What I’ve Learned from Teaching

ironcleaning1One of the things I most enjoy about teaching is what I learn from my students. Here are a few tips I’ve picked up over the years from teaching intrepid quilt makers from around the world. 

  • Irons are hot, filthy things. Use a dryer sheet to clean your iron. Here’s how.
  • Do NOT use a dryer sheet when standing beneath a smoke detector as they can trigger a smoke alarm. The fire department will come to your classroom and you are never asked back to that venue again.
  • Use size 4 embroidery needles with a size 8 embroidery thread.
  • The best place to hide your fabric stash from your husband is at a friend’s house.
  • Always bring Band-Aids to class.
  • When an iron starts an ironing board on fire, throw it out the door onto an asphalt driveway. Or wait for the fire department to arrive and never be asked back to that venue again. 

A big thank you to all my students for these helpful tips!

How to Count When Fusing

BED48022-EE89-439E-9B11-FB38E3723AD8

One of the first steps in fusing fabric is to apply the glue to the fabric for 5-7 seconds with a hot, dry iron. Seems simple, right? But I have discovered that in different regions of the country, people count at a different pace. So 5 seconds in Alabama is not 5 seconds in New York City.

Therefore I have implemented the Chicago School of Fusing Method of Counting!

First, pretend you are Lawrence Welk. You are conducting the orchestra in a polka. The beat goes: 1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,3. (Do NOT include the North Dakota “anda” between the numbers.)

  • Count out loud. If you do this rhythm 4 times correctly, a total of 6 seconds will pass. 
  • Now draw a straight line on the non-glue side of the fusible web. 
  • Place the glue side of the fusible web onto the fabric.

38E2E1B7-04AD-41C7-A5B1-F9C0451329FA

  • Place the hot (cotton setting) iron on the right side of the line.
  • Begin the polka. Repeat after me: 1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,3.

52B87974-F940-4A6E-8D54-C2B475432E21

  • As you begin your 1,2,3s glide the iron across the line so you end up with the line on the right side of the iron by your last 1,2,3. 
  • There! Not only do you have the correct speed for fusing but you can dance as well.

Traveling? Some Stitch Tips

silkstitching1Believe it or not, I’m looking forward to a long, long car ride next week. Why? It’s an opportunity to stitch for extended stretches of time without those bothersome interruptions like fabric dyeing, thread washing, and being chased around the garden by mosquitoes.

etuiSo as I pack up my etui, threads, and stitch projects I have a few tips for your next stitching adventure on the road:

  • Safety first. Have someone else drive the car.
  • Only stitch in the daylight. Unless you are wearing a head lamp, stitching at night can be dangerous.
  • Bring all your supplies with you (needles, thread, scissors, thimble). Most roadside convenience stores do not carry embroidery thread.
  • Find a safe place to stick the needle when it’s not being used. I can not stress this enough. You may think you are just popping out of the car for a quick coffee run but you are really losing the needle in the seat of the car only to be discovered by a disgruntled spouse when it’s your turn to drive.
  • Expect attention from passing semi-truck drivers. Truck drivers are very nosy and like to look over your shoulder when you stitch.
  • Do not listen to politics on the car radio. Reactions to stupid remarks by candidates can cause you to lose control of the needle resulting in finger stabs.
  • Do not give driving directions when stitching. The driver does not appreciate seeing a needle waving “go left” out of the corner of his eye.

A Quilt Museum for You

viachairmail2

Via Chair Mail (1997) by Laura Wasilowski

The San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2017. It also celebrated a gift of 87 art quilts, donated by Marvin Fletcher and his late wife Hilary. It is known as the Marbaum Collection and I am so happy that my work, Via Chair Mail is included in this generous gift!
 
colorchipcollage3This particular version from my blue chair series is made from “random acts of fusing”.  After creating a piece of fused artwork, I save all the cut-a-ways or confetti fabrics from making the work and construct collaged fabrics in sheets. As more projects are completed, more fabric is added and the sheets eventually document the art I make. Like a journal, I can “read” the fabric collages and reminisce about the art I’ve made and events in my life during the construction.
 
Having my art work purchased by Hillary and Marvin Fletcher and in the care of the Marbaum Collection is an honor. Their support of the quilt as an art form lightens my heart and gives me great delight. I am so fortunate my art work travels around the world with their collection. This piece travels Via Chair Mail.

 

A Quick Gift for Friends

windycity3detailb

Windy City #3 (detail) by Laura Wasilowski

How did this quilt become a gift for several friends? Through the miracle of Spoonflower. Spoonflower prints custom wallpaper, gift wrap, and most importantly fabric. Upload your own photos to their site and you can print yardage of that image on various types of fabric.

 

teatowels2Making a collage of my Windy City quilts, I printed the image in a repeat on tea towel fabric. The linen cotton canvas fabric is 54″ wide so I was able to get six tea towels out of two yards of fabric. Once the fabric is cut and hemmed I have gifts for friends. An easy way to share my art and dry a dish at the same time.

(An Update: Pat had asked for a link to the page of where to buy the tea towel fabric. Click here to purchased it directly from Spoonflower.)