Sunday, October 01, 2006

Here we are

It always takes me longer to get unpacked and back to normal than I think it will. But here we are again. We had a great visit with my family and attended some fun alumni events. Sadly, only one of my classmates (out of about 14) attended the reunion, but I knew many parents, teachers, and alumni from other grades. So I was disappointed with the turnout from my own class, but I was certainly not bored. The highlight? Catching up with my third- and fourth-grade teacher, who was my favorite teacher ever.

Would you believe I forgot to photograph the baby dress? It sold to a dear friend, so I'm thrilled.

It's amazing how much you can accomplish when you're not on-line all the time. While we were gone I finished the front and back of my quilt, using my Mom's fancy new Bernina (which, by the way, is worth the price for the automatic buttonhole feature alone - must get one sometime!). Mom showed me how to make the quilt sandwich, and yesterday I set up the walking foot on Grandma's old Singer, so I'm ready to quilt!

Speaking of the quilt, someone left a comment asking, "I really am wondering - why are you pressing your seams open instead of flat? As a quilter and daughter of a quilter, I have almost never seen this done and can't imagine how time consuming that would be - especially on that type of quilt."

Here's my explanation: I read this in The Modern Quilt Workshop: "The conventional thinking among quilters is that seams should always be ironed to one side. We have tried to speculate how this custom began, because seams are always ironed open when making clothing. We think that this custom originated from the days when people pieced and quilted quilts by hand. Hand stitches are generally larger (4 to 6 stitches per inch) and less durable than stitches froma sewing machine (generally 8 to 12) stitches per inch), and stitching through the seams may have given the quilt additional reinforcement, which is no longer necessary."

The book goes on to explain that open seams allow for more even wearing of the seams, improved precision when matching points (obviously not an issue with my quilt), and more even quilting stitches.

So I was sold on this technique. Yes, it took a long time. But since I've never made a quilt before and am accustomed to pressing garment seams open anyway, I don't know the difference. I think I'll probably continue to do it this way in the future as well. I can be a bit of a perfectionist (sometimes), and I liked this method because I didn't have to worry about making sure all the seam allowances were going the same way when I assembled the blocks. Also, I think it can be difficult to open a seam properly when you press seam allowances to one side. At school, we were taught that you first needed to press the seam open before pressing the seam allowances to one side. In the end, if I had pressed my seam allowances to the side I think it would have taken me even more time!


  1. I always press my seams open, too. Otherwise it seems all bumpy. And I'm so glad the dress went to a good home!

  2. Welcome home. I agree - when you are used to one way of doing things like pressing seams open, it is no more time consuming to continue it. I open my quilt seams too, for allt he cited reasons and like the flatter more even finish.

  3. Welcome back, Liesl. Funny, I was taught to press the seams open in my one and only quilting class. Never thought it would be done any different way. Not that I'm the crafter you are, but still...

  4. Like everyone else I press my seams open too, (dressmaking habits are hard to break) - can I also say how much I have enjoyed reading your blog.