Wednesday, April 26, 2023

What Is This Fabric?

Hey Quilty Friends!  I'm almost ready to start piecing the next Lone Star.  Most of the fabrics have been cut and ready since last fall.  About the only time I use solids is in Lone Star quilts.   Over the years I've made several of these quilts in the same colors.  So when I made four of them last year I thought why not go ahead and cut all the fabric into strips for later use.  It was a good plan until it wasn't.  There wasn't enough strips of the navy blue and the lightest blue.   A quick dig in the stash and I found a navy blue that would work but no light blue.  So I purchased the light blue a couple weeks ago.   I'm ready to knock this one out in a jiffy!

I just need to starch these two and get them cut into strips.  It should be easy to get all of them pieced and subcut in 2 or 3 hours.  
Then this happened.  The starch is beading on the fabric...what?

This happens sometimes with some fabrics.  I think they get too much sizing, no big deal, I'll just give it a little rub and it'll soak into the fabric.  Nope.

Okay, this one is being a little contrary.  Let's fold it over and see if it's soaking through to the other side.

Nope, well what in the world?  What is this fabric.  Even poly cottons will soak up starch.

What if I fold it over and smoosh it really hard with my hand?  Well it did soak through a little.  If you look real hard you can see where my hand was on the back of the fabric.

When I opened the fabric I got a good chuckle.  This reminds of those ink blot tests.  What do you see?  I see a candelabra.

This isn't cotton but it feels like cotton.  What in the world?  I decided to do the burn test.  Cotton will burn like paper leaving powdery chard flakes.  Synthetics will melt.  I pulled a scrap of white cotton, lit it on fire and it started making ash.

The navy blue burned slow, smoked and melted. BOOHOO.

This is the only navy blue I have on hand.  So....if I can sew it, I'm using it in the quilt.  TADA!  I can sew it with no issue.   But will it melt under an iron?

Will it shrink when pressed?  Test #2
I cut a two inch piece.

Set the iron to the cotton setting and gave her a press.  Please don't stick to my iron!

Well would you look at that!  It didn't melt and it didn't shrink!  Praise be!  What kind of magical fabric is this?  The recipient of this quilt will be non the wiser.  It's going in the quilt.

I decided to iron the larger piece with the starch still beading on the surface.  Of course it flaked and still didn't soak in to the fabric.  It just made an oogie mess.  Oh well, I'll shake it off and use it anyway.  Once it's in the quilt, quilted and washed no one will know or care.  

Until next time...

I hope you find time to stitch up something sweet!

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Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Maintenance and Mending

 "I'm a quilter not a seamstress!" All quilters have said this or at least wished we had the ability to scream it loud and proud.  Normally I don't have a problem saying no to mending or alterations. 

But when Mr. Podunk asks, I have to say yes to the man who funds my quilting obsession. So when he asked me to patch a hole in his favorite pair of around the house jeans, I happily agreed, tossed them into the Studio, and let them get lost below the ever growing clutter.  That was about a year ago.  He never mentioned it again and I forgot about them until yesterday when I found them at the bottom of a pile of projects to be completed.  
It was a simple fix since I have a huge collection of blue jeans saved for making a jean quilt.  A patch was quickly cut from a pair of old jeans, added a little Heat and Bond Ultra to the four edges of the patch. Once pressed in place, it only took a few minutes to wrestle the leg under the needle and do a simple double zigzag around the outer edges of the patch.

It's not pretty but it's functional.  I'm a quilter not a seamstress.

In order to sew around the patch I need to use the free arm on my sewing machine.  This meant it needed to be removed from the homemade recessed table.   As you can see below it was pretty simple.  Just lift it out of the hole, remove the extension table, and add a pressing board over the hole in the table.  When the mending was finished just drop it back down in the hole.

Well while I have it out.... I can't put it back in this filthy hole.  It's been two years or more since I last cleaned under here.  

Honestly I don't really know how long its been...maybe longer.

Looks like there might have been more than dust, thread and pins under here.  Is that spiderwebs?  Oh my goodness.  To think about spiders being right there above my legs...EWW! and YIKES!  A good reason to check under here more often.  I'm going to be thinking about spiders crawling on my legs for a long time.  Sewing will not be the same for awhile.  Imagine the spider dance I would do if one of those creepy crawlies came creeping up my leg. 

A quick wipe down with a wet paper towel and all is well again.  No dust bunnies or spiderwebs...for now.

I don't know about you but when I start dusting I can't stop.   And in this case I really shouldn't.  Take a look at the top of the machine.  Shame on me for letting it get this bad.

So I removed the thread, cleaned the entire outside of the machine and put things back to normal.  I rarely use the spool area for spools of thread.  This is where I keep my bobbin piecing thread.

The top piecing thread is on my handy dandy homemade cone holder.  It's nothing more than a coat hander and a scrap of oddly shaped wood I found in Mr. Podunk's scrap wood box.  Again, it's not pretty but it's functional.

All is good and back to normal and I can start cutting for the Lone Star needing to be finished in less than two weeks.  The deadline is self imposed and the recipient doesn't know I'm making it for them.  But I would like to give it to them on a very memorable date.  More on that after it's gifted, just incase they lurk around my blog.

Until next time...

I hope you find time to stitch up something sweet!

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Friday, April 21, 2023


 Hello Quilty Friends!  It has finally come to an end.  The endless hours of of trimming HST's is over.  Halleluiah!

While working my way though thousands of HST's it was fun to take a walk down memory lane.  Funny how we can remember each little piece of fabric.  Most of the time I remember exactly where I got the fabric, the designer or manufacturer and of course the quilt I made using that fabric.  These black and red HST's are from around 2005.  The red is from Walmart and the black is a Joann Fabrics.  

My oldest son, Derek, chose the fabric to use in a quilt for his bed.  The pattern he picked is called Double Pinwheel and came from my first purchased quilting book, 101 Fabulous Rotary Cut Quilts.  Up to this point I made my own patterns.  When I bought this book I thought I would never need another quilt book since there was 101 patterns in this one.  HAHA!  Silly girl.

I made the quilt exactly by the pattern and purchased the fabric requirements stated in the book.  Back then I was a single mom working 10 to 12 hours a day, 6 to 7 days a week and I wasn't thinking clearly.  It wasn't until the top was complete did I realize my son's bed was a super single twin bed and this quilt was too small.  We went to 3 different Walmart looking for enough red fabric to enlarge the quilt.  The red fabric was sold out.  The only thing I could do was to make the border of the quilt larger.   Once the quilt was on the bed the extra wide drop looked pretty good.  I learned 2 valuable lessons.  
1. Measure the bed. 
 2. Buy more fabric than you think you need, which I still do today.

Thirty years of quilting up memories.  The HST's only go back to this black and red quilt.  The scraps before this quilt were almost all used.  Before 2005 money was tight and my fabric stash was literally scraps from things I needed to make because money tight and it was cheaper to make it than to buy it already made. Not the case these days, huh?

As the last batch of HST's were added to the bags the memories kept flowing and I became a little emotional.

What is it about getting older that makes us more sentimental?  Do you see the teal/aqua gingham below?  That is a poly cotton from my moms stash and is one of my most loved prints.  I'm looking forward to finding ways to use all of these.

It may be a few months before I can start making quilts from them.  There's still over 20 quilt tops needing to be quilted and many more UFO's needing to be completed.  Remember this is a year(or more) of  UFO busting.  But when I do start making quilts from them, the 1 inch HST's will be the first to be used. Maybe a mug rug or small wall hanging, only time will tell.

For now it's back in the box they go.  I have a non UFO Lone Star quilt I need to make for someone and it has a deadline.  When it's complete I'll come back and count them so I can start working on ideas for using them.

Until next time...

I hope you find time to stitch up something sweet!


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Wednesday, April 19, 2023

A Dad Day

Hi Quilty Friends!  Almost no quilting was done yesterday due to chores, errands and visiting with my dad. 

He is 76 and takes care of himself, the house and 6 acres all on his own.

However he's not much of a cook, so I take him a good home cooked meal every now and then.

It was nice to just walk around the property and enjoy a beautiful spring day.

Once I finally got home there was still chores needing to be done so I only squared up a few more HST's before realizing how tired I was from a long day.  Hopefully today will be a better day for quilting.

Until next time...

I hope you find time to stitch up something sweet!

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