Monday, March 11, 2013

Crown of Thorns made from West African basin and batiks
Crown of Thorns...

Done!  I got this quilt cut, sewn, quilted and bound in only two and a half weeks.  And I just love how it turned out.  Phil and Kim seemed to like it and that makes me a very happy camper.  Phil took a picture of it with Will and me, last night, and plans to send it to the lady who gave him the basin, Juliet Contay.  Living in Sierra Leone, I'm sure she has never even seen a quilt so it might be interesting to know what she thinks of this strange technique of cutting perfectly good fabric up into little pieces and then sewing them back together again. A strange practice, indeed!

For the quilters out there, I thought I'd share a couple of things that make my life so much easier.  Most of the veterans of quilting already use these tools but, for the newbies, I thought you'd like to check 'em out. 
Strip tube ruler in action
The first is a strip tube ruler. Love, love, LOVE this tool! There are 192 HST in this one quilt. I made all of them- the cutting and the sewing- in about an hour.  Maybe a little less. All you do is sew down BOTH sides of a WOF tube, set the line(the finished size of the block you want) on the seam and cut.  Flip the ruler and do the same on the other side of the tube.  Press open and, voila!  a HST that is smack on size- no need to square up! No drawing lines on the diagonal and the hassle of feeding that pointed end of the square into the pressure foot. It is so fast and so easy- it makes the bedrock of quilting- half square triangles- a cinch.
project board
The second thing that I'm growing to love is this silly little board made out of foam board you can get at the dollar store.  You just cut yourself a big square- I think this is an 18" square for a 12" block.  Something like that.  It certainly doesn't have to be exact.  Then I covered mine in some batting- I attached mine with loops of packing tape on the underside.  So simple.  But it makes moving block parts- from the cutting table to the sewing machine to the ironing board and back to the sewing machine- a lovely thing, indeed.  The batting keeps it all from shifting or floating away on a breeze. Plus, my sewing table can get a little cramped and this gives me a bit more wiggle room.  My ironing board is right next to my sewing machine but is more narrow than it should be, so I end up stacking pieces and then, wouldn't you know it?  I get them sewn together in the wrong order.  So frustrating.  This little board really helps me keep things much more orderly.  Sandy showed me this little trick.  She is an over-achiever and actually put binding on her boards. Hers do look prettier. But mine are still very functional.
insulin pump- all girly
And I'm showing off my new insulin pump that came via UPS, today.  I was so excited, I started clapping my hands and doing a happy-happy dance.  Then I said to Will, "This is pathetic! All this rapture over a piece of medical equipment." To which he said, "Well, it seems reasonable to me.  It's attached to you, literally, and you use it more than you do the bathroom." And I think he's right. Smiles all around! 
yet another doily
And lastly, a new doily.  Actually, I have a growing stack of them.  Cold winter weather seems very conducive to crocheting, dontcha think?  While I don't crochet much during the day- way too much to do- I do like to sit up at night and watch a movie and around and around I go.  Hard to put down as you see the pattern emerge.  I'm thinking a doily give away is in my- and your- future.  Stay tuned.  Have a blessed week!