Friday, February 28, 2014

Border is done and a little heart piece

The border is attached and trimmed so this weekend I can pin baste it. After it is done I will add to my stash of baby quilts that I keep on hand when I need one quickly.

I took 15 minutes to play to complete the February challenge over at Victoria's 15 Minutes to Play blog. Talk about waiting to the last minute! I had this cute heart stamp I stamped on a scrap then added randomly the red and turquoise scraps I found in a bin. I decided it was too plain so I got out the paints and splattered painted it. I now hangs on my design wall where I keep pieces that I have collected from other quilters.

Wee doggie it is cold this morning!

The weather people are calling for snow for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday which could amount from 6 to 18 inches.

I have a haircut appointment early Saturday morning so I hope the snow doesn't start until after that. Other than that I am staying home, working in the studio, and maybe do a bit more cleaning. I would like to get the cleaning done before the weather turns nice, because I want to be outside as much as possible after this winter!

Take care!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

MQG meeting and borders

Last night was our meeting and one other member and I showed up. Stephanie brought three quilts she had finished. Love the coral and grey in this quilt. It was all quilted and bound by end of day this past Saturday!

This next quilt I quilted for her and she had the binding done.

This last quilt she made for a xmas present, but I hadn't seen it with the fabulous turquoise binding she added!

I brought my pink quilts and the rock n' roll log cabin to show. I got home so early I had time to work on extending the borders on the multi layer quilt. Here is what it looks like now.

It is snowing again today. It is very fine, but it could add up if it keeps snowing as hard as it is snowing. Here is today's forecast. Yes, that is a low of 3 tonight!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Piano key border tutorial for the multi layer blocks

The first thing I did was find some backing for the quilt and measure the blocks. The blocks measure about 31" x 47". My backing is about 42" wide. I got this backing in the bargain basement on a sale day at Miller's Dry Goods in Charm. There is 7 yards and I bet I didn't pay more than $4.00 a yard.

So if I subtract 31 from 42 I get 11". Then divide 11" in half and you get 5.5". So that means the borders need to be about 5.5". I will lose another 1/4 of inch of the border when I sew the border on and I will lose 1/4 of an inch off the size of the blocks for a total of 1" in the width of the top so my backing will be plenty wide.

I gathered up the scraps I had left from the log cabin quilt I put together last week and started making border pieces. I also cut a variety of pieces from the fabrics I used in this multi layered quilt. I pressed the first two pieces and layered them both face side up. They measure about 7" which is wider than I need, but that gives me some wiggle room.

Next trim one edge straight.

Now cut the layers into chunks. I free cut these - no ruler. I usually start on the right and slightly pull the length of fabric so I can see where I cut the previous cut to judge where I want to do the next cut.

Next sort the pieces into two rows.

Stack the pieces so you can move the rows to the sewing machine. I stack the rows with the left hand piece on the top. This is important because you are going to sew the pieces from left to right.

Here are the first two pieces.

Flip the right piece over the left piece with right sides together.

Sew the two pieces together matching the cut edges up as you go. Since these a free cut pieces the edges won't match up when they are laid on top of each other so you have to go slow and match them up as you sew working the top and bottom pieces gently without stretching, tugging, or pulling.

Add the next piece. In this case when I flipped the next piece over to add to the row I get a dog ear at my straight edge. If you have quilted for a while you have seen this when you sew triangles together. I am showing you the underside also so you can see that dog ear. What is important is to line up the cut edges of the seam line.

Here you can see after I sewed the pieces I get a straight edge at the top.

The two rows sewn

Now I want to join the two rows so I slightly overlapped them.

I traced the outline of the light blue piece and cut the darker blue piece. Notice that they match at the top. Sew.

Here I had a scrap that I want to add to the end of the row.

Overlap the pieces

Cut thru both pieces

See how they are uneven at the top? I cut a little nip across to make them even so the pieces can be matched up for sewing.

Here is row all sewn together

I sewed a bunch of border pieces together last night and this is what the quilt looks like now. I will have to add a few pieces here and there to make enough border to go around the blocks. I will trim the borders on one side to match up to the blocks, but I won't trim the outside border until I am ready to square up the quilt.

Now if you are thinking a lot of fabric is wasted with trimming, here is my pile from this quilt. I don't think there is much waste. The couple larger pieces of scrap I used last night to sew on after I oiled my machine.

One more tip: make sure you have a nice sharp blade in your rotary cutter. If you use a blade that you have been using awhile it will be dull enough that it won't cut cleanly thru fabric that is not held down by a ruler. I keep a separate group of blades that are good for cutting with a ruler, but too dull for free cutting then switch them as needed for whatever task I am doing.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Multi layered blocks

Another way of improv piecing I showed at the workshop was cutting multiple layers of fabric to make blocks. Here is how we did it. The how to pictures are from a previous quilt I made, but it is exactly how we I did it.

For this particular block I took six fat quarters of coordinating fabric. I pressed them and layered them all face up.

Next, make a straight cut thru all the layers on the top and on the right side. The reason for doing this is so you can match your starting point for sewing the pieces together. You don't have to do it for the other two sides because they are going to come out uneven anyway.

Now I sliced the layers up from the trimmed edges. Since I had six layers I made five cuts to end up with six pieces. This way each block will have one of the six fabrics in it. If you use five fabric you would make four cuts, etc.

Now it is time to shuffle the fabrics. I take one stack of six fabrics and lay each in its position. Then I take the next stack and lay it next to the first fabric, but not putting the same fabric next to it. I continue until I have built six blocks.

Sew the blocks together again using the straight cut sides as you guide to matching up the pieces. At the workshop everyone helped to lay the pieces out with these blue and tan fabrics and then one of the ladies had the brilliant idea for each of us to sew a block together. I sewed two together so when I came home all the blocks were already sewn together! Here is one of the blocks we sewed together at the workshop. You can see how uneven those two untrimmed edges come out, but that doesn't matter. I take my big square ruler and trim the blocks to the biggest size I can.

So I trimmed all the blocks - they came out 16" x 16" - and sewed them together.

This makes a quick baby quilt that looks like you spent hours and hours piecing. Tonight I will make a piano key border to finish it off and post tomorrow how I go about making a piano key border quickly and improvisationally. Here is a completed quilt done like this that I posted last year I think, but for any new readers here it is again. The workshop ladies really liked this piece. You could cut more blocks and make a bigger quilt also so don't think this is limited to only a baby quilt. Also don't think you need to cut more blocks exactly the same. Cutting another set of six fabrics different from the first set, then mixing the all the blocks after they are sew together will give you a completely different look. Have fun and experiment!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Workshop and next project

I got to the art museum at 11 am and there was staff at the ready to help me unload the car and take my stuff downstairs to the classroom. They help set up tables too. I unpacked my stuff and was ready for the participates. I had four women and that turned out to be a good number. The museum has a small lunch stand and after 2 1/2 hours of working, we took a break and had a bit to eat that the museum paid for. Here are some of the blocks the lady's made

I forgot to take pictures of the funky triangles they made. Tomorrow I will show you the blocks from the multi-layered technique. You remember Justin? He is the young fellow that work's at the museum gift shop that sews and I made him a wall hanging out of his old clothes? Well, he came down to the classroom late in the day and he wanted to see me sew together a drunkard's path block without clipping. I had an extra workbook which I gave him plus some sample blocks I made. He was excited about going home and giving it a try. I packed up my stuff and again museum staff helped me haul my stuff to the car and load it.

The ladies kept asking if I was going to have any more classes. I know one lady in the first 20 minutes just said I love this! I was giving her such a sense of freedom! All four ladies seem to have a great time. I got home about 5:20 and I was tired! I forced myself to unload the car. Before I put my machine back in place, I decided to vacuum a bit. What dust bunnies I had! I did enough cleaning to get my machine back into the cabinet and I had to quit. I was just too tired.

Sunday I decided to tackle cleaning up the rest of the dust bunny infested studio. I mean the place was just a mess! I needed to attack it with this saying in mind "Start by doing what's necessary, then what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible." I heard this somewhere, but I don't know who said it.
Here are the before pictures

the after

While I was cleaning I also made a pot of vegetable beef soup

I did a bit of sewing once the room was all cleaned up. I am working on a project that I can't talk about and I won't be able to show you the finished project for quite a while. For this project I dug out a container of cotton solids that I bought probably back in the 90's when I was going thru my Amish phase. I have to have something to submit by March 25.