Saturday, December 22, 2007


Olio: for non-crossword puzzle fans, an olio is a mixture of different kinds of elements or a hodgepode. This post is a bunch of this and that.

Answering some questions: Gerrie wants to know what I do with the ends of the threads in the finishing technique I showed. When I do the stitching around the edges of the piece I'm stitching off and back onto the quilt so there are no thread ends. At the final tie off, I use the fabulous feature of my Janome 6500P - I press a button and the top thread is pulled to the back and both threads are cut off at about a length of 3/8". I've already secured the threads by stitching in place several times, so now it's done. Those little thread ends pretty much just disappear from view and that's the way they are. No knot tying and no burying the threads. It's done, stick a fork in it.

Next question: how many sales came from shows - 1 and that was from an invitational show. I don't think I've ever sold anything from a juried show where I only had 1 piece. I've had much better success selling from solo shows or shows where I had multiple pieces.

And from Rayna: deconstructed from bubblewrap - either that or some other type of grid making design.

Today is the first day of Winter which means the days will start getting longer. Not very noticeable just yet, but in my head I know it's happening.

I have a piece in the SDA Traveling Show. It's one of the 100 that were selected from the members' show last summer. Smith-Kramer Traveling Exhibitions has taken on the show and is doing the traveling. Here is the link to their web page. They chose my piece as the icon for the show. Probably because it's quite colorful. Except I wish they had done a better job on the image, it's quite blurry. Here's a better shot of the piece, front and back. They chose to show the backside, the one on the left.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Year end Summary

Doing a little database crunching, I came up with these numbers: this year I entered 20 shows and was accepted in 12. Some of these shows were invitational and did not involve jurying and some will not occur until next year. Of the acceptances, one is a solo show and several were in the category of 'what have I got to lose?' I paid $352 in entry fees and over $200 in shipping costs, which does not include the cost of the packing materials. One has to wonder if it's worth it.

Actually, I suppose that in the art world only $200 spent on shipping is pretty cheap. It's so easy to just roll the work up and put it in a long box and send it off. The long box is necessary if the hanging stick has to go with the quilt, but I don't like to fold my pieces, so I would use a long box no matter what. I buy them from Uline and I love looking through their catalog. It's like going to the office supply store.

I'm thinking about entering Visions but the entry fee is making me reluctant. If you're not a member of Quilt San Diego, you must join in order to enter. This makes the entry fee $70. And they keep the quilt for a year. Once it's sent for photography, they keep it, effectively preventing it from being shown anyplace else in the interim. The show isn't until November, 2008 and the photography is in March. The big selling point is that there is a full color catalog of the exhibition. I've never entered this one before so I'm hoping I don't have to go through the process of several rejections before an acceptance. Not implying that that's how they jury, just that I often get several rejections before getting into a show. Anyhow, I have until early January to decide.

I'm not ready for Christmas. I still need to ship some presents but I'm waiting on something to arrive. I still need to buy stuff, mail out Christmas cards, make cookies, and I'm sure there are other things I've forgotten. Guess I had better get going.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Finishing Touch

This is a much better illustration of this edge finishing technique I'm working on. The first image is the quilt top quilted nearly up to the edge of the quilt; the batting and backing are still untrimmed.

The second picture shows the batting trimmed away just slightly smaller than the top (mostly) and the backing trimmed to 3/4" wider.

A 3/4" wide strip of Wonder Under is applied to the backside of the backing.

The paper is removed and the 3/4" strip is folded back and fused down.

This is the view from the front; the backing is turned back and fused so it isn't visible.

Another view of the top.

To secure that little bit of top along the edge, I quilted a continuation of the grid that was already there, taking the stitching off the edge which closes the gap between the top and the backing and hiding the batt.

This is what the back looks like. The finishing grid isn't as wide as the turned back edge, so every inch or so, I stitched a little further into the quilt to make sure that turned back edge doesn't come up. Click on the picture for a larger image.

We never made our planned to Chicago last weekend. The weather predictions of icy mix across Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois just didn't sound like a situation in which we wanted to be driving. So it will have to be later. It's difficult to plan a trip at this time of year, what with the iffy weather and the holidays. We thought about flying out and renting a minivan to drive back even though that would be a lot more expensive. The only problem is that we would need the space in the back and so what would we do with the seats?

Now that it's the end of the year it's time for looking back over what I've accomplished in the past 12 months. I'll come up with numbers of shows entered, number of acceptances, and shows I've been in. I feel that this year I've sort of drifted along in the getting sales category. I haven't pursued much in the way of opportunities and the bottom line is reflecting that. I don't like to show a loss and can usually restrain my spending so that it doesn't overshoot my income but obviously I wasn't paying very close attention this year. Not too big of a loss, only a few hundred dollars. Next year I will do better.

Monday, December 03, 2007


I've been busy the past few weeks quilting on two pieces. I tried a new edge finishing technique on them and I think I like it better then the facing technique I was using. Which involved a lot of sewing of mitered corners, moving back and forth from the work table to the sewing table way too much, and hand finishing. Plus I don't like how it offsets the fabric boundaries.

This new technique which I learned from my friend Elizabeth Poole and modified a bit. I tried two methods, the modified one first. For the first, I cut strips of the backing fabric about 1.5 inches wide and put wonder under on them. I scored the wonder under down the middle and pulled off the paper. So what was left was the strip with wonder under exposed on half of it, the long way. Next step was to trim the quilt to its edges. I had already quilted most of the piece but left the outside 2 inches or so unquilted. Next, I slipped the exposed wonder under strip edge under the quilt top and over the batt, lining it up so that the papered half stuck out. Then fused it. The took the remaining paper off, turned the strip to the back side, and fused it. The result was that the batt was encased in the strip and since I used the backing fabric, it was nearly invisible. After I finished quilting the outer edges, the strip disappeared on the backside and no batt was visible.

The big problem with this technique is that it really distorted the quilt edges and they were very wavy. I really hate wavy edges, they drive me nuts. So I laid the quilt out on my work table, dampened it, and then steam pressed it flat. This seems to have worked.

This is the back (lime green) folded across the front. You have to look closely to see the folded back edge.
This is the edge on the front side. You can see the green strip here, but most places it's not visible. This could be a problem if the strip was some wildly different fabric from the front.

For the second piece, I didn't used the wonder undered strip. Quilted to the edge this time only leaving about 1/4" undone. This time I trimmed away the batt so that it was just slightly smaller than the top. Then trimmed the backing fabric to about 3/4" wider than the quilt. Applied wonder under to the backside of this strip, turned it to the back and fused it. Now I went around the entire outside of the quilt and adding enough stitching to ensure the back strip stayed down and also to close the gap between the top and the back so the batt couldn't show.
Here's the edge from the front side.
And from the back. You can see the folded back strip better here, partly because the edge stitching was done after the top had been quilted and so it doesn't cover the entire strip.

This second method did not distort the top at all. Both methods leave the edge rather fragile since they don't have the support of a facing, so time will tell how well I like how it holds up. I like the look.

This is the backside of the faced quilt. It's a very neat finish, but very time consuming.

This is what I mean about the fabric edges becoming offset. I don't like this, which is the major drawback to this method for my style of quilt. If I didn't have the irregular edges it wouldn't be an issue.

This coming weekend my husband and I are driving to Chicago to take some furniture that my Mother no longer needs and it doesn't fit into her studio. We are renting a minivan since neither of our cars is big enough to hold a dresser plus the other stuff. I don't much enjoy the drive and I sure hope the weather is good and the ice storm this past weekend doesn't repeat itself. We thought about flying out and renting the car to drive home but it costs more to rent a car one way for two days than it does to round trip it for four days. I guess they like their cars to always come back home.