My current scrappy project, a second fusion quilt, will keep me in ScrapHappy posts for months to come!
When I left you last time, we had just turned the squares right side out and were a little horrified at the way they looked.
The next step in the project is to pin the opening and sew it closed. You could do this invisibly, by hand, but I have too many crafty plans and I’m not getting any younger so I sew that opening closed on my machine. I figure that, between the blanket stitch and the crochet busyness, no one will notice. And if they do, it’ll give them a chance to feel superior and who doesn’t need that once in awhile?
Then I topstitch around the edge, about a quarter inch in. (You’ll find that precision isn’t terribly important with this sort of quilt because the crochet is so flexible that, if the squares vary a teensy bit in size, it’ll never matter.)
Top stitching can be intimidating, because it shows, being on top and all. But this top stitching isn’t like that. It doesn’t really show because you’ll do hand stitching over it. So worry not.
The purpose of top stitching here is that it serves to plump up the square as the batting is compressed a little.
Another benefit will become apparent when you start to do the blanket stitching by hand. It’s not easy to get the needle through the multiple layers of fabric you have in each square. But, if you plan your top stitch spacing well, you’ll be able to put your needle into the holes punched by your machine needle.
This makes it a lot easier to sew into the thick edges but you may also want to go a step farther. I use a finger cot on my right index finger. It’s a sort of mini-condom-like thing that gives you a good grip on the needle. You can find them in the first-aid section of the drugstore.
I set my machine to stitch at about 8 stitches per inch. I sew on a Singer Featherweight and that 8-stitches-per-inch is a guesstimate. I hear tell that them new-fangled machines allow you to be pretty precise about such things . . .
If I do 8 stitches per inch and sew the blanket stitch into every third stitch, I end up with about 12-13 blanket stitches around the edge.
I didn’t do this until I was quite far along on the first quilt so some of my squares have as many as 18 blanket stitches on each edge. That became quite the issue when I started crocheting all the blocks together. Learn from my mistakes.
Because I have access to lots of weaving yarn/thread, I choose to do the blanket stitch in off-white mercerized cotton in a weight weavers call “5/2.” I do the crochet in the same cotton but in the slightly heavier 3/2 weight. The mercerized or perle cotton has a nice sheen to it and I like that it comes in one-pound cones.
One of the things I like best about this project is the steps in the process call on different skills so I don’t get bored.
- I cut a bunch of the materials at one time so they are handy.
- I do the machine sewing on 10-12 squares at a time.
- Just about the time I’m sick of sitting at the machine, it’s time for some hand sewing. The blanket stitch is pretty mindless and I can do it anywhere.
- And then, it’s time to switch gears again and crochet. I’ll tell you more about that next time!
My progress to date is:
23 squares finished to the point of having been sewn and crocheted. I’ve sewn in some of the crochet ends but still need to block the finished squares.
10 more squares ready for blanket stitch and then crochet.
ScrapHappy is open to anyone using up scraps of anything – no new materials. It can be a quilt block, pincushion, bag or hat, socks or a sculpture. Anything made of scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join us on the 15th of each month? Email Kate at the address on her Contact Me page. She welcomes new members. You don’t have to worry about making a long term commitment or even join in every month, just let Kate or Gun know a day or so in advance if you’re new and you’ll have something to show, so they can add your link. Regular contributors will receive an email reminder three days before the event.
Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at).
Kate, Gun, Titti, Heléne, Eva, Sue, Nanette, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, Sandra, Linda, Chris, Nancy, Alys, Kerry (that’s me), Claire, Jean,
Joanne, Jon, Hayley, Dawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline and Sue L.
thanks for all the tips . . . I keep saying I’m going to make a fusion blanket one day, but haven’t begun yet!
Anyway, I look forward to seeing yours in progress . . . it’s a wonderful way to use all those vintage fabrics.
It really is a good way to make use of scraps–any treasured fabric gets special attention with this technique.
It is wonderful news that you anticipate lots of posts with this project because they are always so fascinating to read and the pictures are lovely to study. I’m also really interested to read about the finger cot – I am currently knitting with very fine (2mm), pointy needles and my right index finger is suffering! I had started to think about getting some protection, but was not sure whether it would impede my work. I’ll definitely get something now on your recommendation, thank you! 😀
The finger cots are delicate–it’ll be interesting to see if your needles rip them. Do you know what alligator tape is? I wonder if a small piece of that on your fingertip might work?
Kerry you are a genius! I had not heard of alligator tape but it looks like the perfect solution, thank you. I have been managing with a bit of sellotape on my finger these last few days! 🤣😫
If that ends up being awkward try Googling “sticky thimbles.”
That’s fab. I have something called alligator tape that provides a similar function for my fingers (this isn’t me, but it’s where you can get it in the UK and it has a nice picture https://www.kernowcraft.com/products/metal-clay/item/alligator-skin-finger-protection-tape-90ft-roll-c289) Thank you for sharing all the how-to bits – it makes it much less daunting a project to consider.
I used alligator tape when I was making jewelry, too–it’s such a help! The finger cots are quite fragile and break pretty easily but they also allow for precise handling of a needle, etc.
Sigh!! ❤ ❤ 🙂
I’m just making this second quilt because I know it makes you happy . . . 😉
I thought as much and am eternally grateful 😀
Good tips for the blanket stitching guide Kerry which I will remember when I take up mine again.
I’m still trying to get over the mini-condom image 🧐🤭
You made me laugh…
I love that this is a ‘slow sewing’ project AND ScrapHappy, so we’ll be seeing more of it. Progress posting is a favourite for me, I’m so over the whole “tadaaa” of only showing the finished item. Love the detail, love the vintage vibe, love the history you’re rescuing and making beautiful again.
Ha–if I waited for “tada” moments to do a blog post, I’d hardly ever post! Slow sewing is where it’s at in my world–I want time to think about each little bit of fabric I’m using!
Can I say I LOVE this project and the opportunity to really learn how you do it. I’d be stopped after the blanket stitch because I don’t crochet. Why don’t I live closer to you? I’d sew squares, and maybe I could learn to crochet. 🙂
I don’t know why you don’t live closer to me! I’d like to put together a town of all my favorite people . . . Regarding crochet: I think it would be pretty easy for your to learn to crochet well enough to do what I do. I don’t really crochet–I only know two stitches and I learned them from YouTube videos. Truly–it’s not hard.
I’m a fan of white on white, cream on white, beige on white, ecru on white. I find it calming. Every time I read one of your posts I get itchy fingers. It has been so long since I made anything by hand.
I like white-on-white, too, but I can’t have much of it in my multi-cat house! This is a good time for itchy fingers, really–so many crafty endeavors seem to be trending right now so it would be easy to find inspiration. I say go for it!
Holy cats! You won’t find me feeling superior! Instead, awe and admiration. This is so far outside my wheelhouse that I can’t even see the ship.
Ha–I like that metaphor! Be assured that what you do is way far out of my wheelhouse, too!
Nice post. I really appreciate hearing and seeing the process that you use in making. This encourages me to try your techniques in my own work. Thank you.
Thanks for your nice comment! I think a lot of what I like about reading blog posts is the inspiration I get–little “aha” insights that I can use.
I’m so glad you are making a twin for the other twin bed; I love all the little bits of lovely fabrics and crocheting pieces. How many square was it again? I was thinking about 200, but I think I may be way off.
Not that many! About 112, I think. I can’t remember and since it’ll take are a long time to get that far, I haven’t recounted. I like that the little bits of fabric are different so there isn’t a real sense of doing the same thing over and over.
I love seeing all the different pieces.😍
Thank you for the walk thru on the process for this amazing quilt….it is such a perfect venue to highlight these vintage beauties. I love the white on white ~ in fact I love it all 🙂
It really is the perfect venue and the perfect solution for using these treasured bits–I am so glad I came across it in another blogger’s post!
As ever, quite simply just …in awe …. at your tenacity. But all your work looks lovely!
Thanks, Margaret–I think it’s a lot like your hikes. You keep putting one foot in front of the other, enjoying every step!
Not always …. it’s sometimes tough …
Oh Kerry!! You are always inspiring me and delighting me with your creative genius! ❤️. I’m excited yo see the beauty grow and come together. Have a great day!!!
“Creative genius,” huh? I like the sound of that but the idea totally came from another blogger! It is the perfect match for my bits of vintage fabric, though–thanks for your enthusiasm!
I knew you would make it all come out fine!
The whole process is much more manageable the second time around! Go figure!
It’s going to be a beautiful quilt!
I know I will love it!
great instructions and photos. Again, the finished quilt is going to be a masterpiece. I’m still amazed that you had the courage/strength to make a second one. The amount and quality of work is extremely impressive. 🙂
Thanks, Jean. The process is so much easier this second time around, having solved the construction problems the first time. It’s perfect project to pick up when I’m too tired to do much else.
So true; who doesn’t need a chance to feel superior once in a while? Now, exactly when is that supposed to happen?? 🙂 Great tips here.
You can feel superior right now, Marlene, for having cleared out a lot of extra stuff and simplifying your life!
I wish! So much more to go. ;(
It will give them a chance to feel superior… 😂 I love it. I’ll have to remember that when I don’t get seams to match like I wanted but to lazy to redo. Those block are all wonderful ,I enjoy the variety.
Exactly–giving others a chance to feel superior is a worthwhile undertaking! Be proud to make mistakes and help others out! I’m loving the variety of the blocks, too.
Thanks for the ‘how to….’ guide to fusion quilting, Kerry. It all looks simply gorgeous and I am full of admiration!
Thanks, Clare! I don’t think I’d have the patience for a full-fledged tutorial, including dimensions and “how to do blanket stitch,” etc., but I did want to put some tips down in writing.
I love these quilts too. The crocheting goes so well with the vintage material, giving it a lovely, classy homely vibe. I guess ‘homely’ can be ‘classy’ at the same time 😉
I agree that the crochet works just right with the vintage fabric. I was thinking about using the fusion quilt idea to put together samples of my handwoven fabrics but . . . the crochet wouldn’t compliment the dish towel fabrics in such a satisfying way!
Thanks for sharing your techniques along with your progress, Kerry. I love these fusion quilts. As always, I’m impressed with your detailed work. I’m glad you’re enjoying yourself.
The detail work is going so much more easily this time, now that I’ve finally figured out what I’m doing! Thanks, Alys!
I just love seeing all the pieces of old linen. I would never be able to sleep under one of these quilts. Too busy perusing the pieces and imagining their origins. And, of course, you use a Featherweight. They are the best.
When I show the quilt to someone, I spend toooo much time saying “and this used to be a fingertip towel, and this one was a crib sheet”–each bit makes me happy. And I do so love my Featherweight! I actually traded an expensive Bernina (which I loathed) for it! Although I wouldn’t mind a zigzag stitch option . . .
Wow – what an amazing project and so lovely to be making use of all that old linen.
The best part of it, to me, is saving the pretty bits, which all came from items that were damaged and otherwise unusable.
You tips are so wonderful that you are inspiring me to start a scrap something. So many ideas! I wonder if a needle book would work with linen and or cotton. I am under the impression that wool is superior and prevents needle rust, but I would love to use some of my scraps, which are mostly cotton. What do you think?
Hmmmm–I think I’ve heard wool is good for the actual needles but you could use linen and cotton for the book and just attach small squares of wool to the pages, for the needles. To give the book and pages structure, I might back the cotton with lightweight fusible web. It’s a lovely idea–I don’t have a proper needle book . . .
Your blanket stitch is so incredibly neat thank your for sharing your method for achieving this look. I love seeing projects as they progress.
Working the blanket stitch over that base of top stitching really does make it look so much neater! That always bothered me about blanket stitch, how hard it was to get it to look tidy.
This is kind of like a foreign language to me Kerry, but one that I love to listen to 🙂
You’re a very good sport, to keep being such a supportive reader when this sewing stuff isn’t your thing!
I can appreciate the beauty and creativity even if it’s not something I do myself 🙂
Switching back and forth on tasks can prevent boredom in all sorts of arenas. In fact, that is why I sometimes have two books I’m reading — one that might be serious, another that is more frivolous.
I do that too with books but it seems the frivolous ones are much more likely to get read and finished . . .
I felt myself age several years reading of this process! Yikes. Wait… is that Patsy Cline or Loretta Lynn singing, “Right or Wrong” on the radio… oh, and oldie… – Oscar
You crack me up . . .
Oh, my! So much math. LOL. Not to mention: finger condoms, sticky thimbles, new-fangled machines ….:D What a great post. Had me smiling while learning. BTW, I really like the thick crocheted pieces (not sure what that is called) and white on white.
Thanks so much Joanne–you never know what you’re going to find here! And, yes, those thicker pieces are crochet, and gorgeous, but the coral and white trim is tatting. It’s all so pretty!
The finger cot looks like a good idea. I sometimes try to use a thimble when sewing thick cloth, I never thought about finger cots.
Pingback: ScrapHappy: Fusion Redux #3 | Love Those "Hands at Home"