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.

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Once trimed, slice in half both ways

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

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

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Now to agonise over block placement

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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 . . .

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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#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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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!

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

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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.

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

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

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checking them out in my audition booth that I made

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

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Border, or no?

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Yes, a chocolate border it is!

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Finished!

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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.

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#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.
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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.

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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!

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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!

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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