Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Pressing Matters

A good many years ago, I made a square-in-a-square quilt top; it was pretty ordinary -- calicoes and plaids in browns and blues. But there was something about the top that I really liked and for a while I couldn't put my finger on what it was. Because of all the seams that would be coming together at the middle of the blocks, I decided to press the seams open.

My first sewing was clothing and with clothing, one always presses the seams open. My foray into quilt-making was pretty much self-taught and my very first project was finishing up a stack of hand-stitched, 4-patch blocks that my Mom had made with her Grandmother back when she was quite young (my Mom, not my Great Grandma). The seams in those 4-patches were finger-pressed to one side. So, everafter, I  always pressed my patchwork seams to one side.

But when I really stopped to think about it, if I was machine-piecing, not hand-piecing my blocks there didn't seem like there was any real reason to press the seams to the side -- just like in clothing construction. The first time I had done this was with that square-in-a-square quilt top. And that was what I liked so much about that top -- how flat it was. I loved the look of the newly created piece of whole cloth -- cloth made up of smaller pieces of cloth. So now I don't press my patchwork, I iron it -- I really IRON it.

But ironing isn't working with these doubleknit stars. With one of these blocks, I spent quite some time trying to get the seams to lie flat, but, well, can you tell which one it is? I can't.

 lumpy stars
So I'm just going with cardboard-like nature of this fabric. This little quilt is kind of a nostalgic, whimsical oddity anyway. I doubt it will make it among the Fresh, Modern Quilts on flickr, it just is what it is. And I am rather enjoying the journey I am taking with it.


Dan R said...

I am also a non-repentant ironer. I always get a good chuckle when pedants explain the finer points of pressing and ironing.

As for doubleknit, I have nothing to offer ;)

Rachaeldaisy said...

Oh, it's such a relief to hear someone is a full-on ironer, I get nervous that I'll get sprung by the quilt police because I'm not so dainty. I'm so curious about your double knit project. Not all quilts should be super sleek and flat, we need a few bubbly, bumpy, full-of-personality quilts too.

Nifty Quilts said...

This is going to be a fun quilt, especially when it's quilted! I wonder if it will all puff up more between the stitching. At any rate, it will last forever!