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Archive for the ‘Tutorials’ Category

Happy Valentine’s Day!

It appears that none of Hazel’s Valentine’s Days during high school were very exciting or eventful. You can read about them all at these links:

Valentine’s Day 1951

Valentine’s Day 1952

Valentine’s Day 1953

Valentine’s Day 1954

And the tutorial for the heart apron she’s wearing can be found HERE.

heartapron

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MixMash

It should come as no surprise that I have a lot of fabric scraps. Lately, I’ve been playing in them quite a bit, trying to get them organized.

That has led to me realizing that I have too many too actually “organize”, and I need to be using them up as I go.

Which then led to me starting several new scrap quilts, which should also come as no surprise!

Funny how that works, huh?

I wrote about one of them today over on my other blog: My Tile Quilt.

But I’m also posting a mini-tutorial for another one here on this blog. If you’re looking for a way to use up little scraps, either one of these will be great for that. If you’re just wanting to get rid of your little scraps — feel free to send them on to me! (I need them! Haha!)

I’m calling this quilt MixMash. It’s a complete mess of any bright scrap I can come up with. As I’m working through my scraps, I cut them into pre-cut sizes, the smallest of which is 1 1/2″ squares and 1 1/2″ strips. This quilt, however, can use 1 1/4″ pieces, so now I can use up that size as well.

Here’s how I’m doing it . . .

Each little block measures 4 1/2″, to finish at 4″ in my quilt.
All seams are 1/4″.
You may press your seams however you like.

You’ll need the following pieces for each block:

  • One 1 1/2″ square (for the center)
  • Two 1 1/2″ x 1 1/4″ rectangles
  • Four 1 1/4″ x 3″ rectangles
  • Two 1 1/4″ x 4 1/2″ rectangles

Pieces

Begin by sewing the two smallest rectangles to two opposite sides of the center square:

Round1

Then sew a 3″ rectangle to the sides of this unit:

Round1dun

Sew the two remaining 3″ rectangles to the sides:

Round2

Then add the 4 1/2″ rectangles to square it up:

Round2dun

It’s that simple! Now you just need to make 400+ of these for a big quilt!

It’s basically a small version of a Courthouse Steps block.

Here’s a few other notes about this quilt . . .

As I’ve been working on the scraps, I cut pieces for this quilt while I’m at it. Then I just store them in these labelled baggies and they’re ready when I am.

baggies

I have another bag to keep my finished blocks in. I’m not really counting how many I have right now. I’m just using up scraps for the time being, and when I get enough that I think I can do something with, I’ll see what happens from there!

When you get ready to set your blocks together, you’ll want to lay them out with the blocks rotated so that a side with seams matches up to a side without seams on the next block, as shown here:

4Blocks

Join them in pairs:

Pairssewn

Then join these pairs together to make a larger section:

4joined

I’m not planning to join too many of mine together right now. I want to have a lot of blocks made, and then play around with the arrangement so that the color is evenly dispersed. I know my scraps will evolve as I’m cutting, and I don’t want all of one fabric bunched up in one area of the finished quilt.

My color choices are completely random — I’m just grabbing and sewing. I simply try not to get two fabrics alike right next to each other. That’s what helped me come up with the name!

I also plan to set these on point, so when I get ready to do that, I’ll be back with more information on my setting.

For now, I’m just happily making blocks. They make a fantastic leader/ender project, and you can have a handful of them finished in no time. If you need to use up some little scraps, I hope you’ll join me in making some of these blocks!

I’m also making a black and white version, in which I’ll alternate the blocks. This one is going to look very “op art” when I’m done. I’m excited to see it come together. A two-color version requires you to be a bit more deliberate in your cutting, but it’s still easy to figure out.

BnWoption

If you have any questions about any of this, please let me know, and I’ll try to answer them in a future updated post on this quilt. You’ll be seeing these two quilts again as they grow!

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Now that you have your quilt quilted (you do, don’t you?), it’s time to attach that binding we made a while back.

But first, you need to trim your quilt.

To do this, I lay my quilt out on my cutting table, which first requires a cleaning session in the sewing room because I never have that large a space cleared off for very long!

I use my 6″ x 24″ ruler, and lay it along the edge, making sure the edge is straight underneath the ruler. If my quilt has a border attached, this is easier, because I use the seam of my border to help line things up straight.

ruleraligned

Once I have it lined up, I cut off whatever’s sticking out.

edgetrimmed

Do this for each side of the quilt, and then you’re ready to bind!

To sew my binding on by machine, I use a walking foot. I have a Janome, and this is what my walking foot looks like:

walkingfoot1

Here’s what it looks like fitted on my machine:

walkingfoot2

I generally start about 1/3 of the way up from a corner on any side of my quilt, and leave about a 12″ tail of the binding hanging loose (for joining up at the end).

startingtail

Start pinning and pin the raw edges of the binding strip even with the raw edge of the quilt, all the way to the first corner.

firstcorner

Start your stitching close to your first pin, and backstitch to secure it. I use a seam width that is just a bit larger than 1/4″. It’s about halfway between 1/4″ and 3/8″, which would technically be 5/16″. You can use whatever feels right to you.

startstitching

Also, I’ll just be honest right now and tell you: I sew over pins. A lot. Don’t judge!

Sew down to the first corner, but halt your stitching 1/4″ from the very end, and backstitch. Cut the thread.

endfirstcorner

If you encounter a situation where a seam in your binding strip lands right on a corner, this is not a good thing. While it can happen with any binding, there’s a much higher probability that it’s gonna happen with a scrappy binding, simply because there are more seams where the strips are joined. This problem is easily fixed.

nono

Simply cut the strips apart, cut a little of the length off of the strip that’s getting sewn down (the green one in this example), and rejoin the strips so that the seam lands a bit further up the side. Then proceed as usual.

nonofixed

Now we’re going to fix that nice mitered corner. Fold the strip up at an angle, and in a straight line with the next side you’ll be stitching, as shown.

foldingcorner

Then fold it back down on itself, making sure to hold that fold in place. Pin it so it doesn’t move. Then pin all down the next side.

start2ndside

When you’re ready to start stitching the next side, start 1/4″ in from the top edge, and carefully back stitch or lock stitch in place. Then sew all down the next side, stopping 1/4″ from the corner as before.

cornerstitched

You’ll end up with this little foldy thing in each corner, just the way you want it!

cornerfolded

Repeat this all the way around the quilt.

When you get back to the side you started on, sew the binding on as usual, but stop stitching so that you leave a gap about 12″ between where you started and where you’re stopping. Backstitch to secure the strip to the quilt top, and cut the thread.

backatstart

Now it’s time to join those tails so that no one can tell where you stopped and started. Fold the two tails back on themselves at the point where they meet up with each other.

tailsfolded

Finger press a crease at this point in both strips. I just hold them in place and finger press them right where they’re meeting up.

tailsbutted

Open up the strip on the left, and position it right side up.

crease

Lay the folded edge of the other strip on top of the first strip with the folded edge lined up with the horizontal crease on the first strip, and the vertical creases lined up with each other. (Does that make any sense at all? Good thing there’s a photo.)

creasesmatched

Open the right-hand strip up so that the two strips are lined up with both creases matching (like a + sign) right sides together, and pin in place. I use three pins to make sure they don’t move.

endspinned

Stitch across the diagonal of the strips. Make sure you’re stitching the diagonal that runs parallel to the edge of your quilt, and not the other diagonal. (You don’t want the seam perpendicular to your quilt’s edge.)

stitchingends

The stitching should run right through the middle of the + sign made by the creases on the strips. Both loose tails are above the stitching line, and will eventually get cut off.

endsstitched

But don’t trim anything just yet — you’ll want to pull the binding back into place along the quilt’s edge, just to test and make sure you got the seam in the correct place and nothing is twisted.

checkingfit

If you’re happy with the fit, unfold it and trim the excess binding off, 1/4″ outside the stitched line.

endstrimmed

Finger press the binding seam, and fold the binding strip in half, and pin it to the quilt top along the remaining gap.

gappinned

Stitch in place to close the final gap, and no one will be able to tell where you stopped and started your binding! It’ll be your little secret!

gapsewn

I’m gonna drag this out yet another day, and come back tomorrow to show you how I whip my binding down on the back side of my quilt, and how I make sure my corners are neat and mitered.

And . . . we’ll talk labels a little bit. See you tomorrow!

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This is the final tutorial for making triangle squares! Next week, we’re gonna start making blocks out of all the units you’ve made so far — woohoo!

For this last tutorial, we’re using Triangles on a Roll. The finished size of the ones we’re using is 1 1/2″. So that’s the size paper you’ll need to have. As with the other papers, the size you’re making determines how many are on each section of paper.

Triangles on a Roll are just that — the paper comes on a roll, and you cut off how much you need for what you’re making.

TOR

If you don’t have Triangles on a Roll paper, and don’t want to get any, simply go back to either Tutorial #1 or Tutorial #2 and use the formulas provided to make your units in the correct size for this week (1 1/2″ finished).

If you’re using the paper, here’s the step-by-step instructions.

The Method:
First, decide how many half-square triangles you want to make all alike. I chose the number 24. I’m making 24 identical units. So I counted across, and each row on the paper makes 8 units, so I cut off 3 rows from my roll:

3rows

Right on the paper, it says how wide to cut your fabric. In this case, it’s 9 3/4″. The length is determined by how many rows you’re making, so you need to measure it. For my 3 rows, I need 7 1/2″. (I added just a tidget more so I would have a little wiggle room when lining everything up.)

So cut two pieces of fabric 7 1/2″ x 9 3/4″, one from a print, and one from your background fabric.

cutpieces

Layer these two pieces right sides together, and place the paper on top of it.

layered

Pin the paper in place on the fabric. I used pins in all the open areas, so they’re not in the way of my stitching.

pinned

Now for the sewing part. Again, I lowered the stitch length on my machine, to make the paper a little easier to tear off.

Choose a line to begin stitching on.

sewing

Their instructions say to stitch in the direction of the arrows. However, that gets kind of chopped up sometimes, depending on how many rows you’ve chosen to use from your roll. So it’s really NOT that important to sew in the direction of the arrows, as long as you’re covering every dotted line with stitching.

Also, you’ll notice that some of the dotted lines cross the intersections, and some don’t. Where the dotted lines don’t cross the intersections, you can still pretend that they do, if it makes your stitching route easier. Just sew right on across — it won’t hurt a thing.

stitched

Once you have all the dotted lines covered with stitching, it’s time to trim.

First, trim the edges even with the paper on the sides that came off the roll:

Trim1

Then trim the sides off the paper on the solid lines at the other two edges:

Trim2

Now you’re ready to cut them apart. Cut on all the solid lines. I laid mine down, and without moving it, I made all the cuts. This is what I ended up with:

allcuts

Then you can tear off the paper:

tornpaper

Press the units open:

pressed

Trim those pesky dog ears:

dun5

And you’re all done!

I ended up with 24 neat little units, lickety split, measuring 2″ each, very accurately.

24dun

I also repeated it, using only one row off the roll, which works almost like Thangles!

1row

I ended up with 8 cute little units from this attempt.

8dun

So you can use as many or as few rows from your paper as you like. Just decide how many units you want to be all alike, and go for it.

You guessed it, there’s no formula for this method, either. You just have to purchase the size paper you need!

Advantages of using this method:

  • It’s easy!
  • It’s very accurate.
  • There’s no drawing lines on the backs of the squares.
  • If you need a lot of units, and it doesn’t matter if there are several that are all alike, this is a very good method to use.
  • It allows you to use large pieces of fabric; no cutting tiny pieces.

Disadvantages of using this method:

  • You have to purchase the roll of paper.
  • If you need extreme variety in your project, and don’t want multiple units all alike each time, you’ll want to choose a different method.
  • You have to tear the paper off the back of each one.
  • If you use too many rows all at once, the piece gets rather unwieldy.

For the Quilt-Along:
For the Triangle Salad quilt, the units we need this time should measure 2″ (unfinished), to finish at 1 1/2″ in the quilt, which means you need to use the 1 1/2″ Triangles on a Roll.

You will need to make 32 units using a print fabric with a background fabric. If you chose to do 4 rows from your roll, you’d have them all in one attempt, and they’d all be alike. If you’d like a larger variety, you can split your rows up and use a different print each time.

You will need to make 48 units using two print fabrics together. So this means you could use 6 rows from your paper and have them done all at once. Or, for more variety, you can split the rows up and use different prints each time.

Store these 80 finished half-square triangle units in one of your ziplock baggies, and stick in with them the label that says 1 1/2″ Finished.

When you’re done with this tutorial, you’ll have made all the half-square triangle units you’ll need for your quilt. If you aren’t happy with the variety you have, simply make more! At the end, I’ll have a few suggestions for things you can do if you have any leftover units, so don’t be afraid to make as big a variety as you want from any of the sizes. That way, you’ll have plenty to choose from when making all your blocks.

And next Monday, we’ll start making those blocks, so be sure and check back!

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Triangle Salad, Tutorial #4

Happy New Year! I hope your 2016 is off to a wonderful start so far.

I’m back today with our fourth triangle-square tutorial.

This week we’re using Thangles, in the 2″ finished size. Different sizes of Thangles produce different numbers of units, depending on the size you’re using, just to keep things manageable. The larger your units, the fewer you get from each paper.

Here’s what the 2″ ones look like packaged, and also what a single paper looks like:

Thangles

If you don’t have any Thangles papers, you can go back to either Tutorial #1 or Tutorial #2 and use the formulas provided to make your units in the correct size for this week (2″ finished).

If you have the papers, and would like to use them, let’s get started . . .

The Method:
You’ll need two strips, each measuring 2 1/2″ x 10 1/2″, one from a print and one from your background fabric.

Strips

Place the two strips right sides together, with the lighter fabric on top, then place the Thangles paper right side up on top of the strips.

Stripswpaper

Pin through all the layers to hold it together while you sew. I pin out in the open areas so that the pins are not in the way of my stitching.

pinned

Stitch on all the dotted lines. The Thangles folks say you don’t necessarily have to reduce your stitch length, since the paper is made for tearing, but I lower it just a tidget anyway.

sewing

Once you have all the dotted lines stitched, you can remove your pins.

stitched

Cut on all the solid lines, remembering to cut off the very ends of the paper on those solid lines as well.

Cuts1

Cut on the diagonal lines between the dotted lines, and you’ll have 6 pieces.

cuts2

At this point, the Thangles people say to press before you tear off the paper, and it helps to keep you from stretching the pieces when pressing. (I usually forget to do this in my anxious rush to tear off the paper, so it really doesn’t matter either way, as long as you’re careful while pressing.)

Tear the paper off the back of each one:

paperremoved

Press them open:

pressed

Trim off the dog ear — you’ll notice with this method that there is only one dog ear to trim from each unit!

1dun

And now you have 6 finished cute little half-square triangle units, each measuring 2 1/2″ unfinished, to use in your quilt!

6dun

There’s no formula needed for this method, either. Simply choose the appropriate size of Thangles papers, and the instructions are included inside the package!

Advantages of using this method:

  • It’s fast!
  • It’s easy!
  • It’s very accurate.
  • There’s no drawing lines on the backs of the squares.
  • If you need a lot of units, and it doesn’t matter if there are several that are all alike, this is a good method to use.
  • If you already have strips cut in the proper size, it allows you to use those without having to cut more.
  • Jelly roll strips work great with the 2.0 size!

Disadvantages of using this method:

  • You have to purchase the papers.
  • If you need extreme variety in your project, and don’t want multiple units all alike each time, you’ll want to choose a different method.
  • You have to tear the paper off the back of each one.

For the Quilt-Along:
For the Triangle Salad quilt, the units we need this time should measure 2 1/2″ (unfinished), to finish at 2″ in the quilt, which means you need to use the 2.0 Thangles papers (see the first picture in this post for what the package looks like).

You will need to make 58 units using a print fabric with a background fabric. So this means you need to do the above process ten times, using a different print with your background fabric each time. You will have 2 extra units, but go ahead and put those in your baggie for now.

You will need to make 22 units using two print fabrics together. So this means you need to do it 4 times using 2 different print fabrics each time. Again, you will have 2 extra units, but keep them for now.

Store these 84 finished half-square triangle units in one of your ziplock baggies, and stick in with them the label that says 2″ Finished. You’ll only need 80 of them, but we’ll worry about that later.

Have fun! Check back next Monday for Tutorial #5. It’s the final tutorial before we start putting our blocks together — woohoo!

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Triangle Salad, Tutorial #3

It’s time already for our third tutorial! Are you staying caught up so far?

This week, we’ll be using Star Singles papers to make our triangle-square units.

I’m using 2 1/2″ Star Singles, which means that the finished units in my final quilt will measure 2 1/2″. The units unfinished will measure 3″ square.

Here’s how the Star Singles papers come packaged:

StarSingles

Here’s one sheet:

Singlepaper

If you don’t have any Star Singles papers, you can go back to either Tutorial #1 or Tutorial #2 and use the formulas provided to make your units in the correct size for this week (2 1/2″ finished).

If you have the papers, and would like to use them, here we go with the step-by-step!

It says right on the front of the Star Singles package, and on the front of each sheet, the basic instructions for using them, so you can’t go wrong because the instructions are always right under your nose!

The Method:
You’ll start with two 7″ squares; in our case, one print and one background:

squares

Match them up, right sides together, and lay the Star Singles paper on top of them.

layered

Pin in place. I used 5 pins — one in the center, and one in each corner — to keep it from shifting while I’m sewing on it.

pinned

Locate the line numbered “1” on the paper. This is where you will begin sewing.

line1

You will want to sew with a bit smaller stitch length, to make the paper easier to tear off when you’re finished. The Star Singles folks recommend 15-20 stitches per inch, so adjust your machine accordingly before you begin sewing.

Sew on the dotted lines in the direction of the arrows, stopping at the large dots with the needle down.

sewing

Pivot at the dot and continue sewing on the lines in numerical order until you have covered all the dotted lines with stitching. Remove the pins.

stitched

Now it’s time to trim and cut. The first trimming you will do is around the outside edge of the entire thing. If you don’t make this first trimming, some of your units will not come out the correct size, so don’t forget this important first trimming step.

Cut on the solid line along the edge:

outertrim

Do this for all 4 sides of the square, and it will look like this:

trimmed

Next, cut on the vertical and horizontal solid lines:

cuts1

Then on each diagonal line:

cuts2

Carefully tear the paper off the back of each one:

depapered

Press it open:

pressed

Trim those dog ears:

done

And you’ll have 8 identical half-square triangle units! Ta-da!

8dun

There’s no formula needed for this method. Simply choose the appropriate size of Star Singles papers, and it says right on the front what size squares to cut!

Advantages of using this method:

  • It’s fast!
  • It’s easy!
  • There’s no drawing lines on the backs of the squares.
  • If you need a lot of units, and it doesn’t matter if there are several that are all alike, this is a great method to use.
  • If you already have a bunch of squares cut in a size you can use for making these, it’s very handy to just pick those up and use them, rather than cutting more.

Disadvantages of using this method:

  • You have to purchase the papers.
  • If you need extreme variety in your project, and don’t want 8 units all alike, you’ll want to choose a different method.
  • You have to tear the paper off the back of each one.

For the Quilt-Along:
For the Triangle Salad quilt, the units we need this time should measure 3″ (unfinished), to finish at 2 1/2″ in the quilt, which means you need to use the 2 1/2″ Star Singles papers (see the first picture in this post for what the package looks like).

You will need to make 32 units using a print fabric with a background fabric. So this means you need to do the above process four times, using a different print with your background fabric each time.

You will need to make 24 units using two print fabrics together. So this means you need to do it 3 times using 2 different print fabrics each time.

Store these 56 finished half-square triangle units in one of your ziplock baggies, and stick in with them the label that says 2 1/2″ Finished.

Have fun! I’ll be back next Monday with Tutorial #4!

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Did you get all your units made last week?

I know some of you did, and I’m liking the ones I’m seeing — there are gonna be some really cute quilts out there when we’re done with this!

I’m back today with our second tutorial for making triangle-square units.

If you’re just now joining us, there are links in the sidebar to all the information and tutorials, so please don’t think you’re behind — we’ve only just gotten started.

This week’s tutorial shows you a method for making 8 identical half-square triangles all at once.

I’ll show you the step-by-step, and then we’ll go over the formula, and the pros and cons of this method, and what you’ll need for your Triangle Salad quilt, so read all the way through to get the entire scoop.

Let’s get at it (as My Cowboy would say)!

The Method:
You will need two squares of print fabric, 7 3/4″ each.

squares

On the back side of the lightest-colored one, draw a diagonal line from corner to corner with a marking pencil in both directions (so you have an X).

marked

Layer this square with the other square, right sides together, and pin.

pinned

Sew 1/4″ on each side of both lines, all the way across.

sewn

Now, for the cutting . . .

You will be making 4 cuts without moving the sewn piece, so place it on your work surface, and get your ruler and cutter ready.

The first cut is to cut the squares in half vertically.

cut1

The second cut is to cut the squares in half horizontally.

cut2

The third cut is to cut on one of the drawn lines (it doesn’t matter which you do first).

cut3

The final cut is to cut on the other drawn line.

cut4

Here’s what you’ll end up with.

allcuts

Then press each unit open.

pressed

Trim the dog ears that stick out.

dun

You should have 8 identical units, each measuring 3 1/2″.

8dun

Pretty slick, huh?

Notes:
As with the method in Tutorial #1, you can cut your squares bigger for this method, and then trim the units down when you’re done, if you’re worried about accuracy.

You can also use the “tape on the bed of your sewing machine” method as mentioned in Tutorial #1 to save having to draw all the lines, if you have a setup that works well for that.

Formula for making these any size you need:
To make these squares any size you need for your project, once again, there’s a very simple formula. Take the size of the finished unit you desire, and add 7/8″ to it.

For example, the ones we made above are to finish in the quilt at 3″ square, so you would use the number 3 7/8″.

Then multiply this number x 2. This is the size to cut your squares.

In our example, we’ll need squares that are 7 3/4″ (3 7/8″ x 2).

We’ll do another example:
If you want your units to finish at 2 1/2″, you’d add 7/8″ to 2 1/2″ to get 3 3/8″. Then multiply by 2 to figure the size to cut your squares. 3 3/8″ x 2 = 6 3/4″.

Here’s the formula in an equation, if that helps any further:

(size of finished unit + 7/8″) x 2 = size to cut the squares

Advantages of using this method:
There are times when this method could be the best and easiest to use for your chosen project.

  • If you need a lot of units, and it doesn’t matter if there are several that are all alike, this method is fast, and doesn’t require any special papers or tools.
  • If you already have a bunch of squares cut in a size you can use for making these, it’s very handy to just pick those up and use them, rather than cutting more.

Disadvantages of using this method:
There are also times when one of the other methods might work better for your project.

  • If you need a greater variety of fabrics among your units.
  • If you don’t want to draw lines on the back of all those background squares.

For the Quilt-Along:
For the Triangle Salad quilt, the units we need this time should measure 3 1/2″ (unfinished), to finish at 3″ in the quilt, which means you can use the measurements I provided above in the tutorial.

You will need to make 48 units using two print fabrics together. So this means you need to do this 6 times, using 2 different print fabrics each time.

Store these 48 finished half-square triangle units in one of your ziplock baggies, and stick in with them the label that says 3″ Finished.

I forgot to tell you last week to store your finished units in one of the baggies and label it with the 4″ Finished label.

This way you will know which units to grab without having to measure them when we go to make the blocks in a few weeks.

Have fun with these, and next week, we’ll do some more!

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