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Monday, May 31, 2021

Mini Design Board for Granny Squares

I have an extreme love of small squares - perfect for making the Granny Square block. There are so many free tutorials on-line for a variety of methods with square sizes ranging from 1.5" to 3.5".  
This is how I lay out the design portion of my Granny Squares, which for this project are 2.5" squares.
Let's begin to transform a spare piece of foam core into a mini design board. 
1.)  Decide how many 'rounds' your Granny Square has.  Mine has 4 'rounds' plus the background fabric. 

2.)  Decide how big your unfinished squares will be.  Mine are 2.5" 
3.)  Count the longest row of squares -  and multiple by the size of your unfinished square.
My longest row is 7 squares x 2.5" = 17.5" 
So - my piece of foam core (or stiff cardboard) must be at least 17.5" x 17.5" to layout my squares and not fall off the edges!
4.) Take a scrap of batting and tape it to the foam core on the back, nice and tight.  
5.)  Mark the squares according to your square size.   I write on the batting how many granny squares of each fabric I will need.   
Example: 2nd row needs 4 units, 3rd row need 8 units and the last row needs 12 units.
6.)  Put the cut squares on your  mini design board and take a picture in case they happen to fall  off or you forget the pattern.  Lastly, add the background squares or rectangles according to what method you like when you sew everything together. 

The rest is up to you depending what tutorial you are following.  The biggest discrepancy for most tutorials is how to cut those outside 'background' squares and/or rectangles.  But no matter which technique you choose for your background square sizes - the inside design portion is done and you have a nice visual of what the finished block will look like.  It's craft camp for those of us who love small squares!

Thanks to these sources for their tutorials on how to make a Granny Square block:
and there are lots of YouTube videos as well if you are curious to explore

Great Granny Squared  book by Lori Holt
Foam Core or cardboard/batting/measuring tape
May 2021

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

A Change Ahead ...

Hello Friends - Many thanks to those who have signed up using the new SUBSCRIBE button. 

I will be using a new email service June 1st.

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Saturday, May 15, 2021

Quilt as You Go Hexies - In Progress

I am beginning to think that I may not be cut out for hexies - even the large ones. I made some more this week after ignoring my little pile for months.  Threw them all on a table and realized I am not even close to a small quilt ... oh dear!   Anyway, here are some recent pictures and refresher tips.  
The template and tutorial are from the Missouri Star Quilt Co. under Quilt As You Go.  I also have information from an earlier blog post in 2019 HERE.
Of course, cut out your fabric and batting ahead of time.  Trace the inside of the template with a pencil or fabric pen in the shape of the smaller hexie.  Glue a piece of batting in that outline and press with an iron.  Glue a smaller fabric hexie and place it on same sized batting and iron as well.  (see pics below)

** I use a can of fabric basting spray or a fabric glue stick for this part and ALWAYS use the glue on the fabric - not the BATTING.  You don't need much spray baste - just enough to make it tacky in the center before you stick and iron.

Next, put some glue on the back hexie - not right up to the batting, just a little under.  Finger press a seam with a little room between batting - and then fold up again.  Press with a hot iron.
Work your way around the hexie going one direction, ironing at every stage to keep things flat.  When you get to the end - your hexie should look like the picture above.
Fold over that last seam, iron - and then sew on the machine with a stitch length you like (I use a 2.40) all the way around.   Back tac at the beginning and the end, just to make sure everything is tight and not going to come apart.  

The glue I use is Roxanne Glue Baste It (temporary basting glue) with a small metal tip.  Here is blog post from Suzy Quilts that answers any glue questions, including using washable white school glue. 
Final thought - I thought this was going to be my forever quilt - not take me forever!

Quailt As You Go Hexagon Template from Missouri Star Quilt Co. 
Amy Butler - everything
Aurifil Thread #50 wt. #2024 white
Warm & White batting scraps
Roxanne Glue Baste Glue & Collins Fabric Glue Stick
May 2021

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

The Cleo Quilt and Tilda Fabrics

I saw this pattern from Kitchen Table Quilting and knew it was the perfect fit for my Tilda fabric scraps. It's called The Cleo Quilt. Yes, the resolve to not get any more fabric flew out the window when I saw this offering from Serendipity Woods: 100 different scrappy fat 16ths of Tilda fabrics.
While I can't share the particulars of this pattern since it is all the work of Erica of Kitchen Table Quilting - here are some observations.  The pattern is confident beginner.  You can make your quilt scrappy & smaller (like I did) - or as complicated as you like because Erica offers coloring pages.  Layout and specs are written for 3 sizes, but it is very easy to make custom if you wish.   And best of all - you trim all your units to size.  I love a pattern that lets you trim down to a perfect size!
I can see myself using this pattern many times with multiple fabric leftovers.  This quilt has all 100 designs of the Tilda Bit by Bit Stash Builder Bundle, and some beloved Free Fall from Tula Pink on the back.  I couldn't be more pleased!
For binding I used Begonia candy stripe from Hawthorne Supply Co.  With all the mesh of colors a nice soft pink worked out very nicely.  And it coordinated with the swallows on the back fabric as well. Below you can see a wrinkled after washing picture of the quilting - wavy line stitch following seams on the diagonal.
This is a little bit of a departure for me since I like to show and explain the quilts I make from blocks that are often public domain.  But, I can honestly say this quilt was very fast & fun to make and worth the purchase. Best of all, I love the final look - and in another departure ... I am keeping this one for myself!

Tilda Bit by Bit Stash Building from Serendipity Woods
The Cleo Quilt from Kitchen Table Quilting
Free Fall in Creamsicle by Tula Pink
Begonia candy stripe binding from Hawthorne Supply Co.
Warm and White batting
Aurifil 50wt. thread #2415 (light pink)
Size: 49" x 49" (after washing)
May 2021 

Sunday, May 2, 2021

A Finished Star Like Quilt

Making its debut, this Star like quilt is made with just 2 blocks -  a square and half square triangle (HST) both unfinished at 4.5".  The tutorial and diagram on how to assemble the units are in the blog post HERE. 
Simple wavy line quilting with a pale pink thread (Aurifil 50wt. #2415) on the top, and white (#2024) on the bottom.  I put a mark at each seam junction - and sewed on the diagonal to make pretty diamond shapes on the front and back. No need to mark the entire quilt but sew through the center of the squares by eye - easy peasy. 
The fabric is Regent Street Lawns 2016 by Moda, an eclectic mix of strong colors that  surprisingly harmonize when assembled.  The background fabric is Bright White Cotton Couture by Michael Miller.
As I use up my existing stash of fabric, I do treat myself to new stripped binding from Hawthorne Supply Co.  
As I get my minky from there,  its super fun to match up their vast color palette of 'candy stripe' cottons with a current project.  This bold binding is candy stripe in Petunia.  
This is a very beginner friendly quilt which really is more about accurate trimming than anything else.  Tip for this quilt is to use a Topstitch Needle size 90/14 when sewing with minky!

Regent Street Lawns 2016 / Moda
Cotton Couture in Bright White / Michael Miller
Aurifil 50wt. #2415 & #2024
Warm & White batting
White minky & Petunia candy stripe binding printed on 56" wide quilting cotton from  Hawthorne Supply Co. 
Size: 53" x 53"
May 2021

Thursday, April 15, 2021

A Star like Quilt - with only 2 blocks!

Here's what is almost finished on the layout board today.  A simple design that consists of only two blocks and looks pretty dynamic.  A little concentration on how to position the units creates a star like look.  I made a larger, but very similar version HERE.

I am not a pattern maker but this is how I made this quilt - please forgive the rough diagram. 
The final size for this quilt is 53" x 53".  All units are 4.5" x 4.5" unfinished.  
You will need:
(64) focus fabric squares - indicated in dark blue
(25) white squares - for corners and between "stars"
(80) half square triangles - trimmed to 4.5" x 4.5"
There are many tutorials that show how to make HST (half square triangles).  I opted to begin mine a little larger than necessary and cut my HST starting pieces 5.25" x 5.25" so I could trim down. 
No matter what size you choose to begin your HST's - you will need 40 focus squares and 40 background squares.  
This will yield you the necessary (80) Half Square Triangles for the design above.
To recap you need: 
  *(64) focus fabric squares,  (unfinished 4.5" x 4.5")
  *(25) white background squares,  (unfinished 4.5" x 4.5")
  *(80) Half Square Triangles  
           made from 40 focus/40 background squares
           final trim size unfinished 4.5"x 4.5" 
I opted to sew the (16) four-patches together first - and add the HST's as a second phase.  It's all up to you.  If you layout everything without sewing the four-patches first - you can sew everything together ... row by row. 
Important Note:  If you sew the four patches together like I did above - you will need to sew SOME of the HST's together first - top to bottom.  Basically, the ones that nestle up to the four patch  See pix below. 
I was so focused on balancing all the center squares, (there are 35 different colors & patterns), I didn't think ahead to the construction phase.  
Anyway - keep laying out according to the 'rough' diagram at the beginning of the post. Enjoy seeing your quilt come alive as you arrange the 13 blocks across and 13 rows down.  This is a good time to try something simple with just two blocks that show lots of pretty colors and fabric patterns.
Regent Street Lawn 2016 / Moda
Cotton Couture in Bright White / Michael Miller
Aurifil 50wt. Muslin thread (#2311)
Size: 53" x 53"
April 2021

Monday, April 12, 2021

Two Retro Drunkard's Path Quilts

Some of my favorite fabrics have been the Japanese quilting cotton from Lecien, which sadly closed in 2020.  Luckily I had enough of their Retro 30's Child Smile 2016 to make two identical quilts for two sweet sisters.  
All the information on how to make these quilts: the AccuQuilt die, the sewing, trimming - as well as the diagram I made to assemble the blocks are HERE in February's post:  Modern Layout of a Drunkard's Path Quilt.
Today's post shows the pretty finished pictures to maybe inspire you to make a smaller Drunkard's Path Quilt using either the AccuQuilt die or any of the other methods available. 
There are many different sizes of plastic templates and lots of tutorials on how to make your own template out of cardboard and how to sew curves.
If you are hesitant to try curves - start with a larger curve and know you can trim down a block smaller to 'erase' edges that come out wonky.  (That's what I do.) 
While I am not buying much fabric and using my saved stash -  I do enjoy picking different color minkys and bindings to match my current projects.   Hawthorne Supply Co.  is my go-to shop as they have a wealth of minky colors and samples that make the whole process a lot of fun!
An added bonus is that Hawthorne Supply Co. has oodles of coordinating designs printed in these very colors to match their minky.  While these little quilts have just a white minky backing -  Hazel likes purple so her binding is Lilac, while Mia likes pink, so her binding is Begonia -- both in the collection called "Candy Stripe."
All quilting was done with a walking foot in a wavy line stitch.  The joining seams are quilted with either a pink or purple color - and white thread for the lines in between.  
I learned something making these quilts.  Usually a universal #14 needle worked out great for most of my minky quilts - but this time I had lots of skipped stitches.  My sewing machine repairman (and many quilt bloggers as well) suggested trying a top stitch needle - it worked out perfectly.

So that's it for April - sewing up pretty fabric, learning about a new needle - and sending these little beauties to their new home 

Retro 30's Child Smile 2016 / Lecien
AccuQuilt large Drunkards Path 7" Finished Die (#55034)
Hawthorne Supply Co. - binding in Candy Stripe Begonia & Lilac printed on quilting cotton 56" wide and white minky
Aurifil 50wt. thread #2425 (pink) #2526 (lavender) & #2024 (white)
Warm & White batting
Size: 45.5" x 45.5"
April 2021

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Scrappy Quilted Kitchen Mat Tutorial

It's time to make a quick scrappy kitchen mat from some pretty leftovers.  
Figure out the final size of your mat.  Make your unfinished pieces - the front, the batting and the back -  at least 1" larger to accommodate trimming and a little light quilting. 
And if your pieces are not long or large enough, just add extra fabric where needed.  Don't forget to make the backing and batting larger as well.  
Let's begin: gather those ironed scraps and trim one side straight.
Sew the two straight sides together.
Press seams either to the side or open as you go.  
Keep cutting the ragged sides straight - not even as you keep adding pieces and sewing.  Some parts will be thick - others thin.  
Take some fabric for the back - your choice of scraps or a single piece.
Lay the back piece wrong side up, lay a scrap piece of batting on it and then your final piece.  I used some fabric spray to keep all the layers from shifting - but pins are fine too.  You have just made a mini-quilt sandwich!  At this stage - do a little light quilting to keep all your layers together.  
Trim to final size.  
Now it's time to use a zig zag stitch on some scrap fabric to experiment with the size of the stitch you like for the edging. You are covering the raw edge so it doesn't fray - and how large and dense you cover the edge is up to you.  I used a smaller zig zag in red and went over my mat edge twice for it to really show up.
And that's it - a fun, fast, scrappy kitchen mat that is the perfect size and will hold up to machine washing.  There is no wrong way to make this.  No rules, perfection is not required.  Now onto finishing up the little quilts these lovely scraps came from.  

Scraps of:  fabric & batting
March 2021