Thursday, February 24, 2011

Another Great Tool

 I have another favorite tool to share with you.  I recently cleaned out a drawer and found this handy flashlight.  It is great to use at my sewing machine.  I frequently drop pins and can't see them in the shadows.

So, I turn on the light and the pins sparkle in the light.  It will certainly save my feet from a few pokes.

Do you have a favorite tool?

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Help for Square in a Square Blocks

I've had trouble in the past with my square in a square blocks.  I know you add triangles to each side of the square.  However, mine were always difficult to square up.  So, I finally figured out a few tricks.  

First, I find the center of my triangle and fold right sides together.  Then I fold my square right sides out. 

That way they nest together to line up.  

Pin well. (I used to hate pinning, and yes, it takes a little more time, but it sure saves on accuracy).

Then, here's the trick...Sew with the stretchy triangle on the bottom.

Remember that old line, "Baggy Bottom".  It fits many scenarios.  Here it kept my triangle from shifting, and the pins kept it lined up with the square.

And here is my very nice square in a square block.  The beginning of a very cute table topper to be revealed later.

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Mug Rug Swap Results

I received these mug rugs from Mary today.  They are so sweet.  The center piecing looks like weaving, and the squares are only 1/2 inch.  Amazing work!  I love the little scissors on the fabrics.  They will fit my interests just right!  Thanks Mary!

These are the mug rugs I made to send away.  I sent my partner one of the watermelon ones and the pink one.  The other watermelon one I sent to Lisa.  She is my friend from College days and after she sent me warm college memories, I thought I needed to send her a mug rug.

I hope you enjoy these little bits of sweetness.  Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mug Rugs in Progress

 I've been working on mug rugs for a swap.  Here I chose my fabric and sketched my design idea.

I cut squares and triangles.   The pink squares have crowns and jewels.  The recipient can be queen for the day!

I've sewn triangles to opposite sides of the squares.

And pressed them open.

Sew again,

and press.

I sewed them all together and it is too long.  But, I fixed that...

By adding borders half-way through the side squares.

Here it is ready to be basted.

I decided on my second one, to let the fabric speak for itself.

I will quilt them soon and get the binding on.  They need to be posted by Monday.

I think the trick for the square in a square is to pin the triangle in 3 places to keep it straight while being stitched.  I struggled a little with it here.  I'll try it next time.

Happy sewing!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I have my Mystery up to date

I worked on it all day on Saturday and got it to the same spot as our Guild tutorial.  Only 3 more guild projects to go this month.  

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Border Tutorial

  This is my first tutorial, so I hope you will leave some kind comments at the end. 

Putting borders on a quilt can put fear into some.  Borders not put on correctly will cause problems for your machine quilter.  I've developed a way to put on borders that seems to take out the fear, and leave you with accuracy.  I've developed it from using a conglomerate of tips gleaned over the years, and insight of my own.  Enjoy!

This is our mystery quilt for Quilt Guild.  It is basically adding borders around the quilt over and over again.  Some are pieced borders, and the others are a one-piece border. Great effect, don't you think?

The first thing I do, is measure the quilt through the center.  If it is bigger than my cutting mat, I fold it in half, then, measure it with my acrylic ruler.  I find the accuracy is fine if my quilt and border are both measured the same way, folded or straight. This measurement is 20 1/4 inches

So, now I measure my border piece.  The cutting instructions for this quilt told us the cutting measurements, but thinking they might be borders, I just labeled them for what they would be cut to.  I always measure my quilt before adding borders.  Lots of things can happen while piecing to make the measurement different than the pattern says.

Here, my border is measured from the fold...20 1/4 inches...

and I cut off the excess.

Next, I take the quilt and the border to the ironing board.  I press the quilt in half on the edge the border will be placed.  Here, the quilt is folded wrong sides together.

 Then, I open it up and press each edge to the center, still wrong sides together.

Set the quilt top aside for a moment.  Now, I press the border, right sides together, in the center.

When I open it up, I have a nice crease in the center.

Now, I press each end to the center.

This marks the border at 1/4, 1/2, and 3/4 across the fabric.

 Now, lay the quilt top out, right side up, and lay the border on, right side down.  The creases you made with your iron will nest together.  You will know that they line up.

Now, it doesn't matter if the quilt is creased right sides together, or wrong sides together.  The key is to have the border folds be opposite of the quilt.  Then, the creases will always nest, giving you an easy mark to match.

Now, I pin at the center, each 1/4 way mark, the two ends and then in between each crease.

Now, I take it to my sewing machine and stitch my 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Just a note, here.  If you have one part that has more stretch to it, and the other doesn't, put the stretchy side down while stitching.  I remember it as "Baggy Bottom".  The feed dogs will help it feed evenly and your border will go on great.  Here, my pieced border has more stretch, so I will put it on the bottom.

Be sure to remove the pins as you come to them.  You don't want to break a needle on one.  Also, keep your edges together as you go.

Now, I press, with the seam allowance going to the border.  This eliminates bulk, and your machine quilter will be happier!

Now, repeat the process with your other 3 border.  (Lather, rinse, repeat.)

And here it is with all four borders.

Looks good!  Only 3 more rounds to go for this month.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Need Some February Inspiration?

I thought I might share some of my quilts.  These hang in my house in February and make me feel very much in the mood for Valentine's Day.

This is a mini I made last year.  I really enjoyed the process on this one.

 This is a paper-pieced project.  I bought the kit on a shop-hop.  My mom and sister were signed up for the class and I couldn't go.  So, I brought it home and made it.  It hangs in my Laundry room all year long.

This is a promise stitch wall hanging.  I pieced it and Pam stitched the embroidery.  

 I designed and made this one for a challenge.  I didn't win the challenge, but I love seeing it on my table.

Another applique piece.  I did the applique process in a weekend, then pieced it together.  I did this last year as part of a mini of the month with quilt guild.  This wasn't an assigned one, but I wanted to do it.

This runner was made more than 5 years ago.  I was inspired by a Buggy Barn pattern I had already made.  I wanted this to be for Valentine's Day.  I remember creating it during a wintery month, sitting by the south-facing window to get any sun I could.  It is bright and fun.

It is fun to sew for holidays and then use them each year.  I hope you are inspired, too!