Friday, January 28, 2011

Finding a Home for My Quilts

I don't know about you, but finding the right person, for one of my quilts is serious business. Oh, there are times I make a quilt specifically for someone...such as baby quilts etc, but many times I just start creating and let the quilt talk to me. Often I'm not sure what direction it will take and If I start, with someone particular in mind, my creativity gets stunted....will he or she like the colours, the patterns and on and on.... rather than just letting go and letting it happen. Even making a quilt, for a specific spot, in my own house can be a bit stifling.

Not Your Paint By Number
The closer I came to completing this quilt... the voice of an amazing 4 year old, kept ringing in my head. We had gone to visit the (retired) grandparents, who happened to be, big into paint by number that year. My wonderful boy was truly puzzled and appalled.  He  later asked "Who would paint by number??...I'm Unique!"

That was thirty years ago!!  This one's for you, Mark. 

Love Mom

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I Blame it on the Pedometer

We bought pedometers.....I'm still in the end of a very productive day, I barely managed in 900 steps. I was very busy, I had blogged and Flickred and blogged some more...and quilted...and if I could count sewing miles, I would qualify for the Boston Marathon, hands down. Oh, did I mention that I am married to Mr. 10,000 steps, before 8 a.m..... yes, I repeat, as in 8 o'clock the morning. Us night owls are usually partnered up with those early bird types....but that's another topic.

I recently watched a program that suggested 10,000 steps 900 was pretty pathetic. So I did what any quilter, worth her salt, would do....I walked to the Quilt Shop.....not once....but twice this week.  And on those days I managed 7,000 steps hmmm.... there's nothing to this walking thing....maybe a little costly.

 What can I say I have two baby granddaughters.......

Is it my fault that I live less than 10,000 steps from the Local Quilt Shop. In all fairness, I did cut into some of it, the minute I got home.

See, It's right there, already.  Did I mention, I'm off to the Cloth Castle tomorrow....half hour drive.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Side Tracked Quilter

I laid aside a few fabrics, to make a quick sample, for the tutorials I'm working on and got side tracked. Seriously, I only had a few fabrics picked out, but then I started playing.  The side tracked thing, must be why I have multiple projects on the go....It can't possibly be because, I have multiple fabrics in my cupboard.

Oh well, it was a great way to spend a grey, Sunday afternoon.
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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Tutorial/QAYG # 4/Joining the Blocks

We are finally ready to join the blocks together.  I usually join the blocks using one method, but various widths of joining strips...depending on the look I am going for. On this particular quilt, I want the finished joining strip to be 2" wide. Once you do this a few times...all becomes clear. Just a's important to use a walking foot on your machine. It might not look like I am using one in the pictures, but I am using a Pfaff sewing machine, which has a built in walking foot.

  • Batting strip 1 and 1/2 inches wide
  • Backing strip (red) 2 and 1/2 inches wide
  • Front strip (brown) 4 and 1/2 inches wide
  • When joining the blocks you need short strips, to join the individual blocks, and longer ones to join the rows, just as you do when making sashing.
  • Cut your short strips the same length as the finished size of the block which in this case is 14 inches.  This is important because just as in applying borders, it keeps you from stretching as you sew.
  • Cut your batting strips an inch or so longer, because they tend to shrink up a little, as you quilt them later.
  •  Press the 4 and 1/2 inch front strip (brown) in half...wrong sides together.
  • Make sure your block is right side up.
  • When joining two blocks you want to put your strip on the right side, of the left block.
  • The sequence of how you do things is important, because you want to avoid having the bulk of your quilt under your machine...again it becomes clear, as you go along...I had to learn the hard way.
  • Line up the raw edges of brown strip up with the raw edge of the block (left block in the picture).
  • Next, take the backing strip (red) and line it up along the same edge but, on the wrong side of the block.....right sides together.
  • You can see them in the photo
  •  Here is the back of block with the red joining strip....right sides together.
  • Join all the layers together....using a 1/4 inch seam allowance...and a regular stitch length.
  • I usually just use one pin, at the top, to line things up.
  • Back stitch at the beginning and the end to secure everything.

  • Join the remaining edge of the backing strip(red) to the back, left edge of the other block.
  • Right sides together.

  • I use a lot more pins joining these edges.
  • Join using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

  •  Turn over and give everything a tug and press.
  •  Press from the front. My preference is to press, almost every step of the way. I might want a wonky design but I don't want wonky sewing.
  • When you get to this point, you might question why the front strip is double.
  • I could have, just put in a single strip, pressing one edge with a 1/4 inch hem.
  • I find doing it this way you get such a neat, stable edge, to sew down...also I find it faster, easier and more accurate to fold and press a strip in half than pressing an accurate 1/4 inch hem....especially true when joining the rows.
  •  Spray the 1 and 1/2 inch batting strip, lightly with basting spray, on both sides.
  •  Lay your blocks right side up.
  • Gently place the batting strip, in the gully, between the blocks.
  • It should fit really easily, if you have used an accurate 1/4 inch seam allowance.

  •  Cover the batting strip with the front (brown) joining strip.
  • Just cover the stitching line of the seam allowance.
  • Pin carefully
  • Stitch down the front (brown) joining strip.
  • You now have choices....
  • In this quilt I have decided to use a straight stitch....because that's the look I prefer for this quilt.
  • You could use a zig zag stitch or blanket stitch.......even a decorative stitch if so desired. 

  •  You now need to quilt the joining strip in order to secure the batting inside
  • I have chosen to straight stitch,with my quilting lines 1/2 inch apart. I don't mark I just use my presser foot as a guide. This particular presser foot is not 1/2 an inch but I am able to change my needle position, so that it works out.

  •  All joined and quilted
Coming up:
Joining with Narrow Strips

Tutorial/QAYG # 3/Squaring Up the Blocks

  • Once the block is quilted, you'll need to square it up. In this case, I started with a 15" block, which I am trimming down to a 14" block.
  • Take your time with this, because you want all the blocks to be the same size.
  • I just use the grid on my cutting mat and my rotary cutter.

  • It's amazing how the blocks look, once they are all squared up.
  • Here are two of the blocks, ready to be joined together.
Coming up:
Making the Joining Strips

Friday, January 21, 2011

Tutorial/QAYG # 2/Prepping and Quilting the Blocks

  • This is what your block should look like if you have followed my Tutorial/QAYG #1/Making the Blocks.
  • Place the block right side down.

  • Place the backing square right side up on the block.
  • Use basting spray (according to directions on the can) to attach the backing. 
  • As you can see I have spread out a garbage bag to protect my table...that's pretty sticky stuff.
  • I find it easiest to spray one half at a time.

  • Make sure the backing is smooth.
  • Turn the block over and if there are some loose edges, as in photo above, give it a little bit of basting spray.

  •  You are now ready to quilt the block. I decrease my stitch length near the edges....because I am picky and don't want things falling apart.
  • Use a walking foot...I'm sewing on a Pfaff in this picture, which has a built in walking foot.
  • You can easily quilt the block any way you like, since you are working with such a small amount of fabric, in comparison to a full sized quilt.
Coming Up:
Squaring Up the Blocks

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tutorial/QAYG # 1/Making the Blocks

I started this quilt last November and since It's still a work in progress. I will be using it, as one of the samples, in this series of  QAYG tutorials. This method of making the blocks is sometimes referred to as "Stitch and Flip"

This quilt is supposed to be random and wonky, so placement of strips is just that. Seam allowances don't have to be exact but a minimum of 1/4 inch is necessary so the quilt doesn't fall apart....wouldn't that just get to you??

I pulled a number of fabrics from my stash and went at it....yes, yes I know, who but an addict, can pull this many fabrics, without going to the store. In this type of quilt I don't plan to much....I do look for contrast when placing my strips.
My Supplies of Preference
  • Basting Spray
  • Cutting Mat
  • Rotary Cutter
  • Ruler
  • Batting...Warm and Natural is my preference
  • Iron
  • Walking Foot for your sewing machine

  • Determine your finished block size...the sample is 14" square.
  • Cut your batting and backing squares about an inch this case 15" square
I'm making wonky, log cabin type blocks, for this particular quilt. I am not going to attach the backing square to the batting square  until later because I don't want all the stitching starts and stops, to show on the back. If I was just doing straight strips, I would probably attach the backs, at this point, using the basting spray.
  • Cut a number or strips in varying widths....perfection is not necessary or even desirable, if you are wanting some wonkiness.
  • Place a starting shape...that has straight edges, right side up, on the batting square. Where you place it, on the batting, is totally up to you.
  • place the next strip...right side down, on the starting shape...lining up the edges.
  •  Sew all three layers together.
  • Set your stitch length the same as you would for regular piecing...I use I a shorter stitch length when I'm piecing, because I don't want things falling apart.
  • Stop sewing when you reach the edge of the bottom (red) strip.  
  •  Trim the strip (white), that you just sewed on.
  • Press

  • Press Open
  • Apply the next strip, right side down.

  •  Trim the strip you just applied.

  •  Press open.

  • Posted by PicasaKeep applying strips in this manner until you have covered the entire, batting square. You are basically using the batting square as a foundation square.

  • When the block is covered, turn it over, batting side up, and trim excess fabric.
  • Here you can see the starts and stops created from putting the block together.
  • This is what I am covering up by putting the back on later.
Coming Up:
  • Prepping and Quilting the Blocks


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