Saturday, April 24, 2010

Back to Basics

We have lots of new members who want to learn the basics, and more experienced quilters are always generous in their sharing of information. At our April meeting four of our members presented an excellent overview of what we all need to remember.
Betty Allen (top picture) stressed the importance of an accurate 1/4" seam allowance. She suggested (1) purchasing a 1/4" foot for our machines, (2) placing a guide on the throatplate (something like a stack of Post-It notes), and (3) testing by sewing three strips together and measuring the center one. If it is not what you were trying to stitch, make an adjustment so that the finished product is accurate.
Rhoda Libiez (far left) gave a rotary cutter demonstration, stressing (1) using the right ruler for the task, (2) holding the cutter upright and tight against the ruler, (3) squaring up and then keeping the excess on the correct side--right for right-handed, left for left-handed.
Gloria Green (center) discussed blocking and squaring up. Dritz dressmaking boards are useful for this task, using more than one board if necessary. Large quilts can be pinned to the carpet, pinning every inch to get the edges true. Use a square ruler to get accurate corners and mark the cutting line on all four sides. The quilt can be spritzed with water and allowed to dry in place. Blocking can be done before and after applying the binding.
Ella Lucas (far right) demonstrated measuring and applying borders, stressing that the quilt should be measured through the centers both vertically and horizontlly for getting accurate size for the borders. For the most economical use of fabric, side borders should be sewn on first, then the top/bottom ones. Multiple borders should be sewn together and applied in one operation. Multiple borders require mitering corners, whereas block borders can be butted. Ella recommended her favorite resource book to the group: Better Homes & Gardens Complete Guide to Quilting.
Many people have been generous in their donations of fabric for our Children's Quilt projects. We sort these fabrics and group by color and size, often cutting smaller pieces into squares as kits for others to take home and sew into a quilt. Larger pieces are reserved for backings. Batting and solids and children-themed fabric often has to be purchased, so sometimes these donations contain quilt tops that can be converted to money for this purpose. We recently received four tops and auctioned them to our members, gaining $475 for our batting fund.
Workshop participants Susan Ellis, Frances Good, Betty Bingham, Shirley Wiltshire, and Vivian Plummer show their little sewing bags made by Polly Duggan's Razzle Dazzle instructions. Polly taught the group how to spice up their projects with sparkling threads and embellishments.

Susan Cleveland Piping Hot Curves

Susan Cleveland taught her Piping Hot Curves technique to a class of eager Pine Belt Quilters on April 19. Comments from the participants ranged from, "It was a great class!" to "The best teacher we've ever had!" Susan is nationally known for her neat, crisp pipings and bindings. She was the featured speaker at Gulf States Quilting Association's April quarterly meeting in Mobile and taught several other guilds while on this trip--her first time to the Deep South. She was very impressed with the beauty of the azaleas and other spring blooms--very different from the melting snow and remains of cold Minnesota winters.

Showing Mary Ann Scruggs how to set her machine for the best results.

Susan is the author of Piping Hot Curves, Piping Hot Binding (booklet, tool, cording), and Marvelous Miters. It was agreed that we hope this isn't her last trip to the South. See Susan's website: