Quilter's Academy - Volume 2 - Sophomore Year

Vol 3 - Junior Year

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Vol 2 - Project 6 - Four Patch Lattice - Finishing

Apart from agonising over fabric choices more than usual, this top came together without any major dramas (or swearing) and I was even happy with the quilting.  Come to finishing it, usually the most stress free part of my quiltmaking, and the wheels well and truly fell off!

I've done some daring things with markers, tried all kinds and without fail, they have washed out of my tops.  Not this time.  Harriet does warn against using yellow markers, as they can contain sulphur, but I used orange.  I tried a variety of colours to mark this top and orange was the only one I could see well.

I find it ironic that before quilting, I marked every block with orange chalk, and of course it rubbed off and was completly gone before I got to quilt it.  I resorted to re-marking each block just prior to quilting it.  After washing, using my usual method of cold water and a small amount of detergent, the orange remained firmly embedded in the quilting.  I'll re-wash but I rather think I'm stuck with it.

Orange quilting was not part of the plan!
Again, I normally don't have a major problem with this, although I am still struggling a bit with the process.  Trying to make this quilt square was a lesson in frustration.
I measured and trimmed 3 times and got nowhere.  Here are the measurements in cms

                                             1ST TRIM        2ND TRIM        3RD TRIM
  • CENTRE LENGTH         1700                  1690                    1690
  • RIGHT SIDE                   1710                  1690                    1690
  • LEFT SIDE                      1700                  1700                   1695 
  • CENTRE WIDTH           1345                 1340                   1330
  • TOP                               1360                 1350                   1350
  • BOTTOM                       1355                 1340                   1340
The more I tried to square and trim, the worse things got till the figures simply made no sense at all.  I gave up before I'd trimmed away most of the quilt!  

My usual method - mark 1" below each red cornerstone

Join all the markings up with a single trimming line

Make sure the corner is square, and trim along the marked line
After giving this some thought, I think I know where I'm going wrong.  I literally can't see straight.  Most of the other quilts I've trimmed have a border or at least a seam line against which I can measure.  Without this reference point, I can't lay the ruler straight.  While to my eyes, it looks level, it isn't, the figures tell me that.  I did actually try to use the lines on the cutting mat to get the quilt edges straight, but as they were on the outside of the quilt, and as the quilt wasn't straight, it didn't work for me.
This is what I ended up with...............
This is the best I could do, and I admit to cheating (pulling and coaxing the edges together).

Nope, not done yet.  I used a 'nifty' binding tool to end the machined binding.  So much more trouble than it's worth and the ends were too long to join properly anyway.  I eased them in but ended up with a bit of a pleat.  No big deal, I can live with that.

While hand sewing, I noticed 3 seams which weren't ditch-stitched.  Easy fixed, but annoying. 
The last thing is entirely my own fault and I'm glad it happened as I've learned yet again what not to do.  Don't use the thread cutter on the machine!  Harriet advises against this, but because I wasn't doing free-motion, I got lazy and used the cutter.  I have these little thread ends all over the back of my quilt...
Originally the thread cutter was making neat, short trims, but after being poorly adjusted by a sewing machine mechanic (long story), the thread now cuts too long. 

I started snipping while hand sewing the binding............ yup, nicked the backing didn't I.
There's a hole in your quilt dear Liza, dear Liza......... oh, and you can see here a seam which didn't get quilted.
To make the repair, I ironed over a bit of very light fusible interfacing (and finished the missing quilting).
  Guess where I'm putting the label?
All in all, I'm rather over this quilt.  I really liked the way it turned out and was looking forward to finishing it.  The little problems are fixable, but I don't know if I can live with the orange chalk.  Any suggestions?

Meanwhile I've been doing the windowpanes on the Card Trick quilt, with just the last round to go.  This process has had a few problems of it's own.  More about that next post.
Groovy man!


  1. "Dear Liza",
    My goodness, you are learning! Bless you for sharing. I thank you for posting all the "oops" in the process because I, too, am learning. The orange in the quilt I can't advise you about except to contact Harriet. Exactly what type of marker was it? The window panes on the Card Trick quilt are just beautiful...they are multicolored and busy, how do you plan to mark and quilt them? I'm simply guessing here, but would it be possible to mark a small area with chalk, immediately quilt and then repeat throughout the quilting process? I admire your work ethic!

  2. Beautiful work as always. I'm so sorry about the orange chalk. Do you have oxyclean or something similar that you could try soaking it in in Tasmania?

    Cheers, K

  3. I had a quilt machine quilted by someone else and she used an orange chalk to make little dots on the WHITE areas to use as a guide for straight lines. She expected it to brush off easily as other chalks of the same brand had always done. IT DID NOT. This is an all cotton flannel quilt but I don't think being flannel has anything to do with it. I tried spotting it with several things before I finally gave in and washed the whole quilt. I hate to wash a new quilt. Some came out but most did not. The lady that quilted it did not have any suggestions except for some kind of cleaner that is so toxic you have to use it outside. I chose not to use it and no grarantee it would have worked. I still gave the quilt to my son who it was made for and it now has a story. The funny part is I am a hand quilter and this is the first one I had machine quilted because it was flannel. He is using it on his bed this winter so it is serving the purpose it was made for.

  4. I would suggest you try to recreate the conditions that caused the original stain- use same fabric scraps, same chalk, add some heat from the sun or from under a lamp if you use one for quilting with. Quilt the samples with same batting, and thread.
    Try on one sample a gentle action with toothbrush and diluted detergent and wiggle the bristles along the seamline, wash and see what happens.
    Try this also with some sard wonder soap on the bristles of the brush mixed with water. Wash and examine.
    With another try soaking in napisan first for maybe an hour or two and then wash and check for residue.
    With a third see what Preen will do, Spray, leave it to sit for a half hour to hour and then wash.
    With a fourth sample try Run Remover. Maybe there is some pigment that has become stuck in the fabric that Dylon's Run Remover might shift. Worth a try. you can get it at some Supermarkets and dry cleaners, maybe hardware stores with a good laundry section.
    Try as many things like this as you can. All of them are safe for coloured fabrics if you buy the colour safe version of the fabrics.
    Subsequent washing might make it harder to remove the marks so its worth finding what has the best effects rather than trying to shift the marks with each of these methods one after another.
    I remember I once had some orange Bohin chalk be tougher to remove- and I had marked lightly, not heavily- I got quite abit out when it was still at the powder dry stage by rubbing with a scrap of batting, and the clothes brush trick worked abit too. The rest came out in Napisan.
    Hopefully one or more of these tricks will work for you, let us know and thanks for the heads up on the orange colour being tricky to remove.
    This is the best example of why pretesting all markers even if you have used them before is a sound practice, it takes only one colour or chemical or whatever to cause real problems!