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!”

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!”

weekly update

This Can of Spray Baste Changed My Life

So maybe that might be a little dramatic to say spray basting changed my life, but for my frustrations with domestic machine quilting, it’s helped immensely!  The last few weeks leading up to the Piece and Quilt with Precuts Blog Hop, I kept saying I needed to spray baste and quilt the top to finish it for the blog hop.  I kept pushing it off week after week because I typically hate basting. But this week I decided to spray basted for the first time! It was a little awkward, and I got a little on my hand and realized it was pretty sticky.  The jury was still out on this method. But fast forward to doing the spiral square quilting for the SWAK quilt, and I was absolutely sold!  The quilt sandwich did not shift when I was rotating and manhandling the quilt to finish quilting it! I am totally sold on being able to deal with the quilt with no shifting and no safety pins in the way!

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Just to be sure this wasn’t a fluke of loving how spray baste helps my quilting, I decided to work on some smaller quilt tops that have been completed for months. Seriously, it was amazing!  I even thought maybe it really wasn’t the quilting parts that I dreaded but the basting!  Spray basting removed that barrier.  This is a mini quilt from the Starkiss pattern by Maho Quilts. I made this during the 2017 Winter Quiltfest.

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I tried it next on a piece which was a little larger.  This is the Maui Quilting’s 2015 Row by Row design I picked up in April and never actually quilted until now!  I can’t wait to get this hung up in my sewing room!

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With spray basting helping alleviate my anxiety about quilting, I was even bold enough to try some free motion quilting (FMQ) on my Frivols 2 quilt.  I mean seriously, I avoid FMQ like the plague and now I’m volunteering to do it? Who am I?

I still need to get the binding on this quilt, but for the first time FMQ’ing in months, I think it looks pretty good!

I must mention that I machine bound the other quilts I finished this week too.  I tried multiple different techniques, and I’ll share my learnings a different day. Overall, I still think hand finishing the binding looks nice, but being able to call a quilt done quickly with machine binding is amazing.

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I am no expert on spray basting yet, but I do have tips for those that have yet to try it out:

  • Spray baste outside – the fumes are a little bit strong so being outside helps.
  • The can is very flammable so definitely be careful with storage.
  • The can says to spray the batting, but I definitely just spray the fabric.
  • Press the backing, quilt top, AND batting to ensure each piece is nice and flat.
  • Use a large ruler to help smooth the batting on the backing, and then the front onto the backing.
  • I used a small portable table to spray baste on. Make sure you cover the surface you are spraying to protect it from the potential overspray.
  • Since I was working with smaller quilts, I actually started from one edge rather than in the middle.  This was easier for me overall to make sure I wasn’t going to run out of backing or batting on any one side.  I know this is probably very different than how others do it.
  • Christa Watson had a great demonstration of spray basting, which I followed, in her Start-Up Quilting Craftsy Class.  (read my review of the class here)
  • A few basting pins are helpful along the outer edges so you don’t need to do quite so much overspray. (Tip from Kris!)

Anyway I’m off to hopefully reduce the number of quilt tops waiting to be basted and subsequently quilted now that I’ve fallen in love with spray basting!  Have a great weekend!

8/25-9/1 Weekly Goal:

Available time for quilting:
Saturday PM, Sunday PM, Monday PM, Tuesday PM

Projects I want to work on:
PBQ105
Baby Whale Quilt
PBQ103
Tabby Road

Goals for the Projects:
PBQ105: Make test blocks to confirm design idea
Baby Whale Quilt: Baste, quilt, and bind
PBQ103: Take the finished photos and get the final version complete
Tabby Road: Make half of the hour glass blocks

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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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Tutorial · weekly update

Moda Modern Building Blocks Quilt Tips and Tricks

I finally finished this quilt top! I have a very strong love/hate relationship with this quilt top for many reasons.  Before I started, I had already heard this quilt pattern wasn’t the easiest to follow and that it was wasn’t the easiest of quilts to make.  This blog post is dedicated to my assessment of the quilt, the quilt pattern, and any tips and tricks for assembly.  If you’ve made this quilt before and have things to add to my list, please comment below, and I’ll get this post edited for future readers!

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So here it goes…

Skill Level:

  • Advanced Beginner/Intermediate

Pattern:

  • Each of the block patterns are shown with the finished block, semi-exploded diagram of the block to help show how the block is sewn together, and then cutting instructions.

Block Cutting Tips:

  • The cutting instructions are such that you *shouldn’t* need to trim the blocks if you have an accurate and consistent 1/4″ scant seam.  If you would like to trim blocks, make sure to add 1/8″ to each of the squares that require a single diagonal cut.
  • Square up all the flying geese and Half Square Triangles (HST) before assembling each block. Because I was lazy (at least I admit it), I used the exact cutting instructions thinking I could get away without squaring the block.  Nope, I’m not that consistent with my seams, and it was very apparent on blocks with lots of seams.
  • There is a google doc sheet that shows the full cutting instructions for the block from Liz Harbour.  However, there are a few minor mistakes in the sheet from typos so be on the look out for those.
  • Always cut the largest blocks first.  If you don’t, you may not have enough fabric left.  If you bought the kit and cut the largest blocks first, you’ll end up with a nice stack of Bella Solids to use as scraps in the end.

Sewing Tips:

  • Instead of cutting all the HSTs apart before sewing them back together, look at which HSTs can be made with the method of sewing 1/4″ on both sides of the diagonal line, then cutting the HST apart.
  • For some of the blocks, the flying geese can be made with the no waste method.  So there is no need to cut the different sized triangles in the cutting instructions.  This is if there are 4 flying geese that are identical and have the same colors of corner triangles in the block.
  • Nesting seams takes some extra planning ahead.  Make sure to mark which directions the seams should go for easier assembly.  If you do not want to think, press the seams open to avoid them being bulky.

Pattern Corrections:

  • Block 7: This block is overall TOO small.  If you sew it with the cutting instructions, your block will end up about 18″ square, rather than 18″ finished (18 1/2″ square).  You can fix this by cutting the E pieces 5 1/2″ squares rather than 4 3/4″ and the F pieces 5″ squares rather than 4 3/8″.  After the block is finished, trim the block to size.
  • Block 8: the A piece is too small.  Piece A should be 4 3/4″ rather than 4 5/8″

**There may be other corrections, but those were the ones that were obvious or really off that needed correcting!

Did I miss anything?  Comment below!  Thanks!

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Here are some of the assembly photos of the quilt.  I really do love how this quilt turned out, and it’s the largest quilt top that I’ve made finishing at 84″x96″.

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So I didn’t work on anything this week other than finishing up this quilt top.  I also realized not having to post a Quilter’s Planner block each week has give me validation that I can skip blocks for which I’m just not feeling it.  Maybe I’ll do this week’s block, but we’ll have to see!

6/20-6/27 Weekly Goal:
Available time for quilting:
Friday PM, Saturday AM, and Sunday afternoon

Projects I want to work on:
Quilter’s Planner Block
BCBarnQuilt
Designing for PBQ

Goals for the Projects:
Quilters Planner Block: Complete this week’s Block
BCBarnQuilt:  Complete the quilt top/block
Designing for PBQ: Work on new block designs, making a design a day.

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