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!