Thursday, April 14, 2011

Quilter's Accountability Report, a Day Late...

Well, Bari was going to be a day late this week with her QA report, so I figured that gave me an extra day to tackle my VERY long list. Let's see how I did this week.

1. Finish charity top from blocks made by mystery guild member (from previous QA post and above). Done.

2. Add borders to As Time Goes By quilt, make backing and binding (from previous QA post and above). Inner border added, I just decided between two possible fabrics for the outer border this morning.

3. Make top for this month's UFO for the Judy L UFO Challenge project. I'm 0 for 3 so far, so I'd really like to get the April UFO done. I realized, too late, that I can't do this one at the moment -- it's at the house in Ohio, and I'm not.

4. Finish the Winterscape top (January's UFO Challenge project), make backing and binding. Nope, didn't touch it.

5. Make the backing and binding for the TB Goose in the Pond (February's UFO Challenge project). Done -- well, the binding was already made, but I did get the backing made for it. No picture, it's just a quilt back. Pictures when the quilt's finished ;-)

6. Finish the Bargello top (March's UFO Challenge project). Nope, didn't touch it.

7. Quilt the Oak Leaf and Reel quilt that I have loaded on the machine. (See the picture, admittedly not a very good one, on last week's Monday's Design Wall post.) Nope, didn't get to it -- where did the time go this week?

8. Quilt and bind the Quilts for Kids quilt (which can also be seen on last week's Monday's Design Wall post). This should really be #1 on my list, and I think it's the thing I'll tackle first. Done and in the mail.

For next week, I'm going to be on the road quite a bit. My mother's having surgery on Tuesday (April 19), so I'll be going to be with my parents for a while. I don't know if I'll be able to post for the next couple weeks, but I'll set some goals for while I'm gone, all the same.

1. Piece Max & Miss Kitty top.

2. Piece Diadem top.

3. Finish piecing Improvisational quilt.

4. Quilt and bind Strippy Mini.

5. Quilt and bind Mini Bow Ties.

6. Quilt and bind Colorwash TATW wallhanging, and add a sleeve. Leave with mom for Mother's Day.

7. Finish mom's jacket, and leave it with her.

That ought to keep me out of trouble! Check out Bari's blog, to see how others did on their lists last week.

Thanks for stopping by to play. Come back again soon.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Machine Binding Tutorial

So, a friend whom I showed my binding method to a while back was doing another binding the other day, and was wishing for pictures to remind herself of the steps. Well, as it happened, I had something I was working on binding, so I took pictures as I went along, and besides sending them to her, I thought I'd post them here along with some instructions, for anyone who may be interested in how I do my quilt bindings entirely by machine. I did the best I could with the pictures, but only having two hands sometimes it was challenging to both do something, and take a picture of it all at once.

First, I sew the binding to the BACK of the quilt, and not as one continuous strip, but as four separate strips. I start and stop a seam allowance away from the corner, backstitch at the beginning and the end of the seam, and I allow about 1-1/2"-2" to hang over at each end. Here's what one corner looks like after the strips have been added:

A note on binding widths and seam allowances. In these pictures, I'm working with strips cut at 2-1/2", and pressed in half, and I'm using a scant 3/8" seam allowance. More commonly I do a narrower binding, using strips cut at 2" and a 1/4" seam allowance. When I bind a flannel quilt with a flannel binding, I cut those strips at 6-1/2", and take a 1" seam allowance. This technique works with any strip width and seam allowance that you like to use.

After you sew all four strips to the back of your (quilted and trimmed) quilt, check each corner, to make sure you haven't caught one strip in the other seam allowance. As you can see, your start/stop stitching points will probably NOT be in exactly the same spot. That's okay, as long as they're close. Believe me, it'll work.

The next thing to do is to stitch the miters into the corners. To do this, you'll work on one corner at a time. First lay the quilt out flat, and work on one of the two strips that meet at that corner. You'll be marking on the side that will eventually be to the inside of the front, so what you mark with doesn't matter too much unless it bleeds through. I've used pencil, chalk marker, regular pen, and my favorite, a silver metallic Gelly Roll pen (which I've found shows on virtually every fabric). For the photos, I'm using a black pen so it'll show well.

Align a horizontal line of your ruler with the binding seam line, with the edge of the ruler at the point at which you started or stopped stitching.

Either make a dot right at the binding fold line along the edge of the ruler,

Or if you prefer, draw a line from the seam start/stop point to the fold of the binding, along the edge of the ruler.

Next, align the 45 degree line on your ruler with the binding fold line, and the long edge of the ruler with the start/stop stitching point.

Draw a line from the start/stop stitching point that goes at least past the middle of the binding strip. It does not have to go all the way to the fold.

Now align the 45 degree line of your ruler with the seam line, and the long edge of the ruler with the dot you made at the fold line, or if you drew a line there instead as I did, with the place where that line touches the fold.

Draw a line from the fold edge, at least through the middle of the binding strip. You're drawing a "corner," essentially. This will be your miter.

Fold your quilt so that the backing is to the inside, and the two strips that meet at the corner are on top of each other. The rest of your quilt will form a 45 degree angle going away from the corner you're working on. Keep the folded edges of the two binding strips matched up and even. The binding seam allowances should get pushed towards the quilt.

Pin them to keep those edges together. This is how I pin mine, but you may find something else that works for you -- you don't want to pin in the lines you drew, as you'll be sewing there.

Now you'll sew -- the first line, if you drew a line instead of a dot, does NOT get sewn on. The two lines that you drew by aligning the 45 degree line of the ruler with the binding fold and the binding seam are the lines you'll sew on, sewing in a corner or a big "V." First, sink the needle at the fold edge, right on the drawn line.

Using a very short stitch length (I use about a 0.8 setting on my machine), sew towards the corner formed by the intersection of the lines. Pivot at the intersection.

Sew towards, but NOT all the way to, the start/stop stitching point. Believe me, a gap there won't be a problem, but catching something in the seam that's not supposed to be there will. I'm usually somewhere between 1/8" - 3/16" away from the start/stop stitching point. It's important to sew as close as possible to exactly ON the lines you drew. You may find an open-toe foot helpful for this.

Here it is after it's been sewn. Note the stitching does NOT extend past the "corner."

Trim very close to the stitching, trimming away the extra binding "overhang." I like to blunt the tip at the corner slightly but cutting straight across there.

Because I cut so close, even though I use a really tiny stitch length, I like to use a seam sealant on those cut edges. There are several brands available, but this is the one I use:

This picture is a bit inaccurate, due to the only having two hands thing. Apply the seam sealant sparingly, right along the cut edge. Allow it to dry (this doesn't take long -- if I stitch one corner and trim it and apply seam sealant, and continue doing each corner in this way as I go, by the time I finish the fourth corner, the first is completely dry and ready to be turned).

Turn the corner right side out, poking it GENTLY with something with a blunt point on it. I usually use my That Purple Thang, but couldn't find it when I was doing this binding. So I'm using the back end of this seam ripper, the blue "tail" bit. You can use the handle of a small paintbrush, a mechanical pencil (with the lead retracted, though!), or anything similar. DON'T use anything sharp, and DON'T get too vigorous with the poking. Work gently and patiently to turn it right side out.

Here's how the corner looks after the point's been turned right side out. Nice stitched-in miter in place ;-)

To stabilize the corners for stitching the binding down, I like to use Elmer's School Glue. It's important that it be School Glue, because it's not really an adhesive, it's a starch. That's why it's okay if the kids eat it, and it also means that it won't gum up your needle, or your pins.

Apply glue on the seam allowance of the quilt top, position the binding in place to cover the seam line,

and pin in place to hold it. I only glue and pin the corners, but you can do the same thing all the way around if you want to. I'd suggest just working on a few inches at a time.

Once the glue sets up just a bit, it's time to sew the binding down again. With the quilt top facing up, you'll stitch the binding down on the front, just covering the first seam line with the fold of the binding. I've used all kinds of stitches to secure the binding -- a blanket stitch, a feather stitch, a serpentine stitch, a blind hem stitch, and others. In this example I'm going to use a simple zigzag. You want the left swing of the needle to just catch the fold of the binding. If you don't glue and pin the whole length of the binding, you're only concerned with a few inches in front of the needle at a time -- you'll stop frequently to make sure the binding fold is just covering the first binding seam line (from when you sewed the binding strips to the back of the quilt). This is the quilt in position to start stitching, with the needle sunk in just at the binding fold edge.

If you keep the left swing of the needle quite close to the fold, and keep the fold just covering the seam line, you'll get a nice even edge with neat stitching on the front,

and fairly even stitching on the back as well.

Personally, I don't worry if my stitching on the back wanders off the binding a bit -- I still think it's a nice neat finish. I don't make quilts for competitions, though, but to be used and loved. I think this finishing method is a lot more secure than MY hand stitching would be, and I really don't enjoy the hand stitching. So this works for me. I hope you find the instructions helpful.

Thanks for coming by to play. Come back again soon.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Last Two...

Here are the final two projects on my UFO list for this quarter's UFO Club in the Quilters Knitting group on Ravelry.

First is a jacket for my mother, which uses a sweatshirt as a base. You can see the neck opening in the middle there -- I'll cut up the front once I get all the fabrics attached and stitched down. The sleeves have no fabrics on them as yet -- I need to double-check the length of them before I do that. Once all the fabrics are applied, they get stitched down, then the whole thing gets quilted, embellished with couched-down novelty yarns and/or trims and Swarovski crystals, and reassembled. My mother saw the one I made for myself, which I started in a class with Connie Spurlock at the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo one year (don't ask me which year, though! I can't recall.). She really liked it, so much that she asked me to make her one. I've had this in progress for a couple years now, but I have a hard time getting interested in working on it -- I don't really like to repeat projects. There are lots of fabrics in here -- a lot of Laurel Burch from the Ocean Song line, but quite a few random other brights as well. This will be a loud and happy jacket!

This last project I thought was at the house in Ohio, but then last night I found it downstairs with a bunch of other kits I want to cut and have ready to go. There are four stitched kitty blocks, which have been done for quite some time now. They get set on point with the kitten toile, which is pinned up on the design wall next to the blocks. It's a print from about 8 years ago by Judy Sabanek. I'm pretty sure I got this as a kit the one and only time I went to the AQS show in Paducah, which was 2004. I did the stitchery shortly after that, and that's as far as I got. It's time to finish it up, so we can enjoy the kitties. This pattern is called "Max & Miss Kitty," and it's by MJP Designs, though it doesn't appear to still be available on the website. I can't wait to get this one finished, and see how it looks. Of course, I saw the sample when I bought the kit, but I really don't remember what it looked like now.

So there you have it. All the projects I'm hoping to complete by the end of June, for this quarter's UFO Club. I know that's a lot, but I think I can do it. I'm certainly going to give it my best shot!

Thanks for coming by to play. Come back again soon.

What's on the Design Wall Today?

This week there are two things on my design wall. First is blocks in blues and greens, from a pattern called "Sassy Sixteen" by Kimberly Crenshaw. Her pattern calls for 16 fat quarters, but I had more. She also calls for a border of squares all the way around, cut from the same fabrics, the same width as all the rectangles in the blocks. I cut the squares, but I doubt I'll use them. Instead, I have about 4 or 5 fabrics I like for borders. I'm not yet sure if I'll use all of them, or some of them, or none of them. I'll get the blocks sewn together first, then decide. I made these blocks at the retreat I was on at the beginning of March. I'm liking this one, and want to get it finished soon! They're 12" (finished) blocks, set 5x6, so without borders it'll measure 60"x72". That might just be good enough on its own, I don't know yet.

This is DNP (disappearing nine patch) blocks from the Moda line called "Cider Mill Road." I just LOVE that fabric line, and bought several charm packs of it. I have a couple fabrics from the line for borders on this one, and I think it'll need them. If my arithmetic is working properly here, before borders it'll measure 52" square. I really don't like square quilts too much, so I'll probably make the top and bottom borders wider than the side borders, to turn it into more of a rectangle. On the other hand, I'm not totally set on this block arrangement yet -- I might decide to turn them on point! We'll see when I get there.

Both of these projects are on my Spring UFO Club project list from the Quilters Knitting group on Ravelry.

Check out Judy's blog, and see what others have on their Design Walls.

Thanks for stopping by to play. Come back again soon.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

(Almost) The Last of the Spring UFO Club Projects

Here are (almost) the rest of the Spring UFO Club projects I put on my list. There are two more which are up on my Design Wall, which I'll save for tomorrow's Design Wall Monday post. And there are two others that I don't have pictures of yet. One of them is at the house in Ohio. And the other is, um, shall we say "buried" in the sewing room. I'll have to pull it out, though, this next week. So when I find unearth it, I'll get its picture and post it as well.

This is another project from one of The Door Mouse's overnight classes. This is from a book called One Block Says it All, although I can't recall the author's names offhand. I think Juanita Simonich was one of them, but don't quote me on that. This is huge -- if I recall correctly, it's between 96" and 104" square. I don't remember which, but it's big. This design is called "Anniversary Star." I really like it a lot. But then, I like most of my UFOs, begging the question as to why they're not yet finished ;-)

This is a Marti Michell pattern called "Hexagon Pinwheels." I'd say the reason for the name is obvious. I did this one in a class at A Piece in Time in roughly 2002. Could have been 2001, but I don't think so. This is a throw size.

This is from a pattern called "The Jelly Maker's Cabin," by Kimberly Crenshaw. I had the strip sets made and pressed and sub-cut, and took it that way to a retreat, where I assembled the top as Leaders and Enders for sewing the borders on a LOT of other tops. If my arithmetic is correct, it should measure 52"x76" or a good sized throw. I really like this one, too.

This was a mystery quilt from (I think) Christmas Eve of 2008, from a Yahoo group I used to be a member of. Unfortunately, I can't recall what group it was now, nor any more of the designer's name than that her first name is Dorothy. I believe she called this design "Mosaic Tiles." It's hard to see, but the focus fabric and outer border is balls of yarn ;-) When it's finished, I'll take a closeup picture of that. This one's a twin size, and I just love the colors in it.

One of the quilt guilds I belong to did a beginning quilting class as part of their education offerings. To be supportive, and to see what I might not yet know, I took the class. I'd been wanting to do an all-neutral quilt, so I used this class as a way to incorporate that challenge. I see that at this distance, some of the blocks don't show up very well, so this is another one that will need closeup pictures when it's finished. The backing of this one has some leftover blocks and other fun stuff going on. I'll show that with the finished beauty shot, once I get it quilted and bound.
Check back tomorrow for my Design Wall post, and see two of the last four projects from my list. The other two will appear in random posts when I get pictures of them.

More Spring UFO Club Projects

So now I had a helper and daylight, although we WERE burdened by a windy day for it. Still, at least they're pictures, even if they're not the best pictures.

This first one is one I showed in a previous picture yesterday, as blocks. Here it is all put together and with borders. I don't have measurements for these, but the blocks are 16" so this would be a good-sized throw. I'm calling this one November Stars, which I think I explained in my earlier post, so I won't go through it again.

This is from the pattern "Take Five." It's a good sized throw, too. It's hard to see, but the fabric that started it all is the outer border fabric, which is also in the blocks. It's a sewing notions print, and I'm a sucker for those. I pulled fabrics to go with it, and just used a simple pattern so that I could just enjoy the fabrics for what they are. I really love the colors in this one.

This top came out of a group I used to belong to, called "Stash Sisters." The idea, obviously, was to do things from stash. One year we did a different kind of BOM (block of the month). Each of us took a month, and when it was our month we brought in a block pattern, with copies for everyone, and a sample of the block made up. Each of us went home and made our own blocks in our own fabrics. So I made all my own blocks, but didn't choose all of them -- they were chosen by the different members. This is hard to see, but there are blues and greens and teals and reds all in this quilt top. The setting idea came from a pattern in QUILT magazine a few years ago, though that pattern just used two alternating blocks. This one is somewhere between a twin and a double size, I'd guess.

This was the result of a fun night out. There's a delightful quilt shop, sort of in the middle of nowhere in northwestern Ohio, called The Door Mouse. When I lived in Cleveland, Ohio, it was a shop that we would sometimes go on "field trips" to. They have a really large selection, and if you're looking for it and can't find it there, chances are you won't find it. Anyhow, they used to periodically do overnight classes. It would run from 6 PM until 6 AM, and included breakfast. Folks brought snacks to share, and we sewed all night. I went to several of those, and they were a lot of fun. This was the project from one of those, I think it was back in 1998. I've had the top done since shortly after the class, and it's probably been basted up since at least 1999. It's time to get it quilted and start using it! I don't have measurements for it yet, but it's obviously wider than DH's "wingspan," but not as long as you'd want it, I think, for a bed quilt. But that's just me speculating, at this point. When it's finished, I'll measure it. I LOVE this one.

This was a day-long Thimbleberries mystery quilt class at Abigayle's Quiltery, back in early 1999. I just recently finished assembling the top (it would get put aside for long stretches at a time), and I'm ready to see it finished at last. This is probably a twin size or close to it.

That's my five pictures that Blogger lets me upload at a time. I just find it too fiddly to go back and add more pictures, so I'll do another post with more. It should be up soon -- stay tuned!

Thanks for stopping by to play. Come back again soon.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Still More Spring UFO Club Projects

Here are some more of the UFOs I included on my list for this quarter's Spring UFO Club in the Quilters Knitting group on Ravelry. I'm really going to make a huge effort to finish all or at least most of these projects.

This first one is called "Crazy Stained Glass." I just need to put wider black strips on two sides of the corner squares, add them to the border strips, and sew the border strips to the quilt top. Then of course I'll need to quilt and bind it. If I don't put another black border beyond what's there now, it will finish at 55" square, a large wallhanging. All this fabric is from the Quiltmaker's Gift line, which tells you how long ago I made this top. I really love this one.

These are difficult to see in this picture, but they're stitchery blocks. I stitched them all on 10" squares of muslin with brown perle cotton. This is from a pattern book called "Chocolage," and all the blocks say something about chocolate. For example "Chocolate comes with a price. Control-Top pantyhose," and "I am a woman of many moods, and they all require chocolate." There are 16 blocks in total. I'm going to use the fabrics you see in the next picture along with these blocks,

and make a quilt from it all. I'm still figuring out the design, at the moment. I'd originally thought log cabin, but those are Jelly Rolls, and log cabin blocks from Jelly Roll strips might tend to be big and clunky looking. Or at least I'm afraid they might. I'm sure I'll come up with something.

More photos of UFO Club projects tomorrow, after I take them. I didn't get all the way through the list when I was taking pictures earlier.

Thanks for stopping by to play. Come back again soon.

More Spring UFO Club Candidates

Here are some more of the UFOs I hope to complete this quarter, as part of the Quilters Knitting Spring UFO Club on Ravelry. Wish me luck!

First is a wallhanging from a class I took last fall at the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo in Kansas City, from Debbie Kratovil. It's a pattern called "Diadem," and I have to sew the pieced corners (which are all made, even though I only have a few in the photo) to the floral squares, then assemble the top, add borders, quilt and bind it. According to the pattern, it will finish at 40" square.

This is a small Christmas Bowtie quilt. It measures 13"x16-1/2" and the bowtie blocks are 3" square. This just needs quilted and bound, and a sleeve added of course. I made this in the winter of 2006-2007, when we were relocating to Missouri and I was in the hotel while DH was working, and didn't have a lot to do. It was productive sewing time for me then, but for some reason I never went ahead and finished it all the way.

This picture was just me trying to be a little bit funny. This is what's done so far on Triple Chain, which was a Strip Club project I got from A Piece in Time. All the strip sets have been sewn, and a few have been pressed, but none have been cross-cut into segments yet. This is totally scrappy, and I believe it's going to finish to queen size. I'll probably keep this one, though I'm not sure yet.
This is another mini quilt. This was the result of a class at the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo, though I don't remember for sure what year. I'm thinking it may have been 2006 or 2007, and I think that year I attended the show in Cleveland, OH. But I'm not positive about either of those things. When this is finished, it will end up belonging to one of my teddy bears. I collect teddy bears, or I did -- I feel like I have enough, now. Anyway, I've decided that all my bears need to have a quilt or an afghan (which others might call a dishcloth) of their own. This one measures 16"x20-1/4" and also just needs to be quilted and bound and have a sleeve added.
This was another class project from the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo in Kansas City in October 2010. This was another class with Debbie Kratovil, who is creating the patterns for the Gee's Bend quilts for Wyndham Fabrics. This class, though, was Improvisational Quilts. So, in the style of the Gee's Bend quilts, but not following a pattern. We learned some techniques and just played around. These are the units I've got so far -- the smaller ones still need to grow some, and I'll need to make some more units. This is just for fun, and will probably end up being either a wallhanging or a quilt for one of my large bears. Probably not big enough for a human to cover up in it, in other words.

That's this batch of projects, pictures and stories. More to come, today and tomorrow, and probably spilling into Monday.

Thanks for coming by to play. Come back again soon.