Friday, February 27, 2015

Finally Finished Friday

Have you ever looked through your stash and found something you forgot you had?  I don't like to admit it.  I'm not all that old.  That doesn't mean I don't find things I forgot about.  This quilt was one of those times.

I found this almost finished quilt top.  It is from a kit from a chain store.  I probably bought it about ten years ago.  I have no real idea when.  I added the last two borders to it and found a likely piece of backing fabric.  In this case, I had the last of 10 yards of wide flannel that was just about the perfect size.
The large frame is in my three-season room on the back of my house.  It gets great southern light but winters aren't often the best time to be out there.  When I peeked out the window and found that the temp out there was almost as warm as in the heated house I jumped up and went out to get quilting.
I loaded it all up and got stitching.  I didn't want to custom quilt this since it is just a kit that has been languishing in my stash for years.  I just wanted it done.  I decided that this great design would be perfect for getting it done.  I found this inspiration in my copy of Free-Motion Quilting with Angela Walters.  It is called flower power and I love doing this as an all-over design.  It is easy to fill in with the petals and to move from motif to motif.
Here is a shot of the back of the quilt.  You can see that there isn't any traveling, just a bunch of echoing of the petals.  The top thread is King Tut from Superior Threads.  The bobbin thread is Tailor Made 27 from Superior Threads (this thread has been discontinued).
Here is a shot of the top.  I still need to make and attach the binding.  Once it is bound and washed I think the texture will be awesome!

Have you found some long-lingring quilt top that you had forgotten about?  This is the year of finishes!  Get sewing!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tool Tip Tuesday: Fiskars Thread Snips

I always have to turn around and reach for my scissors when cutting threads on the long arm.  (I'm not going into the bury threads/don't bury threads argument.  Do what you're comfortable with.  I don't bury threads.)
I wanted a solution that would keep my scissors, or some snips, at hand without having to turn and search for the scissors.  It occurred to me that this could be easily accomplished with just a couple things.  I picked up the Fiskars Thread Snips on sale ($6-$9).  The badge reels ($3-$4 for a pair) were picked up at Office Depot.
I decided that I liked how the snips felt in my hand with the badge reel on this side (the top) of the snips.  I attached the snips and then stood in front of my long arm trying to figure out  the best place to hang the darn thing.  Reach is an issue as is keeping the dangling thing out of the way of high-speed parts and feeding threads.
I ended up clipping it onto the bottom of one of the thread holders.  I haven't loaded a quilt and tested this location.  I'll update this once I've run a test.  I'm pretty sure it will work out.

Total cost of the tool tip:  Less than $10.  I think this will work similarly if you're trying to keep track of the snips at your sewing machine.  Just be sure to keep them out of your normal operating area (I would never attach these snips to my person) because they are sharp and they do not stay closed due to the design of the snips.  Wearing open blades is never a good idea.

Do you find you're misplacing your cutting tools?  What have you done to keep track of them?

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Charity Quilting: Teddy Bears

This is a charity quilt made by another member of my local chapter of Quilts for Kids.  This quilt is made using the basic 4-patch pattern Quilts for Kids offers for free.  No fancy quilting but this simple design doesn't need anything fancy.
There are loads of patterns they recommend.  Many of these are perfect for beginning quilters.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Charity Quilting Whirlpools

Occasionally I decide that the simple meander isn't always the best answer.
When I loaded up this quilt I wanted to take swirls in a different direction.  I bring you whirlpools.  (If you want to see a similar design stitched on a domestic machine I recommend checking out Leah Day's tutorial video on her site.  She has loads of great video tutorials that are great for both long arm quilters and those that free motion quilt on their domestic sewing machines.)  It is like a swirl but a little different.  I will have to play with this one a little more.  I like how it turned out on this quilt.
This is a charity quilt made by another member of my local chapter of Quilts for Kids.  This quilt is a really scrappy one made with leftover blocks from a few other quilts.
Isn't this a fun quilt?  I love it when an experiment ends up being the perfect thing.
I'll be dropping this one off at the next meeting.  If you're local you should join us for the next workshop.

Monday, February 16, 2015

In the Mail Monday: Addicted to Scraps

Way back in December I entered a give away hosted by Quiltmaker on their blog Quilty Pleasures.
This past weekend the package showed up and I was so pleased to see the wonderful fabrics.  This is the starter pack offered by the Quilt and Sew Shop.
Three packs of fabric and Bonnie Hunter's More Adventures with Leaders and Enders.  I highly recommend Bonnie's books if you are a scrappy quilter.  Also check out her Addicted To Scraps column.  So many great ways to use up those scraps.  Leaders and Enders are a great way to waste less thread and to have another project on the move all the time.
I now have all this fabric to add to my collection.  I need to stop looking at it as a collection and use some of it up!  Now I have the great launch point for a new project.  As soon as I finish up the hundreds of other things I need to finish before April.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Charity Quilting

At the last meeting of Annapolis Quilts for Kids, I picked up several quilt tops and backs.  I've been working through them since then.
Here is another fun quilt.  This one is made up of some leftover backings and pieced squares.
 Often I load these up and I know simple quilting will work perfectly.  I quilted this one with a meander.  Stitched up quickly and the results are so snuggly.
Unicorns!
I didn't get fancy with this one.  I did leave the inner border without quilting to make a little bit of a line between the blocks and the wide, outer border.
The rail fence design was used to create a rainbow of chevrons effect.
All three of these quilts were pieced by other members of Annapolis Quilts for Kids.  I'll take them to the next meeting and hand them over to another member of the chapter for the binding and label.

Have you sewn up anything for charity this year?  Have you joined a local charity that is making a difference in your community?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Wardrobe Wednesday: Laurel

I shared with you the muslin I made for Laurel.  I also shared the double-fold bias tape I made.  I couldn't leave out the finished Laurel made from a light weight denim.

This post is mostly detail shots, since Colette patterns are about the details.
This is the sleeve hem.  I would do this a little differently if I was to do it again, but for a first try it came out okay.
The should seam could have been a little smoother.  I don't mind those little puckers though.
The collar finish came out almost as good as the sleeve finish.
The bottom hem came out pretty nicely considering I think it was the first time I used the blind hem on my machine.  Usually when I do a blind hem I do it by hand.  I'm not kidding.
The finished dress doesn't have a bunch of shape on my dress form.  This is the back.  I did not include back darts and there is no back seam.  This dress is a pull-over.  Just a small variation from the pattern as written.  I figure if I need shape I can add a belt.
Here it is, all finished.  Simple but well-made.  I will have to think about this one before I make another.  I like the simplicity of the pattern but I question how much wear I will get out of it.  Maybe I should shorten to a shirt length, or shorten more and change the lower half.  I'm still thinking about the options and Laurel does give you a great jumping off point.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Busy Bee: Wonky Star

As a member of the Baltimore Modern Quilt Guild I've got my chance to be queen bee for one of the many bees we're doing this year.  I signed up for the Scrappy Bee because we all know I love scrappy.  Here is my step-by-step tutorial for one of the blocks for my turn at the helm of the hive.  This is the second block tutorial.  Go back and check out the Friendship Star tutorial.  No matter how you use this tutorial, I'd love to see what you come up with.
Like the Friendship Star, the Wonky Star is an easy design to make and resize to fit into many projects.  I'm going to cover how to make one that finishes at 12" by 12" and uses up some scraps and some of these cute little crumb blocks I've got piling up.  At the end I'll give you the measurements for cutting and piecing a block at a quarter this size.
For the larger block all of the squares were made using crumb blocks.   Each of these squares are 4.5" by 4.5".  For more information on making your own crumb blocks I recommend checking out Bonnie Hunter's tutorial about making them.  Victoria Findlay Wolfe has one, too!
This block needs 8 dark/medium crumb blocks and one light crumb block.  To make the star points I started with some left over triangles from the Friendship Stars and pulled a couple 5" charms.  I chopped them mostly on the diagonal to make eight triangles.  With the wonky block you can afford to take some chances!
Sew one of these triangles onto the crumb block making sure it will completely cover the block when pressed.  (If it hadn't covered the block completely I would have just added some more light fabric until it did.  With scrappy you can get away with that kind of renegade behavior!)
Press the fabric, trim the crumb block away and square up the block to 4.5" by 4.5".
Repeat with the another light triangle to create the other point.
The goal is to have this part of the block finish at 4.5" by 4.5" -- not to have perfect points.  You will make four of these blocks.
Once you have all four side blocks done lay them out and arrange as desired.  I just rearranged them so the points didn't get lost in the crumb blocks of the corners.
Sew each row and press.  I pressed the center row towards the middle and the top and bottom rows towards this ends.  This helps the rows to nest when you sew them together.
I webbed the rows (learn more about webbing from this post from Bonnie Hunter) which makes the sewing easier but complicates the pressing.  It isn't for everyone and I don't use it often.
The block should measure 12.5" by 12.5".  If it is a little small you may want to check your seam allowance.  With only a couple seams for this block it should be pretty close.  If it is a little big don't worry about it.
This block is easily made in the smaller size.  I used a crumb block center but the background blocks were 2.5" squares (I have a drawer full of them).  Each smaller unit in this block is 2.5" by 2.5".  Block measures 6.5" by 6.5".  This one uses eight dark/medium squares and five light squares.  Four of the light squares are cut in half diagonally to make the star points and assembled just like the larger block.
I didn't use the crumb blocks on the smaller block.  I think the scrappy dark/medium fabrics make it scrappy enough.  Feel free to make tiny crumb blocks (like the center of this block) if you have some leftover lights.  I usually have few or no light/neutral fabrics.  Block should measure 6.5" by 6.5".
Before writing this tutorial I made a couple blocks.  Then I had to go back and make the blocks for the photos for the tutorial.
Four 12" blocks and four 6" blocks and I'm well on my way to a fun quilt!

If you can't tell, this is my first ever quilt bee!  Have you joined in a quilt bee?

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Busy Bee: Friendship Star

As a member of the Baltimore Modern Quilt Guild I've got my chance to be queen bee for one of the many bees we're doing this year.  I signed up for the Scrappy Bee because we all know I love scrappy.  Here is my step-by-step tutorial for one of the blocks for my turn at the helm of the hive.  The second block will be linked when the tutorial is written.  No matter how you use this tutorial, I'd love to see what you come up with.
The Friendship Star is an easy design to make and resize to fit into many projects.  I'm going to cover how to make one that finishes at 12" by 12" and uses up some scraps and some of these cute little crumb blocks I've got piling up.  At the end I'll give you the measurements for cutting and piecing a block at half this size.
I made my half-square triangle blocks with a crumb block in dark colors and a square of light/neutral.  Both of these squares are 4.5" by 4.5".
To get a square that is 4.5" by 4.5" you will have to mark and sew on the diagonal.
Once you sew on this line you will have one half-square triangle block and the trimmed away pieces can be used to make more crumb blocks.  I used the light/neutral to make a Wonky Star block.
Make four half-square triangle blocks.  I used all different prints for the light fabrics.  This is supposed to be scrappy!  There are other ways to make half-square triangle blocks that have you cut to different sizes to get your finished block.  The goal is a 4.5" half-square triangle block.  How you get there isn't as important at the size.
Grab four dark crumb blocks and one light crumb block and lay out the block.  There are some lighter colors in my crumb blocks.  I just turned them so the blocks would contrast with the light of the half-square triangle blocks.
Sew the rows together.  I webbed the blocks as I sewed the rows.  This method isn't for everyone but it can help you keep your rows matched up.  (Check out Bonnie Hunter's tutorial on webbing.)  Press the seams so they will nest together and sew the rows together.
The block should measure 12.5" by 12.5".
This block is easily made in the smaller size.  I used a crumb block center but the background blocks were 2.5" squares.  Each smaller unit in this block is 2.5" by 2.5".  Block measures 6.5" by 6.5".

The next block will be the Wonky Star block.