Monday, January 28, 2013

Coming Together!

I am so excited about this project! It's not done yet, but it is getting closer and closer by the day! I hope to have a finished quilt top by Friday of this week. -squeee!-  We'll see how my week goes; juggling mom duties, home school duties, household duties and sewing can sometimes be challenging. I've made some serious progress today, though, so taking a break to show you!

If you are just jumping in here, you can follow the tags for "comic strip quilt" and read more about how this idea came to be.

This weekend, I *finally* had the time, desire, charged camera batteries and decent outdoor lighting to go ahead and print the comics onto the fabric sheets. I have really been stalling about this part, because it's very much a point of no return. I live in S. America, and these 10 sheets of printable fabric were roughly $50 when I bought them in the US a while ago. If anything had gone wrong while printing these.....I'd be stuck. I have never seen printables for sale here where I live. So, I stalled.

However, I now have enough of the rest of the quilt done that I had no more excuses. The black section is done. The white section is done. The strips are cut that will be the inner & outer narrow borders. Three of the four sides of the pieced border (left, top, and right) are done. The frame pieces are sewn, waiting for squares of comic strip to frame. See, out of excuses.

my EQ7 design for this quilt

Friday I took the pictures and edited them from hastily snapped photos of pencil drawings into dramatic looking comic strip collages. I increased the contrast & saturation, turned them all black & white except for one (because I had turquoise picnic table showing in some of the corners...), added a comic strip effect & a HDMR-ish (or something like that) effect, and then made them each into a collage so that even the single-frame sheets would have a black frame around the edges. Whew! Once I got the first comic edited, the rest were easy as I just repeated the process, using the same settings for each one. Thank goodness for free editing software!
close-up of a few of the comic collages

This weekend I began the oh-so-lovely dance of printing the comics. My ancient printer did not so much enjoy printing on "just like paper" printable fabric; the sheets kept wanting to get stuck just at the top of the printer rollers, and then that would make my printer stop talking to my computer and it was a huge, nerve-wracking pain in the rear. I may have shed some tears as I threw my hands up in frustration when, three comics left to print, all the tricks stopped working and the printer just would.not.take. another fabric sheet.

the comics, on fabric, ready to go
This morning, though, I was determined. I looked up tips & cheats and discovered that if you cut off the corners, it can sometimes trick your printer into taking the sheet. I tried, and with only a little further persuasion, it worked. The last three comics printed, I finally -- finally! -- began sewing the frames on.

all the pieces, nice & organized

first pair done, only 4 more pair (8 more frames) to go.
Yes, a new sewing table IS on my wish list, why do you ask??
Now, you should know something here. I am very much NOT a perfectionist. The blocks are meant to finish at 12" square; the center square inside the frame, then, is 9 inches.  Except, printer paper is 8.5" x 11", which means that my comics are 8.5" square, unfinished, instead of 9.25" or 9.5" like they should be. Which means that my middle section will be a bit off from my outside sections, but I am not thinking that far in advance yet. Since I am not a perfectionist, I figure things can be trimmed, or red sashing added, or something. I'll figure it out.

see how the top "blank" squares are larger? And you can't tell,
but that pair is folded over at the seam so it looks the right size. It's not.
Somehow, shrinking the squares made the pairs only a little shorter but a LOT narrower.
Now, even though I'm not a perfectionist, I'm also not totally crazy, so I've paired the comics but not sewn the rows together yet. I will figure out the necessary math so that the middle winds up closer to right, then I'll figure out a solution, and then I'll sew. Disclaimers aside, here's the top-in-progress, all laid out, ready (almost) to go.
Black section is complete. White section is complete. Pieced borders shown are complete.
Middle section is just separate rows of pairs (and lacks one row; the B & W each have 1 row tucked under for the photo)
Still, not much left to go! Looks surprisingly close to the EQ7 print-out!!! Wow!!

Worth every ounce of frustration, wouldn't you say?


  1. I just love this project. :) I had to scroll back and read about its beginnings. I'd never seen the cut-the-corners trick. Thanks for sharing that!

  2. thank you! It's nearly done now; I finished the quilting today, now just need to add the binding tomorrow. It's my first project of this size, and I'm very pleased with it so far!