Tuesday, January 25, 2011

So, What did I miss?

While I was unavoidably detained from going online I tried to keep my wits about me, as I fretted about finding a solution...I knit a bit. This is the Anthropologie inspired headwrap for the daughter of my friend Joann.
 A quick knit for the short attention span knitter that I recently became. I may knit one for myself, with my own modifications, of course.
And I have been dabbling a little in some patchwork for pillows. Turquoise or Aqua seems to be a theme these days.

  These triangles were made from scraps cut last February. Tiny for me...I am making a 22" pillow cover and the insert too. The other side is finished and quilted already and I will show the finished piece, when it is done.

Am I the last quilter on earth to have discovered the benefits of spray starch??? I LOVE THIS STUFF. It makes the pieces I cut so crisp and nice to sew. Simply revolutionary. I had never used it before because I fused everything and the fabric was pretty stable to use. Now that I am going back to square one and doing patchwork, I kinda need all the help I can get. The finished work is so dazzlingly 'professional' looking with the starch helping me.

I spent some time making pillows to finish the chair. I hated them. The idea was to make luxuriously cushy pillows to fall into and relax, and I made skimpy hard icky ones. What was I thinking???
So biting the bullet, I took them apart and made a nice full squishy box cushion instead. The smaller cushion in front is still hard and formal, but it will be an easy switch to remove the foam and replace it with fiberfill. Soft soft soft.

Much nicer. And I found some white canvas in my stash and made fitted washable arm covers too.
Now we are all caught up.
And now that I have internet again, I spent a fair amount of time dinkin' around shopping online for fabric for new living room window coverings. I changed my mind and switched from yellow and white stripes from IKEA to a water-y batik from Equilter.com. I'll be so excited to see that fabric arrive.
PS, I promise to make my own starch in the future when this bottle runs out, and I thank you for the recipes. And for the record, I am spraying the fabric before I cut. It makes sewing much better and the pieces easier to handle.


  1. Melody,
    A better deal is the Faultless or Sta-flo concentrated liquid starch in the 64oz bottle. You can mix to desired lightness or heaviness (ex. 4 cups warm water +
    1 Cup concentrate=medium).Cost under $2. I sometimes can find at walmart and always at Piggly Wiggly. I bought plant misters from wal-mart about a dollar.
    I have never written before but I do enjoy your blog daily and am glad you are back.

  2. Joan H.9:18 PM

    I'm so glad you are back! I love hearing about pillow edges. Looking forward to seeing the new curtains. The paint color looks great.

  3. Chumley's expressions are priceless....I think he's glad you're back, too, so he can pose!

  4. Anonymous12:31 AM

    So glad you are back. Love the new paint color. Now will you have to paint your new bedroom?

  5. lovely works....greetings barbara

  6. Anonymous7:17 AM

    Since I saw the liquid starch in a spray bottle, I make my own (3/4 tbsp. corn starch, 12 oz. water and a few drops of essential oil, your favorite scent, always shake really good before spraying each time as the corn starch doesn't dissolve). Also, more or less corn starch depending upon how "starchy" you like your fabric. So easy to do and so cheap. Glad you are back. I was having withdrawals!!

  7. So glad you're back, you're a nice part of my day. I really like Mary Ellen's Best Press, a little pricy, but for me the pump seems to have even better results than the spray.

  8. Glad you're back-things are brighter when you're around and the Chumley pics make my day better from the start.

  9. Melody,
    Perhaps your pillows need feather/down inserts instead of polyester-if you're not allergic, anyway. . . they do require fluffing that polyester does not. While Polyfil will be soft initially, it's been my experience that it clumps after awhile.

  10. Carrie Nelson was the speaker/instructor at PSQG in October and she brought bottles of Niagra with her to class! Yep - it's great! Now - are you going to mix your own refill from the big bottle of starch? Hmmmm?

  11. So, maybe someone will elucidate upon the use of spray starch. Do you starch before cutting fabric or apply spray starch to the finished block? Does it just help with stabilizing the work while piecing blocks, or what? Thanks for the explanation --

  12. If anybody is interested I recently added a tutorial to my blog 'SewHappy.Me' on Tips for Accurate Piecing which includes a section on spray starch. I ALWAYS use spray starch for accurate piecing, I wouldn't be without it. Good to have you back Melody and Chumley. I missed my daily fix! Looking forward to your Quiltalong.

  13. I have to agree with Life scraps and patches. YOU are a wonderful part of my day. Glad you are back!

  14. As an interior designer I use this company for pillows. I can say you won't find a better price for the quality unless you want to buy in big lots. They will also make pillows to your custom size. I use 10 down 90 feather because they have more body.

    I got my love of ironing and starch from my grandmother in the early 50's before steam irons existed. She would dampen what was to be ironed with scented water roll it up an put it in the refrigerator. Hours later or next day she would pull out a piece which was just slightly damp and starch it up and iron it.

    The slightly damp fabric that is then starched requires less work and produces a crisper finish. The dampness lets the starch get into the fabric and not just sit on top.

    Scented water.
    Use essential oil, do not use fragrance oil. Fragrance oil is oil with a few drops of essential oil to give the scent. It will stain.

    Use distilled water. Tap water has chemicals and you can end up with stinky.

    1/4 cup of grain alcohol or vodka. Buy the cheapest.
    10 to 15 drops of essential oil
    Mix the alcohol/vodka with the essential oil. Stir 50 to 60 times.
    Add your mixture to 16 oz of water. Shake to mix with the water.

    You can make a larger batch by adding 10 to 15 more drops to the alcohol/vodka and adding another 16 oz water for a total of 32 oz. You can also just add the water to the first formula and you will get a less scent.

    You can put this scented water in your iron or steamer. I also buy unscented dryer sheets and spray them with my scented water before throwing them in the dryer.

    Have fun.

  15. Your work is dazzlingly professional - with or without the starch!

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  17. Anonymous8:53 PM

    I don't know what kind of critters you have in your area, but silverfish eat starch. This isn't a problem when laundering clothes but it is a problem if you leave the starch in fabric for long periods of time (e.g. an art quilt). They like cotton but not wool. Not all parts of the world have a problem with silverfish but beware if you do! http://www.greenharvest.com.au/pestcontrol/silverfish_intro.html


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