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

Pieced Borders & That 1 /4″ stitch

Pieced Borders & That 1 /4″ stitch

I’d love to tell you that my head did not explode [yet] while doing the pieced border on my exploding Block Quilt.

and I could tell you that I’m a genius, who mathamagically  calculated the length of the quilt sides, divided it by the number of blocks, added 1/4″ to each,  cut all those tiny pieces precisely, and sewed them to end exactly on the corners, but that would be a lie.

I used EQ7 to do my math, and a Dritz Quilters Gauge for my almost perfect 1/4 stitch.

Many ask how to get that perfect quarter inch stitch, so here is how I do it.
I use a quilters gauge by Dritz, but there are probably other brands. I tried using a ruler, and measuring from the needle to the edge of the foot, and moving the needle over, but that wasn’t as quick or effective, and some machines don’t let you adjust your needle, so for about $6, this tool make life easier.

needle_space_guage

This works best without the needle threaded, but I was in a hurry to take the pictures, and I was resetting my guide to 1/2 inch to piece the backing, so acuracy didn’t matter in my case. I will remove the thread when I reset it to a 1/4 stitch, or that thread could cause me to be off.
Step 1 Turn hand wheel until feed dogs are down, and the needle is still up.

feeddogs_down

Step 2 Place the quilters gauge under the foot and slowly lower the needle into the hole at 1/4 inch mark. [reading glasses may be helpful]

lower_needle_through_hole01

Step 3 lower your presser foot to hold it in place, then slide your stitch guide over to meet the edge.

slide_guide_plate

  • You can use an expired gift card if you do not have a guide that attatches to your bed. Do not use other kinds of tape or they may damage the finish on your machine. Besides painters tape is also handy to use for straight line quilting when you don’t want to risk other types of markings on your quilt.

Finally, tighten down the guide screws, or tape the expired gift card down, raise needle, and presser foot, then remove the dritz quilters gauge.
Then go ahead and test it. Sew 2 pieces of 2 1/2 wide fabric together, and the result should be 4″ wide after pressing.
If your sewn pieces are not 4″ wide after pressing, scoot your guide over a teensy bit. I got it on the first try, I don’t always get stuff on the first try, so some practice may be in order.

exploding_block_pieced_border

Now one thing I learned about oddly shaped pieced borders is 1 you must press each piece before sewing on the next piece, and 2 it does matter how you press it. The image with the scissors shows a gap, which will disappear when pressed correctly. This is when “Press to the dark side” won’t work. You have to let the fabric tell you where it wants to go.

Pressed correctly will result in a quarter inch of leftover so you can sew your next piece on and not cut off your points.

exploding_block_borders02

Also if your last border is pieced, you may want to add a small border the same color as your outside edge so you have something to trim after quilting. That quarter inch left over leaves you with nothing to trim. If your quilting is perfect and you don’t have to trim, adding the binding to that tiny 1/4″ will be tricky. but hey if you quilted it perfectly, maybe you’ll get lucky with the binding too.

The second reason to add a trimmable border is, if your pieced border has bias pieces, you want to stablise those for quilting. That, or if you want to remain in good standing with your long arm quilter.

I am quilting it myself, and not wanting to waste any prefectly good luck on this, I added a  white border that I can trim later.

The hardest part of making this quilt has been chosing the backing! With only 3 main colors, and everything I liked clashing with one of those colors, it has taken me longer to find the fabric than it did to sew all those pieces together. I know if you can’t match, you contrast, but any contrasting fabric I found included a shade that was just ‘off’ for the rest of the quilt. I lost count of how many fabrics I auditioned, and by that I mean bought. I now have enough backings to do a dozen more quilts!

I finally found fabric that actually matched. Of course it came in 2 pieces, so I had to get creative on the back. Fortunately it’s busy enough to hide both the number of pieces, and any imperfect quilting.

I thought I’d take a “ready to quilt” picture.

exploding_block_readyforquilting

It’s only halfway quilted now, so that’s all you get.

#QuarterInchStitch  #ExplodingBlock #FancyBorders

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

Breaking the rules – Disappearing 9 patch

Breaking the rules – Disappearing 9 patch

Who names these things anyway? I mean did they make a 9 patch, not like it, slice it up and say, “Hey where did my 9 patch go?” and their accomplice answered “I dunno, it seams to have disappeared”?

This quilt was in my head from the moment I saw a picture of one.
The instructions seemed simple enough, but I wanted the small patches to repeat, and all the pictures I found were scrappy.
Like usual, I had to modify. and educate myself.
A co worker had wanted me to make a quilt.
Sound familiar?
This wasn’t the first co-worker who had asked. The first one wanted a Spider Man quilt, and he’s a big guy, so that would be no throw. I had to tell him the bare facts: The fabric would cost over $100, and if I only charged $100 labor, he wouldn’t be happy with paying it, and I wouldn’t be happy with doing all that work for that, so we’d have 2 unhappy people at the start.
but this co-worker wanted a baby quilt for a gift for his new Grand Daughter. He only had a budget of $60 and wanted pinks. I told him I would see what scraps I had, because the budget would quickly be used up in fabric and batting. I found a charm pack I paid $2 for on a daily deal, plus some fabric I had left over from other projects, and told him I could do it, as long as he didn’t mind giving me all the design control.
Wheeeee!
Now I could do an experi-mental 9 patch!
I had already broken my first rule: I have 2 price points – “Free, if I want to”, and “You can’t afford me, if I don’t”.
Breaking that rule was like the first scratch on a new car. I was set free – of rules.

A nice size baby quilt will take 12 of these blocks. There are 4 corners, 4 background pieces, and one contrasting center piece in each, so I will need 48 prints, 48 backgrounds, and 12 contrast pieces. Using charms or 5″ pieces should result in a 39×52 quilt before borders.
I got out that 42 piece charm pack, and began cutting 12 – 5″ squares in a co-ordinating color [yellow] I found at a thrift store for $2.
I had some 108″ Kona white set aside for curtains, and figured I wouldn’t miss a couple 5″ wide strips, so I cut 48 5″ squares of that.
I dug up enough scraps to make 6 more 5″ squares in cordinating colors, and I was ready to assemble.
Now, here’s the thing: when you combine a precut with pieces you cut, they don’t always match.

Disappearing 9 patch patches

This precut had pinked edges, and mine didn’t. Some say to measure from the outside [or peaks] and some say the inside [or valleys] but knowing my 5″ squares were dead on [I obsess] I used my cut pieces as my guide, and sewed my 1/4″ seam from those.
I probably broke another rule here by making every printed square orient so that all prints were in the same direction. No easy feat since I would be turning every other block. [more obsessing]
Would people notice? [I would]

So, I put the pieces I wanted to orient ‘up’, in the 2 opposite corners on every 9 patch block. It doesn’t matter which two corners, as long as [1] they are opposite, and [2] they are the same for all 12 blocks. See the girls in the upper right, and the trees in the lower left pieces shown below. You will see why when I slice and turn the blocks later.

Disappearing 9 patch block

Once the 9 patches were done, I had some trimming and squaring to do.
The rule I did not break: People don’t tell you this, but when you trim, you don’t just willy nilly even the edges. You not only have to make the blocks all the same size, but the pieces in that block must measure the same distance to the outside edges. If you just line up your ruler with the bottom corners and start slicing off excess fabric, you will have problems. Knowing the middle squares measure 4.5 inches [5 inches minus the 1/4 seam on each side] after being sewn, that is where I want to start. These blocks will measure about 14 inches. Then  after trimming, cutting and resewing, they will have a finished size of 13″ if I did it right.

Disappearing 9 patch_trim

You want to line up the center patch in the middle of your ruler, making sure the 45 degree angle on your ruler goes from point to point on the whole block, as well as that center patch, and then trim the top and side, spin, and do it again. This will ensure that your block is truly square.

Disappearing 9 patch_trim02

Once trimed, slice in half both ways

Disappearing 9 patch_trim03

Disappearing 9 patch_slice

Then turn 2 of the 4 resulting patches in opposite corners. Notice I did not turn the little girls, or the tree.

Disappearing 9 patch_turn

So happy I had my husband build me this 24″ rotating mat!

Disappearing 9 patch_trim04

Now to agonise over block placement

Disappearing 9 patch_arrange

Take a picture and walk away. See if I still like it, and either rearrange [always] or begin sewing [never]
Oh, and did I fail to mention that he wanted the baby’s name in the quilt?
It took me 3 weeks to find someone to do this – that was still open by the time I got to my home town after work. Given the cost of embroidery machines, $8 was a bargain.
I broke another rule by making the top border bigger then the other 3.

Disappearing 9 patch_embroidered

Now to check it with the backing I bought for $15 and see if I still liked it. It had to be pink. The quilt needs more pink!

Disappearing 9 patch_assembled

Knowing who this quilt is really for – the parents – it’s always for the parents. I guessed that they may not be familiar with how flat hand made quilts are, so I broke another rule and used #3 thick batting – doubled. Twin size [72×90] for $15 worked for this 43x 58 quilt.

Disappearing 9 patch_quilted04

Yep, and not only that, I had exactly one inch to spare for the backing!
Many quilters want the batting and backing to be 4″ bigger on all sides.
I blew that rule up with a 43″ quilt on a 44″ wide backing.

Disappearing 9 patch_quilted02

Of course I stiched in the ditch. Ima ditch stitcher. There I said it.
Embrace who you are. I embrace the ditch!

Disappearing 9 patch_finished03

I wasn’t done breaking rules yet. I used yellow thread on the spool, and pink in the bobbin.

Disappearing 9 patch_binding_back

Disappearing 9 patch_binding_front

I managed to stay under the $60 in materials for this quilt, but just barely. I mean who can go shopping for a 2 yard piece of backing and not see some fantastic fabric you must have for a future project?
There’s another rule I broke: buying pretty fabric without any project in mind, figuring the pretty fabric will tell me what it wants to be in due time, . . . and I will obey.

#Disappearing9Patch #HeyWhereDidTheyGo

Follow my blog with Bloglovin