Monday, January 30, 2012

2012 Quilt #9: Chain Reaction

"Chain Reaction" was the December "Fat Quarter Fun" quilt for our group at Ruth's Stitchery.  I used a Jelly Roll of Kate Spain's "Terrain" and my favorite background, Kona Cotton "Snow" (I buy it by the bolt!).  Designed by Amelie Scott, this quilt goes together so easily, I think I may use it for a "Sunday is for Scraps" quilt sometime.

I'm getting used to these quilt designs that have no border -- it's kind of nice when the blocks are sewn together, the quilt top is done!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sunday is for Scraps

I got a free afternoon today when the DH took the DS shopping and I stayed home.

So I cut up a stack of floral scraps to make a lap quilt. The one I made for my Mom in December turned out so well, I decided I would make one for another Mom, this one temporarily living in an assisted living center.

The pattern is "Flower Patch," the August feature quilt in the 2011 "Quilts" calendar from Current.  The designers of the quilts in the calendar are Barbara Groves and Mary Jacobson -- that's right, "Me and My Sister Designs!" 

Here are my scraps all cut and ready to sew together, alongside the calendar page:

I'm making my quilt 5 blocks X 7 blocks (maybe only 6, I don't want it to be too long).

Here is one sample block:

And here is another:

Yep, I'm using more of that pale blue Kona cotton (and wow, my design wall is really covered with threads, isn't it?).

The first of these is 10 1/2" raw edge to raw edge.  The pattern directions result in an 8 1/2" block, so I tried that size, too.

I think the smaller size will work better, mostly because there will be a greater variety of flower prints.  What do you think?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Charmed, I'm Sure

The Charm School project for this month is from the January/February 2012 issue of McCall's Quilting.  We used a charm pack to make this cute wall hanging, "Heart of Hearts."  The little hearts that make up the petals on the heart-shaped bloom (I think it looks more like a balloon) are traced on two layers of fabric glued together with "Steam-a-Seam" then sewn individually to the quilted background.  I used pinking shears to cut mine, then washed the finished wall hanging to make the hearts look more fluffy.  Michele had the good idea to cut each charm square in half so the front and back of each heart is the same, allowing for a greater variety of fabrics in the hearts.

I'm giving this little sweetie to a sweet friend who gave me a bag of "Kansas Troubles" scraps to add to my log cabin quilt.

Saturday Stash

Yum!  Look what I scored from my favorite etsy shop, fresh squeezed fabrics:

A Stitch in Color Collection by Malka Dubrawsky for Moda Fabrics.

I'm going to use these snappy-bright fat quarters for the Modern Triangles Challenge by a girl in paradise:

I need a few solids to go along with the prints, but I think the stash can supply whatever I need . . . 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Finish-it-Up Friday

TWO quilts bound and ready to mail today!  Both of them will go to Washington to granddaughters.  First,
 "Red Velvet," details here.

Second, "Chocolate Raspberry Ripple," made for a Colorado Quilt Council class with Janet Jones Worley.  A long-time UFO but I love it!

Like my quilt hanger?  I knew having tall boys would come in handy one day!

Today is Strip Club at High Country Quilts so come back tomorrow to see what we made today.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tuesday Tool

I have a confession:  I hate binding my quilts!  I have at least a half-dozen quilts that are quilted but not bound.  The Front Range Modern Quilt Guild gave away the neatest tool as a door prize at our last meeting.  The Binding Tool.  Yes, I have two.  Since I didn't win the door prize, I bought the white one without remembering I already had the blue one.  Innocent-looking little thing, isn't it?

Well, let me tell you.  This tool is a Honey Badger.  That's right, a Honey Badger.  'cuz it don't care.  It don't give a sh...

      OK, OK.  Actually, once I watched the video from Missouri Star Quilting Company, I am convinced it might be a really clever little tool.

Here's how to win over the Honey Badger:

First, prepare your binding fabric.  I usually cut mine 2 1/2" wide, or 2 1/4" if I'm using a really thin batting.  Join the binding strips using a 45 degree angle to minimize bulk.  Place the strips crosswise to each other and sew edge to edge, like this:

 Then trim the seams and press the binding right sides together lengthwise.

It isn't necessary to trim the edges of your "quilt sandwich," but I do because it makes it easier to handle at the machine.  Make two marks along one edge of your quilt sandwich, 12" apart.  Hey, guess what.  They mean 12" exactly!  Otherwise your binding won't meet at the ends.  (Thanks for the tip, Melissa!)  

With the bulk of your quilt away from you, the mark on the left is where you will start attaching your binding.  Leave a "tail" of binding about 8-10" long, like this:
And start sewing with a 1/4" seam.  To make a nice corner, stop sewing exactly 1/4" from the corner. 

  I back-stitch at an approximate 45 degree angle away from the last stitch, like this:

Then fold the binding to the right, forming a 45 degree angle.  The raw edges of the binding will be parallel to the raw edges of the quilt sandwich, like this:

 Here I've put a white piece of paper under the binding so you can see the angle better:

Next, bring the binding back over the 45 degree fold, making a 90 degree fold even with the raw edges of the already-sewn-down binding, like this:

Start stitching right at the fold and continue around your quilt.  Form your nice corners three more times, until you get to the second mark you made (remember, it's 12" from where you started sewing).

Now we'll use our "Binding Tool" to form a 45 degree seam that joins both ends of the binding.

The binding tool has a "warning" printed on it:  PRINTED SIDE ALWAYS UP!  Remember that as you place the tool and cut the ends off the binding.

Place the tool PRINTED SIDE UP with the straight end against the stitches where you started attaching the binding, like this:

See that black vertical line at the right hand side of the tool?  Make a mark on your binding even with that line.

Repeat for the right hand side, be sure the printed side of the tool is right side up!

Next we will  cut off the ends of the binding to form 45 degree angles, right hand side first:

The "Mark Here" vertical line on the tool aligns with the mark you made on your binding.  That white chalk line shows where the cut will be (it's moved to the right so you can see it).  Be sure to cut off the little dog ear at the corner!

Now the left side.  This is why I called it a Honey Badger.  When you cut the right hand side, the "Mark Here" line is aligned with the mark made on the binding.

When you cut the left hand side, align the tip of the tool to the left of your vertical mark.

In their defense, the designers DID put a tiny "R" and"L" on the tool,  But the directions on the tool are scanty, and I didn't understand how important those little letters were until I watched the video!  Cut the left side of the binding along the angled end of the tool, remember to cut off the dog ear!

Whew!  The hard part is over.  Next, we'll align the cut edges of the binding, right sides together:

And stitch a 1/4" seam:

Now fold the binding right sides together and continue stitching the binding to the quilt:
You won't be able to tell where your binding begins and ends! It will be just another diagonal seam, same as when you joined the binding strips together.

I'll show you how I finish the binding in the next post, because I had just enough thread to attach the binding:

Besides, now we both need a cuppa and a bit of a lie down to recover.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Quilt # 7 - Hugs and Kisses

Oh baby, baby!  This may be the fastest quilt I've ever made.  Cut out blocks yesterday morning about 8 am, finished binding, photographing and boxing to mail this morning at 9:30.  I still don't like doing my own quilting, but I'm pleased with the way it turned out, nice and flat. I used a cute juvenile print flannel for the backing.

It's hard to see in the photos, but the background is a pale blue Kona cotton.  The prints are divided between "warm" colors and "cool" colors.  I saw a blog post somewhere that had the same block laid out in a log cabin style with the warms on one side and the cools on the other (and didn't save the link, oops).  I got a Moda free instruction sheet called "Xs and Os" along with a charm pack from Missouri Quilt Company and decided that was perfect for a baby quilt.

Melissa of Front Range Modern Quilt Guild had a clever idea to put ribbon tabs at the binding, so Mama can hook little toys, etc. to the quilt.  But I already had the binding sewn on.  I used the Discovery Toys hooks all the time when my boys were babies.  I will remember this idea for the next baby quilt.  Is Discovery Toys still in business?  Anyone know a consultant?  Please advise.

The finished quilt is 32" X 48", perfect size for a new baby, don't you think?  It will go to live in Ohio with a "Future IBMer."

And of course, a ribbon label!  Click to go to the etsy shop where I get my labels.

I bought a nifty new tool from Missouri Quilt Company -- tune in tomorrow for Tuesday's Tool.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday is for Scraps

The wind is howling in Colorado today.  So I'm listening to The Mists of Avalon on my ipod while I'm sewing, turned up loud enough that I can't hear the wind.

And since it's Sunday -- it's scrap quilt day.  "Xs and Os" is an easy peasy quilt that uses 4 1/2" squares of a plain background and 2 1/2" squares for the print corners.  Four squares make each block, with the prints to the center for the "O" blocks and to the outside for the "X" blocks.

Here's how to make the squares:  After cutting the background and the print 2 1/2" squares, place a print square on opposite corners of the plain background.  Then either draw a line from corner to corner on the print square . . 

or draw a line on the bed of your sewing machine straight out from the needle:

This is faster to sew corner to corner on the print squares.

When you have a pile of squares sewn, clip them apart.  I found this clever little tool at quilt camp in Idaho last October.  I thought it was a stupid tool until I had 1400 half-square triangles to cut apart, and The Cutting Gizmo was on sale, so I bought one.  Now I use it all the time, it really is faster than using scissors to cut apart multiple squares or blocks.

Next, cut off the corner of the print square 1/4" away from the stitching line.

 Press toward the print square, and repeat until you have a pile of squares (you need four for each block).  My quilt will be 6 blocks by 4 blocks, so I need 96 squares. 

Arrange on the design wall to make "X" blocks alternating with "O" blocks.  I have 24 blocks.  I could have sewn the squares into blocks before putting them on the design wall, but I wanted to be sure no two alike fabrics were touching.

I haven't decided whether or not to add a border -- what do you think?  This will be a baby quilt for the new son of an IBMer on the DH's team.  Final photo follows later this week!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

WIP Wednesday

Have you seen the movie, "The King's Speech?"  Remember how the King learned he could speak without stammering if he was swearing?  Well -- that's what happened in my sewing room today, and without a stammer.

I am making Nancy Mahoney's American Valor quilt for one of the sailor's on my son's ship, the carrier USS George Washington.  I  wanted to use the same fabrics as in the pattern, so I spent hours on etsy and ebay finding the exact same Red Rooster American Valor fabrics.  But for some reason I didn't order enough of one of the fabrics!  Rats!  Big hairy rats!  So when I started cutting the secondary blocks, I ran out of the cream fabric. Luckily I found another yard available online.

This is what I got done today: 

Well, I did get one block completed:

This wasn't supposed to be a "slow quilting" project, but it is turning out that way.  I've linked to Lee's Work in Progress Wednesday (click on that button over there on the right), so you can see what other quilters accomplished today.

Modern Triangles QAL

A Girl in Paradise is sponsoring a Modern Triangles Quilt-A-Long.  Fabric selection and instructions begin January 20.  Down there on the right is a button to go to the QAL.  A girl is using fabrics from Happy Mochi Yum Yum, which I just happen to have in my stash, so I think I'll use similar fabrics.  Oh my!  January 20 is day after tomorrow -- I can't wait!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tuesday Tool

But first:

Thank you, Noelle!

I joined a new class today at High Country Quilts,  "Crazy for Wool."  Each season, we will make a "table topper" quilt.  Here is the first one, for Spring:

More details to follow as the project progresses.  But first (really!) -- our clever teacher, Joyce, demonstrated a nifty new tool for squaring up half-square triangles.  The HSTs in the pinwheels for this quilt are 1 1/2".  The designer calls for making them a little larger and trimming them to size.  Enter, the Bloc Loc:

See that blurry line across the middle of the template?  It's a channel that rests on top of your seam and holds the ruler perfectly in place while you trim two sides.  Then, rotate the block and the ruler, and:

Trim the other two sides.  I thought maybe it would show up better on the pink mat.  The Bloc Loc comes in several sizes, and they even make one for the dreaded Flying Geese.  Click here to go to the Bloc Loc website and watch their video of how to use this great new tool.

In no time, I had a pile of perfectly trimmed HSTs.  Thanks, Joyce!

Tune in tomorrow to see what happens next.

Monday, January 16, 2012

(New!) Mystery Monday

Hooray, the Wednesday Block-of-the-Month club at Ruth's Stitchery is doing a mystery quilt this year!  And it's by my favorite mystery quilt designer, Debbie Caffrey.

This quilt requires only four fabrics.  I'm using batiks from my stash:

Ginny advised us to put a tiny snippet of each fabric in order on our instruction sheet, as it is easy to get confused as the project progresses.  What a smart idea!  (Umm, yeah, name of quilt covered up by request of designer.  Don't want to spoil the mystery for other quilters.)

Debbie advises, "make a sample to ensure your 1/4" seam is really really 1/4".  Here's mine, perfect!

And here is step one, completed.
Kind of a strange step -- sew two different-sized triangles together?  Oh, well, that's why it's called a mystery. Only six steps to this mystery, I can't wait to see what happens next!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sundays are for Scraps

Remember this photo?

When I started cutting scraps this morning, it was full.  Along with:


I spent the entire day cutting and cutting and wound up with this:

It's hard to tell in the photo, but the stacks of squares are 4-5" high.  That's a lot of squares!  I cut 5 1/2", 5", 4 1/2", 3 1/2", 2 1/2", 2" and 1 1/2" squares; as well as 2 1/2", 2" and 1 1/2" strips.  Whew!

The squares across the bottom will become:

This block is "Crossroads to Jericho," from Anna Lena's tutorial.Go look, I'll wait.

Pretty, isn't it?  Next weekend, my reward for all that cutting will be to put together my own Crossroads to Jericho quilt. After this day, I am determined not to let the scrap bin get that full again!