Today I thought I'd share a little bit about the use of waste canvas with you. I'm by no means an expert but there are some tips I've learned along the way that might prove helpful.
First of all, the waste canvas I purchase is made by Charles Craft (www.CharlesCraft.com) and I always buy 14 count. I find anything with a larger grid than that is simply too big for most crazy quilting applications. The packages come with a piece of canvas 12"x18" which is sufficient for a lot of crazy quilt seams.
I think the first use of waste canvas was to apply designs onto the front of t-shirts (probably back in the early 70's or so) and at that time it was recommended that, once you had your design stitched, the waste canvas be moistened to make it easier to remove. I find just the opposite to be true for crazy quilting and that moisture is definitely NOT your friend. It turns the canvas threads into a gummy mess and makes them nearly impossible to remove.
To begin, choose the design you would like to create and count the number of stitches in both directions. The most important count is the stitches from top to bottom. Cut a piece of waste canvas, plus a margin of at least five squares on both top and bottom, a little more than the length of your seam. At this point I fold the canvas in half in both directions and mark the centre with a permanent fine point marker. Center your canvas on your seam using the mark as a guide. Baste around the outside edges of your canvas to hold in place (you can pin it, but then you're constantly having to untangle your threads as you work - too much angst for me!!).
Find the centre point of your design and begin stitching it at the centre mark you've made on the canvas and work your way to the end of your seam. Return to the centre and work out in the other direction. Try not to catch the canvas into your needle as you stitch.
Remove your basting threads and then, using a pair of tweezers, start pulling each strand of canvas out one at a time. I always pull the short strands out. Taking your time with this step is important. Pull each thread carefully, keeping them straight as you pull. Pulling sideways (or upwards) will result in distorted stitches. If you find a strand difficult to pull out, try pulling it from the opposite side. After you remove all the short strands just grasp the edge of the remaining long strands and pull gently. Voila - they will slide right out and you're left with a beautifully stitched seam.
I hope you find these tips helpful and will give waste canvas a try!
Today the quote is from Georg Christoph Lichtenberg.... "Everyone is a genius at least once a year. The real geniuses simply have their bright ideas closer together"