Thursday, June 27, 2019

A small project -- finished!

Yesterday I finished a small "commission" -- from my sister, to make a piece of liturgical linen for her church.  It is 26 inches square, made to cover a funeral urn on the altar if the decedent has been cremated.  She's going to have a butterfly, symbol of new life, machine-embroidered on it (although I offered to hand-stitch one -- she probably thought it would take me forever, which is probably true).

I asked if she needed new linen and she said no, a repurposed piece would be just fine, and symbolically appropriate.  So I rooted around in my stash and found a beautiful old tablecloth, with a woven pattern of roses and stripes, acquired from who-knows-where, obviously well-used in its past life because the hemstitching is frayed and there are a few faint stains.  But I found a large enough clean patch in the middle to cut my square.  Actually, I tore it, because I wanted to make sure it was on grain.

I cut it four inches bigger so I could turn back one-inch hems.  Pressed carefully, mitered the corners of the hems and stitched them shut so they would not gap after being washed and pressed. 

In all these years of making fun of the quilt police, my favorite example of silly "rules" is that mitered corners on bindings should be sewed shut.  I always say that if your corners need to be sewed shut, you have done a lousy job of mitering them in the first place.  But that is for bindings, not for hems.  When you open up the hems and make a diagonal fold across the point of the corner, then bring the two diagonal edges up to butt against each other, there's nothing to hold the butted edges permanently in place.  I could have run several rows of machine stitching along that outside inch, but it seemed easier to just stitch the corners.  A first in my history, and with any luck, the last time I'll make anything this carefully.

It goes in the mail this afternoon.  And dividends: to get ready to work on this project I first had to clear off my large work table so I could put two large cutting mats together.   I had to clear off my sewing machine table of all the paints, glues, carpentry and wireworking tools, beads and junk that had accumulated over months of not actually sewing.  Finally, I had to get a scrubby sponge and some heavy duty cleaner to remove all the dried-on acrylic medium, paint, dirt and accumulated gunk from the sewing machine table.  My work place hasn't been this clean and bright in years.

Maybe this will give me the impetus to work on another sewing-machine project -- maybe an actual quilt. 

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