Hack & 16 Patch Quilt

hacks2016-1Hello long lost blog friends! Today’s first hack is how to sew skinny elastic together on a sewing machine. Pin it to a square of fabric, and then you can cut the fabric off when you are done. I figured this out while making baby crib sheets.
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My second hack is this. Cut all of your scraps into 2.5″ or 5″ squares for scrappy quilts later. Sort them by color. I started doing this after a friend at quilt guild told us that is what she does, and now that I have a few years of scraps cut, I can throw together 9 or 16 or whatever- patches any time I feel like it.
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Isn’t my sewing table cute? My mom’s husband didn’t like it, so they were going to get rid of it. Naturally I had to adopt it.
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This is the back of a quilt I made with scrap 2.5″ squares.
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I sorted by color, including blacks/ grays, as well as a very colorful section, and a light neutral pile. Then I made blocks that were either complementary colors or close in the color wheel to each other.
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For the first time, I read up on a few design rules, and learned that borders on quilts should not be larger than your blocks. I did an inner and outer border. Of all of the quilts I have designed from scratch this might be my favorite. It pays to learn the rules and follow them occasionally, I guess.

Hack: Ripping Strips

Apparently I have not posted since before I conceived the little nugget I shall be delivering sometime at the end of April or beginning of May. So, I am pleased to announce that my fourth reason to make a baby quilt will be arriving in approximately 7 to 9 weeks.

In other news, I have finished several quilts since January, and in finishing these things, my attention has been drawn to borders of quilts. They take a lot longer than I think they will to finish, every time.

This is a hack I learned from my quilt guild ladies, and let me tell you, they do not lie. If you need to cut a very long piece for borders, you should rip it instead of cut it. The photo below is of a strip of fabric 80+ inches long. I had it left over from the quilt for my dad, and decided to use it for my baby’s quilt’s border. I snipped at 3 inches on one end, and voila.

rip it goodMore than eighty inches away, and it was still a tight 3″ width of fabric. My main notes on this technique are:

1. Rip aggressively and quickly. The more slowly you do it, the more time there is to stretch the edges of your fabric.

2. Ripping works parallel to or perpendicular (90 degrees) to the edge of your fabric.

3. There may be about a 1/4 of an inch next to the edge that looks a little pulled, but that will be inside of your seam, and if you are very worried by it, iron it, and it will smooth out nicely.

On a non-ripping note, make sure you measure the edge of your quilt, and then measure the borders. Mark the centers, and pin them. This prevents you from having the border or quilt stretch if the top or bottom of your machine feeds faster or slower. That stretching can make the quilt lie funny or be harder to quilt later.

I will be back soon to post my show and tells that I have finished!

Binding my Quiet Book

Right now I am working on binding my book. I was going to sew the pages right-sides together and then turn them inside out, but someone mentioned using normal binding for them. I have so many scraps of binding, and I love scrappy-looking anything, so I am binding.

qb rings

I bought some 2″ book rings, and tent/tarp grommets, and went to work. I have a few notes for if I ever work with grommets again:

* The hole punch that came with my grommets didn’t work on a cutting mat, but a scrap of carpet or felt underneath helped it make a small cut. Then I used scissors to finish the hole.

* Hammer lightly at first, and be careful to hold the top applicator straight at a 90 degree angle. I hammered really hard at first, and the grommet edge cut the fabric edges around them. I recommend trying a few test ones before doing it on the actual product.

* Half inch grommets are pretty big, but for 12″ pages with brightly colored binding, it doesn’t look too bad. I would like to check a hardware store next time. I just ordered them on Amazon this time.

* If I make another book I might also try reinforced button holes. You sew the buttonhole like normal, except include a small piece of cord that gets sewn into the satin-stitched edge of the hole. I only know about these from the classes that came with my sewing machine. I love those Bernina people.

How to Weave Felt

I have taken a break from making my own quiet book, and I have joined a quiet book exchange. Each member makes 15 of a specific page. We all do a different page, and then exchange so we have a complete book. I love the efficiency of this method.

I am doing a laundry page with little clothespins, and a basket, and I am going to work with a friend who will do a felt doll page, and some of the clothes. I thought I would post the process of weaving the felt for the basket. I learned this trick from the pie-making page of my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, so you can do this with felt, or pie crust.

basket weave (1)-web
Lay out your horizontal felt strips.
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Place your first vertical strip underneath every alternating horizontal strip.
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Now, fold back (to the left) the strips that are underneath your first vertical strip.

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Then place your next vertical strip next to your first one, snugging it as close as you can.

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Replace the strips you folded back earlier.

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Now fold back the strips that are underneath vertical strip 2.

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And place vertical strip 3.

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Replace the horizontals again.

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Lather.

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Rinse.

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Repeat.

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Trim.

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Stabilize with your best friend, Pellon.

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And place on your page. (Or pie.) You did it! I’ll post a picture of my page when it is done. My mini-clothes pins are so cute. I can’t wait to make some little felt clothes to pin. You can get the pins on Amazon.com or from a craft store. The shipping on Amazon made them about twice as expensive as my local store, Roberts.

Minky Quilt

I got a sewing referral through facebook recently, and I put two minky quilts together for my friend’s sister. It was simple piecework, but the stretchy minky fabric (aka cuddle fabric) was a little challenging.

minky quilt

Here is what I learned:

* Baste very carefully, someone mentioned basting spray, but I pinned and it was fine
* Use a walking foot
* Don’t backstitch because you might have to unpick
* Use a big quilting ruler/grid to flatten and smooth out the bottom and top before pinning

minky 2

I just sewed the squares together and quilted the front to the back. The fabric was so thick it didn’t really need batting, and rather than a separate binding I folded the back over twice and sewed it to the front. I love this paisley texture, isn’t it gorgeous?