Friday, August 16, 2013

The Latest Quilt Repairs

I un-sewed the old binding, removing the machine top-stitching and the hand sewing. It was pretty much of a mess, worn to shreds, but still close to it's original Kelly green.  That binding, I always wonder why it was chosen.  Of course when it was new, the colors of the quilt were much brighter and included most colors there are. So, maybe it looked good then. In the quilt's present state of faded muted colors, it shouted a bit. However, when I got it all off, so it was no longer bound by such a dark contrast, I felt I had done the quilt a favor. It now looked calm, not a confined by it's dark fence.

Modern quilts are often bound with straight grain binding. It takes less fabric and doesn't stretch if handled properly.

Traditionally quilts are bound with a strip of bias fabric.  It is said to wear better. This quilt requires it with it's scalloped edges.  One of the properties of bias is it's stretchabilty. For the binding to lie flat when finished I would have to encourage it's stretchable tendencies.
Around the convexities of the scallops I needed to stretch sideways on the binding while guiding the quilt and the binding under the foot of the sewing machine so as to give the fabric enough width to cup over the curve when turned to the back. You can see in the photo above, I used a stiletto to help encourage the fullness into the fabric.

In the short concave curved space between the scallops I needed to pull on the binding gently while sewing it on.

It took a long time. It was rather tedious to tell the truth. It reminded me of setting sleeve caps, except that there were twenty of them.

I will turn the binding and sew it on by hand. that part is relaxing at least, even if it will take a while to do.

Friday, August 9, 2013

First week of August Gone

I think, living in Florida, that August is the cruelest month.  It's generally hot and humid. There are brief respites especially when we have a sudden rain in the afternoon to break the back of the heat of the day. But then, getting older means that joints are more likely to become predictors of those rain storms by their aching. I'll be glad when it's over, this August. Maybe next year I can think far enough ahead to be somewhere else in August.

This particular week I spent three mornings at KinderCamp in the land of  "criss-cross, applesauce" (I talked about this here) and "bubbles and tails" a local elementary school.  KinderCamp strives to introduce 5-year-olds to the wonderful world of Kindergarten. The first two days I took a little of the pressure off the teachers by reassuring a few crying children that this would not only not last forever, but that books held some secret fun and by wasting time crying, we might be missing something interesting. By my return on Thursday almost everyone was finished with the crying thing.

I was reassured that I don't want a full-time job in a school. It's too much for me at this stage. I'll stick to volunteering when I have time.

I volunteered for an editing job for a pattern designer, and she is going to trust me with looking over her work.  She designs bags and purses and that sort of thing.  She may give me a pattern for free as payment. It appears that this sort of thing is the norm among the "indie" designers, especially those patterning for children's clothes and for bags. Usually they call for "pattern testers" and I have responded to a couple of those. I have not been chosen.  However, with this particular one I offered to vet her work since English is not her first language and she appears to have a real desire to produce a quality, highly usable product.  I admire that.

It's 4:30 pm and dark as twilight as today's afternoon rain pours down.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Not So Much To Write Home About

...or to blog about either I guess.  In the past week during the time I've worked on the quilt repair, I have completed replacing the missing patches with the vintage fabric. During the process I relocated the eighth missing patch I had seen originally when I first got the quilt, but had not seen during the thorough search and charting of the places needing work.  I had enough replacement fabric, so no problem, but it goes to show how careful you need to be in examining for areas needing work.  I also came across several more places where seams had come undone.

I have not done any re-quilting yet, but needed a slight change in activity, so I have started to unsew the binding. I think it was commercially made double fold tape and has done a great job in protecting the edge of the quilt. It is really nearly in shreds in places.  The person applying the binding  used an unusual technique in that on the front of the quilt the binding is top-stitched in place by machine. On the back side it has been tacked down by hand in places.  I will also do one line of machine stitching and one of hand stitching, however I will put right sides together when doing the machine stitching and then flip the tape to the back and hand sew it in place.  My machine stitching won't show.

I figured out roughly how much binding I will need. The edge is scalloped so I came up with a figure of about 9 yards. The fabric I ordered has arrived and has been washed and dried. It is a blender fabric and the pattern is called "Sponged" like the painting technique that gives you several shades of the same color.  Here's a photo of the fabric under the edge of the quilt (with the binding removed.)

As you can see, there are quite a few patches in that same color family in the quilt. I think that it will give the quilt a whole new look.