Ugly Jelly Part deux Gets Prettier – Baby Quilt

Ugly Jelly Part deux Gets Prettier – Baby Quilt

Sew, when I last posted, I had a pile of scrap strips sets left over, from the Ugly Jelly Part deux – Baby Quilt, waiting for me to make into a  quilt for the other Twin baby. At first, it didn’t look promising.

Stripped_PinWheel_Fabric_Leftovers

I really liked the Arkansas Traveler block and had it on my todo list. There are several versions, of this 4 patch diamond in a square block, but they are all put together with the diamonds touching in the middle, making a striking pattern.

Arkansas Traveler Block that inspired me is located here.

Looking at it for the first time, I already knew there had to be a way to make it with strips sets, and skip the paper piecing. I filed it away in my brain to make it one day.
After about 48 hours of contemplating how to make a quilt out of the scraps from yet another ugly jelly quilt, The part of my brain that had stored this pattern, and the part that was looking for a pattern finally lined up. This could be the perfect block. They were in strip sets already, and I wanted to make this block in strip sets, so why not?

As it turned out, some ladies I met at my first all day sew, spied my featherweight, and told me about a new FW [Do I have to keep spelling out Featherweight?] group that was to meet the first Fri of the month, and even though I had to work that Fri, I went after work. For an hour. I usuallly don’t work on Friday’s but sometimes I do. [Can you say “more pretty fabric?”] Why not check out this group for an hour instead of being stuck there all day possibly feeling uncomfortable, right? I mean, I have never been in any sort of sewing group before. I hoped it wouldn’t be like school where people form groups simply to exclude other people. I really like my FW, but it’s just a sewing machine. It doesn’t make me better than anyone else. It turned out that they were all very nice ladies, and no one gave me that first day at high school impression. Yay!
Being ya’ll don’t know me that well yet, I’ll just tell you I am very curious. I like to know how stuff works, and won’t stop until I find out, and I poke around in stores, just to see if they have anything that looks either pretty or handy. Seeing I didn’t have any time to sew, I did just that. Low and behold, I found June Tailor’s “Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend” 60 degree slotted ruler! Oh yeah, I’m a ruler junky, too. “I need this” I announced. I probably startled somebody, but was too excited to care.
I had already made a few cuts in my strip sets, but it had been slow going. Too much time aligning the ruler for one cut. Ugh! I rushed home with my new toy, and unwrapped this baby quickly. Easy to line up,  make 3  cuts, and get 2 at a time.

Then I paired up my 2 piece diamond strips, and began sewing them together.

That was the easy part. Oh, it wouldn’t have been, if I had to cut each diamond and make 4 patches out of them. Thank you June Tailor!

Now to take that paper piece template, cut the 2 pieces a little bigger than neccessary, and cut those from strips instead of using larger cuts to paper piece. I used 2.5 by 9 inch long strips for the small pieces, and 2.5 by 11 inches long for the large ones. Any left overs were cut into 2.5 by 2.5 squares for other quilts.

I taped the template piece to my ruler, and lined it up at and angle to cut.

Then I chain pieced one semi-triangular piece to my 4 patch diamonds at a time. These don’t have to be perfect because like the paper piece pattern, I will be trimming each finished block.

The other Arkansas Traveler quilts I have seen, all have the 4 blocks sewn together points tounching, to make the larger blocks.  One quilt I saw has these large blocks alternate with the same size block in the background fabric, which I liked the look of, but a baby quilt is too small for the alternate pattern to show up, so I had an idea.

Arkanasa_Traveler_Blocks_SquaringUp

Instead of sewing all 4 of the diamond blocks together to make one block, I would sash them and use cornerstones that alternate the color and background fabrics.

Arkanasa_Traveler_Block_Assembled

No matter where your eyes fall on it, the blocks join their neighbor to make the bigger block. It also looks a bit like butterflys.

Arkansas_Traveler_Top_50x57

I hadn’t put a border on the matching pinwheel quilt yet, because I want to make these quilts the same size. Which turned out to be a good thing, because this quilt was too long. Ugh! First I removed a row. Then it was too short. So I unsewed the row in half, and then turned it to match the pattern, and sewed it back on.

The pinwheel was quilted with straight lines in the ditch outlining the pinwheels. Then I read the quilt spacing specs for the batting I was using [2 to 4 inches – who DOES that?], and after kicking myself, I had Emmy Lou do her serpentine stitch through the middle of each one.
The Arkansas Traveler was quilted in the ditch down the sides of the long sashing pieces first. Then I came in on the sides following the sashing, and stopping at every 4 patch diamond, and did a sort of figure eight.

Arkanasa_Traveler_Quilting

That was a lot of turning, but I like how it looks.

Arkanasa_Traveler_Quilting01

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

Arkanasa_Traveler_Quilt_Complete03

They both got the same binding, washed up nice, and are boxed and ready to ship.
I really like these twin quilts. It almost looks like I know what I’m doing.
I am really done with pink now.

#ArkansasTraveler #TwinQuilts #DoneWithPink #UglyJellyQuilt #UglyHasATwinSister #IfItsStillUglyYouDidn’tCutItSmallEnough

Ugly Jelly Part deux – Baby Quilt

Ugly Jelly Part deux – Baby Quilt

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

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

WHAT were they thinking?

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

Each strip set of 2 will get  8 pieces to make 2 blocks, with some serious leftovers. Only 3 more squares = not enough for another block. I will worry about that later.

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

Stripped_PinWheel_Cut_01

Turn and cut again

Stripped_PinWheel_Cut_02

Turn again, and cut again.

Stripped_PinWheel_Cut_03

Once more.

Stripped_PinWheel_Cut_04

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

Stripped_PinWheel_Cut_05

These blocks can be arranged either way.

Stripped_PinWheel_Blocks_Makes2

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

Stripped_PinWheel_Fabric_UglyJellysAgain

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

Stripped_PinWheel_Fabric_TimelessTreasures

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

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

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

Stripped_PinWheel_Sit_N_Spin

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

Stripped_PinWheel_Blocks_Assembly_No_Iron

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

Stripped_PinWheel_Blocks_Assembly_Chain_Piecing_02

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

Stripped_PinWheel_Blocks_Assembly_Chain_Piecing

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

Stripped_PinWheel_Blocks_Assembly_Chain_Piecing_01

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

Stripped_PinWheel_Blocks_Arrangement

Tips:

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

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

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

Stripped_PinWheel_Assembled_Top

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

Stripped_PinWheel_Fabric_Leftovers

Stay tuned. It gets prettier! I promise.

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

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

Stripped_PinWheel_Top_50x55

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

Stripped_PinWheel_Quilting_01

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

Stripped_PinWheel_Quilting

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

Stripped_PinWheel_Quilting_03

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

Stripped_PinWheel_Quilted

#UglyJellyQuilt #UglyHasABaby #IfItsStillUglyYouDidn’tCutItSmallEnough #QuiltInAWeekend

Quarter Square Triangle from Layer Cake Alternative

Quarter Square Triangle from Layer Cake Alternative

Today, lets play with two 10 in squares sliced 4 times to get 8 Quarter Square Triangles, or QST’s.

I am a Jenny fan, and I do buy precuts, but many times I want to make additional blocks to make the quilt bigger, or I run into a piece in a pack that I don’t want to use for the quilt I am making.
This will require hitting my stash for co-ordinating fabric, and knowing what size that block is and how much fabric I need, would be helpful.
So if you want to know just what size block you get when you slice and dice a 10 inch square 4 times, like in Jenny’s  Checkered Lattice Quilt, here you go:

I grabbed some crappy scraps and sewed them right, or as I like to say “pretty” sides together with a 1/4″ seam on all 4 sides. In reality, I sewed these wrong sides together, but I didn’t rip the stiches out, because A: No side of this fabric was very pretty, and B: this was only an experiment.
PRETTY sides together folks!
I sliced my sandwich in half using Missouri Star’s wonderful 5×15 ruler in each direction.

Two_Ten_Inch_Square_Cut_8Pcs_01

Then I sliced the sandwich corner to corner in each direction, making 8 pieces.

Two_Ten_Inch_Square_Cut_8Pcs_02

Each piece will be a 2 color triangle measuring 4 3/4″ tall and about 9 1/2″ long.

The backside is shown here

Two_Ten_Inch_Square_Cut_8Pcs_03

It is important to note that you get 4 with blue on the left and 4 with blue on the right.

Two_Ten_Inch_Square_Cut_8Pcs_Makes8QSTs_01

I sewed them together, matching up the opposite colors.

Two_Ten_Inch_Square_Cut_8Pcs_Makes8QSTs_03

If you do this, you will get almost 6 1/2″ block.

Two_Ten_Inch_Square_Cut_8Pcs_Makes8QSTs_04

If you trim sparingly, you will get 6 1/8 which is odd, so I recommend trimming to an even 6″ which I did not do here. It’s difficult to trim to 6 1/8, so I won’t do that again!

Make sure you get your corners better than I did below! See the top two? You’ll see them later in the finished block as cut off points!

Two_Ten_Inch_Square_Cut_8Pcs_Makes8QSTs_05

#WhyWeExperimentWithCrappyFabric

Two_Ten_Inch_Square_Cut_8Pcs_Makes8QSTs_06

and here’s our cut off points, right smack in the middle!

Two_Ten_Inch_Square_Cut_8Pcs_Makes8QSTs_07

Sewing those four 6 1/8 blocks gets you one 11 3/4 block, but if you trim to 6″, count on getting 11 1/2″

Two_Ten_Inch_Square_Cut_8Pcs_Makes8QSTs_08

Here’s the “pretty” side.  Ooops!

Two_Ten_Inch_Square_Cut_8Pcs_Makes8QSTs_09

 

 Alternative for additional blocks or Stash busting instructions:
I measured the results of the 8 piece cutting method, and discovered you can get the same cut with two 5″ squares!
Can you say “Charm Pack Hack”?

 

Two_Ten_Inch_Square_Cut_8Pcs_04

Yes, two charms will make 2 of the same size QST’s as Jenny’s method above.
Note that these are not Half Square Triangles [HST’s] so you can’t sew them corner to corner.
You have 2 options.
1. Sew down opposite sides which will give you two of the same QSTs.
Cutting from the bottom left to the top right as shown, will give you two with the top color [blue] on the right, and the bottom neutral color on the left.
If you cut from the bottom right to the top left [not shown], you will get two pieces with your top color [blue] on the left.

However, once you turn one upside down to sew it to the other, they will line up perfectly for the checkered lattice quilt.
OR
2. sew down one side plus around the corner like an L shape. Cutting diagonally through the point where the stitch lines meet, will give you two opposite QST’s, one with blue on the right, and one with blue on the left. [shown with red number 3]

Now if you take these two opposites [red #3] and face them together, they won’t be opposite anymore. The two blues will be next to each other!  I only included this option  in case you need to replace a block or two. Misstakes happen!

Two_Ten_Inch_Square_Cut_8Pcs_05b

Lets take example number 1 and play a bit . . .

When you cut it, go ahead and cut it corner to corner, and remove those few stitches.

You will get 2 of the same pieces which will line up as opposites.

Now lets sew them together, and here is our square again. See the pretty side up? I can learn!

Charm_Pack_Hack_04

Even though this block cries out for prettier fabric, I have 2 quilts going on right now, and  I’m not getting out more fabric, so here is the Checkered Lattice block made with 2 crappy charms. It trims to 7 1/2 inches.

That means one charm pack [of 40 pieces] will get you 20 blocks, which if placed 4 across and 5 down, will get you a 28×35 quilt before borders.

2 charm packs +4 extra pieces makes 42 blocks to get 6 across and 7 down for a 42×49 quilt before borders.

When trimming/squaring up this block, make sure you get the 3 3/4″ mark in the center, and your corners on the fabric color change for the best results when assembling.

Charm_Pack_Hack_05

 

There you have it. A charmpack Hack by Yours truly,

PrettyCurious, author of WhatWerks

 

#CheckeredLatticeQuilt #10inchSquaresSliced4Times #PrecutAlternative #LayerCakeHacks #CharmPackHack #TheydontCallMePrettyCuriousForNothing #MistakesHappen

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

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!