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Sudden Outbreak of Quiet Good Taste

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Dear Ann,
We were sposed to get a whale of a Historic Three-Incher last night, but it has come to naught so far. (I wouldn’t have put it past the school to declare a Wet Day, but they didn’t.) I’m heading for the airport and I’ll be seeing you soon. Don’t linger too long knitting at the library–we’ve got work to do! They’ve listed Book 2 on Amazon, woman. We better finish the book.
When not devoting my energy to recipe collection and preservation, I have been busy with the sewing machine. Something curious has happened. My quilting habit, which originated in a desire to crank out splashy, clashy blankets faster than the speed of knitting, has taken a bizarre turn: tastefulness and straight seams.
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Exhibit A: The mixed media project. First I knitted the edging, intending that it would edge 2 yards of shot cotton embellished with machine embroidery. Then, whilst innocently stopping by Purl Patchwork one day, lo, I beheld the Nani Iro. I stood in the radiant light, blinking. What, I asked nobody in particular, did the Nani Iro demand of me, its handmaiden? The Nani wanted me to buy 2 yards of 2 coordinating prints. It wanted me to take the yardage, and the linen edging, to Philadelphia and await further instructions.
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Note that the knitted edging (Euroflax Sportweight Linen) is sandwiched between the top and bottom layers of fabric. There is also a layer of lightweight cotton batting. This was a challenging project, sewing-wise. I now know that I should have basted the batting to one of the layers, and then do everything else I did. (Basically I think my method of binding the quilt is called the pillowcase method. You sew right sides together, leaving an opening in the stitching, turn the piece inside out, and then sew the opening shut. Before I did this, I had to handstitch the knitting to the edge of one of the pieces of fabric so that it would lie flat. The machine-stitching was more or less done by feel, as I was trying to stitch down the center of the yarnover row so that the edging would appear even.) One step remains: doing some sashiko style embroidery, through all the layers, to keep the batting in place. The Nani Iro sticks to the batting really well, but it needs a little insurance. I’m planning to go back to Purl for some orange embroidery floss or quilting thread. Silk? We’ll see what the Purl girls recommend.
My not-so-humble thought about this project is that the somewhat awkward execution is redeemed by the marriage of edging and fabric. I rely, hard, on beginner’s luck. I would have hated to ruin this fabric.
Exhibit B is a long slide further down the slippery slope of refinement:
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This is a limited-run Liberty fabric. (Limited-run meant that I had no choice but to buy it, regardless of the fact that I had no idea what to do with it at the time.) Last weekend, I desperately wanted to sew a quilt top from start to finish in a few hours. Flipping through Last-Minute Patchwork Gifts, I saw the project “Cutting Corners”, which uses a simple plan for a large swatch of Liberty fabric framed by a second cotton print and solid borders. I had some leftover beige linen, in a heavier weight (which actually came to me from Liberty of London, which I took as a Sign and a Symbol). I had some (Joel Dewberry?) fabric that matched like destiny. I followed the pattern (really!), cut all the pieces (including the binding) in an hour, and the quilt top came together like magic. My favorite part is something you can’t see–the way the dense, soft linen’s substance and subtle texture contrasts with the smooth, almost transparent cotton lawn. (It was tricky telling the right side from the wrong side of the Liberty print.)
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This one is going to the machine quilter’s house, once I find a backing fabric. I’m taking suggestions for a zingy all-over print, preferably with some chartreuse and a dull gray or brown. I’ve already cut and pieced the binding. I can’t wait for this one to Be a Quilt. It is quite a feeling, this ability to run up a blanket top on the machine.
I know you probably can’t believe the non-crookedness of these projects, the lack of bleach, the absence of recycled shmattas. I don’t know what came over me.
See ya soon!
Love, Kay

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39 Comments

39 Comments

  1. Read one paragraph and immediately went to Amazon.com and placed my pre-order.
    Now there’s some pressure for ya!
    Take care!

  2. I really shouldn’t read this blog at work, b/c now all I want to do is go home and start a quilt. I think the Liberty quilt is so beautiful; it’s just amazing!
    I am speechless, just thinking about it!

  3. I ran over to Amazon and saw your listing… can’t wait for a cover pic.
    Love your knitted edging with the nicely mitered edge.

  4. Spray sticky stuff!!!! I love that stuff. There are many brands. Ask around at your store, try them all out, and pick what you like best. I find I don’t care, so I buy the cheapest/whatever is available. YMMV. But try it.
    Just lay down one layer. Lay the other layer, carefully arrange neatly. Fold back carefully, spray, roll back smoothly. Do the other side. Sometimes you can unstick and relay successfully, sometimes it needs a bit more spray. Experiment. I really prefer this to basting, others cringe at the thought.
    It washes out. If it leaves crud on your needle, try a different brand, and meantime wipe the needle with a bit of alcohol. But I haven’t had much of a problem with this.
    I do this for all the layers in a machine quilting project, and it works great, for quilts and little things, both.

  5. Yippee! Got my preorder in – now I can feel like it is on the way so hurry hurry and finish the book!
    PS my favorite color combo – pale icey blue with browns and shots of terracotta – love the quilting!

  6. Yippee! Got my preorder in – now I can feel like it is on the way so hurry hurry and finish the book!
    PS my favorite color combo – pale icey blue with browns and shots of terracotta – love the quilting!

  7. I LOVE your fabrics, but still hate sewing. That knitted edging, on the other hand. . . Euroflax linen, hmmm. . . there’s some in my stash right now. . .

  8. OH MY GORGEOUSNESS! Love these quilts…I have had a lurking desire to knit edging (but for what?, I kept asking myself)now I have some real inspiration!

  9. you seem to be constantly reinventing yourself, kay! perhaps this is another phase of motherhood?

  10. Jees-us, these are beautiful! That first one almost makes me want to knit miles and miles of lacy border…

  11. Very good, indeed! Looking forward to the new book, too.

  12. These are both fantastic. I succumbed to a different Nani Iro fabric — a brownish gray linen with wonderfully exuberant blue design — that I paired with some Liberty cotton that I had left over from a curtain in order to make an apron for my sister, Rebecca. This inquiring mind had wondered what you were doing with that edging…

  13. These are both fantastic. I succumbed to a different Nani Iro fabric — a brownish gray linen with wonderfully exuberant blue design that features birds and flowers. I paired it with a Liberty print (left over from a curtain) in making an apron for one of my sisters. It became my favorite among the 8 Christmas aprons of the year….
    This inquiring mind had wondered what you were doing with that edging…

  14. Hmmmm. Do I know what that linen is left over from, perchance? Looks fantastic anyway. x x x

  15. I really like the knit edging. It just fills me with all of these ideas (little ideas, because I’m not ready for something like a quilt).

  16. Oh yes get that temporary spray. I use it under the top of all the pillows I make and other things Holds it all together. IMPORTANT spray inside an old box. You don’t want this goo on your machine.
    joan

  17. Oh yes get that temporary spray. I use it under the top of all the pillows I make and other things Holds it all together. IMPORTANT spray inside an old box. You don’t want this goo on your machine.
    joan

  18. Reading, reading, beautiuful quilt, liberty fabric, visit with Ann, reading, reading, Euroflax, reading, wait! Did I see a reference to the new book???
    Woohoo!
    Great quilt, I’m in awe of your crafti-ness and artistry(more artistry than craftiness)

  19. Gorgeous! I have that Nani Iro fabric – made one coverlet and wish I had lace edging now – was thinking of kimonos – wouldn’t that lace look beautiful on kimono sleeves?

  20. You’ve earned the sewing bead.Maybe the Advanced Sewing bead. Moment of silence. wohelo.

  21. I have Iro placemats (the most expensive I ever bought), but I love them.
    You must finish the book, I preordered mine weeks ago–and I expect you to check your schedule with me prior to booking new york/nj signing events next time!!!

  22. Maybe I got your snow mixed in with mine? It was up to my knees and I’m not short.
    Fortunately, knee-deep snow does not impede a trip to Amazon.

  23. Tastefulness and straight seams.
    Sigh.
    It comes to us all in time.
    At least I am still hopeful.

  24. Oh, I am envying your access to such special fabrics! Excellent work, and I’m not a bit surprised how the machine has sucked you in (have you noticed my output of the last six months? and y’know, it’s all your fault!) XXO

  25. Wait…you were in Philadelphia? Speaking? or just visiting? What is your favorite yarn shop in Philadelphia? Oh and that quilt is simply bee-yoo-tee-full as we say in Philly.

  26. Nani Iro fabric spoke to me too. It said, you must buy 1.5 yards and make a shirt. This weekend. One must bow humbly and obey in the face of the fabric.

  27. Perfectly fabulous mixed-media project! Gorgeous quilt, too.

  28. Your second book is even listed on amazon in Germany and of course I preordered it and can’t wait to get it!

  29. Love the lace edging. Do you share the pattern and directions? I would like to do some for pillow edges. I’ve changed the coverlet on my bed and need some new pillows.
    tp

  30. would there please be a place
    where one could mail order
    the material-tis charming

  31. I’m not much of a sewer, but my understanding is that silk thread should never be used on cotton. Silk is stronger than cotton and therefore will eventually cut through the fabric.

  32. I’ll always remember all that Nani Louet loveliness was filling my craft cabinet with the sweet scent of Persil. Will you bring it back to visit now and then?

  33. I’ve also seen that method referred to as “birthing” a quilt:
    http://www.fabriclandwest.com/quilters%20corner/
    Birthing_quilt.htm
    I saw this link on a knitterly crafter’s blog, but of course, now I can’t find it.
    I also just preordered your book.

  34. They’re fabulous! Hope this will makes its way into the book!

  35. Ma’am, you make me laugh in the nicest of ways. Especially the bit about the crookedy seams and bleach. And yes, the quilts are lovely, straight lines and all!

  36. I am sure the backing fabric will come, but in the meantime, have you seen Amt Butler’s prints lately? Maybe they’re a bit competitive, but the palette is good.
    Enjoy the hunt.

  37. I so am in love with your fabric choices. How come none of the store in our area carry lovely fabrics like those…do you have a secret!? smile

  38. Gorgeous!

  39. The edging is to die for! As always I admire your spirit of adventure and experimentation. And I’m still going to encourage you, in the same spirit, to try quilting the next one yourself – just use the force.