Thanks for dropping by to take a look at some of my thoughts and ideals. Hope you will let me know if this has been helpful, useful, inspiring or whatever, and remember to come back soon.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Another quilt top in the works.....

Okay, I'm officially and unofficially a quilt addict.  They don't have "QA" (Quilter's Anomious) meetings so what's a girl to do?  My plan is to keep on quilting.  This year I'm doing a block of the month at a local quilt store.  This is in addition to the block of the month with the local quilt guild.  Of course both of these are in addition to the other projects I have ongoing. 

Here are a couple of the blocks we have finished so far.  I really love them especially because these blocks are actually suppose to be different sized that you make an extra sashing to keep the blocks the same size!  Not many patterns will tell you to do that, but it is something that I have used in doing the T-shirt quilts and so I am familiar with the process.

This particular block was really easy for me since I had just
completed presenting my block of the month to the quilt guild and the patter was basically identical.
So strange.  I didn't even look at the pattern!

I know you aren't going to believe that I had to take this apart twice
before I got the placement right!  Some days I'm in another world.
 I'm really liking the blocks so far.  I'm not too sure about the colors and where I may want to use this particular quilt but we will see as time goes on how it evolves.

Really and truly taking these block of the month classes is a wonderful way to get some tips and tricks from fellow quilters that they may otherwise never even mention in the normal course of events.  Typically or maybe I should say historically they were very inexpensive and quilt shops used this as a draw to get customers into the shop so they could showcase their new products and new fabric lines.  The intent was that the customers once in the shop would typically buy other items before they left so having them in on a Saturday morning could increase sales 400 to 500% over other regular Saturday sales.  Historically these classes were not very expensive because basically they were advertising and using the advertising budget to purchase the fabric that went into the kits was less expensive than purchasing radio or television advertising and this had more impact on the bottom line that either radio, television or newpapers.  I can remember in the not too distant past when you could join a block of the month club for as little as $5.00.  If you attended every meeting and took in your block you had completed each time at the end of the day you would have squares for a regular size quilt for $5.  Then you would need to purchase the borders, backing, binding and you would have a quilt that was much less expensive that purchasing everything you needed to make a quilt.  This was a great bargain!  Alas I fear those days are gone.

Most shops now, if they have a block of the month club, you will pay anywhere from $39.00 to $129.00 for the full years blocks and then you must purchase the backing, borders, stripping and whatever else is needed to complete the quilt. 

Some of the members of the local guild have started something a little different.  As a guild, we make a block each month that will be collected and sewn into a charity quilt.  The guild purchased the background fabric and now we are making blocks and each month people bring in the blocks for the charity quilt and depending on how many people have brought a block that month, we may have enough blocks for a quilt and have some left over so we have a quilt that is made of blocks of the same pattern but with different fabrics except the background fabric is the same to give the quilt continuity and this works quite well.  Other blocks are saved and will be used at a later date in a sampler style quilt.  In addition to making the block for the charity quilt, some of the members have picked out coordinating fabrics they like and are using those fabrics to make a block and then at the end of the year they will have 12 blocks made from their fabric and the blocks will all coordinate to make a lovely quilt.  There are many ways to go about making a sampler quilt and many different block patterns available.  If you don't have a store or can't afford to do a store block of the month, and you don't have a local quilt guild then make up your own.  You can use whatever blocks and fabric you want.  My normal problem is I want to do it ALL!!!

Oh well, isn't that the definition of an addiction, not knowing when you need to stop!  As I said I am officially an addict!

I have also started a couple of new things.  On thing I am doing is finishing up a top that I put together about 3 years ago in a double wedding ring pattern, but it is non-traditional.

Now what the heck does non-traditional mean?  What it means is taking a traditional pattern and making a change and that will typically make the quilt look very different.  The "Double Wedding Ring" quilt top was typically made using a white background.  I decided to use a bubble gum pink with a tiny dark rose colored small dot.  The bands of the rings are done in greens all the way from yellow green to aqua with every shade in between.  I have finished the borders and it's on my machine now.

Just a little thingie that I want to mention about borders.  I recently picked up a book and when I was looking at the book I noticed that the quilts that were pictured in the book had borders that were obviously wavey.  That made me really start looking and what I saw was that a full 90% of the quilts pictured in the book had obvious problems with the borders and with the binding.  Some of the corners were more of a curve instead of square and this was very obviously not intentional.  When looking further at the book I noticed that the directions told you to cut strips across the width of the fabric for borders.  Problem!!!!

Fabric is woven with threads running across the fabric from side to side and threads going up and down the length of the fabric.  The threads running lengthwise have less stretch that the threads running across the width of the fabric.  A line running at a 45 degree angle from the selvedge of the fabric is the bias and has the most stretch.  When making a border you want to have the smallest amount of distortion possible, therefore a border cut on the straight grain of fabric (lengthwise) will have the least distortion, the border cut on the crosswise grain of fabric will have some distortion and this will give you a wavy border.   Now I do understand that you will have to purchase more fabric in order to cut your border this way, but if you really want to best possible quilt this is what you will need to do.  If you are making a quilt that you really want to get it right, then purchase the extra fabric and build your stash a little.  If it doesn't matter, then go ahead with the crosswise grain if you like.  I don't always do the straight of grain for borders, but I know when I don't my quilt border will be wavy, and every border that you add increases the amount of wave. 

Alone with the above I will say that there are different qualities of fabric.  There is good quilt shop fabric, and bad quilt shop fabric.  Get to know your shop and teach yourself to recognize if your shop is carrying a high grade of fabric or a cheap grade of fabric.  Just because it says quilt shop over the door does not mean the owner is purchasing the best for resale.  She is purchasing what she can sell at a price that will afford her the most business and the profit she desires.  Some quilt shops will sell you fabric that is a cheaper grade than Walmart or Hancocks or JoAnns.  As time goes by and you use fabric and see it as it goes through the washer multiple times you will begin to recognize the difference in a high quility fabric and the lower quality fabric.  Price does not tell the story!!!  Don't be fooled into thinking if it cost a lot then it is good fabric!  Also take into consideration the dyes used in fabric.  Dyes that are not heat set will fade rapidly in the sunshine!  Heat setting the dyes is an extra process that you will not find in the typical Walmart quality fabric.  My best advise is chose the best fabric that you can afford at the time you are purchasing.  Sometimes we have more disposable income than others and this will determine how much we have to spend on our quilting.  Take all of these things into consideration when making your purchases of fabric, and books!  Okay I won't start on books today!

I hope you have all had a great day and look forward to seeing you and seeing your projects soon!

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