Thursday, January 12, 2012

Friday Felicities (Now With 100% More Tutorial!)

Something that makes me extra happy - a SuperFelicity if you will - is when I am vindicated in my refusal to throw away an object that I "might need one day." I know, I know: that way lies Hoarders.

But believe me when I say I am MUCH better about this because I just don't have anywhere to put much in our urban townhouse.

While I was trying to decide how to quilt Easy Going Modern, I had a brainwave so huge that when I tried it and it worked, I ran into the room where my husband was minding his own business and announced: "I????? Am BRILLIANT!!!!" and ran out again.

So you know those not-easily-recycled vinyl bags that sheets and other bedding-type products come packaged in? They often have handles and zips, and they just seem like they could be really useful for something. I do use them to keep WIPs and other projects organized, but I have way more vinyl bags than I have WIPs (so, a LOT of vinyl bags), and the bags are often impractically large.

But I kept 'em and now I know how to use 'em. Read on, friends.

It's not a secret but you may not know that I find choosing the quilting design for my quilts to be the very hardest part of a project. I'm terrified that I'm going to "wreck" the quilt with a poor choice of quilting design either because it's wrong for the quilt or wrong for me (i.e. something I can't execute well enough). I'm often paralysed by this indecision and then rush through the quilting to "get it over with."

But no more of that! I can now try out how my quilting design is going to look before lovingly shoving inserting my quilt into my machine's tiny harp and starting to stitch.

Tutorial: Auditioning Quilting Designs

What You'll Need:

  • Printed photo of your quilt, enlarged to fit at least an 8½"x10" sheet of paper (I printed mine to fit a Legal size page - 8½"x14")
  • Vinyl bag  (should have one clear side (no snaps, zips, stickers) that is at least an inch bigger all around than your quilt photo)
  • Scissors (not your fabric shears - what you'd use to cut paper with)
  • Clip board long enough to accommodate the entire photo of your quilt OR masking/painter's tape
  • Waterproof marker in a colour that contrasts with your quilt's colours (I used one of my daughter's - you can get fancier ones like this)
  • Piece of batting, paper towel or rag, dampened with water

How To:

1. Cut a rectangle out of the vinyl bag that is slightly bigger all around than your quilt photo. No photo of this step as it is pretty much impossible to meaningfully photograph a square of clear vinyl.

2. Layer the vinyl over the quilt photo and insert into the clipboard. Alternatively, you could tape down the photo on a hard surface and tape the vinyl over top.
clipor tape

3. Start doodling! Use your marker to draw the design "on" the quilt.

write on
Hmm... maybe some wavy lines?

4. Wipe off.
wipe off

5. Repeat until you find a design you like. Here are a couple others I auditioned for Easy Going Modern.

too hard
Too hard to do on my machine

too linear
Too linear

6. Happily quilt your quilt!

Easy Going Modern quilting closeup

If you were really ambitious, you could piece together the vinyl to create an auditioning film large enough to cover your whole quilt top (or part of it) and doodle right on your actual quilt. RISKS to this method include, but are not limited to, accidentally writing on your quilt top, rubbing the icky cloth full of ink on your quilt top, dropping the pen on your quilt top etc. etc. See a theme here? On the upside, I guess you'd have an opportunity to test how washable the markers really are!

Happy Weekend!


  1. oooooooooooooh!! You are so SMART!!!
    That is the most brilliant tip I've ever seen. hands down...
    sewing in Saskatoon

  2. Great idea, Felicity! I've always wondered what I should be doing with those vinyl bags. Now I know!

  3. Uhm, they are most definitely NOT washable off fabric. Just sayin'. I like your 'work with a printed photo' option! And in keeping with the 'keep it cos it might be useful one day', I even have my clipboard from Gr.11 outdoor school. YES!

  4. SuperFelicity!!!! Love.It. I also have a ridiculous stash of those vinyl bags; you're ahead of me, though, as mine are all in a storage bin. every time I look in the bin I think, "I should use these." And yet I don't. Maybe I finally will w/your genius idea.

  5. hey girl! that's really clever!

  6. Ooh, very cool! I never thought about drawing the quilting on to see how it would look-- but duh, that is genius! (Confession-- I also like to save lots of stuff that I may use in a project one day! And I also watch Hoarders to try to curb this behavior :)
    Also, I love the wavy lines. I have been putting them on everything lately, and they look so good on your quilt! It was definitely a good choice.

  7. Oh my goodness, what an awesome idea!!!! Fabulous!

  8. Oooh, you ARE brilliant! Great idea Felicity. :) Oh, and I just threw away a bunch of those plastic bags that I wasn't using.....

  9. That's a great idea....except I'm the opposite of hoarders. I should be on an episode of 'get rid of'ers'
    haha. Great idea though, I suppose you could use a sheet of acetate/overhead paper as well?

  10. This is a great idea. And having always told my sporty husband that "crafting is my sport", (I have two left feet and no balance), you are now enabling me to plan tactical moves on the field just like other sporty people do. Thank you!

  11. I too have a clipboard handy because it might be useful someday. I have managed to toss the bags into the recycling but more nice plastic appears regularly. This is a brilliant idea, thanks!

  12. You are Brilliant! said after an afternoon where I spent over an hour picking out 5 min of quilting that I decided was a wrong choice. It takes so much longer to remove....

  13. That is a brilliant idea.....I will definitely be using that.

  14. Yes, level of brilliance--completely off the scale! It's almost like you are training for the Summer Quilting Olympics or something...

  15. Oooh that is awesome!! I knew I was keeping those vinyl bags for *something*! :D

  16. This all designs look really wonderful and amazing.This all cuts rectangular of the bag is slightly bigger all around steps.

    radio controlled cars

  17. Woah. Talk about miss clever pants. Great idea miss!

  18. A great idea. I've used them in the past to put quilts in before I mail them - I know you shouldn't store quilts in plastic or vinyl, but it seems like an extra layer of protection during shipping.


I *love* comments, and I try to respond to every one by email (but I can't if you're a no-reply blogger!). So go on, don't be shy - leave one to let me know you've stopped by!