Friday, January 29, 2016

Binding a Quilt

I am starting this post with a beautiful sunrise picture I took this morning.  Though we've had temperatures in the 50's, we still have snow on the ground from November that's shaded during the day time hours. 
Now for my explaination of how I bind my quilts.  I am working on a twin size t-shirt quilt for a friend.  The borders on the top of the quilt are flannel and the backing is batik fabric, not the typical fabrics, but it is do-able.  For the majority of the quilts I produce, this is how I bind them. 

1.  Finish quilting your quilt out to the edges.  Lay the quilt flat on a large table or the floor. 

2.  Place a cutting mat underneath the edge.  Square up the edge using your long ruler and rotary cutter.  The top, batting/wadding, and backing is going to be cut in this step.  You could do this step in the end after the binding is attached, however you have to be extra careful not to cut into the bound edge.

3.  Cut (if you haven't already) the binding strips straight with the grain, if you have no curved edges, 2 1/2"wide by the width of fabric (usually about 44" after cutting off the selveges).   If your quilt is not square and has curvy edges cut bias strips.  You will need to measure the perimeter of your quilt to determine how many strips you will need to join together.  Be sure to add about 8-12" to this length so you can join the binding in the end.

4. Join the strips together with a bias seam.  So, one strip will be laid down right side up, the next strip will be right side down and at a right angle on one end.  Sew a seam from the outer edge to the inner edge at a 45 degree angle.  Trim off the triangle.  Join all strips together and iron seams. 

5.  Iron the entire strip in half lengthways.  This will take some time, but be sure to place the strip edge to edge and iron down flat. 

6.  I've made a cheap binding tool/spool to contain the binding while I sew it to the quilt edge.   Made from cardboard and slit at both ends so you can wrap the ends onto the spool.
7.  Leave about 5" tail on the edge you are starting from.  Lay down the binding on the quilt top edge.  I use one pin to start.  Attach the walking foot, thread your machine (I use King Tut thread and size 14 topstitch needle).  I also use a little longer stitch length, 3, so if I have to rip out I can do that eaisly and not have tiny holes in the top to damage the quilt.   Start sewing the binding down keeping all layers flat, even and smoothly feeding through.  Use the needle down feature if you have it.  Stopping and adjusting as you go. 
8.  When you come to a corner (90 degree).   Stop with the needle down 1/4" from the bottom edge. Lift presser foot and turn, reverse 3 or 4 stitches so you can fold back the binding strip as if you are making a pleat or dog ear.  Now, line up the binding edge to the quilt edge and start sewing seam. 
9.  When you come to the final few inches (leave at least 10" to 12")...STOP.  Be sure to leave another tail about 5-8" long and from the beginning stitching.
10.  Now, fold the edges of the binding toward each other until the meet somewhere between the gap.  Iron the fold so you can see a cross hair in each strip when it's unfolded.
11.  The picture above shows the seam line on the bias.  You fold one edge out right side down and the other end is folded out at a 90 degree angle right side up.  I pin the seam line and test the edge by fold back on the edge to make sure before stitching. 
12.  Sew the bias line and trim to leave a seam allowance.  Fold back and iron  flat before stitching the remaining binding edge to the quilt. 
13.  Turn the quilt to the back and fold the bound edge over.  I like to hand sew the binding the the back as it looks invisible and gives a neat edge.  When you come to the 90 degree corner, carefully fold the edge down and take a couple stitches in the corner. 

 All done!   Now to get this quilt back to my friend, her daughter needs it for her college dorm.   ;o)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Moving On

Ok, I've decided on the backgrounds and have pieced them together, placed the "seed" shapes where I wanted them and sewed them down.  The triangle shapes were left over from the seed shapes I cut.  These were also sewed down to the edges, squared up and pin basted.  Now the top is in the line-up for machine quilting.  

 I have to move on to other things.  I am a member of an internet group and will participate in a swap for next month.  The dimensions are 5"X7" which is the perfect size to try something new. 
I placed a foundation fabric roughly this size down on my table.  On top of this, I placed a piece of  misty fuse and started cutting small pieces at random over the fusible.  Covering the entire piece with snippets and placing a piece of paper over the top to protect my iron, I ironed the whole piece very carefully.  I had some scrap pieces of organza and placed that over the top and used monopoly thread and sewed the piece on top to hold together.  Now, using different color threads and different fiber threads, I sewed at random all over the corresponding color scraps.  Next, I took some black strips and sewed them over the top.  I will add a fusible pellon as my filler/batting and a plain white backing.  I want to zigzag the edges to finish the whole piece off.  It will be like the postcard quilts I've made before.
  But, I'm getting ahead of myself.  This is as far as I've gotten and it's pinned on my design wall.  I'm thinking more stitching is needed, then I will finish it off. 
At night when I'm too tired to sew, I like to crochet.  Right now I am working on a prayer shawl made with Lion Brand Amazing yarn.  It is a soft wool and acrylic blend yarn.  It's a colorful skein, but I am liking it so far.  ;o)


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

More Interest in Strippy Improv

Now it just got interesting.  My last 2 posts have been about making the strippy pieced blocks.  Today I've cut them into seed like shapes and added some strips to each edge.  I'm considering the background fabric now.  Not liking the gray idea as mentioned before as this brought the colors and feel way down almost depressing.  I want to keep it light, bright and happy looking. 

I'm thinking about adding pieces to each edge of the seed shapes to connect them into one piece and then possibly cutting into segments and resewing them together.  It's ongoing and slow, sorry I can't show you a finished top yet.  ;o)

Saturday, January 9, 2016

More Strippy Improv

As predicted, it's been snowing for hours and hours without letting up.  I've been sewing strips and am quickly getting bored with it.  I took a break from sewing to shovel and returned to play around with these strips on my design board.   Here are two more strip pieced blocks to add to yesterday's blocks.  They aren't sewn to each other.

I'm at a point where my mind is trying to figure out the next steps and what I want the end project to look like.  I will add some neutral fabric and possibly cut some shapes from the strippy blocks.  Normally I would choose white or cream for a neutral, but after recently making a portrait quilt of my Dad (below), I want to try gray. 

We'll see how far I get today on it, there's no rush, sometimes when an idea pops into mind, the best results happen when I act on it.  ;o)

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Strippy Improv

I've blogged about Sherri Lynn Wood's new book before and go here to see more of her work and learn more about her book.  The first encounter with her process was the quilt I made called "Garden Ladder" using the Rythemic grid score.

Now I'm ready to try another score from her book.  So, I've been in my studio cleaning up and making some mental notes as well as some wipe board notes.  Going through my pile of scraps, I've realized that there are probably enough strips already cut to make a great improv top.  .  Here they are spread on my table and on the floor.  This is why I have to clean up after each project, hahaha. 

One thing about the improv style that I find liberating and somewhat scary is that you cut with your scissors and no ruler.  The uneven look is intended.  Most of the strips were 2"wide or a little more, so I used my scissors to cut them lengthways to about an 1" for some.  This was random and made for a more interesting design. 

Here are two strip pieced blocks and I am thinking about making 2 more, but I did do some playing with the white strips on my design board. 

Tomorrow I will continue with the strip pieced blocks and decide if the white strips will make their way into my design or ditch that idea and just cut the strip pieced blocks into smaller shapes and randomly sew them back together.  Maybe I will make some journal drawings to get a better mental picture.  One thing I don't want to do is plan or over think this project as it is suppose to be spontaneous and improvisational. 

We're in for more snow overnight, so it will be a good day to stay in and do more sewing.  ;o)

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Crocheted Socks and Leg Warmers

It's a fact that I have to keep my hands and mind busy.  Crocheting is a relaxing and fulfilling way to do just that.   It doesn't take long to complete a pair of simple socks like these I've made for my DH and DS.   I bought 2 balls of Sock-Ease yarn, one solid turquoise and the other is multi-colored.

These were made for DS using Sock Ease yarn

These were made for DH with Sock Ease yarn

I've also made leg warmers for myself.  I worked them in the round ; chain 28, slst in first chain and sc in back loop only for rows 1-4, now start hdc sizing it to your leg as you go.  Work as many rows as you need.  I wanted these to go to my knee, so they are quite tall.  To finish, sc in back loop only for the final 4 rows and tie off.  For these I used a different yarn; Wool-Ease made by Lion Brand.   I have rinsed them in hot water so that the dye in the yarn comes out and rinses clear.  I've blocked them and dryed them on a rack.   These were completed in a few hours. 

Next, maybe I will finish a wave afghan I started for my DH a few years ago.  Hahaha, I am on a  roll.  ;o)

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Another Baby Quilt

Babies love to see bright vibrant colors.  They are stimulated by the colors and reach out to feel the texture of the fabrics; this is their early learning phases.  For my friend who is due with a boy in April, I've decided to give a baby quilt with vibrant colors and soft texture.  I've done this bricks pattern by Kaffe Fassett before and really like the end result. It is a simple pattern of finished 2"X4" rectangles.  
I added a green border of 4 different strips and a batik green and yellow binding. This really toned the quilt down from being mostly blue/aqua colors to bring more of the greens out.  I think this rests the eye better and is more interesting. 

The reverse of this quilt is a cream colored flannel fabric.  The quilting was done on my home machine using a meandering free hand design. 
I just found out that my DH's nephew and his wife are expecting.  They had a baby nearly 2 years ago and I had made the Ugly Baby Quilt for them (below and here).
Since I love the bricks pattern as mentioned above, I may have to do this one again for their second baby.  Not an exact repeat, but close.  I will pour through my scrap bag and see what can be unearthed.   ;o)

Friday, January 1, 2016

Postcards and Crocheted Socks

Quilted postcards are easy and quick to make.
Using just a few supplies, you can make some in less than an hour for your friends. Just affix a postage stamp and make sure they are not too thick and any embellishments are secured tightly.  Buttons without shanks are OK, beads are probably not a good choice, however, I did use a few beads here.

When I showed these to my DH he said,"Oh they look like the frozen character, Olaf"....Ugh.  Not what I was going for, but I see what he's saying.  It's hard to make them look whimsical without looking like something that's been done to death like a character in a movie. 
I've mailed them off and can only hope they get to their destination in one piece, beads and all. 
Onto another project...
It has been so cold here in Colorado this winter that I've changed gears and started crocheting again.  These are simple socks I made for DH and DS. They look masculine and are warm and comfortable.  I didn't use a pattern for these, just ch 5, sl st to make a round and start sc around increasing as you go.  I believe I had about 45 st by the time it was wide enough(of course, this is also dependant on how thick the yarn is) and I don't know how many rows.  Just go until you like how high they come on the leg.  I want to try leg warmers for myself.  My feet and legs are always cold. 

Happy New Year to you and hope this will be a productive one.  ;o)