Friday, April 19, 2013

Marking the Fabric... Just a Series of Decisions

I've chosen my red sateen for the front of my Welsh-inspired quilt and I have a big bold print for the back.  I've chosen a cotton batting with just a bit of polyester for stability.  I've pre-rinsed and dryed my fabrics and the batting got sprayed with water and tossed into the dryer to take the folds out of it and do a bit of gentle pre-shrinking.  If you don't follow the same routine, that's fine by me but I've done it like this for so long that it's just habit.

My red fabric for the quilt top is laid out on my work surface and due to the small size of the sample, it works fine.  If you want to mark a larger top it's much easier to use a larger table... sometimes you can borrow the tables in your local quilt shop to get started with the marking.  The marking process is just a series of choices and the first one is to decide how big the quilt will be.  My sample quilt will be marked 20" by 32" but when the quilting is finished it'll be smaller due to the quilting.  I'll be marking with a soap sliver (don't use a moisurizing soap with oil) which is very temporary so once I've marked the basic lines, I put the front fabric, batting and backing fabrics together and baste right on the lines that are important.  I usually change to another thread color to do the rest of the basting so that I don't get confused over which basting lines are to be quilted.  The soap or chalk works well on dark fabrics but won't on light fabrics.  I've used the rinse-out blue markers for years on light colors and I think the key to using them is to soak the quilt when rinsing rather that just dabbing the marks with water.  More on this later when I take my sample through the finishing up.

To mark the quilt top, think of it this way... decide how big it will be and then divide the area up into borders and center circles... outline as needed and then divide and outline again and fill the created spaces with patterns.  Sounds easy?  Don't worry about doing it all perfect, if you don't risk imperfection, you'll never get any pleasure.  I don't work at perfection, I like the quirky quilts best.  I'll share one of my marking mistakes later....

First of all, I mark vertical and horizontal lines in the center of the quilt.  Usually, I mark temporary lines with a broken line and quilting lines with a solid line but here I marked both center lines with a solid line.  The rulers show how I got the lines square to each other.

Now I'm ready to mark the outside lines of the quilt.  I'll measure out from these center lines to mark the outside lines which will be the outermost line around the quilt design.  There will be 3" borders on all four sides and these will all be outlined from the border side of the line which will show up in a picture when the quilting is being done.  It isn't a big deal which side of the lines the double lines are marked on but they should all be the same.  There will be a 4" border on two of the sides which shows up in the picture below to the left of the marked circles.  The circles in the center are about 12" and 7.5".  I tend to like larger circle designs for the center rather than smaller ones.

This picture shows the all of the lines that do the basic dividing up of the space marked and the layers basted together on the lines.  This isn't the traditional way but a way that I've developed because I'll quilt this in a hoop.  So, the space has been divided into the basic spaces and is ready to mark the double lines which will give definition to the different spaces and keep things from blurring together.

Notice the different color of the fabric?  Same quilt top but it's been turned 90 degrees in this picture and the cotton sateen shows up as a very different color.  Gotta love sateen, it's full of surprises.  So, here's the same top with the dividing lines and double lines quilted.  Notice how the outer quilted lines aren't double at this time.  These will stay this way for the time being.  I've always struggled a bit over what to call the lines that echo the dividing lines... I've referred to them as 'outlining' and 'double lines' but they are just one line echoing another.  It doesn't matter what they're called as long as they get included.  Now the quilt is ready for the patterns to be quilted into the divided spaces but I thought I'd add a bit about how I make templates.

These are some of the tools I use for marking.  The picture below shows how the circle template was made for the center circles.  The funny ruler in the back is a yardstick ruler point fitted to a yardstick and a small hose clamp to hold a Sharpie marker which is what I use on template plastic.   I use this homegrown yardstick compass for big circles.

This is how I make templates for marking.  I mark a quarter or so of the circle.  The inside circle is marked and the line cut away wide enough to allow marking. I place narrow strips of masking tapes across the cut slits (on both sides of the template to make it more stable).  I also have a very small black dot marked where the very center of the circle would be.  I prefer to make the template a little larger and mark the center where I can see it better to center it with the lines on the fabric.

So, in the next post, I'll show how the circle is divided up to be filled with spirals,  also known as Welsh 'snails'... stay tuned.

1 comment:

  1. Is it possible to add a "print friendly" feature to your postings? I'd like to print out the welsh quilt series and this would be so helpful for a visual reference!