Thursday, October 6, 2016

Shattered Ceiling

I am proud to be a Wellesley Alumna.  There are many famous Alumnae, but right now possibly the most famous Wellesley Woman is Hillary Clinton.  Wherever you stand politically, Hillary securing the Democratic Nomination was a historic, glass ceiling shattering moment.  All across campus there are banners that read "Women Who Will / Make a Difference / In the World."  I think that all of us embody this in different ways.  I wanted to commemorate this moment that is significant for me both as a Woman and a Wellesley Woman (who is hopefully making a difference raising her two boys and here on ChemKnits).  I want my boys to always learn that, "When any barrier falls in America, it clears the way for everyone."  - HRC

When my fellow Chemistry Alumna created a Hillary "H" quilt block I knew that I wanted to try to make it for myself.  I thought it would be fun to pair it with a Wellesley "W" appliqued on a bed of the class colors (red, green, yellow and purple.)  I'm still undecided if I want to turn these into pillows (and make custom pillow forms) or if I want to turn them into hot pads to hang in my kitchen.  I'm going to make the blocks and then decide.  

"I'm with Her" Square
When I'm crafting something I plan to share on the blog, I tend to keep rigerous notes as I go.  Not only are these notes my "lab notebook" helping me repeat a project, but they help me finish up a post textbefore I have edited the pictures.  Unfortunately a lot of my in progress notes went missing, so I'm going to have to use my best recollection when sharing some of this project.

For the Hillary square I thought it would be fun to stick with patriotic colors.  I found the navy stars in a section of 4th of July fabrics and loved it.  I then went and tried to find some patterns that might work with it.  I love the white on white stars!

I am a new quilter, but I knew that my friend's instructions were excellent. (Unfortunately they are not currently published anywhere.) I haven't followed many quilting patterns, but she labeled each piece with a letter for the layout and then gave dimensions in a list.  I'm sure this was standard practice but I found it SUPER easy to follow.

She also wrote out instructions on the order to sew the pieces together!  

I was only nervous to sew together one section.  I really wanted to make sure the arrow point lined up.  

My first attempt was not very successful.  I ripped it out and tried again and was much closer.  I didn't try a 3rd time.  

The H block is a 12" square, a little large for a pot holder.  I think that I will incorporate it into a pillow somehow.  I don't want to lose the point of my arrow so I'll have to think about this a bit more.

I did it!  This is the most complicated piecing work I've ever done.  Wahoo!

The Wellesley Square

When I added some Wellesley W's onto tshirts for my boys I drew the W's freehand.  This time I'm going to print out the W for applique.  Not only should it be easier but it will also be symmetrical.  

For the Wellesley block, I cut out a total of 16 - 3.5" squares, 4 in each of the class colors.  The Wellesley W will be in blue and I think I'll stitch it down with white to really make it pop if it doesn't pop well on the background.  If I were going to do more than 16 block I would have strip pieced the blocks, but it wasn't worth it for this project.  

I printed out some official Wellesley W's to trace for this square.  I think that I will adjust them slightly but this is a good starting template.  I traced it on to  EZL12 Pellon Lite EZ-Steam II fusible webbing, adjusting the W slightly.

I was nervous about how this would show up on the square since the lines are so thin.  I don't want the thread to overpower it.

To test the thread choices (for this project and the Stripes Name Pillows), I fused some of the blue fabric onto a colorful background.  I practiced appliquing with white and didn't love the contrast so I'm going to stick with a matching blue.  

You can't tell when you look at the finished product, but I had a lot of issues with my satin stitch.  The thread kept bunching up and my needle would get stuck.  I had to start and stop MANY times over the course of the W.  Maybe my blue thread was thicker than normal?  I'm not sure what the issue was because I had no trouble on the stripes name pillows.

Applique done!

I now have two 12.5" squares that looks AWESOME.  I think these will make great throw pillows, I just have to decide what to do to complete the transformation.  I want all of these designs to be visible so I will need to plan carefully.

I framed each of these 12" panels with some 2" strips of matching or complementary fabric.  .

Next, I cut out two pieces of Pellon TP971F fusible thermolam plus in 15.5" squares to fuse to the front of the pillows.  Like with Stripes Name Pillows, I wanted to give some structure to the front so I thought this would make it stiffer. 

For each pillow I cut two pieces of quilting cotton (15.5" x 11.5" and 15.5"x8.5").  I hemmed one side and then put together a pillow sham sandwich.  

I made a few mistakes as I rushed to finish these pillows before the debate.  I put the sandwich in the wrong order for the Hillary pillow. i miss cut the back (14.5"  versus 15.5") for the Wellesley pillow so I would have to wait until tomorrow to recut.  Thankfully I have enough fabric!  I just can't do it now because the iron is sleeping with Rowdy.  

I planned to make my own pillow forms for these pillows.  Unfortunately I only had one extra cheap bed pillow so I had to make my other pillow form from scratch.  At the regular price of $4/pillow it is a great source for stuffing and fabric.  I went into my stash cut 2 15.5" pieces and made a pillow form.  I stitched around the edges in straight stitch and then zigzag and stuffed the pillow with extra stuffing from the bed pillow I cut down today (and one I cut down in the past.)

Now I just have to snip the corners of the pillow cases and give them a final press.  

I finished the Wellesley pillow the day after the first presidential debate. Even though it wasn't quite done I still had an awesome seat to watch!  

The back of the pillows are simple.  I sort of wish that I had some more fabric in the overlap but if I need do I can add some velcro closures after the fact.  (I don't think I'll need to.)  I love my pillows so much!  I hope these will be part of many epic pillow forts for many years to come.  

"Hillary and I share a few things in common. We both went to Wellesley College – so I know where she got her study habits." -Madeleine Albright

"When there are no ceilings, the sky's the limit." - HRC