Saturday, April 19, 2008

What a Glorious Day!

What a perfect April day! I spent a good part of the day helping my mom paint. In the fall most of the outside of the house had been painted a pretty butter yellow. But she has lots of silver lace vines on lattice that is attached to the house and really didn't want to take them down until this spring. So last week my brother removed the lattice and today I helped paint. If the weather holds we should have the painting finished tomorrow and the lattice back up. The vines are already leafing out, ready to reclaim the lattice.

Remember the fabric that I showed on the blog a couple weeks ago? Well, I finally had a chance to do something with it: Here is the first completed hexagon. It measures 8" from side to side. (I can see you shaking your heads, thinking--how simple is that? But remember that if this turns into a class, there have to be some easier blocks to get people started!)

To entice you to come back and see what's going on, this is the center of a new hexagon--and the center pink hex is only 1/4 inch per side! The elongated pentagons are about the size of my finger. From the sublime to the ridiculous.... Stay tuned to see what this grows up to be!

To wash or not to wash your fabrics--what a hot topic. Here's my take on it. I am a hand quilter and a hand piecer. I also do machine piecing. I am a firm believer in washing my fabric before use. The new fabrics come in the door, into the washer (warm water, cold rinse, regular detergent), into the dryer, and then into the sewing room. Here are my reasons why: First, fabrics can bleed. I'd rather know that before I get a quilt finished, wash it, and have it run. Second, I like the sizing removed to make the hand work easier. No, I do not re-starch it, even before machine piecing. I do use Mary Ellen's Best Press to remove stubborn wrinkles, but have not found it to be a problem with hand work.

But the most telling reason to wash is this: I was the lucky recipient of yards and yards of batiks. I assumed they had all been washed, so I started using them right away. Well--I was partially correct--some of the fabrics had been washed and some had not. So every time I pressed my seams (with cotton setting and steam) the unwashed fabric shrank and puckered the seam. I was working on 6 inch blocks with many pieces--not the best time to find this out. Fabrics do shrink at different rates--I like them to shrink what they will in the washer alone, not competing with fabrics that have different thread counts and different shrinkage rates.

Also--one last thing--when you buy fabric, it has probably been rotary cut off the bolt, the edges look good, and you start to cut your strips, etc., only to find the dreaded "V for victory--the fabric won"! You know--you carefully cut your strip, open it up, and instead of being nice and straight, it has a V at the fold. You cannot correctly align your fabric before rotary cutting unless you wash it first. Even fabric that is torn is not on grain.

So that's my story about washing fabrics before using them. It's how I have made over 450 quilts. 'nuf said!

Sweet dreams, and remember to do something special for yourself every day--you're worth it!


  1. Great to see your new blocks. You always have such a good color sense. Dundee quilt store still there - it is the only thing in the block that is not an empty storefront. My error.

  2. I cannot even imagine the size of the block with the teeny center. Maybe if you post another picture of it, you could put a coin next to it for a point of comparison. It sounds amazing.


  3. Just had to write and tell you I thoroughly enjoyed class at Patchwork Plus on Saturday and finished my Friendship Quilt which is absolutely beautiful even if I do say so. I learned so much during class and look forward to seeing you soon in future classes.


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