I don’t want to speak too soon, but I kinda think I am on a roll here.
This is the palette for the Jimi. When I select a palette, I try to incorporate as many different types of cotton fabrics as possible. My stash includes fabrics from the 1930s onward, fabrics I have hand-dyed (and some hand dyes that nice people have given me), as well as contemporary commercial cottons. I love them all.
This palette includes three vintage prints, three contemporary prints, two solids, and one hand-dyed.
This vintage fabric was a very good find, and I am excited to use it in this quilt. It looks like it was made for the 1976 election. Jimmy Carter is my favorite president. No wars under his watch. But this quilt is named for a different Jimi.
I went through a period, I think I should call the solid years, when I didn’t work with prints. I suppose it had to do with being a student of Nancy Crow’s–I learned so much from her. And now I am psyched to take that knowledge and go in my own direction. I am ready to combine my years of mastering traditional quilt skills with the composition and color skills I gained from studying with Nancy Crow.
When you work with prints one of the most difficult things to do is to get the print to line up on a seam line. One way to make that happen is to miter the seam. Here is how I do that. For clarity purposes, when I say strip I am referring to the fabric you are attaching to the block.When I say block I am referring to the fabric you have already pieced. The block is a block shape. The strip is a strip shape. I also realized as I was writing this that I need to create a post about how I cut strips. This will happen another day.
The first thing you do is take a pencil and mark your quarter inch seam at the corner. When you miter a seam, you do not stitch all the way to the edge. Ignore the fact that this block has already been pieced. What I want you to see is the little cross mark I have made on the blue fabric. These lines tell me where to STOP stitching.
Cut the fabric you want to miter and decide where you want the miter to be. Use a ruler to make sure it is a 45% angle. Iron a crease at that 45% degree angle.
Line the crease up with the quarter inch seam line you made with your pencil. Cut the right side of the strip so that it is flush with the block. This is important. If you keep the block and the strip flush when you sew, you will be more likely to get the print to match up.
Pin your strip of fabric to your block. Make sure the crease in the fabric lines up with the pencil marks. I very carefully put a pin through that intersection.
Start with the side of the fabric that is away from the miter and stitch towards it. When you get to the pencil lines, stop, back track, and then stitch forward again to secure your seam. Clip your threads. You want to make sure you have stitched exactly to the pencil line but not past it. Sometimes it takes several tries to do this.
Iron your fabric strip away from the block. It should like this.
Take another strip of the fabric you are adding to the block and fold the bottom edge under 1/4″ and move it until you get the fabric to match the way you want it to.
Cut the left side of the fabric strip so that it is flush with the block. Again, it is very important to keep the block and the strip flush. They are lined up to make sure you get your miter right.
Pin the strip to the block. Again, you want that pin to directly intersect with the pencil marking.
Stitch from the edge of the fabric towards the miter. I use the other side of my quarter inch foot to measure. See how my fabric is positioned the opposite of what is normal. I want it like this as it gives me more control. I am much more likely to hit the pencil marking intersection when I stitch towards it. Don’t forget to backtrack and then stitch forward again. This will secure your seam.
This is the final seam. I want a 45 degree angle, and I get that by using my ruler to mark my stitch line.
Here is what that stitch line looks like.
Again, I stitch towards the miter. When I get there I double back to knot my seam.
This is what it looks like before I cut the seam. Cut the strip fabric 1/4″ from the stitching and then press the seam open.
A beautiful finished mitered print!
A miter print seam from the backside. The seam has been ironed open.
Yes, this is tedious work. But if it creates the look I want, I am willing to do it.
Once all the of blocks are made it is time to start building the grid. The grid for Jimi is not nearly as complex as the one I built for Technotronic.
As always, there is plenty going on in the studio while I am working.. Fletcher is creating a self-portrait collage for school. Ozzy has agreed to de-lint my design walls for five dollars a week! I need to get him to sign contract before he changes his mind.
This is Fletcher’s self-portrait. I like it. His skin is made entirely of women’s legs and arms from Sundance catalogues.
Here is the first bit of grid added.
I am almost done!
I rarely work on one quilt at a time. Here are some views of what else is on the walls. This is design wall #1.
Design walls #2 and #3
Design Wall #4 That is the quilt that is coming up next.
I hope some of you can use my tips on mitering prints in your own projects. I’d love to see what you come up with.