Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Now you see 'em, now you don't...

I love the delayed gratification of removing two things from the quilts that I hand quilt...the quilting marking lines and the basting thread.

I have finally started trusting the blue, washable Clover marking pens.  I had a bad experience 20 years ago with the first pens of this kind.  This one seems fine...I just spread the quilted area on my plastic table, spray/flood liberally with water, and dab/rub gently with a clean hand towel or paper towels.

I draw the very faintest of lines so this method of removal works for me.  I know a lot of people just wash the whole quilt, but I didn't want to do that.  All of my fabrics are pre-washed, so I don't worry about the fabric bleeding.

And since I am so cheap and work in sections as I go, would you believe I try to dry and reuse the paper towels?  Our house is so darn dry this winter, it takes no time to dry them out and every little bit of moisture I can get into our home air is a good thing...

I was so eager to take these pictures that I didn't wait for the wet areas to dry, so my pressed border pieced seams look a little dark and visible.  It freaked me out at first...just breathe, Teresa.

The quilted heart at the point of the green stop border is not connected to the adjacent 3-leaf motif, it just looks that way from my bad pictures.

I now have seven laurel/note swags to quilt on the last side along with three corners.  I have not outline quilted all of the sixteen center blocks yet, and I will probably come up with something to quilt in the skinny stop border.

The excitement is rising in me every time I sit down to put some stitches in this quilt!  I really am going to get it done...and soon.  I am looking forward to THAT happy dance...it will be EPIC and LOUD!

After adding a sleeve, I will need to address my new problem...getting a very good photo of this quilt.  There is nowhere, no floor, wall or bed, in my house to do this properly.

Sometimes I hang them in my backyard gazebo for photography, but the light and the wind have to be perfect...not easy in the Midwest where there is rarely a still day, and there is a lot of snow and related mess between the house and the gazebo right now (and actually IN the gazebo...sigh...).

Sometimes I spread them on the floor of the carpeted sanctuary of the church where I work and hang over the balcony wall to get a picture...it is not optimal, either.  One day, someone will unlock the church and find me in a heap on a quilt, suspecting suicide...hmmm...not good.

Oh well...it gives me something to think about as I quilt...

Another favorite delayed gratification item for me is removing the basting thread after hand quilting.  I am starting to do that now, and it is fun to see the clean quilt without all the orange basting thread.

Why orange thread?  

Well, my mother used to unwisely keep her sewing thread in an antique, clear glass, pickle jar on a shelf next to a sunny window. When she passed away, I was going to just chuck the spools of her homemade, now naturally variegated thread.  I decided to bring it home and use it as basting thread.  Oh the joys of being the offspring of depression parents...I can't throw anything away if I can squeeze some drop of usefulness out of it, LOL.

When I do counted cross stitch, I wait until the end to do all the outline stitching...another one of my delayed gratification "ticks."  I just love it when the finished projects "pop!"

So, I have been raving and raving about "Downton Abbey," but has anyone been watching Masterpiece Mystery Theater's "Sherlock" this season???  OMG!  The third and final episode of this third season was after "Downton" last Sunday night...all three have been WAY too fabulous to sew or quilt though...too much to miss if those eyeballs aren't glued to the screen!

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)


  1. I love this quilt and can't wait to see the whole thing. You mentioned leaning over the balcony to take a picture of the quilt. What about doing it the other way? Hang the quilt on the balcony and stand on a ladder to get the right perspective on the quilt?

  2. OMG - this is such a tease!! Oh, you make me dizzy thinking of leaning over a balcony.

  3. Wonderful to hear that the quilting is progressing as you'd hoped!
    That narrow stop border is always hard for me to figure out for quilting too... I usually end up just quilting a straight line through it and I don't like it! Look forward to hearing about your solution.
    I think a masterpiece such as this deserves a photo shoot with a professional photographer! I don't want to read about your dangerous photographic escapades in the paper!! LOL

  4. Yes, I've been watching the Sherlock series. It is so much fun! And you are so right about missing stuff if you look away, even for a second. What a cliff hanger "did you miss me?"

  5. So lovely to see your quilting progress. Your stitching is beautiful!! Like Kathy I am curious to see what you quilt in the narrow stop border. Getting close to a big finish - yeah!!

  6. Your work is stunning! I once thought 'the blue' was sprayed out but it was still inside the batting and I didn't realize this when I ironed it. It is now in the quilt for good. So make sure to really spray that with water. It is tooooo gorgeous of a quilt to mess up like I did with mine!

  7. Me too, about the depression parents thing...I love that you use the paper towels over again! And as for your quilt...it is simply beautiful and stunning!

  8. Again I'm gonna tell you. I am truly smitten with your quilting talent. Smitten, I tell you. And I know all about letting the paper towels dry to reuse them!!! Yep, children of depression parents. Can you take your quilt to a local quilt shop to get a good picture of it? I'm sure the folks there would love to see it, too.

    Maybe spring will surprise everybody and show up early, or at least the winter will get milder. Hang in there.

  9. Sounds like you are in the final stretch. Hooray. Yes, it is difficult to take quilt photos during a Michigan winter. Once I took a completed quilt photo by buying a closet rod, inserting into sleeve, put one rod end on top of a tall curio cabinet, and then my husband held the other rod end up while standing on a ladder. The quilt hung straight.

  10. You crack me up. Drying paper towels and reusing them. I thought I was thrifty, but you take the cake. On the other hand, adding moisture to the air is a really good reason to do that.

  11. Gosh this is looking fabulous! I see some put their quilts flat out on the snow, then maybe they stand on a ladder to get a photo, sure does look pretty.

  12. i love removing the lines and basting too - looking good! Nice DA giveaway - I'm loving the t-shirt I won last time - thanks again!

  13. I so hear you about being a product of a Depression mom. I'm a pac rat and recycle any and everything I can. Your quilt is really looking close to being finished. It is beautiful. As someone else said, be careful that your spraying does not push it into the batting and it comes back to haunt you later. I do both sides of my quilts when using blue markers. To be really safe, I usually soak it in the bath tub and dry it flat on the floor with towels underneath. Can't wait to see how you finish it up.

  14. This quilt is just so exceptional! Will look forward to a picture of the entire quilt, but please be careful!

  15. from what I can see your quilt is absolutely beautiful........I don't use "blue markers" anymore at all. I've had Hand Dyed Fabrics run even after washed and Retain was used on them........I use the FriXion pens now, the heat makes the marks disappear instantly......congratulationson your Finished quilt.

  16. I washed my first large applique quilt last year, it came through it like a champ. I would worry that you are not getting all the blue pen out of the fabric. It is such a gorgeous quilt!


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