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! 

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 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. 
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, for everyone to see. 

Spangled Stars QAL Schedule

       Welcome to the Spangled Stars QAL - April 30, 2105 
       Uneven Nine Patch Block - May 7, 2015
Bar Block - May 14, 2015
Stripes and Cross - May 21, 2015
Star Block, part 1 - May 28, 2015    
Star Block, part 2 - June 4, 2015
Quilt assembly - June 11, 2015
Completed Top Linky - June 18, 2015
Completed Quilt, Grand Parade - July 2, 2015

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!

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!  

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!

Happy Quilting!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Piped Binding Tutorial

Machine stitched piped binding is a great way to add a wow! factor to binding. I've applied it on several quilts, so it's time for a tutorial on stitching piped binding.

Piped Binding

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 main and accent strips
Stitch the two strips together, using a 1/4" seam.
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 quilt's side, 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.

Continue stitching binding to the rest of the quilt, stopping to within at least 6" 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:

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! Choose a thread that matches the binding accent color, then stitch-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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Friday, April 17, 2015

Primary Brothers

Mark another project off the list! The baby quilt that hubby needed for his coworker is finished, plus it came with a bonus quilt. A 2-for-1! How awesome is that?

Introducing the Primary Brothers, 
titled as such because they're composed of the primary colors, and they are two quilts from the same block. And I couldn't think of anything more creative!

Primary Brother 1,
composed of four D9P patches and sashing, is my favorite. We're not supposed to have favorite children, but hey, it happens. To see what a full D9P looks like, see my disappearing 9-patch tutorial.

Originally, I wanted one top of D9P blocks, but unfortunately, I only had enough fabric for a little more than 6 blocks. And six blocks just don't look right for this pattern. But no worries, I figured out a solution. Deciding to use four of the blocks for Primary Brother 1, two blocks plus parts were used for another top. Thus, like Frankenstein, Primary Brother 2 was born.
A bit odd, but there is some symmetry to the design. Adding on the borders on both quilts brought them up to around 40" square, which is a perfect size for an unpieced back. We're talking efficiency here!

Quilting these two was a breeze, as the backing was loaded with the long edge (selvages) to the rollers. The tops were placed side by side, with an inch of space between, tacked down, and the star panto quilted end to end.
Incredibly efficient!

Keeping in this mode, the binding is the same for both, with the little yellow piped edge machine stitched down. 

No time for hand sewing the binding here! The piped binding is becoming my go-to binding method when a) it's appropriate for the top, and b) the quilt needs to be finished. It's time I do a tutorial on it, so look for it on the next post.

Quilting is hard to see again, but it's a simple little star panto.
And the back is a flannel that I had which had primary colors in it.
A great finish to two cheerful little quilts!

Have a great weekend!