Thursday, February 4, 2016

I'm Torn, Are You?

Yesterday I spent a couple of hours with my quilting padawan for the first time since prior to last June.  In my absence, she began working on a quilt for her middle daughter and had hoped to have finished it prior to Christmas, but life happens and she didn't get it finished.  However, she did gift it to the daughter (age 8 or 9?) with a note letting the daughter know she could help her finish it after she got the binding on.   Since Christmas, she's been busy and hasn't made any further progress, but I got to see it and it is a lovely quilt, and she's done a very nice job on it.  I didn't have my camera so didn't get a picture, and I always forget that I can use my smart phone.  Maybe I'll get a shot of it next week.  We're going to resume our weekly meetings, even if it's just to chat and catch up.  I've missed her and the kids.
Lover's Knot
My padawan mentioned a long time ago when we went to a quilt show that she'd also like to make a quilt for her mom, and she saw one there that she thought would be perfect.  It's a quilt pattern by Eleanor Burns called Lover's Knot.  On one of my trips to Oregon, I found a very old (1986) book for the pattern.  We talked about this project yesterday, and it's a quilt I wouldn't mind making too, so I pulled the book down and began reading.  
Excerpt from Lover's Knot 3rd edition, c.1985, by Eleanor Burns
As I was reading through the book, these instructions jumped out at me.  Do you remember the days in fabric history where you'd go to the department store, choose your fabric and take it to a counter where they had this little measuring machine?  The folded edge of the fabric would be placed into the machine, which had a meter and as the fabric was pulled through, it measured the fabric.  When it reached the desired length, the clerk would snip the fabric, take the fabric from the machine and tear the fabric at that point.  This tearing of fabric was common and normal.  Today of course, most stores rely on cutting mats and rotary cutters, though a few still utilize scissors.  I also remember from my clothing construction days, and high school home-ec classes, that tearing was the method used to put yardage on the straight of grain.

Still, an almost audible gasp came from me as I read this, actually seeing it in print.  In the quilt world, we've been conditioned to believe that tearing damages the fabric, and I would agree that it does pull a few rows of the thread apart to some degree.  I don't use this method for fabric I use for the piecing process, but I have been known to use it for borders.   

I can't compare a more recent edition of this book with this older one, but in skimming through, while it doesn't have a lot of photos (we're so spoiled today), it does have a lot of illustrations and charts, and instructions are laid out nicely.  I think it will be very easy to follow the instructions to make this quilt.  The charts and instructions include sizes from baby quilt, through king size.  There are instructions for diagonal finished corners, or square corners.  She also included instructions for a Sawtooth Edge if desired, and a separate dust ruffle, as well as for tying a surgeon's knot should you prefer tying over machine quilting.  For what more could one ask?

The book is still offered at the Quilt In A Day website for $19.95, updated in 2008.  The older books are available at Amazon where I see prices range from $3.27 to $72.36 + tax/shpg (you read that right, lol).


  1. I do recall those metering machines now that you have jogged this old memory. I don't tear fabric anymore as it distorts the torn edges so much. The manufacturers do a bad enough job of distorting the designs while they're printing them I don't feel the need to add to the chaos.

  2. I, too, remember the meter machines. I only tear for backs. That should be an easy enough design to do with minimal information.


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