Texas Gets Red Bandanas – and some love

Texas Gets Red Bandanas – and some love

I recently saw Missouri Star’s Rhombus Star video. It looked like fun to me, and I already had the template, but I had been waiting for them to come out with the smaller Rhombus template. When I saw the video, I noticed the smaller template was now available, so I got it.

I was working on a quilt for myself at time, so when it arrived, I put the template away for later.
Later came sooner, when some friends of mine who have family in Texas said they were going to make quilts to send. Their family is part of the rescue team, and they would be handing out the quilts directly. Of course, I shelved little Sunbonnet Sue, got out that template, and brought in my tote of patriotic fabric.  I opened it, and said “Talk to me”

Our sewing play date was the next day, so I gathered up the pieces that spoke up, and took them with me.

Having no pattern for the small ruler, I would just have to make one block, and measure it to see what size it would be, before I could figure out how many to make for a quilt. This concept totally freaked out my friend at the “PlayDate with a Featherweight” sewing group.
“What are you making?”
“A quilt to send to Texas”
“What pattern?”
“I am making stars”
“What’s the pattern?”
“I have to make a block and see what size they are first”
“But what’s the pattern?”
“I guess it’s Stars”
“You don’t know what it’s going to be?”
“Yeah, it’s gonna be stars”
“So you have no pattern?”
“I am pretty sure these are gonna be Stars. I just need to cut a few more, and then I can start sewing, and see what they will measure out to”
“You are crazy!”
“Ok then, which of these reds should I include? I don’t know about this bandana fabric.”
“Oh the bandana has to be included. It’s SOOO Texas!”
“Alrighty then. Texas gets red bandanas!”

In the video, Jenny makes hers into half blocks, sewn one pointing up and one pointing down in rows. I want to sew mine in squares, so I am making mine square-ish.

Each block contains
3 blue Rhombus shapes from large scraps or FQ’s.
3 red Rhombus shapes from large scraps or FQ’s.
12 triangle background pieces from yardage.
4 setting triangle background pieces from yardage.

To start, I laid the template down on the fabric, against a longer ruler, and cut strips. Note that this template is an odd size – 3 5/8 wide. Later I added a strip of orange glo-tape at that point on my ruler. If you don’t have glo-tape, just use the template every time. For accuracy, I slide the template all the way to the end, and make sure it is dead on at both ends before cutting.

Rhombus_Star_Cutting_Shapes_From_FQ_01

The rhombus shaped pieces were cut first.

Rhombus_Star_Cutting_Shapes_From_FQ_02

If using a FQ you can get 4 on the short [19″] side, and 5 on the long side [22″] making 20 total. 20 doesn’t divide by 3 if you want to use an alternate color pattern like mine, but 18 does. So one FQ will make 6 half blocks. 2 FQ’s in 2 different colors will make 6 blocks of alternating colors.

Rhombus_Star_Cutting_Shapes_From_FQ_03

A scrap strip that is almost 15″ long will make 3 of these.

Rhombus_Star_Cutting_Shapes_From_Scraps

The triangle background pieces, when measured from the flat tip of the point to the line that says “line up edge of fabric strip here to cut triangle” turned out to be the same width [3 5/8] of fabric. So, you can use it to cut the strips like I did for the rhombus pieces.

Rhombus_Star_Cutting_Triangle_Background_01

Spin template for each cut. Don’t forget to cut the tiny corners at the bottom. Remember these are 60 degrees, so you will have to cut on both sides. One side will only be a sliver, though.

Rhombus_Star_Cutting_Triangle_Background_02

One strip will make 17 pieces. I cut mine with strip folded in half, so the 8 you see is really 16 pieces.

Rhombus_Star_Cutting_Triangle_Background_03

The setting triangle background pieces were cut from 3 7/8 wide strips, subcut 7 1/4 long, and then cut in half diagonally. One 3 7/8 wide strip cut the length of fabric makes 6 rectangles that will cut into 12 setting triangles, and therefore complete 3 blocks.
*You can round up to 4″ on the width since you will be squaring the blocks before assembly.
** This is piece will not be 60 degrees, even though I am attaching them to a 60 degree angled piece, for 2 reasons. 1 It’s easier to just make a diagonal cut from a rectangle, and 2 because I will be squaring up the block anyway.


I could have used my Super SideKick Ruler [which is 60 degrees] to make more exact setting pieces, but I was throwing this together as quickly as I could, and I didn’t feel like cutting these one at a time. For anyone wishing to make this, if you have the Super Sidekick ruler, use it to make your setting pieces, and your blocks will be more square.

These half blocks, made with the small ruler, measure 14.75″ on the long side by 6.5″
When completed as one whole block, they trim down to 12.25″ by 13.5″

Rhombus_Star_Sewing_Half_Block_Length_14.75Rhombus_Star_Sewing_Half_Block_Width_6.5

Now that I know what size these are, I will do a 4 block by 4 block quilt.

I am doing 16 square blocks, but leaving 2 of them as half blocks [for offset] so I will need:
48 blue diamonds [3 FQ’s]
48 red diamonds [3 FQ’s]
192 triangle background pieces from 11 1/2 strips cut 3 5/8″ wide. Yardage = 45″
64 setting triangle background pieces from 5 1/2 strips cut 3 7/8″ wide. Yardage = 24″
Basically, you’ll need about 2 yards of background fabric.
* I started with a 3 yard piece of background fabric, and after adding a 4″ outer border, I ended up with 1/2 yard left over.

The inner border is from scrappy yardage. The piece I used only had one selvage edge, and was about 38″ in some places, so I can’t give you exact yardage for that.

Tools I used:
Rhombus template
6″x24″ or other long ruler
15″ square ruler
Glo-tape to mark ruler for strips
G-Easy Ruler Stickers to use when squaring up blocks
stilletto [to poke the pieces under the needle when chain piecing, so they don’t shift]
seam roller [to press seams at your sewing machine when chain piecing]
Optional: Super Sidekick or other 60 degree ruler

 

Chain piecing time!

Rhombus_Star_Sewing_Seams_First

Because of the shape, I have found it goes together better if the 1st seam, which is a triangle on the botton right of the rhombus piece, is pressed to the rhombus piece. I use my clover seam roller for this.

Rhombus_Star_Sewing_Seams_First_PressClip

Trim the tiny ears, then sew the second triangle pieces on.

Rhombus_Star_Sewing_Seams_Second

Press the second triangle back to itself.

Rhombus_Star_Sewing_Seams_Second_Back

As you begin sewing these together, the seams will nest nicely.

Rhombus_Star_Sewing_Big_Block_Layout

Arrange in groups.

Rhombus_Star_Arranging_Groups

When sewing the setting pieces, be sure to over hang the triangle. I pin these to make sure they stay put. I don’t pin much, but I pin here, and anywhere I need seams to match.

Rhombus_Star_Sewing_Setting_Pieces

After all the halves have the side setting pieces, I sew all but 2 of the half blocks together, and then begin squaring them up.

Rhombus_Star_Finished_Block_Needs_Squaring

I marked the ruler to be sure the top and bottom star points all ended up in the same spot, because the points almost touch when assembled.

Rhombus_Star_Finished_Block_Needs_Squaring2

yeah, my setting blocks leave a lot of trmming. Use your Super sidekick if you have one.

Rhombus_Star_Finished_Block_Squared

Turned out pretty though, didn’t it?

Rhombus_Star_Finished_Block_Squared_Back

Lay out time! I  have a design bed.

Rhombus_Star_LayOut

Finished! With a 2.5″ [cut size] inner border, and a 4″ [cut size] outer border, this quilt measures 58×63.

Rhombus_Star_Finished_Frontside

I was a bit short on the binding, so I added some red pieces at 2″ intervals, and placed them in one corner to look like I did that on  purpose.

Rhombus_Star_Finished_Pieced_Binding

Once again, I stitched in  the ditch, and then did a diamond shaped figure 8 following the stars.

Rhombus_Star_Finished_Backside

The lables I ordered came in, and this is  the first quilt that gets one!

Rhombus_Star_Label_Backside

One final note:  If you have an old house and an awesome vintage percolator that  along with your iron excedes the amperage on that one circut, and you’re waiting for what seams like an extraordinarily long time for it to finish so you can turn the iron back on,

. . . please check to be sure Hubby put the lid on before plugging it in. Then send the picture to Hubby’s phone in the shop. Sew much nicer than the words I was thinking.

Rhombus_Star_Text_Picture_Failed_Coffee

I will make a couple more for Texas, and then get back to Sue. Sunbonnet Sue has waited 20 years to find her home in a quilt, and she can wait a few more weeks.

This quilt was a record for me, making it in just 7 days.  That means I missed the One monthly goal sign up date of Sept 7th. but some things are more important.  At least a dozen folks in Texas will feel our love.

My friend Sues quilt shown above with mine, was made using Bonnie Hunter’s Forth Of July pattern. and no, she was not the one pestering me about my lack of a printed pattern.

 

For those who watched Jenny’s video, and are having trouble making their quilt square, it is because Jenny forgot to mention that you have to add a ‘setting piece” to the ends of your rows. I used the small Rhombus, so I can’t give you the mesurements for the large one, but maybe these pictures will help you.

This is what Jenny did.

Rhombus_Star_EndOfRow_Setting_Pieces01

Option 2 is what I did. [I did it to each piece, but you only need it on the ends of your rows] Lay your piece on a grid and measure the “void” [shown in purple] then add 1/4 seam allowance. Then you can sew this piece on to your ends, and trim.

Rhombus_Star_EndOfRow_Setting_Pieces02

#HelpTexas #TexasGetsRedBandanas #RhombusStar #CheckCoffee

Advertisements

Ugly Jelly Part deux – Baby Quilt

Ugly Jelly Part deux – Baby Quilt

Ugly Jelly makes a baby!
This was an easy quilt, and fun to make.
I was asked by Brat to make, and I quote “a quilt” for another Navy friend. The thing is, this friend had twins! Great! So, I had to figure on making two quilts, both alike, yet different. My first thought was to make same quilt, but add a different element of color. Of course that is the easiest, so I chose a design I had recently made to use precuts. I bought the fabric:  one layer cake, and Kona’s color of the year for sashing, and thought “easy peasy” while waiting for my squishy to arrive. When I got ready to make it, I noticed Kona’s Flamingo Pink didn’t quite match the large floral prints of the layer cake that I wanted to use. Back burner!
So it sat a bit until I got this idea from a book to make pinwheels out of a strip set. I have over 50 jelly rolls, and still have some of those ugly ones that I made my first Ugly Jelly Quilt from in other colorways. Time to use them up! Thank goodness they only came in sets of 20 strips. I grabbed 3 rolls knowing I would pull out some of the more hideous ones.

Warning: The following image may not be suitable for sewists of fine taste.

WHAT were they thinking?

I had some templates cut for me at the local hardware store years ago to use for fussy cutting, so I found my 3.5″ one, and drew a line 1 1/8th inch from the top across to 1 1/8th from the bottom on the other side, and made a test strip. I cut it, assembled it, and liked it. I later added little feet to the template so it would float over the seam, and not move while I cut them.

Each strip set will cut into 11 pieces, but you only need  8 pieces to make 2 blocks. 3 more pieces is not enough for another block. I will worry about those left overs later.

The drawn line shows up better if it is on the ‘down’ side. Simply line up with the seam, and cut.

Stripped_PinWheel_Cut_01

Turn and cut again

Stripped_PinWheel_Cut_02

Turn again, and cut again.

Stripped_PinWheel_Cut_03

Once more.

Stripped_PinWheel_Cut_04

2 stacks of 4 pieces, and here’s the leftovers. If I was doing a 2 color quilt, I could use these better, but I’m not.

Stripped_PinWheel_Cut_05

These blocks can be arranged either way.

Stripped_PinWheel_Blocks_Makes2

I would need 56 blocks to do a 7×8 layout bringing it to 42×48. That’s 56 strips sewn into 28 pairs.

Stripped_PinWheel_Fabric_UglyJellysAgain

Once I removed the more hideous ones, I replaced them with some pink strips cut from Timeless Treasures.

Stripped_PinWheel_Fabric_TimelessTreasures

I will never buy a roll of strips from this company again. I still have 6 more reminders of this mistake.

After all the strip sets were sewn, I set up an assembly line in front of the TV, and cut the whole thing while watching one single movie! The 3.5 template set on my small rotating cutting board enabled me to spin and cut on all 4 sides without moving the template.

Yes, that’s a sandwich baggie taped to the side of the table.

Stripped_PinWheel_Sit_N_Spin

Meanwhile my Sew Sampler box [by Fat Quarter Shop] had arrived on the same day as my new wooden wall paper roller. The SS box contained a seam roller tool by clover, so I tried both. I wanted to like the wood one that was only $8, and I might have, if not for how nice the clover one fits in my hand, plus is exactly as wide as the seam. It retails for about $14. Again, I never would have bought this, but since it came in my box, I am really diggin it! In fact I went to a newly formed Featherweight group a couple of towns away, and showed them what I was working on, and a lady there was so impressed with the tool, that she bought one on her phone while I was there. The other ladies were fascinated [after I explained what a Sew Sampler box was] that I get Christmas  delivered to me once a month!

Stripped_PinWheel_Blocks_Assembly_No_Iron

Then I made an assembly line sewing station. I lined them up, and ran through 4 sets of 2 at first, then took the first two off the chain, pressed them with the seam roller, placed them together, and ran them through, completing one block.

Stripped_PinWheel_Blocks_Assembly_Chain_Piecing_02

Then 2 more sets of two, cut two more off the chain, put completed block asside, rolled the seams, place together, and run them under the needle.

Stripped_PinWheel_Blocks_Assembly_Chain_Piecing

Every 3rd piece in the chain was a completed block until they were all done.

Stripped_PinWheel_Blocks_Assembly_Chain_Piecing_01

It took longer to arrange them on my “quilt wall” than it did to sew them.
The whole thing was done in a weekend.

Stripped_PinWheel_Blocks_Arrangement

Tips:

1. When making the blocks, because the colors all meet in the center, you don’t have to focus on matching the seems so much. Instead, focus on  matching the edges of the fabric, and you won’t have to trim or square up these blocks before sewing them together.

2. When sewing the blocks into rows, I did not press the seams until they were all sewn. That way, I could press one row’s seams to the east, and the next row’s seams to the west, so they all nested. Yes, I press to one side so I can [say it with me] stitch in the ditch.

3. I have a set of numbered pins, that I used on the first block in each row, because order is sew important on a scrappy quilt like this! It takes a lot of work to make stuff look random. [the tiny white circles in quilt below are the numbered pins]

Stripped_PinWheel_Assembled_Top

Now I must mull over how to make another quilt out of the scraps! Ugly scraps. Ugh!

Stripped_PinWheel_Fabric_Leftovers

Stay tuned. It gets prettier! I promise.

The other Twin quilt is done, so here is the rest of the pictures.

I didn’t add the border until I got the second one done, so they’d be the same size.

Stripped_PinWheel_Top_50x55

The pinwheel was quilted with straight lines in the ditch outlining the pinwheels. Then I read the quilt spacing specs for the batting I was using [2 to 4 inches – who DOES that?].

Stripped_PinWheel_Quilting_01

After kicking myself, I had Emmy Lou do her serpentine stitch through the middle of each one.

Stripped_PinWheel_Quilting

Ooops! I forgot I had light blue thread in Emmy’s bobbin.

Stripped_PinWheel_Quilting_03

After borders, I had 50×55 [with a 4 inch border] for the pinwheel and 50×57 [with 2 inch border] for the other Twins Quilt and I’m calling it close enough!

Stripped_PinWheel_Quilted

#UglyJellyQuilt #UglyHasABaby #IfItsStillUglyYouDidntCutItSmallEnough #QuiltInAWeekend

Minnie To The Max

Minnie   To The Max

Sometimes you just gotta do something relaxing, that doesn’t take much brain power.
This is that quilt.
I like fabric panels, even though I know there will be no lines . . . ahem . . . ditches to follow when I quilt it.

There’s a girl at work who is pregnant. One day, she  told me she would have 2 girls, and I asked if she was having twins. She said no, she had one girl already, and showed me some pictures of her family at a birthday party. The theme was pink Minnie Mouse. Probably a month later, I was drooling over fabric online, when I found some pink Minne Mouse fabric that reminded me of her. I threw  a couple yards in with my order, thinking I may make a baby quilt for my co-worker.
I was only thinking about it because I feared that somone else would want me to make them a quilt, too.

I have many thoughts on “Request sewing” but the bottom line is I don’t care for it. I really have enough to do, and I sew some out of need, and some for fun. The thing is we can’t control many things in life, but I can control what I sew.

peshaw! If you think you can get me to make you a $50 quilt and yes that is my piecedby.me water mark

Then I came across a Minnie panel with some pink in it, and decided I wasn’t going to overthink this, and just make her a darling baby quilt already! I would give it to her quietly, and hope I wouldn’t get any requests.
I ordered the panel, then cut strip pieces that I thought I would make a nice piano key border – something I haven’t done yet. Hey, why not practice on other peoples quilts?

When it came, I saw it was much too big to be the center of a baby quilt. Most panels are 24×44, but this one was 36×44. I hung it up for inspiration, and thought why not the back? That certainly solves two problems. 1 How to make a quilt out of a larger panel, and 2 what to put on the back!

Minnie_Backing

I had already cut 12 – 2 1/2″ strips of each contrasting colors, so I decided to do the whole quilt out of them. Notice the Remnant Quilt  pieces I was taking a “think break” from in the background.

Minnie_Cutting_Blocks

The 2 1/2″ strips were fed through Mustang when my brain needed a break from the remnant quilt process.

Minnie_Strips

I sewed the 2 contrast colors together, then sew those two strip sets together , alternating the colors to make a tube. Like I did for my Dish mat

The 6 resulting tubes of stips should cut to 8 – 6″ blocks each, but I got 9 out of mine. Normally, I’d use all 48 or [54 if you get 9] blocks, but I was limited to the size of the panel. I have some fabric left, so maybe I make another?

Minnie_Rows02

Once I joined the blocks to make a row, I pressed the first row on one direction, and the second row in the other.

Minnie_Rows_Back02

I usually press to the dark, but when I stitched the rows together, they were quite bulky, so I pressed them open, making a note to myself not to stitch in that ditch.

Minnie_Rows_Back_Pressed

I always place a pin in the top row to help keep me from sewing the next row to the top.

Minnie_Pin_Top

I arranged 42 blocks 6 across by 7 down, and quilted in the ditch diagonally in each direction.

Then I stitched around the  square in the center of each block, removing the pins after I completed each square so I wouldn’t miss one.

Minnie_Quilt_In_Square

The back looks kinda good!

Minnie_Quilt_In_Square_Back

Sometimes a contrast binding is called for, especially when the quilt contains large prints. I found some black fabric with white hearts, and used it for the binding.

Minnie_Finished_Binding

Finished!

Minnie_Finished

Yes, I did try to agonise  over thread colors, but went with pink on top and white on the bottom, and now I am happy I did.

Minnie_Finished02

My husband remarked that she may not know which side is the front!

Minnie_Finished03

Just for beginer quilters who use home machines, the quilting was a cinch! Here are my crudely drawn quilting diagrams.

First diagonal lines in one direction

Minnie_Finished_SID_01

Then diagonally in the other direction

Minnie_Finished_SID_02

Then outline the whole design following the V’s  on the edge of the border.

Minnie_Finished_SID_03

Finally, I outlined the little squares formed by the pattern. This was easy to stop with needle down in the corners, and spin the quilt through the throat of my machine to sew the next line in the square.

Minnie_Finished_Stitch_In_Ditch02

Simple, and easy for a domestic sewing machine.

The monday I was going to give the girl this quilt, she was off for maternity leave already, so I gave it to her best friend to give to her. No fan fare was made of it, so I am happy about it.

I think I’m ready to tackle another quilt!

  • which I am already playing hooky from as I write this.

 

 

#MinneMouseQuilt #JellyRollStripPiecing #PanelForQuiltBack #NoSuchThingAsa$50Quilt #ThankYouForNotAskingMeToMakeYouaQuilt

Remnant Quilt – Why We Make Quilts!

Remnant Quilt – Why We Make Quilts!

Other possible titles include:
– How to complicate a simple pinwheel design
– Another quilt = another journey
– Why we buy TONS of fabric

I was at our fellowship Pot luck a couple of weeks ago, and the message was that we are all remnants in Christ.
On the way home, it hit me that I should make Sue a quilt out of remnants. Sue took her Mother in about 8 years ago, and once being very active in the church, began a process of passing the baton to others, as her Mothers needs increased. She is a very giving woman, so I wanted to make something for her.
First, I explored patterns, tried designing my own, then googled some, and looked at books. Ideas swirled in my head, as I went from deciding on one design, then changed my mind several times. Then I saw it. At first it was one of those “I’d like to make that one day” patterns, but the more I looked at it, the more I liked it. It was called “Staying Focused”
but could I do it all from remnants?
Sue’s favorite colors are blues and purples. Her living room furniture is blue, but I had seen her wear a lovely purple velour jogging suit many times. I know she has a prayer chair, and this would keep her wrapped in love while she converses with Our Father.
I poked around at my stash, mostly built on remnants from garage sales, back when I only dreamed about quilting, and found these delightful squares of fabric, in blue paisley with a bit of pink. They were already cut into 6.5 inch pieces.
Would it be enough?
I drew the block out in EQ7 and placed it in a quilt design. I scanned the focus fabric in, and colored the design. I would need 30 blocks with 4 HST’s of focus fabric in each to make a decent size lap/nap quilt. I counted the pieces, and as I got past 20, I was holding my breath. I exhaled when I got to 30! I had exactly enough! I would have to do the 4 HST at a time method, but it would work.
It was like these pieces were just waiting to tell me what they wanted to be.

Well, 6 1/2″ Blue paisley, you get your wish!

Remnant_Focus

Then I piled up possible complementary colors, and when I thought I had it, I made one block and hung it up on my block board to keep myself focused.

Remnant_Block

I confess to secretly making fun of people who have to rip out stitches when making blocks, because I don’t do it. I toss it and just make a new one.

Ripping Stitches

Oh sure if I miss-sew a completed block to another, I will take it apart, but making the block? Nope.
Well, Our Father has a way of humbling us, and because I had only exactly enough of the focus fabric, I had to rip out many stitches for this first block. For starters, the 6.5 inch pieces resulted in a 4 1/4 inch trimmed half square triangle, not the predicted 4 1/2, and I had to be very careful just to get that.

Remnant_HST_04

Now that I have my first block, and correct measurements, I can cut up all the other pieces.
While cutting, I ran out of the fabric I had chosen for the little crosses, which are actualy plus signs, because I will be turning every other block, to make a secondary design. I love secondary designs! I didn’t want to change the look, so I had to have the same exact shade of blue here.
I think I found it.

Since there will be  two blocks alternating the second color HST’s, I will use the other fabric for the crosses in the second block. Yes, I know one HST is turned wrong, but this is only an audition.

Remnant_Need_More_04

At some point, I decided I don’t like trimming HST’s.

Remnant_Counting_Colors

At yet another point, I decided I don’t like pressing.
and another point had me appriciating all those who do scrappy, because all those tiny pieces could have been bought in yardage, cut to size, sewn in one strip set and sliced and diced into nicely sewn units ready to form a block.

My scrap pile has pieces bigger than the ones I am sewing!

Remnant_Tiny_Pieces_02

At another point, I likend quilting to giving birth. There are elements we don’t like about it, yet we do it anyway, and are happy we did. It also seems to take way longer than we anticipated.
Yet we will do it again, and we will always start with the same enthusiastic anticipation.

A whole weekend of not much progress, but every day after work I pecked away at those pieces.

Remnant_Handy_Sew_Sampler_Cutter
To satisfy my curiosity, I counted them. 15 pieces per block without the sashing is 450 pieces. No wonder it seemed like I was going nowhere.

Remnant_Assembly

They finally begain to take shape, as I placed piece after piece under Mustang’s needle.

Remnant_Assembly_02

I pressed and stacked them.

Remnant_Assembly_03

Remnant_Assembly_05

Every other block was turned to make a secondary pattern.

Remnant_Assembly_04

If you’ve ever fussed over matching seams, how about matching seams that are an inch apart? I think I got most of them.

The blocks are finished and ready for sashing.

Then another snag: what would I use for sashing?

Not this!

Remnant_Audition_Fail

The search is on! I poked into every nook and cranny I had stuffed fabric into, and I wanted to break down and just buy some, but I remembered I had a tote of patriotic fabrics, all reds, whites and blues, and there, I finally found it. It was perfect!

Remnant_Sashing

Many calcuations were made to make this one piece do all the sashing. It seems the previous owner was one of those who like to tear her fabric in half at the fold line “to make it easier to handle” Rather than be upset about it, I was greatful that she at least donated her leftovers for me to find.
In case you think it’s easier to sash without cornerstones, you are mistaken.
You know what cornerstones are, don’t you?
Turns out they are not just another design element to fiddle with, pin and sew and hope you got them right.
Google says:
1. an important quality or feature on which a particular thing depends or is based.
2. a stone that forms the base of a corner of a building, joining two walls.
Merriam Webster adds:
a basic element : foundation
Basically Cornerstones are our rock. They keep us centered, and true.
Again, I didn’t want to change the focus of this quilt, and it did occur to me to make cornerstones out of the same fabric, but I didn’t. I probably should have, but here we are.
No cornerstones means I have to line the rows up very carefully, and use lots of pins.
For future reference, no time is saved by not using cornerstones.

Remnant_Almost_Done_02

One more border in the light blue brings this out to 55″x65″

Remnant_Top_Finished

I did run out and buy a second “Cutting Mat” It’s a giant thick plastic mat – not self healing, and it will dull rotory blades. While Joanns calls it a “Cutting Mat” the computer did not want to sell it at the “half price for all cutting mats and tools” sale. However, they have come a long way in customer service in the last year, so the manager agreed to give me the half off. After I assured her I knew what I was doing: Two of these on the floor will make a 72×60 surface to trim finished baby and lap sized quilts easily. For bigger ones, I slide the mat under where I am trimming. I do not recommend these for cutting fabric and piecing, but for trimming down a finished quilt for binding, which will dull your “used at this point” blade anyway, gets a big YES from me. I have several rotory cutters, and reserve one just for this.

Where do you store a makeshift 72×60 mat? Under your rug of course!

Selecting the backing was more tricky. Back to my stash in my corner of Hubby’s workshop. I had at some point, drew out a yard marker on one of the shelves. I would need 4 yards to do an easy 2 piece back, or at minimum 3+ to piece a “fussy” [more math] 3 piece back.

Remnant_Backing_Audition

I came back with 6 possibilities. I chose the dusty blue with large navy flowers and white accents on the left.

Remnant_Assembly_Final_Choices

I stitched in the ditch along the sashing, and then made an x through each block.

Remnant_Quilting_Back

Then I had Emmy [Husqvarna Viking Emerald 183 that I bought just for specialty stitches] do her thing [serpentine] along the  sashing/border seam.

Sometimes an accent binding works, but I went with “same as border” binding

I honestly began tearing up as I had Emmy blanket stitch the lable on, because it means this journey is finished.

This is, to date, the hardest quilt I have done. All with remnants and love.

Remnant_Quilted_04

The label has our names, so I won’t picture it here, but it says:

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee” Isaiah 26:3

Edited to add that I gave it to  her last night, and with tearful eyes, she said it was the most thoughtful gift she had ever recieved. She took it to her living room filled with royal blues, and I swear it lit up the room. She said it matched perfectly. Then she put it in her prayer chair, and said she would use it there. All this without me saying a word about how I had pictured this quilt there while I was making it.

It was then I remembered her telling me at our last fellowship, that she had to put her fur baby to  sleep, and she had probably rested at her feet in this chair. While this quilt won’t replace her companion, it will add new comfort to the room.

This. Is. Why. We. Quilt!

#RemnantQuilt #WhyWeQuilt #CrossQuilt

Traditionally Modern Baby Quilt

Traditionally Modern Baby Quilt

This was one of my first quilts.

I had sewn before, but I was new to quilting. Quilting has fascinated me for years, as did Tae Kwon do, which I finanlly got to do, and it was as fun as I thought. So why not quilting?
So far I had made a patriotic quilt top, and a giant dahilia which I only quilted the middle circle, and made a duvet cover out of, because I ran out of time, and I really didn’t know how to quilt. I still really don’t know, but I know what works. I am able to look at things people do traditionally, and figure out how to do it differently. That’s probably how I managed to become trainer/line leader at any production job I’ve held. I follow instructions and then a light turns on. Why don’t I try this method? – and it works! Not only that, it works for other people too.
My daughter, whom I lovingly call “Brat” because she is so dramatic – unlike myself – enlisted in the Navy. She draws people in with her energy, and will have you doing stuff, you never would have done by yourself . . . OMG she IS like me! I mean I have succesfully trained people at work that others had no hope for.

If there is a desire, there is a way! It doesn’t have to be the the traditional way.

Which is how I did this quilt for Brat’s friend whom she met and became close friends with in the Navy. Brat and her friend enlisted at different times, and thusly got separated when her friends 3 years deployment was up. I wanted her friend to have a hug whenever she needed it, so I decided to make a cuddly quilt.
I found a free pattern included in one of those magazine solicitation envelopes that begs you to open it. It was called Modern Baby. What I did differently was, I used fleece for the backing! No one told me I couldn’t – well they would have if I had told a ‘real’ quilter what I was planning. So I didn’t tell anyone. At the very least I would fail without an audience.
My quote for the day:  You only fail when you quit trying!
The pattern calls for 12 fat quarters [well 13 if you count the one they want you to cut up for binding] , and I didn’t have any, but I wanted 16 blocks instead of 12 anyway, so I would need 16 pieces 17″ x 17″.

In my ‘dreaming about quilting’ phase, I had amassed over 6 totes of fabrics from garage and rummage sales. I washed, ironed, measured and pinned the measurements to each piece, then sorted by color until I had so much, I had to quit washing, and just sort. I now have, oh never mind, it’s at least 10 times that.

I looked on the friends Facebook page, and discovered she loves Sunflowers! Me too. Her hometown college is LSU, whose colors are purple and orange. How can I do sunflowers and purple and orange? I chose some green and blue, and of course yellow. I could hear the traditional quilters gasping and choking now, but they weren’t with me, so I soldiered on.
I followed the cutting directions, stacking one light, then one dark.

quilt_pattern_modernbaby_cutting
When I get a new toy [sewing machine] I like to use it for at least one project to get to know it better. For this one I enlisted Mr Wizard. His needle sits slightly to the left, and I made a fix for that, which everyone told me I couldn’t do. That will be an another post.

machine_mr-wizard
When the fabric pieces are all cut and stacked , I took the first 4 stacks of strips next to the square, one at a time, and picked up the first layer piece and placed it under the stack, exposing the second layer piece [pink pieces in pictures] and put the stack back in place.

quilt_pattern_arrange_stacks1

Then I took the last 4 stacks and picked up two layers of each stack, exposing the 3rd layer piece, and placed them under the stack they belonged to, and placed that stack back in place. The 3rd layer is shown in red.

quilt_pattern_arrange_stacks2

To keep these in order, I cut a piece of cardboard to lay the arrangement on, because I cut in one room and sew in another, so I needed to be able to carry this whole arrangement to my sewing machine.
Then I sewed the top layer together, making one block at a time. Then the next layer. What you see is what you sew!

quilt_pattern_modernbaby_sewing_pattern
Money was a bit tight, and I only bought what was needed, unless I find it darn near free, and it looks useful. I couldn’t find a way to square up the resulting 14.5″ block before sewing them all together, so I bought a giant square ruler online. It was a good investment.
Then I took a big breath, and sliced each block in half diagonally . . .

modernbaby_slice
and arranged them.

I didn’t have a design wall, so this is only the first two rows. The second two would be identical. Like miss-matched socks .

modernbaby_half

Now it gets tricky. I didn’t want the traditional cotton backing, and I sure didn’t want to fight that fleece.  I figured I would have to top stitch the design  before adding the backing.  Thinking that stitching a top directly to batting will likely create a ton of lint which would end up in my machine, I skipped the batting entirely. Besides, with fleece, I hardly think batting is needed.  I stitched the top to some heavy interfacing instead. This will prevent the quilt top from shifting around and losing it’s shape, and give me a better foundation to sew the fleece to.

Here it is laid out on the interfacing on the floor before I cut around it to sew.

modernbaby_quilt_to_interfacing02
After top stitching it to the interfacing, I simply placed the top on the fleece, pinned  everywhere, and sewed straight lines down between each block, starting in the center and working out because fleece stretches. Then I got brave, and stitched a square pattern in the center of each block. I was so glad I only did 16 blocks! That’s a lot of  ‘needle down’, then turning. I used My Viking for the quilting because it has a low gear setting,  which will slowly power through thick layers. Mr Wizard would have done it, but faster, and I wanted to go slow.

modernbaby_quilted03
I did an outer stitch to stablise it all, then trimmed the backing to match the top.

Then I You-tubed how to bind quilts!

After hours of videos, and many pots of coffee, I steeled my nerves, and did it! I used my new edge stitching foot, and top stitched on the binding. It worked, but I don’t do that anymore. Now, I stitch outside the binding.

How I do Binding is located in Dish mat – Because You Just Can’t Buy Awesome

quilt_modernbaby_edgestitchfoot
Oh yeah, this was my very first traditionally bound quilt, and it wasn’t awful.

 

Sometimes tradition works!

#ModernBabyQuilt #BabyQuiltTutorial

Exploding Block [Head]

Exploding Block [Head]

Inspired by Jenny’s Exploding Block Tutorial, I decided to one day make a quilt from it.
That day came when I was shopping to make my Husband’s Daughter’s Baby – who had just graduated to a big girl bed – a quilt. I had a quilt in mind, big then I saw the kitties! The kitties wouldn’t work with that quilt, but they’d be happy in an exploding block quilt framed in pink and turquoise, so I got them. I skipped up to the cutting counter, and told them I wanted it all. Cuz, come on, it’s KITTIES!

I also bought some turquoise, and I knew I had some pink at home.

fabric

I made my first test block, then spent 5 minutes trying to pull the layers apart to cut them.
Being a production junky at work, I tend to stream line things. At home I usually am more relaxed – something my co-workers would never believe. However, my work brain kicked in as I had found what I call “the time suck” So, to eliminate this time suck, I cut up some little pieces of left over batting from trimming a quilt.

I was only making 24 blocks, so I only needed 24 aprox 1″ sq pieces of batting.

I cut 4 strips 6 1/2″ wide to make 24 kitty squares,

2 strips 6 1/2″ wide to make 12 pink squares,

and 2 strips 6 1/2″ wide to make 12 turquoise squares.

I used a 6 1/2″ ruler to cut the squares from the strips.  A marking pencil and very sharp pointy sicssors are also needed.

exploding_block_tools
Since I would be cutting the pink and turquoise pieces after sewing them to the kitties, I drew my lines on the wrong sides of the pink and turquoise pieces – corner to corner – before sewing them. It is important to mark them before sewing them together, and to offset the ruler by the thickness of the marking pencil to get the line dead center.

 

Take them to the sewing machine . . .

exploding_ready_almost

I placed each kitty, pretty side up,  put one piece of batting in the center [I swear I ironed these first!], and then placed the other pieces [pink and turquoise – one piece at a time], pretty side down on top of the kitties.

exploding_block_trick

Then I sewed 1/4″ seam on all 4 sides.

exploding_block_sew
Now I could seperate the fabrics with ease!
Simply fold on one of the lines, and nip the perpendicular line to get a starter cut.

 

I finished cutting on all the lines right down to the corner, and popped out my batting pieces.

exploding_block_open

Iron them back, and we have our kitties peeking out at us from their little pink and turquoise frames. These will be 8 1/2″ at this point.

exploding_blocks

Now, one thing to keep in mind is that, while this looks like a square in a square, it’s not. The big difference is that the points will be nipped off, which will be fine with many fabric designs. Other designs [or obsessing] may cause you want to actually make a square in a square, but I resolved not to obsess over this quilt [yet].

exploding_block_times4

Because the points would be cut off, I decided to sash it, and found a bit of brown floral for the conerstones.

exploding_block_sashed

The center of this twin sized quilt is finished [currently 39.5 by 59.5] and ready for borders

exploding_block_center_38-5x59-5

and then I made a mistake.

I sent Mom a picture of what I was making.

exploding_block_juliet

Opon receiving her quilt last year, my Mom has now taken an intrest in my designs.

Who knew?

She texted back that she thought the borders were kind of plain, and asked why I didn’t extend the design out more. After explaining to her that the borders weren’t added on to make the quilt bigger, but to frame the design on top of the twin size mattress, and that they would actually drape down the side of the bed, I decided to get all fancy shmancy about it.

New design – which I did not show her.

exploding_block_juliet2

I am still cutting all the oddly shaped pieces. Thanks Mom.

exploding_block_borders_shmorders

I guess she hasn’t heard “Finished is better than perfect” yet. She will. After my head explodes I’m having that engraved on my tombstone.

exploding_block_tombstone

#ExplodingBlock #FinishedIsBetterThanPerfect #WhyDoIListenToMyMother #Kitties!

Dish mat – Because You Just Can’t Buy Awesome

Dish mat – Because You Just Can’t Buy Awesome

Time to complete: 2 weeks.

Why not?

It took me 2 months to buy the dish rack. [and 1 week to buy the towel which is included in the project time] Besides, aren’t you tired of seeing tutorials that say you can make an entire quilt in a hour?  You look at it and feel inferior before you even try. Well, if you make this, you can beat my time, and feel awesome.
I saw this nice dish rack at the store back in December for $20, but it only came in white, black and turquoise. The curtains I made are turquoise, with birds, and bird feeders with bits of red in them by Judy Niemeyer , and I need some more red in my kitchen! Not to be defeated, I went home and googled it. I found the red, but it was $50!!! I’m not paying that, so I back burnered it.
A couple of weeks ago, I was at the store again, and there were those dish racks taunting me. Now the black was sold out, but I didn’t care. I wanted red! Then it hit me. I can make red happen. I bought the white one, got it home, and got to work.
I don’t know why I googled it. I wasn’t going to pillowcase the stupid thing. I am going to quilt it! You betcha!
I think I will play with my Strip Tube ruler I bought months ago.
I measured the counter top and decided I want it to work out to be 23 +/- 1″ by 26 +/- 1″
I figured 4.5 finished blocks would take me there, and went with 2 1/4″ strips.

I first sewed the turquoise to the red I had bought for hot pads and the like, then sewed the two strip sets together with opposites facing each other.

drying_mat_2-25_strips

drying_mat_2-25_strips_sewn
I skipped the instructions, and placed the ruler over the seam, as high as it would go without the peak hanging off the top, which turned out to be the 5″ mark. Gee, I did that right, didn’t I?

drying_mat_strips_alignto5inmark

Open them,  iron, trim ears.

drying_mat_open_blocks_iron

I played around until I got kind of a inside out on point pattern.

drying_mat_top_done
I like to lay it out, admire it for awhile, then flop em over on each other, and pin it on the edge I will be sewing incase I lose my mind and forget where I am to sew. Hey, it happens!

drying_mat_layout_blocks_pin
Of course I have a quilt going on and Mustang has white thread with the 1/4″ guide already installed, so rather than run these pieces through, stopping to pin the rows, and starting again to sew the rows, I will run a piece of the quilt through every time I need to stop, and just leave it there until I start again. Some call these leaders and enders. I call it multi tasking.

leaders_enders
Now the backing. How about a nice thick towel? I couldn’t find one I liked that didn’t have that wide flat band on each end. I ended up getting one big enough so that when I cut off the ends with the bands, I will have enough left over to make 4 hanging towels. Yeah, I could buy towel-like fabric, but I like this better for $9, and can you really put a price on having pre finished ends for hand towels? I didn’t think so.

drying_mat_pin_to_towel
I was going to practice some free motion quilting, but I am a Ditch Girl, and I liked the pattern sew much, that I didn’t want to ruin it. I’ll learn later. Yep, I’m going in the ditch. I like it there. It’s nice and quiet, and no one bothers me.
I sewed around the outside before trimming it because this stuff sheds!

drying_mat_quilt_sew_edgesdown
I did get to practice my binding. Yay!
I sewed the binding strips together, and the mailman came.
My Sewing Sampler box had arrived. It was my very first, so I had no idea what it would be like. It contained a Kona color of the year charm pack, a pattern, a 45mm blade, needles, fabric wash, and a thread cutter thingy.

drying_mat_open_fqs_samplerbox
and another box, of something Brat [who uses our address because she was stationed in Japan], sent to her friend but it got returned as undelivereable. What is it?

What to do? Oh cake. Lets do that first. Open cake, taste cake, improve cake. There, that’s better.

By the way, I heard you gasp when you saw the can of Sanders chocolate sauce on this quilt, but remember it is a dish drying mat. It will get dirty.

Back to the sampler box, which happens to contain a thread cutter. Let’s try it.

It works! I really thought the little thing would topple over when I push the thread down on it, but it didn’t. Would I buy one? Nope. Am I disappointed? Nope. The handy thing about this is, when you are seperating a bunch of strips or chain sewn pieces with scissors, you always run the risk of cutting into the fabric. This gadget pretty much prevents that. The blade is so far down, it would be difficult to get fabric down there.

Now on to the binding!

I use what some call the pocket method. I could learn a different method, but not today.
Basically, once your binding is made [I use 2 1/2″ strips ironed in half], you open part of it, iron a dog ear [left side down if you sew on the right], and sew it on, starting at the point for about 6 or 8 inches. Then you sew off of it.

Fold the binding back over and start sewing where I left off.

drying_mat_binding_pocket_start04
I keep my binding wrapped on a piece of cardboard, and lay it down as I sew.

drying_mat_binding
I sew off the corner, and do the corner fold, which took me forever to figure out what the heck those books were talking about. I like corners now. Mostly because each one brings me 25% closer to being done.


Now when I start getting back to that pocket, I stop with the needle down. Then lay the binding down [that is how I measure it] and cut at an angle about 2″ past the begining. One inch is probably enough.

Then I tuck it in, and finish sewing it down.

Take it to the ironing board and iron the binding flat, leaving the corners alone for now.

drying_mat_binding_iron_sides_flat
Flip it over and pin the corners.

drying_mat_binding_pin_corners
Iron the binding over making sure it covers the stitch line, and clip it down. Don’t you just love these little guys? I have like 200 of them!

drying_mat_binding_iron_back_clip
I will be sewing just outside the binding which will catch the other side.
hmmm, should I use walking foot or my ditch foot? Some machines have a needle left/right adjuster knob which would let you use the walking foot. Some don’t and you will have better luck with the ditch foot. My Viking does, but . . . .


You know it! In the ditch it is!
I hand turn the wheel to bring the needle down and make sure it’s going to go where I want it. Nope. Gotta switch adapters. I knew one of these wasn’t the right one.
drying_mat_binding_ditch_foot
I remove the clips as I get to them, and since my corner pins are on the back side, I remove them when I get real close, stopping with  the needle down.

drying_mat_binding_pullpin

and we have a winner!

6 blocks across, and 5 down made it 22.5 by 27.

drying_mat_finished

Oh. I guess that means I have to wash dishes now.

 

#EasyBindingTechnique #TheTiesThatBind #JellyRollStripPattern  #ThingsihateToDo #YouJustCantBuyAwesome