Saturday, March 28, 2015

Irish Chain Twist Quilt Top and Flower Blocks

I am almost caught up with all of the piecing for a couple projects. First one is the Irish Chain Twist Quilt-along with Melissa Corry at  

irish chain pink petals
Isn't it pretty? Thank you Melissa for a terrific pattern, and a fun quilt-along! I'm thinking I might want to host one myself--anyone interested? A Fourth of July project, maybe?

Next up is the Book of the Month quilt. I chose the pattern Flowers for Nana Girl from the book Scrap Quilting Strip by Strip by Kim Brackett.


I thought this pattern was pretty, and it would give me a chance to use up some floral fabrics. Finding this print for the background, 

I'm making the flowers in different prints of yellow.  And to be different, all the centers will have the same dark, golden yellow.

Happily following the directions, and sewing along, I realized after starting five of the flowers, that I was not sewing the background triangles in. I was using the dark, golden yellow in both spots, which does not give me the effect I want. Oops!
Starting all over, these are now the correct starts.
Prettier too, with that background fabric! Hmm, now I have to figure out what to do with the first batch!

After adding a few more strips, and sewing the units together, the flower emerges!
Today, I'm on to making the sashing strips and sewing the whole thing together for a really pretty baby quilt.

What are you up to today?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Paper-less Paper Piecing Class

It's happened again! I've gotten distracted by another fun project!

folded paperless piecing glue
Yesterday, I had the honor of taking a class from Cristy Fincher, daughter of Sharon Schamber, and owner of Purple Daisies, and learned paper-less paper piecing. All I can say is, what a great technique!! This has opened up a whole new world of piecing options for me, and I see many new blocks in my future!

This is Cristy's block I made in class yesterday.
And this morning, and I know this is crazy, but we're talking 3:15 am, I was cutting fabric for three more blocks. 
Couldn't sleep, and cutting makes little noise, so why not?

Later, I further prepared the pieces, and got the blocks ready for sewing.
Thanks to the very handy micro fine glue tips I purchased from Cristy, the process went smoothly.
After all the sewing, trimming, and pressing was finished, it was time to play with the layouts. Here's the other choices:
It's okay, but the big green square in the middle is boring.

Option 2, which looks weird with just four blocks.

And the final choice,
I think I'll stop with those four blocks and add a border a bit later.

If you can't get to one of Cristy's classes but would like to learn her technique, she has a new Craftsy class that does just that! Pain Free Foundation Piecing with Cristy Fincher.
I found her process easy to learn, and I'm really excited about it's potential! I hope you give it a try--wouldn't you like to piece a top like this?
And by the way, I didn't take a nap, but bedtime is probably 8:30 tonight!

Happy Quilting!

Linking with Freshly Pieced and SewFreshQuilts!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Place Mats and Binding with Glue

Last week was all about my St. Patrick's Day table runner, but very little mention of the matching place mats, with the special four-leaf clover centerpiece.
With the wild week I had, it's no wonder they got lost!  But at least I took pictures, and have another tutorial to share.

This one is all about the binding. I'm not a big fan of machine stitched binding, mainly because I always struggle to catch the edge on the backside, producing a wavy stitching line. Ugly! 

Now, I do like the technique of stitching the binding to the back first, then folding it to the front, which is especially nice for producing a line of piping.
But that technique was not going to work here. These place mats really needed a traditional quarter inch binding, with no piping or flange.

So I bit the bullet, stitching the binding to the front with a quarter inch seam, then pressing the binding out to create a nice, crisp edge.
Then the magic. Using a bit of water washable glue, I tacked down the binding on the backside,
pressing with a warm iron for a few seconds to make sure it would stay in place.
When I got to a corner, the fold was treated as usual and a bit of glue was applied there to make sure it stayed.
Now the binding is all evenly tacked down, and ready to be sewn.
From the front, the stitch in the ditch was fast and easy. No worrying about catching the edge!
And the backside looks great! All edges are even, and the stitching straight.
Thank goodness for glue! It sure made a hair-pulling process go smoothly. I'll be using it again for my next machine stitched binding!
Hope you find this useful for one of your next projects!

Happy Quilting!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Happy National Quilting Day!

Today is National Quilting Day!  Always the third Saturday in March, it's a great day to celebrate all things quilty! I don't know about you, but my inbox has been flooded with all sorts of great quilt related offers, such as:

The Quilt Show is offering over 200 shows for free this weekend (get the details here).  I don't think I'll have time for all of them, but maybe a few!

CT Publishing is having a Spring Fling Sale, with lots of great books at awesome prices. I'll have to control myself there!

Connecting Threads has got 30% off fabric, thread, etc.

Check them out--you may find something on sale that you've always wanted! And by the way, I am not an affiliate of any of the above companies:  I just like them!

I must be off to find my own quilty goodness--hope you find yours!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Another Progress Report and a Fusible Tip

Well, TGIF!  What a roller coaster of a week! 

This all started last Friday with a sick cat

Saturday and Sunday manning the membership table at our quilt show,
Monday processing the new memberships, Tuesday frantically trying to finish the St. Patrick's Day runner (which didn't happen until the next morning!),
Wednesday taking sick cat back to the vet, Thursday going to my doctor because said cat bit me.  And at Quilt Club later that afternoon, I got frustrated with my colors for Park Bench. Eesh! So, the Petal blocks for the Irish Chain Twist didn't happen until today, a wee bit late.

To catch up, I used fusible for all the petals, which was for the step posted last week.  
Diligently tracing the petal template onto the backside of fusible, and carefully cutting out around the edges, left these pretties. 
And a pile of scraps, which if you know me, I can't throw out. They could be used somehow, right?

Then came the fun of removing the paper. Notice how the instructions for the fusible doesn't cover that.
So here's my tip, which maybe everyone knows, but then again, maybe not! Use a pin to score the paper.
Fold along the score mark to release a bit of the paper
Slip your nail in
Lift up the paper to start the peel
And finish peeling off the paper
The petal is now ready for fusing! How quick, easy, and clean is that???

Here's all my petal blocks, fused, and stitched! Got a step done early!
I chose a pretty pink thread and a blanket stitch for my petals.
So, at least I'm caught up with this project.  Now on to the others!

Happy Quilting this weekend!

Linking up at Freshly Pieced and SewFreshQuilts.

Monday, March 16, 2015

St Patrick's Day Wallhanging

Re-sharing a post from two years ago, as tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day! At that time, I was in need of a St. Patrick's Day wall hanging, so I opened EQ7, and designed away, using the guild's Block of the Month block as inspiration (those in the corners).
And I wanted to experiment with fusible bias strips, because I had taken a class on constructing them, discovering they were pretty easy to do.  Designing the Celtic knots for the borders, though, was done using old fashioned paper, pencil, and circle templates.
Making these knots is not as complicated as you think, and if you've never done it, here's how.

Required items are: a teflon sheet, pattern, fusible bias tape maker (I used the 1/4"), and 5mm fusible web, tape, and pins. 
Start by making the fusible bias strip.  I cut bias strips a smidge (1/16") larger than the recommended 1/2" because my fabric would not fold over enough.  Experiment with a size strip that will allow both cut edges to meet in the center.  Attach the end of the strip to an ironing surface, and using a slow, steady movement of the iron, fuse the fusible down to the strip as it comes out of the tool.
Position the paper knot pattern under a teflon sheet, securing the sheet down with tape or pins (I use tape as I don't want to punch of holes in my teflon sheet!).

Before ironing a bias piece down, check that it's long enough to reach to a junction. It just has to go to the crossover junction, not all the way through the design. Cut the length needed, but don't throw away the little pieces--they can come in handy for short segments of the pattern.

Starting at one end of the design, pin or tape down the beginning of the strip, and iron down the fusible bias tape onto the teflon sheet, following the pattern.  Now, the trick with Celtic knots is to have them weave over and under.

In the above picture, the piece to the left needs to go under.
It's cut right at the middle of the 'over' piece, so that it can slip underneath, and a longer piece can then butt up to it, finishing the design until the next 'under' junction.  
Continue following the pattern, paying attention to the over/under sequence.
When it's all done, peel the piece up from the teflon sheet for fusing onto the fabric.
For placement, lightly press centering marks in the fabric, and line up the knot on those marks.  Fuse following manufacturer directions.
Using your favorite applique stitch and thread choice, stitch around both edges of the strips.  When approaching an intersection, continue to stitch on those pieces going over, but stop stitching and jump over on those pieces going under. Here's a closeup of the stitching:

Isn't it beautiful?  I hope you have found this tutorial helpful and will try a Celtic knot on your next St. Patrick's Day quilt!

Happy Quilting!