Saturday, July 25, 2009

Tips from My Mom...

I was tickled pink to hear from my mom the other day. Yes, I normally love to hear from her, as we’ve evolved into a friendship-relationship which is more than the mother-daughter relationship...but this call was ESPECIALLY cool because she was calling me about my quilt guestbook project. My mom is cool, and she reads my blog, which touches me more than words can express, and she will usually talk to me about the ideas that I’ve posted about and to check in on how my MANY, MANY, MANY crazy DIY projects are going.

No, my projects aren’t crazy. I’m the crazy one for doing them all!

Anyway, apparently there is a lady that my mom works out with that is a phenomenal quilter. Let me back up. My mom CAN sew, but she CHOOSES not to. Unless forced. At gunpoint. Or something else drastic like being held at gunpoint. That creative gene that I got skipped over my mother from her mom and landed right on me. Which is cool for me. The really funny thing is that my mom can envision things a LOT better than I often, when I’m thinking about doing a sewing project, I can take the pattern and the materials to my mom and she can envision it (which I CAN’T do) and tell me what needs to be different. So back to my story...

Apparently, this friend of hers had been out of town when I first posted about the quilt guestbook, so my Mom waited oh-so-unpatiently for her return. When she got back into town and showed up at the gym that first day, my Mom pounced on her with my project and all the questions that she had for her friend. I literally got an image in my head as she was telling me this story of my Mom lying in wait at the door until her friend came through and my Mom jumping out and surprising her...just too funny.

This friend shared some tips for me, which I will in turn share with you...because chances are that if you’re reading this blog you’re a bride, or a friend of a bride, and maybe they’re thinking about doing something along these lines. I just thought that her ideas were really good – too good to keep to myself.

1. Be sure to use a marker that is specifically for quilting projects – you can either find them online or in most craft stores. My Mom’s friend suggested that I go to an actual quilting store to find them, but there weren’t any stores like that closer than 20 miles away in North Austin. So, I did what any self-respecting bride on a mission would do – I googled it. Sure enough, you can find all sorts of online stores selling the markers and read all kinds of reviews on said markers. Once I had two brands in mind, I went to my nearby JoAnn’s on my lunch hour and sure enough, in the quilting notions, they carried one of the brands that I had found online. I bought one.

2. I had been told by several people (not just my little sister) that a Sharpie marker would work...apparently sometimes they bleed too much or don’t write as well on the fabric or fade. So you’re better off going with a special permanent marker for fabric – and they’re only about $3, so the price is right. This is the one that I got.

3. Line the back of your signing pieces with Freezer Paper. Just regular old freezer paper from Reynolds. (It even says “use for arts and crafts” on the box!) Iron the slick side (not the paper-ish side) to the muslin with an iron that’s hot without steam. The paper will “stick” to the fabric and give the fabric a little more weight and strength for people to sign on. It’s hard to write on a moving target like fabric! The paper is easily removed when you’re ready to sew them in by simply “peeling” it off of the back of the fabric.

4. Mentioning hard to write on, my Mom’s friend also suggested setting up a “practice area” for people to use the pens and get a feel for writing on the fabric, since it is different than paper.

5. Along those same lines, she suggested either stationing someone there at the table to answer the questions that are bound to come up, or having clear and concise directions posted at the table.

6. Not using the larger open pieces as the signature spots. I had posted here about being unsure about where to have our guests sign in, and this quilter said that there is usually too much actual quilting done on those spots for this pattern for those larger pieces to work for me. Good thing that I had already changed my mind on that one, huh?

I think that’s it. The only other thing that I read on the boards was that muslin was your best bet for a fabric choice and a project like this. I also read several reviews telling readers to “heat set” the signature pieces after they’re signed and before you wash them or sew them into the quilt. This means that once the signature pieces are all signed, that you would basically iron them again in order to “set” the permanent ink in. I think that I’ll do a trial run on this process this week and make sure that using the right pens, the right fabric and heat setting will mean that those signatures WILL stay on the fabric. Even after washing. I would hate to go through all of this trouble to make a signature wedding quilt just to have the signatures lost the first time that I wash the quilt!

I’ll be sure to let you know how the trial goes when I get around to doing it.

Anyone else have any other thoughts or tips of advice for this project? I was thrilled that my Mom went to all the trouble to talk to other people more knowledgeable than either herself or me about this topic!

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