Snippets from my Ask-The Expert column in MQU
- Applying Binding With Your Longarm or Midarm Machine
- Properly Loading Your Quilt
- Using Specialty Threads
- Tensioning the Quilt
- Blocking A Quilt
- Straightening Your Leaders
- Turning The Quilt When Quilting Borders
- Preventing Hourglassing
- Help! My Thread Is Breaking!
- The Importance of Stabilization
- Updating Your Clamps
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
The 2015 IQA Houston Raffle Quilt: Part 1
A while back, I was asked by the Board of the International Quilt Association to create the 2015 raffle quilt. To those who you who do not speak fluent Quilt, this is sort of like going to the Oscars and being presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
It goes like this; you are invited to create the raffle quilt, but first you are asked to submit your vision of the quilt/artist's statement/fabric swatches/etc. to the Board at it's annual meeting, which takes place between Fall Market and Fall Festival. The quilt must be an original design, it must be over a certain size, and it must have several particular elements incorporated into it's design. The Board reviews your submission, suggests any changes it thinks should be made, and issues it's approval. You then have one year to create the quilt and must have it ready for presentation to the Board at the following year's annual meeting. After that, it travels to all of the IQA shows during that year and is displayed all across the country with your name in big bold letters for everyone in the industry to see. At the following year's Festival, the winning raffle ticket is drawn and off the quilt goes to it's new home. (proceeds from the raffle go to fund the IQA's educational projects.)
Naturally, I panicked.
After picking myself up off the floor, I got busy designing and came up with something that I thought would work. The Board liked it and suggested no changes. Bruce and Diane Magidson at SewBatik, who are two of the nicest people in the entire world, offered to provide the gorgeous batik fabrics for the quilt. Bliss! I love their fabrics, so I'm stoked.
Before starting on the real deal, I decided to make some practice blocks to ensure that the pattern I'd created was accurate. That's the thing with drafting your own patterns; you never know if they're really going to work until you make them, so you ALWAYS make a practice piece or two. This way, you can work out the bugs on fake fabric and not screw up the real fabric.
You start by printing out your patterns and pin/tape/glue/MacGyver them together.
Then you write about a million notes to yourself, all of which will be meaningless within a day or two.
Then you start piecing the block segments and you realize that you will need to cut your pieces larger so that you have enough fabric to have actual seam allowances.
And you realize that you will need to alter your stitching/assembly order so that you don't have funky seam joins hanging out in front of the entire world.
Then you get on a roll and have a couple of segments that go together pretty well, so you start thinking that you're a rock star, even though the blocks look really weird in the practice fabrics. While you're piecing, you write about a million more notes to yourself, which will completely mystify you when you try to decode them later.
And then you realize that it took you forever just to piece this one block and you count how many blocks there will be in the finished quilt and there are 36 and that's when you start drinking.
No pressure here. Nope, no pressure at all.