Monday, May 20, 2013

I Don't Do Subtle...


This is gold lame fabric.  Lovely, isn't it?  I think its safe to assume most quilters wouldn't use it in their quilts.  Yeah, well, I've always been different.

My wonderful quilt group, Running with Scissors, has sort of a long standing tradition.  Each year a 'group' quilt is chosen that we all agree to make. This quilt isn't a group project rather it's the design that is chosen to which we all make our own quilt from.  There are no rules.  Though we all work from the same pattern it's amazing how truly different our individual quilts turn out in the end.  It's a really fun project and I think we all come to it with ideas on how to make it distintly our own.

The design for our group quilt this year is a basic New York Beauty block.  It's not one of those really complicated NY Beauties that are out there.  This block consists of only one band of points and that makes the construction much easier than if you had say three or four bands of points.  This is also a foundation pieced block.  I'm not a big fan of foundation piecing because to me it's a bit tedious.  But to make the absolute best points, its the only way to go.  I've constructed star blocks and a mariners compass using solely pieced blocks and also solely foundation pieced and the foundation pieced always comes out with better points.

Our 'quilt master' this time around is Liz (actually Liz tends to be the proposer of most of our group quilts...) and she has chosen what I think is a really versital block for all skill levels.  Most members of our group have been quilting for years but even the newer quilters will be able to tackle this block successfully with a little patience.  She sent the pattern out to all the members after everyone agreed this would be our group quilt project.  When I received mine my brain kicked in with ideas.  I of course thought scrappy at first as many NY Beauties look amazing using a multitude of colours.  Then I thought it would be challenging to use only two colours, red and white or blue and white.  Though I have a mini quilt shop in my own house I instead decided to browse a few fabric stores to spark some further ideas.

I went to a fabric store I don't usually frequent.  It has an amazing range of fabrics in every conceivable texture and color so it's a riot for the quilters senses as you walk in the door.  The only reason I never really visit it often is that they never had a very extensive range of 100% cotton. Well, that has changed.  I'm happy to see their cotton range has grown a great deal so after this visit I'll definitely be back again when I'm on the hunt (its unfortunate however that their minimum cut is 1m - this is a pain if you only need 1/2 or less).  Anyway, because this shop handles so many different fabrics, after looking at the cottons I browsed the rest of the store and the idea I finally settled on took root.  This shop caters to a large clientele of Indian women who make and wear the most gorgeous sari's so the fabrics they carry are bright and blingy and beautiful.  It was here I found an amazing array of lame in sooo many colours.  I knew right then I was going to use gold lame in my group quilt. 

I've used lame before many, many years ago when I made myself a ball dress (yeah, I went to a ball in the 80s so gold lame and black satin were 'in').  It's a bugger to work with.  Not only is it flimsy in texture, it's slippery as well and it tends to 'dent' when you pin it.  And to top it off lame unravels at the drop of a hat.  

All in all its not a quilting fabric but you know this only added to my determination to use it successfully.

I stablized the lame by ironing light weight interface to the back
I bought one meter of it to take home and do some testing on.  Right away I decided there was no way I was going to use this fabric without first stabilising it in some way.  The most logical choice is light iron on interfacing.  Lame can't really be ironed.  It can, but you need to use a pretty cool iron or else the fabric buckles up under the heat and a permanent group of wrinkles develop.  Not pretty.  And of course to use iron on interface you have to apply enough heat to melt the glue that will adhere it to the fabric.  The only logical way to do this is to place a few layers of fabric on top of the sandwich of lame and interface so that the heat radiates through gently.  After a couple of try's to get just the right ratio of barrier fabric to interface/lame fabric, my finished stablized lame turned out pretty well.  There was some slight rippling but as I'm using only small bits at a time that won't affect the look overall.  It was ready to try in the foundation pattern.

Gold lame with interfacing ironed to the back
One set of points done
 I'm going to use batik fabric in multiple colors of blue.  This block only has two of the batiks represented but the rest of the blocks will have a mixture throughout the quilt. 

One block completed
The stablized lame seems to work well.  I might throw this block in the washing machine to see how the lame reacts to general laundrying.  I like to actually use my quilts on the bed and having a dog and a cat it's inevitable it will need washing on a regular basis.  If the lame isn't strong enough to handle a good washing I'll have to decide if I really want to use it in this quilt or make this quilt a display piece only.  We'll see.





6 comments:

  1. Wow! Gold lame seems like such an obvious choice after seeing yours!
    I used gold lame in the 80s, also and this looks like a much higher quality than I remember.
    Tempting... kind of makes me want to try my hand at foundation piecing and the American Beauty block....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. You should! We could start a Facebook page dedicated to quilt blocks made using gold lame. LOL

      Delete
  2. Great block! Absolutely striking with the gold lame! Perfect points. Making a New York Beauty is on my wish list.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Give it a go Jill. Foundation piecing really is the way to go in making a New York Beauty.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete