Posts Tagged ‘Mary Ellen Hopkins’

A Reminder About Favorite Fabrics

May 10, 2017

The universe took note of my efforts to finish projects quickly and decided to remind me of a few things. The project that I’ve been documenting on Instagram is a collaborative effort. My husband and I saw the hand-dyed solids at the Amador Valley Quilters recent quilt show and thought we could come up with a design together. I actually had the beginnings of a design, and he agreed it could work, but I consulted with him on each round just in case.

Design for us, and for Challenge Project “Deconstructing Stars”

Things went as I planned until the very end. We had decided on a concept for the final border, but not the fabric we would use. I chose to start this way.

This was when I discovered we had different visions of the perfect border

He still liked the concept, but the quilt was getting too dark for him. He suggested a very light – almost white – print. It didn’t work for me. I wouldn’t even take a picture of it, that’s how much I disliked the effect.

Then I remembered what Mary Ellen Hopkins said: “If your quilt isn’t working, take out your favorite fabric.” I also remembered that this quilt was intended to be a collaborative effort, and sometimes collaboration means you start again.

We’ll start again from here

We’ll be auditioning more borders over the next few days, or weeks, or however long it takes to get it right – which is always more satisfying than getting a quilt done quickly.

Luck and wisdom!

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Lessons From Quilting

December 7, 2016

I finished the tunic (well, almost) and two scarves.Lani Longshore tunic and scarves

The assembly went as well as could be expected. Also, I realized quilting can help with garment construction:

Use fabric that hides seams.

Lani Longshore back dart

When I was learning how to quilt – by hand and by machine – I was advised to use busy backings that would hide the thread. The dark blue silk hides the seams beautifully. As you can see in the picture, that back dart is barely visible.

Don’t point out your errors. There are plenty in this tunic, but it’s comfortable and drapes well and I’m happy.

If it’s there, it must be right. Mary Ellen Hopkins used to say that about fabric choice. Don’t explain why you used teal in a forest scene, orange in the sky, hunter green in a shadow. Likewise, I’m seriously considering angling the hem on this garment. That’s the way it hangs now, and it’s kind of a cool look.

If you must use headstrong fabric, treat it with the same patience you would a cranky toddler. The silk hides seams beautifully, but stretches horribly (even with stay-stitching – thus the hem that hangs at an angle). Careful pinning can save a frayed temper, but acceptance is sometimes the only way to maintain one’s sanity.

Iron that thing into submission. Good pressing technique is essential. My home ec teacher would have given her eye teeth if I had realized that bit of wisdom in school. Better late than never.

If all else fails, distract the viewer’s eye with something fun.

Lani Longshore scarf detail

Scarf detail

Luck and wisdom!