Thursday, July 25, 2019

I'm Done!

When I first started making quilts, someone (was that you, Amy H.?) told me that I should take a picture of each quilt as it's finished to keep a record of what I've made. Many, many quilts, and several cameras, detailed scrapbooks, and photo folders later, I still don't consider a quilt 'finished' until I've added a label and taken a picture of it.

I've lost track of some of those photos (someday, I'm going to put together a series of Chatbooks to keep a visual record of my finished quilts, just not this day!), but I am still in the habit of adding the label (most of the time), and taking a photo (nearly all the time).

So what's in a label, after all?

  • It uses some fabric leftovers from the quilt. . . or not
  • It can be fancy or plain
  • It can be generated on the computer . . or not
  • It provides the quilt's 'voice' and records the maker, the pattern source, the purpose (is the quilt a gift?), and special washing instructions

add a label to your quilt

As you can see, I keep it pretty simple. A scrap of fabric, placed on a small piece of sandpaper with information written in my hand using a pigma pen. Then bordered, in this case the borders are mitered. Doesn't really matter where you put the label on the quilt, however, I usually put mine on the lower right corner on the back. I pin it in place with applique pins.

I press the raw edges under about 1/4", then pin the label onto the quilt.

add a label to your quilt

I wear a thimble when I quilt or applique, and I consider the label a lot like applique.

This thimble is a fancy one from TJ Lane - but I have several that I use, some not quite as fancy as this one.

I put the thimble on my middle finger of my right hand - I'm right-handed.

add a label to your quilt

I start sewing with a buried quilters knot. Then come up to grab just a thread or two of the label's folded edge.

Then the needle is inserted into the quilt back and batting, but not all the way through to the quilt top. I travel the point through the batting a short distance and come up through the quilt back and grab another tiny 'bite' of the label fold and repeat the process.

add a label to your quilt

As you can see above, my left hand holds the label in place. My thumb inches along as the stitches are completed. Underneath the quilt (unseen), I keep my left middle finger right under the needle movement. If I feel a slight prick in my middle finger, I've gone through all the layers and I adjust, then carry on.

To add a bit more security (the label can get a beating through use and laundering), I like to add some running stitches in size 8 (in this case) perle cotton along the label edge or border . . .

add a label to your quilt

I'm careful that the running stitches also don't migrate all the way to the front of the quilt, and that they don't just grab the label material but also grab a wee bit of the quilt backing and batting as I 'rock n' roll' the needle to make the stitches.

securing the label to your quilt

With that little embellishment, the label is complete! and so is this quilt (almost!)! (Yay!)

Here's a view of the finished label, and a view of the back of the quilt, so you can see how the quilting I used creates playful texture. 

add a label to your quilt

add a label to your quilt

As I said up front, the quilt isn't complete until it has a label AND a photo. Here are two. One flat on the ground and one a bit more crumpled in a chair. It helps to have a beautiful sunny day!

 Final photo of the quilt

This pattern, "Split the Check" is found in the book ScrapTherapy, The Versatile Nine-Patch and it'll be featured on an upcoming Caribbean cruise in 2021 (not the Hawaii one in 2020!) that hasn't been announced yet. Save your pennies, and watch this newsletter for specifics on the cruise, if you'd like to join in on the fun (Yes, it will be VERY fun!). This particular quilt has lots of setting options, much like a log cabin. This offset barn raising is one of my favorites.

Do you add a label to each and every quilt you finish? Do tell!

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, July 18, 2019


As you've probably heard, this week marks the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong's historic first steps on the moon.

This is so remarkable to me on so many levels. I was a kid for that historic step, but still remember watching all the events unfolding on television. As an adult, and as a recent visitor to the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, I'm even more in awe of what was achieved by, not only those who took that amazing journey, but by all the people who supported that effort.

On that recent trip to Florida, one of the exhibits that pulled at my heart was the exhibit hall that held the Space Shuttle Atlantis - the ACTUAL space shuttle itself! And within that exhibit an area that paid tribute to those 14 special people who died in the two space shuttle disasters.

Each of the heroes lost has a dedicated space in the exhibit which includes personal and professional items that had importance to each individual.

The exhibit case pictured below, as a close-up, and above includes items that belonged to Michael P. Anderson, a native of Plattsburgh, NY, which is a short drive from my home in central New York.

His 'Star Trek' lunch box speaks volumes of his passion for space travel from an early age. Makes you wonder what today's future heroes are consuming from the media. Captain America, perhaps? That'd be okay!

And the display dedicated to Kalpana Chawla, also part of the ill-fated Columbia crew, touched my heart. She was an avid bird-watcher, and her favorite book, Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach, is one of my all-time favorites, too.

These exhibits touched my soul because they show each Shuttle astronaut's humanity. These were real people with real passions and dreams who probably didn't consider themselves as any kind of extra-ordinary role models or heroes.

Awright. I've been knocked off the internet at least three times since I've started this article. I'm using the data package on my mobile phone (an invention that probably wouldn't have come about if not for the space program) to access my message-writing software. I hope I haven't bored you too much with my musings. 

Happy Stitching

I'll have more stitchy stuff to report next week.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Catchin Up

Just before the July 4th holiday, I was in Florida, Cape Canaveral/Cocoa Beach area for a meeting with my business coach.

Direct flights to anywhere are an unusual thing out of the Syracuse airport, so when I saw one, Syracuse to Orlando, I grabbed it. No matter that I had to get up around 4 am to catch the early flight.

That also means I got in to Florida early enough to do a short tour of the Kennedy Space Center.

I have never been there before, and wow! I highly recommend visiting there if you're in the area, especially if you have kids in your party.

It's all the thrill of Disney World, without the rides and the fairy tales!

Real-life heroes are available to meet-and-greet. And the exhibits pull you into the awesomeness of space exploration. This is the main entrance to see the space shuttle Atlantis. Holy cow! Amazing stuff!

Even though I was there on business, you can't go to the 'beach' without actually going to the beach!

As always, early morning is my favorite time before the heat and crowds.

This is just after sunrise. The storm off in the distance kept out of the way on this particular morning, but we did have our fair share of tropical (rainy) weather as the weekend went on.

No trip to the beach is complete without some local flora and fauna. . . this great blue heron was keeping an eye on a beach fisherman just a few feet away. I think he was hoping for [a part of] the day's catch. I'm not sure the fisherman had the same idea. Empty lures, at least while I was watching, disappointed both hopefuls.

Cocoa Beach is very much a vacation spot, even though we were there 'working hard!' We gotta eat, and we managed to find some pretty good grub along the space coast.

This is Carton Brown, of Occasional Occasions Catering by Carlton (Atlanta GA), one of my colleagues in attendance at the meeting. I hear he makes a mad savory cheesecake, but right now he's more intent on that stack of savory ribs for lunch!

Back at home, I was back at making these stitchery blocks for this crazy bordering process I'm developing.

I've talked about this project before and it's progressing nicely, but there are 24 blocks! I'm working on #12!

I started on this pattern series from Erica Michaels, and created this border treatment as an experiment.

As I was working my way through the alphabet blocks, (J is shown, K is finished), I realized that if I want this to be a cohesive quilt eventually, I'd better start planning a bit.

So I grabbed all the blocks that are finished, and headed to the Ford Underground to have easy access to my fabric stash.

I then laid out A-K, some blocks still in progress.

Then envisioned the rest of the quilt block colors, taking into consideration the block subject matter (A=acorn, B=butterfly, C=castle, etc - I didn't want to have a purple acorn, for example) and the eventual 24-block quilt layout.

And selected fat quarters for the remainder of the blocks.

Then, since this might take a while, and I don't want my fabric selections to get scrambled into another project, I labeled each block by letter with a piece of paper pinned to the fat quarter or scrap fabric.

Which left me with a pretty weird arrangement of colors for the blocks-to-be-made.

They don't look like they'll go together in this stack, and I may change some out as I go.

But I now have a clearer picture of where I'm going. Perhaps 'clear' isn't the right word, but I have a plan.

And I think the weird combination will work out fine!

Now that each block has a fabric 'theme,' as I pull out the next one to work on, L in this case, I can choose the floss colors that pull in the stitching and the fat quarter color.

And I have a bit of confidence that all the purple blocks won't be stuffed into one corner of the quilt.

Sometimes I can't get away from the tidy-butt in me!

Happy Stitching!