Feature · Tutorial

Joining Binding and Diagonal Seams (A Tutorial)

One of my favorite parts of quilting is binding because it’s the last part that is needed to finish off the quilt!  I taught myself how to join the ends of my binding because I didn’t like the way the folded or tuck binding looked.  I also didn’t realize there was a huge market for all sorts of binding tools, so my method uses nothing but a marking tool and the knowledge on how to make a diagonal seam.

How do you calculate how much binding you need?

Add the length and width of the quilt together, then multiply 2 and add 10.  Take that number, divide by 40 (if using width of fabric (WOF)) and round UP.  For example, my quilt is 72×72.  So 72+72=144.  Multiply by 2 and add 10, 144*2+10=298. Then divide by 40 so 298/40=7.45.  And round up 7.45 => 8 strips of WOF needed.  The size of the strips is highly dependent on the quilter, some use 2 1/4″ width some use 2 1/2″.  Personally I have started using 2 1/4″ strips, but I began using 2 1/2″ and still write all my patterns to that size.

How to join binding: Continue reading “Joining Binding and Diagonal Seams (A Tutorial)”

Feature · I Wish You a Merry QAL

I Wish You a Merry QAL Block 5!

I am so proud to share the Snowman block I designed!  I used Moda Grunge Evergreen, White Paper, Onyx, and Red for the piecing portion of the block.  Mr. Snowman’s nose is a Moda Grunge Orange scrap.

When we first started planning this QAL, I jumped at the chance to make a Snowman block!  Snowmen are my favorite thing about winter and the holidays, especially cute snowmen.  As you can see, I made a lot of not-so-cute and not-so-proportional snowmen through the different iterations of the design I tried.

Continue reading “I Wish You a Merry QAL Block 5!”

Blog Hop · Feature

Making Connections Blog Hop

I Can’t Believe I’m Machine Quilting!  That is the title of my quilting story. When Dorie Hruska of Forever Quilting first asked for people to help her promote her new book through a blog hop, I was a bit hesitant because I am not a fan of machine quilting and thought I would just be embarrassing myself.  Well something clicked, and it’s like a light bulb went on in my brain on how to think about machine quilting. So here is my journey…

Continue reading “Making Connections Blog Hop”

Feature

Circular Illusion Quilt Pattern!

I am so excited to share my newest pattern with you today!  Introducing Circular Illusion!  When looking at this quilt from a distance, it gives an optical illusion of circles.  However, it looks like simple patchwork up close.

Circular Illusion is a beginner friendly pattern made with fat quarters or fat eighths and would look great using collections as well as scrappy fabric from your stash! Continue reading “Circular Illusion Quilt Pattern!”

Feature · I Wish You a Merry QAL

I Wish You A Merry QAL Block 4!

Block 4 is revealed! Jennifer Fulton of Inquiring Quilter designed Block 4, Christmas Memories. The week is a doubleheader so there is another post to show Block 3 (and there are separate prizes too)!

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This ornament block has a lot of intricate applique. I used Moda Grunge White Paper as my background and all sorts of different metallic fabric for the ornaments. Using raw edge applique, remember to cut out the centers of the fusible material to make your blocks more pliable. I drew the smaller pieces inside the larger ones to utilize the fusible material.

I also laid out the all ornaments on the block before fusing everything at once. I did not have applique paper or parchment paper handy at the time so I couldn’t fuse the ornaments together before fusing to the background.

Continue reading “I Wish You A Merry QAL Block 4!”

Feature · I Wish You a Merry QAL

I Wish You A Merry QAL Block 3!

Block 3 is revealed!  Laura Piland of Slice of Pi Quilts designed Block 3, Santa’s Belt.  The week is a doubleheader so there is another post to show Block 4. (and there are separate prizes for that one too!)

Santa’s belt is a block that is constructed only with piecing.  I used Moda Grunge Basics Red, Onyx, and Sunflower for my 3 colors of the belt.  The block went together very quickly to become such an iconic belt!

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Make sure you have an accurate 1/4″ seam, and you’ll be able to make this block very quickly!

Continue reading “I Wish You A Merry QAL Block 3!”

Blog Hop · Feature

S.W.A.K. Revealed (Piece and Quilt with Precuts Blog Hop)

S.W.A.K. is the 4th quilt in the Piece and Quilt with Precuts book by Christa Watson.  I am so happy to finally be able to share my finished quilt after all the sneak peeks on my Instagram!

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This quilt uses Charm Packs for the half square triangles (HSTs).  So keeping with the spirit of the precuts theme, I decided to use Airmail (quantity 2), Modern Background Ink (quantity 2), and Bella Solid White (less than 1) Charm Packs.  Here is the first lesson:  Not all Charm Packs are the same size! Seriously. You’d think they should all be 5″ square, but with the pinked edges the square is sometimes larger or smaller.

I used my Frixion pen to mark the diagonals on all the lines and centered the two pieces the best I could.  However, it didn’t help with the finished size of the HST.  The pattern calls for 4-5/8″ HSTs, but mine were so inconsistent due to the charm pack size that I made the decision to trim them to 4-1/2″.  So I then started my long process of trimming all 168 HSTs.

I used my design wall to lay out the entire quilt before I made the blocks.  I realized with the Red and Blue blocks I could make the fun Xs and Os in different colors.

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Because I trimmed my HSTs, the final version of my quilt is slightly smaller than what is listed in the pattern, but it’s crucial to have consistently sized HST to have a square quilt!  I tried spray basting this quilt for the first time!  Christa gave a demo of spray basting in her Start Up Quilting Craftsy class, and I was definitely intrigued. I must say, I think I have fallen in LOVE with spray basting. It makes quilting so much easier without having to take out pins all the time.  I followed the square spiral walking foot quilting instructions in the book, and I can only imagine how hard that would have been if there were pins!

So what are my overall thoughts about the pattern and the book?  It’s a great book that goes from piecing instructions to how to quilt that specific design.  Christa has great instructions and great tips throughout the book to help build your skills.

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You can purchase a signed copy of the book from Christa’s Shop or you can purchase a copy using my Amazon Affiliate link.

Don’t forget that the blog hop continues through August 30 so be sure to check out all the other amazing designs and quilters!

Blog Hop Schedule

Last but not least, since I spent all weekend migrating my blog to be self hosted and now can have Rafflecopter giveaways… Here’s a giveaway for an E-copy of Piece and Quilt with Precuts!  The giveaway is open until the Midnight CDT on August 31.  Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Feature · I Wish You a Merry QAL

I Wish You A Merry QAL Block 2!

Block 2 is revealed! April Adams from JANDA Bend Quilts designed this amazing block! The block is made with templates or paper piecing. Sticking with the Moda Grunge theme, my tree tops are Grunge Evergreen, the trunks are Grunge Basics Bison, and the background is Grunge White Paper.

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I am not a big fan of making templates due to my lack of experience, but I LOVE paper piecing. If you have never paper pieced before, I wrote a very detailed tutorial on how to paper piece without any special paper or tools! You can check that here.

If you decide to do paper piecing, here are the cutting dimensions I used for my pieces. You will need to cut 8 of each.

  • Tree tops (green) – 3″x4-1/4″
  • Background (white) – 4″x4″

The background pieces I sliced in half on a diagonal. I folded the templates on the sewing lines and ensured I had enough seam allowance on both sides before cutting. You will cut 4 using the A1 side of the template and 4 using the A3 side of the template.

 

Note that the right side of the fabric should be facing down, since the printed part of the paper is always the back of the unit.

For the tree trunk, I followed the strip piecing instructions rather than the paper piece part. I did not trim the trunks until after I had sewn them onto the tree tops. I didn’t want to stress out about centering the trunks when I trimmed.

Don’t forget to submit your completed block on April’s linky party, the Facebook Group Page, and/or on Instagram with #iwishyouamerryqal to be entered into this block’s prizes! One lucky person will win a $25 gift card to the Fat Quarter Shop donated by Jan from Cocoa Quilts and a pdf copy of “Geese in Flower Pots” by April!

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The prize entry window for Block 2 goes from 12AM Eastern on August 15, 2017 until 11:59PM Eastern on August 28, 2017.

If you are just now joining us in the QAL, I have a quick links page to catch up on the blocks in this QAL and my associated blog posts. You can also get to that page at any time by clicking the I Wish You a Merry QAL button on the right sidebar.

The sponsors for the grand prize have also announced. In order to be eligible for the grand prize, you must make a quilt top using all twelve of the QAL blocks by January 16th, 2018.

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Happy Sewing! I can’t wait to see your blocks!

Be sure to check out all the other hosts!

Abbie @Sparkle On
April @JANDA Bend Quilts
Becca @Pretty Piney
Bobbi @Snowy Days Quilting
Diane @Cwilt
Jennifer @Inquiring Quilter
Laura @Slice of Pi Quilts
Sandy @SandyStar Designs
Sherry @Powered by Quilting (This is Me!)
Vanda @Quilt in Piece

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Feature · Tutorial

Backstitch’s Back Alright!  (A Tutorial)

Pardon my ’90s parody title, but I couldn’t resist tying back to the Backstreet Boys. I also must preface this post that I do not regularly do any hand embroidery.  However if I do, it is a simple little backstitch to embellish my piece.  This may or may not a handy little technique that will be used later in the QAL I am currently hosting. (*hint hint)

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In order to backstitch, here are some supplies you may find handy.

  • Embroidery Floss:  There are different types of floss out there, the floss that I can easily source near me is the DMC brand.  You can find it at the local big box stores, and it typically ranges from 35-50 cents per skein/color.  In my photo above, you’ll see I wind my floss onto little boards and label with the color ID number.  Floss is made up of 6 strands, and I typically use all 6 strands while doing embroidery.
  • A Needle:  Make sure the eye of the needle is large enough for all 6 strands of the embroidery floss.  If the pattern calls for less, it should state how many strands to use.
  • Marking tool:  I use a Frixon pen to mark my embroidery pattern on the fabric.  You can use an air erasable pen or even a pencil, whatever you normally use to mark will be fine.
  • Sandpaper (300 grit or finer): This is optional.  I use sandpaper at a very fine grit to help stabilize the fabric when I write. The sandpaper catches the fabric just enough so it doesn’t shift.

Now that you have your supplies, let’s start. Thread the needle with the embroidery floss, and tie a knot at the end of the thread tail.

I have marked up the line we will be backstitching on.  The numbers will help indicate the order of where the needle is going and the numbers are on the top of the piece.

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Start by putting the needle through #1 and back down through #2, then up finally at #3.  This is how you’ll start any backstitch.

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The backstitching part comes next, notice that #4 is the same location as #2.  Now you’ll stitch back to #4 position and back up to #5.

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Repeat this backstitch for positions #6 and #7.

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If I wanted to end the backstitch line, I’d put the needle through #8 and tie off the embroidery and you’re done!  This is how the back of the piece should look, I haven’t ended the backstitch just yet so there is no ending knot.

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Easy peasy, right?! Well that’s how you embroider a simple backstitch.

Other helpful tips:

  • Stitch length:  This is going to be person dependent.  I try to have about 1/8″ stitch length on a straight line, but it’ll vary if I am backstitching on a curve.
  • Tension: Do not pull the floss too tight.  The fabric should not cinch up due to the floss being too tight.  The floss should be flush with the fabric both on the front and the back. 

Happy Stitching!

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Feature · I Wish You a Merry QAL

I Wish You A Merry QAL Block 1!

Today is the day! Block 1 is released, and I am so excited to share my version of this week’s block.  Vanda Chittenden of Quilt in Piece is the designer of this week’s Snowflake Block.  Check out her blog post for the tutorial and the pattern of the block.

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My block is made of Moda Grunge Basics Navy with the snowflake in Grunge White Paper.  I used Heat and Bond Lite for my fusible adhesive and a blanket stitch to secure the snowflake.

A few tips on this block:

  • Cut the centers of the fusible, so that the block doesn’t get too stiff and bulky.  The adhesive really only needs to be on the edges of the each snowflake petal. I also did not cut the snowflakes apart when I ironed on the white fabric.  This helped stabilize the fusible sheet prior to ironing.

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  • Lay out the entire block before ironing on the pieces so you can play with the exact layout.

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  • If you do not have a blanket stitch on your machine, a simple zig zag or straight stitch on the edge will be just fine.

Don’t forget to submit your completed block on Vanda’s linky party, the Facebook Group Page, and/or on Instagram with #iwishyouamerryqal to be entered into this week’s prizes!  One lucky person will win a PDF pattern by Vanda Chittenden and a Sugar Plum Christmas thread box from Aurifil.

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The prize entry window is open from 12AM Eastern on August 1, 2017 until 11:59PM Eastern on August 14, 2017.

As a reminder, I have a quick links page to catch up on the blocks in this QAL and my associated blog posts.  You can also get to that page by clicking the I Wish You a Merry QAL button on the right sidebar.

Happy Sewing! I can’t wait to see your blocks!

Check out the other hosts!
Abbie @Sparkle On
April @JANDA Bend Quilts
Becca @Pretty Piney
Bobbi @Snowy Days Quilting
Diane @Cwilt
Jennifer @The Inquiring Quilter
Laura @Slice of Pi Quilts
Sandy @SandyStar Designs
Sherry @Powered by Quilting (This is Me!)
Vanda @Quilt in Piece

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