Thursday, August 10, 2017

Back to QAL Work We Go

Time for a bit of a project update and what I've been up to.  I have a ton going on at work, leading a system conversion from a very archaic computer system to a much better Window based platform, so when I get home in the evenings and weekends, I'm ready to unwind and not think about work.

Above is a look at my cut pieces for the Magnolia Mystery Quilt going on now over at Meadow Mist Designs.  If you have not participated in one of Cheryl's mystery quilt alongs before, I HIGHLY encourage you to hop over there and check it out.

It's been a week or two since I have caught up on the QAL's I'm participating in, so this past week was spent mainly catching up on those.

Oh, deer, just look at that moose under the mistletoe!  The moose and deer blocks caught me up on Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilt's Have A Jolly Little Christmas Quilt.  I just realized as I'm typing this, the last block will be given to us this weekend.  Could we have a quilt finish before Christmas 2017???  I think we just might.

Next up, was the The Double Star Block in Cindy at Stitchin At Home's Medallion Quilt BOM.  I am really loving me some purple and green with this quilt.

Goodnight Moon is the next block in Pat Sloan's The Children's Library BOM.  Only two more to go and this extremely fun QAL will be coming to an end as well.  I had hoped to finish up the Aurifil BOM and show you as well, but we are not currently on speaking terms at the moment.  It is packed full of applique and at the moment, my head just isn't in that game.

Taking a break from the piecing scene, David and I borrowed my mom's garage for a basting quilt session.

We were able to baste four smaller quilts, all currently waiting for me to pick them up and quilt them.

Here is a picture of David and his Poodle Quilt.  While scrolling through Instagram, he ran across Sue at Seven Oak Street Quilt's Poodle block she made for hive queen Karen at Tu-Na Quilts.  Loving all things of the 50's; 57 Chevys, girls in poodle skirts, you get my drift.  He decided to super size the block, change the piecing up a bit and create his own throw back to the 50's with some recent fabric purchases.  I'm thinking that negative space is screaming for some fun flow quilting.  What do you think?

Even after all that was finished last weekend, I snuck in some cutting time, to cut out a quilt for my daughter's 17th birthday.  I'm pretty sure she doesn't read my blog, but just incase she does, I won't let the cat out of the bag quite yet on what it is, but it is another one of Lorna's wonderful creations.  Do I have a Sew Fresh Quilts pattern obsession?  Hmmm?

I think I have confessed before, I'm a cluttered mess.  I'm an OCD person's nightmare...ask David.  However, there comes a point about every 3-6 months I can't take it anymore; the stash starts stacking up (from growth or laziness), the sewing space becomes cluttered...I have to clean it up.

So in keeping it real here on the blog (because I keep telling myself I'm not the only one who is like this), I pulled out my fabric totes to "file" the fabrics in there correct bins.

It became clear pretty quick like, that the fabric wasn't going to fit in their respective bins.  AHHHHH.

But Caroline tried to convince me everything was okay, because she fit in this newly almost empty bin...sigh.

So after several go rounds in my head I opted to purchase three more fabric bins and do the fabric shuffle.  My whites, blues and reds are in the biggest of the totes (how patriotic of me) and everything else fell in line.  So the stash is back under control and arranged in the back room.  The cats, bless their hearts, love fabric shuffle time, because the living room is transformed into a kitten playground.

I am feeling more grounded now and believe I can create once again.  I've come to the realization that with two serious quilters in the house, something must be done.  Quilting has taken over the house.  If that sounds like a daydream, trust me it's not.  There is talk about converting our porch into a sunroom/quilting room.  I do love my porch, however, we don't use it.  Why?  Because I'm inside quilting!  This would allow us to have a dedicated room for quilting and let the dinning room be a dinning room (since I'm now cooking again, thank you Instant Pot), the spare bedroom be a bedroom and the breakfast nook be...well something other than home to my Sweet Sixteen.  But, we shall see.  A girl can always dream

Monday, August 7, 2017

Flange Binding-Tail Connecting

If you've been by my blog before, I'm pretty sure you know by now, if I'm going to bind a quilt, more than likely there will be a flange involved.

Why? For me personally, I do not mind a binding done on the machine as opposed to by hand.  It's a bit sturdier and I want my quilts to be well loved, so it's just a good option for me.  Also, I think it can add a "wow" factor to the quilt.  Who doesn't love adding a small inner border to a quilt before you add a bigger border?  Think of it as a small binding before the binding.  A tiny POP of color and an unexpected detail that leaves most people going, "how in the world did they do that?"  And you always want people to think you are magical.

I think the hardest most intimidating part to this process is combining the where you started point to where you end...the tails.  So that is what this post will focus on.  There are many great posts talking about how to make your binding strips and attach them to your quilt.  I learned this process from reading Marti at 52 Quilts post called Susie's Magic Binding Method (she also has a great video).  Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts also has a wonderful tutorial on this binding method and can be found here.  Both of these tutorials have you work with a binding that is 2.5".  If you happen to like a slightly smaller binding, say 2.25" then check out Sandra at mmm!quilts tutorial to construct a smaller binding.  All of these tutorials are wonderful and will get you to what I'm talking about today.  A closer look at connecting the tails.

Actually let's start right after you make your binding strips.  They are all sewed together and pressed so that you have a nice crisp little flange peeking out from under your binding what?

The first thing I like to do, is figure out which end I need to start with.  The end on the right side of the ironing board, will be my starting point when I start sewing it to the quilt.  The raw edge of strip to the raw edge of your quilt.  Always remember the flange fabric should be facing you.

Now that I have identified where I need to start, I take the other end of the strip and begin wrapping it around my hand, keeping the flange fabric on top.

Rolling your binding will help keep things neat and ensure that the press you made to create your flange stays nice and crisp.

I like to take my little binding doughnut and place it around one of my extension table legs.  If your machine doesn't have an extension table or your machine is recessed in a table, you could easily use a spool of thread or anything that will stand up straight to keep your binding from unraveling and flopping all over the place (until recently, I have been a floppy binding person).  Now you are ready to sew your binding to the back side of your quilt.

As you can see, I like to leave myself with long starting and stopping tails, maybe even a bit too long, but that's okay (trimming an overage is easier to fix than having to little).  I visually pick a spot that I will aim to make the meeting point for the strips.  I like to take my time and pin the binding strip on my left to the edge of the quilt until I get to the point I've chosen.  Then I fold the strip back on itself like in the picture below.

Then I place a mark about 1/4" away from the strip.  This will be the stopping point for the right binding tail.  Then I pin the strip to the quilt and fold the excess back.

You end up with something that looks like this.

Next, I press the two folds using my iron.  Creating good creases is very important, because it is these lines that will aid in lining your two tails as accurately as possible.

I remove the pins from the tail on my left and open the tail up so I can see what I am working with.

Using a blue water soluble pen, I have marked the lines created from pressing my strip so that you can see them a bit better.  There is a horizontal and vertical line you will use when lining things up.  When joining the strips, these are the lines that will match up with the other strip.

Now I unpin the tail on the right side of the quilt.  The above pictures shows how the strip will lay across the other tail.  The arrow in the upper right hand corner points to a pin.  I like to fold the quilt up and pin it, so I'm not fighting the strip while I'm trying to line things up.

You want to line up the crease of the right hand side binding strip with the crease in the left hand strip, the marked lines in the above picture.

I simply place my finger inside of the strip to hold it in place then flip the strip open, making sure that every thing stays lined up.

Once everything is lined up, you are ready to pin your strips into place.

I always pause for a moment to think about drawing my diagonal line.  Make sure your extra tails will be what you are cutting when you trim.  I can't tell you how many times (other than too many)  I have sewed the wrong diagonal and trust me, the last thing you want is to cut the wrong thing.  

Now you are ready to head to your machine and stitch your seam.  A great suggestion from Marty at 52 Quilts is to use a bigger stitch length (2.5) then check your strip.  

Does your seams all match up?  If so, simply open your strips back up and stitch over your seam with a smaller seam to secure it.  If it doesn't....well, rip your stitches and try again and be thankful they aren't teeny tiny stitches.

Once I'm happy with how my seams match up and I've made sure that my newly joined binding strips fit the space of my quilt, I pin the strip to the quilt and finish sewing on my binding.

I usually take another peek to make sure everything looks correct.  My flange didn't 100% match up this time, but it is well within an acceptable range for me.  All that is left to do is fold the binding over to the front and stitch it down.

I will use a blue colored thread in my bobbin to match my backing fabric and a pink on top to match the flange.  After a leisurely stroll around the quilt with my walking foot, I now have myself a completed quilt.

And that my friends, is really all there is to a flange binding.  I promise it is easy peasy.  I hope that these more detailed photos will help you in trying to match up your binding tails.  This was the part that tripped me up for the longest time, because I wasn't exactly sure what I was looking at.  I figured I couldn't be the only one.  Let me know if you find this tutorial helpful, or if there is something that you think I have left out.  There is always room for improvement with most things.  Thanks so much for stopping by...and give the flange a try.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Sample Star Blossom

Man, I hope you aren't tired of seeing or hearing about the Star Blossom Quilt, because I just love it so much.  I know I might be a bit bias, but I can't help it.  With that being said, a local quilt shop in my home town, Helen's Hen House, expressed an interest in having print copies of Star Blossom to sell in their shop.  Saying I was over the moon happy to hear that is a complete understatement.  I even offered to piece and quilt a sample for her to hang in the shop.

So Helen and I worked together to pull fabrics to construct the baby quilt version of the quilt and these are the fabrics we landed on.

I love that center flower print.  I always drool over it when I'm in her shop.  The fabrics did not disappoint.  They came together to form a happy fun version of Star Blossom.

I'm becoming quite the pro at piecing this quilt.  I could probably do it with my eyes closed.  Though considering that would require running a rotary cutter and an up an down jabbing needle, I probably shouldn't, but you get my point.  I think I had this cut and pieced in just a few hours.

One phone call later, and I was in my mom's garage basting the small top together and 30ish minutes later the quilting could commence.

For this quilt I decided on four different colors of Aurifil 50wt thread; #1100 Red Plumb, #2610 Light Blue Grey, #2775 Steel Blue and #2024 White.  I just love how all the threads melt into the background fabrics.

Just like my love for Aurifil thread, my love for rulers is not a secret.  For this project I decided on the number 8 curved ruler from The Quilted Pineapple, the Handi Quilter 2"x 6" straight ruler and the new Handi Quilter Slice ruler only available to those that sign up for their Ruler Quilting Club.  I used the number 8 curve ruler to create the flower like design in the gray bars and the straight ruler for most of the dot to dot line quilting and piano key borders.

The HQ Slice Ruler came in very handy for quilting the continuous curves and radiating lines in the corner of the blocks.  Having a curve and a straight edge on the ruler makes it nice because you can use just one ruler and it fits nicely in your hand.

Since this is my 4th time quilting this pattern, I wanted to try a few new things.  I'm still rocking my hook swirls, so those made yet another appearance.  For the center pink and blue star shape I added some simple dot to dot angles, using my seams as aiming points for the lines.  For the white center star shape I was stuck.  Should I echo the side lines a 1/4", give it a filler or try something else??  After polling David, Julie (Pink Doxies), Beth (Cooking Up Quilts) and Sandra (mmm!quilts), I landed on a simple stipple but in a much smaller scale.

I'm glad that's where it landed.  I just love how it make the pink and blue star pop a bit.

Because the border fabric is a bit busy, I wanted to go with a much simpler quilting design in that space.  Sometimes, it's best to save the quilting bling (and your time) when you know it can't compete with the beautiful pattern of a fabric.  Why spend all that time doing feathers if you really won't be able to see them?  So I decided on a simple quick 2" piano key design.

How about another picture of the back of the quilt, to see all the quilting goodness on it's own?

I can't wait to deliver this quilt to Helen.  I hope she likes loves how this little quilt came together.  I still have two more baby quilt versions and another lap version of this pattern to quilt...just a warning to all you :)  If you would like your own copy of Star Blossom, it can be found in my Craftsy Store here.

So what's coming up this weekend and next week?  This weekend will be filled with catching up on the QAL's I've been participating in (well hopefully) and working on a tutorial post for next week.  You may have noticed I used (yet again) a flanged binding on this quilt.  Addicted.  I use this method all the time, but I've never officially written about it.  I guess I've never had anything new to add to the process.  I do now.  I documented the process of connecting those tricky little binding tails and hope to write a more detailed post about that process for next week.  That is probably the hardest part of this method and if you can conquer that fear, you may never machine bind a quilt the same again.  So until next week, I'll see you on Instagram.  Go quilt something!!!

Today I'm linking up with Finished or Not Friday, and Can I Get a Whoop! Whoop!

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