Friday, April 3, 2015

April Jelly Roll Party: Drop Diamonds

Appropriate fabric choice for today's Jelly Roll Party. It's "April Showers," by Bonnie & Camille for Moda. Because it's sort-of-raining, sort-of-snowing here today!

The pattern is "Drop Diamonds" from Cozy Quilts. It's because of this pattern that I tried the Folded Corner Clipper!

Happy Easter, Happy Passover, and for those who have the Monday holiday, enjoy!

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April 1 UFO Parade

I missed a "finish" last month, so Sandi leads the parade this month. I'm so sorry, Sandi! And PS, I love the "Cupid" prezzie!

But first, so you can start thinking about your April UFO, the number is:

"Kadabra" is  Bonnie Hunter's 2014 Winter Mystery "Grand Illusion."  Sandi tells me:
The first of eight clues was released on Black Friday, November 29, 2014.  I haven't missed this annual gift from Bonnie Hunter since I started in 2008.  The pattern will be FREE on her website until sometime in the Spring of 2015.

Click here to read about "Kadabra" on Sandi's blog, KwiltnKats.

Here is Sandi's March finish, "Kurry," a design by Judy Niemeyer that she calls Briar Patch. Read all about it at Sandi's blog, KwiltnKats.

And here is a third finish from Sandi! It's another Bonnie Hunter freebie, available at Bonnie's blog, Quiltville. Sandi writes:
I love my version of Bonnie Hunter's design Dancing Nine-Patch!  This is one of the FREE patterns she offers on her website  I found that I needed more 9-patches than the instructions called for to make the illustrated finished project.  It all worked out fine in the end because mine was all made from scraps.  Many of my 9-patches were already made or started.  The inner border (the one in darker blue) is pretty skinny, but it looks perfect with the rest of the border setting.

Read all about "Kabuki" on Sandi's blog, here.

I've decided this pattern will be my new "leaders and enders" project, Sandi!

Kath in England had a productive winter! Here's what she told me about her finishes:
My finished UFO’s  for March is the little quilt hanging above my sofa. I made 2 of these Lynette Anderson quilts, in different colour schemes, one for me and one for Mum. I got hers quilted and bound and presented it to her at Christmas. But after all those hours of embroidery I  lost the “oomph” to get mine finished.

Then I signed up to your UFO challenge, bagged them up and  really worked hard on this one to get it finished and on display in my sitting room, where I have a lightweight hanging pole, so I can switch my small quilts round when I fancy a change!

The little heart was from a tutorial on the internet, which I bookmarked, but  only just got round to putting together!
The quilt on the left is Kath's; the one on the right is her Mum's. Click on the photo to see the embroidery!

Here is a closeup of the beehive on Kath's Mum's quilt:

And here is the sweet Christmas heart -- I think that's the Cathedral Window technique.

Elisa has a special model for her March finish! She agreed that I could post the photo of her youngest grandchild on this Christmas quilt:

Her story made me laugh:
Hi Marti, here's my entry for the March UFO Parade. This was supposed to be a Christmas 2014 project; I had it sewn, sandwiched and quilted by Dec 7, but then it just sat, needing only to be squared up and the binding attached. The youngest grand-daughter and I finished it today, including taking some outdoor beauty shots. The blog post, including more pics, is at Yarn Tails, here.
Jennifer's goal was to "finish" all the HSTs she needed for her chevron quilt. Here they are!

Looking forward to seeing your quilt, Jennifer!

Debra finished the fourth "Grand Illusion" mystery for this year's UFO Parade. I need to get mine to the quilter so I can show it off!

This quilt is so big, it's impossible to get the entire thing in the photo. Love the visitor, Deb!

I love Debra's "Bunny Trails," and the story behind it is even better.

Another one bites the dust and it's Bunny Trail time. A few friends and I started this Buggy Barn project quite sometime ago and I have finally gotten around to finish mine (Debbie Allen and Sandi Delman ( were done last year). It is called Bunny Trail and is a Buggy Barn pattern. The workshop was taken at Paradise Sewing in Poway and Julanne Bergstrom (the BEST Buggy Barn instructor around) had great patience with me while working on this project. If you haven't had the experience of taking a Buggy Barn workshop - it's time to do so - they have a "quilt mindset" all of their own. hehehehheheeh Enjoy and it is finished just at the right time - Easter Bunny Time. Happy Easter everyone
You are so lucky to have such good "quilting buddies" close by, Debra!

Debra also has a third quilt for this month's parade. It's a "test sew" for a workshop she'll be taking later this month. No puppy in this photo, Lola was sleeping! The quilt is Stepping Stones in the Garden (Walled Garden by Sheila Sinclair Snyder)

Another one for my "wish list!" This would be a great Scrappy Sunday project!

How cute is Donna's March finish? 

Looking closely at the photo, it looks as though you might have used a technique similar to Jean's Genius Binding. did you?

A different Donna finished her "A Quilt Block a Day" quilt from last spring. I love this quilt with solid colors and white!

And another finish this month! Can't really see the "quilt" in this photo (it's two layers of batik, the baby lives in Hawai'i where they complain when the temperature falls to 65 degrees!). But with this cutie lying on it, who cares about the quilt?

Idaho Martha sent a photo of the "easiest baby quilt ever!"
 Put a solid and a patterned 10" square (right sides facing in) and see all around the four sides. Cut an x from corner to corner. Rearrange and sew together. This is going to Maryland. Note:  from one pack each of a solid and a patterned layer cake you can get three baby quilts!

Cute cute cute! Have we done pinwheels for A Quilt Block a Day? This would be a great design!

Irene's March finish has a touching story. Here is the quilt, back and front:

And here is the story:
I finally have a finish to share this month - although not one of my original UFOs. I learned that a friend had been diagnosed with breast cancer and I wanted to do something to acknowledge the situation, but be positive at the same time. She is also a retired elementary school librarian so I used my literary fabric in the border. She can play an “I spy” game with her grandson this way. Then she can wrap up in the hugs being sent her way. I used the pocket on the back to put a list of the things to look for in the quilt.
Surely a blessing for your friend, Irene.

Heather K. is also using the "UFO Challenge" to finish blocks. Here are her blocks for February and March:

Kerry has two "big" finishes this month. First up is Scrap Crystals, a Bonnie Hunter pattern from her new book. It was started in a workshop in October 2014.

Next up is the Downton Abbey Mystery Quilt that Kerry started in a Mystery class at Road to California Quilt show in January.

Kerry, you really make me want to drop everything and finish my own Downton Abbey Mystery!

Reyna finished this gorgeous Judy Neimeyer wall hanging, Winter Wonderland. She calls it "Snowstar." You can read more about it on Reyna's blog, Yarn In, Yarn Out.

Heather-of-Peachy-Pages' finish is so fun! Between her and Martha, I am really set on making pinwheels for the next "A Quilt Block a Day!"

Be sure to go to her blog, Peachy Pages, to see the blocks up close!

Gloriajean finished a carefully "aged" quilt this month. She says she has had this fabric for four years, "just waiting." 

We understand, Gloriajean!

A moment of silence is requested for Mary J's March project.  First, the photo:

And now, the story:

The March finish turned into a March DONE with this one!  I bought a paper piecing pattern for Storm at Sea in 2006 and carefully cut the pieces out of scraps between projects.  Alas, I did not follow my own advice to make a sample block before committing to the whole thing!  When I pieced it carefully following the lines on the paper, all the points were cut off!!!!  The whole thing went in the trash and roughly 2000 carefully cut pieces are now to be "repurposed". 
Read about this sad story at Mary's blog, Zippy Quilts, here.

Mary, this is when you throw the blocks on the ground and drive over it with your car as many times as it takes to make you feel better!

Becky has the right attitude.
I finally finished the top for my heart quilt!  Yay!!  The pattern is from a kid's quilt in "Quilted with Love: The Project Linus Story," but I had the idea in my head that biggie sizing the blocks would make a great bed quilt.  I made the first block about a year ago, but then my enthusiasm bubble burst when not many of my friends could see the hearts without prompting.  I finally decided, "Who cares!  It's my quilt and I'm going to finish it!" Tada!

Becky, *I* can see the hearts!

Hey, wait a minute, Nancy! I thought you said you were finished with making "Very Hungry Caterpillar" quilts. Here are two more -- and I still love them!

I thought I would save this photo until next month, when Nancy has the quilt bound. But I really want you all to see the close-up of the quilting her daughter did!

And here is one of those "long-time UFOs." Nancy says it has been kicking around the sewing room for quite awhile, always being moved from one place to another!

Love those colors, Nancy!

Donna's story about her March finish really made me laugh! She reports she started this quilt about six years ago -- good thing fabric doesn't spoil, isn't it?

You really must go to Donna's blog, quiltpaintcreate, to read the rest of the story!

Betsy send in this t-shirt quilt she made for her Dad. Love the story behind this one!

T-shirt quilt for my dad, made of shirts from Austin's Capitol 10,000 race.  He's done it over 30 of the 37 times they have had it, including the very first one.  He'll be lacing up his running shoes for this year's race in a few weeks--rocking the 80-84 age group!!! 

I have a very special finish to share with you all to close out our UFO Parade. This is a friend's daughter, age 9. Zoey picked out these charms squares at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Show last fall. On the way home, she and her mother stopped at Cotton Candy Sewing Shop in Loveland and Zoey fell in love with this pattern. So... She got to buy more fabric.

She had a little help doing straight seams... But she ran the pedal all by herself.

Great job, Zoey! And thanks, Angela, for sharing the photo!

I think no one will object if Zoey is the winner of this month's UFO Parade, do you? Congratulations on your first finish, Zoey, and I'll be mailing you some goodies this week!

I have some great knitting finishes to share tomorrow. 
C'mon back to see!

From the desk of your auntmartisignature

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Tuesday Tutorial: A New Binding

To celebrate Worldwide Quilting Day on March 21, Around the Block Quilt Shop in Cheyenne offered several demos. 

Friend Susan and I snuck away from the Downton Abbey Retreat to learn a new binding technique I'm calling "Jean's Genius Binding." If you're a fan of Susie's Magic Binding, you're going to love this one!

Warning: This is an extremely photo-heavy post! If your internet connection is slow, you may want to launch this post, then go refill your coffee cup!

The main difference between SMB and JGB is that JGB is made with just one strip of fabric. Interested? Here's how to make it.

What You'll Need:

  1. Binding Fabric
  2. 16-ply pearl cotton OR bakers twine (Jean gets hers from ULINE)
  3. Either wash-away thread OR thread that matches the binding fabric (You can get wash-away bobbin thread from Superior Threads)
  4. A "Stitch in the Ditch" foot for your model of sewing machine. (Absolutely necessary! I found one for both my Viking and my Janome. Check with your dealer.)

Prepare the Binding

  1. Cut the binding fabric to 2.5" wide and stitch short ends together to total the length of the perimeter of your quilt.
  2. Press binding wrong sides together and raw edges flush.
  3. Open out and zig zag stitch twine in center of wrong side of the binding, using the pressed line as a guide. Widen and lengthen the zig zag stitch a bit.
  4. Tip: Wash-away thread is spendy. You may want to use it only in the bobbin. The top thread will be inside the binding and won't show after you wash away the bobbin thread.

Continue zig zag stitching the twine the entire length of the binding. Don't worry if you occasionally catch the twine in your zig zag stitches.

Attach the Binding

Re-fold the binding wrong sides together and attach to the top side of the quilt. Be sure to leave an unstitched "tail" of about 10-12" so you can join the ends of the binding.

I experimented with the width of my seam by stitching a couple of inches, then removing it from the machine and turning the binding to the wrong side. I want the fold with cording inside to be just beyond the stitching line.

On my Viking Opal, the stitch is to the right of center at setting 2.0. That way, I can align the edge of the presser foot with the raw edges of the quilt.

To make a nice mitered 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 folded edge.

Continue stitching and making mitered corners until you get to about 10-12" from where the binding begins.

Connect the Ends

Bring the unstitched ends of the binding together and fold back on itself, leaving a 1/4" gap.

Finger press to mark the fold line.

Fold the end closest to you out to the right.

Place the top end over the bottom, matching the fold of the top end with the pressed fold line on the bottom end.

Open out the top end, holding both ends carefully so the fold lines remain met. Pin, matching the center of the binding and the fold lines.

Make a pencil line across the binding from the "v" at the beginning to the "v" at the opposite side.

This is your stitching line, stitch across this line. Hint: You may choose to lengthen your stitch length for a "test sew" the first time.

Test to be certain the unstitched binding fits smoothly.

Trim the seam and finger press it open.

Stitch down the remaining binding. Press binding away from the top of the quilt.

The "Genius" Part

Attach the "stitch in the ditch" foot to your sewing machine.  Wrap the binding to the wrong side of the quilt. You may choose to pin the binding in place, I do not. I just continue folding about 6-10" of binding to the wrong side as I stitch around.

Lower the presser foot so the SITD foot guide falls between the cording inside the binding (and now on the back side of the quilt) and the stitched edge of the binding. The SITD guide will ensure your stitching is perfectly "in the ditch."

Stop stitching about 6-8" inches from the corner. Leave the quilt on the machine and trim away a bit of the batting and backing, to reduce bulk in the corner.

Look at the direction of the mitered corner on the top side of the quilt: 

You want to turn the miter on the back side the opposite direction of the miter on the top. Miter just as you did on the top, and pin in place.

Continue stitching to the corner and slow down as you approach the corner.  The guide on the SITD foot will ride up on the perpendicular edge of the binding. Stop stitching exactly in the corner, turn and continue stitching.

Here is what the stitching looks like on both top and back of the quilt. Notice the zig zag stitching is still visible -- if I had used wash-away bobbin thread, it would disappear when the quilt is washed.

You may choose to match the top thread either to the border fabric or the binding fabric. I matched the binding fabric, so if I accidentally stitched a few stitches actually on the binding, it wouldn't be noticeable. Thanks to the SITD foot, the stitching is so close to the binding it virtually disappears.

Fini! Here's a shot of the finished quilt:

Which do you prefer? Susie's Magic Binding, or 
Jean's Genius Binding?

From the desk of your auntmartisignature