Thursday, July 28, 2016

Facing Cape May

First, a little background. Last year, at the end of September, Hurricane Joaquin was headed toward the New Jersey coast.

This is notable, because I happened to be in Cape May, New Jersey - a lovely tourist town at the very southern tip of the state - on vacation. The town is known for its historic Victorian homes, restaurants, beach front boardwalks, and a quaint shopping area at its center.

When the weather forecasts seemed to have Cape May in the hurricane's cross hairs, I did what any quilter would do. I headed to the stitchery store in town (there isn't a quilt shop in Cape May) while the weather was still nice and purchased a couple of cross stitch patterns, some thread, and canvas. As the days progressed, the weather reports remained full of rain, but fortunately, the hurricane took a turn to sea. No direct hit. But plenty of time and inclination to stitch indoors. My husband busied himself with books, and I stitched. It was so relaxing!

This week I quilted the quilt that started during that wet vacation in New Jersey. For this quilt, I wanted a little different finish. I wanted to face it, not bind it.

I turned to the expertise of my good friend Shelly Stokes. Her quilt, completed over the course of 18 months happens to be on display at this week at AQS Quilt Week in Syracuse - in the winner's circle, of course! Here's a picture of me standing in front of Shelly's fabulous creation which is sporting a big fat ribbon on it! It's an amazing, amazing, AMAZING piece!

Shelly knows a thing or two about art quilts and facings, and she happens to teach an online class on facings, which I highly recommend. You can sign up here, if you choose. (Or you can download Shelly's Three Secrets for Almost Invisible Art Facings from just about any page on her site for free!)

I took the class some time ago, but didn't get to put its technique into practice until this week.

Leave it to me to create a slight variation in the process. Knowing that I wanted to face this project, I gave it an extra wide border, and drew a line where I wanted the quilt to end. Then sandwiched and quilted to that line. (The seagull fabric was found in a shop in Delaware - same trip, isn't it fun?)

Only trouble is that the facing instructions start with a trimmed quilt. I scratched my head for a bit, then figured out how to tweak things.

First I drew lines 1/2" from the edges on the corner and side facing fabrics (the workshop gives you more information about those facing fabrics)

Then I used the quilting lines on the quilt and the lines drawn on the corner fabrics to determine where the facing corner fabric should be placed.

Same thing with the side, top, and bottom facing pieces.

Then sew on that line. I'm skipping a few steps here because Shelly does such a good job explaining each step in detail, one at a time. Much better than this first-time facer!

There is a lot of trimming involved, one layer at a time. Each trim is slightly different from the last one. Trimming, turning, pressing, sewing . . .

And before you know it, my vacation quilt is done!

It's going to hang in my sewing room. A happy reminder from a wet but memorable vacation.

But first it needs a name? What do you think it should be called? Joaquin's Folly? Sorta Storm at Sea? Cape May Capers?

Happy Stitching!
Joan Ford

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