Thursday, November 10, 2011

Frayed, I'll show you frayed!

Well cathadral windows have been interesting. I was expecting the idea of hand sewing to get mixed reviews and it did. I hadn't expected the fraying competition though. The most interesting part however has been the cutting. A lot of my students have been surprised how long cutting out takes them (why do you think I try to hide it in most of my projects?) They have also noticed for themselves that it isn't easy to be really accurate. Even though we have been starching the fabric before cutting, material moves, and where exactly you line up your ruler matters. Interestingly two of the beginners have had great results, so I guess when we start out we think more about what we are doing. From my point of view it is great to see so many of the students can spot when a square is off now. That too is a skill and for quilters it's just as useful as knowing how to cut well in the first place. The quicker you can spot an error the sooner you can fix it. We have also fouid some fabrics that shrink a lot. Most quilt fabrics I've worked with recently have been pretty good but one lady forgot to starch beforew cutting so did it after. That should have been OK she is a good presser but none of her blocks were square. The 6" squares were consistantly 5 3/4" x 6". So she assumed she had miss cut them all. It can happen. Then we realised it couldn't, well not in this case. She used the shape cut plus ruler to cut her squares. It's a fantastic ruler with slots in that makes cutting a lot quicker and easier, but it only cuts in 1/2" increments unless you reposition your fabric for each cut. You can't accidently be 1/4" out. It turns out that her fabric shrinks 1/4" over 6". That's 4% shrinkage, over something like a quilt back that could really cause a problem. I think I will be starching more of my fabrics just to encourage out the shrinkage. I suppose it's a good reason to buy batiks and multicolour prints too as they will have been processed enough to shrink them as much as they can.

Now I am just waiting for my second class of the day who are onto the machine sen sample tonight. Hopefully last weeks practice will have got them really precise and not having to use the four letter word (hand) will make them much happier. I'm looking forward to it, I wonder if they are?

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