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.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Bill's Black Bag Saturday August 2013

I was recently introduced to 35th Ave. Sew and Vac. Which is an incredible quilting store and vacuum/sewing machine repair shop here in the Phoenix area.  They have three locations across to Maricopa County. Well on their Facebook page I discovered an event they hold monthly called Bill's Black Bag Saturday.

On Black Bag Saturday, customers purchase a reusable bag (one time and then use it for the year) which gives them access to a set of exclusive Coupons to be used that day and a free select notion chosen by the store.  The free notion this month was a Dritz magnetic pin wand

The coupons vary monthly but you can always expect a 40% off one notion, anda 40% off one cut of fabric. They also have additional dollar off coupon you can win by playing games.There are always demonstrations going on too! 

This month there was even a table where you could make your own mummy out of batting, muslin, and flexible wire! With the mummy they held a Facebook contest and had people submit pictures all month of what there mummy helped them with! You'll see my mummy featured in some of the photos in my next post about Scrabble Jack. 

I should note this was my first true trip to a quilting store. I had no idea what to expect and boy was I blown away!! The selection was awesome, the people were great, and there was so much to see.

It was really hard to decide what to buy because truly I would have bought everything I touched if I had the budget!

In the end I picked one pattern, called Scrabble Jack by Happy Hollow designs. Then I needed to pick the fabric that the pattern called for. It called for almost 20 fat quarters. I had never really picked more than one or two fabrics that matched each other, so picking 20 fat quarters of different colors that match each other was something that I was a little nervous about.

 I should preface here that when I shop for clothes I only go to stores that put their collections on maniquines, so I can buy the entire outfit and make sure it matches based on what the maniquine was wearing. 

The best part I found about this quilting store was the willingness of the staff to help me in matching and picking out fabrics. With this pattern you use a fusible grid fabric to  ensure that all your patchwork matches up perfectly (since you have over 200 two inch squares to sew), without the help of the staff I wouldn't have thought to get the grid paper or known how to use it. 

Below is a picture of my total haul from the event. I won't lie I was probably there for at least 4 hours! Cannot wait to share how Scrabble Jack turns out. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Baby Season: Self-Binding Receiving Blankets

In May 2013 I made a couple of self binding receiving blankets, based on the great Missouri Star Quilt Company tutorial on these blankets. The first blanket I made was for one of my friends who was due in May. Then I made two additional blankets for my son who is due in December. Next I made a blanket for my other friend who was due in August. Finally I have updated this post, with one more blanket that I made in 2014 for my sister and her newest baby.

These blankets are super easy and all they require our two pieces of fabric one cut 40" x 40" and the other cut 30" x 30".  This means you need just under a yard for one cut and just over our yard for the second cut. I use flannel for these blankets, with the exception of one blanket which are used minky or cuddle fabric for. I found the Minky very hard to work with as it seem to stretch and not keep in place as well as the flannel while sewing. 

The first blanket was for baby Ryker, I did a car racing game for him.

The next two blankets were for baby Colton, my son. I did an animal theme for both. 

The fourth blanket I made was so much fun, and it was for baby Madison. Had already created some pink and white and purple and white pinwheels and just wasn't quite sure what to do with them. So I pieced them together as blocks and then did the self binding tutorial on the outside. 

This tutorial is truly great because it allows you to create mitered corners with barely any work. Plus you do not have to add binding to your blanket which for me is huge!! 

Update: it is the most recent so finding blanket I have created it was for my niece Ezry who was born on derby day in May 2014. 

I love all of these blankets, and they are so quick to make. Under an hour! Cannot beat that when working on baby gifts.

Baby season part two: burp cloths

Being pregnant with my first child, means that I am in the nesting mode! I have been working on all sorts of things to make life easier when C arrives. Having made him blankets already, I have now started on burp cloths. I found a great tutorial from the Thinking Closet and followed it.

I went to Target and purchased a pack of Gerber 10 pre-folded cloth diapers. Then from a Ritz cracker box I cut out a cardboard template of the size of the diaper lengthwise that I was going to be covering with cute flannel. The tutorial I used showed that this was the easiest way to make sure you had your seem allowance that needed iron to be accurate for all of your burp cloths. 

I used some of the excess fabric left over from the receiving blankets I had made for C, and then I also used a fat quarter bundle of flannel fabric that I had purchased. 

I think the ironing took the longest part. But the burp cloth turned out great! 

I was very happy with the tutorial I used and the results of the burp cloth.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Tumbler Table Topper - Easter Style

Since Easter and Spring are upon us I decided to try out a table topper that could brighten up my table. I had recently purchased a tumbler template from Missouri Star Quilt Company, after watching one of Jenny's great youtube tutorials! She makes quilting so easy and accessible. 

For fabric for the table topper I had a lot of left over 5 inch squares (charms) in flannel from my valentines day and kids quilts projects. So I went to Joann's and got some matching Easter inspired flannel to use as the backing fabric. 

The tumbler template is easy to use, just place it on a charm square and cut around it. After the tumbler shapes are cut out you just sew together like any other patch work.  Before you add your borders or backing you use your straight ruler to straighten the sides of the quilt. 

Tumblers Sew Together

Squaring the edges,
 by using a straight ruler to cut off edges
(Yes, our dining room wall does say VODKA,
the letters were on clearance at Kohl's
they didn't have the letters for VINO so we settled)

For this table topper I brought the backing fabric from the back to the front so I didn't have to do traditional binding (which I despise and just haven't really mastered-- mind you I haven't mastered bringing the backing to the front either haha!). 


I have a large, square, pub style table so this may look like large table topper but it fit my situation pretty well. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Birthday Kids Quilts

Having two nephews and one niece I quickly realized that making baby quilts and kid quilts would be a job of mine if I wanted to uphold my awesome auntie status. Since I had made a rag quilt for my youngest nephew for his first birthday which was in February (2013), I wanted to also make quilts for my niece who would be turning 3 in June and my oldest nephew turning 5 in April. 

When picking fabrics I wanted to do a dinosaur theme for my nephew and a girly theme for my fashionista niece. I went shopping at Joann's for fabric and decided upon flannel because of the warmth and the fact the kids live in Washington state. It was super easy to find girly flannel colors that coordinated. Dinosaur flannel was limited though, so the colors weren't necessarily what I would say are my ideal but they worked. 

When picking out what type of pattern I was going to use I knew I wanted to do charm squares for ease of cutting/sewing. And I also knew I didn't want to do rag quilts because I didn't want to cut 3 of everything, or deal with snipping the rag part. 

I got brave this time, I designed the quilt pattern's on my own! I got on excel and mapped out the kids names and then figured out how many charm squares I would need and got to cutting. 

For the borders for both quilts I brought the backing fabric forward, instead of adding a separate binding and border. It certainly wasn't an exact process and it wouldn't be quilt show worthy, but the kids loved their quilts and didn't know anything was wonky. 

My niece Ella's Quilt:

My nephew Eli's Quilt: 

I finished both quilts off with printable / fusible quilt labels that I ran right through my home printer:

Saturday, March 30, 2013

My First True Quilt!! The Sudoku lap quilt

I am so excited to share this post because it is showcasing my first true quilt. The quilt is a lap size quilt which I quilted by doing stitch in the ditch. I pieced the backing together on my own (more to come on that), and I did the binding on my own as well. 

For this quilt my inspiration came from the fact that in my Craftsy Grab Bag box I received back in December it had a Fat Quarter Bundle from Robert Kaufman of 9 fabrics from the Perfectly Perched and Modern Slicker lines. The all matched gorgeously but I wasn't quite sure what type of quilt I would make that had birds, chairs and other random images on it. Well lucky for me my husband and I were talking about Sudoku and how it features 9 unique numbers. I ran with that and actually found a free Craftsy pattern for a Sudoku quilt

It was perfect, 9 nine-patches with sashing in between. I knew I could handle nine-patches and that since I was working with fat quarters I made sure to use the Robert Kaufman Quilt Calc app to be check what size squares I should make to ensure I had enough fabric. I settled on 3.5 inch squares. 

The hardest part on this quilt is making sure you keep track of where each square in each block goes. If you don't the Sudoku pattern will not be correct. 

After cutting all my fabric squares and laying them out I labeled the blocks and laid them out on one surface. Then I worked from there to stitch each block together so I knew they were in the right order. 

Knowing which side is the top, bottom, left, and right of each block is important for this quilt. I kept my blocks spread on one surface at all times in the same was I was going to put them on the quilt. I also made fabric swatches identifying which block represents what number so I could reference that information later.  

For the sashing I had 1.5 inch strips. For a future quilt I would have done a little bigger I think. Cutting strips is one area I really need to work on. I will try to cut a few layers of fabric but it never seems to come out great, one part is always about a quarter inch to narrow, which in quilting can cause a huge accuracy problem.

When it came time to prepare the backing I ran into some surprises. I purchased 4 yards of the fabric For the backing from a website online because it was one of the fabrics that went with the fat quarter set that I had. And if you look closely you will notice that it is numbered zero through nine, which kept and perfect theme with my said Sudoku pattern. I purchased 4 yards, because I wanted to make sure I had plenty and I would be able to use it with the scraps left over from my fat quarters. Thank goodness I ordered extra fabric. The quilt top turned out to be wider than the 42 inches that the fabric comes, which meant I had to piece two pieces together to make the fabric cover the back of the quilt. 

Having never pieced a backing together before, I had not thought about the fact that when I cut the two pieces of fabric I should make sure they line up after the quarter inch seam was sewn. It wasn't a huge deal, however I would want to change that for quilts in the future.

The end result of the quilt I was very happy with, and it is used all the time at my house now. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

St. Patrick's Day Table Runner

Having had great success with my Christmas table runner back in December when I was just weeks into my quilting "career" I decided I would utilize the same pattern (from a Missouri Star Quilt Company Youtube Tutorial) to create a St. Patrick's Day table runner. 

I headed to Joann Fabrics as it is the only close fabric store near my house that I've found this far. I got a few types of St. Patrick's day fabric, including a really cute Snoopy/Charlie Brown fabric. As I started on this project it felt much easier than my first table runner. 

I am quickly learning that I do not have good quilting math skills. While making this table runner I found that I actually had enough fabric to make 2 table runners! (Which I did). I even had left overs to just play around and make random blocks. 

Here are is my finished table runner:

Fun Stitching used during quilting

Table runner in use on our magazine rack

Still horrible at binding... that will be a skill in progress.
I also used a decorative stitch here, and contrasting fabric.
Poor decision on my part! 

Shamrock backing and contrasting quilting.