Sunday, August 24, 2014

Frosty Jolly Wall Hanging

August means time for Holiday quilting! Two weeks ago I completed the "What did you call me?" Witch Appliqué Wall Hanging. This weekend I decided to take a go at Frosty Jolly a pattern by Happy Hollow Designs. I actually picked it up last year during a Black Bag Saturday, along with the about 15 fat quarters it requires, but being pregnant and tired I just never got around to completing it. 

My quilting happens when C naps, so today's project time was from noon to 2pm. I did get a jump start at 6am while playing in C's room, he played with some toys while I read the pattern and noted the count of how many of each color of squares would be needed. 

For this pattern the squares are 1 7/8th inch each, and there are about 300 squares! Don't worry it's an easy assembly line process for cutting and for sewing. Fusible grid paper makes this project manageable and beautiful! 

To start the project I began cutting out all of my squares. I am very lucky to have just recently purchased a fiskar 6" x 24" slide cutter. This ruler and cutter combined is able to cut through up to eight sheets of fabric at a time.
Since I needed to make  1 7/8 inch squares I took my fat quarters and cut them in piles by color. Each fat quarter I cut two rows from the 21 inch long side. This enabled me to get a bout 10 perfect 1 7/8 inch squares from each row. 




After getting all my squares cut out, I took time to change piece my half square triangles which are the only other shapes and the pattern. There were three orange/ white, seven black/white, 20 purple/green. 



After these were chain pieced I cut the half off that was not needed, then took them to the ironing board to be pressed. As I have learned From the great Jenny down of Missouri star quilt company, I pressed all my pieces to the dark. This ensures any white pieces will not have the dark fabric coming through on the back of the seam. 




Once my half square triangles were complete I begin the process of setting up my fusible grid paper to build the project on. 


The instructions call for the fusible grid to be done in two pieces, one being the snowman's hat, the other being the snowman's face and earmuffs. I decided to start on the face and earmuffs first since it is the larger piece.

For the layout of the face and earmuffs I chose to begin by marking up my fusible grid paper. The version I have by Pellon has gold grid lines which to me is a bit hard to see. So I took my pink Frixion highlighter which disappears when heated and I sketched out the center grid and the earmuffs and locations of the HST's.

 With these in place I moved forward in laying out the squares. First all my half square triangles.

Next, all of the purple earmuffs!
 
You may be wondering, "Katie, why are you not placing the right next to each other, there are little gaps." Have no fear, it's supposed to be that way! Remember I cut squares 1 7/8th inches? Well that 1/7th of an inch missing is the gap you see and once we sew the fusible grid those gaps will disappear. Here's a sneak preview:

Now that I've given you a preview of the magic I'm going to show you how I got there.

With all the pieces laid out, it is time to iron them to the fusible grid paper!

First step is laying down the appliqué pressing Matt, I put the packaging on the ironing board as well to show you which one I have. I have link to it in the beginning of the blog if you're interested in getting one for yourself.
The next step is ironing on top of your pressing Mat to secure the squares to the fusible grid paper. I am lucky enough to have an Oliso iTouch iron, so when I place my iron on my ironing board if my hand is not on it it has little feet that pop up so that nothing can get scorched.


As you can see some of the squares are not fitting on the ironing board, so after I secure the top rows I move the fusible grid paper up on the ironing board so that I can secure the bottom rows. Diffusible grid paper works sort of like batting does the grid squares usually can help keep the fabric on the paper even if you haven't been able to iron it down yet.

The look above is all of the pieces fuse down to the grid. 
 The next step requires The excess feasible grid to be cut away. You can see below that I cut off every extra piece of feasible grid including the sides of the corners.
Now that this step is done it's time to sew! The directions said just sewing horizontally on the gridlines first, switching back-and-forth which side you start with. That's too much thinking for me to switch back-and-forth, so I always do the horizontal first but always start on the same end of the grid paper. 
Here is what the first line sewn looks like. Nothing too fancy, a quarter-inch stitch right next to the grid line.
When you open up the line you can see that there is no longer a gap between the two rows that have the same line. 
It is important to check in between each row in case one of your squares did not fuse properly and is not so all the way into the seam line. If that happens you will need to use a seem ripper and re-sew that small section.   If that happens to you, don't worry it happens to the best of us. I have great example pictures to show below.
Whoops! 
Since this square didn't get sewn into the same line, as you will see in the picture below I removed the stitches with my seem ripper and then place the square back in the right spot and sewed the gap shut. Which fixed the issue.

Thankfully I only had to deal with this twice during the process of doing the snowmans face and earmuffs, below is a picture after the horizontal lines were completed.
The next step requires clipping between the vertical seam lines, for this I used my rag quilt clipping scissors. However a standard pair of sewing scissors can be used as well.

Clipping the vertical lines allows you to then fold the grid paper vertically to so the next set of seam lines.

Their directions for this pattern tell you how to get the already sewn seam lines to fold in the correct direction when you are pushing through your sewing machine. I have never been able to figure out how to get that to happen so I just charge forward and my back of my grid paper is a bit bulkier than it should be, but it has never cause me a problem and completing the project.

Seriously, the best part of this paper is that all of the squares match so perfectly. If you have ever tried to so to half square triangles together and get them to match perfectly you know it is not an easy feat. As you can see between the picture above this, and below this diffusible grid paper makes the nose for the snowman come together beautifully.
After all the vertical lines are so here is what the snowman looked like.
The next step was to move on into creating the snowman's hat. So I already had the squares cut out all I needed to do was prepped the fusible grid paper,  lay out my squares, and get to sewing.



This part is still a work in progress but I will continue to update in a new post to show how the two pieces come together, in addition to adding the back in and batting to complete the project.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Return from Hiatus!

Well it's certainly been quite some time (over a year and a half) since my last post! My quilting adventures have still continued, but so did life! I had started this blog in November of 2012 right after learning to quilt via a Joann's fabric class and some one on one time with a fellow quilter. I did a great job (I think) of documenting my creations up until January of 2013 and then I dropped of the blogger-sphere. 

2013 was a great year, in which I was pregnant the majority of the year. My husband and I welcomed our first child, a son, who we affectionately call "Little Bug" or "C" in early December 2013. While I was pregnant I still quilted and even dabbled in sewing. Since his birth I've continued to work on new projects, including learning how to applique! 

I'm going to attempt to make a few post to catch everyone up to the projects I've finished. Unfortunately not all will have great step-by-step tutorials. However if there is one you'd like to see a step-by-step for let me know and I'd be glad to create one. 

Thanks for following, look forward to your feedback! 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Black Bag Saturday August 2014

This weekend was Black Bag Saturday! And by now I hope that you understand my love of this monthly event (if not read this post). The free notion of the month was a Dritz wrist pin cushion and the coupons which I'll talk about below were right on for what I ended up "needing". 

This month I did not go in with specific items in mind except for batting. I had no trouble finding batting (which was on an exclusive BOGO coupon), and I also found 2 great single patterns and a pattern book, which of course then lead to great fabric purchases. 

PATTERN PURCHASES

The first single pattern I picked up was from Trouble and Boo, it's a penguin table topper. It is the perfect size for me to use my bring the back to the front as binding/border trick, and it's a quick applique project. I think it will end up being a holiday present for some people in my life. This pattern was a great deal too because with the purchase of the $8.00 pattern you received a half yard of fabric free, can't beat that. 

The second single pattern I purchased was Trim the Tree III by Cindi Edgerton. This is a paper piecing pattern that includes what you need (minus fabric/thread) to create 2 small, 2 medium, and 2 large paper pieced Christmas trees. I have not paper pieced before, other than one 15 minute lesson at my very first sewing class about 2 years ago so I will be sure to document my adventure well and share it with everyone. If you have tips or links to tutorials you think I should check out please comment below!! 

Finally the pattern book, HAPPY HAUNTERS BOOK by Kelly Mueller of the Wooden Bear. This book contains a good grouping of Halloween projects. From wall hangings, to aprons, to desktop candy corn, and a quilted game table with bats and frogs as game pieces.

FABRIC PURCHASES

When I purchase a book or a pattern I try to make sure I pick up fabric for it in the same trip if at all possible and cost effective. I have a great stash at home to pull from when it comes to solid colors thanks to my Black Friday splurge at connectingthreads.com last year where I picked up about 100 fat quarters in a variety of colors. 

The penguin table topper was easy to purchase fabric for, I just needed the border/backing fabric and the background fabric. I had the black, red, and white on hand needed to make the applique penguins. For the border/backing fabric I chose the same shown in the pattern, and then a simple snowflake for the background. 

When I picked up the Happy Haunters Book the cover photo featuring the "What did you call me?" Witch Wall Hanging made me instantly need the book. The great thing about pattern books at 35th Ave Sew and Vac is they are always 20% off. In order to make the wall hanging I needed to get background fabric, border fabric, backing fabric, black fabric for the hat and boots, and a coordinating fabric for the witches accessories. 

I found some pretty amazing fabrics for the wall hanging I must say. The black cats on black fabric are hands down my favorite and were a lucky find. All of the color on color fabrics are kept in one spot near the cutting line, and had I not been waiting in line I would have missed this gem. 

I purchased just over 2 yards of my backing fabric because it was the end of the bolt and I knew I could use it for other Halloween items. I then also picked up coordinating green, orange, and purple cobweb fabric. 

This trip made me super excited to get started on these projects but we have some family commitments this weekend so my quilting time will be limited to the evenings after C has gone to bed. Hopefully I can still get started on at least a little something, Halloween is going to be here before we know it! 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

What Did You Call Me? Holiday Fun

Festive holiday quilting is one of my favorite things to do. I love to create new wall hangings and quilts that can be displayed each year for others to enjoy. I can't lie, I'm a bit selfish with my quilting and find it very hard to give away anything I've made. When I make items other people get to enjoy but I get to keep it's like the best of both worlds for me. 

My days quilting have been greatly modified into minutes or hours of quilting now that I'm a parent. Don't get me wrong I LOVE being a parent and could play with C all day, but when I want to quilt it happens in about 2 hour blocks while he's napping or after he's gone to bed. 

Last night I decided to just go for it and take on the "What did you call me?" Witch Wall Hanging pattern from Happy Haunters by Kelly Mueller. My husband, C and I spent the afternoon at a pool party with family, so when we got home everyone was exhausted-- except the baby! Even for skipping his nap he just wasn't ready to sleep. 

At about 5pm my husband made us dinner. While he was working on that and C was in his high chair I started on the applique tracing to the heat n bond, precutting, and ironing. Before dinner was ready I had all my shapes ironed on. 

About 7pm we put C in bed and he finally caught on that it was time to sleep. At that point I was ready to pass out, however quilting tends to give me a second wind so I headed back to my quilting room. I cut out all my appliqué pieces, which for this pattern was actually a lot. This was one of the first patterns I've done that has required a lot of layering of the appliqué.

 I was able to use my appliqué pressing sheet which was a life saver. I placed it on my ironing board and then layered my appliquéd witch on top.  Once I was happy with the placement of all the pieces I ironed the witch down. Then I was able to pull her up in on piece for easy placement on the backing fabric. 

I had already added my preliminary border to the quilt background fabric so next I started placing the witch and the letters for "what did you call me?". Then I added the batting and went to town sewing down the appliqué. I was able to get this all complete by 11pm!! Including about a 15 minute break where I seam ripped an entire section of sitching I had done on the witches head but also caught whole other part of the quilt top. WHOOPS! 


In the morning C got up at 7am so we played in his room for an hour and then I took him to the quilting room where he listened to Old McDonald on Baby Einstien and watched my quilt while playing with toys in his high chair. 

I had a short timeline to get the wall hanging finished as we were leaving the house at 9:30am to head to breakfast with family. 

MISTAKE ALERT: 
I always buy extra fabric thinking I'll need it for additional projects. Really my brain must just think it's for backup because without fail I almost always cut at least one piece completly the wrong size. And well this wall hanging was no different. 

I cut my background and borders perfectly, however my backing fabric I cut too short the first time, grr! I had decided to increase the backing measurements from the pattern so I could bring the backing to the front and have a built in extra border and mitered corners. Well my first cut I cut at the shorter of the two lengths I needed. Thankfully though I had bought almost an entire extra yard of fabric. So I did my second cut, success--- or at least I thought. 

I ironed the lines I needed so I'd know where to sew and create the borders/mitered corners but there was about an inch extra lengthwise so I had to readjust placement of the quilt top and re iron. Then I sewed the first corner. It seemed really off so I didn't cut it, I just flipped it to take a look. Sure enough it wasn't going to work. The side borders were an inch wider than the top and bottom and it wasn't making the corners got correctly. So I had to take an inch off the sides. :( Scraps for the future I guess. 

With that in order I sewed all my corners, clipped them, and turned them... To find that my magic border/mitered binding trick covered the border I already sewed onto the quilt top! Oh my.  

This would not have been a problem if the hat for the witch didn't go into the border for the quilt top. So I took out my trusty seam ripper. 

This was my first time undoing appliqué and I wasn't sure how it would go because of the heat 'n bond. However it came up fine and I was able to applique it on the new border. Woo!! Finally success. 

After that dibacle I was able to wavy stitch the border/backing down and add a hanging sleeve.

Even with all of those snafus before my morning coffee I was able to complete my wall hanging by 9am. 

I am so happy with the finished product and want to make another one which I can send to my Grandma Y. 

Since I was young Grandma Y has had a sign in her garage that says something to the effect of "this isn't Burger King, so you'll have it my way" which makes me think she will think this is pretty funny too. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Scrabble Jack

At Black Bag Saturday (Aug. 2013) I picked up this awesome pattern by Happy Hollows Design for a pumpkin wall hanging, the pumpkins teeth read "Happy Fall Y'all". 

This project brought a new element into my quilting because it used fusible grid paper. And let me start off by saying how awesome this stuff is!! It makes your piecing look so precise when really you don't have to do much. 

For the pattern your working with 1 7/8th inch squares. Over 200 of them! So the start of this quilt for me was a huge cutting session. I had about 12 fat quarters in orange hues, 4 in black, 3 in brown, and one in green. After I cut what seemed like a billion squares I laid out my fusible grid and got to work.  

The great thing about the grid is you can lay everything out and play with placement to make sure where you like items before you commit to sewing or even fusing the items in place. For me once I laid everything out I actually did my first ironing on my dining room table (don't tell the husband please!). I did put batting under the grid to protect the table. This allowed me to move the whole piece to the ironing board for a true press. 
 

When pressing you're adhering 1 7/8th inch squares to 2 inch fusible grid so there is some exposed glue. Because of this the ladies at my new favorite quilting store introduced me to an appliqué pressing sheet. You place it over the quilt squares and iron right on top so it gets the glue, not your iron. 

Once all your squares are fused you fold the grid paper row by row and sew across horizontally. Then once all the horizontal rows are complete you move on to vertical rows. However there is a step in the middle. You need to go through and snip at the seam allowance between squares to help the grid paper fold and sew vertically. Once this is done you can move on to the vertical row sewing. 

Once your pieces are sewn to the fusible grid you cut out your shape and lay your backing on top, RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER-- I emphasis this because I did it wrong sides together and spent an hour seam ripping later. Once your pumpkin and backing are right sides together your batting is place over the backing. Then you sew your 1/4 inch seam around the outside of your pumpkin, leaving an area for turning it inside out at the bottom. 
Once sewn you cut off the excess backing and batting and clip the corners. Then turn inside out. Once inside out you will use a point turner to refine the corners and then finally see the bottom opening closed. 


The original pattern has a set of decorations that can be purchased including the scrabble teeth, raffia, and button eyes. It ran about $20 but I still bought it. Because I had so much fabric left I actually made a second Scrabble Jack and for it I found similar items to the buttons and raffia at Hobby Lobby and used them.


The end result was fantastic and those I know who quilt were impressed with my piecing accuracy! I let them in on the fusible grid secret and they loved it. I truly look forward to getting to hang these year after year now.



Sunday, August 18, 2013

Wedding guestbook quilt

In March, a wonderful couple my husband and I are friends with were married. At their wedding they had charm squares which they had purchased through Missouri Star Quilt Company, and fabric pens available to their guests. Guest were asked to sign the quilt squares instead of a guestbook.

My friend  does not quilt so I had her bring all the squares over so I could put the quilt top together for her. We spent an afternoon sorting the quilt squares in determining which spots. She wanted which squares to go in. She had a mix of signed squares and squares that had patterns printed on them. We did the initial layout on my dining room floor. And from there I took the rows to the machine to sew the quilt top. 

Because the quilt is something that she will have forever, I did not feel comfortable attempting to quilt it for her. Especially because I know my limitations and machine quilting, and binding. 

Once she has it quilted, I will update the post with the final photos and if it is okay with her I will also share where she got it quoted and the process for getting that done.