Tuesday 29 March 2016

How to Label your Quilts

All my tutorials can be found on the Tutorials page.

Recently, our local group finished a quilt (you can see it hanging in our exhibition in my previous post) and we decided to hand it over to its destiny: To make money for charity. However, before we could hand it over we needed to add a label.
This is how I usually make my labels, and yes, I always label my quilts! My quilts are part of my history in their own small way after all.

1. Create the text.
Always include the maker's name (or makers' names), place (town), and date (at least the year it was finished). More details can be added as you wish; the occasion it was made for, the recipient, start and finish dates, materials, etc. I always use WORD in a font that I like, centre the text, and change the font size(s), but you can vary that to your liking. Just make sure that the words are arranged how you want them to appear on the label. Then print.
Of course, if you have lovely hand writing, you can write the text directly on a piece of paper. Do make sure it is large enough to be legible, keeping in mind that the text will appear less sharp on the label fabric.

2. Iron a piece of cotton fabric large enough to cover the complete text with at least an inch extra around it. I usually use a white or cream plain fabric, but any light fabric will be suitable. This time I used a left over scrap of calico. 

3. Pin the calico over the text, making sure there is enough space around the text.

4. Trace the text onto the calico with a soft pencil. Follow the shapes of your lovely writing carefully, though you do not have to transfer thicker/thinner areas of the individual letters too accurately.

5. Take out the pins and go over the pencil lines with a fabric marker or a permanent marker with archival ink. I do like my Pigma micron 05 pen, but if I want a slightly thicker line I might grab my Tee Juice fineliner. Make sure you place a piece of scrap paper under your fabric to protect your work surface, the ink marks sometimes through the fabric.

6. If you want, and depending on your chosen font, you can go over the text again, emphasising the variation in thickness of the letters. You probably will not be able to see these details through the fabric when tracing, so just look at the original printed text and thicken the letters on your label  where required.

7. Cut the label to size. I measure an inch outside the letters, I feel that is the minimum space you need. Make sure you cut your label with straight corners.

8. Mark each corner at 1/2" from each edge with a light pencil dot.

9. Take the label to your ironing board and fold over each corner in turn so that the pencil dot becomes just visible. Pin the corner to the padding of your board on the dots, making sure the label lies straight. Press the corner creases.

10. One by one fold over each edge and press.

Corners will show a diagonal fold without bulk:

11. Pin the label in place on the back of the quilt. It is usual to place the label on the back at the lower corner of the quilt, but if your quilt is not going into an official show (where they usually have specific requirements of where to place your label - as well as what information to include on it) you can place it anywhere of course!

12. Stitch the label to the back with neat stitches. I use a virtually invisible slip stitch in a matching thread, but you could make the stitching a decorative feature if you wish, as long as it is stitched down securely. Make sure your stitches don't go through to the front of the quilt.

13. At the corners, use your needle to guide under the fold, so that the corners are square. Also, make an extra stitch or two at the corners for security.

14. And there you have it:


Saturday 26 March 2016

Library Quilters Mallow - a local exhibition

Since almost 10 years a small group of enthusiastic quilters are meeting in our local library once a  week. We sew and quilt, chat and share, and drink a cup of coffee or tea. It is as much a social gathering as a quilt class. Ten years ago the members were beginners at quilt making apart from myself, though every one of us had sewing and other (needle)craft experience. If they are stuck or need advice they call on me, but I am not teaching any specific class as such.

Every few years we are asked by the library to hang some of our work in their designated gallery space, for all visitors of the library to enjoy. It was a most varied exhibition this year, and we filled the place as much as we could:

our quilts in the library exhibition space
There was a scrappy Grandmother's Flower Garden:

hand pieced and hand quilted
From a just-finished first quilt (we have some more recently joined members) to an old(ish) quilt (slightly faded in places):

hand pieced, hand quilted
machine pieced, big stitch quilted

Small items with detailed appliqué and embroidery, and one collaborative sampler quilt (each member has made a block) for charity:

A beautiful Double Wedding Ring:

hand pieced, long arm quilted
A quilt made through a block-of-the-month programme:

machine pieced, hand appliqué, hand quilting
Two Baltimore-style appliqué quilts, from another block-of-the-month (showing nicely how fabric choice influences the final result):

hand appliqué, hand quilting

hand appliqué, long arm quilted
Some sashiko:
cushion cover
And a mini:

From a panel to my king size "Feathered Star" quilt:

panel, hand quilted
machine pieced, hand and machine quilted
We even covered the stair banisters...

Seeing the work together like this gave a huge feeling of achievement, individually and as a group. And hopefully we have inspired some visitors, too.


Wednesday 16 March 2016

Sometimes you need a push...

... to get things done.

It is shameful of course, I have not been posting anything at all for MONTHS. A dear friend across the pond has even emailed me to see if I was okay?! - thanks for your kind concern, Lara! -

I really have no excuse, apart from not being able to sew for a good while with a hand that was slowly healing (and still is, I am rather impatient with it). It meant I did get into a habit of not sewing, and not walking either (this winter was so wet I almost could have rowed down the garden, but that's not quite my thing!), and therefore not blogging. And everyone ever trying to break a habit knows that it can be hard to do, especially if it's a bad habit!

So even with my best intentions as mentioned in this blog post, I didn't do much for months. Until last week...

I was asked to give a presentation of some of my work for the Cork branch of the Irish Patchwork Society (my local quilt guild). With a week to prepare I said "yes", of course. And then I panicked a bit...

And then I got sewing!

These stack-and-cut improv log cabin blocks have been lying around for almost two years. High time to do something with them!

auditioning a setting fabric
Previously I had decided to use the lime fabric for the alternate squares, but now I changed my mind. However, it meant that the dark red fabric in the blocks fell away against my chosen setting fabric:

the dark red and the brown are too alike
Action was required. Rather than choosing a different fabric again for the setting squares, I decided to add an extra strip to the log cabin blocks where the dark red was placed at the outside edge:

sewing on extra strips

trimming the excess

squaring up the blocks

And when I gave my presentation to the guild, I included this top:

And if you are interested to see what else was included, the recap post from the Cork IPS website has a slide show of my presentation.

I'll be off to do more sewing now - of course!

Linking up with the Ad Hoc Improv Quilters.