As in, time to finish these quilts!

I’ve been good about finishing smaller quilted works, banners and small wall pieces. Less good about finishing larger quilts. (My excuse is that I need nice weather so I can use spray-on basting glue.) Let’s take a look at my works in progress.

Wool Improv Quilt by Elaine Luther

I made this quilt from wool scraps in 2020, here’s a blog post on the making of.

This one is made from a bag of Moda wool scraps, plus more wool scraps that a friend gave me. This one will not have any batting, just a flannel backing with folded under edges. Next I get to figure out how and where to tack it down here and there, so that the backing will stay put, but without adding more decorative or really visible stitches to what’s already there.

I asked for advice in a group and got some terrific suggestions for how to approach it, but I think I’m going to be really boring and just tack it down here and there.

It’s March and still chilly in Chicago, so this could still see some use this winter/spring if I finished it quickly enough.

Collaboration with Unknown Quilters, by Elaine Luther

I made this one in January 2020, so not a pandemic quilt. The story of the making of this one, is in this blog post.

That one is made entirely of found quilt blocks, from two different, unknown makers. I’d like at least some of the quilting on that one to say, “Who was she?”  I’m pretty sure my sewing machine can’t do free motion quilting, so that would be with a friend, borrowing her machine.

If I had the budget, I think I’d be the kind of quilter who only makes the tops and then sends them out to be finished. This would also be wonderful, if I could do that with the vintage quilt tops that I buy. Vintage tops are more affordable than vintage quilts, so I buy them thinking I’ll finish them. So far, I have not, but I think we’re getting closer.

Improv Quilting with Shibori dyed Fabric

Whoops, but that’s not all. I also made an improv quilt top last year, out of shibori dyed fabric I made, plus men’s shirts that I overdyed.

Shibori and dress shirts quilt top by Elaine Luther

Shibori and dress shirts quilt top by Elaine Luther, 2022.

And here are three micro quilts I made from the scraps:

Three mini shibori and dress shirts quilt top by Elaine Luther

Three mini shibori and dress shirts quilt top by Elaine Luther

I’ve seen mounted one of these on a round wood circle, for a mini show of blue works by me.

Here’s what shibori dyeing can look like, in the before shot. This is a tea towel, folded and clamped. The traditional method would involve wood pieces with little indentions where the string would go for tying it up. Here I’m using spring clamps and re-usable zip ties.

I do my shibori dyeing with Procion Fiber Reactive Dyes, using a special color called Indigo, developed by Dharma Trading Co.

Shibori tea towel, shown folded and clamped, before dyeing.

Shibori tea towel, shown folded and clamped, before dyeing.

I take before pictures to document and keep track of which folds I’ve tried and then how they turn out.

The process is that the folded and clamped pieces then go into a vat of dye for an hour. Then then sit for 8-24 hours in a warm-ish (or at least not cold) place, before being rinsed out. I use a lower water use method, which is a slow soak in a bucket of water, instead of using running water for the initial rinse out.

Then the items are rinsed under running water and then into the washing machine they go.