It Takes This Long to Make It

windycity6

Windy City #6 (9″ x 12″) by Laura Wasilowski

A few days ago I asked if you could estimate how many hours it took me to make this small quilt, Windy City #6. And, as an experiment, I tried to keep track of the time to complete it. But honestly, my skills at time keeping stink! It seems I go into a zone when making a quilt and lose track of time.

Below are the stages of creating the art work and an estimate of the number of hours to complete each stage. Let’s see how close you were in guessing the total time.

  • Hand-dyeing the fabrics-  .5 hours
  • Fusing the fabrics-  .5 hours
  • Designing the quilt-  1 hour
  • Adding hand embroidery-  6.5 hours
  • Machine quilting and binding-  1 hour
  • Photographing and documenting the quilt-  .5 hours
windycity6detaila

Windy City #6 (detail) by Laura Wasilowski

The total is about 10 hours from start to finish with most of time spent on hand embroidery. Now, what you don’t see in this list is the hours of enjoyment I got from making the art work. That’s really hard to measure.

Improvisation: The Only Way to Design

improv10Lucky me! I just came across this set of pre-fused fabric scraps and collages for art making. (Note to self: clear my work table more often.) Sure some of the pieces are 10 years old. But like starter dough, these scraps have great art making potential.

improv20But first, a batik background fabric is selected to provide a base for the design work. Working on a background helps you choose the colors for the elements in the design and gives you an idea of what size it will be. This set of odds and ends are pulled from the “fused for your convenience” scrap pile to kick start the design. 

improv21And here’s the design made with some of the fused fabric shapes and other shapes found in my mound of pre-fused scraps. Improvising is the only way to go! Next up? Hand embroidery, of course.

Have You Tried the Pillowcase Binding?

prettyplanet13

Pretty Planet #13 by Laura Wasilowski

Pretty Planet #13 began as a sample for a past class I taught called (oddly enough) Pretty Planet. Lately, I’ve been finishing my class samples and turning them into completed art work. And I’m using a method of binding the gives them a neat finish.

pillowcasebinding3This version of binding, the Pillowcase Binding, gives you a trim edge and is quick and easy. Please note that these directions are for finishing a small fused quilt. It may not work as easily on large, non fused quilts.

Beware of Batting with Scrim

battingOne of the concerns of a quilter using fusible web is the problem with scrim on batting. (I know this because I learned the hard way and am still in recovery.)

scrimScrim is a thin, non-woven plastic-like fiber placed on the back of some batts. When making batting, manufacturers needle or force cotton/poly fibers into the scrim to hold those tiny fibers in place.

Scrim is not used on all batting types. (Wool is generally scrim free.) But if it is used on a cotton, poly, or combination batting, it can mess up your fused quilt.

scrimnonscrimWhen fabric backed with fusible web is ironed to the scrim side of the batting, the fabric will ripple. When fabric backed with fusible web is ironed to the NON-scrim side of batting, the fabric appears flat.

How to Detect the Scrim Side of Batting

  • Feel the batting. When you run your hand across the scrim side of batting, it feels rough and coarse compared to the other side of the batting.
  • The scrim side may appear pilled or pimply.
  • Scrim may have a slight sheen from the plastic coating rather than a matte finish like the non-scrim side.
  • You may be able to lift or separate the scrim at a corner of the batting. But don’t take it off.

How to Detect the Non-scrim side of the Batting

  • The non-scrim side of the batting feels soft.
  • It appears fluffy and fuzzier than the flat side of the batting.
  • It has “dimples” or pock marks from the needling.
  • Some batts have a “seedier” side or have more cotton hulls and seeds. This is the non-scrim side of that batting.

choosetofuse2Test your Batting

If you are fusing fabric directly to the batt, test the batting first. Iron just a corner of the quilt to the batting. If it ripples or waves, pull the quilt off the batting and apply the quilt top to the other side of the batt.

 

Are Things Looking a Little Dim?

sunshineandfields

Sunshine and Fields by Laura Wasilowski

Have not fear! If things are looking a little dim for you today, it may be because you’ve just experienced a solar eclipse. Sunshine and Fields, a quilt I made years ago, was made in celebration of that hot spot we all love and fear. Hope this brightens up your day!

Guest Artist: Prolific!

kathy4When I teach a half-day class, my students receive a pre-fused fabric kit so they can get to work right away. One of my students, Kathy, has sent this image of all the small designs she made from that one kit. Aren’t they wonderful? Here’s what this prolific artist says about her work: Once I got home I couldn’t stop making little fabric drawings.  It was very freeing to cut and steam. I had to use up every crumb of your delicious fabric…. soon to be embroidered quilts. Thank you for sharing your work with us Kathy!