Sunday, June 21, 2009

"Its Easy Being Green" : Guest Bonnie Rankin

On June 19th Bonnie Rankin joined me on the show. We talked about the 4th R (reduce, reuse, recycle), re purpose. We both have inherited fabric items from loves ones. She brought on handkerchiefs and I had fabric wall calendars. You can view Bonnie's show notes on her handkerchief projects on her blog. You can also check back at a later date on my you tube channel to watch the show (if you missed it, want to watch it again, or you don't live in our area).

By re purposing inherited items, you are able to cherish the memory that those items have on a daily basis. Normally those items might just be put in a box or a drawer and only taken out after long periods of time. We talked about sewing fabric items on the show, but you can make a shadow box for your inherited items. Shadow boxes are also good to hold memories of vacations, family members, special occasions, childhood memories, etc. How does all of this fall into the "green" theme? You are finding a new use for something that would normally not get much use (through touch or through sight). It stops being useless clutter and becomes a part of your life.

Bonnie first washed her handkerchiefs in the washing machine to make sure that they would hold up before she sewed them. She arrange them in groups according to color. She picked out 2 sets of 3 handkerchiefs that went well together to make window valences out of. She folded them in half, over lapped them, and sewed them together in a way so that they could be hung up over her window. They turned out beautifully.

Next Bonnie wanted to make a quilt using her aunt's handkerchiefs. The problem was that they were different sizes, some were shear, and some had beautiful scalloped edges that would be nice to show. The solution was to sew them on a larger piece of fabric (an old light colored sheet). Bonnie measured the largest handkerchief and added 2 inches for each of the 4 sides to figure out what size to cut her fabric squares. This way she doesn't need to worry about how shear a handkerchief is, if it has some holes in it, what size it is, and she can still show off its beautiful scalloped edges. The next set of questions are: how big should she make it? What handkerchiefs should she put together? How should she arrange the squares? Checkerboard, on point, or a combination? Does she place fabric between the squares (framing each square)? What color to use? What color fabric to use for the border of the quilt?

Take a picture of the different arrangements so that you can view them easily. You can more easily see if you like the placement of the squares that way or not. Take a few of the handkerchiefs or a good picture of the group to the fabric store with you. This way you can place it next to the fabric to see what would look the best with it. Think about the color wheel if you are having problems. Look at the color combination with in the handkerchiefs for help choosing fabric as well.

Bonnie then showed us the table cloth that she had made by sewing her Papa's handkerchiefs together. She chose a checkerboard pattern using the white on white handkerchiefs placed in every other spot. Please visit her blog in the link above to see this beautiful yet masculine table cloth.

One thing that Bonnie did not make but that she brought was a little bag that was made from a handkerchief. It looked super easy to make. You just folded it like an envelope, then whip stitch the sides together. The part that folds down had some beautiful printed flowers on it. You could make a clutch or a change purse this way.

I then showed the Swiss fabric wall calendars that once belonged to my grandmother before she passed. When I was ironing them, the room began to small like my grandma. It was wonderful. I showed the fabric that I had picked out and cut to frame the calendars. I also talked about why I chose that fabric. I want to make a quilted wall hanging out of these, because I don't want to risk damaging them by putting them on my bed. I am only going to put together 4 of them, because that will make a pretty large wall hanging. I'll get 3 wall hangings out of all the calendars. To practice, I bought some Christmas themed Irish linens. They are about the same size as the calendars. I then proceeded to sew them together the same way that I would sew the calendars. The problem that I ran into was the edge and the corners of the liens. You could take the time and rip out all the seams so that you don't run into any problems while sewing them. I just sewed just inside all of those seams, paying careful attention when going around the corners. I then machine quilted (in the ditch) the Christmas one. I am going to go back and rip out all of the stitches and do it again by hand. I also want to hand stitch around some of the imagery to show case it. When attaching the binding, I am also going to be attaching a fabric loop to the top back so that a rod can go through it. This makes it easier to hang it on the wall. After finishing all 4 wall hangings, I can change them out on the same area of my home.

This show will air sometime in July. You can check the telemedia website for show times.

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