Monthly Archives: October 2012

Permission Granted

With little more than two months left of 2012, I’m feeling anxious about the number of projects I started this year but haven’t finished. I think of them as works-in-progress rather than UFOs, which means I have every intention of finishing them sooner rather than later. Quilt Camp is coming up in mid-November. I’ll have a three-day reprieve from cooking, cleaning, and (I have to confess it) wasting time on the computer. That should help me move at least a couple of projects from the “to do” list to the “ta da!” list.

Still, I’m chomping at the bit to start some new projects, inspired by ideas spinning in my head and by fabrics I’ve acquired lately (i.e. found utterly impossible to resist). I’ve decided to grant myself permission to spend the next two weeks and at least part of the remaining weeks of 2012 yielding to those impulses to play with fabric and be creative. The tradeoff is that I will devote the first month of 2013 to working only on my WIPs and UFOs. Okay. There it is in print.

So . . . where to begin? I want to do something with these fabrics, which include some of Denise Schmidt’s Flea Market Fancy in the aqua and red colorway, a large chevron stripe from Riley Blake, and an ombre that gradates from white to charcoal gray:

A Winning Combo: Red, Aqua, Grey, White


As you can see, I’ve already cut strips. I’m experimenting with the Disappearing 9-Patch design, for which free tutorials abound. At this point I don’t know how many of these fabrics I will actually use — but isn’t that part of the fun of playing around with them?

I don’t often buy several fabrics in the same line but I fell in love — deeply in love — with these prints from the Ainsley line for Northcott fabrics:

Beautiful Fabrics from Northcott


I have a weakness for Jacobean florals, and this grouping features the most delicious shade of green, which happens to be my favorite color. I added that herringbone batik to the mix; doesn’t it look good with the other fabrics? I’m not sure what I’ll do with this grouping yet but don’t be surprised if kaleidoscopes make an appearance.

A few months ago I saw this giant poppy print with companion fabrics online and then found the real thing at a quilt shop near Kirkland, Washington earlier this month while visiting my best friend from college:

Scarlet Line from Clothworks

The line is Scarlet, designed by Pamela Mostek for Clothworks. I read somewhere that the poppy print is a rerelease. If so, I completely missed it the first time around. The fabric in this line has a lovely soft hand — and it was on sale, which sealed the deal.

I am surrounded by beautiful fabric. Let the creativity begin!




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I’ve finally added Framboise to my Quilt Gallery. I’ve learned that one way to keep your patterns current is to make new versions in updated fabrics. I didn’t do that here, though. I used fabric that’s been in my stash for some time (Hydrangeas and Raspberries by Holly Holderman for Lake House Dry Goods) because I knew it would make a striking 4-Patch Wonder quilt. I actually put these blocks together early last year. It’s taken me this long to finish the top and get it backed, quilted, bound, labeled and photographed.

framboise august 2012
Framboise, 69″ x 84″ (2012)


I wish I had documented the process of arranging the blocks on my design wall. I usually start by putting my favorite block in the upper left hand corner but sometimes I have to move it for the sake of balance. Here’s a close-up of my favorite block, which wound up in the upper middle center of the quilt:

Dawn’s Favorite Block


Framboise was quilted by Melissa Hoffman. I asked Melissa to choose an edge-to-edge design with vines, leaves and scrolls and to use a light pink and green variegated thread. The effect is soft and subtle, just what I wanted. Here’s a better look at the motif:

Quilting Detail


I usually play around with leftover blocks on the back but I was in “get ‘er done” mode at the time so all I did was add a strip of the original focus fabric:

Back of Framboise


You can’t see it in the photos but the white background on the Lakehouse fabric has a secondary design that is very lightly frosted. It adds a glow to the quilt that I love. The rest of the backing fabric is a pastel batik that I’ve had for quite a while. Here’s a closer look at the quilting on the back:

Detail of Quilting on Back


Naming this quilt did not come easily. A host of alliterative titles came to mind – Blossoms and Berries, Berries and Blooms, even a pun on the Bloomsbury Group. In the end I decided on Framboise (raspberry in French) on the basis that it refers not only to the berry but to the color of the hydrangeas.




Posted in 4-Patch Wonder, faux-kaleido quilts, update | 6 Comments

An Experiment: Sewing Machine Dust Cover

Regular readers may remember the sewing machine cover I started in July when I was in Sisters OR with my quilt group. My intention was to make a cover for the Janome 6500 that spends most of its time in my sewing room. I have a smaller Janome for classes but the big one goes with me on extended trips.

My Janome 6500 was with me in Sisters when I took its measurements and made the block for the front. Weeks later, when I was ready to work on the cover again, I realized the measurements I had taken in Sisters, while accurate, were wrong for this project. My sewing table features a drop-in ledge for the sewing machine so that the bed of the machine is flush with the table top. My sewing machine sits a full 3″ below the surface of the table, something my original measurements didn’t take into account. Oops.

The block I had already made couldn’t be cut down so I decided to finish the sewing machine cover and use it for traveling, and then make a new one that would stay in my sewing room.

That’s what I’ve been experimenting with. I decided to make a really simple cover without batting or quilting — and without a pattern. I just followed the lines of the vinyl cover that came with my Janome 6500. Rather than making a test version in muslin, I chose to use a beautiful cotton print. My rationale was that if I made the cover in muslin and it turned out well, all I would have was a plain muslin cover. If I made it in a pretty fabric and it didn’t turn out well, I could cut it apart and save the scraps for another project.

But it did turn out well! Take a look:

Sewing Machine Dust Cover


The main fabric is from the Garden Medley line by Susie Johnson for RJR and the binding fabric is a lime green Kona Bay blender. Here’s a slightly different view:

Another View


The fabric on the inside is a soft striped batik from my stash:

Batik Stripe on the Inside


I interfaced the inside fabric to give the dust cover extra body. Instead of finishing the binding by hand, I fused it with 1/4″-wide Steam-a-Seam 2.

Now my mind is racing with ideas on refining the design. I don’t really need another sewing machine dust cover but I’d love to make one in different fabrics — I already know which ones — incorporating some patchwork and/or applique. I’d also like to try piping on the top and side edges and double-fold bias tape around the bottom edge.

I probably won’t get to it right away but — you never know. Sounds like a good rainy day project to me.




Posted in Janome 6500 sewing machine, sewing machine cover, update | 2 Comments

Working with 1/4″-wide double-fold bias tape (Part 3)

Part 1 of this tutorial, joining two lengths of bias tape, is available here.
Part 2 of this tutorial, overlapping ends of bias tape on an apron, is available here.

Part 3, Joining ends of bias tape on an apron

If you have ever finished attaching binding on a quilt by joining the two loose ends with a diagonal seam and then sewing the newly-joined strip to the quilt edge, this method will look familiar. On a quilt edge, you are normally working with binding that’s at least 2″ wide, 1″ when folded. On an apron edge, you are working with bias tape that’s 1″ wide and a mere quarter-inch when folded. That makes finishing the seam both challenging and time-consuming but the result is a seam that is almost invisible. Take a look at the bias trim on this apron belt piece:

Look for the Diagonal Seam


On my Monterey Bay Apron, I use the overlapping method (described in Part 2 of this tutorial) on the inside edge around the neckline. There’s just no straight stretch long enough to accommodate the method described below. But you can use this method on the outer edge of the apron (along the bottom front, for example) and on both belt pieces. Look for straight lines on other apron patterns using bias tape to see where the most unobtrusive joining spots are.

Remember that ¼”-wide double-fold bias tape is pressed in such a way that one side of the tape is slightly narrower than the other (from the fold to the outside edge). The narrow side always goes on the right side of the fabric. When the fabric of the apron is inserted into the fold of the bias tape, the wider side of the tape, underneath, is always caught in the line of stitching from the top.

1. Leave 6″ between the beginning and ending points of stitching and leave 6″ tails on each side. Make a mark at the midpoint on the apron and 3″ from the starting point of stitching on the right-hand tail. The marks should be at the same point, as shown below:

Marking the Midpoint
Allowing 6″ between the beginning and ending points of stitching leaves enough room to manipulate the loose ends of the binding before they are joined, and the binding strip after joining is short enough that it can be stitched to the apron edge without getting distorted.


2. Press the right-hand tail open about an inch and a half from the end. Don’t try to press the fold lines completely out. With the right side up, make a diagonal cut as shown about 1/4″ to the left of the mark on the bias tape:

Trimming the Right-Hand Tail


3. Lay the left-hand tail over the edge of the fabric. Lay the right-hand tail on top. With a removable marking pen or pencil, make a diagonal mark next to the cut edge of the right-hand tail.

Marking the Left-Hand Tail


4. Open out the left-hand tail and press open about an inch and a half from the end. With right side up, draw a diagonal line exactly 1/2″ to the right of the mark made in Step 3. Cut along that line.

Trimming the Left-Hand Tail


This is what the two cut ends should look like:

Left and Right-Hand Tails Cut on the Diagonal


5. With right sides together, pin the two ends as shown, overlapping 1/4″ at each end.

Pinning the Seam
Be sure ends are not twisted!

6. Draw two lines 1/4″ apart on a small scrap of paper. Lay the pinned edges of bias tape on top, aligning the two cut edges with the line on the right. Leaving tails at both ends, sew a 1/4″ seam, using the drawn lines as guides. Use 15 stitches to the inch or 2.0 on a computerized machine.

Sewing the Seam — on Paper


7. Gently tear the paper away. Trim seam to a scant 1/4″ and press open. Trim dog ears from seam but leave thread tails in place. Carefully press folds back into place, using just the tip of the iron. Be very careful not to stretch or distort the length of tape.

Pressing Folds Back into Place
In the photo above, you are looking at the back side. You can tell it’s the back because the stitching is not as close to the inside folded edge of the bias tape.

8. Now open the bias tape and trim the thread tails. On the right side, encase raw edge of fabric between the folded edges of the bias tape and finish stitching the seam, beginning and ending with tiny stitches.

Behold: The Finished Seam




Posted in aprons, bias tape, Monterey Bay Apron, tutorial, update | 5 Comments