In Which The Blogger Applies For Sainthood, Pt. 1 (aka Adventures in Quilting)

Hi! 🙂

Admittedly, I haven’t been the most productive seamstress since I last wrote, but I have finally managed to finish some stuff that I can share with you. Yay!

Here’s what’s on the docket today:
Part 1. Gift Sewing – Wherein the blogger learns to quilt

And coming soon to a “Mads” House near you:
Part 2. Dude Sewing – Jeans edition
(I am working on these presently, so hopefully I’ll be back to share them soon!)

Phase 1 of my application for canonization features my first-ever quilting project: pot holders. These were made as birthday gifts for my dearest friend. I made it hard for myself, naturally. The front of each one is paper pieced (somewhat elaborately), both use their own palette of fabrics, and each one features a unique machine-appliqued word box using the font and memory capabilities on my 8200. (Spoiler alert: I taught my sewing machine to swear. #winning)

Background: my dearest friend and I love going to one quirky gift/craft store in town and looking at everything. The last time we were in there, she was looking intently at some pot holders but didn’t want to spend the money. She then said that I should make stuff like that and sell it in there (they do that), to which I said I would just make her some damn pot holders. And since her birthday was last month, it seemed like a great idea. (Doesn’t it always?) I should note that one of our favorite, must-scope things in this weird craft store is a series of magnets called “Mincing Mockingbird“; essentially, they are pretty pictures of birds with funny, rude, or sarcastic statements on them. Perfection in magnet form, really. So I decided to riff on that for her pot holders. I found a free, sufficiently-avian paper piecing pattern on Craftsy for the “face” of the pot holders/hot pads, picked fabrics I thought she’d like (basically, lots of blue), and got started. Here are the finished pot holders in all their snarky, avian glory:


Birdie #1, aka The Foul-Mouthed Fowl


Back of #1


Birdie #2, aka The Guzzling Gull


Back of #2


Close-up of the dirty bird


And a close-up of the drunk bird

They look pretty great, right? I had some difficulty with the binding and it’s a bit sloppy (if my grandmother–a keen quilter–were alive to see these, she’d slap my face on account of that binding before she even noticed the swear word on the first one, at which point she’d probably go in for Slap 2: Electric Boogaloo), I think due to the bulk of the pot holders. In retrospect, the binding should have been cut wider, but you don’t know what you don’t know until you know it! All things considered, I am really happy with these. And so is the recipient! But there was one insurmountable difficulty: chalk.

Once I had decided how I was going to quilt these damn things (I chose a very modern style, but it has the added benefit of covering the entire surface and adding durability, since they’re going to be heavy-use items), I needed to make sure all my shit was symmetrical and evenly spaced. Since certain chalk pens are heavily marketed to quilters (uh oh), I never hesitated to mark the 1/2″ quilting lines with my yellow chalk pen allllllllll across the surface of each pot holder. (I own blue and yellow, so I went for the higher contrast to ensure visibility while sewing.) And then I quilted. My machine powered through the 5 layers–backing, cotton batting, cotton batting again, Insulbrite, and top fabric–and they looked fucking beautiful. And I got to try out my walking foot for the first time: weeeeeeeeeeee! And then…the chalk wouldn’t come off. Let me repeat that: the chalk, that chalk so heavily marketed to quilters as a way to make their work easier, Would Not Come Off. So now my painstakingly-assembled pot holders had persistent ugly yellow lines and smears all over them. Desperate to remove the marks, I washed the pot holders. I put stain remover on them first, and then I washed them. (On gentle, mind you–I’m not a madwoman.) And you know what? THE DAMN CHALK STILL REMAINED. “Crushed” isn’t really a strong enough word to describe how I felt. All the hours! All the care! Ruined. And of course, two pieced seams on one of the pot holders came open as a result of being washed, and a visible repair was my only option to ensure durability. There was not enough time or fabric to remake them, either. 😦

Had these been for my own personal use, I would have never bothered washing them. But these are gifts, and they are the first things I have ever made for my friend–EVER. I was angry enough to write a message to the company that makes these pens, and became even angrier when I got a reply from them condescending to me about how to wash my shit and taking ZERO responsibility for their product’s failure to absent itself from my finished projects (oh, AND from the clear part of my walking foot; now it looks like it lived with a smoker for 30 years). Grade-A Bullshit. So lesson learned: do not use Clover Chaco Liners on the visible portions of anything I give a fuck about, by which I mean ANYTHING I ever make again. UGH.

I explained myself to my friend (since paper piecing doesn’t GAF about grainlines, my painstakingly-squared pot holders were decidedly wibbly after being washed), who luckily understood. But jeeze, this is the first time I’ve ever made her anything, and because of someone else’s product not measuring up, I had to give the gift with an explanation. 😦 The bright side is that not only did she ask if I would make some for her mother (minus the snark boxes), my sisters each asked for some of their own, too (with snark boxes)! So it looks like I’ll be returning to home dec crafting sooner rather than later.

Do you quilt? Would you ever use a pot holder/hot pad with a swear word on it? Do you think I should set my Chaco Liners on fire, take a picture, and send it to Clover? >:-)

19 thoughts on “In Which The Blogger Applies For Sainthood, Pt. 1 (aka Adventures in Quilting)

  1. I think the birds are really pretty and you used great colors! And I would like a nice big bowl of the Soup Of The Day!

  2. They look so amazing!!!! But that sucks balls about the chalk pens. Personally I more than fully support you setting them on fire and taking a picture. Even more, I am all for posting that shit on social media telling your story. I for one, will not be using their chalk pen if that is the case. I love the soup of the day one. Friggin hilarious!

    • Thank you so much! I thought about IGing at them and unleashing my fury, for sure. I’m going back to my hand-held tailor’s chalk triangles, and I think our first bonfire of the year will involve some blue and yellow kindling, hehe!

  3. The pot holders are awesome!!! I’ve had the same problems with those chalk pens, unfortunately. Used them to mark top stitching lines and they never leave, even after multiple washes. Ugh. But they’re still my favorite marking tool. Just have to remember not to use them where visible.

    • I have been seeing more and more people saying that they have had problems with those pens, which is such a bummer. They’re a great idea! But yeah, I don’t want any “help” making my clothes look HOMEmade rather than HANDmade, KWIM? O_o

  4. They are awesome and I would definitely use a pot holder with more than one swear word on it haha! Great job, the birds look fiddly. I just did my first quilt and it went fine up to a certain point, then less fine, I will show soon. I had exactly the same problem with chalks, once they ruined on of the dresses I made as it wouldn’t wash off, the same goes for the washable markers. Like garment farmer, I only use them where it won’t be visible now.

  5. Before I read the issue with the chalk, this was truly my first impression, “what a lucky friend. I would love one of these pot holders.” At least in the pictures, the chalk isn’t obvious. Just “chalk” it up as a learning experience. I’m sure your friend was just so happy to have such a special gift. I know I would be 🙂

  6. I mean a pot holder is a funny thing to start with. Does the pot sit on it, or do you use the fabric to lift the lid on the pot? I don’t have anything like this, making do with tea towels. But I think they are very cool indeed, especially the embroidered funny comments. The purple and maroon wings are nice, the way the colours are blended. Great choices and I agree you should sell them in shops.

    • You must be one tough cookie, Kate, because I am far too afraid of burns to use a tea towel! Apart from insulating weak American hands from hot things (LOL), they’re also useful for adding some flair to the decor of people’s kitchens around here. Thank you so much for your vote of confidence in my rude crafting! =)

    • Stupid, stupid chalk! Thank you for your kind comments, Heather. 🙂 I ended up loving the colors so much that I went back and bought more of some of them for a notions bag for myself! Sewing people problems, right? LOL.

  7. Pingback: Top Fives, Part 1: Hits, Misses, and Highlights! | Life in A "Mads" House

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.