Monday, March 17, 2014

Freezer Paper Applique

Time for a freezer paper applique lesson!
My hand applique project I've worked on for almost two years is finally coming to an end!  I have all the petals and leaves stitched, but now it's time to add the 'button' to the center, to cover up some ugliness!
To make these 'buttons', I printed 1" circles on freezer paper, and ironed them to another piece of freezer paper, making two layers.  Two layers of freezer paper creates a nice firm surface to fold against
After cutting on the lines, the dots were pressed to the wrong side of the fabric, which is the black dot.
After cutting again, but leaving a scant 1/4" margin of fabric around each dot, they are ready for edge turning.

For this project, I sprayed sizing into a cup, then applied it with a brush around the edge of the dot.  The sizing helps the edge hold its shape.

And with a stiletto and the tip of an iron, the fabric was ironed over the freezer paper edge. 
Here's a trick to folding over which helps eliminate points.  While ironing in a counter clockwise direction, use the stiletto to fold the fabric over and pull it down toward the iron.  Iron just this little bit.  Going too far to the left with the iron causes the crease to extend too long.  Then when trying to fold over the next area, a point results because the fabric is already creased. 

Now my little 'buttons' are done!
When stitching these to the blocks, I chose to remove the freezer paper beforehand.  
They're so small, so I wasn't worried about them loosing their shape.  But it's okay to leave the freezer paper in and do the stitching, either by hand or machine.  To remove the paper, just trim out the back fabric, spritz the paper with water, let it absorb, then pull out the paper.

And now I have the finished 'buttons' to my blocks!
For previous posts regarding this project, check out 
Chain Hand Applique and Setting In Triangles.

Happy Quilting!


Monday, March 10, 2014

Sewing Diamonds

Today, there's more about diamonds, and also a giveaway!  I know everyone loves giveaways, but first, the diamonds. 
Sewing diamonds was a lot easier than I thought it would be! Using a technique of stitching just at the seam intersections, then checking the join, helped to relieve a lot of tearing out frustration.

Here's a tutorial on how to do this.
First, the diamonds are sewn together into rows.  Start by laying the second diamond in the row on top of the first,
leaving a scant 1/4" tall dog ear.
Stitch with a scant 1/4" seam.
Press gently to one side, keeping the edge in a straight line.  Do not distort the strip!
Repeat for all the rows.
When all rows in one direction are sewn, place a pin in each row at the first intersections to be joined.  Otherwise, it can get confusing as to which intersection gets sewn to which!  And yes, I speak from experience!

Match up the intersections, fold the seam allowance back a scant 1/4" to check alignment.
Stitch about 8-12 stitches (1/2") through this intersection.
Open the rows, and check the alignment.  Here my seams are not matched.
But no biggie, I just have to take out a few stitches and try again.
Perfect!  At least for me!

Continue this process for all seams.  When done, stitch the entire length of the rows.  Try to stitch over the previous stitching, because too far left, and a bigger bite gets taken, causing a mismatched seam.  

And when it's all done, press gently, and enjoy!
I'm really thrilled this went together so easily!  Makes me want to make another.  But as for this one, I'm thinking an ocean scene, which will require some applique.  

Happy Quilting!


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Cutting Diamonds

Time to sew it up! 

I've added in the new fabrics, it's at a size I like, and looks pretty good.  And as one instructor once told me, don't over- think it!

So far, this has been pretty easy.  The diamonds were no big deal to cut, and no, I did not use a GO cutter.  I did it the old fashioned way, with a template!

Using the template provided in the book, Diamond Quilts and Beyond, (affiliate link)
I traced it onto paper, but made it smaller, approximately 
8 1/2" long.   Drew in the grain lines (see the picture of that on  the opposite page?), because she says the quilt hangs better with the grain going from point to point.  Then cut it out, and taped it to the underside and along one edge of my long ruler.
To help with alignment on my strips, the yellow tape was placed parallel to the grainline.

Now, Jan cuts strips from her fabric at an angle to get the correct grain orientation, but I didn't want angled cuts out of my fabric.  So instead, I measured the width of the diamond (3 1/2")
and cut WOF strips a bit larger, at 3 5/8".  I'll have some waste versus her way, but that's okay.

Here's my steps to cutting the diamonds.
1. Lay the ruler on the strip, lining up the yellow alignment tape with the edge of the strip.

2. Cut the top edge, all the way.

3. Turn the ruler around, line up the cut edge with the diamond template edge.

Make sure the point is still on the fabric.  Make the cut.

4. Turn the fabric piece over, and turn the ruler around again, to look like step 2.  Line up both cut edges of the fabric diamond with the edges of the template.

Repeat as in step 2, cutting the top.

5. Turn the ruler once more, line up the three cuts with the diamond template, and cut the bottom.

Beautiful diamonds to play with!

When I did the cutting, I layered three folded strips, so that I could make six diamonds at once.  And the first cut became the bottom cut for the next diamond (before turning over the fabric).  Easy to make a bunch at one time!

Now I know there are diamond rulers, and I have one.  But it turns out, the angles are not the same, and the width is much greater.  I like this narrower one, as it looks more like a diamond.  So that's why the paper template.

Happy Quilting!


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

March Book of the Month

I'm still dreaming about the Olympics.  Not so much the sports, but those beautiful banners made with diamonds!  Finding them so inspirational, I really want to make one of my own.  For this Olympic quest, I'm using Diamond Quilts and Beyond (affiliate link) by Jan Krentz (affiliate link) this month,
and for a more modern, updated version of diamonds, she also has Quick Diamond Quilts and Beyond. (affiliate link)
Phew!  That's a lot of diamonds!

My choice of color for this project is a green teal, definitely more green than blue.  And at first, I thought I'd make placemats.  Well, there's not enough fabric variety possible in a 12" x 18" piece!  Scrap that idea.

Then I thought, 'maybe this is the ocean scene quilt you've been saving fabric for over the last eight years'.  Maybe it's time has come.

And this is what's on the design wall at the moment:
Not quite the Olympic banner I was dreaming of, but still I'm liking it!   And now I want it bigger!  Back to my stash to find more fabric!

Here's the next set of diamonds that will get worked in.
I'm going to have a beautiful ocean on my wall!  There's more still more to do, so now I must get back to work.  Until then,
Happy Quilting!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Pieced Binding and a Different Corner Treatment

Today, it's all about binding.  Specifically, binding that blends and continues with the piecing of the quilt, like this edge from Random Acts of Blue,
and this one on Ripple Effect.
And on a smaller scale, (because there's not a lot of piecing required), this technique is also on Red on My Wall,
 and Solar Flare.
For me, whether the binding gets this piecing treatment or not really depends on the quilt.  For design-off-the-edge modern quilts, with their use of no borders, I think the quilt benefits from a pieced binding so as not to interrupt the overall design.  But that is only if the quilt design flows off the edge of the quilt, like in Random Acts of Blue.

With that being said, making a pieced border may take more time, but it's easy to do.  Here's how I tackled Random Acts.

I first started with a length of white fabric, 2 3/8" wide, to match the background at the edge, leaving enough to cover the white edge length.  Laying this piece on the quilt edge, a pin was placed in the white binding strip where the blue started.  The piece of blue was sewn in, and the steps repeated to build the strip for that side.
In the above picture, my strip is in the process of being made to match the piecing, with the arrow marking the spot for a blue piece.  All seams were pressed open, to help reduce bulk.

Now, two corners on this quilt used the traditional folded miter of the white binding.  But two corners did not, because the piecing dictated that one edge be white, and the other blue, to match the block. 

And a miter would be a) bulky, and b) look odd because of the little triangle of blue.

How to get the look I want?  Well, first I completely finished the binding on the blue edge.
Then, leaving a 3/8" end on the white strip, 
it was folded back, wrong sides together, with the fold even with the blue edge.
Then the strip was sewn down, all the way to the edge.
The binding was turned and stitched down, by hand.  Now the end looks like this, with a little opening.
Stitching that opening closed, made everything neat and tidy.
Here's the two different corners, mitered and straight.
Hooray!  No interruption in the quilt design, and no funny blue triangle in the corner!

So whenever you're faced with a border-less, design-off-the-edge style quilt, be creative with the binding.  I'm sure your quilt will benefit from it. Go ahead, give it a try!

Happy Quilting!

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