Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Snow days or Sew days?

Two days of winter weather were the perfect excuse to stay home and just sew.  Luckily, we didn't lose electricity during Snowpocalypse 2015, so I was able to use my sewing machine.

The quilt I am making is a Mini Lotus pattern by Jaybird quilts.  I had all the pieces cut out  before the storm, so I began by sketching out a diagram and using colored pencils to figure out how I wanted to sew them all together:

I needed a diagram, because the quilt is made up of triangle units,

but I wanted to make some of them look like flowers:
(Although, in this weather, they started to remind me more of snowflakes.)

After piecing the rows, the top looked like this:

The pattern calls for simply trimming the sides into a rectangle, and leaving it at that.  But,  I added a narrow border of the background fabric, and then a wider border of the print that I bought to match the jelly roll:

I kind of love it!

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Saturday, January 24, 2015

A sweet finish and a fresh start

I did my best to make the most of the Friday Night Sew-In.  My plan was to get the binding sewn down on my Candy Squares table runner, and I was able to get that accomplished.  This morning it got put in it's new home on my coffee table, ready for Valentine's Day.

The evening was still young, so I decided to get started on a new project, starting with this:

This is a jelly roll of "Heart's Content" that my husband gave me.  Being a bonafide "jewel tone gal", these earthy colors  are not my usual playground, but I was willing to go with it.  If the hubby is willing to go outside his comfort zone by stepping foot into a quilt store, then I am happy to work outside my comfort zone with a new color palette.

I was at the fabric store one day recently, when a fabric with all the colors from this jelly roll caught my eye.  I didn't have the jelly roll with me, so I wasn't sure,  but I bought a piece of it for a possible border.

I love it when you unroll the jelly roll and all the possibilities come tumbling out.

I decided to use the jelly roll to make a Mini Lotus pattern by Jaybird Quilts.

I pulled out a few additional fabrics that were in the stash, and thought about how I might add a row or two to the original pattern so that I could use more fabrics.    (The Math Geek in me likes any excuse to pull out the calculator.)

I decided not to cut into anything on Friday night because I learned the hard way not to rotary cut when you are tired.  This morning I got all the jewel shaped pieces cut out:

and a whole bunch of little triangles.

This is where I'm at right now.  I'm not quite sure yet if the border fabric will work.  It might be a bit too bright, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Weekend plans

This Friday Night is the first Friday Night Sew-In for the year.

I'm hoping to get the binding sewn on to this Valentine table runner:

I would like to get this finished and put into use for Valentine's Day, and committing to the FNSI is always a good motivator.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Binding - a lefty's step by step for joining the ends

There comes a time at the end of just about every quilting project when you have sew on the binding.  From mug rug to potholder to king size quilt, they all need to have bindings eventually.

In the past, I often had a problem when it came to joining the beginning and the ending of the binding.   When I was a beginner quilter, I used to just turn under the raw edge, and apply one edge over the other.   It did the job, but it was bulky.

Later, I learned how to join the seams on the diagonal and create a nice, smooth join, but, I always had to stop and review how to do it, and more than once I joined them backwards and had to do it over.

Finally, I found an online tutorial at McCall's Quilting magazine   and it changed the way I join bindings.   Only thing is, I kept losing track of the website, so I decided to make a blog post about it.

The following is a step by step guide to how I join my bindings.  It's basically the same as the McCall's version, but, being left handed, it is done in the opposite direction.  This may not make any sense to anyone else but me, but from now on I'll always know where to find my directions.

You start by trimming one end of the binding at a 45 degree angle:

Open out the binding that you didn't cut, and lay it in place along the raw edge of the quilt. Pin.

Trim off any excess binding. (I'm talking about that piece on the right that is folded down onto the quilt.)

Open out the binding with the 45 degree cut and lay it on the top of the bottom piece.  (I put a piece of tan fabric in there so you can see there are  two pieces.)  Note that to keep from stretching the binding, I fold the edges of the quilt in toward the center.

Draw a 45 degree line on the bottom binding, following the cut edge of the piece of binding on the top:

 Now you can lift up the top binding and you are left with a marked line on the bottom binding.

With your ruler, draw another line, a scant half inch to the right.

Cut the bottom binding on the line you just drew, as indicated by the scissors in the photo below:

 Now you have both sides of the binding trimmed and ready to be joined.

Pin the two raw edges together:

Sew  with a 1/4" seam, and finger press the seam open:

Refold, with wrong sides together, and pin the binding in place:

Sew the binding to the quilt.

Now you are ready to turn the binding to the back and sew it down.  If you want more information on this technique, check out the McCall's link I mentioned at the beginning of this post.

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