Saturday, January 11, 2014

Giving applique a bath

I got busy doing some prep for two applique borders before Christmas so I could sit and relax with some stitching. I feel like I've been productive now that two are done. The first is for my Baltimore and the second is for the Aunty Green.
The Baltimore border has lots of embroidered stems which I did using a wrapped stem stitch. You might be able to see if you click on the photo above.
I draw the pattern on the background with my special pens and I do use basting glue so my applique needs a good bath when I'm done.
I generally fill a sink with warm water, not too hot and leave the piece to soak for anything from 15 minutes to half an hour depending what else I'm busy with. I do swish it around in the water a couple of times and I'll only add a dye catcher sheet if I'm concerned about some of the fabrics bleeding. I don't need to use them to catch the ink in the pens. I pre-wash most fabrics but sometimes those reds bleed regardless. 
You can see how the water has changed colour from the ink,it's suspended in the water and has never affected my fabrics or run onto them. They are acid free and non toxic. Sometimes I steam press my applique with a hot iron and that doesn't even affect how effectively it washes out. I have left ink in a quilt for a couple of years and it still washes out beautifully. For more information, see this post.
I rinse a couple of times in cold water and then squeeze, not wring the excess out. I then flatten it out on a towel as in the photo above, roll it up inside the towel to get more water out and leave it flat to dry.
Once it's dry, I'll double a towel on the ironing board and give it a good press with steam. The soft surface stops the applique from pressing too flat and it helps to get the wrinkles out between the applique shapes.
 It's hard to get a good photo of long borders but you get the idea. I've left quite a bit of negative space to fit some nice quilting in and I also didn't want the border to be too busy looking. There's still more to do to turn the corners at each end but I can't do that until later when sides are joined.
I finished another border for the Aunty Green quilt and thought I'd show you more close up photos so you can see the fabrics. The above is the center section.
The right side
And lastly, the left. I have to do some math now and do some trimming before I join the last four borders to the center medallion. After that I guess I have to get on and fill the corner applique parts in. That could take awhile.
Until next time, happy stitching, Janet

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A new old quilt and little cotton rabbits

Happy New Year to you all!
Now that Christmas gifts have been unwrapped, I'd like to share with you this red and green antique quilt that my husband gave to me.
It's one of my favourite patterns in my favourite quilt colours. I know it as Whigs Rose but I'm sure it has other names depending on the political affiliations back in the day.
It was made around 1860 and was definitely pre-loved as the red fabrics and binding are looking pretty worn.
No worries about how to turn the corners on the borders, it looks like they were just placed at whim, I love that but I'm not brave enough to do it to my own quilts.
There are feathered wreaths quilted between the blocks and in a couple of other places. They don't show up very well because of the shrinkage and cotton batting. It's pretty expertly quilted with triple lines going through all the applique. Who quilts like that now?
The applique stitches are tiny and even, done with beige thread stitched in an overcast manner. I think this quilter must have been an accomplished sewer.
I put my hand in the photo to show just how tiny those berries are. This will be a quilt for display every Christmas now.
I can show you what I had been busy making for the grand children for Christmas now they've received them. I think they have a competitive streak when it comes to soft toys and cushions on their beds so these were well received.
It started off with this wee fella. The patterns are from Little Cotton Rabbits. I've always secretly coveted the rabbits Julie makes to sell so I was very happy when she started releasing the patterns which you can find here.
It didn't take much to talk me into making one for each of the kids despite never having made a kniited soft toy in my life. Every one came out looking a bit different depending on the wool used for the rabbit and that also seemed to determine the size and shape of each one.
Until next time, Janet