Friday, May 4, 2018

A quiltmaker's dilemma...

Last summer I took four quilts out to hang at a doctors' office as part of a program that PYRO Gallery has had for a few years.  Twice a year we hang a new "show" of as many as 50 pieces of art at the office, and in return the doctors agree that a certain amount of art will be purchased.

The good news is that one of my quilts has indeed been purchased, and though I will be sorry to see it go I know it will be going to a good home.  The quilt is "Linear B," which was the ultimate fine line quilt -- it consisted entirely of machine-pieced fine lines!

Each of these little strips is cut from commercial striped fabric and is approximately one-eighth inch wide.

Linear B won the juror's choice (aka second place) at Art Quilt Elements in 2016 at the Wayne Art Center in Wayne PA.

When we went to hang the art at the doctors' office that quilt was the only tall, skinny piece that anybody had brought, so it got to hang right by the elevators in the main lobby.

So this week I went out to collect the quilt and pack it up to be shipped to its new owner, and was appalled to see that in the months since I left it, it had warped!!

Instead of lying flat against the wall, as in that installation photo above, it was gaping at the sides, as much as four inches away from the wall in the center.  As you walked off the elevator, you got a great view of the back of the quilt.  Yuk.

Obviously I have to do some remedial sewing before this quilt can be delivered, but what?  Do I want to sew three additional horizontal sleeves with slats at the quilt's shoulders, waist and knees?  Or should I sew vertical sleeves along the edges of the quilt and slip a very tall rod into each one to hold the sides against the wall?

If any of you have had experience with this kind of gapping, please let me know what you did and whether you're happy with the solution.  The new owners are waiting!!

Thanks in advance...

And by the way, I put up "Big Ice" next to the elevators after I took down "Linear B."  Maybe it will go to a new home too.


  1. You might try first sewing some triangular pockets in the bottom corners then put it on the floor (rug) or other flat pinable surface, spritz the heck out of it with water, pin it to the whatever and then just let it sit until dry.

    1. Susan -- I've always blocked my quilts as part of the finishing process (I pin them to the design wall) and I'm sure this one was blocked to begin with. But I'm concerned that (obviously) blocking won't last and in another year it will be gaping again, without me to fix it.

      What would you put in the triangular pockets?

  2. I have had to adjust the sleeves to fix gapping. Pull up on the sides and see if that helps. Also, twice I have hung a piece on a curved wall. I was using Velcro instead of sleeves, but I put it on Three sides and hung corresponding Velcro on flat rods... call me if this isn’t clear

  3. Kathy, I don't have a solution to your problem, but I would wonder WHY it happened. I recall in one of our quilt shows, the white glove people were allowed to show the backs of the quilts. This one quilt in particular experienced a lot of views of the back. Consequently, there was a tremendous distortion of this quilt. I wonder if people who were curious lifted the quilt at the center to see behind it, and that caused all the distortions. Or, if the simple opening and closing of the elevator and the people getting off and on the elevator with the constant swish of wind both could cause would contribute to the situation. I would hate to see your having the same problem with Big Ice hanging in the same place. I will be going "home" this summer, and would love to see the fabric art hanging in the halls. Are you allowed to say what medical facility is treated to this exhibit?

    1. Don't know why not -- it's at Associates in Dermatology on Springhurst Blvd in far eastern Louisville.

  4. it will be interesting to see if the second one does the same thing. Could be the site. People could be lifting it to look at the back.

  5. I don't know if this would work, but it might. I follow a blog of a woman who does bridal alterations. A main fix is the bust cups that don't 'hug' the chest and flare out instead. What she does is take twill tape, cut it shorter than the line of the cup and ease the cup to the twill tape. Snugs it right up.
    Could you use a twill tape or other firm stabilizer and pull those edges in? I am not sure if you would do a vertical one, or several horizontal ones. Maybe baste or pin it and see which works best?
    That is an interesting thing to have happen. I would think that having so many seams so close together would pretty much make it immune to stretching of any kind, but perhaps people were pulling at it. Hard to say.

  6. Unfortunately, I don't have any ideas to help you. Curling along the sides suggests, to me, that something got uniformly "tighter" along the edge, but haven't a clue as to what that might be. I'm curious to know your solution.

  7. FYI—I’m at the Springhurst office now, and the sides of the two quilts hanging in the hallway leading back to the Mohs procedure waiting room are doing the same thing. I can’t imagine what would cause that. I DID enjoy seeing them on my way bac with Nate, though.