Thursday, April 30, 2015

Welcome to the Spangled Stars Quilt-Along!

Welcome to my Spangled Stars Quilt-Along! I'm thrilled to have you join me in stitching this beautiful quilt I designed! 

If you're a blogger, please grab the button to spread the word.

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And for those who already have, thank you! The more, the merrier!

A little about the reason for this quilt design. I'm always attracted to Red, White, and Blue quilts, maybe because the Fourth of July is my favorite holiday. My family would gather at our house on the lake, gorging on hamburgers and hot dogs, roasting marshmallows, then heading off to see the fireworks. Such fun, relaxing, stress-free get-togethers. And what completes this All-American picture than stable and steadfast Red, White, and Blue.

Of course, this is great if you love the holiday as much as I do, or if you make quilts for those in the military. But maybe you like the pattern but don't want those patriotic colors. No fear! I worked up several color options, so check out this post for inspiration.

There are also several sizes for this quilt, just choose what works for you. 
Spangled Stars Wall Hanging 39"x 39"
Spangled Stars Throw 51"x 69"
Spangled Stars Twin 69"x 96'
Spangled Stars Double/Full 84"x 96"
Spangled Stars Queen 96"x 96"
Spangled Stars King 99"x 111"
Now for the nitty-gritty. How much fabric, and over what period of time frame. Oh, and did I mention prizes? Yes, the following wonderful companies have donated prizes!

KeepsakeQuilting           Fat Quarter ShopAurifil Italian Threads

 Green Fairy Quilts           Shabby Fabrics

 Missouri Star Quilt Co

Be sure to show them all some love!

Now, about the fabric. The following is a chart of fabric requirements for each size. The chart DOES NOT INCLUDE THE AMOUNTS FOR BACKING AND BINDING. It is only the amounts needed to make the tops. So please purchase extra for the planned backing and binding.

                               FABRIC REQUIREMENTS

If you are using a different color scheme, match the red, white, or blue amounts to your replacements. I personally am going to stick with the patriotic theme, but will be using multiple reds, whites, and blues. This is a good opportunity to use up scraps from other projects, and it makes for a more interesting quilt. Also, make sure the blues (or your replacement color) are sorted into darks, mediums, and lights.

This is a chart of quilt sizes and how many of each block to make.

And now for the time frame. Each week I will give the cutting instructions and the how-to's of sewing each block together. This quilt has only four blocks, none of them super hard. We'll have one week to sew the blocks, and post pictures of them to the Spangled Stars Flickr group, instagram (#spangledstarsqal), or your own blog, so that they can be linked to the linky party for everyone to see. The linky party also qualifies you for that weeks' prize!

Spangled Stars QAL Schedule

       Welcome to the Spangled Stars QAL - April 30, 2105 

Everything finished in time to enjoy for the Fourth of July! Grab a button, go shopping or go through your stash, and come join me in the celebration!

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Happy Quilting!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Spangled Stars Quilt-Along Color Ideas

I'm rolling out other color options for my Spangled Stars Quilt-Along today. Imagine what you could create after you see these! Grab the button and quilt along! The fun starts Thursday, April 30, with prizes along the way.

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Though this quilt design leans toward a patriotic theme,

it can be done in other colors. I've got a few suggestions, using the twin size as a model.

A monochromatic scheme, because I love pink! Sweet!

Another pink, this time with green. Just as sweet!

Or maybe pink flowers in the garden. Oh, liking this!

For the men, taupe and marsala, the Pantone Color of the Year. Subtle and refined.

Or maybe something wilder.

And of course, there's one for Christmas, so there's plenty of time to finish it!

See, lots of options! Don't feel tied to Red, White and Blue. If you're feeling scrappy, like me, choose a color scheme and use several fabrics for each color. I personally think quilts are more interesting when there are many fabrics to carry out the theme. Shop that stash! I know you have one!

Happy Quilting!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Parkbench, Sort Of

I've worked up the courage to show what I've done with Parkbench.

It's just a top at the moment, but hey, it's lucky to even be that!

I found Parkbench yesterday when searching for fabric and cleaning up in preparation for my Spangled Stars Quilt-Along. Finally deciding that I did not want to make any more blocks, I laid out the three blocks I had on the floor.
Pieces that were ready for another block filled in some of the edges.
Told myself, 'Looks great! Sew it! Get it done!' 

Figuring this would go on a light grey background, the remaining corner areas are filled in. Now I have three diamonds.
Notice in this picture that the lower right diamond is turned the wrong way so that the yellows don't touch. Did I notice? Not until I had the whole thing sewn together! Dang it!

Anyway, now I just needed four corners to make this a rectangle. Easy enough. Using a wide enough piece of background fabric, it's folded right sides together so that a mirror image piece for the other edge is cut at the same time. One of the diamonds placed on top yields the right angle for cutting.

The corner piece is pinned on and sewn, 

and the same is done for the other edge with the remaining piece.

Now for the other side. Since that angle is already cut on the background fabric, it just needed a straight trim on the other side, yielding two more pieces for the other corners.
Adding a few narrow pieces along the other edges, time to for sewing all three parts together. And I still haven't detected that the one piece is oriented wrong!
Notice the Y seam. They are really not difficult. Just start 1/4" in from the center, and use a few backstitches so the seam doesn't come undone. One leg is sewn here,

then another leg, and finally the last. I'm calling it done.

And, yes, I fixed the orientation of the wrong-way diamond. Now it looks better!

Tomorrow, I'll have some more information about my Spangled Stars Quilt-Along, which starts this Thursday, April 30. The more I play with color options, the more I fall in love with this quilt! I do hope you'll join me!

Happy Quilting!

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Quilt-Along and Updates

Introducing my first Quilt-Along!

I had so much fun with the Irish Chain Twist Quilt-along on Melissa's blog, Happy Quilting Melissa, that I want to have one of my own!

I've designed a beautiful star spangled, red/white/blue project because July 4th is one of my favorite holidays. This pattern would also make a great QOV quilt, if you so choose.

Spangled Stars Twin size

Starting next week, Thursday, April 30, I'll post the schedule, fabric requirements, and prizes. Over the next eight weeks, each Thursday I'll post another step, concluding with the Grand Parade and Prizes on July 2, just in time for July 4th. I do hope you'll join in on the fun! Feel free to grab a button!

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Other news includes the border pattern, graciously sent by Cristy Fincher, to finish my paperless paper piecing project.
Be sure to check out her Craftsy class, Pain Free Foundation Piecing to learn this fabulous technique!

And this month, I'm ahead of schedule, with this cute log cabin snowball block for my Modern group quilt. 
Also completed where the next two blocks for the Patchwork City Westside QAL. Each one took almost two hours, and when I show them, you'll understand why. I want to make a few more before their reveal, just to make sure this is a project I'm going to finish, unlike Parkbench--argh. And the t-shirt quilts are now waiting on further discussion with the owner. I've gotten some ideas, and want to clear them with her after she gets back in town.

Now I'm off to choose the fabric for my Spangled Stars Quilt-along! Are you choosing yours?

Happy Quilting!

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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Piped Binding Tutorial

Machine stitched piped binding is my newest favorite binding, but only when a) it works with the quilt design, and b) I need the quilt finished in a hurry. I've applied it on several quilts, so it's time for a tutorial on stitching piped binding.

Piped Quilt Binding

There are a lot of pictures to explain the process -let's get started!

Binding Preparation:

Start by choosing the main color for the binding, and the accent color. Cut enough main color strips at 1 1/2" wide, and the same amount of the accent color at 1 3/4" wide.

Piped Quilt Binding main and accent strips

Join all of the main color strips together as usual, and do the same for the accent color.

Piped Quilt Binding joining main and accent strips

Stitch the two strips together, using a 1/4" seam.

Piped Quilt Binding stitching strips together

Press the seam toward the main color.

Piped Quilt Binding press towards the main color

Fold the edges together, revealing 1/8" of accent color, and press.

Piped Quilt Binding press to reveal the accent color

Applying the Binding:

Starting midway down the edge, apply the binding to the back of the quilt, with the main color face down. This allows the binding to be folded to the front to show the accent color.

Piped Quilt Binding applied with main color against back

Stitch to the corner, stopping within a seams width of the edge.

Piped Quilt Binding stitched to the corner

Turn the quilt, backstitch to the edge, and remove the quilt from under the foot.

Piped Quilt Binding stitched straight back at the corner

Fold the binding back, forming an angle from the corner.

Piped Quilt Binding folded back at the corner

Bring the binding forward, lining up the the fold and the binding edge with the edge of the quilt.

Piped Quilt Binding folded at the corner

Continue stitching the binding until within at least 12" of the starting point, leaving enough for joining.

Joining the binding:

Snugly lay each strip along the edge of the quilt, folding each at an angle at the join. Mark this fold on each piece. I used a chalk marker on this darker fabric.

Piped Quilt Binding folded at joint

Straighten out the top binding piece, right side up. Lay the bottom binding piece on top, perpendicular to the other. Match the angled markings.

Piped Quilt Binding aligning markings

The line in the picture denotes where the marking is underneath.

Carefully lift an edge to line up the seams of the binding. The arrow shows the match.

Piped Quilt Binding matching seam and markings

Holding everything in place, carefully replace the piece, and put a pin at the joint.

Piped Quilt Binding pinning match point

At the sewing machine, take a few longer stitches at this point to check for alignment.

Piped Quilt Binding match point test stitches

This looks pretty good - maybe off a smidge, but it's okay for this quilt. If this quilt was for show, I would definitely redo it until it was spot on.

Piped Quilt Binding match check

Now to just sew the whole joining seam - almost done!

Piped Quilt Binding stitching the joining seam

Check for correct orientation and length against the quilt.

Piped Quilt Binding checking final length

Trim off the excess, press open the seam, and continue applying the binding.

Finishing the binding:

Before turning the binding to the front, remove some of the bulk in the corners by trimming out the little triangles there. Removing some of that fabric makes for a nicer corner, as sometimes they can get quite fat!

Piped Quilt Binding extra corner fabric

Get a scissor in there, and clip the fold at the quilt edge.

Piped Quilt Binding clip fold at corner

Fold back the binding seam allowance to expose the fabric triangle. Clip even with the stitching.

Piped Quilt Binding trim out triangle in the corner

Once done with the corners, press the binding on the backside to create a nice crease, then fold the binding to the front. I use school glue to hold the binding down on the front (the quilt police should be arriving any time!). Pressing with a hot iron helps to set the glue. Since I wash my quilts, I'm not worried about glue residue - it's a starch product and washes out.

Piped Quilt Binding using glue to hold the front

Now to stitch it all down! After choosing a thread that matches the binding accent color, the stitching takes place in the ditch between the accent and the main color. 

Piped Quilt Binding stitch in the ditch of the accent color

And ta-da! A beautiful piped binding, adding that extra special something to a quilt!

Piped Quilt Binding finished

Happy Quilting!

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