quilting, Uncategorized

Quilting 101: Acronyms

If you’ve been bitten by the quilting bug, you probably have already heard quilting references that use everyday language (e.g. quilt sandwich, snowballing) and your mind could be swimming in quilting-related acronyms. All the abbreviations and terminology can be really confusing. When I first started, I was baffled over all the different terms used when watching how-to videos and looking at Instagram posts.

If you’re a confused beginner like I was, this post offers some help. I have listed the most common quilting acronyms, their meaning, and a few examples.

IMGP8299.JPG

WOF – Width Of Fabric – The width of the fabric from selvage to selvage (side to side). It’s important to know what that measurement is when purchasing, cutting and sewing fabric.

RST – Right Sides Together – When quilting, fabrics are sewn with the ‘right’ sides facing. ‘Right’ sides are the printed side, or what some call ‘the pretty side.’ You’ll see this term used in patterns and tutorials.

WIP – Work In Progress – Any project in the works. Many quilters tend to have several at once. 🙂

UFO – UnFinished Object – Just what it says…something you haven’t yet finished. A lot of the time UFOs are abandoned projects, usually due to something else that’s caught a quilter’s eye. 😉

IMGP8307.JPG

FMQ – Free Motion Quilting – This is a quilting process where you drop the feed dogs on your sewing machine and move your quilt sandwich around freely. Stippling or meandering is commonly the first design beginners learn to quilt. Here’s an example of what meandering looks like:

IMGP7451
This is the extent of my FMQ abilities…however, some people are phenomenal at this! 🙂

HST – Half Square Triangle – HSTs are one of the most popular quilt block units used in quilting. There are a variety of methods to making HSTs.

IMGP6934
half square triangle

QAL – Quilt Along – A quilt along consists of a host posting tutorials on a blog/website for other quilters that join in at home. Goals are set, example: make blocks 1-10 this week, and everyone makes the same project. Often times I see QALs taking place on Instagram but I’ve never participated in one.

LQS – Local Quilt Shop

TBQ – To Be Quilted – (I just learned this one!)

Hopefully this helps clear up some of the obscurity in the quilting world! I will continue to provide information for beginning quilters in my Quilting 101 series. My next post will provide a rundown on other popular terms you’ll come across throughout your quilting journey.

diy, tutorials, Uncategorized

DIY Quilt Ladder Tutorial

Don’t you just love those beautiful leaning ladders for displaying quilts? I know I do, but I didn’t want to pay upwards of $200 for one. I knew my husband and I could do a DIY for a LOT less, and we did, we made ours for under $20!

Here’s what we had to buy:
(4) ¾″ × 1 ½″ × 6′ Select Pine boards = $3.83 each
Total cost of $15.32 (+ tax)

1 box (of 25) 1 ½″ construction wood screws
Total cost of $2.17 (+ tax)

We purchased the boards and wood screws at Home Depot. Any big box hardware store should carry all other supplies and tools.

I should note that that was our price was less than $20 because we had the additional necessary items on hand: paint brush/foam brush, wood stain, polycrylic protective finish, paint, primer, a variety of sandpaper and the tools. If you don’t have these items, it will cost more, but nowhere near what a retailer is asking.

I was so happy with the first one, I asked my husband to help out again and we made a second one. I finished them differently; the first one I stained and the second one I painted white. That way, I can move them around the house and always have a fresh, new look.

This was a fun project for both of us. It was really rewarding to make something for our home that not only is attractive, but useful, too. I also found that working with wood was relaxing and rather enjoyable. 🙂

The time spent on each ladder varied. Estimated time on construction was about 2 ½ hours and it took about 3 – 3 ½ hours to sand, stain and apply polyurethane. It was much more time consuming to paint. I applied one coat of primer and four coats of paint, which took several hours, but was worth it. I love both results.

IMGP8280.jpg

IMGP8215.jpg

Finished ladder measures 6′ H × 19″ W × 1 ½″ D.

If you’d like to make your own, click here for my downloadable PDF DIY Quilt Ladder Tutorial. The tutorial is easy-to-follow with step-by-step instructions and plenty of photos.

Here’s to creating and saving a ton of money at the same time!

mini quilts, tutorials, Uncategorized

Corner Hanging Sleeve Tutorial

Hanging mini quilts is a must-do, right? Whether you’re a quilter who hangs minis all over your walls or one like me who hangs one at a time—having an effective method of displaying them is essential no matter how many or how few. This corner technique is so fast and easy, in no time your minis will be ready to show off!

Required materials include two squares of fabric and a round dowel rod. I usually use 3/8″ width (oak) as it’s sturdy and doesn’t tend to bend or warp. It’s not necessary to go any larger than 3/8″ with most mini quilts. I’ve also used a 1/4″ dowel rod on a very small mini and through my experience, it held up well.

IMGP8091.JPG

Dowel rods can be purchased at any big box home improvement store for under $2 each (36″ length/oak). There are a variety of sizes and types of wood so you can choose what best suits your needs.

Let’s get started. Once your mini quilt is quilted and trimmed (but before binding), cut two 3″ x 3″ squares from your backing fabric (or from scraps). Press squares in half diagonally.

IMGP7611.JPG

On the back of the quilt, pin one pressed square onto each top corner.

IMGP7617

Attach binding, sewing carefully around the pins, making sure to keep the all the edges flat.

IMGP7619.JPG

Finish sewing on the binding using your preferred method.

IMGP7643.JPG

And it’s finished!

Measure from one end of the binding to the other, cut the dowel rod to measurement. Sand off any rough edges.

IMGP8089.JPG

Insert and hang!

IMG_5476

Got a lot of mini quilts? Need a few tips on storing them? Click here!

mini quilts, quilts, Uncategorized

Patriotic Flag Mini Quilt

The month of May always brings out patriotism here in the US, with Memorial Day kicking off the summer season then Flag Day and the Fourth of July not too far behind. Right now I have two quilts in the making, a Christmas gift and a new pattern of mine, and I could use a break from larger projects so I set out to find something patriotic that I could finish quickly using left over fabrics.

I usually don’t sew with blue (I don’t know why, I just don’t seem to choose it) but since I made my Americana Stars & Four Patches quilt last year, I had enough blue fabric for something small. Same with red, I don’t use it a lot, but I had some on hand from previous projects plus I got a small fat quarter bundle freebie with some lovely reds included.  🙂

IMGP7940.JPG

After quite a bit of searching, I decided on a free flag tutorial from Cluck Cluck Sew. While she made a lovely pillow, I wanted something for my sewing room door so I added a light blue border and made mine a mini quilt.

IMG_7293.jpg

For the star and stripes, I used a white low volume fabric with handwriting that reminded me of old-fashioned handwritten letters and historic signatures; I thought it was fitting for a flag. It’s kind of difficult to see it unless it’s close up…

IMGP7937IMGP7939

Before I began quilting, I did some ‘thread painting’—my quilting tip that consists of laying out thread on a project to help decide on a quilting pattern. To read more about it, click here. I do tend to gravitate toward crosshatch quilting, especially on rectangular blocks because the end results are diamonds, and I love the look! So yes, I went with crosshatch quilting, yet again.

IMGP7954.jpg
thread painting

When basting a mini quilt, I always use my flower straight pins instead of actual quilting pins. Reasons being: they’re easier to put in and take out, they’re nice and sharp and long, and they seem flatter than other pins.

IMGP7979

I used my guide for quilting accuracy and it gave me very precise results!

IMGP7988.JPG

I was happy to have had enough red and white striped fabric for this project, left over from a Christmas tree skirt. And of course, striped binding is always a favorite.

IMGP8008.JPG

And speaking of binding…how lucky was I to get this tiny stripe to align when I finished off my binding? Absolutely pure luck! Doubt that ever happens again.  🙂

IMGP8022.jpg

For the back, I had this very appropriate fabric from my Stars & Four Patches quilt. As far as backing goes, it’s easy to match up prints, especially on a small project. I have more information on this topic on my Matching Fabric Patterns blog post.

IMGP8019.jpg

And…here’s the finished project!

IMGP7982.JPG

I love everything about this mini—it’s cute, a great size for my sewing room door and I can get it out to enjoy several times a year. Lastly, it was a small but significant scrap buster!

IMGP8000

Happy Memorial Day

quilting, quilts, Uncategorized

Scrappy Nine Patch Quilt

It seems as though a lot of quilters plan out their projects; I see plenty of Instagram posts with lovely planners available for purchase along with planner images of scrawled notes and ideas. While I’m an organized person to a fault, I just couldn’t see myself planning out my quilts. I’m not exactly sure why, I suppose it’s because I just like to wing it from time to time. Enter my Scrappy Nine Patch quilt.

A while back I had been thinking about making something scrappy, mainly because I rarely do and I was tired of looking at fabric left over from so many past projects. One day while working on something else, I completely switched gears and began pulling fabric and putting together scraps in color combinations. Now I know why scrappy projects are so much fun; you don’t need an exact plan (other than a pattern), anything goes and nothing is considered wrong.

I set to work making a variety of nine patches—if a fabric looked good, it went in. It’s funny how I still can remember what projects I used those fabrics for, what collection they’re from, why I bought them, etc. I guess that’s why scrappy quilts are also called ‘memory quilts.’

Here are a few of my block groups.

IMG_4047

IMG_4055

IMG_4054

IMG_4052

Had a little fun putting this together…

IMG_4068

Upon completion, I was surprised that I ended up using 144 different fabrics! I wouldn’t have guessed I even had that much variety in my stash at the time. In all, I made 48 blocks, added sashing, and ended up with a throw quilt measuring roughly 49″ W x 57″ L. And it definitely helped with my stash down.

IMGP8176

I’ve since gifted this quilt, but because it was so fun to make I’m thinking about making another one, with an entirely different selection of fabrics, of course. And I won’t be planning it either! 🙂

quilting, Uncategorized

Pillowpalooza!

Since I’ve made a lot of pillows lately, I thought it would be a good time to show my work on a blog post. I’ve also included a couple of others I made a few years ago.

Starting with my oldest projects first…the next two sets of pillows date back to when I dug out my Kenmore sewing machine in 2012 and started sewing (then consequently, quilting) as a hobby. These two are some of the the first ones I ever made, and they’re still a favorite.

IMGP7557.JPG

If you read my ‘About’ section, you may recall I was given a store-bought comforter quilt with lovely Laura Ashley fabrics that consisted of a variety of colors and textures, which I slowly and surely took apart, and yes, with a seam ripper.

IMGP7689.JPG

This ensemble was made from the backing. I followed a tutorial for the foam seat, and as you can see I got really adventurous and made bias binding! I do get this out and toss it on the floor occasionally, so it still gets some use.

Out of all that fabric, those four pillows and the seat cushion is all I have left, and I still have yards and yards of that funky ribbon! The panels in the quilt were about 12″ square, pretty large for a quilt but pretty small for pillows.

This one was made with repurposed half square triangles I had used in a Moda Bake Shop project submission. They were perfectly fine and there was no sense in them sitting in a drawer, so I reused them.

IMGP7318
front
IMGP7321
reversible back

I made it ‘reversible’ so it looks good no matter what side is facing out. I did the same thing with a few others. Sometimes I turn them around just for new look.

The next one is a Dutch Rose block pattern I found in McCall’s online library of 150+ quilt block patterns. All free and a great resource! Here’s the link: The Quilting Company.

IMGP7051.JPG

Personally, I think this is the prettiest block I’ve ever made. I left it on my design wall for a month just so I could look at it. 🙂

And here it is in pillow form on my bed. Still love it.

:.,bcxz .jpg

The front consists of a mix of Moda fabrics; the yellow is Benartex from a bright collection called Transformation by Sarah Vedeler Designs.  As always, I used Kona Cotton for my background, this is Kona Cotton Snow. I put a lovely Art Gallery fabric by Amy Sinibaldi on the back. Such soft and gorgeous colors!

IMG_7167.jpg

The next two are pillow covers I made for my mom, also with printed fabric on the back. I used mostly leftover fabric from the quilt I made for her this past Christmas. Hope she likes them!

IMG_7082

IMGP7420

IMGP7447.jpg

Overall, these zippered pillow covers are fairly easy to make and the quilt block possibilities are endless. If you’d like to create some for yourself, here’s the link to my Zippered Quilt Block Pillow Cover Tutorial.

I’m sure you noticed that none of these quilt block pillows are quilted. I opted not to quilt them because I love the look of fresh, crisp fronts. Sure, quilting is an option, I just wanted to mix things up a bit.

That pretty much wraps up my current pillow collection. I’m in the process of making a queen size Hunter’s Star quilt for my daughter and I plan to make a few throw pillows to go along it. Oh, and of course I have other ideas in the works, so eventually there’ll be a Pillowpalooza II!

tutorials, Uncategorized

DIY Portable Ironing Board

One thing that’s for sure is I’m all about recycling and reusing, and I especially enjoy repurposing. With the help of my husband, I turned an ugly unused piece of plywood into a cute, portable lightweight ironing board.

After watching videos of quilters using wooden boards transformed into actual ironing boards, I knew I needed one. I really liked the idea of something lightweight and easy to move around, and it was time to say goodbye to my metal tabletop ironing board (via donation).

So, I did some research and made my own. Here’s how you can make one, too, and here’s what you’ll need:

*A board of your chosen size (plywood recommended)
This DIY = 13 ½” W x 24″ L piece of plywood (reused from irrigation pump packaging)

*Two pieces of cotton batting

*Cotton fabric for board cover

*Aluminum Foil – Enough to cover top with approximately 1″ wrap around back.

*Wood Glue – To glue down aluminum foil edges on back.

*Staple Gun / Staples – To attach batting and fabric.
This DIY = Heavy Duty Staple Gun and  3/8″/10mm staples (a less powerful one would also do fine).

Additional materials: scissors, measuring tape, toothpick, sewing machine and general sewing supplies.

IMGP7479

IMGP7517

Once supplies are ready, there are just six easy steps from start to finish!

  1. Cut both pieces of batting:
    Cut ONE approximately 1″ larger than your board, on all sides.
    This DIY = 15 ½” W x 26″ L

    Cut ONE approximately 1 ½” larger than your board, on all sides.
    This DIY = 16 ½” W x 27″ L

    Place the smaller one on top of the larger one (it will be against top of board). When it’s folded around the board, edges will be hidden under the larger one.

    Cut fabric:
    Cut approximately 3″ larger than your board, on all sides. NOTE: Subtract 1″ for selvage edge, if included in the cut fabric.
    This DIY = 18 ½” W x 29″ L (fabric included selvage edge)

  1. Press a ½” hem along all edges, sew a straight stitch.

Tip: Save time—skip hemming salvage edge, if included.

  1. Cover your board with aluminum foil (like wrapping a present). I used a toothpick to apply the wood glue under the folded edge on the back side. Gluing down the foil really helps keep it in place.

IMGP7490.JPG

IMGP7493.JPG

A side note about the foil…I was skeptical if this actually helped to protect the wood, as I had covered this board a while back (this is a redo). Fast-forward a year and a half until now, when I removed the cover and batting. The fabric and batting were water-stained and scorched, but the board was untouched! It definitely works, so I don’t recommend skipping this step. 🙂

  1. Staple on the batting once the glue has dried. Start by pulling in at the point of the corner (helps reduce bulk), staple once. Trim off point. Fold in the sides, staple down each side. You can see what lovely corners you get! Repeat for each corner.

IMGP7500

IMGP7502.JPG

IMGP7513.JPG

Continue along stapling down the sides, wrapping the batting nice and snug, but not too tight. Once my batting was attached, I chose to trim it back so the fabric would completely cover it when stapled on.

IMGP7509.JPG

  1. Lastly, center your fabric over the board. Using the same method as above, wrap and staple the fabric onto the board.

IMGP7519.JPG

As an option, you can apply felt pads to the four corners. I put them on mine as it gives the board a bit of a lift and helps it set even on your table.

IMGP7521.JPG

I love this DIY project because it puts an unused item to good use, and it uses materials most people have on hand. As for me, I was happy to use adorable stash fabric that I wouldn’t have used otherwise.

I also discovered that my board doubles for measuring. It’s 24″ long so if I need a quick estimate on how much fabric I’m working with; I can use it as a general guide. You might want to keep that in mind when choosing your size!

IMGP7525.JPG

IMGP7538.JPG

Enjoy your portable ironing board and kudos to you if you salvaged an unused board and raided your stash!