For the Record

By Mary Covey

Most quilters are drawn to the warmth and beauty of antique quilts. We like to collect and display them whenever possible. Many of these quilts have intricate hand stitching, unusual fabrics, and are made from patterns with long forgotten names. Fabric historians and journals written by the quilters have helped in documenting information about many antique quilts that are parts of museum collections. But what about quilts that you find at garage sales, flea markets, and antique stores? Do you ever wonder who the maker was, what was the name of the pattern, or how old is the quilt? I do.

3 Ways to Take Care of Antique Quilts #quilting #marycoveydesigns

Antique quilt from the 1930’s.

The block above is from a quilt made in the 1930’s. I know this because several of the blocks in the quilt have the year embroidered on them. So while we know approximately when it was made, the name of the maker, the name of the owner, the pattern name, and the occasion for which it was made are all a mystery. I have written a previous post on labeling your quilts, which should be a part of any quilt making process, but have you ever thought of making a record keeping system for your quilts?

The easiest way to keep a record of information about your quilts is to develop a basic form and fill it out each time you make a quilt. It can be something as simple as an 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheet of paper or as elaborate as a binder system made specifically for a quilt maker’s record keeping.  Many of my friends use a spiral bound notebook that costs about a dollar that you can purchase just about any where. My favorite way is to create this document as part of an electronic file and save it on my computer.

The following is a list of information to include in your record:

  • Project or quilt number. Assign each project or quilt a number when you start. Then fill in the information as your work progresses.
  • Name. This is not necessary but most quilters do name their projects.
  • Pattern name and manufacturer. An example would be – “Happy Birthday Baby” pattern designed by Mary Covey from the book “Celebrations” published by Martingale & Company 2002.
  • Piecing. Was the quilt pieced by hand or machine? Was it made by one person or several? Be sure to include everyone’s name.
  • Quilting.  Record whether the quilt was hand or machine quilted and by whom.
  • Special information. Record if the quilt has appeared in any shows or publications. In each instance, record the name of the show/publication, date, awards won or page number.
  • Quilt owner. Even if you are making the quilt for yourself, make sure you record who is the owner. You may think everyone knows who you made the quilt for but unless you write it down, nobody will. If you are giving the quilt as a gift, make sure this information is on the label.
  • Maker’s notes. This is where I like to record the story behind the quilt. What was the inspiration for making the quilt – a wedding, a birthday, a new baby, a gift for a special friend?
  • Pictures. Take a photograph of your quilt or project. If you keep a paper record write the number of the project on the back of the photo in case it gets separated for the recorded sheet. Photos can be easily added to electronic files and saved.

Remember it is never too late to start keeping a record of your quilts. Chances are you know who you gave a quilt to or you might even still own them.  Start taking pictures and recording the history of as many of them as you can. You’ll be glad you did.

 

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Quilter’s Dream

By Mary Covey

Quilters Dream Quilt Store

Every quilter I know loves to visit quilt shops when they travel and I am no exception. Recently while I was in Texas I had the opportunity to visit Quilter’s Dream located in Colleyville just outside Grapevine. The shop was established in 1997 and is owned by Beverly Ingram.

Quilters Dream Quilt Store

Quilters Dream Quilt Store, Colleyville, TX

When you step in the door you are made to feel right at home by the friendly staff.

Quilter's Dream Owner Beverly Ingram

Beverly Ingram, Owner of Quilter’s Dream

The shop features a wide variety of fabrics, books, and patterns. Beverly told me that they write many of their own patterns. Their best known and most popular pattern is called Magic Nine patch. They have also created eight different block of the month programs.  As I rambled through the store, I visited three separate classrooms with students working on projects. I also had the pleasure of visiting with a long arm quilter who works from the shop. It was a pleasant way to spend the afternoon.
If you are every in the area, give Quilter’s Dream a visit. If you can’t go in person you can always visit them on line at www.quiltersdreamtx.com.

 

 

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Machine Quilting Tips (part 3)

By Mary Covey

3 Must Know Tips to Machine Quilting

Whither you are machine quilting your quilt yourself or sending it to a machine quilter to quilt for you, there are a few tips that will help your quilt have a better finished look.

1.  Check your borders to make sure that they are flat, the seams are straight, and the corners are square. The quilt below (made by Elsie Ridgley quilted by me) is a great example of this.

IMG_3231elephant side

2.  It is important for the back of your quilt to lay flat also. First be sure to have a straight and even seam. Trimming the selvage and pressing the seam open before quilting will help keep the back from puckering.

IMG_3976selvage      This is an example of an uneven seam that has untrimmed selvages and has not been pressed.

IMG_3237rightseam

       This is an example of a good even seam that has trimmed selvages and pressed seams.

3.  Finally, use good quality thread and batting. I prefer 100% cotton thread like Aurifil or Signature. The same is true for batting choose a good quality natural fiber batting like Warm & Natural. If you prefer a light weight batting Hobbs Heirloom is 80% cotton/20%polyester. Both battings will withstand the test of time.

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6 Tips and Tricks Every Quilter Should Know

6 Tips & Tricks Every Quilter Should Know

By Mary Covey

I recently read the following post by Sherri McConnell titled “Tips and Tidbits” from her blog.  Sherri offers 6 tips and tricks every new (or seasoned) quilter should know. I really enjoyed her pictures and her very useful tips her grandmother shared with her many years ago.

Whether you are a beginning quilter or a seasoned one, you will enjoy this practical advice.

Enjoy reading and have fun with your latest project!

 

TIPS AND TIDBITS

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Quilting Tips and Tidbits

It’s actually been many years ago now that I received my first lessons in quilting from my grandmother, and many of the tips she shared with me on that sunny afternoon are bits of information I use daily in my quilting…twenty some years later. Here is a round-up of my favorite tips and tidbits to share with new quilters: these are review for seasoned quilters but are simple steps that can make a big difference for new quilters just joining in and learning all about this amazing past time.

Measure Twice, Cut Once

This was the first thing I learned from my grandmother and one of the tips that helps me most in my daily quilting. It’s a simple rule, but it really does work. A good start…including accurate cutting and measuring…is essential to a good finish.

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Know Your Seam Allowance

Know Your Seam Allowance

My grandmother also told me to use a 1/4″ seam allowance for all of my quilting (unless directed otherwise by a pattern), but it was a few years later while taking a class at a local quilt shop that I learned what this really meant. A wonderful teacher showed me that my seam allowance was actually a thread or two bigger than 1/4″ which resulted in some of my piecing being just a bit off (those 1/16″ inch variations can really add up in a big quilt)! So measure your seam allowance periodically to make sure you’re on track. You can adjust your needle to the right or left if necessary, obtain a 1/4″ seam guide, or use painters tape to mark the true 1/4″ line on your machine.

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Pin and Mark

Keep it Together: Pin and Mark

Somewhere along the line pins seem to have received a bad reputation. While it does take a little longer to pin…the results can be wonderfully surprising. Although it isn’t necessary to always use pins, if you’re having trouble with matching seams or getting a lot of different points to match up, pins might be the best solution. While I don’t always use pins for simple chain-piecing, I always use them if there is something that needs to be lined up.

Properly marking is important, too. Use a pencil to mark on the wrong side of light fabrics or chalk for darker fabrics to mark lines for half square triangles and corner square (“flip and sew”) corners. While it often looks like it’s going to be just fine if you “eyeball” it, marking can also improve accuracy by leaps and bounds.

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Fabric Preparation

Fabric Prep

Fabric preparation is another step some quilters like to skip: after all, most quilters love fabric so much they just want to jump right in and sew. But your fabric may need pressing before cutting, and this can be especially important when using pieces from fat eighth and fat quarter bundles. Just think of it as a little extra time you get to spend with the fabric!

Some quilters like to use steam when pressing their fabric for the first time. This can cut down on shrinkage later on–an important step especially when working with lots of pieces or smaller pieces. An additional step many quilters use is to both starch and press their fabrics before beginning any project. Whether or not to pre-wash your fabrics is another decision to make before beginning. Although I pre-wash only when I’m going to use fabric for garment construction, there are many others who pre-wash all of their quilting cottons.

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Quilted Pillow

Handle with Care

Fabric can be stretched, and if your fabric is stretched enough your blocks might end up distorted. Use care when handling bias edges: don’t fear working with triangles for half-square triangles, quarter-square triangles, and flying geese … just handle with care to prevent stretching.

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Handle with Care

I do have one final tip, and it’s my favorite one to share. Enjoy yourself while you are sewing and quilting. Your projects are yours, and they should bring you great joy while you’re working…quilting is the best hobby!

What is your favorite advice for new quilters…?

#Tipsandtricks #quilting #sewing

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