Hey there rugrats! Happy Saturday. Me and the Pepperhound are hanging out on the sofa. I declared this weekend a sewing weekend, although it’s turned a bit more into a shoe shopping and sewing weekend. But last night, with the help of some cheap wine and four episodes of Sherlock, I tackled a lurking UFO. I also discovered a deep yearning to be Mrs. Adler when I grow up, but that is, perhaps the subject for another post. Or perhaps another blog altogether.

Behold: The Tiny Dancer quilt… (oooo… start the guessing on where the name comes from! Gold star to whoever figures it out!!)

photo (7)

I was looking over some notes, and I finished the top of this quilt in November of 2011. At some point soon after I pieced the back and basted the layers together.

And there it sat. For a couple of years. It’s a lucky survivor. When I made the move from Texas to Nashville I offloaded a bunch of my UFO’s (most that I wish I still had…) This one I kept. I’ve really liked this quilt because of all the denim and patchwork (hint, hint on the name….)

The front of the quilt is made up of denim, some upholstery fabric and some very, very annoying flimsy silk suiting. I pieced the back as well with lots of Robert Kaufman Radiance (silk/cotton blend.) I’ve used this fabric quite a bit for quilts as well as for lining on garments – particularly skirts. It has nice drape, but is more stable than 100% silk. And it is pretty when quilted. And I LOVE putting cozy, super tactile fabric on the back of quilts.

photo (6)

Oh. By the way… welcome to my ramshackle little house! This front porch was one of the things that made me fall in love with my house! It needs a power washing in the worst way… I’m on a super busy street. Dust city.

Alas, due to my mishandling of the basted quilt, my quilting turned out super duper wonky. I’m lazy and enjoy noxious fumes, so I prefer to baste with the spray adhesive stuff. As such, my poor Tiny Dancer had been folded, refolded, bunched up and moved a couple of states over.. I can’t remember what sort of batting I used – it’s either warm and natural or wool batting. I think it was wool. It was pretty fluffy. In any case, the layers had shifted and my straight line quilting (about 3/8″ to either side of each seam) didn’t look all that great. The band of contrasting color/blocks and leather strapping really are smiling at you. And not on purpose.

Sigh. I’d been thinking of putting this one on Etsy, but with the subpar quilting… guess I’ll have to keep it!

The binding is ‘premium’ quilting cotton from Joann’s. I’d gotten it to make up the backing for my in-progress string quilt but I really liked how it looked with this one, so I raided my own stash. Dude.

photo (2)Oh! I forgot about the stitching on the quilt top! I’d done some extra stitching on some of the denim strips with some heavy, variegated pearl cotton (DMC from Joann’s.)  I also pieced in a more ‘applique’ style by overlapping the pieces – both right sides up – and zigzagging over the seam. It has the vibe of my earlier years… anyone else heavily embroider her jeans? Possibly add some rockin’, Elvis style inserts with lovely, heavy candlewick stitching to make super bells? Anyone? Anyone?

photo (3)

Sewing the binding on was very, very enjoyable. Initially, I was going to use a decorative stitch on my machine to sew the binding on the back. I’ve done that before and like the more casual look. Plus it takes a smidgen of the time to do the binding completely by machine. But after I got the binding on the front I wasn’t feeling the playful vibe from this quilt. Not that the quilt is a drag… it’s just a bit more bookish and cerebral. It called for hand stitching. I settled into the sofa at around 11 (what can I say, I’m a night owl.) and was done by four in the morning. I absolutely LOVE hand finishing a binding (I also love sewing the lining onto a zipper!) I’m glad I opted for the more circumspect finishing.

photo (4)

I really love all the non-standard quilting fabrics in this quilt. It’s SUPER tactile! But I wanted to cry last night when I was doing my quickie quilting job… All those thick layers and silk make things hard enough (can you see how the upper fabric above is… flocked??) The absolute WORST was the innocent looking silk suiting  (the lower fabric above. Yeah, I’m looking at YOU, brownie…) Gah. I have a circle skirt made out of the same stuff and don’t remember it being nearly as annoying. The fabric is a relatively loose weave. No body. It wrinkles and piled up on itself like crazy during the quilting process.

So that’s it! One quilt down. I have another mostly cut out (started in Texas as well) and my current obsession-project, the indigo and white string quilt. I feel great to have this one done, though!

Oh – and have any of ya’ll tried to take pictures of quilts? It’s ANNOYING to do by oneself! I finally figured out, after some trial and error, that I could run some twine on a few eyebolts meant for hanging plants on my front porch. Add a few clothespins and I was in business. Here was my first attempt in my backyard… it has a certain halloween-blogger-chic that amuses me!

photo (9) photo (8)

How artfully the silk slides along the branches. Also artful… how I avoided including the rusted out tire rim in the shots…

Oh! And for those of you who are curious. The name. Because of all the denim in the quilt, I keep singing a little Elton John to myself….

blue jean baby… LA lady… seamstress for the band (fine occupation… I always thought it was ELDER lady, though!)
pretty eyed… pirate smile… marry a music man (sigh. what a life. seamstress for the band, married a music man….)

Later, ‘gaters!


Get Your VIP Pass

Get in on behind-the-scenes stories, member-only access to special offers and stories from the road. 

You have Successfully Subscribed!