Monthly Archives: January 2016

Tula Pink Saltwater Quilt

Saltwater quilt

Back in 2012, in the early days of my (decidedly one-sided) love affair with Tula Pink, I bought a fat-quarter set of the Saltwater fabric collection, which I promptly left to marinate for three years because it was too stressful to cut into. But when I got a half-square triangle die for my Accuquilt a few months ago I went to town with it.

Although I have issues with the accuracy of the Accuquilt, for which many helpful people on Instagram provided useful tips (which I appreciate but will not be following because (a) I am lazy and (b) I didn’t buy the stupid thing to generate more work for me), I’ve become a confident enough quilter to know how to fix those kinds of problems when piecing.

Inspired by this gorgeous quilt by Sarah at coopcrafts* I combined the saltwater triangles with a variety of white-on-white fabrics, so even though the overall effect from afar is plain white, up close you can see the different patterns. Cutting the entire quilt top took maybe an hour or two, and piecing it was a complete breeze, since the die eliminates dog ears and there’s no need to mark anything.

Chain piecing action shot

Chain piecing action shot

Schnitzel helped.

Schnitzel helped.

You don’t really need these right now, do you?

After I started cutting into the set I realized that I had an unequal number of FQs in each of the three colourways, which meant I had to be creative when laying out the quilt and which I think I managed.

Layout

For the back, I loosely followed Elizabeth Hartman’s Mod Mosaic tutorial to create a long strip made from the leftover scraps.

I love this fabric line unreasonably much.

I love this fabric line unreasonably much.

After I made a strip the width of the quilt I edged it with some Saltwater strips from yardage I had purchased on other occasions (truth: this is the only Tula Pink fabric line that I actually like. I find the others super-intricate, but equally creepy. Elizabeth? EEP), and then finished off the back with some more white-on-white fabric pieces.

That's a very subtle light-blue thread.

It took longer to make the scrappy strip than it did the entire quilt top.

Saltwater quilt back

I used straight-line quilting to outline each square with matching thread and used a new-to-me thread, Mettler, which I was really pleased with. Unfortunately, this kind of quilting leaves ton of threads to bury, which normally I would bury as I go, except that I’m a dumbass and cut a super-hot chili with bare fingers the morning I started quilting, and my hands were ON FIRE for well over twelve hours, making it impossible to do anything more precise than shoving the quilt in and out of my machine. You’ll be pleased to know that dipping my hands in a vat of after sun and aloe vera made the pain go away a few minutes before midnight. Anyway.

P1040280

That’s very light blue thread on the right.

For the binding I used a method I came across on Instagram and had tried on a baby quilt a couple of weeks before, and you guys, I am NEVER going back to old-school binding. I’m not joking—the no-tails method is much easier, much more conducive to scrappy bindings because you don’t need to make a super-long continuous binding strip, and gives PERFECT corners. Recently, while flipping through Sunday Morning Quilts, I saw that this method is actually in the book and I think I must have dismissed it on my first read because it seemed too complicated (it so isn’t). I also decided to go a bit thinner on my binding for this quilt, cutting it 2.25″ wide instead of 2.5″, and the quality and fullness of the binding is spectacular by comparison. I may even go down to 2″ for my next quilt.

Can I help you bind, mom? I'm sure licking your hand for an hour will help get this done in no time.

Can I help you bind, mom? I’m sure licking your hand for an hour will help get this done in no time.

I used the blue/white octopus fabric as my main binding fabric, and each side of the quilt got a small scrap of one of the other colours to punch it up a bit.

Pop of colour in the binding

Although I finished the quilt top about a year ago, I didn’t get back to it until the end of the summer, when I decided to try to enter it into the Erding Patchwork Messe, where I exhibited a couple of quilts last March, too. I worked like a fiend for only to find out that they wouldn’t accept a late submission, so it’ll have to wait for the next one.

* If you aren’t following Sarah, do yourself a favour and do. Her HST quilts are a thing of beauty.

My New Custom Sewing Table

So posting in these parts has been sporadic at best, but don’t you think I’ve been sitting on my laurels. Stuff has been getting done here, you hear?!

Have I ever mentioned that I have a carpenter? I do. He’s done a lot of work on a house we have up north and has become a good friend, so it only seemed fitting that I’d impose with a request for a sewing table, no? Yes.

At the tail end of last year I sketched an embarrassingly unskilled sketch of what I had in mind, and sent Mario a shitty picture of this shitty sketch on whatsApp, and then the Germ tried to explain to him auf Deutsch what the bizarre assortment of lines was supposed to represent.

If you thought I was joking, you grossly overestimate me.

If you thought I was joking, you grossly overestimate me.

In February when we were up north for a visit I took my machine in for measurements and a slightly more refined plan was hatched. In April, Mario arrived with his tools and a massive work surface, and he and the Germ got to work assembling it. I watched from the cat tree, in awe.

Faces hidden to protect t he innocent.

Faces hidden to protect the innocent.

The cats, having been displaced, hopped onto the pieces for a nap.

What?

What are you lookin’ at?

And soon enough, I had this:

Magic, is it not?!

Magic, is it not?!

The table is about three meters long and a meter wide, with a drop-down slot for the machine. The back has another half-meter extension, making for a huge table on which I can fairly easily lay out a large quilt for quilting.

Magic!

Magic!

The whole thing is on wheels (except the extension legs, which fold up when not in use, so I can move the table to the middle of the room if I want to, like I did when a couple of friends came over to sew with me a while back.

When I don’t have a huge quilt on it, there is enough space for my large cutting mat and for a squillion other things that can rest to the right of the machine without interfering with any sewing. I usually have my ironing board to my right at table height so I don’t have to keep getting up to “press” (let’s all pretend that I don’t iron).

So sounds great, right? It is, but… There are a couple of issued with it that need to be tweaked that I hadn’t anticipated.

The first is that my sewing machine has a slightly curved surface, which means that it isn’t flush with the table. This means that when I’m piecing, the pieces sometimes get scrunched up in the gap between the surfaces. This could probably be fixed with a customized Perspex surface, or I could try placing the surface of my old Janome extension table on top of the table in that spot for a slightly raised, but smooth surface. I’ll need to find a way to affix it to the table to prevent it from sliding. At the moment this isn’t bothering me enough to worry about it.

The second is that it turns out that the extension is a bit too heavy for the back wheels to support, so they bent, making it difficult to wheel the table around. I’ve removed them and my carpenter will reassess what we can do about it.

What does your sewing surface look like? Would you invest in a custom piece?