Inchie Addictions Take Shape

Whenever I’ve shown Inchies or talked about them to quilter friends, almost the first question out of everyone’s mouth is “What do you do with them?” I mean, really, where’s everybody’s imagination? 😉 I’ve had a plan all along:

Inchie Quilt

Sure, you can make them, trade them with other quilters if you’re so inclined, keep them stashed away in a box, or make jewelry out of them, but why not create larger quilt art pieces with them? These were the first Inchies I made, and they’re all from the same chunk of fabric. You can see closeups of the Inchies here.

The Inchies are made from two layers of fabric fused to either side of Timtex, and attached to this simple background quilt with Velcro Fabric Fusions. I wouldn’t use Timtex again, because while I like the stiffness and ease of construction use, it’s just too hard to hand sew beads and embellishments to the Inchies through the Timtex. I’ve discovered a better combination to use as a base from now on (more on that later).

The iron-on Velcro isn’t very user friendly either (or maybe I’m just challenged by fusible things). I’ve had a terrible time getting it to stick permanently like it’s supposed to; it seems to be stuck just fine until about an hour later when it’s completely cool, and then all the glue becomes goopy again and the pieces peel right off the fabric. Part of the problem is undoubtedly that I’m fusing it to two layers of fabric and batting or Timtex, but it’s completely strange that it seems stuck right after fusing, and then unsticks when it cools. I’ve started fusing it twice to see if that will help.

I wasn’t even sure I’d like the Velcro treatment since it might make the Inchies stick out too far from the quilt surface, but now that it’s done, I really love it! It gives the Inchies a “mounted” look and adds some dimensional interest. I was planning to tack the Inchies to the quilt with thread, but I did a couple that way and didn’t like doing it or the way it looked, so I switched to the Velcro. The Velcro has other advantages as well, since I can rearrange the Inchies on the quilt, or switch them out to display a different set.

When the quilt was ready for binding, I wasn’t too keen on adding anything visible around the edge. I remembered keeping an article about facing quilts during the great magazine purge, so I went digging. Thanks to a most excellent article by Katleen Loomis in American Quilter Ultimate Projects 2007 Magazine, I learned a new technique and the back of the quilt looks like this:

Facing on Inchie Quilt

Her technique uses a one-piece curved corner facing and some dressmaking techniques to keep the facing from rolling to the front of the quilt. Where the corner and side facings meet a little pocket is formed, and if you don’t sew it closed, it makes the perfect place to put a piece of dowel rod for hanging a small quilt like this.

Dowel rod for hanging

I think I was a little too vigorous when I pushed out the corners after turning the facing, so the corners of the quilt look a tiny bit dog-eared, but it isn’t as bad in person as it looks in the photos. That’s just something to remember for next time I use a facing to finish a quilt.

If I had the whole quilt to do again, I’d either leave more space around the outside of the Inchies, or shrink the space between the sets a bit. I had a moment when I wasn’t thinking ahead about binding and finishing at all, and forgot to leave a seam allowance for that when I trimmed the edges, so there’s a bit less space around the outside than I originally intended. There’s always next time. All in all though, I’m quite happy with the finished product!

Epic, yet small

I’m beginning to get past some of the confusion and uncertainty of direction on my current project, which I’ve dubbed Epic Insanity Elemental Changes as a working title. I settled down to really play with some of the fabrics I sorted the other day, and I have these to show for it the last few days (click for a bigger pic):

Deep Water Inchies

I really love making Inchies! I’m afraid I’ve become completely addicted to these lilliputian works of art, which is a very good thing, since my big plan for this project calls for no less than 510 of the little suckers. 😮 And this project comes with a show deadline attached too: October 1, 2008! 16 down, 494 to go!

Needless to say, there will be Inchies on the brain and in the blog for some time to come. I’ve been digging through tubs and boxes of embellishments that I’ve stashed away over the years, and cruising the Arts & Crafts shop for anything new, unusual, and usable in such a small scale. Three of my favorite finds: Artistic Wire colored copper wire, Robin’s Nest Dew Drops, and Hoffmann Originals Bead Gravy.

Wire, Dewdrops, Bead GravyThe wire is great (as any of you who do scrapbooking surely know already), because it’s easy to shape into swirls, zig-zags, hearts, even a treble clef! The treble clef was ITMan’s idea, believe it or not!

The Dew Drops were also a scrap booking department find, and I love them as well. These little flat-backed, domed plastic bits are appropriately named, and are the perfect size for Inchies. I do still have to hunt up a more effective glue to attach them, something that will permanently adhere them to the fabric, but dries clear so the fabric can still show through the Dew Drops.

Bead Gravy comes in small packages of many assorted glass beads in coordinating colors, so you get a lot of variety without breaking the bank. I’ve been filling in the color gaps in my bead stash with these little packs of seed beads, bugles and small cubes that are the perfect size for Inchies.

I have 20 more Inchies in similar colors to the ones above sitting on the table ready to embellish, so I’ll be spending the day on them while the kids have some Dad time! If you know of an adhesive that might fit the bill for the Dew Drops, “dew” let me know! 😉 Happy Quilting on this lovely Sunday!

Black and White and Read…

I’m truly not doing much these last couple of days except watching the packers stuff all of our things into boxes, and wishing that it was over and I was back to quilting in my new studio. IOW, nothing much quilting related to discuss, unless you count dreams, and I’m so tired and preoccupied that I don’t remember those anyway. I did work on these Inchies on my birthday though, just like I wanted to do.

In my head, these are the “Music Inchies” because the fabric has instruments and music notes on it, but I suppose they’ve now become just black and white after cutting them up, with a little red, grey and slate blue in the mix. The Inchies here are half of three sets of twelve, one for each of my musical girls, and one for myself. I probably won’t finish up the other 18 Inchies in these sets until after the move at this point.

The packers have packed nearly all of three of the four floors in the house, so all there is for us to do is climb over boxes, surf on the Internet, or read. We’re surrounded by cardboard. They’re coming back tomorrow for another go, to pack up the kitchen and finish in the basement room where most of my quilting stuff is, along with the computers and such. Not that I’m letting them pack my computer; that goes in my car thank you very much.

So mostly what I’ve been doing is reading books. Lots of books. And trying to keep the cats from being too stressed out, but Patches is having a calicivirus outbreak anyway. Calicivirus in cats is very like herpes and cold sores in humans; when there’s too much stress, the immune system weakens and sores appear. He has sores in his mouth now, but so far they don’t appear to be affecting him too much or causing him so much pain that he can’t eat.

So, I’m off to read and think about quilting even though I can’t do it right now!

An Inchies Birthday Party

I’m still here, and I’ve been reading all your posts about your quilting adventures, just not having any of my own. It’s hard to think about anything really seriously except the interminable nightmare that is moving. It’s “keep your eye on the ball” time, but that dang ball is still so small I can hardly see it! Good thing it’s neon yellow and flashing…just a sec, let me get the binoculars…oh, wait, is that a detour sign? Yeah, that’s how it is around here at the moment!

I’d like to just move maybe one more time in my entire life. Do you suppose that’s even possible? One more move from hell to get back to the States, and then never move again. Right now, I’m totally envious of those people who just stay in the same place their entire lives. It probably won’t happen, since ITMan’s career isn’t like that, but hey, a girl can dream, can’t she?

Anyway, it is almost over, and today’s the last time I have to go to the Stuttgart Commissary for food, thank heavens. Today is also the last birthday I’ll celebrate have in this house. For anyone who’s keeping track, I’m 41. There isn’t much celebrating going on here, but I may just have to insist on a sit down later to watch a movie and work on some Inchies and call it my birthday party! I stitched the edging on a bunch before I packed the Bernina away, and the beading stuff is easy to find and portable. I doubt there will be singing, but there might be some chocolate, and definitely a Cosmopolitan!

Hope you’re all quilting, and do write more so I have something to read during my short sit down moments between moving tasks!

Just Inching along…

…in more ways than one. On the creative side, here’s the latest batch of Inchies:

Pastel Inchies

I started this small set with the sample chunk of Fast2Fuse that I had here, and some Caryl Bryer Fallert Ombre Stripe fabric that I picked up at her shop in Paducah last time I was in the States. The fabric looks like this from selvage to selvage, except the colors on mine are in a different order for some reason:

Ombre fabric for inchies

I hacked off a chunk that was sort of pinky-lilac from the middle, and another that was blue-greenish and used one on each side of the Fast2Fuse. I quilted the sandwich with some variegated threads, and then cut it into 1″ squares. From the start I knew that I’d use four of the Inchies with one of the fabrics as the “right side” and four of them with the other fabric as the right side, so I divided them up based on what was most interesting in color and design of the quilitng and background fabric.

I edge stitched around the outside and couched some larger decorative fibers down, and then added beads and more fibers by hand. I can’t say that I liked using the Fast2Fuse better than the Timtex/fusible web combo that I used for the first Inchies, though the hand stitching for the beads and other accents was easier with the Fast2Fuse. I’m just not sure I like the whole finished product as well, since the Inchies from the Fast2Fuse are not as firm and they bend more than the Timtex ones did. Continue reading “Just Inching along…”

And yet more Inchies!

I did get these done a couple of days ago, but I’ve been overcome by “non-quilting-stuff” since then so too busy to share. Maybe I should turn that “non-quilting-stuff” into a formal acronym, since it seems to interfere in my quilting life waaaayy to often to really suit. “Non-Quilting-Stuff,” I hereby dub thee NQS for short.

Anyway, here are the last two sets of twelve Inchies that all came from the same fabric (click for bigger pics, but in the pics below, they are close to life size, at 1″ square):

And here are the other two sets that you’ve already seen, just so you can see, all on one page, how different they are even though they’re all from the same original piece of fabric:

I did have six more Inchies from the same fabric chunk, but I decided that I didn’t really like them after all (they were kinda boring) and I was tired of working with that particular fabric. Also, I really need to experiment with some other materials, as the Timtex I used for the innards of the Inchies is really too hard to hand sew through to attach the beads. I was going to toss them in the trash, but ITMan stopped me, believe it or not!

I have some ideas for alternative materials, and I have a tiny sample chunk of Fast2Fuse that I got at the Houston Quilt Show the year it came out (that was 2004, the year of the books about Fabric Bowls and Boxes) that I’m going to try shortly, maybe tonight after dinner. See, this is why I keep these things! This little bitty sample is coming in handy now, isn’t it?

I’m completely hooked. My family thinks I’m nuts, but it’s certainly not the first time, and probably won’t be the last. I’ve picked out the fabric and all the beads and embellishments for the next (small) set with the Fast2Fuse sample, and I’m movin’ out! Then I have to hit the LQS for some other materials for the innards that I want to experiment with…and maybe some more beads, threads and embellishments while I’m at it. I’m in love with my quilting again! 🙂

Edit: Here’s a pic of the original fabric that all the Inchies came from (click to see it bigger):