Saturday, March 21, 2015

Inspired by Libby, Finished

Hi all -

Yea! I finished my Inspired by Libby quilt! It feels so good to actually have something done. Well, maybe not completely done since I still need to add some buttons for the eyes (I keep forgetting to do this), add a hanging sleeve, name the quilt and add a label. But it sure looks done!

The next animal I wanted to add to the quilt was a jellyfish so that I could try Libby's techniques for working with sheers. I found a great sheer in my stash so was excited to be able to use it. The first step was to iron a freezer paper pattern on the sheer:

I put the iron on a wool setting to avoid melting the sheer and put a teflon sheet underneath to protect my pressing surface in case this was still too hot. It worked like a dream! The next step was to spray a temporary basting spray on the other side of the shape, stick it on the quilt in the desired location, add a stabilizer to the back and sew around the template:

Then I cut around the outside edge of the stitching and removed the template:

Looking good! Now I needed to sew something around the edge and add the tentacles. I looked through me embellishing threads and decided that some Razzle Dazzle would look the best. I was hoping to try my free-motion couching foot for this, but I did a small test and Libby was right -- the thread was too thin to use with this foot. When moving in certain directions, the thread wasn't caught with the stitching. She said that you need to use a thread that fills the hole in the foot, and that seems to be the case. So, since I didn't have a thicker thread that I thought would look good, I had to do the embellishment with bobbin work instead.

To do the bobbin work, I added more stabilizer to the back and drew my lines on that. Then I loaded the thread in the bobbin, turned my piece face down and started stitching:

It was looking really good on the front, too:

I did the tentacles first so I could sew over the top edge of the stitching when I went around the edge of the body. Here's what it looked like when the bobbin work was done (sorry for the quilting in the picture, I forgot to take this picture earlier):

I really like it! My only concern is that there isn't enough stitching around the edge to hold the sheer securely. And, in fact, I did see some of the sheer coming up in a corner while I was doing the quilting so I added some sewing glue in that area to hold it in place. Since this is a wallhanging, hopefully it won't get enough handling to pull any more up. But I'll keep the glue handy, just in case!

Now it was time to do the quilting. I decided to use up some smaller scraps of batting by piecing the batting. I found 2 pieces that would be big enough:

And I pulled out my #10 foot:

I like this foot for piecing batting because it keeps the pieces from overlapping, but still allows the zigzag stitch to pull the pieces together so the end up being butted up perfectly. First I just took them to the sewing machine and tried sewing them together:

I remember this working for me once, but the last time I had tried this the two pieces of batting had fed at different speeds and I ended up with a bunch of waviness where they were sewn together. I had this problem again this time (sorry, forgot to take a picture), so I had to come up with a solution.

This time I laid the pieces flat on the cutting mat again and then added pins:

Then I carefully took the pieces to the sewing machine and sewed them together, keeping the pinned spots aligned so the pieces would feed evenly:

This worked, but it was a royal pain to keep the pins in place. So, next time I'll either use some erasers or something to cap the ends of the pins or I'll use a water-soluable marker to mark the matching points and hold them together with my fingers. But I now had my batting for this project:

Now it was time to sandwich and quilt this. I didn't do anything special on this step and here's the quilted piece:

Then I squared it up to prepare for the binding. Before adding the binding, I decided to add some twill tape to the edges of the quilt to keep them from stretching. This is a trick I learned in a David Taylor class and I've only done it once or twice before. I just laid the quilt flat and measured the twill tape along one edge. I cut two pieces of the tape that length, one for each side. That way I knew that the two sides would be the exact same length. When I used the tape before, I had trouble getting the end of the tape to line up with the edge of the quilt, no matter how well I pinned everything. So this time I pinned everything in place, then sewed an inch at the bottom of the edge to hold that in place before moving to the top and sewing all of the way down. That worked really well for me. I also used some washable glue stick to stick the ends to the quilt before sewing because the loose ends kept moving around before I could start stitching. Here is what the twill tape looked like once it was applied:

I put the twill tape on the front so that I wouldn't have to fight with it when folding the binding over the edge and stitching it on the back. Here is a close-up of one of the corners:

Very neat and tidy!

Now on to the binding. I normally cut my binding at 2" because I like a nice, narrow binding on my quilts. This time I cut it at 2 1/8" to give it more space for the twill tape. It probably wasn't needed, but having a little bit of extra binding on the back wouldn't hurt this piece. I didn't do anything special in the binding, but I thought I'd share how I do the corners since it's different than Libby's method. Libby's method only works if you are doing a 1/4" binding. My method works with any width binding to get a perfect mitered corner every time. I sewed my binding on at slightly wider than 1/4" to make sure that the twill tape was covered.

To determine the miter angle, I stop sewing a few inches before reaching the corner. I fold the binding strip towards the right, with the fold making a 45 degree angle with the quilt edges and the raw edge of the binding strip continuing the straight line at the bottom edge of the quilt:

I use my thumbnail to press the fold so that I get a good crease on the inside and pull the binding strip straight again:

Sometimes this crease is visible enough to be used for the sewing line, but I've found that sometimes I can't see the crease once I get there with the sewing machine so I always mark the crease before continuing my sewing:

I then continue sewing the binding until I get to the drawn line, and follow the drawn line off the edge of the quilt:

I've found that sewing the miter to the corner of the quilt gives me a neater corner and also holds the backing fabric in place so it doesn't get folded over when I turn the quilt and start down the next side.

To add another Libby technique to the quilt, I decided to couch some Razzle Dazzle along the edge of the binding, and use that stitching to secure the binding on the back. Instead of using fusible, I used washable school glue to hold the binding in place on the back, just because I don't like adding unneeded fusible to my quilts. Then it was time to do the couching. I just followed Libby's instructions for this part:

It worked really well most of the time:

But every once in a while I would find myself veering into the quilt with the couching:

Can you see in about the middle of the picture where the couched thread doesn't butt up against the binding like it should? I think the problem was that things would go really well and I'd stop paying such close attention. Then the bulk of the binding would push the walking foot towards the center of the quilt, pulling the couched thread with it. I think that if I paid better attention while doing the stitching then it would come out perfectly.

Just to finish off, here's a picture of the back of the quilt, showing the fun backing fabric:

I love this fabric! I got it years ago to make a baby quilt for a coworker in the UAE. I thought it was perfect since it's a desert there and we were doing rain studies.

That's it for now. Sorry this was such a long post! I should have split it up into two posts, but I wanted to get it out there and move on.



  1. I love it! Bring it to the taping next week.


    1. Thanks! I'll try to remember to bring it.