Friday, December 27, 2013

Vintage Boho Star Baby Quilt

I made this baby quilt for a friend from a Moda Bake Shop pattern. It's meant to be a lap quilt and should have a charm square border, but it's already pretty huge for a baby quilt so I didn't really want the extra 10 inches on width and height. The border is pretty cute though, so it was a hard decision to make.

I started with a charm pack of the Little Red Riding Hood fabric from Riley Blake and some yardage from the same line, plus other prints that I liked. I had to buy a good amount of red since I apparently don't use it that much!

The basic design is making a 9 patch, then turning it into a giant half square triangle with a square of a solid. I miscounted and had two extra 9 patches (D'oh!) so I used them on the back.

I also pieced a mini boho star on the back to mimic the front, and then just kind of filled in the rest with some of the other cuts of fabric from the front and others that worked.

I love using diagonal stripes on bidning and love that this line had diagonal stripes. I bought extra to use on a few more quilts too, since I use gray quite a bit. I know I could make bias diagonal stripes from any stripe...but I'm too lazy to make bias binding!

A Few Soaps

These are my most recent batches of soap. And by "recent" I mean made several months ago and mostly sold out. I have just a few of the Tomato Leaf left.

I made my usual Oats 'n Honey with honey and ground oats, but added some Snickerdoodle Buttercream fragrance. Smells like dessert!

This Tomato Leaf fragrance smelled soooo amazing in the bottle. Unfortunately it was not quite as wonderful once it soaped up, but it still had a nice green fragrance.

This is one of my favorite bars, Shea Luxury, with 60% Unrefined Shea Butter. I leave it unfragranced and uncolored, so the creamy color and the slight smokiness is just from the shea butter.

The next bars I need to make are more Shea Luxury, Black Raspberry Vanilla, and Gardener's Scrub!

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Offset Arrows Baby Quilt

This is a baby quilt for my best friend's niece! She is due in January and will be the first grandbaby, so everyone is very excited. The baby shower was last weekend so I can finally show this! I designed it using the Threadbias Design tool and it was really fun to use (although a bit of a learning curve). I've seen lots of arrow quilts, but none of them were offset and that's what I really wanted. This is just made up of simple rectangles and half square triangles.

The baby's crib set is black and cream and the mom wanted to add in pink and green. As soon as I heard that, I thought of the Comma line of fabric by Zen Chic. I'd been wanting to use that, so this was a great excuse! The colors in the line were orange, yellow, and a brighter green, so I opted to just use the black and cream prints and add in some solid Kona cotton--Bubble Gum and Tarragon are the shades.

I pieced the back from leftovers from the front. I had already run to the store twice for fabric (which is what happens when you buy fabric before you nail down your design!) so when I ran a little short I definitely didn't want to make a third trip. I made it work with a small strip of solid Kona black. You can see the quilting best here. I did quilting in the ditch down the length and width of the squares, and then did double diagonal lines in just one direction.

The cool thing about designing in Threadbias is that they have tons of actual fabric lines in their database, so in my digital mockup I could put the actual fabric, instead of just a solid color. This is what my mockup looked like:

And this is the original I designed with Allyssa Thomas' line of Critter Patch fabric. It's fun to see how different a pattern can be with different fabrics.

Here is the blank pattern if anyone wants to make their own, I found it easiest after filling it in, to name each color A, B, etc and then just make a chart of how many rectangles and half square triangles I need to make of each one. The rectangles were 7.5 x 4 (I believe) and the half square triangles started at 5 inches and were trimmed down to 4 inches after being made. I can double check my measurements if anyone is interested in making this pattern. With these measurements and amount of rows and columns it's a decent sized baby quilt, I want to say about 42 inches square?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Blogger's Quilt Festival: Converging Corners Charity Quilt

I'm excited to enter this quilt into the Bloggers Quilt Festival! This is a Converging Corners pattern that I made with the Faith Circle of do.Good stitches.

I chose this pattern for my month and everyone in the group made 2 squares in the color palette of purple, aqua, and periwinkle blues. For a slight twist on the regular pattern I asked members of the group to use some gray along with white for the background colors.

After I stitched the top together, my friend Rachel at 2nd Avenue Studio generously quilted it for me. Then it was off to our charity, Restore Innocence, which helps girls that have been rescued from human trafficking.

Blogger's Quilt Festival: Mini Modern Art Quilt

I've decided to enter this quilt in the Blogger's Quilt Festival, by Amy's Creative Quilts, one of my favorite quilting blogs!

This Mini Modern Art Quilt was for round 7 of the Mini Art Quilt Swap on Craftster. I organize this swap once or twice a year and love doing so! We each provide our partners with 5-10 themes and we go to work, making a quilt with dimensions anywhere between 12" x 12" and 24" x 24." This one is about 18" x 21", I think?

My partner listed modern, modern/traditional, and funky and bright as a few of her themes. I decided to play with all solids and a few other techniques like string piecing and foundation piecing. I also bought a really cool tool to make the quarter circles, the Corner to Corner Curve Strip Ruler by Creative Grids. I picked this up at Fabric Depot and was really pleased with it.

The colors are all a little brighter in person and the coral/orange is a wonderful color, very bright but at the same time just a bit muted so it's not quite obnoxious. It's a Bella Solid.

I found this fabric in my stash and decided it was perfect for the back. It's a little heavier weight than regular quilting cottons, but not quite home dec weight. I'm not sure if it's a vintage fabric I got from The Knittn' Kitten or maybe it's an Ikea fabric? Either way I really like it.

My swap partner had this quilt pinned on her Pinterest and I started with that for some inspiration. From there I drew a sketch and refined it and fiddled with the measurements and colors until it was just how I wanted it. The actual quilt is fairly similar to my drawing, although some changes ocurred due to measurement issues and my whims.

I quilted it with some paralell pairs of diagonal straight lines. I like the way this seemed to bring the quilt together and made the disparate sections of the quilt seem a little more cohesive.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Quilted French Memo Board

I was putting up all my art up last week in my sewing room and came across a few mementos I decided I wanted to hang up. A french memo board seemed the best way to display them, but I only have one and it's in use in another room. I thought briefly about buying one, then said "screw it" and decided to whip one up.

Materials Needed:

--Fabric panel or pieced fabric
--Piece of mid to heavy weight, iron-on interfacing, 1/2 inch smaller than your fabric panel
--Piece of low loft batting 2 inches bigger than fabric panel
--Piece of backing fabric the same size as the batting (it can be crappy fabric, it's not going to be seen)
--Spray Baste (if you don't use this, you're gonna have a bad time, and it's gonna suck, and then I'm gonna do my "I told you so" dance)
--Approximately 3 yards of ribbon, bias tape, whatever you want to create the french memo part. Wink 3 yards was exactly perfect for my 19 inch square project, if your panel is bigger you'll need more ribbon
--Contrasting strips of material for binding, 2 1/2 inches wide and enough to equal the perimeter of your fabric panel plus about 12 inches.

1.) Trim your panel to a square size. Mine is 19 inches. Take the slightly smaller iron-on interfacing (mine is 18 1/2 inches square) and iron carefully to the wrong size of your fabric panel. I'm using an awesome Laura Gunn panel. I have one more too!

2.) Place your backing fabric, which is 21 inches square in my project (slightly bigger than the panel fabric) right side down on your surface. (you may want to cover surface with newspaper first, since spray baste can be messy). Place the 21 inch square piece of low loft batting on top of the backing fabric and line up carefully. Pull the top half of the batting backwards and fold it halfway, exposing half of the backing fabric. Spray the backing fabric carefully and lightly with Basting Spray. Fold the batting back into place, smoothing out from the middle to the sides. Rotate and baste the second half of the backing fabric.

3.) Place your panel fabric, right side facing down, in front of you. Place the batting/backing on top of it, centering carefully (remember we have a couple extra inches now). Fold back halfway as before and spray baste, smooth carefully, then rotate and complete second half in same way.

Congratulations, you've basted the quilt sandwich! Now we're going to quilt in a wavy, crisscrossing lines pattern. It's easy and you don't need to use a special foot or drop the feed dogs or anything.

4.) Beginning in the middle top of your fabric panel, begin stitching while using one hand on each side of the quilt sandwich to "drive" the fabric back and forth. As you wiggle and turn the fabric, you'll quilt a wavy line down the middle. When you get to the end, cut your threads and start back at the top, about an inch to the right. Continue quilting, moving to the right until you get to the end. Turn your quilt around so the bottom is now the top, and begin quilting your wavy lines again, moving each line an inch to the right and frequently cutting your threads so they don't make a big mess.

(oops I seem to be missing this picture. The next picture is slightly in progress, the middle is criss crossed but the sides are still just parallel wavy lines)

5.) You can stop there, or you can now make another set of lines, crisscrossing the ones you already made. This time, start just to the left or right of a line (about 1/4 to 1/2 an inch) and make even bigger wiggles and turns so with each wiggle you're crossing back and forth over two of the lines you just created. Keep moving right, crossing over two lines. Sometimes I cross over three lines, or go back and do an extra line if it looks like it needs to be filled in a little more. Play with it and have fun! When you get to the edge, flip it around and work on the other half.

6.) Using a ruler and rotary cutter, trim off the excess backing and batting.

7.) Take the ribbon or bias tape and spread a piece out, diagonally corner to corner. I'm using some vintage polka dot bias tape. Trim so it overhangs the corner just a little bit. Pin in place. Do the same with the other corner. At each corner, stitch down and back stitch. Also stich in the center over the top of where the ribbon overlaps itself.

After stitching the corners, trim the excess ribbon carefully, so it won't be a problem later when we bind the memo board.

8.) Now fold the quilt in half and mark the mid points at top and bottom with a disappearing marking pen. Fold the opposite way and do the same thing. The mid point of each side should now be marked.

Take your ribbon and lay it from the top midpoint to the right midpoint. Pin in place. Continue around the memo board, putting a total of 4 pieces of ribbon on and pinning carefully, especially where it overlaps the diagonal ribbon we already stitched on. Make sure that the ribbon sticks out over the edge a tiny bit.

Stitch these pieces of ribbon down at the edges and every place they overlap the diagonal ribbons.

9.) Bind your memo board in whichever way you like best, or use my machine binding tutorial

10.) If you like, sew buttons or something else decorative over the intersecting ribbon to cover up your stitching. I was going to but I got too excited and hung it up.

11.) Hang your memo board using pushpins and add your pictures or mementos!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Complete Machine Stitched Binding Tutorial

It's ok to machine bind. Or any other "rule breaking" quilting technique you want to do. It's ok. I used to be a bit ashamed that I don't hand bind, but I'm letting go of that. Smiley

My crafting philosophy is about how to get the most done with the least time/effort. I like short cuts. I'm ok with that. If I were to hand bind my quilts like you are "supposed to" I would have precisely 0 quilts completed, rather than dozens. I have come a long, long way in machine binding and have finally developed this method after tons of practice and experimenting.

This tutorial is going to assume nothing about your quilting skills, please excuse any simplicity in the interest of full clarity. And, actually, if you want to hand bind, just follow the tutorial up until the last step (and also attach your binding to the front, rather than the back).

Materials needed:

Quilt sandwich
2 1/2 inch strips of fabric to equal the perimeter of your quilt sandwich plus about 12 inches (more for seaming)
1/4 inch foot for your machine (not a total necessity, but it's nice!)
steaming iron

To start with we'll do a little math and cut our binding strips. My quilt sandwich for this project was 19 inches square. 19 x 4 =76
76 + 12 =88
WOF (width of fabric) is about 42-44, let's say error on the lower side and then say 41 after cutting the selvedge off. So, to hit 88 inches we'll need 2 strips of fabric. I went nuts and decided to do 2 1/2.

1.) Cut your fabric strips 2 1/2 inches wide. I fold my fabrics selvedge to selvedge, and then once again and slice off the end through 4 layers. You need to be careful doing this so it's not crooked, but it's another one of my shortcuts/something I don't do "exactly right."  Wink

2.) Once you have your strips, piece them together on a diagonal. A diagonal seam will help the bulk be spread out in the final binding, rather than all on top of each other making a thick spot that looks weird and is tough to sew over.

Lay 2 strips right side together perpendicularly to each other, and pin on both sides as in the picture. With a pencil and ruler, draw a diagonal line from corner to corner.

Using a standard foot, stitch along the line and cut off the excess fabric, leaving a 1/4 seam allowance or so.

Press the joining seams open.

3.) Press your binding. Fold in half, wrong sides together, and press, using some steam if you like (I like).

Yay, pretty binding!

4.) Now we'll attach it to the backside of your quilt sandwich. That's right, the back. Usually when binding you start on the front. Start by changing to your 1/4 inch foot, if using one.

Pin your binding to the back of the quilt sandwich. With one pin, it's the only pin we're going to use. Pick the middle or right side of any one side of your quilt sandwich and pin the binding. Leave about 6-8 inches of binding dangling, we'll use that later. The raw edge of your binding should align with the raw edge of your quilt sandwich.

5.) Begin to stitch, using a 1/4 inch seam. I use my 1/4 inch foot for this, again, because it's easy and consistent. Back stitch whenever you start and stop in the following directions. Stitch until you are 1/4 inch from the first corner.

Back stitch and pull the work out. You may cut the thread or let it dangle, whichever you prefer.

Now we are going to fold to create the mitered corners. Fold the binding to your right, creating a diagonal crease. Sadly my fingers are kind of in the way so you can't see the fold very well, but you can see the angle that I folded the binding.

Now, holding that first diagonal fold in place, fold the binding straight down, so it is now parallel with the next side we will be sewing.

Rotate your work as we are now sewing a new side and carefully ease the folded binding back into your machine. Starting at the very edge (not 1/4 inch in like when we stopped sewing), begin sewing and go ahead and back stitch.

6.) Continue stitching all sides and work each corner as described above. When you round the fourth corner*, stitch a couple of inches on the new side (the side you started on), back stitch, and remove from the machine. Now we are going to connect the binding beginning to the end.

*This is a small quilt, if you're working on a big one then maybe you want to stitch halfway down the side or more, usually having 1-2 feet of working space is ideal. More than that and your binding might be too loose, less than that and it's a nightmare to sew together.

7.) Usually we're told to overlap the ends of the binding as much as their original width. I've found that that makes my binding a little bit too loose, so I subtract 1/4 inch from that. Since we started with 2 1/2 inch wide binding, we want to overlap 2 1/4 inches. Lay a ruler on top of the dangling binding from the beginning (remember how we left a piece unstitched before our first and only pin?) and the piece you rounded the corner with. Overlap them 2 1/4 inches and cut off any tails. If you center this as well as you can it will be easier for the next step.

8.) Attach the ends of the binding together. (You might need to switch back to your regular foot for this step, I always do). To do this, you want to open up the binding and put the two pieces right sides together in the same perpendicular manner as we did earlier. The more room you have to do this, the easier, so if you have several inches of not stitched down binding on each side, all the better (this is why we left the binding dangling at the beginning and stopped stitching soon after we came around that final corner).

Pin, draw your diagonal line, and stitch as before. Before cutting your seam allowance however, be sure to fold the binding back together, just to make sure you've stitched correctly. I can't tell you how many times I stitched on the wrong diagonal or had the binding twisted. As long as you haven't cut off the excess seam allowance yet, it's not too hard to rip out your stitches and start again.

Ok, once you know you're good you can trim and iron the seam allowance, and then iron the seam in your binding fold again since it's probably a little messed up.

9.) Finish sewing the last side of your binding. Back Stitch. Yay, your binding is now attached and you have done a continuous binding! Go ahead and switch back to your regular foot, we're done with the 1/4 inch foot now.

10.) This step insures a crisp fold and an even amount of binding showing on the front side. Take the folded side of the binding and fold it again so that the original fold is perpendicular to the raw edges. We're going to iron this on all four sides. Don't get too close to the corners, leave them alone for now.

11.) Go ahead and flip your quilt over to the right side. We're going to machine sew the binding to the front now, using the regular foot for your machine. I would advise changing to a color of thread that closely matches the color of your binding if you want it to blend in. I usually do so, but didn't this time. Starting in the middle of one side, fold the binding over to the right side of the quilt. The fold we just created with the iron will line up with the edge of the quilt and fit snugly.

12.) We're going to being stitching very, very closely and slowly to the edge of the binding fold. If your machine has a speed regulator, I recommend slowing it down. Begin stitching 2 needle widths or so from the edge of the fold of the binding (maybe a millimeter? If you're very far away from the edge it will stick up and not look good). Only take 1 or 2 backstitches as you begin. Like I said, pins aren't needed. Just fold a few inches over at a time, going slowly, and stitch them down. The folded binding will easily cover the 1/4 inch stitch line we used attaching the binding.

13.) When you get a few inches away from the corner, fold and smooth the next side down a few inches from the corner (the binding that is currently horizontal to your machine). Use your finger to fold all the way to the corner. When you get to the corner, fold your current side (the side your are currently stitching) down. Hold the corner in place as you stitch to the corner. (the next 4 pictures probably show this better than words)

Stop with your needle down in the corner, raise your presser foot, and pivot the work beneath you. Sew the new sides, slowly and carefully until you get to the next corner and proceed as above. When you get back to your starting place, backstitch just two or three times. Carefully cut your thread ends. Do a little binding dance, because you're done, baby!