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.