Thursday, August 25, 2011

Binding for a King

I believe this will be my first and last king size quilt to make.  

This unfinished quilt has become a permanent fixture on the back of the sofa for 2 years now.  It just seems to blend in with the woodwork, and it's beauty is not recognized.  Last month I got the energy to work through the "quilting" bugs and FINISHED IT!!

I had gotten tired of it, and thought I might sell it, you know, that stage in your quilt-making when you're not sure about the beast you've just created.  Then after the "washing" . . . you have a new love.

This quilt is now finished.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Summer House Charm - Liz's 2nd quilt

Here is the 2nd quilt that Liz made this summer.

She found some charm packs on line.  She discovered how much faster a quilt goes when you use fabrics from a collection, which are already cut for you.

She straight line quilted it.  The squares were small enough that she didn't need to mark it or use tape, she just "eye-balled" it.  I love her back and binding choices.

Beautiful job, Liz.  Congratulations.  How's that hand stitching coming along on the binding?

It's always motivating to hear what others think of your quilts.  Any comments? . . .

Monday, August 15, 2011

pincushion tutorial

This post has been re-worked, again, to perfection, and now including a new walnut shell stuffing option. 

I finally found a great place for my grandmother's spools of thread from the 50's.



1. FABRIC - Pick 2 fabrics that look good together.

2.  BIAS TAPE - Joann fabrics is the best place to get your bias tape.  Their online site has more colors available than at the store.  When choosing bias tape, you have 2 options:

DOUBLE FOLD 1/4", shown here in red.  This product is "ready to go", but the options of colors are limited.  If you don't find a color you like, go to the next option.

SINGLE FOLD 1/2", shown in blue and has lots more color options available.  You will have to fold this in 1/2 lengthwise and press to get the Double Fold 1/4".  When you iron it, DO NOT USE STARCH OR STEAM, getting it wet, will quickly undo the pressing that is already there.

You will need 2 YARDS OF BIAS TAPE.

3.  TEMPLATES - Make 2 circle templates from card stock.  The larger for cutting, the smaller for sewing.
cutting circle - 8"
sewing circle - 5 1/2"

4.  SPOOLS - You will need 10 to 13 small spools.  If you use the vintage type, shown above, you will need 11.  If you purchase your spools from Walmart or Joann Fabrics, you will need 13.

(Adjustments.  If your spools of thread are the small ones from Joanns or Walmart, which come 10 or 12 to a pack, you will want the space between the 2 circles to be 1/4 inch less.  The spools I used,  my grandmother's, were a little larger.)

5.  WALNUT SHELLS - Walnut shells puts some weight to your pin cushion, and the shells sharpen your needles (so I've heard, correct me if I'm wrong).  You can purchase a bag at Petco, 7 lbs for $10.  They have several options, make sure you get pure walnut shells, with nothing else added.

5.  ELASTIC - This elastic, can be up to 1/4".


Sew bias tape around both circles, using thread the same color as your bias tape.  Sew close to the edge of the bias tape.  When you take your bias tape out of the package, if you look at it, one side is a tiny bit wider than the other.  When sewing your bias tape on, put that WIDER side on the BOTTOM, this will insure that you catch the bottom piece as you sew along the top.

On the right side of one of your circles you just cut out, mark the smaller circle with chalk or erasable ink as shown below.  Stitch seam, back stitching at beginning and end, leaving an opening for stuffing.  Do not stuff yet.

Mark perpendicular 1/2" lines along outer edge, every 2 1/4" for vintage spools, and 1 3/4" for smaller spools.  Align the opening you left for stuffing as shown above with your stitching lines along the outside.  This will make stuffing easier.  You may need to make several attempts to make your markings equal in length.

Back stitch on both ends. 

Stuff inner circle and hand stitch closed.  Thread thin elastic through each spool and in between sewing lines as shown below.

Pull elastic together, and tie a knot.  Work the knot in to hide it.

These darling pincushions make great gifts.  

Monday, August 8, 2011

Vintage Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine

I took a class last spring, and was interested to see the sewing machines that everyone was using.  I was especially intrigued with this one.  After inquiring about it and a little research, I learned that it's a vintage "Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine" made in the mid 1940's.  They are great for classes because they're so light.  They have a reputation for sewing a strong, straight stitch.   Several of the ladies had them at home, and use them for piecing including Carrie (of Miss Rosie's Quilt's), the instructor of the class I was taking.

This one has a price of $450 on it (ebay).  It's one of the best I've seen.  Look how clean that manual looks.

 You can find one on eBay for about $200, or spend more to get one that is in better shape.  The price depends on the shape it's in, and how many parts are still with it.  It even comes with a nifty carrying case.  It's facinating to read the stories behind these machines.  They're easy to work on, so if you purchase one that isn't working well, they can easily be repaired (so I'm told).
It's a nice "quilter's" machine, not too complicated, just does the basic straight stitch.  So, if you're looking for a "back up" machine, check the reviews on the Singer Featherweight.  I've sure had fun researching it.  It's definitely on my "purchase some day list".
They come with a nifty carrying case.   I'd love to own one . . .

Friday, August 5, 2011

Liz's first quilt - The Yellow One

 My daughter-in-law Liz, just finished her first quilt.  She did a beautiful job.  I love the colors and prints she chose. They came from different lines, but she brought them together well.  She found most  at our local quilt shop, then she found a few more on-line, including the back.  I think seeing the colors and combinations of your fabrics with your own eyes is the best way to go when starting out.  Unless you purchase a charm pack where the fabric all comes from the same line, shopping for fabric on-line takes practice, and a few mistakes along the way.

She wanted to learn how to quilt.  So, she found a good used sewing machine on e-bay.  That project could take it's own blog post!  it took lots of research and several attempts at buying, but in the end, she got exactly what she wanted, a basic used sewing machine in a $350 budget.

She likes my wooden bread bowl :)

Finished size: 58" x 73".   She used a basic 8 inch square pattern, a perfect beginner quilter project (you can find the tutorial for a it on the right side under "Laura's fish".)

She pieced the back from the border from one of her fabrics.
She binded it with the same fabric as the back, which I thought looked really nice.  She is a fast learner, and did a fabulous job.  Congrats Lizzie!!