Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Sun-printing seems to be a technique used primarily to create interesting surface design, I am experimenting a little to create a small piece using a sun printed image as the main focus.
My inspiration was this Dogwood blossom

This is the fabric I began with, it is an off white batik with small amounts of very pastel colourings. (That band of colour you see at the bottom is actually the same fabric after the paint was applied)

Wanting more than one blossom, I had to make extra petals to use as resist (more about that process later) you can see that I also scattered on a wee bit of salt for a more interesting effect on the background.

Here is the print left by the sun.

Then, I began to apply colour to the stems, created some leaves, but added only fine lines of thread to the blossom petals.
I'll show how I plan to deal with the centers next time.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Pin Basting

A while back, I heard about a product that allows you to use straight pins for basting your quilts, seems so much easier than using safety pins, especially when it comes to removing them as you are quilting. As is often the case, I wanted to try the product but it isn't available locally. I could buy it online but did not want to invest the money, the added costs of exchange rate and shipping often make products less attractive, especially not knowing for sure if it is a tool you will definitely want to use regularly.
SO, I decided to conduct my own experiment with what I could find easily. In the children's craft aisle at the Dollar store I found a package of foam beads.
the foam is thick enough and dense enough to hold the pins in place.......you simply insert the pin into your quilt sandwich, slip a foam shape on the end (make sure the pin is well inserted but not protruding out the other side)
 For this test, I pin basted

  and then machine basted with wash away thread, removing the foam and pins as I went along

 This actually worked quite well, the layers stayed together, no shifting, and now I can easily maneuver this piece to do the intricate stitching I have planed. (once the stitching is complete I will use a paint brush and water to dissolve the wash away thread)
Would I try this on a full size bed quilt? No, not likely, but it certainly works great for smaller pieces ( the test subject is roughly 30"square) it did save me a bit of time, no sore fingers and by doing it this way I can move the quilt through the machine much more freely......no pins or long thread basting to get caught up on.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Mystery Block

Many of you commented on the look of that final border on the quilt shown in my most recent post. It is a fairly simple block that really makes for an interesting border and one that would work in so many ways. I wish I could tell you where I first saw that block.....or even the name of it, but I can not. I can show you how I made it and give you measurements for different sizes you might want to make for your own quilts.

It is a pretty basic block. I will give you the example using the measurements for a finished 4" block.
Cut a print at 4.5" square, from contrast fabric, cut 2 pieces at 1.5"square and create one circle that will finish at 1 3/8" in diameter.
Mark a diagonal line from corner to corner on the wrong side of the 1.5"squares, next, place a square with the line visible, on one corner of the 4.5"piece and stitch directly on the drawn line, trim away the excess and fold up the fabric to complete one corner...repeat on the opposite side  (for a corner unit you will need to do this on 3 corners)
I positioned the circle a little bit above the center-line of the block (just be sure you do it the same for all of them or the discrepancy will be very noticeable) I made a small template from cardstock to make the placement easy and accurate
Hopefully the photos help you visualize the process.

To make a finished 6" block
begin with a 6.5"square, cut the 2 corner units at 2 1/4"  and your finished circle at 1 5/8" in diameter

For a finished 8"block
begin with a 8.5"square, cut the 2 corner units at 3"  and your finished circle at 2" in diameter

to form a row, stitch your blocks together (1/4"seam allowance, of course) and then add a strip of the same contrast fabric across the top, whatever width works for your project.
Edit:  Mystery solved! Dolores just emailed me so say that she came across the block, it is a pattern by Kim Diehl, I am told that it graces the cover of Kim's book  "Simple Traditions"
Thanks Dolores, it has been driving me nuts, I just knew I had seen it used somewhere as a border and thought it would be great for this medallion quilt.....and Thank you KIM!!!!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Final Border

The applique quilt I have been working on is ready to be batted and backed. I thought I'd show how it is looking with the final border.
Because the applique method I use requires the blocks to be immersed in warm water to remove the freezer paper, I wanted to ensure I didn't run into distortion issues, so I appliqued the circles in place, after the blocks went through the process to remove the freezer paper, I laid them out to dry and then trimmed and added the corners

I know the photo below is not the best, but I just don't have a space large enough to photograph it properly. Once I quilt it, I plan to add a scrappy binding made with many of the batiks used in the piece.

Copyright Jill Buckley