Tuesday, December 14, 2010
I found a great tutorial on Kate Conklin's blog on how to make Fussy Framed blocks, 2 at a time! The way she cuts her squares, gives you no waste, and your outer square is a continual design.
You can find that tutorial here. She has some great modern quilt designs. I love the "floating squares" border in this post. Maybe I'll try it on this quilt.
Monday, December 13, 2010
This is a good design for a beginning quilter. A lap quilt (58" x 74") is a good size to start with because it's not too big. I like to use 8 inch squares.
This size quilt has 72 squares. You may want to add another row if you are tall.
If you are cutting your own fabric, and you are using 8 inch squares, you will want to purchase 1/2 a yard of 9 to 12 different fabrics. 1/2 a yard will give you 10 - 8 inch squares of that fabric. This is a little more fabric than you will need, but it gives you some options when you are laying your quilt out.
If you have a hard time choosing fabrics that look good together, you can purchase a group of coordinating fabrics. They come in a package already pre-cut. For an 8 inch square quilt, I purchase 2 "Layer Cakes" (10 inch squares pre-cut).
To get a good look at coordinating fabrics, I like to go to fatquartershop.com. At the top left of their website, you will see "specialty cuts". Click on "charm packs" and scroll through to the end for a good selection of your latest coordinating quilting fabrics.
I do NOT like to wash my fabrics until my quilt is finished. Start by pressing your fabric, USE STARCH. I like Niagra non-aerosol spray starch found at my local Randalls grocery store. Its cheap and smells lovely!
Lay your fabrics over a chair after pressing.
You will need to cut your fabric using a rotary cutter, mat and rulers. I don't have a good on-line tutorial for cutting, have a quilting friend teach you or ask a happy person at your local quilt shop.
After cutting your 8 inch squares, lay them out on the floor. Move squares around until you have contrasting fabrics next to each other. If you have a figure in your design such as the scooters in the picture below, place them all right side up. Think about things like: do I want the stripes going in the same direction? do I want a pattern or randomness? are the darks balanced? are my focal prints balanced?
If you are struggling with the lay-out of your fabrics, leave it for a while, or ask another person's opinion. When you are happy with the placement of your squares, you can start to sew.
Decide ahead exactly what your seam allowance will be, I use 1/4". All seam allowances must be the same or your rows will not match up when you sew them together.
Begin with the top row, sewing the squares together. After you have finished the first row, press your seams in the same direction, then lay that row back down in it's place. After you finish sewing the 2nd row, press your seams in the opposite direction. Continue to the bottom of your quilt.
Sewing rows together:
Take your top 2 rows. Placing right sides together, pin at the intersections after butting those 2 seams together. If your fabric tends to shift when you sew, you may want to pin in-between the seams also.
I used my regular sewing machine to quilt this design. Day Style Designs has good basics on free motion quilting with your regular sewing machine. Here is a link to her motion free quilting designs on flickr.
Ready for binding? Follow this post. Stripes make a fun border. Scrappy borders are also fun, especially with the 8 inch beginner quilt.
Create a quilting file system:
As a beginning quilter, start book-marking the sites that seem to help you. Label your book marks in a way so you can find them in the future, for example: quilts I like, tutorials, blogs I like etc.
Here are some more links for beginning quilters:
Missouri Quilt Company - has a video tutorial on just about everything.
Cherry Pie is a beginner quilt by "crazy mom quilts".
crazymomquilts FAQ -great info there!
Oh Frasson has a post titled Quilt Making Basics with some great links to posts.
Strip quilts make good beginner quilts.
"crazy mom quilts" has a lot of information on her blog. Use her search engine to look for what you need help with.
WARNING: This disclaimer is to notify you that quilting, fabric, colors, designs, shapes etc, can become addicting. Remember moderation in all things is the best policy.
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Friday, December 3, 2010
I couldn't wait to show you my latest project, I'm still hand stitching the binding down and have the basting to take out, but I'll give you a peek. I've always been intrigued by Heather Ross's designs, and one of my favorites is "Lightning bugs and other Mysteries" for Free Spirit. You can still find it being sold on etsy.
I knew this was the right fabric for a quilt for Laura who is a freshman "fish" in college this year (or is that term only used for high school?). It wasn't hard to find fun coordinating fabrics in my stash.
Ever since I discovered Kelly Wuldson's quilts at "Don't Look Now", I've been fascinated by her quilted circles, and decided that this was a good opportunity to try it out . . . I don't know if mine will ever look as good as hers, but it sure was fun.
I like to use "Scotch-Blue Painter's Tape" to insure straight lines when I quilt a grid pattern. It doesn't pull on my quilt when I remove it, and I can re-use the same strip, and the bright color makes it easy to follow.
Lay your quilt on a flat surface, and lay a strip of tape in the desired direction along the middle of your quilt. Sew along both sides, being careful to not puncture the tape. Working your way towards the edges of your quilt, pick up the tape, reposition and sew.
I used the 2 inch tape on this quilt.
You'll be amazed at how many widths you can find. My favorite is the 2 inch. I can always eyeball adding an inch or so as I sew along the side of the tape on my quilt.
I lay 2, 2- inch strips down on this quilt to create 4 inches.
You can sew your grid design through out your whole quilt, or just portions of it.