Monday, February 20, 2012

A Scrabble Label for the Drunken Dragons Quilt, and Potentially Sticky Backing Fabric

Scrabble-Style Quilt Label, Ready to Applique
I made a little progress on Lars's Drunken Dragons quilt yesterday.  I found this wonderful Scrabble fabric with 2 1/2" letter tiles, which I cut out and pieced together to spell out "MOMMY LOVES LARS."  I'm not sure if the design wasn't printed perfectly straight on my yardage or if it just got out of whack when I prewashed the fabric, but I didn't try too hard to straighten it.  This looks more realistic to me, a little bit crooked, the way the tiles really look on a Scrabble board (unless you're playing with someone who's really obsessive and straightening everything with a ruler throughout the game).

I cut the letters out individually using my smallest rotary cutter, leaving a 1/4" seam allowance for piecing them together, and then I pressed the seam allowance/extra fabric under along all the outer edges of the label.  I barely escaped that process with my fingerprints intact, by the way -- those of you who do a lot of applique, please tell me: Is there a secret to pressing the little edges under without burning yourself with the iron?  Am I supposed to be using one of those dinky baby craft irons for this?

Anyway, the plan is to machine applique the Scrabble label to the quilt backing before I layer everything together, so the label will be securely quilted in and in no danger of falling off the quilt.  That's another reason why I'm probably going to use monofilament nylon quilting thread for this project -- I wouldn't want colored quilting thread on top of this Scrabble label.  Of course I haven't experimented with the scary invisible thread yet, so that's subject to change...

After I made the Scrabble label, I pieced two widths of fabric together for the quilt backing. I chose this denim blue fabric with little white dotted swirlies and orange "fireflies" because I thought it complemented the fabrics in the quilt top, and I hoped that the busy print would help to camouflage any less-than-fabulous quilting stitches or hiccups on the back of the quilt.  However, as I was pressing the seam allowance open on my backing, I noticed that the white dotted swirlies seem to have been painted onto the surface of the fabric instead of printed like the other colors.  This is really obvious on the selvage, where they isolate each color used in the design in a little color dot., and the white "paint" covers up the 4 that was printed inside the circle.  This wouldn't have concerned me, except that I just finished reading Diane Gaudynski's dire warnings against using white-on-white fabrics for quilt backing because they often incorporate a rubbery, latex like paint in the design that grips the bed of your sewing machine and makes it extremely difficult for machine quilting.  Ugh -- did I go and find a blue version of the rubbery paint fabric?  I bought the fabric online, so I couldn't have known this before I bought six yards of it, and I didn't discover the issue until I had prewashed the fabric, seamed it together, trimmed the selvages and pressed the seam open.  This backing is ready to go, and I do like the look of it.  So, I may be crying the blues later, but I'm going to give it a go.  I'll starch the snot out of it and hopefully I won't have too much trouble with it.  If I do, I'll just have to get creative, and I've already got some ideas (like floating a piece of Sulky Solvy water soluble embroidery stabilizer under the quilt to prevent the backing fabric from sticking -- any bits of stabilizer that got stuck in the quilting stitches would just dissolve when I wash it the first time).

So, what's next?  I need to decide where exactly on the quilt backing I want to position the Scrabble label and machine applique it in place.  Since it's so big, I may also anchor the applique label to the backing by stitching through both layers along the seams between the Scrabble tiles.  I don't want the label to shift, pucker, or pleat during the quilting process.  I'm leaning toward putting the Scrabble label just off center at the top of the quilt, upside down, so that we'll see it right side up when the quilt is on the bed and the covers are turned down.  Otherwise I might put it in a corner.  Then there's a second label, the "Stitched with Love by Rebecca Deming Rumpf, 2012" and I may embroider that on the front of the quilt, along the edges of one of the outer blocks.  I still haven't done my quilting experiments, so that's a big question mark, and I have to check the washing instructions for the silk batting I purchased to see if I need to put any special care instructions on the quilt so it doesn't die the ugly death of a laundry disaster someday.  If necessary, I can embroider the care instructions to the quilt backing as well.

2 comments:

Vivian said...

Very cool idea for the label and I might have to try that since I have some of that fabric for, what else, a Scrabble quilt (which needs to see the light of day before too long!). Thanks for sharing this one at Val's!!

Valerie Reynolds said...

I agree, very cool label!!

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