Sunday, April 18, 2021

Slow Sunday Stitching 4/18/21

 Slow Sunday Stitching--see lots of goodies on Kathy's Quilts blog. 

Still working on the Humble Quilts blog doll quilt swap project, which lacked only the binding to finish.  I studied up on narrow bindings for little quilts and cut 1 1/4 inch strips from a dark gray plaid fat quarter. After joining the strips, I marked the wrong side of the binding with a 1/4 stitching line to avoid wavy edges while using the walking foot.  One hint I had seen was turning under 1/4 inch finished edge before pressing the attached binding away from the quilt top.  The impossibly tiny binding was then hand stitched down and behaved itself quite well. I love Clover binding clips for this job. 


I used gray Aurifil thread and am happy with the way it turned out.  This needs a label on the back and then will get mailed off this week to a far away state.  


Lots of other great doll quilts are being shown on the Humble Quilts Facebook group. I'll share the one I receive as soon as it gets here.  Always happy mail!

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Tea Dyeing Linen--Results Are In

As encouraged by some commenters, a tea dyeing adventure started with me looking up on WikiHow about tea dyeing.  Lots of water, lots of tea bags, and some salt were advised.


Recommended number of tea bags seemed like a lot, but I gathered 13 black tea bags and got a stock pot full of water boiling.  I trimmed a strip off the white Cashell linen yardage and cut it into 3 pieces.


The kitchen smelled great.  I let the tea bags steep for a while--and checked the color strength.


Seemed dark enough, so I took out all the tea bags as directed.  I wet the three strips of linen and put them in the pot.  I checked the color after just a few minutes and pulled the first strip out at about 5-6 minutes as it was getting dark already.  It went in a vinegar and water rinse and then got patted dry in paper towels; the others I let steep longer.  I cut off more strips; one I swiped through the tea bath for about 30 seconds and let it dry.  I let one strip stay in a couple of hours as an experiment.  


This piece was steeped for only a few seconds full strength, and once dry, still was much darker than the cover model.  While  a pretty shade, I wanted more contrast for this project. Upon reflection, the Wiki instructions were for dyeing clothing, which accounted for the many tea bags, and recommendation for steeping overnight. Given the small amount of linen I was dyeing, I then dumped out the pot probably to about 1/4 the original strength, added more water, and heated it back up. The dilution was much better for my desired linen color, closer to the pattern cover. It was a fun experiment.


The floss skeins are lying on top of the original white linen in the photo. It is quite a big piece of linen still. Whether I tea dye the whole piece or not, I am not going to want to start the stitchery on a piece that large.  I need to decide how many inches larger than the design I should cut the linen--the pattern gives the finished stitching size as 8x12 inches.   I'm thinking maybe 5 inches greater all  four sides around?  That should leave plenty of room for mounting, I should think.  Opinions/advice welcome! 

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Old Sewing Machine and Doll Quilt

I'm making progress on the doll quilt for Lori of Humble Quilts' swap, which needs to be mailed off in another 10 days.  My newer Husqvarna Sapphire sewing machine needed a cleaning and after work on Tuesday I took a long drive to drop it off in a shop which sells the same brand machines.  It was good to get out of the house on a nice day, even if I did miss my exit and have a 15 minute rerouting adventure I hadn't planned on!  The place is very busy and I was told to expect a two week stay for my machine, at a minimum.  I'm confident they know the brand so it is worth the wait. 


I had constructed the doll quilt backing with the newer machine, but had to get out my older Husqvarna machine, a Lily, to do the quilting.  Fortunately I had the insert for my sewing table as well as all the accessories and instruction book easily accessible so it was not too much trouble to get set up.


I had bought a walking foot for this model and a different one for the newer machine, and I am glad I did, because the original walking foot was not feeding properly.  


Simple straight line quilting in the ditch around the blocks and border, and Xs marked with the Hera were soon completed.  I sure missed my automatic presser foot lifter! I may add some hand stitching to the block centers. The binding has already been made and I just need to come up with a label before sending this off in the mail. 


I sewed up a bunch more four patches from the neverending 2" squares.  My cutting table is once again a disaster requiring a good hour to clean up.  The problem is my storage is getting maxed out once again and I need to sew up larger pieces faster--especially since I just bought a fat quarter collection of Kim Diehl's Gratitude and Grace, and some extra yardage of favorite prints :)

Thanks for all the feedback on the linen/tea-dyeing dilemma on the last post.  I'm going to cut off a piece of the linen and try dyeing that before committing to the whole piece. 

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Slow Sunday Stitching --Decisions

Slow Sunday Stitching on Kathy's Quilts blog comes round again--lots of lovely things to see. 

I've been ignoring the cross-stitched sunflower I was working on since I made a counting error, and turned to a Blackbird Designs booklet I've wanted to stitch since I bought it at a thrift store several years ago. I've shown it several times on the blog before. 


While I like the Alabaster linen color in the cover photo, I have not been able to buy any matching linen locally and have been thinking about tea dyeing this white Cashel linen I was able to find at Hobby Lobby.   Having never tea-dyed anything, I'm a bit hesitant as I don't want it to be too dark, or blotchy, or too brown rather than creamy like the cover photo. Sigh. The embroidery thread has been purchased and waiting for some time to be stitched up, and seeing it in the photo, I think it might be just fine on the white, after all!

I did find this Maman Chat  kit at my local fabric store...


The scarf and glasses--too funny!  I may have to go back and get it after all 😊

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Doll Quilts Underway

 Lori of Humble Quilts has again invited us to swap doll quilts.  It is a big job to match up signees and get us all connected, and I so appreciate her efforts.  I showed the parts for the doll quilt I'm making in my last post.  It is all sewn up now. 


I haven't decided yet on backing, quilting or binding, but will get this off to my swap partner by the end of the month.  These stars were from Barb's (Fun with Barb) last swap.  My block is in the center there, with the chrome/black and red--some readers may recall that my blocks exploded from the mailer and were saved by a postal worker, but got to Barb after the swap.  She mailed them all back to me, along with HER blocks. I told the sad story here.  

I put together a few of the swapped blocks many months ago, and stalled at one point in a design decision. I didn't put one of my stars in the quilt, as I insisted Barb keep one. 


Quilt Math is the hardest math, isn't it?  I decided would cut sashing for the corners, and that was done quickly.  Then the dreaded corner triangle math needed to be done. I always turn to Bonnie's helpful hints on Quiltville.com for these problems, and cut an oversized piece.  Naturally when I added this it was very late at night and after trimming one section, wisely decided to wait til morning for the remainder.  A border fabric was also chosen and I'm happy with  the results. 

The cornerstones are the same brown print as the four patches. 



I love this border fabric, have zero recollection of where I got it, though!   The stars were all such yummy fabrics, I had to take some closeups. 








There are many more swapped stars in the box with my returned blocks.  I'll look forward to petting and playing with them again.