Hi all -
I continue to play with little things, putting off basting my sister's wedding quilt that has to be done by Christmas. Yep, I hate basting the big quilts so I'll do anything to put that off. But I promise I'll start it soon.....
So, instead I decided to go ahead and make this month's Superior University project, which is a little chalkboard with that chalkboard fabric. It's not something that I would have made on my own, but it was a fun little project that I think might end up being useful. The kit had the chalkboard fabric, a thick heavyweight stabilizer that I hadn't seen before (Pellon 71F), a little piece of elastic for making a chalk holder and a couple of spools of quilting thread. I just had to supply the fabric and a little piece of lightweight stabilizer. I like that these kits have small amounts of things that you might not play with much and so don't want to buy a large amount of, like the chalkboard fabric.
It was a simple pattern where you just fuse the heavyweight stabilizer to the center of the wrong side of the fabric. Then you fold the edges of the fabric around to the front and put the chalkboard fabric in the middle. So the fabric makes a frame around the chalkboard and you slide the elastic pieces under the bottom of the frame to make the chalk holder. I went ahead and sewed around the opening and along the miters in the corners with a matching thread and a narrow zigzag to hold everything in place.
Now for the fun part -- playing with the decorative stitches on my new machine! I started with a scalloped floral stitch around the inside of the frame:
I really liked how this looked! The corners even came out okay, even though I just sewed to the corner and turned the piece when it looked like I was in the right place. Here it is with just that first line of stitching:
But one line of stitching is never enough! I decided that the next stitching should be a boxy stitch and should be closer to the center than to the outside. I took a couple of pictures after this step, but they didn't come out for some reason. It seemed that the green I used being next to the black of the chalkboard fabric caused the camera to have difficulty getting the image. I would put the chalkboard on the floor in a shaded area and everything would look good to me, but then I would point the camera at it and the image would get all washed out like it was in bright sunlight. Interesting!
For the final line of stitching, I decided on a more complicated straight-line design. This one when right around the outside edge and was also used to secure the pocket on the back of the board:
(I went to a darker area of the house to get this picture.) Here's a close-up of some of the stitching:
And here's the back with the pocket:
I used another fancy stitch on the edge of the pocket. Unfortunately, it didn't show up as well as I had hoped with the stars in the fabric:
It was so much fun to play with the decorative stitches! I've never had a machine with this much variety before. And along with the stitches, this machine has a bunch of ways to combine and alter the stitches, so I have a lot to play with!
I'm thinking that this chalkboard will be useful by my cutting table so I can write down temporary notes about what I'm doing. Currently, I do that with post-it notes, but that's pretty wasteful. Here it is on the wall by my cutting table:
Pretty nice, huh? Now I just have to get some chalk.