Saturday, February 06, 2016

Baby Stars

This quilt is made using pieces cut from baby clothes, thus I have named it Baby Stars. I love the bright, sweet feel of this quilt!  The color palette was chosen by the mom who sent the clothes, and it made it so easy to choose the fabrics to go with the clothes!
The teal dot I used for the inner border are also used for the back.  I love the way it sets off the colors in the stars.  The colorful elephant border was also a perfect addition, and I am thrilled with the results!

 I cut a 6 1/2 inch square from the outfits if I could.  There were some pieces that were smaller than that, so I bordered them to make a large enough square for the center.  From the leftover pieces after that, I cut pieces for star points.
 I chose a few bright prints that looked good with the center squares, and made 12 1/2 variable star blocks (24 in all)
I meander quilted the white backgrounds, then stitched around the centers, and added quilting around the motifs in the various centers.  For the plain centers I plan on adding hearts, and a few other special motifs to make sure everything is well secured.  I used Warm and Natural batting, Aurifil thread and lightweight stabilizer behind the knit baby outfits.  For the binding I used the fabric in the stars for a fun scrappy binding.  

I am excited to show you the project on my design wall today, but you'll have to wait until Feb. 15th!  My Island Batik quilt uses the Caribbean Splash line and it is amazing, if I do say so myself!  Make sure you check in that week - the Planes, Trains and Automobiles blog hop will be starting that Monday, and there are loads of great projects made from Island Batik that will be revealed!

Friday, February 05, 2016

Valentine Quilt

I have been busy sewing all week long, trying to get several projects over the finish line!  I got this one done yesterday.  It uses 12 fat quarters to make this pretty quilt.

It is a shop sample and will be hanging at Threads That Bind. We'll be offering it as a bundle of 12 fat quarters and the pattern.  (The pattern is a pattern for retailers from Moda)  It was fun to make and I liked that there were strips left over for the binding.  Funny - I made a scrappy binding on two quilts this week!

Anyway - back to the sewing room...there are more quilts to be finished!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Coming Soon!

I'm hard at work at a project I can't show you, but I will be giving a few sneak peaks over the next week or two.  This is for a new Island Batik blog hop starting Feb 15.  That means I'd better get done because I am up first - nothing like a deadline to get me moving!

I'm also working on a ton of other projects, so no getting bored for me.  I've got all my stars made and will be putting the borders on this sweet quilt tomorrow.
The centers of the stars are made from squares cut from baby clothes, as well as some of the star points.  Isn't it bright and cheery?  There was even sunshine this morning while I was sewing, so I was a happy camper.  The iron and I were definitely working well - no harm done by yesterday's crash.  My husband and I had a lovely walk this afternoon and enjoyed a delicious hamburger for a late lunch.  I think I'll just have a bowl of cereal for my dinner tonight!  I might sneak in and finish those borders during the debate...I'm sure my husband will keep me updated on the high points.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Out of Steam

It's been a busy week already, and I am feeling a bit out of steam.  A good night to watch Downton Abbey on my DVR and put my feet up a bit!  I did finish up the cutting and prep for the star blocks I have been working on and hope to get the top pieced tomorrow. I also had a near miss with the iron.  I dropped it against the table and knocked the dial cover off of it.  It snapped back on again and I hope it is all right.  I shall see tomorrow I suppose.   Hopefully a good nights rest and we'll both be functional again!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Tuesday Tips - Sewing Binding by Machine

My most used binding method is sewing the binding to the back by machine, then topstitching on the front by machine.  I've gotten pretty darn good at this, so wanted to share some tips with you - at the end you will find a link to a free downloadable pdf of the information so you can keep it handy.

No Hand Stitch Binding, Machine stitched on Front and Back

1. Square up and trim your quilt top – but first look at step 2. If you don’t want to cut the points off you need to trim the top so you have the correct seam allowance.

2. Cut your binding. The key to a great looking binding is to know your walking foot. Before you start cutting, you must figure out how wide your binding will need to be. The easiest way to be precise in this step is to measure how wide your seam will be to the edge of your walking foot. Simply sew a sample seam and measure. Every foot is different. For a ¼” seam, cut your strips 2”. If your seam is between ¼ and 3/8 (5/16) cut your strips 2.25”. For a 3/8” seam, cut your strip to 2.5”. These instructions are for a snug binding with very little overlap. If you want a little more overlap, simply cut your strip ¼” wider.

3. Cut enough strips to equal 2 x the length plus 2 x the width, plus 16” extra (at the minimum - a little extra length never hurts!)

4. Prepare binding: Join your binding with diagonal seams to minimize lumps. Trim your seam to ¼”, press open. Press the entire strip in half lengthwise.

5. Sew Binding to back of quilt. Start about ¼ of the way down one side of the quilt, leave 8” of binding free, pin here - then audition the binding placement by holding it to the edge all the way around the quilt. Make sure that none of your joins falls at a corner, and make sure you have figured your length correctly. Adjust your starting point if needed, then proceed to stitch where pinned. If you keep a slight tension on your binding as you sew, this will keep your quilt from rippling on the edges (but not too much, or your quilt will draw up at the edges!)

6. Mitering corners: As you come up to the corner, decrease your stitch length slightly. Stop stitching one seam length from the edge.

Rotate your quilt 90 degrees and backstitch off the edge of the quilt.

Raise your needle and pull the quilt towards you slightly (you can cut your thread here or not – I prefer not to).

Pull your binding up and away from you so the cut edge lines up with the side of the quilt.

 Fold your binding down at the top edge of the quilt, lining the cut edges with the edge of the quilt and the fold at the top edge.

 Continue sewing down to the next corner, repeat for all four corners.

7. End your stitching about 8-12 inches from the point that your binding starts from, cut your thread and lay your quilt flat on the table.

 I hope the pictures help you see how to do this- it’s a little tricky, but once you get the hang of it you will be able to join your ends perfectly every time! Pull both end of the binding flat against the quilt so they overlap.

Make sure you pull them snug so your binding will lay flat. 

Cut the top edge of your binding off so it overlaps the bottom by exactly the width of your binding (before it was pressed in half). 

I try to do this in the center of my gap so I have more room to manipulate the ends when I sew them together.

Open the ends of the binding and turn them so they face with right sides together.

Mark a diagonal seam, pin, and stitch.

Before you trim, check that the binding fits properly, then trim, finger press seam open and finish stitch the binding to the quilt.
8.  Turn the quilt over to the top side. Top stitch the binding with a matching thread. I like to use my normal presser foot on my machine for this, but if your walking foot allows for good visibility it could be used. Slow and steady does the best job, and it helps if your foot allows you to see the edge of the binding.
9.  When you get close to the corner prepare to sew the miter.

 Fold the binding up at the bottom first.
Then fold the side over, and carefully stitch until you get to the corner.

 I make a back stitch before I pivot, and stitch one stitch forward and one back after I turn the quilt to make sure the corner is secure.

10. Alternative finishing methods and tips:

Use a decorative stitch to catch the free edge of the binding. Try a blind hem stitch instead of top stitching. Many machines have a variety of decorative stitches that can be used to sew down the edge, making a unique and attractive finish.

You can also sew the binding to the top as in the traditional method, press the binding to the back and top stitch along the edge of the binding on top.

To make sewing the free edge easier you could use basting glue or use a zig-zag stitch to sew a fusible thread along the edge of the quilt to catch the free edge of the binding. You can also use pins or clips to hold the edge in place to make it easier to stitch.

I hope you enjoy this tutorial! I find that doing my bindings by machine is fast and looks great, and am happy to share how I do it.  If you would like a downloadable PDF of this tutorial you can get it here.  Let me know your opinion - have you tried binding by machine and what do you think?  

Monday, January 25, 2016

Allietare Mystery Quilt - Borders are Decided!

One of the perks of a busy weekend working at the quilt shop was that I had the opportunity to shop for the borders for my quilt!  I decided to go with the gold stripe and chose a nice red to go with it.  I hope to get the corners on and the borders sewn on this week - yay for a finished top!  I have determined that this is not going to go in the UFO bin and will be quilted up by the end of February.  I even have the thread ready, so just need to see if I have enough batting left on the roll for one more big quilt.  I will definitely have to start shopping for another roll now.

I worked on a valentine project for the quilt shop today.  I made 16 of these heart blocks:
This is a patten by Moda that uses 12 fat quarters.  I think it will be really pretty, and we'll make up some fat quarter bundles to sell with the pattern.

I worked on some star blocks as well today, plus finished another Dear Jane block in addition to the one I did Sunday.  I picked a simple one today because I didn't have a lot of time.  We had appointments to get our eyes checked today.  Both of us are getting new glasses this time around.  I am looking forward to seeing a bit better!

Here are my blocks - not good pictures today, will have to get some daylight ones tomorrow:



Be sure to check in tomorrow, I am writing a post about machine sewing your binding!