Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Clothesline Projects

Only read this on the original blog post as it has been pirated.  Look for the link on 3/16/11 on my blog at the following address 
The last two days I have been working on a project other than my mini quilt.  Our quilt guild will be having an IMG_1366auction of small quilts and other items in April so I decided to make a coiled basket, mat to set hot pans/casserole dishes on and 4 coasters.  I haven’t made any coiled items for a while and sure hope someone wants to bid on them.  I plan to bundle all the items together so maybe that will help get a bid.

Of course when ever I work on these the sewing table and floor get to be a really big mess.  I cut  the strips on the bias to help keep them from raveling and they are cut 3/4” wide.  Have my iPod handy to listen to an audio book as I sew sitting on the table too plus you can see my mini sitting behind my machine just waiting for it’s binding.  IMG_1358

To start any of the projects I wrap the tapered tip of the cotton clothesline cord with the end of the fabric strip.  I secure it to the cord by applying glue from a glue stick to the first 2 inches of the fabric.  The strip is wrapped over the end of the clothesline cord then wrapped diagonally down the strip.  As one piece of fabric is finished I  glue the end to secure and the next strip is overlapped and glued to start and wrapped diagonally like the one ahead of it.  When I want to change colors of fabric I just stop one and overlap the new on and keep on in the same manner.  

Now to the stitching…the first part is a little tricky but the coil is started by folding over a short bit and zig-zagging together.  For a round base  the fold is small and if the base is to be oblong to make an oval mat or basket the fold is longer.  I found that if I put a couple of straight pins temporarily into each side of the two pieces I want to stay together and do a zig-zag stitch by turning the hand wheel then do another and another the same way.  I lift the presser foot up and nudge the piece forward for the new stitches.IMG_1359  After this start the rest is very easy, just zig-zagging new covered clothesline to the every expanding coil.

I like to use the open toed embroidery foot so I can see where I am stitching.  For Bernina owners, I tried the #59 foot which is the double cord foot but I just couldn’t get it to work well at all, it kept sliding off and I couldn’t see where it was stitching as it is closed in front.  The zig-zag width should be adjusted to take a bite into the covered clothesline on each side.  The density of the stitch is pretty wide as you don’t want a satin stitch….I am guessing the space between stitches is about as long as the stitch is wide.

After the first fold is stitched the coil is zig-zagged as the covered clothesline is coiled around the previously stitched coils.  The coil should be turning with the new cord being added towards the inside of the machine.  If the clothesline is coiled from the outside eventually the flat piece the is being made will bump up against the machine and you certainly can’t make a bowl or basket this way.  Look at the photo above to see what I am trying to say about the direction to stitch the coil.  This photo was of the basket base.


After the stitched coil base is as large as I want for the bowl or basket the base is lifted as new coils are added and magically the bowl is formed.  The more I tip the base up as I stitch the sharper angle the sides will be. 

The handles are made by lifting the clothesline away from the basket for a few inches while stitching along the previous edge then laid down several inches away and continue stitching it to the basket.  I made a second row after the handles were first formed to make the handles more substantial.  I added the coil to the side to end the clothesline in a decorative way but usually just taper the end of the clothesline cord and wrap it to the end to cover and lay it along the side and zig-zag like the rest.  I like to do a final line of zig-zag stitching around the last coil to secure the fabric that is wrapped that last round so it doesn’t shift and show the clothesline cord inside.  There is no need to tie knots just overlap the stitching when finished or if you miss catching two pieces just go back and re-stitch.

I really enjoy making these coiled projects.  I don’t have to think and they are so easy to make and the best part is I can use up some of that old fabric.  The fabric pattern or designs make no difference at all….just the color is important.  I purchase my clothesline cord at Wallmart in the rope area.  It must be cotton so you don’t ruin your machine by stitching on the firmer cord that would actually be better to use as line put up to hang your laundry to dry.  This cotton stuff would probably not last too long when used outside but it is wonderful for this.  There are books out there with more projects and probably more information than I have given you here so check them out.

Guess that is all…if you have any questions just ask and I will try to answer with what I do or use.


liz said...

You make it look easy, but I bet you have had plenty of practice. How much clothesline and fabric for a project such as the one you have shown?

FeatherDuster said...

That basket is beautiful!

YankeeQuilter said...

That is one of the prettiest clothesline baskets I've seen! Love the detail you added on the side!

Geta Grama said...

they look beautiful, Lynn!

Helen@Till We Quilt Again said...

Very Nice! This wasdemoed this at our last quild meeting. Everyone Loved learning this. Your is Beautiful--love the coils on the side!

Donna said...

Thanks for this detailed tutorial! It's just what I needed to make my own fabric bowl.


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