Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Another beetle and a little tutorial

This is my last little effort for the HFD show. Another beetle—one of the slightly scary-looking horned beetles. After much trial and error I have figured out a way to make a nice, neat zig-zagged edge on these little pieces in lieu of a binding. It worked out so well I thought I'd take some pics and share them.

I start by making the piece larger than it will end up being. For the 8.5 x 11 pieces, I made them approximately 9 x 12. After the piece is quilted I use a ruler and permanent marker to mark the final size on the top of the quilt. Then I lay a piece of perle cotton on the marked line and zigzag over it. By doing this before you cut the edges off, you can get it nice and smooth, with neat corners. I use a narrow zigzag. On my Janome it is 1.5. Don't start and end at a corner. The start and stop are less noticeable along a side.

After stitching the perle cotton down, carefully trim the excess fabric off, as close to the stitched perle cotton as you can get without cutting the stitching.

Now you are going to zigzag over the perle cotton and the edge again, but before you do that, take a needle threaded with a heavy-weight thread. I use buttonhole thread. Just take one stitch through each corner of your piece and cut the thread off, leaving two long tails, about 3" long.

You know how when you zigzag around the edge of something the corners are a mess and sometimes they get caught down in the hole or hang up on the foot? Well, those thread tails you just made are there to alleviate those problems! As you approach a corner, grab the the thread tails and use them to guide the stitching up to the corner. Stop, with your needle down at the corner, pivot and use the thread tails to pull the corner gently toward the back, under the foot, while you smoothly stitch into the next straight side.
When you are finished, you can just pull the thread tails out and discard.

And there's my finished piece with a nice, narrow little zigzagged edge. Isn't that neat?

P.S. A couple of people have asked what size perle cotton I am using. Does it come in different sizes?! The label has a 5 on it—I guess that's the size. It is not nearly as fat as yarn. The finished edge is only about 1/16th of an inch wide. I'm sure you could make it wider if you wanted to use something fatter than the perle cotton.

P.P.S. I am not using a satin stitch on this. The length of the stitch is just the default stitch length. I think the tight satin stitch is often another thing that contributes to bad corners and hangups. The perle cotton fills in under the zigzag stitch so that it covers it pretty well and a satin stitch isn't really needed. I must admit, also, that I have been known to take a permanent pen and touch up spots where the light fabric shows through! If you want more coverage you can stitch around the edge one or two more times.

46 comments:

  1. You are a technical genius. I must try this!!

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  2. FABULOUS Terry!
    THANKS for showing this.....if you don't mind me asking what size of Perle Cotton do you use?

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  3. Thanks for the pix and info. I'll have to try it next time I do the zig zag edge.

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  4. Cheesh - I didn't think it was possible. (welll, maybe for me it isn't- LOL). Beautiful, Terry. Thanks for sharing I must try this with my next postcard. Hope springs eternal!

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  5. Wow, you are a genius - very nice edge. What size of perle cotton did you use? It looks like yarn.

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  6. thanks for the tip on zigzag edges!

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  7. Very Neat Terry, thanks for sharing this tip

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  8. kristin L10:58 PM

    Great tip! Looks fabulous.

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  9. Wonderful! I have to try this.
    Thanks for the tip!

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  10. Thanks for sharing this wonderful tip, these edges always put me off for the messy corner risk.

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  11. this is very nice! my questions: 1) do you use the same narrow-sized zig-zag for putting the perle cotton down and for the edge stitch? 2) what stitch length is your zig-zag? is it almost satin stitch or just regular length?
    thanks for this! it's a great idea!

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  12. So nicely written. Thanks for a great tip!

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  13. The threads in the corner is a genius idea. THanks for that!

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  14. Ohmigosh! Ohmigosh! Ohmigosh!

    THANK YOU! ;^)

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  15. Terry,
    Once again I am grateful for your sharing. Thank you. Your work is gorgeous, as always!
    Kathy

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  16. Thanks for the tute. I will give this a try some time.

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  17. thank you! gotta try this now...

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  18. Only you could make me love a beetle !
    Thanks for the tutorial too !

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  19. I'm going to try this! Thanks so much.
    joan

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  20. My DMC perle cotton says "8 m" on the band. I thought that was standard. Is 5 bigger?
    Thanks for the tutorial. I think I will experiment with this edge.

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  21. That is brilliant. Thank you for taking the time to share your tips and create the tutorial.

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  22. Brilliant. If there was a Project Runway for quilters, you would win this challenge!

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  23. Thank you for sharing these great techniques with us. The corner threads will come in handy for many projects, and the pearl cotton idea is fabulous. I will be trying both of them on my next fabric postcards as well as the small art quilts I make.

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  24. Martha Ginn1:16 PM

    Terry, what a neat technique! I'll definitely use it soon. Your work always has that crisp, finished look; thanks for sharing!
    Martha

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  25. Terry! This is a brilliant technique and a great tutorial. Thanks for posting it! I'm especially wow'ed by your using the thread tails to help with the corners. Genius.

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  26. Perle comes in #s
    3 (thickest), 5, 8, 12, 16 At least those are all that I have seen in the past fifty years.

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  27. I have to go and make some postcards now just to try the technique. Thanks so much.

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  28. Brilliant! Did you devise this idea by yourself? Thanks for sharing it with us--that's very generous.

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  29. Thanks be to God!!! I know two pieces that I will be using this on in the next month. I can't thank you enough!!

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  30. excellent tutorial terry, the thread at the corners is brilliant!

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  31. What a neat edge! Thank you so much for sharing this technique. I'm also glad you reminded me about what Ken Smith calls the "leading Strings" technique - that one had slipped RIGHT to the back of the dust filled drawer that is my brain!

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  32. Neat is right! Thanks for sharing that!

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  33. Wow, Terry, what a great technique and explained so clearly with your pictures too. Thanks a lot for your generosity in sharing this with the big wide world!

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  34. Great tips, I am going to have to try this one out! Thank you.

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  35. Just found your blog - your quilts are fabulous! I look forward to seeing more of them.

    Anjea in Austin, TX

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  36. Terry, I always admired your quilts, and now you have made one of your secrets available for us - thanks ever so much. Peace and many blessings, Annie

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  37. Wow, what a neat edge to a small piece. Thank you Terry.

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  38. Nicely done! Excellent clear instructions!
    How do you get the pictures lined up with the exact
    Instructions? My load willy nilly.

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  39. Wow!! This tutorial has been here all this time and I didn't even know it! What a fabulous idea, I will b doing it, and very soon.
    Annie Copeland referred us to this tutorial.

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  40. Anonymous11:56 AM

    Terry, thank you for sharing this great way to finish any art quilt piece. Gladys

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  41. This is sooo cool... I think Ellen Anne Eddy does something like this.. I just saw her quilts and held them last week..

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  42. Fabulous look Terry and seems much easier to do than all the satin stitching I've been doing on my postcards. Your corners look so neat. I like the way you tie them off.
    Thank you for taking time to put this tut together and sharing it with us. Love your art quilts too.

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  43. Thank you Terry for sharing your knowledge.
    I have taken the liberty of linking this "tute" to my blog.
    I make (mainly)A4 sized quilts plus post cards....this will be so HELPFUL.
    And I LOVE your beetles

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  44. Thanks for this! The corners are always tricky; great tip! BTW, wool yarn works really well on the edges too - I've used it on several of my small quilts (www.gonerustic.com/galleries/art-quilts/journal-quilts/) ... =D

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  45. Genius! Thanks for sharing this great technique Terry!

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  46. I will do absolutely anything to avoid a traditional binding technique!!!!! I use rat tail cording on the edges of my quilts that I learned from Carol Ann Waugh.

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