Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Fairytale in Process

Two weeks ago I bombarded you with pictures of my daughter's Fairytale Patchwork finished quilt top.  If you think that the quilt finished by now, think again.

First off, I decided to try a bias-free finish for this laaaarge quilt (finished measurements are 76 x 89.5").  In I Heart Patchwork, Rashida Coleman-Hane finished a quilt by sewing right sides together with a 1/4" seam, turning and stitching closed.  Because binding is not my friend and because I decided that the linen sashing was a fitting edge,  I was game to try something new.

Fairytale Basting

I taped down my batting, laid out my quilt bottom and top and basted the edges.

All in a row

Don't the basting pins look sweet?  They're like happy little soldiers fighting for a straight edge.  I slip them all in at once and then close them with a size 3 knitting needle.  Saves the fingers.

I am happy to report that this was a snap.  Not only was it fast and easy - it looks great!  I don't think a binding would have looked better in this case.  Woohoo!

Now for the not as good.  After consulting with my mom and co-designer, we settled on a quilting pattern that has turned out to be rather difficult, at least for me.  I always admire the large diagonal grid quilting design used often by Ashley of Film in the Fridge.  My mom suggested a double row (two lines 2" apart) diagonal grid spaced just right so that it frames each large 12" block.  Essentially the design would mimic the piecing layout, but on point and with continuous lines.  I especially loved that this design would create little diamonds at the intersection points in the sashing, one on each side of each block.

But how to achieve it?  I've had bad luck with disappearing fabric ink markers, so I thought I could mark this quilt with the much-touted Clover Chaco marker.  After a week I finally got to the fabric store to purchase the gadget.  Yes, it's cool.  I'm glad to have it!  But, it so won't work for marking this quilt.  Some trial proved that the white chalk too easily brushes away, leaving me without a clear guide.

Next my husband suggested using masking tape to mark my grid lines.  Brilliant!  I laboriously taped the pattern in one direction and set off to sew tonight.

Masking Tape for Marking

Ugh!  The tape won't stay on!  I just bought it and it wasn't cheap stuff.  It particularly won't stick to the Little Folks voile.  So, I went back and moved pins that were causing problems, and even pined the tape on over each voile block.  Back on the machine I had mild success with a few short lines at the edges.  So.... I went for one of the longest lines in the middle to see what would happen.  Ladies, it wasn't pretty.  It seems I can't sew a straight line when juggling a large quilt, shifting tape and bias pin bombs.

I refuse to allow the quilting to ruin this quilt.  At the moment I plan to rip out the quilting I've done so far and either A.  settle on a MUCH easier quilting pattern or B. don't quilt at all.  Because I used a cotton blanket for batting and because the edges are already lovely, stopping at this point is tempting.  Or maybe I should tie it instead?

(Sigh)  I just don't know.


  1. Hmm. I have had a lot of success with masking tape. It is strange that it won't stick. I thought of using duct tape, but I wonder if it would leave a residue. If you are like me, it may help to walk away from it tonight and try again tomorrow. As far as working with a large quilt, I usually roll up the edges and clip/pin the ends of the roll to hold in together. It helps with the weight of the quilt.

  2. It is looking beautiful. And I love the pin-soldier photo. :) If you don't want to machine-quilt it, tying it wouldn't be such a bad thing. I usually am not so much into tied quilts, but lately they have seemed kind of sweet & home-like to me.

  3. Beautiful. I love the pin soldiers! Great photograph.

  4. i tried the masking tape once (i used painters tape, which may be a bit stickier than masking tape), but i hated it. it shifted too much and i didn't like the way it was so stiff and made handling the quilt difficult. so far i've had the best luck with a pink sewline marking pencil. it's light enough to show up on darks, still easy to see on whites, and washes out very, very nicely. the only area where it's problematic is on pinks (duh). i wonder if a combo of a better marking device, good rolling and slow quilting would help? but whatever you do, i bet it turns out beautifully... your quilt is so, so gorgeous!

  5. Scotch's blue painter's tape seems to stick the best for me. There is no residue either in my experience using it. I tape only a few rows at a time too.

  6. I've had the same issues: voile and tape do not mix. I learned this trying to tape a particularly large quilt back (all voile) to the floor ready for basting. The entire quilt sandwich was soon found to be floating, much to my distress!

    Quilting straight lines on a large quilt is really quite hard, it helps to have your sewing machine set into a large sewing cabinet, creating an even sewing space. To "mark" lines I have success with a Hera Marker by Clover. It marks a line by leaving a crease mark, and therefore there is not residue at all. I've blogged it here:

    I mark one line at a time, quilt, and then mark the next line. Tedious but worth the end result.

    I look forward to seeing the finished quilt!

  7. I was thinking tying would be really cute on that quilt!

  8. Thanks so much for all the ideas and encouragement! Wow, I needed that :)

    At this point I think I'm going to tie the quilt and hand quilt decoratively with perle cotton, just because it sounds like more fun than forcing the straight-line quilting.

    Now I need to get myself set up with perle cotton and a quilting frame!

  9. so wise! I use tape all the time to mark my quilt lines, but I always do one row at a time to conserve on tape. I love the idea of laying all the lines out first....less stopping and starting!!

    As for it not sticking...I have not had that problem yet. I use the blue painters tape and that usually does the trick. I have read several times that nothing sticks to the voile, so I will probably follow the seem lines when I quilt that one. Or use the clover marker that Red Pepper mentioned..I have used it a few times now and like the way it works.

  10. Looks like you have plenty of advice. I kinda do a mix of all these things...whatever the mood and the supplies. The quilt is lovely!


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