Friday, April 6, 2012

My Brown-Eyed Girl Quilt

At the November, 2011, retreat of my quilt guild, I took a class from Susan Cleveland. She taught us her 'piped applique' technique that she used on her 'Eye of the Piper' quilt.

I bought her PIPING HOT BINDING tool, as I could see it would come in handy, both for quilts and clothing. It is a clear plastic unmarked ruler with grooves on the underside near each long edge...the groove on one side is 0.25" from the edge and on the other side it is 0.5"
from edge.

This means you can cut the strips slightly wider and not worry about keeping the edges perfectly aligned when you fold your strip over the filler cord to sew...because you will use the tool to trim the finished piping to have a flange of the exact width.

The covered filler cord rides in the groove of the tool and the rotary cutter is used to cut along the adjacent edge to trim the flange to, in this case, 0.25".

Once the piping for this project was made, it was time to make the blocks.

The pieces are cut using layered freezer paper templates. There was one A, B, C, and D template for each block. I wanted to make more than one block at a time, so I made duplicates of the templates, allowing me to make 4 clocks at once.

After choosing which fabric would go where, the templates were ironed to my fabrics.

I cut out each shape, leaving a generous 1/2" along the curved edge but cutting the other 3 sides according to the template.

Then I began adding the piping to the curved edge of each piece.

I chain-sewed these pieces (not cutting the piping between templates) and used a small wooden skewer to help hold the piping in place as I sewed. Susan had lots of helpful tips for sewing these blocks!

Once the piping was added, the blocks were cut apart and sorted according to template.

I then turned the seam allowance of the curved edge and piping to the backside and pressed carefully. This leaves a little 'gap' between the template and the piping...perfect!

Now to assemble the blocks...

I used a waxy paper for wrapping deli sandwiches, which I purchased from Sam's Club, as my foundation. I cut the fabric rectangle that was to be the 'eye' and pinned it to the paper.

Then I used masking tape to position the template (to avoid having to pin through the 3-layered freezer paper!).

Then I carefully stitched in the ditch along side of the piping to attach this piece.

Once stitched, only THEN can the freezer paper template be removed!

I carefully folded back this layer to trim the 'eye' (rectangle) close to the stitching to eliminate bulk.

Then I smoothed the fabric back in place and added the next piece.

I continued to build blocks in this way...starting with template A, then B, then C, then D, until the block was completed.

See the masking tape to hold the piece in place for sewing...and the wooden skewer which helps spread the ditch open to sew in it.

The last piece of this block is ready to be stitched.

With each addition, the underlayers are trimmed to reduce bulk. But after the first layer, it is easier to fold the paper back and trim from the backside.

Here I am playing with the various finished blocks, trying to decide how I will arrange these and how many more I will need.

This is the final design. But even though I like it, it seems like it is not enough by itself.

I decide to make some stacks of chinese coins to put on either side!

After selecting the fabrics to use and sewing them together, I layered the pieces on the quilting machine to quilt.

Speacking of quilting, although I have no pictures of this part, this piece had to be quilted on the sewing machine instead of the longarm. The quilting consists of stitching in those same ditches that were stitched in as the blocks were assembled. Susan warned us about doing too much additional stitching, which will draw up the quilt, as the filler in the piping will not shrink up like the rest of the fabric and you can end up with 'mountains'.

So I spent hours stitching in those ditches...again! I thought how ironic this was...I was a new longarm owner and here I was, quilting on the sewing machine instead! boo hiss.

Once the two panels of 'coins' were made, I decided this needed a panel across the top...something to put a hanging sleeve on! I wanted to join all the various panels together using there needed to be a way to hang this without having the rod show.

I auditioned fabric for the top panel...trying to decide whether to use a dark strip within a lighter field or a light strip within a darker field.

The darker strip in the lighter field won out. But instead of a strip, I wanted a zigzag.

I cut little 60 degree triangles from some of the leftover fabric strips and arranged them in a pleasing way. Then one by one, these were sewn together.

I decided to put the piping around each section, between the binding and the body of the quilt.

I was now toying with the idea of hanging some stuff from the bottom edge.

(the clips are just holding the binding in place until it is sewn by hand.)

You can see my body as I hold the camera out over the table, trying to gain perspective. I have no design wall, so photos are the way I decide what to do next!

I settled on the distance I would leave BETWEEN each of the sections, then shortened the top section to accomodate that.

The finished quilt: Here, you can see some of the quilting, which really doesn't show much in the photos taken straight on. The top section holds the others with large wooden beads. There are bead spacers at intervals between the center and side sections.

I used cotton batting for this, but added an additional layer of polyester in the top section to create a trapunto-like affect. I stippled in the light triangles above and below the dark zigzag.

For the bottom of the quilt, I created 3 triangles. Two are 60 degrees, like the ones in the top, and the center one is 90 degrees. I used a product called INNER FUSE by Dritz, a double-sided stiff fusible interfacing. After cutting the triangles, I cut and sewed fabric to enclose them, leaving the upper edge to close by hand when the spacer-beads were added. The triangles also hang from the main quilt with beads. There is a wooden circle hanging from the center triangle and wooden and brass beads on the side ones.

The side coin strips also have a wooden circle at the lower edge. These circles were left over from a 'challenge quilt' I did before.

Here is the back of the quilt. You can see the minimal quilting in the main piece...just the stitching in the ditch around the 'eyes' and also, between the blocks.

Also, notice, the hanging sleeve has been added...this is laying sideways--the top is at the left of your screen.

And here is the finished piece, MY BROWN-EYED GIRL, which was a birthday gift for MY brown-eyed girl, Kelly.

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