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!

Jenny’s Starburst Quilt Enlarged

Jenny’s Starburst Quilt Enlarged

Many people have seen Jenny from Missouri Star Quilt Company’s video on making a quilt she calls Starburst, and would like to make it bigger. Me too.

Yes, I am breaking another rule, because I haven’t made this quilt yet. I’m actualy playing with HST’s right now in another project, but I thought I’d have some fun ‘on paper’ with this for a moment. I’ll post that project later.

Starburst Quilt Video

Jenny’s quilt is 57×57 including a 4.5″ border [48×48 without border]. It uses 16 colored or focus print Layer cake pieces [10″ square], and 16 background layer cake [or 10″ square] pieces. She has 8 rows and 8 columns for 64 Half Square Triangle [HST] blocks.

I designed the same quilt using 36 colored Layer Cake pieces [plus 36 background Layer Cake pieces] based on her method shown in the video above resulting in a 6.5″ block.  The blocks will actually be close to 6 3/4 inches, but most HST’s need trimming, so lets go with 6 1/2. The “finished” or sewn size of the block will be 6″

I am just going to call the 10″ layer cake pieces “LC” from here on because I don’t like to type that much.

With same size border [4.5 finished size – cut at 5″] as Jenny’s it will be 81×81 or 72×72 without. It is 12 blocks across by 12 blocks down = 144 HST blocks total and uses 36 print LCs and 36 background LCs
I also colored the original 8 rows and 8 columns of blocks differently to help visualise the added on rows.

picture_quilt_starburst_81x81w4-5border_36lcs_6inblocks

Color option with the incomplete diamonds on the outside edges blending into the border, which I like better.

picture_quilt_starburst_81x81w4-5border_36lcs_6inblocks02

For the 81×81 quilt with border option above you will need:

30 print LC pieces
30 background LC pieces
10  LC pieces cut from border fabric
4 pieces 6.5 square also from your border fabric.
Yardage for this border layout is 2 1/2, but I would buy more.
to make
100 Print/Background HSTs – from 25 pcs of each LC
20 Border/Print HSTs – from 5 pcs of each LC
20 Border/Background HSTs – from 5 pcs of each LC
4 Background corner squares 6.5″

If you’re a math geek, I know this only adds up to 70 LCs but that is because you aren’t sewing HSTs in the 4 corners.

Want to go bigger?

How about 93×93 with the 4.5 border like Jennys, or 84×84 without. Layer cakes tyically come in packs of 40, so you’ll have to hit up your stash because this one will use 49 LC pieces [each of the focus print and background].

There are 14 rows and 14 columns. Again, I have colored the original 8 rows and 8 columns of blocks differently to help visualise the added on rows.

picture_quilt_starburst_93x93w4-5border_49lcs_6inblocks

Even bigger?

This is 100×100 with the incomplete diamonds on the outside edges blending in to a 2″ border, that will take 56 LC pieces [each of the focus print and background].

Again, I have colored the original 8 rows and 8 columns of blocks differently to help visualise the added on rows. This one has 16 rows and columns.

picture_quilt_starburst_100x100w2border_56lcs_6inblocks

Recipe for this 100×100 Starburst quilt with 2″  [cut 2.5] border blending into the design:
16 blocks across by 16 blocks down = 256 blocks
Center will be 96×96 and will require:

56 print LC pieces
56 background LC pieces
14 LC pieces cut from border fabric
4 pieces 6.5 square also from your border fabric.
Yardage for this border layout is 2 yds, but I would buy more to be safe.

to make:
196 Print/Background HSTs – from 49 pcs of each LC
28 Border/Print HSTs –  from 7 pcs of each LC
28 Border/Background HSTs –  from 7 pcs of each LC
4 Background corner squares 6.5″

but wait!

You talked and I listened – and it snowed – and I was bored – and I was waiting for coffee. . .

I went LONGER!

Oh yes, I did! The first one is off center with the added rows at the bottom. In case you started the 81×81 and gave up because you wanted it longer , or maybe you just want to be different.

This is a 81×93 Long OFF CENTER with 4.5 blended border [cut 5″] layout and uses 36 layer cake pieces. It is 12 blocks across by 14 blocks down for a total of 168 blocks

Starburst_LC36_B_81x93_OffCenter

The recipe for the 81×93 LONG OFF CENTER with blended border quilt is
36 print LC pieces
36 background LC pieces
12 LC pieces cut from border fabric
4 pieces 6.5 square also from your border fabric.
Yardage for this border layout is 2 1/2, but I would buy more to be safe.
To make
120 Print/Background HSTs – 30 of each LC
22 Border/Print HSTs – 6 of each LC*
22 Border/Background HSTs – 6 of each LC*
4 Background corner squares 6.5″
* you will have 2 HST’s left over. Use all 4 and make a pillow!

Maybe you just need to stay centered. In that case, here it is. Also 81×93 but if you pay attention the corners are different on these two quilt layouts. The colors wrap around the outside corners on this centered one, and the off-centered one has a couple of orphan blocks that do not make a diamond by the two bottom corners. I know, you may not have noticed, but when you get to sewing it, I want you to be aware. I do like both of these much better than the square ones, and I intend to make one . . . . enventually.

Starburst_LC36_B_81x93_Centered

To make this 81×93 Long CENTERED with 4.5 blended border quilt, you will need:

36 print LC pieces
36 background LC pieces
12 LC pieces cut from border fabric
The yardage for the border is 2 1/2
To make:
120 Print/Background HSTs – from 30 of each LC
24 Border/Print HSTs – from 6 of each LC
24 Border/Background HSTs – from 6 of each LC

One more size before my head explodes.

93×105 long with the blended border [84×96 before the 4.5 outer border], and uses 49 Layer Cake Pieces. It is 14 blocks across by 16 blocks down for 224 blocks total.

Starburst_LC49_B_93x105_Centered

For  this 93×105 Long CENTERED with 4.5 blended border [cut 5″] you will need:
49 print LC pieces
49 background LC pieces
14 LC pieces cut from border fabric
The yardage for the border is 2 3/4

To make:
168 Print/Background HSTs – from 42 of each LC
28 Border/Print HSTs – from 7 of each LC
28 Border/Background HSTs – from 7 of each LC

by the way, the prints for all 3 of these rectangular Starburst quilts are from the Kaffe Fasset Collective.

I hope you enjoyed my resized version’s of Jenny’s lovely quilt!

Now, incase you want to cut your own layer cake squares, here is a Pre-Cut Yardage Chart so you’ll know how much yardage you’ll need.

#JennysStarburstEnlarged #BiggerStarburstLayout #LayerCake4HSTmethod  #StarburstUnsquared

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.

Then 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.

Update:

Because you asked, and I did that frustrating yet satisfying thing with a calculator, I am going to post the numbers for a “generous twin or maybe full” size:

These blocks will be 13″ square and since I made 12 blocks and arranged them 3 across and 4 down, my quilt center was 39″ x 52″ before the borders were added.
5 blocks would be 65″
6 blocks would be 78″
7 blocks would be 91″
Lets say you want 78×91 which would be 6 across by 7 down, for a total of 42 blocks.
42×9=378 5 inch squares total
Broken down:
42 squares would be the contrast color in the middle that gets cut into 4 small even squares when you slice the block. This could also be a charm pack. Maybe in a solid color.

168 squares would be your colorful prints, or charms.
Lets say you get charm packs with 42 pieces in them, and divide 168 by 42 = 4 so you’d need 4 charm packs. If you choose one with only 40 pieces, you will be 8 pieces short.

168 squares would be your background squares.
For the background, lets say you want yardage to cut your own charms from, and that yardage has 40″ of usable width. It’s definately not 45″, which would be one charm bigger. So you’d get 8 charms for every 5″ strip of fabric. 168 divided by 8 = 21
21×5=105″ or 3 yards. It wouldn’t hurt to go a bit bigger since we all make mistakes, so maybe get 3 and a half. Or cheat and get 4 plain background charm [42 piece] packs.
All this is assuming your blocks turn out to be 13″ and before borders.

#Disappearing9Patch #HeyWhereDidTheyGo

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Crime Scene – Quilt Sandwich Assembly

Crime Scene – Quilt Sandwich Assembly

That’s what Quilt Sandwich day looks like at my house. A crime scene.  I reserve an entire day to do it, and sometimes, I run from the room screaming!  Usually, blood is spilled. If doctors wanted to get a true stress test measurement, they would have you make a quilt sandwich.

All the cute videos on YouTube will never accurately depict what really happens when assembling a quilt sandwich.

meme06

This is not the biggest quilt I have done, but it is 75″ by 75″ and I have 12′ square of heavy plastic that I lay down to protect . . . um, what am I protecting? The floor from the quilt? Or the quilt from the floor. I don’t know, but it seems like the right thing to do. Oh yeah, I spray baste, which some say is a crime by itself, . . . and I pin. If I gotta wrestle this thing through the throat of a domestic machine, I need all the help I can get.

meme05

Starting with Hubby getting out of the house. As soon as I roll the rug up over the bed, and lay down the plastic in the only remaining space, which happens to be in front of the door, he will have to come in. Like magic, or a cat, . . when you get up from your chair. Except, the cat knows something life changing is going to happen when I lay that plastic down, and  she is smart enough to disappear for the day.

So, here I will show you the horrors from within . . .

Here I have laid down the back, pretty side down, smoothed it flat, then the batting, smoothed it flat, took a break, then laid down the top, and smoothed it flat. Seems inoccent enough, but something may be lurking under the layers, like wrinkles!

quilt_loveknot_mom_sandwhich01_600

Then I get out my giant stick [cardboard tube], and pin the edge to it, keeping the pins at a flat  angle, because this  will be tightly wrapped  . . . . unlike myself.

quilt_loveknot_mom_sandwhich02_600

Now, I roll, keeping both sides straight and even, keeping the fabric ahead of the roll smooth before I get to it, so it can’t get away from me, and put a wrinkle in my plans.

quilt_loveknot_mom_sandwhich03_600

When that is done, I carefully lift the roll, and repeat with the batting.

quilt_loveknot_mom_sandwhich04_600

This is where I sometimes find a wrinkle hiding, and wipe beads of sweat, like someone who has narrowly escaped a tragic accident.

quilt_loveknot_mom_sandwhich05_600

After a coffee break to get the taste of copper out of my mouth,  I place the roll at the top, unroll about 18″ or so, then pull it back to spray the fabric, while commanding it to “Stay put” and smacking it down flat.  They say use the spray sparingly, but they aren’t paying for it. I am, so . . .

quilt_loveknot_mom_sandwhich06_600

Once the first 18″ are stuck down, I kneel on the batting behind the roll, and then spray, unroll, stroking every inch of it heavily, unroll, spray, repeat. Next is the top.

quilt_loveknot_mom_sandwhich07_600

Position, spray, unroll, more petting, unroll, spray, repeat.

I am pretty sure this is why quilters like the expensive quilting cotton right here. They know they will be petting it a lot!

quilt_loveknot_mom_sandwhich08_600

Then I pin in spots where I think I will not be sewing. Of course if I was thinking, I probably wouldn’t be doing this. Yes, I would. I’m stubborn that way.

About 1000 pins, and a couple of band aids later, I roll it acording to how I will sew,  . . .  I mean stuff . . . it through the throat of the beast. I am a ditch stitcher, so I will be sewing this in agony, I mean diagonally, because the blocks are all on point. Of course they are. Who do I think I am? Doing a quilt on point. As if!

quilt_loveknot_mom_sandwhich09_600

The corners do not have seems, so I mark them before I carry the body out to the sewing machine. It’s disappearing ink, so if I need a break, I have to take it before I make my mark! Yep, bathroom visit, several bobbins filled, more coffee, stitch settings correct after the bobbins, another bathroom break . . . . Out of my way, I’m going in!

quilt_loveknot_mom_sandwhich10_600

The next few scenes are just too horrific to show, . . .  my hands hurt, my legs are cramping, neck is stuck in an unnatural position, and I can’t see straight anymore, but I won!

Quilt_LoveKnot_Mom_Finished_Back_600.jpg

#QuiltSandwichAssembly #QuiltCrimeScene #PetThePrettyFabric #Iwon

Love Knots

Love Knots

Quilting is a journey.

Sometimes a quilt represents the end of one, and sometimes the beginning. Every quilt I make, I do with the person I am making it for on my mind. Whether they know it or not, they took that journey with me. I learn things about them, as well as myself.  This quilt has a few names, but I like “Love Knot”
After finishing my Featherweight test quilt, made with what turned out to be a hideously ugly jelly roll, I decided to make my Mom a quilt for mother’s day. It was February, so I had plenty of time, and the wheels turned in my head of traveling the 800 miles to hand it to her on Mother’s Day! My Mother and I had turned a milestone about 10 years ago, and somehow this would be symbolic of my having moved on from the past, and into the  future. One where neither of us would see ourselves as a failure.

Such lofty goals.

I found a pattern I liked that magazine’s often send you for free to consider subscribing to them, called “Spice market”. It was a partial log cabin, lots of angles, so not too ‘girly’ or old fashioned, and I hadn’t done a log cabin yet. I had turquoise [not teal] and silver [not gray] in mind, but every time I went to the store, I couldn’t find the shades I had in my head. The tones were all muted or distorted from what I had in mind. I wanted bright and cheery, yet warm, and it had to match her decor, because this was to be a couch quilt. Big enough for Mom and her 2nd husband to snuggle under.

Pattern_Spice_600.jpg

More lofty goals.

I soak in a hot tub every evening and read books or, look at quilt books, and dream. Before I even had the fabric picked out, I saw a pattern in one book and ear marked it. Later, I saw the same pattern in a log cabin book, and ear marked that. Two books – one pattern – two different methods, and names, but I still liked it days later. It was the same block as in the free pattern, but the block orientation, and color placement was the key. The secondary pattern with the two main colors linking together is what put it over the top. I had to make this.

 

Pattern_Linked_Chevrons_600.jpg

hmmmmmmmm, changing your view, changes the outcome.

On one of my trips to the fabric store, I found a cheery print with turquoise, navy, silver and green, and tried to work other colors in. I never could find the right silver. Then I found the perfect backing, but it was in 2 pieces, and my coupon was for “one cut” We worked it out, and I ended up with a 2 yard piece and a 2.5 yard piece of a lovely batik in silvery blue with brown grape leaf motifs. Then I found a brown floral batik. [Mom’s new husband loves chocolate!] Still later I found a nice gray leaf print by Amy Butler. I now had both warm and cool colors, and was ready for a test block! Unfortunately, this pattern would need at least 10 test blocks to see if I liked it all together.

fabric_choices02_600

There’s a learning curve in these log cabin blocks. Two books with two sets of instructions. The instructions I chose to follow had me sewing strip sets, sub cutting into square blocks, then sewing the two blocks together on the bias just like half square triangles, and I quickly learned that cutting the blocks from the strip sets had to be very consistent!

quilt_loveknot_mom_stripsets_600

When cutting blocks from strip sets, it is neccessary to line up the rulers lines to the seam lines. Every. Time.

quilt_loveknot_mom_stripset_trim_600

I picked up some Omnigrid Glow Line Tape on a whim awhile back, and applied the tape to my ruler, to help line up the squares as I cut them. I got better blocks after that.

quilt_loveknot_mom_stripset_trim_again_600

Just like pancakes, the first blocks will not be used!

quilt_loveknot_mom_first_blocks_600

*except to pin on my wall to keep me oriented when assembling the good blocks.

quilt_loveknot_mom_first_blocks_sewn_600

checking them out in my audition booth that I made

quilt_loveknot_mom_test_blocks01_600

and here we are . . . . I see a pattern emerging!

quilt_loveknot_mom_test_blocks02_600

quilt_loveknot_mom_layout_600

Border, or no?

quilt_loveknot_mom_border_turquoise_600

Yes, a chocolate border it is!

quilt_loveknot_mom_border_chocolate_600

Finished!

Quilt_LoveKnot_Mom_Finished_600.jpg

As it turned out, my Mom was going to visit my sister 2 states over, the week after Mothers Day, so, no, I didn’t take it to her, but I did hand it to her the first week of June, when she stopped by on her return trip home.

Home is where the heart is, and a piece of my heart now resides there.

quilt_loveknot_mom_home-500

 

#Loftygoals #LogCabinQuilt #LoveKnots #MissionAccomplished

Ugly Jelly Quilt

Ugly Jelly Quilt

This project was really a test run of my newly aquired 1937 Featherweight, that was in mediocre condition upon arrival. I cleaned, oiled, greased, and polished to a fairly nice condition, made a case tote and bed cover for it, and wanted to perfect the tension settings [1937 models do not have numbers on the tension] and get that coveted 1/4″ stitch.
I while picking up some fabric for the interior of my FW case tote, I also had picked up a couple of strip [commonly called “Jelly”] rolls on sale, and thought they’d make a nice napping quilt, since nothing I currently had matched my bedroom, or would cover my feet.
FW_Case_Tote02

The rolls were mixed browns and looked like a bunch of fun all rolled up and ready to rock my world. They practically begged me to make something of them!
I did the research on jelly roll quilts and they typically turn out to be 50″ by 64″. I knew that wouldn’t warm my toes, so I did some math and added a yard of brown swirly fabric, and a yard of an accent color so it the quilt wouldn’t be quite so brownish.
So, I had my plan, and my stitch width guide from Nova’s Featherweight store, and was ready to go!
When I unrolled the strips, I was taken back by all the loud gold splattered all over them! One strip was camo, one looked like an ugly brick, some were pleasing, but all with this shiny gold haphazardly spilled across it. It looked like a disaster. I put on my sunglasses, and proceded to sew them together anyway.
When my boss asked me to work Sat and Sunday, I thought of my FW that I couldn’t wait to try out, and then remembered the fabric so ugly I had to sneak up on it to sew it, and I said I would. So the “Jelly roll race quilt” that’s suposed to take about an hour would have to be done in bits and pieces, and that was ok.

UJ_Fabrics

One thing these Jelly Roll strip quilt instructions don’t tell you is that there is a reason all these quilts turn out to be 50″by 60″. Because after sewing all the strips end to end, each time you fold the strip in half and sew up the side seam you loose half the width. Once you get to a strip set about 100″ long, you have 2 pieces 32″ wide, resulting in the 50″ by 64″ not-wide-enough-or-long-enough-quilt. I mean who uses these 50″by 60″ quilts anyway? Well, probably kids, but I’m not a kid anymore. I just act like it sometimes.

Here’s the detailed mathimagical reason why:

Using the standard Jelly Roll Race Quilt Recipe, your first strip will be  1600″ long and 2.5″ wide
Then you grab the two ends and sew them right sides together for about 800″ long, making it a 2 piece strip set 4.5″ wide
Then you grab the two ends and sew them right sides together for about 400″ long, making it a 4 piece strip set 8.5″ wide
Then you grab the two ends and sew them right sides together for about 200″ long, making it an 8 piece strip set 16.5″ wide
Then you grab the two ends and sew them right sides together for about 100″ long, making it a 16 piece strip set 32.5 wide
and finally,  you grab the last two ends and sew them right sides together for about 50″ long resulting in one piece consisting of a 32 piece strip set 64.5″ wide. If you continue, you’d have a 25″ by 128″ quilt which nobody is shaped like.

You didn’t think I was going to tell you why I act like a kid sometimes, did you?

I came up with this “Random Organised Jelly Roll Quilt” recipe for those over thinkers who do not like complete, caution to the wind style randomness [like me] and want a bigger jelly roll quilt. This will result in an aprox 70″ wide by 80″ long quilt perfect for twin size bed or a nice couch nap.

Ingredients:

2 rolls of 20 strips = 40 mixed browns
14 strips of brown swirl [cut from one yard of fabric] to dilute the ugly and make it bigger
= 54 total brown strips
14 green/blue/brown floral accent strips cut from one yard of fabric, and then cut in 2 pieces = 28 half length strips

Random Organised pattern to avoid simular colors grouping and forming cliques, because nobody likes cliques in real life :

divide by number of accent half strips /28 = 1.9 or round up to 2
So we place one half length accent strip [AC] for every 2 brown strips
but to mix the assorted [ugly] browns with the brown swirl, we have to divide the 40 mixed brown pieces by the 14 brown swirl pcs
40/14=2.8 so 3 Brown Mixed [BM] strips from roll, then 1 Brown Swirl [BS] strips cut from one yard
Pattern = 4 browns and 2 accents would be a 6 pc repeat like this
AC/BM/BM/AC/BM/BS/ . . . AC/BM/BM/AC/BM/BS/ . . . AC/BM/BM/AC/BM/BS/
I sewed the strip ends together in the diagonal pattern instead of straight across. The first strip was about 2800″ long. Then I sewed the two ends together and got a 2 piece strip set aprox 1400″ long. I was planning on doubling it one more time and cutting 10 strips 70″ long, but I like the pattern I saw emerging with the half accent strips at that point, so I cut that 1400″ strip in to 20 pieces 70″ long, and carried them to the bedroom to lay out in my desired pattern.

UJ_numbers

I then numbered a bunch of clothes pins, and placed them on the ends so that all I had to do is play  “match and sew” See how ugly these are up close? Thank God for that brown swirl!

UJ_Quilting

My mega sewing table with all the incerts installed. Ok, well some call it an extending dining table, but we’ll never eat on it. There’s a mighty Viking Husqarna sewing machine in there somewhere, and you can see how those half strip accents came together in an intresting way.

Other details: I used 80/20 Nature’s Touch by Pellon quilt batting, and 505 spray basting. That’s why you don’t see a lot of safety pins. The spray basting is TEMPORARY, so you want to start quilting it imediately, which I did.

After adding a 4.5″ border on only the sides, the final result was 77″ wide by 86″ long. I did the quilting via “Stitch in the Ditch” straight across using my walking foot, every 2 strips or 4″. After washing, it shrank nicely for an all over scrunchiness of 74″ wide by 82″ long. and it’s not so ugly anymore!

Ugly_Jelly

And there you have it! The perfect napping quilt that only a color blind husband [who’s only apperant short comming is failing to close his drawers completely] and a “just can’t do random” person could love!

#UglyJellyQuilt #WhereAreMySunglasses #IfItsStillUglyYouDidntCutItSmallEnough #JustcantDoRandom