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.