Monday, January 28, 2019

Summer Ocean

Here it is, my version of the Summer quilt from the Quilt Giving book (affiliate link), which I've renamed Summer Ocean because of the color scheme. Doesn't the garden gate/trellis make a pretty quilt hanger?

hanging Summer Ocean quilt

And here's the whole quilt, made the same size as in the book, 64" x 80".

Summer Ocean by QuiltFabrication

Originally, I wanted to just make a baby quilt size, but found that because of the block size, the design was cut off on the side and bottom. 

small, incomplete version of the Summer quilt

Scaling back the block size would have been better - maybe next time! Fortunately, I had just enough background fabrics to make more blocks for the full size, though I'm not really sure what I'm going to do with such a large quilt.

But check out the backing! A pretty blue/aqua 4 yard piece was in the stash, and it works so well with the front.

Summer Ocean quilt backing

Remember I gave hints for piecing backing that would make a longarmer very happy? Well, I did that horizontal seam, and then decided to load the quilt on it's side so that I could quilt a lengthwise row. Not the best planning on my part.

Summer Ocean quilting across the rows is in progress

But being me, I bit the bullet and dealt with yet another quilt with some sagging on the ends. Fortunately, this one came out fine.

I also chose ruler work in keeping with the geometric theme. There were lots of stops and starts, and the quilt police will surely point out my knots!

Summer Ocean quilting

Summer Ocean quilting across the rows

I'll be keeping this one around for awhile, as it has a nice soft hand, then who knows where it's forever home will be?

So that's it for my January Book of the Month feature. I could have kept going and made a few more, as there are some really nice, modern patterns in Quilt Giving. But, it's time to move on, and to continue to use up the stash - just makes room for more fabric!

Happy Quilting!

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Friday, January 25, 2019

Corner Triangle Tips and Tricks

There's been lots of sewing activity going on around here, mostly in making more blocks for the Summer quilt pattern from the Quilt Giving book (affiliate link). In the process, I've learned a few tricks in making these corner triangle blocks that I'd like share today.

Sewing these corner triangles is also known as the 'stitch-and-flip method', as the two pieces are stitched together, trimmed, and then the smaller piece is flipped over to the right side to finish the block. Let's have a look at the tips below to make the process easier.

The first tip is to mark the backside, from corner to corner, of the small square that will be the corner triangle. There's no room here for guessing a straight line, or using a guide placed on the machine. A straight pencil line to follow is what's needed here.

drawn line corner to corner
Once the outer edges of the small square are lined up with the larger block's corner, the next tip is to stitch just a thread's width to the seam allowance side of that drawn line.

stitch to the seam allowance side of the line

This compensates for that little bit of fabric that's taken up in the fold when the seam is pressed. And if all has gone well, the edges will line up too, eliminating extra trimming. I've placed lines on each edge to show how everything has lined up after pressing.

finished corner triangle

And here's an optional tip:  stitch another line 1/2" away from the first, within the seam allowance (the area going toward the corner of the large square). Then cut in between the two stitching lines.

corner triangle block and a half square triangle

And the result is the original corner square block, and a bonus HST.

corner triangle block and a half square triangle from start to finish

Now that's efficient sewing - creating the block needed, and getting HST's to use in another project, cutting down on a bunch of triangles to add to the scrap pile. Woohoo!

So I'm off to finish up my blocks and get them sewn into a quilt - there's more coming on the Summer quilt in the next few days.

Happy Quilting!

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Monday, January 21, 2019

Black and White Blog Hop - My Day!

Today it's all about black and white quilts for another fun blog hop hosted by Carla at Creatin' in the Sticks!

If you've been paying attention to some of my previous posts, you'll know I've been working on a couple more quilts for Paradise, CA. And funny, they just happen to be black and white - yes, I planned it that way!

Let me introduce Paradise 8,

Paradise 8, a Quarter Cut quilt pattern

another from my Quarter Cut quilt tutorial, made with a black and white theme this time.

And then there's Paradise 9

Paradise 9, a free form pieced quilt by QuiltFabrication

made from blacks and whites pulled for Paradise 8, but didn't make it into that quilt. This one is totally free form piecing, using the given widths and lengths of the fabrics pulled. There was very little cutting to make the pieces fit - lucky me! I really like this one too, as it reminds me of an interesting tile setting, with the variety of big and little pieces.

Both large lap quilts use the Happy Times pantograph, as it's such a nice open, pleasant design.

Happy Times quilt pantograph

Don't you just love that zebra print? Tried to use all of it, even with the binding, but still have about 1/2 yard left. 

And the best of all? Both quilts have the same backing fabric, with a horizontal strip to add a bit of length. 

Paradise 8 backing
Paradise 8 backing

Paradise 9 backing
Paradise 9 backing

Though both backings have vertical seams (dreaded by longarmers!), I dealt with it just so I could use up that fabric. That's right - 6.5 yards of a sheet music print is no longer taking up valuable real estate in the stash - woohoo!!! I really need to start making one of those fabric in/fabric out tally sheets for the year, as I'm off to a great start on using up the stash.

Also notice the numbers behind the quilt names, 8 and 9. It means this is the eighth and ninth quilt I'm sending to Paradise, CA, and probably the last. Nine large lap sized quilts in two months is a pretty good donation number - I hope they provide some comfort.

Enjoy hopping!

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My Favorite Patterns

Monday, January 14, 2019

Quilt Backing - a Longarmer's Perspecitve

I wear a lot of hats in my little quilt business, with those as quilt maker, designer, and longarmer most important - without them, there would be no QuiltFabrication.
QuiltFabrication 2019 header
As I was loading a quilt back onto the frame for one of my Paradise quilts, the thought hit me that Susan, the longarmer, would not be very happy with Susan, the customer because of her pieced backing.

Now, because this is my quilt, I'll put up with my faux pas. But when giving quilts to a longarmer for quilting, make her life easier when she loads that backing onto her frame.

So, what did I do that annoys a longarmer? Well, I created a vertical seam in the backing.

vertical seam on a quilt back

And why is this annoying? Because, on a large quilt, it causes the backing to sag on the sides of the seam due to a tighter seam allowance buildup on the roller. 

sagging quilt backing due to a vertical seam

Instead of one piece of fabric rolling around on that roller, there are two to three pieces at the seam, depending on how the seam is pressed. Notice in the photo, my vertical seam is pressed open, which helps minimize some of the buildup, and lessen the sag.

pressed open vertical seam to minimize sag

And what will longarmers love? Horizontal seams, which run along the length of the roller, totally eliminating any sag.

horizontal quilt backing seams

So, whenever possible, make your seams horizontal - your longarmer will love you!

Happy Quilting!

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Friday, January 11, 2019

How to Use a Seam Ripper

Seam ripping. It's certainly not one of our favorite sewing activities. But it is a necessity, 'cause stitching mistakes happen. So let's make friends with that handy-dandy seam ripper tool to make those stitch mistakes not so painful to remove.

How to Use a Seam Ripper

First, it's important to find a seam ripper that's comfortable in your hand, as they came in several sizes and lengths. I find the short ones too small to handle, but that's my preference.

different sized seam rippers

There's also different point sizes, widths, and sharpness, and even the ball for blunting can vary - try different ones till you find a favorite. My go-to ripper is the large Clover one, as its size makes an easy tool for my hands to use.

The #1 goal of seam ripping, aside from removing stitches, is not to rip a hole in the fabric! One could just slip the seam ripper point under each stitch to cut it, but that's a tedious process. Instead, use the tool as it was designed to do - rip the seam!

And just how do we do that without creating a hole in the fabric? Well, it's all in the orientation of the seam ripper in relation to how the seam is held.

The first holding position has both fabrics held together at the seam, with the point end exposed on the seam allowance side, so as not to make a hole. The seam ripper is then guided between the fingers. 

seam ripping with fabrics held together

This places the red ball against the fabrics to prevent  damage (the black fabric is lifted up to show that), and the sharp point on the seam allowance side, lessening the chance of a hole.

seam ripper blunting ball against keeper fabric

Guided by the fingers, the seam ripper is pushed through the seam. Here's a video to see the seam ripping process iaction, with the fabrics and seam held together. 

Sometimes those stitches cut easily and the seam ripper can zip along the seam really fast! And sometimes, those stitches are a bit stubborn, requiring ripping an inch or two at a time. This is one of those seams. Patience is what's required, with the goal being an un-stitched seam with no fabric holes.

The second holding technique lays the fabrics apart, with the seam allowance and one fabric between the finger and the thumb. For this open technique, the red ball is placed on the seam allowance side, leaving the sharp point free and clear of any fabric on the top.

seam ripping with seam open

It's totally a matter of preference and/or convenience as to how the seam is held and which way the seam ripping is attacked. Either way, the goal is to remove the stitches and not make a hole.

If this is outside your comfort zone, notice the two ways to open up a seam:  by slipping the point end under the stitch, either on the outside of the seam, or the inside, then cutting it in the curve of the tool. Picking stitch by stitch will get the job done, but is time consuming and better saved for starting a seam for ripping or for just removing a few stitches. 

Now I know mistakes happen and a hole occurs. So what to do? 
I recommend placing a tiny bit of fusible product and matching fabric over the spot, just enough to cover the boo-boo. But if it's too big to repair, then the only choice is to use another piece of fabric. So rip with care and keep that sharp point away from the 'keeper' fabric as much as possible!

Happy Quilting Everyone - may your seam ripping produce lots of thread fuzz balls!

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Monday, January 7, 2019

Paradise 6 and 7

So, what do you do when you still have fabric left over from a quilt? Well, you make more quilts! Introducing two smaller versions of my Quarter Cut quiltParadise 6,

Paradise quilt #6 by QuiltFabrication

and Paradise 7, 

Paradise quilt #7 by QuiltFabrication

both made with the fabric remaining from Quarter Cut 3
aka Paradise quilt #5.

Quarter Cut 3 quilt by QuiltFabrication

This also means that all of the homespun fabric is out of the stash!!!

These two smaller quilts are around 44" x 53", perfect for a child or someone in a wheelchair. When the guild called out for quilts, they asked for a usable size, and these cover all bases for those in need.

Now, you may be asking, why didn't I just make another large lap quilt? It certainly looks like there was enough fabric. When it came right down to it, I really didn't want to cut up the big chunks of fabric that are in Paradise 7, plus they didn't sing well with the fabrics in Paradise 6.  Let's just say that Paradise 7 is totally, 100%, a utility quilt - and that's ok, cause when you're cold, you're cold, no matter how good the quilt looks.

And on both, I once again quilted the Paperchase pantograph, because it's just a very pleasant design, and not dense, allowing the quilt to puff. I don't know about you, but I like soft, slightly puffy quilts!

Paradise 6 quilt paperchase quilting closeup
Paradise 6 quilting

Paradise 7 quilt paperchase quilting closeup
Paradise 7 quilting

During this week, I hope to turn my attention to one more quilt for Paradise, either the Summer quilt in the Quilt Giving book, or one more Quarter Cut quilt. Either way, I'd like to do one more donation quilt. Please send good vibes my way to help me accomplish my goal!

Happy Quilting!

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Friday, January 4, 2019

January 2019 Book of the Month

It's been a while since I've had a Book of the Month, and since I've made several quilts for Paradise, CA, the book Quilt Giving (affiliate link) seems appropriate at this time.

I was checking out the quilting section of the library in an adjacent town when Quilt Giving (affiliate link) caught my eye. With so many disasters this last fall, the quilting community has really come together to help out. And maybe a quilt or two in this book will inspire more quilts to give.

Though I really like how fast and easy my Quarter Cut quilt is,

I'm getting ready to move on to something else - but that doesn't mean I may make one more!

The Quilt Giving (affiliate link) book is full of more modern quilt designs, and one quilt that caught my eye is named Summer. Here's a sneak peek at the page.

Summer quilt from Quilt Giving book

I like pattern flow thru this quilt, though I don't think I'll make it in those colors. Instead, we shall see what the stash beholds!

If you're inspired to make a few quilts to give for those in need, check out the Quilt Giving (affiliate link) book, and the Quarter Cut tutorial for easy quilts. 

Happy Quilting!