BLOCK BREAKDOWN

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Soaked and Blocked

True Colors finally came off the frame tonight.  I was starting to think it was going to stay up there forever, no really.  It has been like weeks, much too long.

So, during my Facebook postings many people asked me what my soaking process was.  Well, I have two -- the super quick, throw the quilt in the bathtub and run water on it until its wet, roll it up in a towel and then start the blocking process.  And then there is the other way -- when I have lots of foundation applique that needs to soften or in this case that as well as removing the white markings.  If you don't remember the markings, look at this post.  As this was the first time I was using this water soluble marking pen, I did a test sample on the same fabric as the quilt.  It didn't just wash away when spritzed with water, I really need to soak the piece before the markings disappeared.  So, in this case, I put the quilt in the washing machine and let it fill with very hot water.  Then, I let it sit, swished it every so often, and let it sit again.  I do this for probably 20 minutes or so.

Then I drain the water and let it spin just enough so that it is not dripping as I carry it over to the blocking foam.  Easy enough, right?

Then I start the blocking, pulling and pinning, and working the quilt flat.  It usually takes about three times around the quilt and some sore fingertips for me to achieve perfect results.  But blocking is magical -- it totally makes your quilt flat!

So then we have this:

And there it sits, under the fan until it is dry.  I usually leave it blocked for at least two days.  We'll see, I really, really, really need to get the binding on this!

More pics soon, you know the real ones with perfect lighting, etc.  Oh, and if you want to see this beauty up close, it'll be in a special exhibit at IQA's new show, Quilt! Knit! Stitch! in Portland, OR this August (next month)!

14 comments:

  1. This is gorgeous Karen! What is blocking foam?

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    1. Thanks Kelly. Blocking foam is actually insulation wall/roof board - you can find it in home improvement stores, it comes in 4'x8" pieces, and I tape them together with duct tape. The brand I use is R-Max R-Matte Plus 3. It's about 3/4" thick and it's foil on one side, white on the other. Hope this helps!

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  2. What a beautiful quilt...I have enjoyed watching the progress...and I just might be lucky enough to see this beauty in person in Portland....Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks Kathy! I hope you get to see it - let me know how you like it.

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  3. umm....I have never "blocked" any of my quilts....I don't have a room big enough for the quilts I have done...have I just never saw a quilt that has been blocked? I make doilies so I understand blocking....just never thought to block a quilt....guess you do learn something everyday...

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    1. Dawn, only my competition pieces get blocked. And for a few days, the 8'x8' boards take over a piece of my house as my studio is already full with two Gammills.

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  4. Karen, what is the name of the quilt pattern? My husband thinks it is a maritime pattern. He is a formersailor and is very interested. The quilt is beyond breathtaking. I can only imagine the toll it took on your back.

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    1. Karen, I followed your blog back and found the name. Thanks for being so complete in your blog entries.

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    2. Thanks so much and glad you were able to find the info, but in case others are interested - the center is a mexican pinwheel from Marsha McCloskey's book Feathered Star Quilt Blocks I - Really Hard Blocks That Take a Long Time To Make. She was not exaggerating, nor was she lying - that pinwheel took forever, and I still had to hand applique the lemoyne center as I could not get it to work. Difficult yes but still beautiful nonetheless.

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  5. Wow. It is just gorgeous and I can't wait to see more photos of it.

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  6. It is just stunning! Can't wait to see more!

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  7. All I can say is WOW!!! Not many things impress me like this one has. The quilting is to die for!! Thanks for sharing!

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  8. It's Bee-utiful! What's "blocking foam"? I've heard of pinning the quilt to carpet or atop the bed but not foam. Inquiring minds....wait, I lost my mind!

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  9. Absolutely fabulous quilt! You must be very young to be able to work black on black. I get a headache just thinking about it!

    Take care,
    Susan in Texas

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