The mystery is over, but the fun is not! We still have lots to talk about, share, and do before the party ends.
Today in particular I have a lot to talk about! I’ve got prize winners to announce, Grand Prizes to share details on, Sybil’s quilt to share with you, and info on Downton Abbey Quilt Along Live!
What did you think of the season premiere? I found myself screeching at the television (well, as much screeching as one can do with the flu) and there were so many plot lines that my head was spinning with all the intrigues, scandals brewing, and mysteries. The only thing that I can tell you without spoiling the whole thing is to look at Lady Edith’s dress when she’s out to dinner with her editor. It was absolutely to die for, and somehow, I am going to have a dress just like it. And nobody yell at me for posting a spoiler, because there’s no way anyone should be surprised by LE having dinner with him.
Downton Abbey Quilt Along Live!
I’ve set up a live quilt along event for today at 1pm Central. It’s hosted by Google+ and YouTube. If you’re not able to join the live event, you’ll be able to watch it later on YouTube. See you at 1!
Prize Winners – Week 8 and Registration Winners
Now that the mystery has been revealed and we’ve gotten 3,230 registrants (WOW) I decided to pull a winner for the set of fat quarters from the original registration post. If you registered and left a comment, you were entered to win that prize. So that winner is Ann from North Carolina!
There were also 5 prize winners from Week 8, who won copies of the first print issue of Blocks to Die For, the magazine for fabric die cutting enthusiasts. Congratulations to Cheryl from Maryland, Katie from Louisiana, Cindy from Pennsylvania, Colleen from Washington, and Cindy R. from Washington! I think my random winner generator has a thing for C’s and K’s. 🙂
Grand Prizes & Eligibility
Boy oh boy, do I have a bunch of wonderful prizes lined up for you guys. Let me tell you what you could win, and how you can enter.
Enter to win: Complete your quilt top (or, if you’re eager to have it done, quilt & bind it too), take a photo of it, and submit your photo to the contest. Just fill out the form, attach your photo, and submit. The contest closes when the last episode of Series 4 of Downton Abbey airs in the US, which is on February 16, 2014. Don’t forget to include your name and email address – without that, I have no way of knowing whose quilt it is or how to contact you if you win! I will work on getting all the photos up for everyone to be able to see them.
So what could you win? How about:
A Sizzix Fabi plus a selection of dies. Sizzix has been a really wonderful supporter of LoveBug Studios, and I really enjoy being on their Design Team. The Fabi is a brand new model of die cutter, and is available for purchase at your local Hobby Lobby. Sizzix quilting dies can cut fabric up to 8 layers deep, and they are constantly adding new dies to the collection. I love my Fabi, Big Shot, and Big Shot Pro machines – yes, I have all three!
One of four queen-sized quilt battings from Pellon Legacy. All of the DAMQA sample quilts were quilted with Pellon Legacy, and it’s a batting that I use almost exclusively in my own quilts. I love Legacy for the variety (I think I carry about 13 or 14 different batting varieties), consistency, drape, and my long arm loves it too. I’ll tell you all about the Legacy batting used in each quilt as we go along.
A Janome sewing machine, from Fourth Corner Quilts in Bellingham, WA. FCQ has been super generous in offering this machine to the quilt along, and Janome machines are known for their reliability & great stitching. I myself own a Janome 1600P QC, which I use for quilting larger quilts that I don’t want to load on my long arm. The specific model of Janome that you could win is the 3128, which you can learn more about here.
One of four quilt battings from Quilter’s Dream Batting. Quilter’s Dream is also a wonderful quilt batting, and many of my long arm clients use this batting, as well as my local quilt shop. It quilts up beautifully and they have a wonderful charitable arm that supports fundraising for ALS.
A complete fat quarter collection and tote bag from Andover Fabrics. It’s been really hard keeping this bundle intact, but the entire set of 35 fabrics in a fat quarter bundle is yours, plus this highly-coveted tote bag. This quilt along couldn’t have happened without Andover’s support, and of course their beautiful fabrics.
I’m really excited about the prize collection here and the wonderful number of potential winners! And all you have to do is finish your quilt top and send in a photo. Easy-peasy, right?
I’ll also be giving away a set of publications, which is an awesome array of books and magazines including: The Big Little Book of Fabric Die Cutting Tips; Notes & Doodles Sketchbook; Cut It, Sew It, Stow It; Blocks to Die For Magazine; Generation Q Magazine; and a print copy of the Downton Abbey Quilt Along patterns. WOW!
Lady Sybil’s Quilt Explored – Serenity
Lady Sybil was a comfort during my illness, and as a result, she had to get tossed in the washer. Ordinarily I don’t wash my quilts that are going on display, but Lady Sybil needed a bath. It gave an opportunity for me to let you know how much shrinkage to expect when you stick yours in the wash, too! I named Lady Sybil’s quilt Serenity, to represent who she was and what she contributed to the Grantham family.
When I chose the batting for this quilt, I decided to use Legacy Eco-Cotton. Despite her upbringing into a family of wealth and stature, Sybil embraced a more simple existence, and were she a real person, I think she would embrace the idea of a recycled and eco-friendly batting. This batting is 70% Recycled Cotton/30% Recycled Polyester with a scrim layer, and allows you to quilt up to 10″ apart. This batting is warm and gives the quilt a soft hand, coupled with the luscious fabric we’ve been using. I do not prewash my fabrics as a general rule, and this batting has up to 3% shrinkage. The quilt now measures 76-1/2″ square, which is about a 5% loss to shrinkage from either the fabric, batting, or both. I don’t care though; I love the crinkly, lived-in look of washed quilts.
Speaking of washing, because I don’t prewash, I keep a healthy supply of color catchers on-hand to throw in with the fabrics. I dropped two color catchers in the wash with Lady Sybil, and based on the color they came out, I’m assuming that the black fabric released some dye (the “white” catcher is an unwashed one for comparison):
For the quilting pattern, I opted to go with something simple that I thought Lady Sybil would appreciate. The pattern is an edge-to-edge pattern called a pantograph, which is available with long arm quilting. The pattern is called Modern Lace by Urban Elementz, and I think it has the right level of femininity and grace appropriate for Lady Sybil.
Pantographs sometimes get a bad reputation among quilters. Some people think that there is no skill involved in executing the quilting, but I say it’s just a different skill set. You still need to have a good eye for design so you can choose the right pantograph to fit the quilt, and I think they can be appropriate in many situations. Quilting is meant to hold together the layers, enhance the quilt top, and not compete with it. I think if you can achieve those three things, then it doesn’t matter how the quilting design was achieved.
The back of Lady Sybil’s quilt was pieced from the Downton Castle fabric, plus some leftovers of her fabric that I had. Because I was working from sample yardage at the time, I didn’t have the luxury of obtaining 7-1/2 yards of any particular fabric, let alone having that much yardage for all four quilts. Still, 7-1/2 yards is pretty generous for the quilt backing, and you can get away with probably 6 yards or so if you’re willing to do more piecing. Also, this isn’t as scrappy a back as I would normally have done if I had had more time to work on each quilt. Incidentally, I made all four quilt backs for the sample quilts at my quilt guild’s retreat back in October.
All of the sample quilts were die cut, and one of the common misconceptions about die cutting is about how much fabric is wasted in the cutting. I saved the pieces from cutting Lady Sybil, and I wanted to show you the “waste” I experienced from die cutting.
You see that pile of strings on the left? That’s what I consider “waste” from die cutting. The rest of the fabric you see is left over from the remaining yardage used in the quilt. There were indeed some extra die cuts left – partly because I cut a few extras, partly because I made some block changes as I went. There are also some larger bits of strips and rectangles. Sometimes, there are fabrics left over from having an inefficient die layout – that’s the large stack of triangles you see. I pay a lot of attention to die layouts these days, and very often I will not purchase a die if I think the layout would encourage too much waste. (In fact, this particular die I have changed over to a custom die with a new layout which eliminates this fabric waste. All of the die cutters these days offer options for creating custom dies, so if you own a Sizzix or AccuQuilt machine, you can have a die made if you don’t see one that you want.)
That said, all of these leftovers would have been used to piece into the quilt back, so that my only waste would have been that pile of strings, and even those won’t go to waste, as I’ll use them to stuff pet beds for a local animal shelter. I don’t consider this pile of leftovers & strings a downside of fabric die cutting, I see it as a welcome tradeoff for the efficiency I get from being able to finish my quilts faster, more accurately, and with my selection of dies, the freedom to make just about anything my mind can dream up.
I know this post was rather lengthy, but I hope you enjoyed learning more about Lady Sybil and seeing her in all her glory!