Monday, May 13, 2013

Shave and a Haircut

Sometimes you just have to adjust your plans...and show the fabric who is boss.
I am working on a quilt that I absolutely love.  I love the fabrics.  I love the colors.  I love the pattern.  I love how I came to be working on it.  Unfortunately, I do not love the way the blocks are constructed or the fact that they are a bit stretchy and ravel if you look at them.  

After some thought and putting this back in its shoebox several times, it occurred to me that I was the "boss of it" and I decided two weeks ago to starch the fire out of the blocks. I made sure that I used a dry iron - the last thing I wanted was to stretch the blocks with steam.  Starch the back of the block, turn the block over, press the front (no ironing back and forth), repeat! That helped considerably as it stabilized them.  But, the construction of the block still created problems.  I have fixed that!

I decided to give them a little trim.  Literally, a shave and a haircut!  The blocks were to be 5 3/4" unfinished.  They are now 5 1/2" and going together like a dream.  Stiff as a board and equally sized.  I am still in love with them.

Because of all the starching, I used my modified ironing pad.  When I'm using a lot of starch and want to protect my ironing board, I simply put my June Tailor ironing/cutting pad on it.
This is the typical June Tailor pad that I had used so much the original ironing pad was ripped and no longer usable.  I put some cotton batting on top of it, took an overused towel, made a "sleeve" from the towel, slipped the board in the sleeve, and pinned it on.  It is not fancy.  It is not pretty.  It is incredibly effective, travels easily, and can be washed when it gets a bit gummy.  And, it repurposes a tool that had worn out and it's now just as usable as before.  Gotta love that.

In this case, I've actually thrown away the towel sleeve and will make another one. It was SO stiff and covered in threads from the blocks that it's not worth it.  I don't want those threads in my washer or dryer and you can see the scorch marks where I have used the same spot over and over.  

I hope you are lucky enough to be working on a project that is bringing you joy...

Keep piecing (and starching!)
Jan






13 comments:

Connie said...

Great idea to starch the blocks and trim them since you really love them. Can't wait to see what you do with them! Thanks for sharing.
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Jamie/Maryland Quilter said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who struggles with stretchy seams! I can never remember to cut with the warp or the weft. Thanks for sharing and not giving up:)

Kira said...

I love starch!!! Whenever bias seams are involved I starch the heck out of the fabric. Can't wait to see your finished blocks!

Kelly Young said...

I've been in that situation many times. Thank goodness for starch and trimming! :)

-Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation

Bunny said...

Can't wait to see the blocks. Starch is always a quilters friend.
Bunny

capitolaquilter said...

great to repurpose and it matter more if it's effective and useful rather than pretty in my mind.

Krystie said...

I love your comment and decision: You are the boss of it!

Good luck on your squares!

Janine said...

Great solution to starch and trim. I'm looking forward to seeing your blocks :)

Lisa said...

Oh boy, doesn't look like you're "quilting for fun" on this one! :) Would love to see them, sometimes adjusting plans drastically- turns out better!

wombatquilts.com said...

I honestly had never thought to starch my blocks, but it is such a great idea. Thanks for the tip. I am off to buy some starch!

Quilting Nonnie said...

Those scraps look like that is going to be a gorgeous quilt. Good for you on sticking with and showing it who's boss. Sometimes those quilts get a little cheeky!

Britt G. said...

What a neat little nest - too bad the birds have made their nests already! I had a similar frustration with a log cabin quilt and decided to cut the blocks down as I pieced - problems solved:)

BeColorful said...

Thanks for this helpful hint. It would apply to other sewing projects too, not just fabric for quilting. Thanks for sharing.
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