Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Yes, I Did Some Quilting Work in January--Part I

Sunday night I asked IT Prof for a refresher course in transferring photos from the SD card to the computer, and apparently my brain can retain the information I learned for at least three days.

Astute readers will remember the series of table hangings I am making Aurora for her Christmas 2011 (sic) gift.  I am getting closer to finishing this project.  Here are the table hangings for May and June:

The table hanging for July is currently about halfway finished.  However, I am taking a break from table hangings for awhile since Aurora is covered until June 30th.  One of my other projects for January were two pillowcases for our grandson, Omaha.

As you can probably gather, Omaha loves trains.  IT Prof and I will give Omaha the pillowcases for Valentine's Day as a candy-free alternative.  (Not that I'm opposed to candy, it's just that I wanted to make Omaha the pillowcases as he gets ready for a big boy bed.)

IT Prof and I traveled to Springfield, Missouri last November.  He had to work, but I visited quilt shops.  The black and white train schematic fabric was irresistible.  (I had previously purchased the blue Thomas the Tank Engine fabric.)

Susan Cleveland visited our quilting guild last summer and explained her "piping hot binding."  The cording used for the binding is very narrow, so it seemed perfect (as in soft for a certain boy's head) for homemade cording to separate the two parts of the pillowcase. 

Now comes confession time.  Here is the best photo I could take of my own hand.

As you can see, I have short, fat fingers.  The wide tips of my fingers make delicate work difficult.  Carpal tunnel and arthritis can make handwork painful.  So, I machine applique.  And, now because I finally have a machine that makes the buttonhole stitch, I have settled on my technique.

I have tried the freezer paper method with glue and the freezer paper method with starch, but either technique ends up frustrating me because my fingers cannot manage the delicate maneuvering required to make the applique look good.

Double-sided Steam-a-Seam gives me the perfection of shape I like for the applique.  I used a Schmetz #9 Universal needle with ordinary 100%-cotton Mettler thread and ended up with edges I can live with happily.  As you can see, despite half an hour of picking through the thread choices at the quilt shop, I could not find a matching thread for the green leaf appliques.  I assure you the color of the thread, while it is noticeable, was the best I could do.  I like the purple threads I used for the flower appliques better because it is difficult to see them.  If you look at the appliqued blocks from a normal distance, you almost cannot see the buttonhole stitches.

And, for those of you on tenterhooks, I have decided that the above method with the best color matches in the thread is what I will use for all my applique work from now on.  Those of you who applique by hand will no doubt be appalled, but I would rather use my machine to achieve better looking applique than is possible for me if I sew by hand.

I have some completed applique blocks to show you, but uploading nine more photos besides what have already been uploaded for this blog seems to be a technical difficulty.  So, the appliqued blocks are shown in the next exciting blog installment.

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