A Bit More about My Banned Books Week Quilt

The completed project

The completed project

I've had a couple of folks ask how I put together "If You Walk By." Fortunately I'd taken pictures during the process, half-thinking I might do a photo-journal of it, but that idea got put by the wayside this past week while I was completely immersed in work. (It was an "event" week that tied me up day and evening, even though I was home.)

So here it is, such as it is. I would definitely do a few things differently next time but I do want to use the basic process again. 

Rather than having a solid background, I wanted there to be distinct changes in the texture to give it a little more interest. This meant either piecing or fusing. I choose fusing whenever possible, especially when I'm under a deadline. So I decided to create freezer paper "templates," cut everything out, fuse it back together, and then satin-stitch over the "seams" to create line and definition. 

I also had the purple and yellow thing in my head from the get-go, and later realized I could also use this for one of my assignments in my Quilt Design Study Group. We're working our way through this book and the assignment was on complementary colors. Bingo. Since I'm a bit of a purist on my homework assignments, I needed to also use purple or yellow thread for the surface design. Fortunately, I had a great variegated yellow in my thread collection.

The rest of this photo-journal will be in the captions to the photos. 

Free-hand sketch of design directly onto freezer paper (matte side). The way I was going to be fusing this, I didn't have to worry about reversing anything so I just drew out the design the way I wanted it to end up. I also didn't worry too much about exactness--whatever I cut was going to fit back together so at this stage I worried more about making sure the general design was what I wanted.

Free-hand sketch of design directly onto freezer paper (matte side). The way I was going to be fusing this, I didn't have to worry about reversing anything so I just drew out the design the way I wanted it to end up. I also didn't worry too much about exactness--whatever I cut was going to fit back together so at this stage I worried more about making sure the general design was what I wanted.

This little 18mm rotary cutter is just the ticket for free-hand cutting of smaller pieces. 

This little 18mm rotary cutter is just the ticket for free-hand cutting of smaller pieces. 

I put fusing on my fabric. I'd have put it on the wrong side if there were a wrong side--these are my hand-dyes so it didn't matter which side it went on.  This is Pellon 805 if you're interested.

I put fusing on my fabric. I'd have put it on the wrong side if there were a wrong side--these are my hand-dyes so it didn't matter which side it went on.  This is Pellon 805 if you're interested.

I then cut out my freezer paper templates. I remembered to label them after I had the first couple cut out. If this were a more complex project, I'd have created myself a second drawing to use as a "map," but didn't feel the need on this. I also didn't leave any seam allowances because I didn't need them for this technique. 

I then cut out my freezer paper templates. I remembered to label them after I had the first couple cut out. If this were a more complex project, I'd have created myself a second drawing to use as a "map," but didn't feel the need on this. I also didn't leave any seam allowances because I didn't need them for this technique. 

I then pressed the freezer paper templates onto my fabric, where the fusing was on the back. This way, when I cut them out, they'd be ready to fuse in the direction I wanted them to appear. Again, I didn't have to worry about reversing anything in this technique. Very straightforward. 

I then pressed the freezer paper templates onto my fabric, where the fusing was on the back. This way, when I cut them out, they'd be ready to fuse in the direction I wanted them to appear. Again, I didn't have to worry about reversing anything in this technique. Very straightforward. 

And here I've reassembled the pieces in order. I'm fusing them onto a very thin piece of batting. I wasn't planning on doing much quilting and didn't want the "quilted" look, so I found a scrap of the thinnest batting I had. If I recall, it might have been a little leftover "Fusiboo," which is a fusible bamboo batting. I did overlap just by a hair a couple of the purples and yellows, because I thought that might give me more of a pieced look. In retrospect, I wouldn't do that again. It was unnecessary and there's a little shadowing in the finished project.

And here I've reassembled the pieces in order. I'm fusing them onto a very thin piece of batting. I wasn't planning on doing much quilting and didn't want the "quilted" look, so I found a scrap of the thinnest batting I had. If I recall, it might have been a little leftover "Fusiboo," which is a fusible bamboo batting. I did overlap just by a hair a couple of the purples and yellows, because I thought that might give me more of a pieced look. In retrospect, I wouldn't do that again. It was unnecessary and there's a little shadowing in the finished project.

I press-tacked it all down (which is just tapping the fused fabric with the iron long enough to hold it in place but not be permanent) then carefully removed the freezer paper template pieces. When they were gone and I was satisfied with the placement, I pressed it to permanently fuse the layers. You'll see here I now also have a background fabric on the other side of the fusible batting, so everything got fused together at once. 

I press-tacked it all down (which is just tapping the fused fabric with the iron long enough to hold it in place but not be permanent) then carefully removed the freezer paper template pieces. When they were gone and I was satisfied with the placement, I pressed it to permanently fuse the layers. You'll see here I now also have a background fabric on the other side of the fusible batting, so everything got fused together at once. 

By the way, you'll note in the fused piece above that alot of the joins between colors aren't clean. The beauty of the satin stitch was that I knew most of that would be covered up. I did use my thread snips to clean up some of the edges, but not much.

I did a couple of tester stitches on my practice quilt sandwich I keep by my sewing machine for just this purpose--I wanted to make sure I had the width of the satin stitch where I wanted it. I then used the satin stitch on all the "seams". I haven't done a lot of satin stitching to date so I was pretty happy with the way that part of it turned out. Again, in retrospect, I'd have worked out the center a little differently--the way the stitching came together in the middle of the flower is a bit awkward. However, I will say that satin-stitching is fairly forgiving. I was able to go back in and stitch over a few places with new seams to clean it up some.

I don't have a picture of the original binding. I tried a new-to-me technique of cutting the backing enough bigger to fold it and bring it to the front, and then machine stitch it down so it's self-binding. I used the satin stitch there too. Hated the results. The stitching skipped over bulkier areas and I couldn't get the corners to look like clean miters. I set the project aside for a day because the binding really ruined the whole project and I wasn't sure how to fix it at the moment. In the interim, I finished a project I'd been working on for Laura Wasilowsky's Craftsy class and did her fused binding method. Bingo! I went back to this project and just fused a binding over the top of the original satin-stitched binding. Completely covered it up and looked a zillion times better. A little decorative stitch with that same yellow variegated thread, and I was suddenly happy with the project again.

So now I'm adding to my repertoire of "how to fix errors quickly" (a repertoire which includes Sharpies and rotary cutters), fused bindings. Very handy. 

Again, there are a few things I'll do differently the next time I do this, but I am planning on using this method again. I like having the look of a pieced background without having to figure out how to do the piecing. 'Cause I'm just kinda lazy that way.

And now, back to working on #scrapitude.