Rounds and friends, as seen in The Quilt Life, February 2012.  I went crazy with an all-over feather design.  I thought I had better photos–will have to retake these.

StringTheory

String Theory1

StringFeathers3

Feather Quilting

Then, there’s this quilt, Waiting for Spring, which I quilted and bound in April, 2014.  So what was the problem?  When I went to weave in all the thread ends, I noticed that my tension was off in the section with the small squares.  Here’s a close-up to give you an idea.

Bad quilting tension

Bad quilting tension

Like an idiot, I start ripping out the worst portions and then was going to rip out this whole section.  Well that lasted a couple hours and I saw the error of my stinking thinking, requilted where I had ripped and have now called it good.  By the time it’s up on the wall, I won’t even see it and neither will anyone else.  Lesson Learned: Aways check the back when you start free-motion quilting on your project to make sure the tension is correct.

Waiting for Spring

Waiting for Spring

So that’s it for today.  I’ll be back later in the week with more quilting news.  Also on my list for this week, file all my photos on my computer and find out why Internet Explorer stops working every time I try to type a hyphenated word into tags for my posts.  It’s driving me ka-razy.  Till next time–

 

Tutorial: Printing Quilt Labels

You can print out my directions for printing quilt labels on your home computer by clicking on the link.

InstructionsLabels.BubbleJet

I will show you step by step photographs in the post, but first we should talk about what information you should put on your label.

Why make a label for your quilt?  If you give your quilt as a gift, a label can denote a special occasion such as a birthday, wedding or baby gift.  I title my quilts and give some details about the quilt including techniques, date finished or presented, my name/city/state, anything of historical or general interest.  I have also starting adding dimensions of the quilt.

Historical significance.  There is a lot of documentation and research being done on quilts.  You can make it easier for your descendents and researchers by labeling your quilts as you finish them.  There are some wonderful quilts out in the world with no history as to who made them, who they were given to or why they were made.  You can sometimes date a quilt by the fabrics used but it can really add interest to a quilt with specific information as to maker and date finished.  NOTE:  The date denotes the last time the quilt was worked on.  If you finish granny mommy’s quilt and add new fabrics, you must use the current date.  You can always add that the blocks were made by so-and-so in 1920, but if you added borders, backing and quilted it yesterday, you need to document the quilt as being finished in 2015.  This information may not be important to you or your kids, but it may matter to someone else down the line.  If nothing else, it is fun to know why a quilt was made.

Here’s a sample of one of my recent labels.

Quilt label

Quilt label

On to the tutorial.  Always read the directions first before starting. I”ll give you resources at the end.

Make a new document with your quilt information.  I put my page on landscape and formatted two columns.  I can usually get four labels per page this way.  Leave space between the labels so that you have at least 1/2-inch margins all around for turning under edges.  I sometimes use the enter key to shorten up each line. Set up your printer ahead of time to print best quality.

Supplies

Supplies

  1. Prepare the fabric for printing.  Cut a piece of fabric slightly more than 8-1/2×11 inches.  Shake bottle well and pour enough Bubble Jet Set 2000 into the bottom of an aluminum tray to cover the fabric.  Using rubber gloves, make sure the fabric is saturated and soak for 5 minutes.
Soaking fabric

Soaking fabric

2. Using rubber gloves, let fabric drip into tray and lay flat on an old towel.  Do not wring fabric. Pour remaining Jet Set back into bottle for reuse.

Pouring Jet Set 2000 back in bottle

Pouring Jet Set 2000 back in bottle

3. Let fabric dry.  I use a hair dryer to speed the process and then finish drying with the iron.

More tools

More tools

4. Press the shiny side of a sheet of heavy duty freezer paper to the wrong side of the fabric.

Pressing treated fabric

Pressing treated fabric

Pressing freezer paper sheet to fabric

Pressing freezer paper sheet to fabric

5. Carefully trim the fabric to 8-1/2×11 inches; press the edges again.

Trimming prepared fabric

Trimming prepared fabric

6. Place the fabric/freezer paper fabric side down in the paper tray.  (This is how my printer works–check yours.)  Print.  Let stand for 30 minutes.

Place in printer fabric side down

Place in printer fabric side down

Wait 30 minutes after printing

Wait 30 minutes after printing

7. Remove the freezer paper from the fabric, being careful not to distort the fabric.

8. Using the timer again and rubber gloves, swish the fabric in cold soapy water for 2 minutes.  Rinse until all the soap is removed.  Let the fabric drip into the tray and dry as before.

Hand wash in soapy water 2 minutes

Hand wash in soapy water 2 minutes

9. Cut your labels, leaving 1/2-inch on all sides.

10. Press under the edges.  To miter corners, open up the corners as shown, fold down a triangle and fold in each side.

Pressing, mitering corners

Pressing, mitering corners

11. Pin the label to the bottom left side of your quilt, looking at it from the back.  Blind stitch the edges down.  You now have a professional looking label and wonderful documentation for your quilt.  If you followed the directions, the label will be permanent and totally washable.

Pinning on label

Pinning on label

Resource for Bubble Jet Set 2000 and heavy duty freezer paper sheets: http://www.cjenkinscompany.com/