Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Look & Feel of Quilted

Only four blocks left to quilt the background lines of the Sunbonnet Sue quilt!

The quilt gets easier to handle as the pins are removed and the batting is quilted down more and more. It actually feels like a quilt to cuddle under now.

A quick rinse to remove the blue marking lines and then on to the binding!

Other notes for the month of July as it closes out...Becca received this tortoise for her 18th birthday. Meet Percival, a Russian tortoise who is over 2 years old and can live to be 50! He eats vegies and fruit and sleeps til noon so fairly low maintenance. She has been asking for this kind of pet for years and now that she is a responsible adult, we made her and the folks at Tropical Hut very happy.

Drama babe attended summer classes at Oregon Children's Theater: drama, comedy, and a prep intensive for the Young Professionals program. She interviews for that on Thursday. Tonight she is called back for Junie B. Jones at NWCT, but beyond that, it's all confidential.

You know it takes a ukelele to bring a comedy sketch together.

Dad attended the comedy showcase, having taken the day off work after the midnight opening of Harry Potter.

Looking forward to August and hopefully some sunny weather. My son saw a store's marquee that read "Summer has arrived! Get your space heaters here." I say, grab a quilt.

Copyright ©2011, Sharon Baggs

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Background: Sunbonnet Sue

Twas a good day for quilting as the skies were cloudy. Thankful for the overnight rain that assisted me with the watering of the raised beds in my backyard, pictured here from my sewing room lookout.

When not driving the kids to and from work, theater classes and shopping,  I spent the greater part of the day working on the Sunbonnet Sue quilt. Decided to quilt a line down the center of the sashing strips, 1" in from the seamline. I used the very daring red thread here, as it blended right in with the red stripe in the sashing fabric.

Finally reached a decision on the background quilting for the applique blocks. After considering several options,  I saw this on p. 46 of  Quilting Designs from the Past by Jenny Carr Kinney (C&T Publishing, 2008). I met her briefly at Quilt Market in 2007 and knew I had to pick this book up when it became available. It has 300+ designs from 1810-1940.

Using my small square ruler, I marked a 1" square from each corner, then a 2", 3", 4" and one more line to finish off the design. Only finished one so far but think it's a great choice. The line goes up to but not through the applique design. It is quilted continuously by traveling in the ditch and around the applique to get to the next line.

The design that didn't make it: outlining the qpplique and perhaps echo quilting beyond that..though the quilting would probably be too heavy with a 1/2" repeated outline. Much prefer the 1" square design and every block will be marked for this plan.

Happy that all the quilting decisions have been made. It's a road map to the finish and very motivating to know the next step. Indecision really breeds procrastination. Best remedy is to mull over the old antique quilting design books for inspiration and get quilting!

Copyright ©2011, Sharon Baggs

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Quilting Density

How much quilting does a quilt require? That depends on both the style of the quilt and also the batting used. For this 1930's era Sunbonnet Sue, the designs chosen should keep with the original designs that were quilted during that time. For example, grids, outlining 1/4" from stitching lines or applique shapes, clamshells, feathers, etc., are all keeping with original design work.

The back of the Sunbonnet quilt shows the stitching alongside the applique. A next step might be to quilt 1/4" away from the design to outline it. In addition, a line quilted 1/4" from the sashing, in the background area, would add additional quilitng.

Here shows the back of the sashing quilted in-the-ditch. An additional line could be stitched through this area to quilt down the sashing, if desired. However, it is not necessary because the batting used allows quilting lines to be 8-10" apart. I do like to cut that number in half and really have no space that is more than 3-4" open without quilting.

Back in the 1930's the batting used was 100% cotton. If the quilting wasn't heavy enough, the batting would break down quickly during wear and washing. Several of today's battings have what is called a "scrim binder" which is something like a grid which the fibers are bonded to. This makes a tighter weave inside and allows for looser quilting. Heavy quilting with this type of batting (i.e. Warm & Natural) can also make the quilt feel stiff, so check for how the quilt drapes over your lap while quilting.

So when is enough enough as far as quilting goes? Flip the quilt over, as shown here, and take a look at the amount of quilting already completed and see where there are spaces that still need quilting. Also, check the package of your batting choice and see what is recommended for spacing the quilting lines. Stitching through a sample of your fabric and batting is also helpful.

Copyright ©2011, Sharon Baggs