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When I first started quilting I assumed I would be a traditional purist. Who knows why, I just assumed I would be a hand quilter and if I knew what applique was I would demand that be done by hand too. Fortunately or unfortunately the universe had other ideas. The first few years it was all hand work but after the year I spent hand quilting a king size log cabin quilt my body made it clear that I would never be able to hand quilt again. My sewing machine would not allow me to do free motion quilting and it took me a while to figure out it was the machine and not me. For the next few years after that I sort of languished. Then about four years ago I bought a new machine, the Janome 6600 changed my world. Now the only thing holding me back was skill. The next big change in my world was stumbling onto the QuiltArt email group. All of the sudden I had between 10 and 40 emails per day in my inbox, many from professional quilters, talking about everything from dying to the best printer for printing on fabric. The first 6 months I just read and looked at pictures. Slowly I ventured out and began trying some of the techniques these crazy quilter ladies were discussing. My first projects were laughable but I keep trying.

This was a tough week. I didn’t have the creative juices to come up with a new project for this diary. Since I am under a deadline I decided to do something that I did before. It’s a wonky house on a tropical island pot holder. I did a similar project about 6 months ago but used it as a tester for my new binding tool and the binding did not come out well so I gave it to someone that thought it was great anyway.

I like to start with a clean-ish work space. Enjoy the picture; it only looks like this when I start a project and very quickly I have everything strewn about again.
2012-07-13 13.13.01

When it comes to fusing I prefer MistyFuse. It's considered a light weight fusible web. I like the almost undetectable feel in the finished product but it is harder to use then the paper backed products like Steam-A-Seam. With a paper backed fusible you peal off paper from the first side and using a bit of pressure (not heat) stick it onto the uncut fabric. This forms a good temporary stick which can be repositioned.  After you cut out your shape peel off the plasticky thin coating from the other side and pressure stick it in place on your project. Both sides are moveable until you iron it in place where it forms a permanent bond.

Since I'm using MistyFuse the first step is to fuse the web to the fabric BEFORE YOU CUT OUT THE SHAPE. Do not forget this step. If you try and cut the shape first then put the web on you'll never get a clean covering of sticky stuff all the way up to but not past the edge. If the edge isn’t sticky you'll never get a clean line and if the web extends past the edge of your shape you'll have a sticky mess on your quilt top. The side benefit to this is that you will end up with a stash of fabric with sticky stuff on it ready for your next project. I save almost every scrap. Here is my drawer with already stickified fabric.
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You really have to make sure and protect everything from getting sticky stuff on it, here is the ironing board with a pressing cloth and the fabric face down. I'm in the process of fitting a layer of the thin MistyFuse over the top. Next I'll cut off the excess MistyFuse and move it out of the workspace (that stuff is so light that it sort of flies around) and put the Teflon sheet over the top and iron it so the MistyFuse bonds with fabric. I can still peel it off of the Teflon mat.
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I free form cut out the island, a little wonky house with a hut roof and a palm tree. I don't iron anything down until I like the whole design. This is an off the cuff project so I cut and re-cut pieces until I get what I want you could be very precise and make freezer paper templates. It took me a bout 10 tries to get the shape of the roof right but I like how it turned out. Because I wanted to palm tree leave to go all the way to the edge it was easier to make them big then trim them down. It did stick to my pressing cloth when i ironed it down but I pealed it off immediately so was able to take it off in one piece without leaving a big mess.
2012-07-14 10.16.19

Next I trim off the extra leaves and sew all the edges down. If I'd used a denser edge stitch like a satin stitch I would have needed a stabilizer to keep it from getting distorted and puckery. I used a blanket stitch for around the house because it looks a little structural in an architectural sort of way to me and a small zig zag for everything else.

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Here's the back:
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Next I stacked a layer of Insul-Bright between two layers of Warm N Natural batting and put it between the back and the newly made top and free motion quilted around the edges of everything and where ever else was appropriate. It's a fat stack to shove under the needle but it works.

2012-07-14 13.15.43

And here it is with the quilting done:
2012-07-14 20.14.21

I still have to do a binding and will post a picture once it's done.

This has been a year of big projects but I'm working on the last stage of the last one now and should be done in a month or so. Next I'm going to face my fear of design, that blank canvas stare that haunts us all. I think I'm going to try and complete three small pot holder size quilts per week. I don't care if they are good or bad or simple or complicated.

Update from the comments:

From nomandates:

Melanie in IA suggested I stop by and see whether folks have extra sewing/quilting items that you would like to send to Okiciyap food pantry, which is on a reservation in SD. More details are in my diary, where Cindy requests the following:

    Sewing Machines are always wanted and I can repair most. I own a Industrial Straight Stitch for my quilting and such but it is not portable, it weighs 600lbs. Threads, cone threads, needles, needle threaders, cloth cutting 8" scissors, 24"x6" quilting rulers, cutting mats 24"x18" or larger, buttons, zippers (all lengths), velcro?(hope its spelled rite),and I can teach the use of serger machines if you come across any as they(kids) can make their own clothes like a professional with a little practice.

Basically, Cindy is hoping to teach sewing as a youth activity.

Anyway, thanks for reading. I will definitely spread around some mojo :-)

"Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism." Hubert H. Humphrey

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