quilting, quilts, tutorials, Uncategorized

Quilting on a Whim (A Granny Square Quilt)

I admit, this is the first time I’ve ever made a quilt on impulse. It happened while scrolling Instagram and granny square posts kept showing up from the Moda Bake Shop. Almost instantly it clicked—I knew I wanted to make a granny square quilt and I had the perfect fabric for it. And since I recently finished a rather challenging and labor intensive queen size quilt, I needed something easy!

A while back I ordered a fat quarter bundle of Moda’s Chestnut Street for a fall quilt. While I cut what was needed for the pattern, I never made the quilt because I couldn’t decide on a background fabric. Since I had plenty of Chestnut Street left over, along with additional fabrics from other Fig Tree collections, I knew I had enough fabric and variety (plus I added two Dear Stella Mini Dots). I’d also been intent on stashing down, so it was definitely a go! I stopped what I was working on and started pulling fabric. And let me tell you, it was FUN. 🙂

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There were so many things about making this quilt that made it fun…for example, I had no plan, it was literally on a whim. I randomly mixed and matched fabric, whatever I felt went together got put together. I was using what I had, and of all cuts – an older charm pack, scraps, fat quarters, yardage…including the background fabric, Kona Cotton Snow. I truly enjoyed the entire process.

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Once I finished 28 squares, I figured it was time for a plan. I decided on a throw quilt with six blocks per row, seven rows (42 squares total), 2″ sashing and a background border.

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Because it came out so lovely, I had it professionally quilted with the digital pattern Daisy Delight.

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I did have to purchase binding fabric, luckily I found what I wanted from the Chestnut Street line. I also had to purchase the backing. Since the quilt has a lot of orange in it, I wanted to incorporate it onto the back as well. I decided on Tule Quietude in Sunset by Leah Duncan for Art Gallery Fabrics. I loved how this print blended nicely with the colors on the front.

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My Granny Square quilt finished at 64 ½” x 74 ½”. And I just love it!

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I mentioned that the granny squares popped up on IG from the Moda Bake Shop, so I visited their site for block instructions. Because I wanted to use scraps that I had already cut into 2 ½” squares, I had to do some recalculating for a more petite block. Also, this size block is great because it can be easily made with precuts, including 2 ½” strips, 5″ squares and 10″ squares.

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Here’s a quick tutorial on how to make a granny square block with the dimensions I used. My blocks finished at roughly 8 3/8″ square.

FROM COLOR/PRINT FABRIC, CUT:
(1) 2 ½” x 2 ½” square (center square)
(4) 2 ½” x 2 ½” squares (inner squares)
(8) 2 ½” x 2 ½” squares (outer squares)

FROM BACKGROUND FABRIC, CUT:
(2) 2 ½” x 2 ½” squares
*subcut diagonal once
(2) 4 ¼” x 4 ¼” squares
*subcut diagonal twice

Lay out fabric as illustrated below:

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Sew pieces together into rows using ¼” seam allowance. I recommend pinning! Be sure to trim away dog ears. Pressed rows will look like this:

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Because sewn pieces are relatively small, I pressed all my seams open to reduce bulk. It definitely helps the blocks to lay nice and flat.

Next, turn the block sideways, as shown. Place the remaining triangle pieces in the four corners. Sew and press.

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The final step, trimming your block (and the remaining dog ears). Line up your ruler with the ¼” mark placed at the corners of the outer squares, as shown. Trim.

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Give your block one last press and you have a beautiful granny square!

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I know it’s common for quilters to finish a quilt and say it’s their new favorite, but this one really is for me. It’s different from most of the quilts I’ve made, mainly because of the fabrics, many were soft and feminine floral prints.

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I think every quilter needs to make a granny square quilt, well, just because…don’t you agree?

mini quilts, quilting, Uncategorized

Modern Meets Traditional

Isn’t it interesting how colors can make all the difference? Recently my son asked me to make him a mini quilt for his music room. He requested the Dutch Rose block, and for a few good reasons…he liked the center star along with how the formation around it looks ‘folded’ and of course, the block has timeless style! I couldn’t agree more.

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A while back I made a zippered pillow cover using the Dutch Rose block knowing that the block itself is traditional. I think the soft colors I used in my pillow accented that fact, but for this mini-quilt I wanted a modern, updated look. Masculine, too.

Overall, I find that one of the most fun parts of quilting is choosing fabrics. Sometimes I have very specific ideas, other times I forage through my (limited) stash trying to find what looks good. For this project, I knew to avoid any pastels, pinks and purples. I had just finished a quilt using Sun Print 2018 by Alison Glass for Andover Fabrics and I knew my son would like the rich, deep colors in the collection plus I had plenty leftover. After much deliberation, I narrowed it down to four hoping the combination would work.

I used Kona Cotton White for an extra pop and I quilted it with my go-to pattern, crosshatch, spacing lines 1 ½” apart, using Aurifil cotton 50wt 2024 (White).

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I’ve been stitching that a lot lately, and it never gets old. And I feel the color combination worked—I love it and my son was happy with it, too. I’m tempted to use these colors in a triangle quilt!

In the end, I think I achieved my goal of giving this block a mod update just by using bold, modern colors.

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Same block, but what a different feel you get from the colors and fabrics you choose… because that’s what it’s all about, right?

quilt binding, quilting, tutorials, Uncategorized

How to Make Scrappy Binding

Scrappy binding is a favorite among quilters. Not only is it fun to make, it’s a great way to use longer scraps of fabric. I don’t choose it that often, but I do enjoy making it and I love how it looks. Going scrappy is also a fun way to add more color to a finished quilt. Never tried it before? No problem, this tutorial will show you how, step-by-step. Let’s get started.

First, choose your fabric strips making sure you have enough to equal the total length required. For the project illustrated in this tutorial, I used Kona Cottons from the Citrus Burst bundle.

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Next, cut your strips 2 ½” wide. The lengths of the strips will vary. I usually don’t use anything less than 8″ long and over 14″ long for a mini quilt; I’ll go as long as the length of a fat quarter for a throw quilt or larger. This is a personal preference; you may want to experiment to see what you like best. It’s important to note that you’ll be cutting off some length off of the strip ends when making the binding.

Once the pieces are chosen, there are a few options before sewing. You can go totally scrappy and sew your strips together in no particular order or you can plan your color order according to your quilt. I like to do it this way so like-colors don’t end up next to one another on the finished quilt. This method is easy to do and takes just a little extra time.

If you want to make your binding by controlling the color order, lay out your quilt. Place the chosen binding strips around your quilt in order that works best with the colors in the quilt. It’s always a good idea to take a photo in case you lose track of the order when sewing. You can also number the strips in an inconspicuous area.

Once your preferred method is determined, lay out the first two strips, right sides together, and draw a diagonal line, as shown. Pin strips in place.

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Sew on the drawn line.

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Line up the ¼” ruler line on the sewn line, as shown.

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Cut away fabric ¼” from the sewn line, as shown.

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Cut off tips, press. Seams can be pressed either to the side of the darker fabric or open.

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Repeat steps until you have sewn and pressed all the strips together, making one continuous strip of binding.

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Lastly, fold your completed binding strip in half horizontally, pressing as you go, until the entire strip is pressed in half. Trim raw edges. Your scrappy binding will look like this when finished:

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For this particular project, I made controlled color binding and I’m happy how it came together with the mini quilt.

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Now’s the time to give scrappy binding a try and here’s to your next project! 🙂

quilting, Uncategorized

Quilting 101: Precuts

Fact: Quilters love precuts. 🙂

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If you’re new to quilting you might be asking, “What are precuts?” It’s pretty straightforward, precuts are fabrics cut to specific sizes and quantities and usually feature fabric from the same collection. Precuts came into existence as a way for fabric manufacturers to promote their new lines. Luckily for us quilters, these gems are available from a variety fabric manufacturers such as Moda, Robert Kaufman, Riley Blake, RJR Fabrics and Windham Fabrics—just to name a few.

Here’s a list of information on available precuts along with some examples of projects I’ve made with them.

Note: Manufacturers have named precuts differently as noted below.

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Mini Charm Pack
2 ½” x 2 ½” squares; 42 per pack

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Scrappy Nine Patch Quilt made with 2 1/2″ squares
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Summer Star Mini Quilt made with a mini charm pack

Charm Pack, Stacker
5″ x 5″ squares; 42 per pack

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Checkered Baby Quilt made with a charm pack (A Monday Morning Design tutorial)

Layer Cake, Patty Cake
10″ x 10″ squares; 42 per pack

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Boxed Candy Toss Quilt is layer cake friendly (A Monday Morning Design tutorial)

Jelly Roll, Roll Up, Rolie Polie
2 ½” x 44″ strips; 40-42 per roll

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Honey Bun
1 ½” x 44″ strips; 40-42 per roll

Fat Quarter
18″ x 22″; bundle sizes vary

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Fireworks Quilt made with fat quarters

Fat Eighth
9″ x 22″; bundle sizes vary

Turnover
6″ triangles

There’s a whole world of quilting fun out there using precuts. If you haven’t given them a try, put it on your ‘to do’ list. You’ll find that they’re a great choice by saving you a lot of cutting time making your quilting projects easier and faster!

quilting, Quilting 101, Uncategorized

Quilting 101: Quilting Terminology for Beginners

When I started to quilt, some of the quilting language had me really confused. Everyday words referring to animals, winter and food with a quilting-related meaning….huh? It just didn’t make sense. If your experience is one of the same, this post will help clarify some of the terminology used that has other meanings.

I chose my top ten favorites, or I should say, my top ten most confusing quilting terms. 🙂

1. Dog ears – Dog ears are those small pieces of fabric that appear in quilt block corners and edges when two triangular pieces are sewn together—results of a diagonal seam. Always trim dog ears before finishing a quilt block.

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2. Feed dogs – The feed dogs are the metal teeth located in the slots in a sewing machine’s needle plate. Feed dogs are comprised of metal bars, crosscut with diagonal teeth that move back and forth; they grip fabric and pull it through the machine and away from the needle.

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3. Flying geese – Flying geese is a traditional quilt block pattern created by sewing a triangle at each end of a rectangular piece of fabric, forming a peak in the middle. Finished flying geese blocks resemble geese flying in formation, hence the name.

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4. Nesting seams – Seams that line up precisely at an intersection of a block or quilt are known as nesting seams. To achieve nesting, press seams in opposite directions to reduce the bulk created by the seam allowance.

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5. Snowball – The snowball technique is used when a quilter chooses to give a square a rounded effect (like a snowball). To achieve this result, the quilter draws a diagonal line on a background fabric square (white or light colored), sews on the line, cuts away the corner and presses back the triangle. This process can also be done in reverse, using a central white square and a color triangle in the corner.

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Preparation to snowball a corner
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Snowballed corner

6. Quilt sandwich or sandwiching – Sandwiching is assembling the quilt top, batting and backing, then securing the layers together by basting with either quilting pins or glue–readying it for quilting. The batting and quilt backing are always cut a few inches larger than the quilt top to allow for fabric shifting while quilting.

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7. Chain piecing – Chain piecing is sewing together squares in one continuous length of thread instead of sewing piece by piece. This method saves time and is popular among quilters. Once multiple squares have been sewn in a strand, the thread is easily cut to separate individual pieces.

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chain piecing

8. Sashing – Sashing is a strip of fabric sewn between blocks on a quilt top. It gives a windowpane effect and shows off blocks individually. Most often lighter-colored fabric is used for sashing to make the other colors pop. As a variation, sashing can be used to contrast quilt block colors.

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9. Stitch in the ditch – Stitching in the ditch is a technique where the quilting stitches on the quilt top are minimized by quilting ‘in’ the seams that were created when the quilt blocks were pieced together. Using a specialized foot helps makes this process neater with more accurate results.

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10. Fussy cut – A fussy cut is used when a quilter wants to showcase a specific section or element of a fabric pattern, e.g. a flower, an animal, etc. A fussy cut should always include a seam allowance.

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I hope this blog post helped clarify some quilting terminology confusion.

I plan to continue my Quilting 101 series with my next post delving into the variety of precut fabric.

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.

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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. 😉

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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:

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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.

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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.

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.

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Had a little fun putting this together…

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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.

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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! 🙂