Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday's Challenge

My online friend, Shannon, from Fabricsnquilts ( posted a challenge today, and it was to be completed today. Little did she know what a challenge this day would be! I was almost in 4 accidents, all by people who cut me off, running stopsigns or making turns from side streets in front of me, just as I changed lanes. In NY, there is a law that says "right on red after stop." The stop means they need to make sure no one is coming from the left before they go, and many forget that "stop, the others have the right of way" before they go. I was lucky there wasn't anyone in the my left lane, so I wasn't hit. So, even getting to my friend's house to sew together was a challenge. Well, even before that.

I love Moda fabric, and read many of the recipes on the Bake Shop. Usually the directions are easy to convert for use with my Accuquilt GO!, a wonderful product that uses dies to cut fabric. So, when Shannon posted the challenge to make a Just One Star block, and it had to be done today, I grabbed a few pieces of blue and red fabric and threw it into my tote, which already had the planned projects for today's sewing time. Well, I spent time cutting the Flying Geese blocks on the GO! using the 3 1/2 triangles and the 2 1/2 triangles, then realized they didn't work with the 3 1/2 inch squares. So, we went back to Moda's directions, and cut the rectangles and squares. I don't like making Flying Geese blocks that way, because of the little triangles not used, but it was the best way to make this work. We used the GO! to cut the center square, and the larger corner triangles. The challenge to make one block was more of a challenge than I would have thought. But my block is done, and it will be mailed, to be a part of a huge collections of stars for quilts that will be donated to support our troops. Maybe my challenges today weren't as bad as some they face. I guess I will count my blessings, especially that I was able to make a block for the cause. Did I get my other plans done?? No, but that could mean more sewing days with my friend. That's a good thing. Look for the Just One Star block info here.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Time for Table Runners!!

I have been on a kick lately designing and creating table runners with EQ7 and my Accuquilt GO! dies. I did quite a few kits. I made 2 for Christmas gifts, and taught a class on one design, then made a bunch of Drunkard's Path complete runners and picked fabrics for more kits. I also created a Ribbon Block design, using the 4" half triangle square die.

Here are some pictures. Some were for me (needed a St. Patrick's one, lol) and wanted one for my dresser in my bedroom.



This one is for sale in my Etsy shop.

And this one, in red and cream, was made for a friend. She loved the green one so much, she asked for the same in her colors.


More to come! Any requests?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Multifaceted Gems

I recently completed a large twin size quilt, and entered it into an online Scrap Quilt Challenge. I came in 3rd, so I am pleased, since the other quilts were truly scrappy, with a large variety of fabrics.


I used the pattern Multifaceted by Cozy Quilts, and a Hoffmann Bali Pop, and additional fabrics for more strips and for the background.

One thing I noticed about the Bali Pop is that all the strips were not die cut, so you need to check them before you sew. I contacted someone from Cozy Quit and she recommended that you either trim the strips, or sew the strips so they are even. Most of them were fine, so I sewed them carefully. The squares end up being 16 inches, so it is fairly quick to make the top.

After you sew the strips, you cut them into triangles. It was fairly easy to do, but it did take some time, and I ended up with quite a few extra squares. I plan to make a smaller quilt or pillow sham.


I chose to quilt some of the squares with a stencil, and the others with a stipple with loopy flowers. I used over 10 bobbins on the quilting, and almost all of a 500 yard spool of quilting thread, not including the bobbins. That was in addition to the thread for piecing. I hadn't counted bobbins before, so thought this was interesting. I love the quilt. What do you think?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

I figured it out!!!

Hi. I wanted to improve my binding on my quilts. I used to sew the ends straight together, then trim off the selvages, but had bumps from all the layers at one spot. Then I started sewing the strips together at a 45* angle, so the bumps were gone!!


Judy from Sew Fun Quilts (great blog, go follow her) posted a blog post about binding a quilt, and it was very informative. One thing that I started doing was pressing the binding flat, than flipping over the quilt, and pressing the binding a little bit past the stitching line, so when I stitched in the ditch from the front, I had a better chance of catching the bottom (my weakest part, bah). Before I started pressing the binding, I had to go over many missed spots, sometimes even 2 times before I caught the underside (sometimes, no longer in the ditch of the seam, but on the binding itself, talk about frustration!! Judy's tips about pressing the front and back really helps me catch most of the bottom, and still keep the stitches in the ditch. ( She has some good pictures.

Another friend purchases lots of "tools" and must own 4 "Binding tools" from different companies. I have seen a number of them, and there are more being marketed daily! Seems like everyone who quilts has a way to make sure the beginning/end seam works. And they create a tool (like hundreds of others, okay, maybe not hundreds, but you get the idea) to make the join work. I figured it out, and no special tool is required. Really. I am not going to reinvent the wheel!! Can you see where I started and ended? Round and round and round it goes, where it stops, ...


I even did a survey the other day and the last question was "what quilting tools do you think should be invented?" I said "STOP inventing!!" Too many tools make it confusing. So I though about the beginning and end seam. I used to just fold down the beginning part (straight) about 1/2 inch, and trim the end so it goes in to the beginning, tuck the end inside, and stitch away. Problem was, I got the big bump again. Not pretty. So I decided I wanted to try doing that as a 45* seam, looking like all the other seams (when using french folded binding, it makes the seam spread over a few inches, not bunch in one place.)

So, I cut the beginning part of the strip at a 45* angle, the same direction as the seams, BEFORE I pressed it in half. Just lay any ruler with a 45* mark along the edge of the strip, angled the same as the first seam, and trim the end. Press this fold down between 1/4 to 1/2 inch, and press the strip in half, wrong sides together.


Begin sewing, leaving about 5 inches unsewn at the beginning, miter your corners, and stop about 5 inches from the tip of folded edge of the beginning strip. Slip your end into the bias cut end.


Pin the fold line on the 45* cut end to the strip where they meet (make sure you only pin the upper layer to the upper layer, and the lower layer to the lower, and not to the quilt). Keep it smooth, too. Carefully, without disturbing the pins, open up your strips. One strip should be pinned at a 45* angle from the other. I place a pin inside the folded part, right along the fold line, catching in the inner strip. Do the same on the lower layer. When you open it, the pins should look like this. Practic makes perfect, and if you have a question, ask me for another picture.



Sew along the fold line, which should be exactly where you pinned (take out the pins before, or move them off the seam, of course).

Refold the binding to make sure it lays smooth and flat on the quilt, then trim the seam to 1/4 inch or so. The secret is in the pinning. You must carefully pin along the bias fold along both edges of the strip.

Go press your binding away from the quilt, then over the stitches on the back, and sew (by hand or machine, your choice).

One other blog had tried to explain, but she said something about remembering to flip one strip so you ended up the right way (Huh?? confused me) and another just said tuck in the end, trim and stitch. But that was still a little bulky, since you didn't trim even with the bias fold, you would end up with an extra bit in the binding. Not as bad as a straight seam, but still, not smooth. I can't tell where the first strip really began! That is perfect. Now, to get the back to catch all the way the FIRST time I sew. That's my next goal. Maybe when I press I should use a bit of fusible thread?? No, that's cheating. I still have to go back and resew. I don't mind hand sewing, but my fingers get cramped from holding that tiny needle. I prefer machine sewing the binding. I want it DONE!! And now I can make the mitered join. And I didn't spend money on a special tool, so I can afford more fabric. Yeah!