Finished Kantha Jacket

Here’s the finished jacket – from the front, from the side, and showing the sewer’s dream patch on the inside of the left front (to hold the loose quilting threads in place).

As far as I was concerned the jacket was a demonstration piece from the get go – not likely something I was going to add to my wardrobe (because of the wonky back as well as the other problems I encountered with the fabric itself).

When I cut it out, I’d added a bit of flare both front and back – I was being influenced by the Meiko Mintz Kantha jackets which I think are gorgeous (if expensive, when you calculate US$ to CAD$ with shipping and tax – they’re out of my league which is why I’ve tried making my own even if my fabrics aren’t as wonderful as hers).

From the front the jacket looks fine – I’m happy with it. However, from the side, the flare in the back is pronounced! I can also see I need the centre front to be a bit longer to align with the side seams (which, by the way, are actually vertical and not pulling to the back).

Not an impossible fix – it means taking in the sides (removing the amount of the flare at least from the back and maybe a wee bit from the front).

I’m leaving the jacket as is until Saturday when I meet the gals – so they can see the issue themselves and make suggestions – I want to see how they’d go about fixing the problem.

I will remove the flare when I cut out the new jacket from the Kantha bedspread – at least from the back. I may keep a bit in the front.

Kantha Jacket #2

I made a jacket from a Kantha bedspread a couple of years ago. I’ve worn it a great deal. I get lots of complements on it.

Kantha Jacket – Front

Around that same time I bought a couple of yards of Kantha fabric from Marcie Tilton – I liked the patchwork idea and the colours of the assembled fabric. It arrived, I put it aside to make sometime in the future. Two weeks ago, that future arrived.

I am teaching a class to help folks streamline their garment sewing and to let them learn techniques that make their work more professional looking. I decided to use that Kantha cloth to make another jacket.

Partially assembled Kantha Jacket #2

I laid out the fabric and as I attempted to place my pattern pieces I discovered three things: 

  • first, the quilting stitching had many obvious stop/starts (with loose thread ends) in strategic locations in the fabric and I wasn’t able to work around all of them; 
  • second, there was a bright green patch (completely out of tune with the rest of the patchwork) obviously sewn on as an afterthought to cover some flaw beneath; I was able to avoid it for the jacket
  • third, the patchwork piecing was incredibly poorly done – I was able to cut out the jacket fronts and the sleeves with the lines of patchwork being relatively parallel with the length of the potential garment, but I was unable to find any location on the remaining fabric to cut the back on the straight of the patchwork. I cut out a jacket back with the lines obviously tilted off centre to the right (this was the least wonky placement I was able to find).

To contend with the begins/ends of the quilting threads I had to pull the quilting thread ends through to the back and fuse a layer of sewer’s dream across that area of the fabric in order to make sure the threads stayed put. The jacket I’m making is unlined so I’ve been binding all of the seams – I hope they’ll stay together). The welt pockets (you can see them on the front panels at the top) are, I hope, secure.

I was making the jacket as a demonstration for the class. I’ll finish it so the women can see the finished garment,  but likely I won’t wear it with the wonky back – I have to see how obvious it is when I put the jacket on.

I wrote MarcieTilton.com letting them know I wasn’t happy with the fabric! The answer I got back:

The nature of Kantha is the beauty in its imperfections. Sounds like you did everything possible to make it work. I hope your wear the jacket with pleasure and that others enjoy your creativity.

Not a lot of consolation, there.

Last week I spent some time on Amazon looking at Kantha bedspreads and came up with a patchwork one that looked interesting – it said “silk”. The colours were bright and the quilting stitching looked close together and straight.

The quilt arrived two days ago

Patchwork Kantha Bedspread (Silk?)

This is a much better quality fabric from which to make a jacket. Great colour variation, good stitching, not a lot of loose quilting thread ends AND the piecing is straight!

As soon as I’ve finished this current jacket I will cut out another from the bedspread (and who knows, it may actually be silk?)

I’m about to wash it carefully on gentle cycle in my washing machine and dry it in the dryer – I need to shrink the bedspread as much as possible so the garment will be stable once I’ve made it up. I need to go through my batik stash to find something to use for binding the seams; if I have nothing there I’ll pick up some at one of the local fabric shops.

Another Pair Of Socks

Finally finished this pair of socks – not sure why it was slow going but it was. I knew before I started I wasn’t going to have enough turquoise to finish the toes – dug out the purple variegated to finish the toes. So on to another pair.

Diversions

While I’m waiting for the white/black fabric I ordered from Newfoundland to arrive so I can finish the Delft #2 quilt top (should arrive sometime this week), I’ve caught up on a couple of other things: I made a new iPhone carry case and I recovered my ironing board.

I’ll start with the ironing board.

I don’t recall how I stumbled across an ad for a wool ironing board pressing mat but it was advertised for half-price. I’d never have paid full price, I’d have used batting leftovers under a new cover but the price was reasonable so I ordered one. It arrived promptly, I trimmed the 18″ x 54″ wool felt piece to fit my board (had to use some trimmings to lengthen the pad, I fused the pieces together using fusible tape for joining batting pieces), then recovered the board with an unbleached twill. A nice clean ironing surface with that terrific wool pressing mat underneath it. It works very well – glad I bought it.

It took about an hour to recover the board – I had the piece of unbleached twill tucked away from the last recovering – I serged the edges of the twill, and used my heavy-duty staple gun to attach it to the bottom of the plank (I left two previous coverings beneath the wool pressing mat – that extra padding can’t hurt).

My Ancient Ironing Board

My ironing board has history. I bought somewhere around 1964 from the Salvation Army Store in downtown Toronto for $1.50. Even then it was a relic – I’m guessing at least 50-70 years old but still solid and serviceable. The board itself was a shaped plank covered with several layers of flannel underneath a cotton covering nailed in place. At the time, I left that original covering in place and recovered the board with fresh fabric. I have recovered it many times since – at some point I removed all previous coverings and started new. The time before this recovering was when I moved into the apartment in 2016 – five years ago. The accumulation of Best Press (a pressing starch) had scorched the twill and I felt it was time to recover the board.

I’ve tried metal ironing boards but they don’t compare with my antique. This board is a comfortable height, slightly wider, and close to a foot longer than a standard metal ironing board. Now that my board has a fresh twill cover with the wool pressing mat beneath I’m in business for at least another five years.

The ironing board itself is an heirloom – it should be passed down in the family; for sure, I should itemize the wool pressing mat in my will – it’ll last generations. However, I don’t imagine anybody will realize the value of this treasure and it will be taken to the dump when I’m finished with it. Sad.

Second diversion – I made a new iPhone carry case yesterday.

I wanted the case a small amount wider than the one I was using. I’ve stopped carrying a purse of any kind – I’ve consolidated what I carry with me so that it all fits into this small zippered pouch. In its original iteration the case had a single side pocket. I’ve added two more zippered pockets to the last couple I’ve made.

The previous version was a good size for my iPhone with cough candy and gum in the side pocket but when I decided to carry my essential ID – drivers’ license, car permit and insurance certificate, health card, a credit card, as well as a small amount of cash, I needed to add a couple of pockets. However, as I stuffed in those new additions the whole thing was just a bit too small to easily get the ID and other cards in and out. It was time to make a new case.

I had enough leftover kid leather from a skin I bought in New York at a leather warehouse in 2012 to cut a 5 1/4″ x 15″ rectangle. I cut two narrow strips from one end so I could insert zippers for two shallow pockets. It took less than an hour to assemble the pockets, and complete the pouch, but it turned out just a bit too wide, so I opened the lining bottom, and trimmed about 3/8″ from the seam side. Should have been a shade less than 1/4″ – the credit cards and other ID fit in the pockets better, but there’s no comfortable spot for my chapstick! The phone catches on it when I slip it in. Looks like I have two choices – make another just that slightly wider, or leave the chapstick behind!

It’s a lovely day today – another of those bright sunny hint of fall days we get in late August/early September (Alistair MacLeod refers to it as “The Closing Down Of Summer”). Taking a ride with a friend to the Parrsboro shore to pick up farm fresh eggs. Looking forward to the day.

Delft #2 – Top Almost Complete

Blocks and Sashing Complete

I just finished adding the sashing/corners to the blocks and now have a completed panel. I find it interesting how much the sashing overpowers the blocks. Were I to leave the top as is, it would be a predominantly “white” quilt. To offset that, I plan on adding three borders: a narrow inner border using the dark blue/black stonehenge fabric (at the bottom of the photo), another even narrower border using the black dots/pepper fabric I used for the sashing corners (that’s on the way from Newfoundland – hope it arrives late this week/early next), and finally a wider outer border using the blue/green petunias at the bottom of the photo. Those borders will turn it back into a blue quilt, and downgrade the intensity of the white sashing.

The back will use the petunias with the strip I created on the weekend, also bordered with a narrow piece of stonehenge and maybe also the dots/pepper fabric as well.

Pieced Strip for Quilt Backing

In order to carry on, I have to go back to Mahone Bay to pick up another metre of the petunias! I ordered 2 yards which would have been enough for the backing but isn’t enough to do the borders on the front as well. I’m not going to cut the 2 yard piece I have, I will cut the front border pieces from the new piece I have to buy! Besides, I’m having to wait for the black/white fabric to arrive from Newfoundland!

In the meantime, I’ll go back to the purple poppies wall piece I was working on several weeks ago. This will give me time to work on thread painting the poppies.

Purple Poppies

Delft #2 – Laid Out

Now I have to spend some time looking at the blocks and their position in the array! There are three variables in play – the fabrics of the inner square, the fabrics of the first triangle, the fabrics of the second triangle. I’m trying to keep them all different so there are no two centre fabrics in a row or column; then I’m trying to have not two same fabrics touching. I’ve almost got it – I see three spots where the inner and outer triangles are the same fabric and I may not be able to move anything more to alleviate that. There are also some adjacent diagonals (which I’ve decided to ignore). More important is whether I have the colour distributed broadly around the array – it’s not bad – I will have to look at the blocks tomorrow to see if I still feel that way.

The issue is at this point I have almost no degrees of freedom – the only way I can gain more is the make the seven blocks for the quilt back and see if those combination accommodate some swaps. It’s probably a good idea to do that before I attach the sashing because once the sashing is attached I’m not going to be able to do any moving around!

The quilt is going to be colourful, for sure.

PS: I’ve been asked about measurements for the block. If you’re interested in constructing a quilt top like this, click here for information/measurements for creating/setting up the blocks. If you decide to try it, be sure to make a couple of test blocks using scrap fabric.

New Maroon Ombre Socks

Maroon Ombre Socks

I finished this pair of socks last evening, finally. I knit on them most evenings (since the last pair was finished) but I didn’t knit as much as usual so these socks have taken the better part of three weeks (I normally can manage a pair in two weeks.

I was drawn to the colours in the ball of yarn although I couldn’t tell that the pattern would evolve as it did with maroon strips and a repeating pattern embedded in in ombre with greys and golds.

A nice pair of socks, if I say so myself.

Delft #2 – Update

35 Blocks Partially Assembled

This is where I got to yesterday – all 35 blocks partially assembled with a triangle border on each. Today I began adding the second triangles to each block – I have 14 blocks done.

Then I was up early this morning going through my stash looking for something to use as sashing. I found a white fabric with black dots I thought would work but I didn’t have enough to do all the sashing, so after aquafit I went shopping for sashing fabric. I found one very close to the one I’d dug out of the stash. I also had a very small amount of a complementary white with larger black dots and had my fingers crossed there’d be enough in that piece to cut the 48 small squares I needed (I was lucky and there was!).

So here is what the setup is starting to look like:

Block Layout

I’m planning to alternate blocks with dark triangles with blocks with light triangles. That gives me alternating rotation as well since I cut all the light blocks in the same direction, all the dark on the second diagonal.

The sashing will be a wee bit narrower than the placement in the photo and will look fine once I have all the blocks completed and laid out.

So enough for today – back at it tomorrow. I expect the quilt top will be finished sometime on the weekend.

And then I have to start planning for a course I’m teaching in a couple of weeks – Industrial Techniques for the Home Sewer. My plan is to help people work their way through a relatively simple garment of their choosing while showing them some of the technique I’ve acquired over the years from various people I’ve taken classes with as well as other short-cuts I’ve figured out for myself.

I’m going to make myself a jacket from some kantha fabric I bought from Marcie Tilton a couple of years ago.

Kantha Fabric with Binding Fabric

I drafted a pattern from a jacket I bought at Gumps in San Francisco (looks like they’ve dropped the interesting clothing they had in the store) and made it from a kantha bedspread I bought online. I’m not sure whether I will line the jacket or not – quite likely not, but in that case I do need to bind all seams (I did pick up some faux suede to do just that). It’ll be a good example to illustrate details not in a pattern that make a garment more interesting and professional looking.

Delft #2

In the responses I got yesterday there was some confusion about how I cut the triangles for the second Delft quilt. For the inner triangles the rectangles are 8 1/4″ x 2 1/4″ – half cut on the diagonal in one direction, half cut on the opposite.

Inner Triangles – Half in one direction / half in the other

When you lay the two sets of triangles from the same fabric on top of one another they have the 90° angle in the same place. However, as you can see, were you to lay the dark set on the light set the 90° angle is on the opposite corner.

Here is the first set of triangles cut and placed upon the centre square (5 1/2″ x 5 1/2″) – they’re ready to be sewn. I’ve tentatively laid out the squares as they will appear in the quilt top – once the first triangles are attached I won’t have a lot of freedom to move these blocks around because I want adjacent blocks to be offset 90° from each other – the triangles determine that arrangement. In this array, I’ve cut all the light triangles to go in one direction, all the dark in the other.

Squares with Inner Triangles

When I have these assembled and trimmed to 7″ I will add the second triangle to each block – using a dark triangle against a light one, and a light triangle against a dark one.

Here are the rectangles cut for the second set of triangles – 9 1/2″ x 2 1/4″ – I haven’t cut them yet because I figured I’d mix up the inner and outer triangles which are very similar in size; they won’t be cut until the inner triangles are all attached. I’ve laid the rectangles out with the light fabrics face down – both sets of fabrics will be cut the same on the cutting board but because the light rectangles are face down, the diagonal cut will be 90° offset from the diagonal on the darks.

I have to think about this carefully before making these cuts because the light/dark cuts have to be opposite to the light/dark cuts for the first triangles! I think this presentation is correct for making that cut.

Rectangles For Outer Triangles

Now it’s time to begin sewing. If I’m organized about it, I should be able to chain piece the rows by adding one triangle to each square, then the second, etc.

Fishing At Dusk

Fishing At Dusk

I was walking the Bedford Pier last evening with a friend and stopped to chat with this fisherman – he was having no luck, hadn’t yet caught anything. Apparently there were mackerel schooling in the Basin, some of the other folks along the pier had caught some. After we chatted we walked to the end of the pier. On our way back, as we were walking past, I stepped back to capture him just as he was recasting. I cropped the photo a bit but didn’t do much else.