Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Here I Am!

Hi All!
Bet you thought I dropped off the face of the earth, huh? For a while there, so did I. After I finished the quilt sandwich tutorial, I sort of lost my quilting mojo. Felt like I was out in limbo somewhere. The desire was there but the motivation was missing. I think Flit took off , too! She probably couldn’t stand me.  She's back now and I missed her!

In June, I re-signed with the temp agency I worked for when I got my last job (which lasted for nine years), but things were so slow through the summer I didn’t actually go back to work until the beginning of August. I think that period between June and August was when the funk really hit. I lost interest in everything, not just the quilting. Now that I am putting it on paper, this sounds a great deal like depression, doesn’t it? Funny, but it never struck me that way when I was in the middle of it.

But I knew if I stuck it out, the right job would find me (or vice versa)--and it did! I have been working as a temp for Aramark since mid-August and it has been a “hand-in-glove” fit since the first day. They needed my talents and skills and I needed the freedom to exercise them. I love the job and the people and things are in the works to make it permanent.

It hasn’t been easy. Things were really hard when I first started. I came home at night exhausted and everything hurt, especially my back. Pretty much all I was doing was making dinner, taking ibuprofen and vegging on the sofa. Felt like I had been run over by a Mack truck. But things are much better now and they still love me, LOL.

Well, that sorta brings you all up-to-date on the mental situation. I have completed some projects and I will tell you about them in my next post. It feels really good to be back!

Love from Liri

Monday, June 13, 2011


You are halfway there.  Your backing and batting are now all one piece.  Ready to finish basting your quilt sandwich?  Here we go!

Now that you have finished basting the backing and batting, turn the entire piece over so the batting is on top.  Roll/fold the piece up from the bottom just as you did when we started.  See the basting rows?
Unroll the basted pieces on the table and smooth and flatten.  Now lay your quilt top, RIGHT SIDE UP, being careful to line up the center creases.  Smooth and flatten the top on the batting.  Left side view (red pin is the center).
Right side view.
Nice FLAT AND SMOOTH.  Start the top same as the back.  Thread your first needle and start at the center crease, smoothing and flattening from the center, out and down.  You will be basting through all three layers.  My preferred quilting method is stitch-in-the-ditch, so I try not to stitch over seam lines.  In this case, the midpoint on my quilt top is a seam line.  I stitched over it, but the rest of the top was stitched between seams.  You can't avoid them completely!  The basting stitches on my tops tend to be closer than those on the back, depending on the piecing and design.
Continue basting the same as for the back.   This quilt is a twin size, so the whole top fits on the table and the excess backing and batting drape over the sides.  When you get to the bottom, simply snip off the threads leaving a tale.  This is the front of the basted quilt sandwich.  I hope you can see the red basting lines.

This is what the back looks like.  Can you see the basting red (front) and green threads?

I trim the backing fabric even with the batting at this point.  Much less material to handle that way.  You can now quilt this any way you choose.  If a basting thread gets in the way, just snip that portion out.  How you pull out the rest of the basting is up to you.  Sometimes I quilt the whole thing and pull the basting out last and sometimes I pull out the basting a section at a time.

I hope you find this tutorial useful.  I know not everybody will.  This method works well for me and is so much easier on my body.  The results speak for themselves.

Love from Liri

Sunday, June 12, 2011


A long time ago, I promised a tutorial for basting a quilt sandwich that does not involve straight pins, safety pins or crawling around on the floor (so hard on the knees)!  This method is based, roughly, on Sharon Schambers method but minus the big boards.  (I searched for the video, but couldn't find it, sorry!)   I couldn't figure out where to get boards big enough or where I would store them if I did.  And did you ever try to find a straight board nowadays?  None of them are straight!  So, without further ado, here is how I do it!

Just to let you know, I work on a six foot folding table on risers (you know, the kind they sell for dorm rooms).  When I first tried this, I was working on a small four foot table (no risers) and basting a queen size quilt (Tesselated Wedding) and this method worked.  (I am going out on a limb here when I say this should work for any size quilt on any size table.)  Here we go!

First, prepare your quilt top, backing and batting. Press them all well and then fold in half, lengthwise, and press a crease down the center. Be sure this crease is straight, on grain, and very sharp. This will be your registration mark. Lay them on the table and fold/roll them from the bottom to top.

Batting - I use Warm & White or Warm & Natural.  Fabric "sticks" to this.  My design wall is composed of this batting!  See the crease?
 Backing - Plain white muslin, but any cotton backing, even pieced backing, will work.
Quilt top - The crease is pressed in but happens to run right along a seam.  No problem, use the seam instead of a crease.
Set aside the top, we will deal with that later.  Essentially, you will be basting this top twice.  I know that seems like a lot, but really, it doesn't take that much longer and the results are so worth it.  No pins to stick you, or safety pins to close and then open, and no aching knees or back.

Lay the batting flat on the table with the center crease in the middle and the folded portion in front of you.  Smooth it out, nice and flat.  No ripples or creases.  Now, lay the backing on top of the batting, right side up, lining up that crease dead on.  The top of the backing can be even with the batting, inside the batting or larger than the batting - it doesn't matter as long as that middle crease is lined up.  Since I am sure you have sandwiched quilts before, do what you are comfortable with.   (excuse the dangling participle, please)
Unroll the backing and lay the folded part on top of the folded batting.  Now, start smoothing and flattening.  Make use of the batting's tendency to grab and hold the fabric.  Keep the crease in the center of the table and the crease in the backing and batting lined up.  Smooth down as far as you can to the rolled materials.  FLAT, FLAT, FLAT - SMOOTH, SMOOTH, SMOOTH.  Now you are ready to start basting.
Pull out all those long, big-eyed needles that I know you all have.  The ones that come in the multi-packs that you bought before you knew any better?  Now you have a use for them.  Here are mine!
Choose a contrasting thread - one that you can't miss!  Use up all those partial bobbins, ends of spools or cheap thread you can't use for anything else.  Those 5 for $1.00 spools?  If you have any, use those.  (You may even decide to buy some next time, specifically for basting, LOL.)  Pull out a looonnnggg piece of thread, thread the needle and tie both ends together with a big knot.   I put the spool on my sewing machine spindle and pull two arms length of thread.
Use a tailor's basting stitch, start at the top and baste down right along the crease through the backing and batting.  Baste only that portion that is flat and smooth - down, usually, about two to three inches from the folded fabrics.   Don't pull the stitches tight, just let them lay on top of the fabric.  You don't want any tucks or bunches - keep it all relaxed.  The length of your stitches is up to you.  I fall into a rhythm and find my stitches usually end up about three inches long.  You may use a shorter stitch or a longer stitch - whatever is comfortable for you.  You won't use all the thread.  When you get to the bottom of the prepared portion, just slip the needle in as shown.
Thread another needle the same way.  Move over to the left or right of the center, doesn't matter, about six inches and repeat.  End the same way.  Thread another needle.  Move to the other side of the center and repeat.  Work this way across the top of the sandwich, switching from one side to the other.  If the backing and batting are larger than your table (mine usually are), baste only as far as the sandwich is flat and smooth.  Don't worry about the ends yet.  Here is what it should look like after the first rows are finished.  The red pin is the center basting line.  Here is the left side.
Here is the right side.
See all the needles?  All nice, flat and smooth!  You have, effectively, turned your batting and backing into one piece of fabric.  Now push the basted portion off the top of the table so the needles are two to three inches from the table end. 
Unroll the folded batting and smooth it down just as you did at the start. Do the same with the backing, making sure your center creases are matched up. Smooth down and out from the center so everything is flat and smooth. Start with your center needle and baste down towards the folds. Work from left to right of center - back and forth - until you get to the ends of the threads.

Don't worry if the lengths are uneven.  This actually helps.
Leave the needles in place, move everything up again, smooth and flatten the batting and backing.  Starting with the center needle, clip the thread leaving a tail.  Rethread that needle, same way, tie a big knot and start another line of basting stitches.
Work the same as the start.  Rethreading each needle as you go along.
Until you reach the bottom.  Clip your threads.  This portion is done.  Now you can address the sides.  Roll/fold the basted backing and batting back to the top and move it over, right or left, doesn't matter and repeat the process down the sides.  You can either work one side and then the other or move the entire roll back and forth.  One or two extra stitch lines are all you will need.
Oops, forgot to take a picture of the end.  I needed one more line of basting on each end.  It ran pretty much down the center of the open space.  Your batting and backing are now joined.  Nice and smooth and flat.  The batting grabs the fabric and the basting keeps everything in place. 

How does your back feel?  Knees OK?  Any questions?  Tomorrow we'll deal with the top.

Love from Liri

Saturday, June 4, 2011


Here is a piece of what was supposed to be a quilt top that I picked up at a flea market.
It is about the size of a baby quilt.  As you can see from the next two pictures, it was not very accurately cut nor very well put together.  It just will not lie flat! 

Some of the blocks were machine pieced and some where hand pieced. 

Do you think it is worth saving?  Should I put the time in and pull it apart and reassemble?  Or should I just chalk it up to experience and give it a dignified burial?


Tuesday, May 31, 2011


OK, I promised this to you.  Along with all the other finishes I posted yesterday, the biggest finish was these Barbie clothes.  I cut these out when my daughter, Jessica, was into Barbie's when she was around 7 or 8 years old.  She's 24 now, you do the math, LOL.  I don't know if you remember, but I've dubbed this Barbie the MOST ANNOYING BARBIE IN THE WORLD because she talks, well, plays music anyway (I think the rest of the recording has been lost to time, thank god).  She has this button on her back that chimes some notes when you push it.  (I think she is a princess Barbie.)  I've pushed this button so many times while fitting the clothes and there was nothing I could do about it!  I can't tell you how good it feels to get rid of her!  So, without further ado, let's start the show!

First off, 3 vest, blouse and capris sets.   The two blue sets are made of corduroy and the purple outfit is wool.

Three day dresses with matching shaws.  These were made from scraps I had left from making dresses for myself when in my early 20's.  (Sigh)

Three party dresses.  Again from the same dress scraps as above.

Four evening gowns.  I've always been a sucker for luxurious/fancy fabrics!

Three nightgown and negligee sets.  Yeah, these are scraps from party dresses I made for me, LOL.

Two bridesmaids dresses.  The second gown is white and lavendar.

And two bridal gowns.  One white and one ivory.  The bridesmaids dresses were made to match.

No, I didn't make the veils.  Little girls like to make things for their Barbies.  Veils are easy (besides, I couldn't stand working on them any more).  Thank goodness I didn't cut out three, LOL.

So there you have it.  It feels so good to have completed these and put the patterns away.   I do hope my niece's little girl will like them.

Love from Liri

Monday, May 30, 2011


Yes, I have been fretting!  Me, who never frets about anything, LOL!  About?  Well, let me give you an idea.  You know that closet you have been meaning to clean out but keep putting off for one reason or another?  And everytime you open it you think to yourself, "I really have to clean this out!".  But you don't, so it stays in your head and becomes a monster?  Well, I got that way about my UFO's.  I am in my sewing room, every day, working and working and working but nothing is getting FINISHED!  And that's what I have been fretting about.  Nothing is getting FINISHED!

So, I decided for the month of May, that either I would finish some old projects (some have been around for at least 15 years) or give them away to someone who would.  So I opened up my UFO bin and decided I would give away or finish whatever I pulled out.  That being said, the first item I pulled out of the bin was the Double Wedding Ring quilt.  I know I am a little late (by about a week, LOL) for this drawing, but I was honest and put my name in the hat along with Barbara, Bev C, and Karen of Alf & Lilly Creations.  As Love said, if it is to be, then it is to be.  The name that was drawn was:

Karen of Alf & Lily Creations

Congratulations, Karen!  I am not sure I have your address, so send me an email and I will get it out right away.

The next project I pulled out of the bin was this. A thrift store find, a kit originally from JoAnne's. Essentially all I had to do was sew up the sides. DONE!

Next was this bunny.  This is one of those 15 year projects.  I started him when these Simplicity patterns first hit the market.  This bunny is large, at least 24 inches, maybe a little bigger.  He is FINISHED now!
This little bag was another thrift store find and, again, a kit from JoAnne's.  Everything was there, but you had to cut the fabric, the batting, the applique heart, etc.  I love how it turned out and it is FINISHED!
The next few outfits were started when my sons were in the second or third grades, when fancy jogging suits became fashionable for everyday wear.   I made quite a few of these and my sons wore them to school.  Not at all sure why these were not completed.  So, I got waist and ankle measurements for Dylan and Liam and now they are FINISHED and in Grandmom's bag for the next time I see them.

This next project has been almost finished for quite awhile.  It was a kit.  The cross stitch was done.  The applique was done.  The pillow was ready and the ruffle was on.  Only a few little stitches here and there.  Took me about 15 minutes and then it was FINISHED!
I think I got disgusted with this and that's why I put it away.  You see the smudges in the upper left hand corner?  That's tar, courtesy of my husband and Kitty.  I got the better part of it out, but this stain remains.  I have no idea what to do with it now, but it is FINISHED!

In between finishing these UFO's, I also got Pinwheel Parade sandwiched and quilted.  I still need to attach the binding and the pillow sham needs to be quilted and sewn together.  Hopefully, I will complete that next week.  After that, I am going to work on Summer Breezes.  And, no, I have not forgotten about the tutorial I promised you for basting quilts WITHOUT crawling around on the floor.  I tried to do the tutorial with Pinwheel, but the backing fabric and batting are black and none of the pictures turned out clear enough.  But it should work well with Summer Breezes.

In addition to the above, I completed all the Barbie clothes.  They have been stitched together for over a month but needed ties and snaps.  That's all done and I am giving them to my niece's daughter (complete with the most annoying Barbie in the world, LOL).  They are packed and ready for my next trip to the post office. They are FINISHED!  Stay tuned tomorrow for the fabulous


Love from Liri