That’s right, I resolved to buy less fabric and use up what I have in 2014. So, before the confetti was swept up and the party hats put away I was online buying fabric. My only excuse is that the price was right.
Due to my upbringing I have a Pavlovian response to the word “sale.” And when that word is combined with “fabric” my willpower vanishes like dew in the desert.
Equilter was offering lots of fabric at 60% off and more. Even accounting for shipping costs, the twelve yards (!) of fabric I bought cost $5/yard. Much of my purchase is designated for backings. I had used up most of my backing fabrics and was down to two colors of brown and some blue swirly stuff.
My self-imposed rule is that backing fabric can cost no more than $5/yard. Why? Because you need so much of it. That means I shop sales. My last big score was at a local quilt shop’s closing sale. I do piece my backings (see below), and many of my current quilts are small, so my backing fabrics go a long way.
What do I look for in backings? First I go for a pattern, preferably one that’s not strongly directional. Stripes and squares look awful if they get off kilter. And solids highlight any less than perfect quilting. Then, I try to avoid reds as they can bleed, usually on a quilt with a lot of white. I look for a range of values so I can better coordinate my top and bobbin quilting threads. One experience with a black and hot pink top taught me that lesson. I spent a lot of time touching up pink thread with a black marker.
Finally, my backing choice depends on whether the quilt will hang on a wall or be used on a bed, baby, or lap. For functional quilts I try to choose an interesting backing as it will be seen a lot. For a few bed quilts (yes, I’ve made some) I even chose backings that allowed the quilt to be reversed.
I certainly have strayed off topic here. What was I talking about? Oh, right. My profligate ways.
Here are my purchases, which finally arrived.
I guess eclectic would be the best word for this group. The jade on the left, the pale pink on the right, and the yellow and black on the lower right are destined for backing. I’ve taken a separate photo of the pink (from Valori Wells) as it was overwhelmed by the strong colors in the group shot.
Two of the one yard pieces are almost solids that I hope will add a bit of texture to some backgrounds. The bold stripe actually goes with a leaf fabric that keeps showing up on my can’t find a use for list. Maybe having a buddy will get both fabrics into a quilt this year.
No Steam, No Problem
I have a love/hate relationship with irons. To start with, I’m left handed, which causes some issues with the cord on many models. Then, there’s that pesky automatic off feature that makes sure the iron is cool each time I want to press a new seam. And, as an iron ages, it becomes incontinent, spewing up rusty water all over my light color quilts.
I thought I had solved my problems when I purchased a Black and Decker moderately priced ($40) steam iron. My problems were indeed solved, for a year. A few weeks ago the steam dial stopped working. The iron heated up just fine, but couldn’t deliver steam. Fortunately, the iron had a 2 year warranty and I had saved my receipt, so I fired off an e-mail complaint to Black and Decker’s customer service. Three days later I heard back and, after providing more details, was told they would replace my iron after I mailed them the cord from my old iron. I gather this was to ensure I was not scamming them out of a new iron. I did have to pay a shipping charge.
I mailed the cord on a Friday and on Thursday of the next week received the replacement. To say I was flabbergasted is an understatement. Prompt, efficient service without pleas and rants is a rarity.
So, kudos to Black and Decker’s customer service. Now I can stop using our backup iron with its iffy cord. You have to hold it a certain way for the iron to heat up. My husband thought he could fix it, but found that the screw needed some special type of screwdriver – proprietary, no doubt.
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Tagged as Black and Decker, irons