Thursday, September 25, 2008

Odds and Ends

Wow, Thanks for all the lovely comments on my last post. I never expected to get more feedback about my gleeful expression than on my very favorite quilt! I’m telling you, I heard from old friends as well as total strangers (from as far away as France) about my smile. What a testament to the appeal of blogging. I blog to feel connected with other women, on more than just a “quilty” level. Connect with me you did and I am grateful.

I thought I would tie up a few loose ends from previous posts. Several people asked if Milly Churbuck’s hand dyed fabrics were still available and where they could be found. After trying to contact Milly in a round-about way, I finally gave her a phone call. We had a great conversation and here’s the scoop. Sadly, she is no longer dyeing cotton fabric. Following the trend for wool applique, rug hooking and needle punch, she now works exclusively with wool fabric and threads. She has no website as of yet and befitting her “semi-retired” status, is vending at a limited number of quilt shows. I promise to promote her business here on my blog, once she gives me the particulars.

Regarding the Hourglass blocks that make up the doll quilt in my August 14 post, a few people wondered how I pieced such tiny blocks with accuracy. The answer is, I didn’t! Although I claimed the blocks finished at a minuscule 1”, they actually finish at 1 ½”. Sorry about the “guesstimate.” I had no ruler at hand. Even so, the blocks were small, with fiddly seam allowances, so here is how I dealt with them:

I use this technique to construct Hourglass blocks. Normally, I’d start with squares cut 1 ¼” larger than my desired finished size, but when working with such small pieces, I add a fudge factor of ¼” to ½”.

After constructing the block, use a seam ripper to pick out a few stitches where the seams intersect. This frees the seam allowance so you can press it in opposite directions, eliminating bulk.

Press the block gently with steam.

Finally, trim each block precisely to 2” (1 ½” finished) using a bias square ruler and rotary cutter. As you pin blocks into rows, match carefully where blocks intersect. I probably alternated the direction in which I pressed seam allowances for each row. However, if you want to eliminate more bulk, press seam allowances open. If doing so, shorten the stitch length on your sewing machine to make seams more secure.

Hope this clears things up.


  1. The colors of the fabric are awesome - makes me wish she were still dyeing fabric.

    Your quilt is adorable - those are for sure tiny blocks...and your work is so neat.

  2. Hi, I found your blog tonight, its awesome!! will be back often, just love your quilts.

  3. I just found your blog via Mrs. Schmenkman. I have to say you are an inspiration. I love the quilts that you have made and also am a lover of hand dyed fabrics. I will certainly be back to visit.

  4. Yes, what an amazing quilt you have up on your dining room wall. I love all the solids! And the quilting is fantastic!
    I recognize that backing for your hour glass quilt. I've used that loads of times and love they galaxy effect it has.

  5. What a beautiful bundle of fabrics . . . can fabric call your name?

  6. It was lovely to meet you on Sunday. I stopped over at the Abbey today and you were right, they are a wonderful group of women. I know where I'll be spending my Tuesday afternoons, needle in hand.

  7. Beautiful hourglass quilt! I love it. The colors are wonderful.