Monday, January 3, 2011

Community quilts

I belong to a quilters guild, a good thing to do if you want to be inspired by fellow quilters and also gives you opportunities to explore your craft in ways that you probably wouldn't take on your own.

Twice a year the guild donate quilts to charities, both child-centered, and I am just about to complete my first contribution. The green and floral heart blocks were done by various members of the guild.  We have a draw each month where people make up blocks to a pattern suggested the month before. Each block you make gives you a entry to the draw. I made five blocks out of 22 so I suppose it wasn't surprising when I won. That's a 22.7% chance, just in case you were interested. (Sorry, maths geek moment there!) They had two draws so I won 11 of them and made an extra one. So I put the blocks together with some red and brown log cabin strips and went off to my local quilting shop, Fabricland, to borrow their long-arm quilter. This was my first experience with a long-arm quilter.

Here is the beast.

I've quilted an all over design of a hearts linked together with a short meander stitch. I start my hearts at the top whereas most people seem to start theirs at the bottom point. I've tried the other way but it just doesn't feel right to me. I tried stitch-in-the-ditch around the floral hearts. 'Tried' being the word of the moment! It was pretty difficult but I was improving towards the end. These things get easier with practice, so I'm told.

Now it's time for the binding.

I want about 10mm to show on the front so I cut strips 70mm wide. That's six times the binding plus twice the thickness of the quilt.

Now you will notice that I measure things in metric and also in millimetres. Metric, because I'm trying to throw off the shackles of the British Empire, and millimetres because they just make sense for small measurements and they don't use cm in the building industry so why would I use them in my sewing. For those of you unfamiliar with the world of metric (am I conceited enough to believe that one day someone other than my two daughters may be reading this page?), for 70mm one says, 'seventy mil'. Now isn't that easier than saying two and three quarters inches - or is it two and three quarters of an inch. See, I don't even know how to speak imperial any more!

But back to my binding...  What I wanted to share was my method of attaching different size bindings. I don't have a quarter inch foot since I use a 5mm seam allowance. I use a masking tape guide instead. The beauty of this is that I can make my guide any size. I sew a seam on a bit of scrap fabric, then use my ruler to trim the seam allowance to size. Then I put the scrap back into the machine and put the needle down through the seam and position my masking tape on the bed of the machine at the edge of the fabric. Perfect guide to any size I want.

And here is my latest bit of masking tape. I will return when the binding is finished.

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