Monday, May 20, 2013

Sometimes it's not "just fabric"

So, you know how we justify using that special piece of fabric we love or have been saving? We say things like "it's just fabric" -- and we're a point.  I do not feel that way about these fabrics.
I adore them.  I revere them.  I want to do them justice.
They are Daiwabo fabrics from Japan.  I don't really know a lot about their history but I do know that very few mills produce them and they are muted with a "taupe" overtone.  The patterns and designs are amazing.  I have never ever felt this way about fabric before - Kaffe, Cherrywoods, batiks, anything.
When I was working on these blocks, I trimmed them each to 5.5" to square them up, ripped out those that weren't quite right, and re-made the blocks.  Not to mention starching them into submission.  Love the fabrics - don't love the raveling!
I ended up keeping one of my seam rippers at the ironing board so I could rip out whatever made me unhappy right there before I pressed it.  I was not in a hurry.  The strips finish at 1/2" and much variation shows a lot -- as you can see in a few of the blocks.
This is a terrible picture of the finished top -- the wind would not cooperate.  So, I'll just say that the borders are much larger and mitered and leave it at that.
How did I come to have these wonderful fabrics? Well, that's another story for another post.  In the meantime, I'm waiting for a calm day to take a picture of the quilt top so I can do it justice.

I hope you have fabric in your stash that you adore.  It's so fun when you start to use it!

Keep piecing (and ripping!),


Monday, May 13, 2013

Shave and a Haircut

Sometimes you just have to adjust your plans...and show the fabric who is boss.
I am working on a quilt that I absolutely love.  I love the fabrics.  I love the colors.  I love the pattern.  I love how I came to be working on it.  Unfortunately, I do not love the way the blocks are constructed or the fact that they are a bit stretchy and ravel if you look at them.  

After some thought and putting this back in its shoebox several times, it occurred to me that I was the "boss of it" and I decided two weeks ago to starch the fire out of the blocks. I made sure that I used a dry iron - the last thing I wanted was to stretch the blocks with steam.  Starch the back of the block, turn the block over, press the front (no ironing back and forth), repeat! That helped considerably as it stabilized them.  But, the construction of the block still created problems.  I have fixed that!

I decided to give them a little trim.  Literally, a shave and a haircut!  The blocks were to be 5 3/4" unfinished.  They are now 5 1/2" and going together like a dream.  Stiff as a board and equally sized.  I am still in love with them.

Because of all the starching, I used my modified ironing pad.  When I'm using a lot of starch and want to protect my ironing board, I simply put my June Tailor ironing/cutting pad on it.
This is the typical June Tailor pad that I had used so much the original ironing pad was ripped and no longer usable.  I put some cotton batting on top of it, took an overused towel, made a "sleeve" from the towel, slipped the board in the sleeve, and pinned it on.  It is not fancy.  It is not pretty.  It is incredibly effective, travels easily, and can be washed when it gets a bit gummy.  And, it repurposes a tool that had worn out and it's now just as usable as before.  Gotta love that.

In this case, I've actually thrown away the towel sleeve and will make another one. It was SO stiff and covered in threads from the blocks that it's not worth it.  I don't want those threads in my washer or dryer and you can see the scorch marks where I have used the same spot over and over.  

I hope you are lucky enough to be working on a project that is bringing you joy...

Keep piecing (and starching!)