Thursday, March 17, 2011

Hints and Tips for Coiled Clothesline Projects

First off I want to show you a basket/bowl that my sister made and gave to me.  As you see it is squarish instead of round or oval.  To make it she first made a round center IMG_1381then added pieces to 4 corners to make it square …I think directions for this is in one of the books you can purchase.   You could make other shapes doing the same thing too I would imagine.  I have not made that many items but posted twice before about the coiled clothesline on these blog entries.  March 28, 2008 

 It really is easy like I told you so give it a try.
Yesterday after posting the blog about the things I just made I thought of other things you might like to know if you have not done this before.

* Cotton Clothesline Cord - I don’t know how much clothesline cord it takes to make a project but try to keep at least a couple packages on hand.  I say packages as the ones I purchased before were sealed in plastic and 100 yds. but when I looked the other day at Wallmart it is now wrapped around a black plastic thing and it costs around $2.50 but still 100 yards.  I know you can get one large bowl and probably a few coasters from one package.  This cord has a Pellon interfacing looking center core that is sometimes white and sometimes blue and has a cream colored cotton woven wrapping.  Look at the photos below for a closer look at the cord.

* Fabric – I don’t know how much it takes for a project but measured this morning and a 3/4” strip 20” long covered 15” of the cord.  I always cut it on the bias if I can as the fabric doesn’t ravel and I feel I can pull it tighter when I wrap too.  Like I said yesterday, pattern doesn’t matter, just color so use up that old fabric or cut up old shirts, etc.  (Make sure they are not someone’s favorite though!)  Another thing about the fabric is that some printed fabric looks kind of white on the back and that can show at times so if that is not the look you are going for you might not want to use that fabric.  I keep left over strips in bags by fabric or color and put all left over cord and bags of cut strips in a container ready for the next time.  Another thing about the fabric strips – I like to work with strips that are about 20” long.  The longer ones are harder to flip over the cord when wrapping and end up taking more time to use.  You can use shorter pieces too but just have to glue on a new strip more often - I always glue the start and finish of each strip for about 2" to secure it before it it is stitched.  I usually wrap about 15-20” of cord at a time as that is the boring part.

*Needle – I use a size 90 needle.
*Thread – I use a good regular weight cotton thread but you could use up some of your old thread in this project and it wouldn’t matter.
*Glue Stick – I use the inexpensive kind kids use.
Follow the photos to see how I wrap the cord.  Notice that the starting end is cut on an angle.  I do glue the fabric to the cord for this beginning step and glue several wraps down so it won’t shift when I do the beginning of the coil.  I overlap my wraps by about 1/4" or so.  It is so much easier for me to show the steps with photos than to tell you how to do it.

The next step is the coiling – photos show holding the beginning coil together with the straight pins.  I use a stiletto or the point of a seam ripper to help push the coil together in the center.  You don’t want a hole in the middle of your project.  I zigzag it starting from the bend in the coil usually stitching a couple of times then lifting the presser foot and nudging it forward and repeat until the center is finished.  Remember to take out the pins before you run over them.  After the first bend is stitched just nudge the coil around and start stitching new cord to the center.  You may have to stop and push it forward the first round but after that the feed dogs take over and you just zigzag round and round adding new covered cord as you go.

You may be wondering what the pink thing is on my machine…it is a pencil eraser that has been cut down and goes over the needle screw to give me better grip on it.  You can read about how I cut it down to fit on this post on Jan. 16, 2009.
The next series of photos shows how I splice a new cord on when I run out before a project is finished and you can use up the ends of the cord so there is no waste.  Cut both pieces at an angle and glue together with glue stick - the won't stick together the best but it does help.  I like to also rub the glue stick on the fabric strip for a couple inches so when I wrap it tightly over the join it will not work loose.  After stitching you will never see the join but I would advise not to join on the last round as it is not as stable and could come loose so do your joins with at least one round beyond that row.

One thing I try to do is keep my rows of one fabric in odd numbers before I switch to another fabric if I am trying to do rows of fabric colors.  I say try, as I don’t always do it but it does have a pleasing effect and more balanced look.  Random fabrics look good too - one of the ones I showed in the March 28, 2008 post is random fabrics.  Just looking at the notes I took while eating breakfast this morning and see that I wanted to tell you to use the needle down setting on your machine if you have it as it makes turning easier, especially at the beginning of a coil.

Another thing you might have noticed on the photos is the lint on the presser foot.  This will be slightly linty as you stitch so you may have to clean out the bobbin area more often than just stitching quilt patches together.

One more thing I just thought of...the coil at the ending of the basket.  I figured out where the basket should end and rolled up the cord to see how much it would take for the coil that I stitched to the side of the basket and cut the clothesline at that point.  I wrapped the cord to the end then coiled it up how I wanted from that end and zigzagged the the small coil together.  I then laid it on the basket that I turned inside out and stitched as far as I could one direction then took it out and maneuvered it around to be able to stitch all sides and the leading coil from the basket.  I probably had to start and stop 3 or 4 times before I got it all stitched down, finished and turned right side out.

These items make great gifts – think of matching the colors of dishes to make bread baskets, hot mats or other items for a gift or even for yourself.   It is not an expensive item to make either and just think of all that old stash fabric you could use up!

(Look back to the March 16 post for more.) 

1 comment:

YankeeQuilter said...

Thanks for the photos...I bought the book at least a year ago but haven't gotten the courage to try yet. Maybe this weekend!


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