Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wednesday Project - Miniature Snowball and Nine-patch (part 2)

Today I promise you quick, fun and easy nine-patches, so lets get started!

Using the strips from last weeks step, (they should measure about 1 1/2" x 32", divide them in to 4 sets of three strips.

You will sew two sets with the lightest strip in the center position and two sets with the darkest strip in the center. Sew the first two strips together at the long sides, and press to the dark.

Then sew the third strip on and press this seam towards the dark. These strips should measure 3 1/2" x about 32".

Place one strip on the cutting board and square up the end of the strip by cutting at a 90 degree angle from the bottom of the strip.

Then, cut across the width of the strip in 1 1/2" strips.

Make sure you are making 90 degree cuts so you have nice squares when you sew them together. You can also use this nifty June Taylor ruler.

It has slits, so you can make a series of cuts without having to worry about moving and squaring up your ruler with every cut. Repeat for all 4 sets of strips. You should have a total of around 80 strips.

Mix up all your strips, then start sewing them together in pairs. You will sew 25 sets of pairs first, press, then add one more set of strips to your squares to make your nine-patches. Make sure to mix up the strips as you sew them, and avoid sewing the same sets together to make it look nice and scrappy. You have a few extra strips, so this will make it easier to make sure the last few blocks work out without having to plan ahead too much.

Press once more. Your squares should measure 3 1/2" x 3 1/2". Aren't they cute, and so easy to make! No one will believe you did it with strips!

Next week we will sew our blocks together to make the top. I've got some good tips to help out, so you'll want to check in and see how I do it!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wednesday Project - Miniature Snowball and 9-Patch Quilt

This is the debut of my Wednesday Project feature. Each Wednesday I am going to give you instructions for a basic quilting project. Some will be complete in one day, some will be a series. This first project will be a series - Miniature Snowball and Nine-Patch.

To make this project you will need:

12 strips: 1 1/2 inches by 45 inches of a variety of blue fabrics from light to dark.
1 Fat Quarter white or white on white fabric.
1/3 yard blue fabric for border.

For todays step you will cut 8 squares 1 1/2 inches from each blue strip for a total of 96 squares
Cut 24 squares 3 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches from the white fat quarter.

This technique is one of my favorite ways to add a triangle to the corner of a square, and is especially handy for working with miniatures.

Simply lay your white 3 1/2" square face up. On the top right corner place a blue 1 1/2" square, aligning the edges.

Stitch from the top left corner of the blue square to the bottom right corner of the blue square.

Trim your seam allowance 1/4 inch from your stitching line.

Press triangle toward the outside of the block.

I like to chain piece my snowballs - I simply overlap the squares and sew the corners in one long line.

You can stitch, trim and press each corner at once, but I prefer to do all my sewing, then all my trimming, and finish with pressing.

You should now have 24 snowball blocks. Check back next week and we will make all of our nine-patch blocks without cutting individual squares - the fast, easy and fun way!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Tools of the Trade

Yes, I'm sure that all quilters use cordless drills and hammers to create their works of art. Actually I have been at work rearranging my sewing room and organizing my projects. At first I wasn't sure how I liked how I placed things, but over the last week I've gotten used to the new look and am really happy!

I now have a place to put my ironing board so it isn't in the way of everything else, and was able to attach my power strip to my sewing table so I now have a great way to plug in the iron. My new iron is not an auto shut off, but now I can just hit the button on the power strip when I leave the room and don't have to worry about whether or not I remembered to shut off the iron.

I added a new shelf for some of the pretties so I can get them up out of the way, and made a spot to keep my laptop in the sewing room with me. I bought a great TV stand on wheels that holds my magazines and current projects, so I always know where the things I need to work on are. I have a whole corner for my scrap project, so that is fairly well organized and easy to work on. All in all it looks pretty good, and as soon as I cross some of these projects off my list I will be in great shape!

I have been thinking about my blog and what I want to accomplish with it, and have some great plans for some instructional posts, quilt blocks, and lots of other fun stuff, so bear with me while I get my act together and I'll see if I can't whip this sorry thing into something I can really be proud of! In the meantime, I think I will put my tools away, straighten the sewing room and go do some hand-quilting and tv-watching.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Quilt Guild Half-Nighter

Friday was our Quilt Guild Half-Nighter. We decided all night quilting marathons are not that productive so now we quilt from 10 am to 10 pm a couple times a year. We didn't have a huge turnout, but those that came had a wonderful time and did a lot of sewing! We didn't even make it until 10, though, it was all pretty much over by 9:00. I got a quilt binding done, finished piecing a top and got a queen sized quilt basted - I was thrilled by my productivity and quite tired by the end of the day.

I taught a very quick demo on how to do a disappearing 9-patch. The ladies all loved it and I hope to see a lot of quilts come out of it! I spent most of my day sewing up the rest of my 5 inch charms that I had cut from some of my older stash. All florals, lots of odd ball colors, and many of them being 99 cent a yard fabric from the 80's! Nothing matchy or wonderful, but it all works together to make a colorful quilt top that will make a nice quilt when it's finished.

I tried taking the quilt outside for a picture, but it was too windy, so I laid it out on the grass - I'll bet if you have been quilting for more than 10 years you might have some of these fabrics in your stash, too!