Thursday, July 17, 2008

TIFC for March Done!

Time to get out your back issues of Quilters Newsletter. I tried the "magic miters" lesson by Ursula Riegel found in the May 2008 issue and it worked really well. This method adds a mitered border while simultaneously finishing the edge of the quilt. I thought my tree trunks would be a good one to try it on.

But first I had to fuse on strips of Decor Bond on three sides of the quilt. Since I changed my mind about where I wanted the border to fall and needed to extend not only the quilting but the stabilizing beyond the top, this was a quick fix quickly quilted up. Once that was done, I squared up the top making sure that once the border was in place, it would cover the white Decor Bond as planned.

I didn't want a single border, but two so I sewed strip sets and cut them to the proper lengths - the exact measurement of the quilt side plus 3/4" (and yes, I didn't trust the directions and tried a paper sample to be sure the 3/4" was correct). Then I cut the miter using a combination of the 45 degree angle on my cutting mat and a triangle ruler.

Next, the border ends are sewn together. A dot 1/4" from either side of the inside edge of the border marks where to start sewing (backstitching). You also see here my trick of using a pad of sticky notes butted next to the presser foot to ensure accurate 1/4" seams.

Once the border is sewn together, the seams are pressed open and the inside edge pressed under 1/4" (which is why the stitching in the seam doesn't run all the way to the raw edge).

Now it is ready to be pinned right side to the back of the quilt. If you've measured and cut and sewn precisely, this will be a perfect match. Here it is sewn all the way around, ready for turning. Well, almost. The corners need to be trimmed to remove bulk, and I also graded the seam, cutting away half the width of the quilt top because of the stiffness of the Decor Bond. I was amazed at how easily the corners poked out, and it turned to the front with the help of a hot iron.

Usula's directions call for stitching close to the edge of the border, but I also stitched in the ditch between my first and second border. I often use a buttonhole foot to guide along the edge of the seam.

When I switched to the outer edge, I changed to a hemming foot which has one side higher than the other: the high side rides on the "hem" while the low side butts up against it. Moving the position of the needle to the left, I could then make an even line of stitching.

I did notice, though, that there was some shifting of the fabric, creating a ripple which I had to ease back the other direction. Perhaps a walking foot would be a better way to go. Actually, if the top had not been bonded to the Decor Bond, I probably would have stitched that down by hand.

Here's the final result. Actually, it's not quite as uneven around the edges as this picture appears. I took this quickly before giving it another blocking. But that is one hazard of this method. Precision is everything and especially with the double border, any wobble shows. Still, I liked this method a lot.

A few things I question, though. I think you'd have to be careful about choosing the border fabric, being aware of the possibility of shadowing through from the fabric and quilting of the top underneath. I also question how wide of a border you could get away with.

I'm sure by now you've forgotten what the key concept for March was that got me going on this quilt in the first place. It was noticing the little things, the small details in life. In my case, it was noticing a peachy undertone to the tree trunks I thought were off-white and brown. And in the process of working through this, I added many other small details. Oddly enough, I don't know what to call it. Usually in the course of making a quilt, if I didn't start with a name, one comes to me, but not on this one. Any suggestions?

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