Thursday, February 25, 2010

New Studio Additions

This photo shows some new things I've added to my studio lately.

Starting at the very top of the photo is a new wooden ruler rack. The rulers in the rack I already had and while this isn't all of them, they are so organized now. Before they would all lean together and it was a pain to sort through them to find the one I wanted. Now they stand up all straight and important and it's easy to quickly grab the one I want. I don't know why I waited so long for one of these.

I did get a new ruler too.  If you look closely, all the items are sitting on top of my new 20" square.  Some of you may recall the blog post a while back on my wonderment of having one this size.  Well thanks to so many of you who shared how much you use your large square, I decided to get one.  I haven't had much of a chance to use it yet, but I really feel I will find it very helpful.

I got myself a mini iron.  Some of the projects I create, such as the collage quilts I make, I have found if I want to tack/fuse down a small piece of fabric, a smaller iron might work better.  I haven't used this yet, but look forward to it.

And last but not least, a Goddess Sheet.  This is a protective sheet when ironing with fusibles and other sticky things.  It protects your iron and ironing surface.  I love how easy it is to clean stray fusible residue from it and that it doesn't curl when heated.  I have used parchment paper for this task and still will when I need to, but the parchment paper always wanted to curl up on me and what a pain that was.  The other day I used it to heat set a piece of fabric with a resist product on it.  Some of the resist left a residue on the Goddess Sheet.  When the sheet was completely cool, I simply took a scrap fabric and rubbed it down and the residue cleaned right off.  I love this product.  You will find it at, and perhaps your local quilt shop.  Ask for it if they aren't carrying Mistyfuse products.

Thanks to all of you who offered some advice on the batik fabric I am looking for.  While I'm not desperate enough to put out an all-points bulletin for it (I just thought I'd ask if anyone had seen it), I did get some great information on looking for fabric that is suddenly hard to find.  I thought I'd share that information here:

1. - this site links to a whole bunch of online quilt shops.  You can type in your search criteria, whatever that may be, and start looking through all the results.  A great tool, that I did know about and do use sometimes.

2. - this site lets you post an ad where you can describe the fabric you are looking for and you can send a photo along so that viewers can see what the fabric looks like.  This site is especially helpful for those of you who have already started your project and you suddenly run out of a certain fabric and can't find it where you last bought it.

I imagine there are other web sites that are similar to these that help find fabrics.  One thing that I think the online quilt shops should do is to be more universal as to the information they list for each fabric they sell.  They should include the manufacturer, the pattern name, the pattern number, the colorway the manufacturer gives it, etc.  While some shops do this, sadly some do not.

On to other stuff!  I've had some questions about my method of washing and drying quilts before I add the binding.  You've asked why I do this.  Well the answer is simple!  I don't know.  I simply just started doing this when I wanted to bring up the quilted textures in the quilt after it was quilted.  I usually only do this when I use wool batting.  I really have no intelligent sounding reason as to why I do this.

Another question many of you have had is why I block the quilts.  Some of you hadn't heard of it.  I think for most quilts that will be used, such as a baby quilt or lap quilt, blocking is not necessary since these types of quilts will be washed periodically.  But for quilts that I make for hanging on the wall, such as art quilts, I block them so they hang flat and the corners are squared and the edges are straight.  When I block a quilt I dampen it with a spritzer bottle of water, then lay it out on a surface I can pin into, and with my rulers and tape measures, I pin it so it is straight and square.  This sometimes means I need to stretch the quilt an 1/8" or 1/4" to get it to behave in certain areas. Let the quilt dry.  Depending on the surface you are pinned to, you may even use a steam iron to help the quilt relax into the desired shape.

Thanks for all your comments, suggestions, and questions.  I love hearing from you.