Making a quilt sandwich without moving my dining room furniture = priceless
My house is small. My garage is also small, but it's theoretically big enough for sandwiching and pin basting quilts. The problem is the concrete floor, which is resistant to blue tape, awkward for pin basting, and, most importantly, impossible to get clean enough to ensure that a quilt won't get dirty or dusty (believe me, I've tried).
We don't store our cars in the garage, but putting down a permanent floor on top of the concrete is still out of the question. So, I decided to build a "fake floor" that could be assembled or disassembled whenever it needed to be. My checklist looked like this:
Must be easy to clean.
Must be sturdy enough that we can walk on it if it's left on the garage floor.
Must be substantial enough that it won't shift around when it's being used.
Must be able to be laid down or taken up quickly and easily by one person.
Must be able to be stored in a relatively small space.
Must be able to be moved to another location.
Before I talk about how I made my panels, I need to offer a disclaimer. I am not a construction expert. I built these panels based on what made sense to me. They obviously aren't a real or permanent flooring system -- just something to make my quilting life easier.
Okay, let's go!
After a recon mission to Home Depot, I decided that my best option would be some kind of plywood. I picked the stuff pictured above because it was the least expensive. I wanted the combined area to be 9' x 10', so I decided to have 6 pieces of wood cut to 3' x 5' each. That seemed to me like few enough pieces in a manageable size.
Because the edges of the wood were kind of jaggedy, I covered them with duct tape. This may or may not have been a terrible idea, but I really wanted to avoid jaggedy edges that might get all covered in dust bunnies and other random debris.
Note: If I were doing this again, I would be more mindful of how much duct tape I was putting at each corner, as it sometimes made it hard to get the tiles to lay completely flat.
I used 12" x 12" self-adhesive vinyl tiles. These tiles are pretty much like big stickers -- just peel the backing away and stick them on! As floor covering goes, they're also quite inexpensive. The downside is that they are UGLY. The fake wood tiles seemed to be the least objectionable, and were also much smoother than the fake tile and fake stone ones, so I bought 90.
Note: If I were doing this again, I would have bought a few extra. I had to reposition a couple of tiles and it was NOT easy to put them back after they had been peeled off the wood.
I worked in rows, covering each piece of wood with 15 tiles. Because the combined area of the tiles was the same as the area of the wood, I had to be very careful to start by lining the tiles up exactly with the edges.
Here's one of the finished panels.
Here they are together on the garage floor.
These remind me a little of those temporary dance floors at weddings. I guess it's time for a dance party in the garage! (Don't think for a second that I won't hang a disco ball and put that into effect at my next party.)
And here they are in action. The panels were pretty dusty by the time I got them all put together, but I just ran a Swiffer mop across the top and they were ready to go!
I had some apprehension about the seams between the panels, but I didn't have any problems sandwiching this quilt. The panels stayed put, even as I crawled around on them. In fact, it was the easiest sandwiching experience I've had in a while!
I'll let you know how they hold up over time, but I have to say that I'm pretty darn excited about them right now!
The Billboard Quilt-Along is open to anyone who wants to participate and has no set start or finish date. I’ve compiled a list of posts here.
Today's post includes general machine applique instructions that can be applied to any machine applique project. Please note that the fusible web used in the sample appliques (patchwork letters) makes it unnecessary to pin the appliques in place. If you're working with appliques that don't include fusible web (for instance, Dresden Plates) you will want to pin your applique shapes in place before attempting to sew them down.
Now that your letters have been fused to the block bases, it's time to finish the raw edges by stitching around each letter using some form of a zigzag stitch. The idea is to encase the raw edges in stitches by sewing one half of your stitches (the left side in the above photo) through all layers, just inside the edge of your applique shape, and the other half (the right side in the above photo) through just the background fabric, just outside the applique shape.
As someone with a fair amount of fancy quilting tools on hand, I would say that my design wall is possibly my favorite of them all. I use it to preview fabric swatches, to organize blocks and to keep my latest project from becoming a wrestling arena for my cats.