Sunday, September 05, 2010

New Project: top finished! ... plus musings

And here is the finished top. 

It's about 48"x60", so I don't think I'm going to add any borders.  This top will be added to the pile of *other* tops waiting to be quilted. 

No quilting design immediately comes to mind (other than an edge to edge ... which could ultimately be the best design), so I think I will defer that process until it's actually time to do the quilting.

(Oh, sad note ... the mailman didn't deliver my eagerly awaited King Tut thread yesterday, so the soonest it's going to arrive will be this coming Tuesday.  Sad panda.)

Musings .....
All throughout my quilting life, I have been an enthusiastic proponent of steam pressing blocks during the construction process.  Some times, however, just steam isn't enough "ooomph" to flatten recalcitrant intersections.  During those incidents, I would apply brute force (crude, but effective :-)  ) and pound the offending intersection before apply steam.  The intersection wouldn't be completely flat, but better than not doing it.

And what about blocks that have bias edges during construction?  Or ... horrors! ... bias edges AFTER construction?  Steam alone won't help those edges.  I discovered you need something that will give the fabric a bit of body without making it stiff as cardboard.

Enter Mary Ellen's "Best Press" (the clear starch alternative).  I was introduced to it at a quilting retreat and I immediately Fell In Love with it.  It gives the fabric a light crispness and no residue (as will happen with regular starch).  This stuff is Awesome beyond belief!  My blocks had body, made sewing and trimming so easy!

I didn't care so much for the fragrance ... so I was happy when a 'No Scent' version came out.  Then I realized that it didn't much matter because the fragrance was only there for the pressing activity and since I always launder my quilts as the last step before storage or gifting, any scent that lingered would be washed away.   The fragrance became a non-issue for me.

The only problem?  The price.  Out here in California, the 8 oz bottle goes for $7.50.  The gallon (which would be the most economical size to buy) is $50.00 .. which is just a whole big chunk of change to drop at one time.  I don't know about you guys, but $7.50 for 8 oz of spray is higher than the nuts on a giraffe, if you get my drift.  Although I *love* Best Press, at that price, I was honestly evaluating everything I sewed and judged whether it was worthy of getting spritzed with Best Press.   Some seams or blocks would get spritzed and some wouldn't.  All in the effort to make Best Press last as long as I possibly could.  Really!  How idiotic is that??

But I really, *really*, REALLY couldn't justify buying Best Press in the amounts that I needed.  I sew a lot.  Truly prolific.  That means a LOT of Best Press.  That translates into mega-bucks that I can't budget for and regret when I run out and annoyance when I don't have any to use. [insert picture of a Vexed Pirate stamping her feet.]

In the way, way past, I had tried starch and really Did Not Like it.  I've also heard stories that it flakes and attracts silverfish.  Now, I will admit I have never, ever seen silverfish bugs where I live, but who wants to take the chance and be the first on the block?

Then, on a outing to WalMart with Mr. Pirate, I happened to come across Faultless' "Magic Sizing" fabric finish.  From their website, "Gives fabrics crisp body without stiffness. Gives clothes a fresh smooth appearance. Offers extra body for a crisper look."   Hmmmm ... doesn't that sound like Best Press?  A 20 oz aerosol can for 97¢  !!!! 

97¢ !!!  For 20 oz. !!!   I figured at that price, if I didn't like it I could toss the can with no regrets.

So, I bought a can for a trial run.  And Loved It.  I mean I LOVED IT.  Indeed, my quilt blocks had a lovely crisp finish and light body AND it wasn't going to break my budget.  I can get it almost anywhere, although I found out that my grocery store prices the SAME can at over $2.00, when WalMart has it for 97¢.  97¢ !!!  The mind simply boggles at the price.   I haven't priced it at Target yet (it seems I don't remember to check when I am there.) 

Now I can have the finish I want on ALL of my quilt blocks, whether it be a lowly seam for a strip set or Y-seams for a Lone Star .... EVERYONE can be spritzed!  :-)   I am one happy camper. :-)  :-)

The only thing that could make me happier would be if it was in a non-aerosol container, but that's certainly not a deal breaker.

Magic Sizing is now one of my staple quilting supplies.  I don't EVER want to run out of it.  I can't imagine how I ever sewed without it.  Oh, I am so in loooooooooooooooooooooove with it. :-)  [insert picture of Pirate with a vapid, glassy, enthralled look.]

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