Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Seaming Batting Sections

It occurred to me while piecing together a batting that learning quilters might like a photo or two of how it can be done. The batting I used on my last quilt is 100% cotton needled batting and to widen it, I attached a strip. You'll have to do your own figuring for sizes according to your individual project. Make sure the two sides you will join are straight-edged, and place 2 together, straight edges aligned. Hand baste a running stitch all along the edge (don't pull tightly--just enough to keep edges snug together). By leaving just a little slack in the tension, when you lay out the batting flat, the thread will flatten into the batting and appear "seamless". Hand sew your batting 4 or 5 inches and give it a test flattening to make sure the tension is suitable.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Dreams of Spring

Wow, I suddenly realized I've had a blinding love affair with Pinks! Glad I got that out of my system. This quilt is featured in the recently released (October 2011) Best Fat Quarter Quilts from Quilters Newsletter. The pattern for the quilt is included in the issue--click the photo above if you'd like to acquire a copy (likewise you can click the QN magazine image with Coming & Going to order magazine containing pattern). Even when using traditional patterns such as the long-honored Log Cabin, there is always creative room for exploring new block arrangements and embellishments. See full articles in these two Quilters Newsletter publications for detailed construction information. Now then, think I shall move on to the color aqua!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Coming & Going Modern Wall Quilt

In this post, you can see more clearly the versatile use of the Cathedral Window pattern. I have sewn the rounded edges of the "pancake" block to side one. Further design variations can be developed by forming patterns on each of the sides using the rounded "flap" edges. Topstitch some down on side one, some on side two.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Creative Visualization

Just when you think everything's been done that can be done in the way of piecing quilts, another idea comes floating down the stream. Check out the cover photo of the "Coming and Going" (get it--two sides, you can look at one side coming and the other side going) quilt on the Quilters Newsletter April/May 2011 issue above and you will realize it is composed of the Cathedral Window pattern. By taking this pattern and piecing each of the sides, patterning opportunities are endless with just this one pattern. You can view the photo below to understand the process of strip piecing the initial squares that make up the circular "pancake" blocks. or contact QNM for the full pattern for the pictured quilt. Now set your minds to studying on other blocks that you might piece to change the entire look of a quilt!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

What You Can Do with White Elephant Blocks

Have a white elephant block or two that you can't bear to get rid of, but don't have enough to make a piece? Use the blocks to make small clutches or bags. The bags shown are made with 15" blocks in the pineapple pattern using the Twinkle fabric collection by Yolanda Fundora. To achieve the tailored look (with a stable batting), I recommend Warm & Natural 100% needled cotton batting. Fold your completed block (lined and bound) in half diagonally, tuck in the sides and stitch. One remaining corner can be fashioned as a closure, the other is tucked inside on my bag and stitched down. Use velcro, magnetic closures, or snaps to secure closure. Now you can put those leftover blocks into service as gifts for lingerie bags, casual carry-alls, or even sewing accessories--perhaps a carry bag for your scissors or rotary cutter.

Beginners Getting Started on Quilting

I'm not really much of a "quilter", although I prefer the feel of a piece that is hand-quilted. That is to say, I don't get involved with fine quilting, feathers, and all that fancy work so many other "real" quilters do so impressively. When I do hand quilt, it tends to be outline stitches or straight line stitches--very easy, quick, and usually does not have to be marked (and require that those marks be removed). For you beginners out there, you may want to try a technique that relies on using easily removable painter's (masking) tape. You can see in the photo at left that I am placing strips of 1" wide tape along sewn components to mark the stitching line for quilting. Simply align one edge of the tape next to a seam line and stitch along the opposite edge of the tape. I do place pins perpendicular to the tape to hold the fabric layers in place. Of course, this method won't work for every situation--it does well here where I have large expanses of solid (not pieced) fabric. You do have the availability of widths from which to choose, and the masking tape does not have to be painter's tape. If you want to get your feet wet quilting simply, give it a try.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Creating One-of-a-Kind Projects

Occasionally, you may want to create a project for which no pattern exists, such as the wall quilt pictured. I started with a graphic image selected from the works of M.C. Escher for a long-ago contest I entered sponsored by Quilters Newsletter Magazine in which contestants interpreted their favorite artist. The cut-away sphere and background are both designs of the brilliant Escher. I hand pieced the background, then appliqued the sphere on top. Blenders and other fabrics that seem to "read" as solids are great playgrounds for experimenting with depth and value.
Tip for producing a wall quilt that doesn't sag: when cutting backing fabric, ensure that the up and down grain (as it hangs on the wall) is cut parallel to the selvage edge. It is the direction of grain that is most stable. Test this by tugging, with both hands, the direction of the selvage grain, then the cross cut (or width of fabric) direction.

Sharing Design Ideas--Diamonds

,Sometimes all we need for
inspiration to embark on a
new design challenge is an
image of someone else's project.
The wall quilt below uses 60
degree diamonds to produce
the Lone Star, using leftover
pieces for the top edge header
and the bottom edge accents.
The dangles at center are
beads strung for a little
something extra.
To copy the table pad at left,
simply count diamonds and
substitute your preferred
fabrics, then piece together.