Friday, May 21, 2010

I Do - Part 1

I'm planning something special for Matt to give as a gift at our wedding! I have an awesome pattern called "I Do" and plan to use a mixture of bright solids and beautiful coordinating batiks. Here's a preview:

More to come! What projects are you working on right now fellow quilters?
Update: I showed Matt the quilt top I made but I was unable to finish the quilt because I was working on another special project for the attendants at our wedding. He didn't mind that it wasn't finished and thinks it looks really great!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Queen Batiks - Part 1

Since my first project was a gift for someone else, I wanted my second project to be just for me, Matt and Lucy. As I stated before, I am a fan of Hancocks of Paducah. What's great about the website is that they have sale sections for every dollar increment of fabric from $2.98 to 5.98 and a pre-cut sale section. I love buying things on sale so these sections are perfect for me. While browsing through one day I came across a listing for a batik quilt kit that I just had to have! Hancocks no longer sells this kit but I did find it on another website called Creative Quilt Kits. The kit I bought had 90 10"squares (for around $60! I love sales!) in beautiful Tonga batiks and super easy to follow instructions. There were 30 different fabrics and 3 pieces of each. Here's what it looked like online as a lap quilt:

The following is a picture of all of the different color 10" squares laid out on my bed. There are 3 of each square:

The cuts were made following these steps:

Stack 3 coordinating (but different) fabrics on top of each other with all of the edges squared up.
Cut 1 & 2 same size ( 1 1/2in - 4 1/2in)
Cut 3 & 4 same size (1 1/2in - 4 1/2in)
You’ll be left with a square piece of fabric

Mix and match pieces so that each color makes an "L" or a square in all 3 of the blocks. Sew edges on starting with the square and cut 4, then 3, 2, and then 1 last

Here's what it looked like on my cutting board:

The first square in these photos is what your block will look like when all the pieces are sewn together and the other 2 are what they look like before they are sewn together. And yes, I am sewing on my kitchen table. I didn't have my own sewing space in our apartment yet. I just realized that I never did take pictures of the sewing space I did make....oh well! We're in our new house now! Pictures to come.

Once the pieces are sewn together, trim the edges so you have squares all of the same size. I think these end up being 8 1/2in squares. There were 5 different versions of cuts for this pattern but you could also do all of the cuts the same if you wanted a more uniform look. I didn't love some of the combinations towards the end but I knew that once all of the blocks were pieced together that they would look better.

I laid out all of my finished blocks on my bed and played around with them until I was happy with the mix of color and pattern:

Here's a (not to scale) drawing of how the quilt came together:

I had enough blocks to make a quilt almost as big as a queen bed so to get the last few inches I added a few borders. I found the coordinating batik in a quilt shop with Ann and I think it really ties all of the fabrics together and pops even though it's not from the same line. I got enough to do a border and to use for the back of the quilt:

I chose to do all of my blocks with the Ls going in the same direction but I think it would look cool with 4 blocks turned in to each other like this as well:
Unfortunately this quilt is still not finished. My apartment wasn't big enough for me to stretch the quilt out and baste and my machine isn't big enough to quilt the darn thing. One of Ann's friends is going to quilt it for me one of these days when I have some spare funds. I am currently paying for wedding and new home expenses so this project is going to have to wait. I would love to see pictures of your version of this quilt!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Loves Pink - Part 5

To wrap things up I thought I would talk about finishing process. I know there are many ways to finish a quilt and I would love to hear from you quilters out there! This is how I finished Leslie's quilt:

First Layer: my quilt top
Second Layer: 80/20 cotton poly-blend quilt batting.
Third Layer: backing
I taped the backing to the floor face down (the front of the fabric facing the floor and the back of the fabric facing me. I made sure to slightly pull the back fabric evenly and tape down evenly around the edges. Next I laid the cotton blend batting over the back fabric. I have seen quilters line up one of the corners of the batting with one of the corners of the back so that the batting lines up evenly with the backing on 2 sides and the excess hangs over the 2 sides. I chose this method and saved my scrap backing and batting to use on smaller projects. Finally, I laid the top on the backing and batting so that all of the layers lined up.

Basting can be done in a number of ways and this is something I plan on experimenting with but for now I just use safety pins. Ann uses a grapefruit spoon to lift the bottom of the pin (the pointy side) and hook it into the top. I haven't found a grapefruit spoon so I haven't tried this method but it looks like a big time, band-aid, and manicure saver. I placed basting pins about an inch from the edge all the way around the edges of the quilt and throughout the remainder of the quilt pinning each pin about 1 hands length apart.

Next I "stitched in the ditch" which is stitching down along the seams of the blocks. I also went all the way around the edge of the quilt about 1/4" from the edge to keep the edges together under my binding. If I had had more time I would have quilted a bit more but I wanted to give this to Leslie for Christmas so I didn't get the chance.

The finished size of the quilt was approximately 40.5x53 after I put on the binding. At Ann's suggestion I went with the mitered corner binding method. This is one of the more difficult binding techniques but once learned produces really nice corners on your quilt. To make the binding I cut strips of 2.5" fabric (black) and ironed them pressing the fabric in half long ways so that I had long strips of fabric 1 1/4" wide and double thickness. I joined each strip to the next with a mitered edge (45 degree angle) until I had one long strip of fabric equal to the perimeter of my quilt plus about 20 inches extra. This drawing shows how the binding fabric is sewn to the front of the quilt, folded back at a 45 degree angle and folded back over to create the mitered corner:
I then flipped the binding over the edge of the quilt and machine quilted it down. I decided to machine quilt using a decorative stitch because I didn't have time to hand sew it. I have since taken this decorative stitch out and hand sewn the binding down and it looks much better.

Leslie loves her quilt and keeps it on her bed. She and her dog Princess Maria snuggle up together with it every chance they get!

Leslie's quilt front: 
Leslie's quilt back: