Friday, May 17, 2013

Sorting through Quilt Books

Stitching on my baby quilt has been chugging along slowly but surely and I am applying binding now. Photos and all that in a future post once it's done.

In the meantime, today I sorted through all of my quilting books and sorted them into which I wanted to keep and which I wanted to give away at the next guild meeting. It's always fun to look through patterns I have already done and those that I still want to do.

All the different piles of books

 I ended up finding some things I had forgotten I had, like this cd for making half square triangles! This would have gotten some serious use over the past few months if I had realized I owned it!

I also came across this little booklet, and decided to read it before putting it in the giveaway pile.

This booklet had a pretty broad range of type and quality of tips.  There were some really obvious ones, like explaining chain piecing, winding several bobbins at once, and cutting multiple layers of fabric at a time. Or this one:

"If hand stitching seems to slow for basting the quilt 'sandwich' together, try pinning instead. Fasten small rust-proof safety pins every 3 to 4 inches." Um, duh. Pinning is the only way I have ever basted my quilts.

There was also this bizarre one:
"Here's a cool way to take some heat off ironing time: Wash large pieces (8 to 10 yards) or muslin and other cotton fabrics, and dry them in a dryer until almost dry. Then fold the fabrics and bag them in plastic. Place in the freezer. Press when convenient." 
I guess the idea is to make it so you don't have to press immediately when your fabrics come out of the dryer?

There were also a lot of useful ones for me. I get really frustrated when I try to stitch very carefully and somehow my blocks still end up off! I think it is a lot of little errors that add up. Here were some tips on that:

"Make sure the width of your marking pencil or pen doesn't change as you mark. A blunt pencil line can throw off a block's measurements by as much as 1/16th of an inch."

"Use one ruler throughout marking the entire quilt because another ruler's markings may be slightly different."

"Sew just inside the marked line to compensate for tracing the template."

"Have a grid on your ironing board pad."

Here was a general purpose tips that I liked:

"You can reduce the amount of time you spend determining the 1/4 inch seam allowances by drawing patterns on graph paper with 4 squares to the inch."
The few times I have tried to sketch out patterns to scale, I get really confused! So this is a helpful tip, although it assumes you are drawing your pattern out at full size.

And finally, the best one:

"Start small. Remind yourself that you can find the time if you just keep looking for it. By taking the little everyday opportunities that are available, you will see progress you never thought you had time for."
I need this one right now. I haven't accomplished much in sewing lately, but I think if I make myself sit down for even 15 minutes a day I will get a ton done. So I really want to take this one to heart!

On a separate note, I read this morning an article about a quilt kickstarter campaign.  The article's headline was "A Star-Studded Quilt That's a Work of Art."

I have very mixed feelings about this quilt. Mainly because it is mass produced in India and I don't think it's really all that special. Yes, it's a cool hipster design, but a work of art? Not compared to pretty much any quilt I would see at a show. Maybe I am being too judge-y though. I would love your thoughts.

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