I received the most wonderful gift in the mail last month, this striking quilt made in 2004 by Lee Fowler:
Lee was an incredibly talented quilter and crafter who was only 54 when she died of cancer in 2013. I didn’t meet her until 2009 so I had the pleasure of knowing her for only four years but she touched my life in many ways. I greatly admired her intellect and talent, and I loved her goofy sense of humor.
The quilt you see above is named Rolling Star Revisited. It was designed, pieced, appliquéd, and quilted by Lee. Here are a few detail shots, starting with a single rolling star:
Each star measures 15″ from point to point; the entire quilt measures 58″ square.
Lee was an accomplished longarm quilter. She did hand-guided quilting without a stitch regulator. Here you can see some of her beautiful free-motion quilted feathers:
The circles in the center of each star are hand-appliquéd using the needleturn method as is the reverse-appliquéd border:
You must be wondering how I came into possession of this treasure. Well, in early December I received an email from Lee’s husband Rick, now remarried and living in another part of the state. Rick wrote that he and his daughter Liz were on a mission to send Lee’s quilts out into the world where they could be “loved, cherished, and above all used,” and asked if I would like to have one. He included photos of 16 quilts. I replied immediately, telling Rick I would be thrilled to own one of Lee’s creations and that it had taken me all of two seconds to identify the quilt I would love to have.
Rolling Star Revisited arrived a few days later. Doesn’t it look wonderful on the back of my couch?
This is actually the second quilt Lee made using the Rolling Star block (hence the Revisited part of this quilt’s name). Her first version, made with Depression-era reproduction fabrics, was featured as a pattern in the September 2005 issue of Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine:
Lee had found a circa-1930s newspaper clipping of the block and drafted her own pattern. It’s a challenging project with curves and set-in seams; the directions include sewing the curved pieces by hand or by machine. One of these days I might make a single block just to test my skills.
By the way, this isn’t the first time one of Lee’s quilts has graced my couch. I was one of two dozen friends who helped Lee complete her last quilt, a magnificent version of Pickle Dish. I wrote about that here. Rick dubbed us “the Pickle Dish Gang.” The quilt was displayed at Lee’s memorial service and afterward it was circulated to each member of the group to have in her own home for a month. It was my turn in 2015:
I wrote about that here. It was such an honor to have one of Lee’s creations in my home, however temporarily. And now! Now to have one of her quilts as my very own . . . You can understand why I consider Rolling Star Revisited a gift beyond compare. It will be loved, it will be cherished, and it will be used.
Most of my quilts sport round quilt labels on their backs. My go-to “pattern” to make a round label is a compact disc, which measures 4⅝” in diameter. It seems to be the perfect size to contain all the information I want to put on a label. I described my method in a couple of posts earlier this year but not with great specificity. That’s why I decided to write a detailed post about it.
This tutorial is a companion to my most recent tutorial on printing quilt labels on fabric. Whether you write your labels by hand or create them by computer, you can follow the directions below to make a perfectly round label.
(By the way, I first wrote about my method of using compact discs to make quilt labels in 2012. Back then I was writing my labels by hand. I’ve streamlined the label-making process since then and have also moved to creating labels on my computer rather than printing them by hand. If you are writing your labels by hand, you can follow steps 1-5 of my 2012 tutorial and pick up the finishing process below.)
My labels are made with quilter’s cotton. I use fusible interfacing on the back because I like to “baste” the label in place by lightly fusing it to the back of the quilt before appliquéing it in place by hand. You can also use non-fusible interfacing and simply pin the label in place to appliqué it.
Supplies ⦁ quilt label printed on fabric (or quilt label hand-printed on scrap of fabric at least 6½”square)
⦁ scrap of light to medium-weight fusible interfacing at least 6½” square (I use Pellon 911FF)
⦁ compact disc
⦁ #2 pencil with a very sharp point
⦁ temporary marking pen or pencil (I recommend the Frixion erasable gel pen)
⦁ pinking shears
Step 1. Print a test copy of your computer-generated label on a sheet of paper. In my example I have created two labels on one page using two different typestyles so I can decide which one I like better after seeing it printed on fabric:
You might prefer to create just one label and center it on the page.
Step 2. Find the midpoint of the label by measuring the longest line and dividing by two, then by measuring from the bottom of the top line to the bottom of the last line. In my label below, the midpoint is the top of the stem on the letter “d” in the word “Portland.” Using a sharp #2 pencil, mark the center with a small dot.
Center the hole in the middle of the compact disc over the dot you marked. Draw a complete circle around the disc:
This gives you a preview of what your finished label will look like. If your circle is slightly off, erase the lines and redraw.
Step 3. Print your label onto fabric:
Step 4. Determine which label you plan to use and trim excess fabric. I decided to use the top label so I measured 6½” from the top of the fabric before making the horizontal cut:
My label is 8½” wide — more than it needs to be — because it’s the width of a piece of paper. A label that’s been hand-printed need not be wider than 6½”.
Step 5. Fusible interfacing usually has a bumpy texture on the fusible side whereas the non-fusible side is flat and smooth. On the flat, non-fusible side of interfacing fabric trace around the compact disc:
This is your stitching line so make sure it’s dark enough to see clearly. You can use a pencil like I did or a Frixion pen.
Step 6. Lay the interfacing over the label fusible side down and center it. You should be able to see the lettering clearly through the interfacing:
The circle you drew on the smooth non-fusible side is on top. When the label is turned right side out, the bumpy fusible side will be on the outside.
Step 7. Pin the layers in place:
I like to put pins in the 3, 6, 9, and 12 o’clock positions first, adding four more pins evenly spaced. The thinner the pin the better because you want the layers to be as flat as possible.
Step 8. Using a small stitch (2.2 on a computerized machine or about 12 stitches to the inch), sew all the way around the circle, removing each pin as you come to it. Go five or six stitches beyond where you started so you don’t have to knot the thread:
First Light Designs tip: Make sure you are using an open-toe foot on your sewing machine that allows you to see the needle going in and out of the fabric. You need to stitch precisely on the drawn line. If you stray even a stitch or two off the line your label won’t be perfectly round. Any sharp points in stitching will be visible when the label is turned right side out.
Step 9. Trim around the label with pinking shears. Notice that the inside point of the pinked edge is just a few threads from the stitching line:
First Light Designs tip: If you don’t have pinking shears, trim around the label a generous 1/8” from the stitching line. You can probably get away with a scant 3/16” but a quarter of an inch is too much. Clip from the outside edge almost to the stitching line all around the label; the clips should be no more than a quarter of an inch apart.
Step 10. Pull the interfacing away from the label fabric and make a small snip in the middle. Cut across the middle of the interfacing to within a half-inch or so of the edges:
Step 11. Turn the label right side out. From the back side of the label run a softly pointed tool around the stitched line until the label attains its round shape:
In the photo above you see a white point turner (also known as a bone folder) and a multipurpose quilter’s tool called That Purple Thang. Both tools work well for turning a round quilt label. So does a long fingernail.
Your label is now ready to be attached to the back of your quilt.
First Light Designs tip: After determining where you want the label to go — but before lightly fusing it in place — use a ruler aligned with two outside edges to make sure the lines on the label are parallel with a bottom edge.
Step 12. Fuse the label to the quilt lightly — enough to hold the label in place but not enough to completely melt the fusible. Use a press cloth and make sure to use the iron temperature specified by the directions that came with the fusible interfacing. You don’t want to scorch the label!
Allow the label to cool and appliqué it in place by hand:
And there you have it: a perfectly round label securely attached to the quilt.
Back in May — doesn’t that seem like a hundred years ago? — I wrote about a method I discovered quite by accident of printing computer-generated labels on fabric. It requires only two items: fabric and fusible interfacing — no freezer paper involved. I described my method and promised to write a proper tutorial on it. Here is that tutorial. Better late than never, right?
I’ve written this tutorial in two parts. Part 1 is all about getting the fabric ready. Part 2 is about creating the label on your computer.
Part 1, Preparing the Fabric for Your Label
Step 1. Choose a fabric for your label that allows the type to show clearly. The fabric can be a solid or tone-on-tone print in a light to medium-light value. You might also be able to use a printed fabric — perhaps one you used in your quilt – if it’s not too busy or too dark in value to make the printed label hard to read. I’m illustrating this tutorial by making a label for my most recent UFO finish, Lilacs in September, using a medium light spring green fabric with a crosshatch design.
Step 2. Cut the label fabric about ½” larger all around than a printed page. In the United States the standard paper size is 8½” x 11” so you would cut your fabric about 9½” x 12”. It doesn’t have to be exact. I just lay a piece of paper on top of my label fabric and cut around it with scissors:
Step 3. Choose a featherweight or lightweight fusible interfacing. I use Pellon 911FF (the FF stands for featherweight fusible) for most of my labels but other brands will work equally well.
Step 4. Cut the fusible interfacing slightly smaller than you cut the label fabric. I do this the same way, by laying a piece of paper on top of the interfacing and cutting around it with scissors:
Cutting the interfacing slightly smaller assures that you won’t accidentally fuse it to your ironing board cover when you iron it to the label fabric. No need to ask me how I know that . . .
Step 5. Place the fusible side of the interfacing on the wrong side of the label fabric, making sure none of the fusible extends beyond the edges of the label fabric . . .
. . . and fuse in place following the manufacturer’s directions.
Step 6. Place the fabric on your cutting mat interfacing side up. Trim to 8½” x 11”:
Make sure your cutting is precise because the piece of interfaced fabric needs to fit perfectly in the paper tray of your inket printer.
Step 7. Place the fabric in your printer’s paper tray. (Make sure you know whether the fabric side needs to go in the tray right side down or right side up, as it varies from printer to printer. It goes right side down in my HP Office Jet Pro 8620.) Now print the label:
Voilà! It should slide out of the printer just as if it were a piece of paper. (You’ll notice I put two labels on my page; I’ll explain why in Part 2.)
One more thing to do:
Step 8. Heat-set the ink on the label using a press cloth and plenty of steam:
This helps to keep the ink on the label from fading with repeated washings. Irons vary widely so let me caution you not to have the iron too hot as it may scorch the label, even with a press cloth on it. I like to set my iron on medium high and, with the press cloth on top, steam the writing on the the label for 10 seconds. I let it cool and steam it for 10 more seconds.
Now you’re ready to finish your label and attach it to your quilt. You’ll see in Part 2 below that I like to make my labels round but yours can be any shape you want. Squares and rectangles are popular and easy because all you need to do is turn and press the raw edges under ½” or so and stitch the label to the quilt.
Part 2. Creating the Label on Your Computer
Step 1. Open up a new document on your computer and type the information you want to include about your quilt. What you put on your label is entirely up to you. At a minimum I always include:
the name I have given my quilt
my city and state
the name of my quilter (if I didn’t quilt it myself)
the year of completion
Notice that each line is centered.
If my quilt is an original design I might say “designed and made by Dawn White.” If the quilt was made from one of my own patterns I might include the name of the pattern or say “designed and made by Dawn White of First Light Designs.”
If my quilt was made using someone else’s design, I always credit the designer:
If I tweaked someone’s design, added my own design elements, or significantly changed construction techniques, I might add a line such as “based on (pattern) by (name of designer)” or “inspired by (name of designer)”:
Step 2. Determine the point size and typeface of your label. The point size refers to the size of the type, e.g. 12 point, 14 point, etc. The typeface refers to the design, or style, of the lettering. Most word processing programs offer dozens of typefaces to choose from. On my computer these typefaces are called “theme fonts.” (Did you know that font is the French word for face? Now doesn’t the word typeface make more sense?)
The point sizes you choose depend on the size and shape of your finished label and how much information you want to include. My label for Lilacs in September has five lines of copy. I put the name of the quilt in 24 point boldface and italic. The lines underneath are in 14 point. I auditioned a sans serif type face called Arial and a serif typeface called Cambria. Both labels fit on one page so I could make my final decision on which one to use after this page was printed on fabric. (Putting two labels on one page is just an option, of course. You could create one label and center it on the page, which would give you a lot of flexibility in deciding later on the shape of your label.)
Step 3. Save your document.
Step 4. Print your label on paper. This gives you a good sense of what the label will look like printed on fabric. Here is my label for Lilacs in September, printed with black ink:
If you have a color printer you can experiment with different colors of ink. Print the labels on paper first to test the depth of color. You may find the ink doesn’t look quite as dark or as vivid on fabric as it did on paper.
Take another look at the label for Scattered Stars, my cheddar and indigo quilt. I used indigo ink which turned out to be not as dark as I was expecting but I still chose it over black:
Most of my round labels are made using a compact disc as a pattern. A CD measures 4⅝” in diameter so a label with a few lines of text fits inside that circle nicely. My label for Give Me the Simple Life has eight lines but still fits inside the compact disc pattern size:
The addition of the red ring made the label finish at about 6″ in diameter.
Below is a computer-generated label I made in May to replace a label on Ramblin’ Rose, made several years ago. I had omitted two significant pieces of information — the inspiration for my quilt and the name of the longarm quilter — and wanted to correct those oversights. In the photo below the original label is still on the quilt, about to be removed and replaced with the one on the right:
I used to write all of my labels by hand, a time-consuming endeavor. Creating them on the computer and printing them directly onto fabric has turned out to be quick and easy — and rather fun to do. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to hand-printed labels.
I hope you find my tutorial helpful. Be sure to let me know if you have any questions. As always, thank you for visiting First Light Designs!
Note: I followed up this tutorial with a new one, posted Nov. 6, about how I make my round labels using a compact disc. You can find it here.
A few weeks ago Shelly Pagliai of Prairie Moon Quilts made a request on her blog for signature blocks for a quilt she is planning. She wants to make a very large quilt out of very small blocks — they will finish at only three inches! Here’s my block:
I’ve never met Shelly but I’m a big fan. In some ways I feel like I know her. She is the author of this book . . .
. . . which includes the instructions for Hazel’s Diary Quilt, pictured on the cover.
I was lucky enough to see Shelly’s original quilt on a trip to Paducah, Kentucky in 2017:
Her quilt inspired me to make my own version, Give Me the Simple Life, completed in 2019:
While working on this quilt I was struggling with a particularly difficult needleturn appliqué shape — if memory serves it was a very small five-pointed star — so I dashed off an email asking for advice. Shelly answered my email quickly and offered a suggestion that helped immensely. I’ve always been grateful.
Since I’ve made one of her quilt designs I thought it would be fun to make a block for her signature quilt. Other than the size of the block, Shelly’s only requirements are that the background fabric be a bright color and the signature portion be solid white.
I chose one of the bright yellow prints I used in Give Me the Simple Life for the background fabric. I don’t have a solid white in my stash so I used the wrong side of a very tiny white-on-white dot fabric for the signature portion. It happens to be the same white fabric I used for the background in Give Me the Simple Life (although I used the right side!). I’m pretty sure it will pass muster.
Soon my little block will be winging its way from my home in Portland, Oregon to Shelly’s home in Wien, Missouri 1,863 miles away. And who knows? Maybe in a post-pandemic world I will get to meet her.
Who knew that playing around with computer-generated quilt labels could be so much fun? Well, not everyone’s kind of fun, I suppose. But I was delighted to learn from comments on my last post that my accidental method of making labels with fusible-backed fabric worked for other quilters using different fusibles and printing their labels on different computers. As promised, I will work on a tutorial for my website to show the method step by step.
One quilter, Marge, noted that she starches her label fabric and sends it right through the printer. No interfacing, just one layer of fabric. Of course I had to try it! I decided to make a new label for Ramblin’ Rose, another kaleiodoscope quilt from 2009 that needed more information:
I’m happy to report that Marge’s method worked beautifully. Marge did say she “starches the heck” out of her fabric so I made sure I did too. As a matter of fact, I spent more time starching the fabric than I would have just fusing interfacing to fabric. You really have to iron the fabric after each application of starch until it’s completely dry. The weight and feel of the “page” of starched fabric felt almost identical to the fused layer I experimented with earlier.
Unfortunately, when I printed my starched page I realized that the top line of the label was too close to the top of the page, not allowing enough room to draw around a compact disc for my preferred round label. I had to prepare a new one. Instead of starching a new piece of fabric, I went back to my method of fusing interfacing to the label fabric.
Here’s the old label still on the quilt and the one I just made:
In my last post I described how I used a piece of quilter’s cotton for the back of my label. My friend Arden suggested I try using fusible interfacing instead. That’s what I use for my label backing when I make hand printed labels. With those I have only two layers: the label fabric and the interfacing used for the backing instead of fabric. With a computer-generated label, though, I have three layers: the label fabric fused with interfacing and the second piece of interfacing used as the label backing. Would two layers of interfacing plus the label fabric make the finished label too stiff, I wondered?
Worth a try. Yes, the label did feel a little stiff and I found it very challenging pushing the needle through the layers when I hand appliquéd the label in place. I’m wondering if washing the quilt would soften the label a bit. Ramblin’ Rose has been displayed on a quilt rack in my sewing room for over a decade so it could probably use a trip to the laundry room. I’ll toss it in the washer and dryer and report back.
By the way, here’s a look at the back of Ramblin’ Rose (with the old label still in place — and the hanging sleeve so it could hang in a quilt show):
Ramblin’ Rose has made her trip through the washer and dryer, and I’m delighted to report the label turned out beautifully: it has body but is still supple like the rest of the quilt:
A quilt I made over 10 years ago has an updated label, thanks to a mistake I made the other day creating a computer-generated label for my latest quilt, Uptown Funk. The label pictured above is the fourth one I’ve made using my computer and inkjet printer — and I may never go back to printing them by hand. (The smaller label on the left is the one I removed from the quilt so I could sew the new one on.)
For the first computer-generated label I made, created last fall for Give me the Simple Life, I followed a tutorial that called for label fabric to be fused to a layer of freezer paper and run through the printer. I had to use two layers of freezer paper before I was successful. Even then, the freezer paper rippled a little bit so it took a couple of tries (i.e. the printer jammed and I had to start over) before I got a label I could use.
On my second label, made for All You Need Is Love, I wanted an extra layer under the label so the print on the backing fabric wouldn’t show through. As an experiment I fused interfacing to the back of my label fabric before pressing it to one layer of freezer paper. There was very little rippling of the freezer paper. It went through the printer easily and I got a useable label on the first try. That in itself was serendipitous. Little did I know there was more serendipity to come!
To make label #3 for Uptown Funk, I decided to follow the second method. Three layers: label fabric, fusible interfacing, freezer paper. I made my preparations and trooped from my sewing room on the second story of our house down to the basement where the computer and printer are. Once there I realized I had only two of my three layers. I had fused the interfacing to the label fabric and trimmed it to size but had forgotten all about the freezer paper.
Arghh!! Did I really want to climb two flights of stairs to my sewing room to complete the freezer paper step? Or should I take a chance and run the fabric through the printer without the freezer paper? The worst that could happen is the printer would jam, right? So I tried it with just the two layers . . . and it worked — beautifully!
Was it just a fluke? Or have I stumbled onto an important discovery?
I decided to test my inadvertent discovery today by making a new label for a quilt I’d made in 2009. Back then my standard label information consisted of the name I had given the quilt, my name, and the year completed. At the time I didn’t appreciate the importance of providing additional information, such as the the designer of the quilt (if it wasn’t me) or the name of the person who quilted it for me. Nowadays I make it a point to include all that information on my labels.
Fiesta was quilted for me by the late great Lee Fowler, and I have been wanting to update the label information to acknowledge that for a very long time. I’ve actually been meaning to go back and remake several of my older labels but have always found an excuse to put it off. Creating labels by hand can be onerous and time-consuming, even when the results are pleasing. But now, thanks to the ease and speed of making a computer-generated label, my procrastination may be a thing of the past.
Here, very briefly, are the steps I took to make this label:
First, featherweight interfacing is fused to the label fabric. (I used Pellon 911FF.) Both pieces are cut slightly larger than a standard sheet of paper, 8½” x 11″:
Second, the fused fabrics are trimmed to 8½” x 11″ exactly:
Third, the two layers are fed into the inkjet printer and the label is printed from a file created on the computer. I tried two different sizes of type since I had room on the page for two labels:
Going with the smaller type, I decided I wanted a round label 4″ in diameter. (Labels can be any shape but I like the look of a round label.) My standard pattern is a compact disc measuring 4⅝” in diameter but it seemed a bit large so I made a trip to the kitchen to find just the right size to trace around. This small blue bowl is exactly 4″ across:
The larger circle drawn around the label was made with a compact disc, the smaller with the blue bowl.
I traced around the blue bowl on the wrong side of my label backing fabric so that when I held both layers up to the light I could position the top layer properly:
I don’t have a light table so the window had to do.
After being stitched and turned inside out, my label was ready to sew into place:
I chose to appliqué mine by hand but on another quilt it might be machine appliquéd if the stitching lines wouldn’t be distracting on the right side of the quilt.
My labels were printed on an HP OfficeJet Pro 8620. I know that all inkjet printers are not created equally. There must be wide variations between brands and models. I can’t help but wonder: with two successful labels behind me made with the new combo of label fabric + fusible interfacing + fabric for the back of the label, how transferable is this method of printing computer-generated labels?
Ah, that’s where you come in. If you are the least bit intrigued with my accidental discovery, would you be willing to make a test label? If this method works with different brands of printers — and different brands of fusible interfacing — I would be willing to create a tutorial for my website with detailed instructions and a lot of photos. I thank in advance any quilter who decides to go for this.
Before I sign off, here’s a look at Fiesta, the first in my series of kaleidoscope quilts, front and back:
Yes, I need to get a new photo of the back with the updated label!
I made a serendipitous discovery today when making the label for All You Need Is Love, my latest quilt. Before I explain, let me show you a few photos of the quilt taken outdoors this afternoon. The photos are so much better than the indoor shots I showed you in my last post. I’m especially loving the contrast between the red of the quilt and the green of the grass:
Did you happen to notice the label in the lower left corner in the photo above?
No? How about in the photo below, showing the front of the quilt with one corner turned back?
It’s not very noticeable, is it? That was my goal!
Here’s a close-up:
The label contains important information: the name of the quilt, who designed it, who made it, where it was made, who quilted it, and the year it was finished. But I wanted the label to take a back seat to the message on the back of the quilt.
To achieve that I did three things: printed the label from my computer so that I could use smaller letters than I can comfortably write by hand; used red ink, which blends into the background better than black ink would; and reduced the size of my circle pattern from my usual measurement of 4⅝” in diameter (the width of a compact disc) to 3¾” in diameter . The quilt finishes at 38″ x 44″ so a smaller label was definitely called for.
This is my second experience printing a label using my inkjet printer. The first time was a few months ago when I made the label for Give Me the Simple Life. The procedure was pretty straightforward. You start with label fabric and freezer paper that are both cut larger than a standard piece of paper, press the shiny side of the freezer paper to the wrong side of the label fabric, and trim the result very carefully to exactly 8½” x 11″. You create a label on your computer, determining the font and point size based on the desired finished size of your label. You insert the fabric/freezer paper combo into your printer and print the label.
When I tried this the first time I found I had to use two layers of freezer paper to get my printer to accept the combo and even then it was a bit temperamental, jamming my printer a couple of times until I got the the result I wanted.
I would have followed the same procedure this time but for my concern that the bright little flowers on my background fabric would show through the white label fabric. I was using the same white fabric for the back of the label but I wanted an extra layer in the middle to make sure those bright little flowers stayed hidden.
I decided to try fusing featherweight interfacing to the back of my label fabric before pressing it to one layer of freezer paper. I’m so glad I did! The interfacing gave the fabric just the right amount of body to feed smoothly through my printer. Serendipity!
I previewed my label first on paper using two different shades of red:
The bottom red was a better match with the red in the quilt. Next I printed the label on my fabric/interfacing/freezer paper combo:
The ink on fabric wasn’t quite as bright as the ink on paper but would certainly be fine for my purpose.
After determining a circle 3¾” in diameter would work well as a finished label size (based on the width of the longest line), I wandered around my kitchen opening cupboard doors until I found something just the right size to trace around for the back of the label:
In the next photo the fabric for the back of the label is on top of the label fabric, right sides together and pinned in place. You can just make out the printing on the label through the top layer:
After stitching all the way around the circle (taking out the pins as I come to them) and trimming very close to the stitched edge with pinking shears, I cut a slit in the back of the label so it can be turned inside out:
With the label turned, pressed, and hand appliquéd in place, the slit in the back will never be seen. And I’m very happy with the result:
I have a feeling I will be using this method on future labels!
May I present my latest quilt finish? It’s called All You Need Is Love based on the pattern Love Rocks from the new book Text Me from Sew Kind of Wonderful:
The book features several sizes of alphabets made using Sew Kind of Wonderful’s new Wonder Curve ruler. I like to piece the backs of my quilts so I decided to have some fun with the alphabet and carry a message from the front of the quilt to the back:
My little quilt — 38″ x 44″ — sports an edge-to-edge quilting design. I wanted something modern and was attracted to this design that looks a bit like doodling:
“Modern Ties” is a whimsical design that offers a pleasing counterpoint to the precision of the letters. Sherry Wadley did such a nice job on this for me. The quilting enhances the design of the quilt without overpowering it, just the effect I was going for.
A lot of quilters I know don’t enjoy binding their quilts but I do. Stitching down the binding on this quilt was a breeze both because the quilt is small and because I used a nifty little “sticky thimble” to push the needle through the fabric:
The thimble is called a Poke-a-Dot — how cute is that? — and comes in a little round tin containing 24 dots. Each thimble can be used multiple times so I probably have a lifetime supply. I could have ordered just the small tin of Poke-A-Dots but I treated myself to a bigger tin — the full Appliqué Set from Jillily Studio — several weeks ago:
Having learned how to do needleturn appliqué last year in the making of Give Me the Simple Life, I’m interested in learning other approaches. And I do confess that the tin this appliqué set comes in influenced my decision to purchase it. (This is not a paid endorsement, by the way; I just happen to like these products.)
Another confession: I jumped the gun in showing you my latest quilt. It’s not quite finished. Still to come: the label.
. . . made from the Pattern Basket‘s new pattern, aptly named Pretty Little Baskets. This one is half again as large as the first one I made (subject of my last post) because I resized it. Here’s the new test block:
It measures 12″ unfinished. For comparison, here are both blocks together:
It took me the better part of a day to figure the correct measurements to cut the fabric strips and to sew one block. The reason? Fractions! The original block measures 8″ unfinished, 7½” finished. That’s a bit unusual. Most blocks are a whole number finished, and the unfinished block is a half inch larger because it includes two quarter-inch seam allowances.
I wanted to make a basket block as close to 12″ as possible. I figured the easiest way was to use the original instructions and scale the measurements up 150%, meaning the block would measure 12″ unfinished, 11½” finished. I knew that would mean some unusual cutting dimensions. As it turned out, the procedure for determining the exact measurements was more involved than I originally thought and almost every strip of fabric was cut to an eighth of an inch.
But hey, it worked! And now I have two pretty little baskets. I like both sizes and will probably make more of both eventually, though for different projects. Wouldn’t these blocks be wonderful with some kind of appliqué added?
. . . my Uptown Funk neighborhood, that is, which now has doors and a few windows:
I wanted the long skinny doors to really stand out, like rays radiating from a sun, so I cut them all from black and green solids. I thought the effect might be diluted if I used prints.
I was planning to use the same solid fabrics for windows. If you look at the Dresden Neighborhood pattern by Kim Lapacek that my neighborhood is based on, you’ll see that all the buildings have doors and windows:
My plan changed when I happened upon a piece of fabric in my stash of a cityscape with a variety of windows — in the perfect color combo of black, white, and green. Of course I had to audition them! I fussycut just a few sets of windows and placed them randomly around the circle of houses.
The windows weren’t printed on the straight of grain so they’re all a little bit wonky. Perfect for my wonky little neighborhood. Here’s a close-up:
Oh, and see the little chimney? It’s the only one in the neighborhood. It’s covering up the smudge of dirt I pointed out in my previous post about this project. I stitched around the base of the chimney with black thread so it would stand out a bit more, and I also added a row of black stitching around the roof. I stitched around the other four roofs that had a lot of white in them after noticing that they blended into the background fabric too much.
I’m thinking windows on only five of my houses may be enough. What do you think?