Buzzings from a quilter who bumbles her way through life!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Think Christmas - Block Tutorial and Giveaway!

Merry Christmas in July! Welcome to the Think Christmas blog hop! I have chosen to show you a very simple little block that makes a quilt (or table runner, or whatever you decide to make with it) that looks like a gift. Because I love using ribbons in my quilts, this was something I thought up to incorporate them. (Yes, they wash beautifully! The quilt above has been washed and the ribbons came through with flying colors.)Be sure to scroll down after the tutorial to find my giveaway and the other participant links to the blog hop!
1. For each block you will need 4 squares cut 6 1/2" and 4 squares cut 4". You also need ribbon.
2. Mark a line diagonally from corner to corner on each of the 4" squares. This is done on the wrong side of the fabric.
3. Move the ruler down 1/2" and make another mark.
4. Place each 4" square right sides together on the corner of a 6 1/2" square.
5. Sew across both lines on each of three of the squares. Wait on the fourth. You will be inserting ribbon.
6. Loop the ribbon over to form about 3 loops. 
7. It is helpful to sew across the bottom and trim.
8. On the fourth square, sew across the lines, but leave a 1" opening in the top line. Insert the ribbon from the front and then finish sewing that seam.
9. Cut each square 1/4" between each sewn line. Press the seam to the darker fabric. Set the smaller half square triangle pieces aside. 
10. Arrange the four pieces in the way you wish. I chose to make my background whites different shades for interest.
11. Sew two pieces together, but pay close attention to matching the seams. Sew the other two pieces together in the same way.
12. Press your seams open.
13. Place these two pieces right sides together and sew, again taking care to match seams. Press these seams open also.
14. Pin a piece of ribbon across the middle of the square.
 15. Machine applique the ribbon in place. I wanted my packages closer together than the block allowed, so I planned it out so that my blocks interlocked and had the edge of another package at each corner. It's easy to do if you lay it all out before you sew.
16. You may have noticed that you made half square triangles at the same time as making the blocks! Mine came out perfectly! I'm sure it had something to do with math, but I didn't figure it out. (I avoid math when possible!) Sew these together and use them in a border if you wish. I chose to put batting behind each "present" and quilt around them individually. I also made the outer border "puffy" by adding extra batting behind it.
My little elf is enjoying himself by relaxing on the Christmas quilt! I think I tricked him into believing it was already Christmas!He hasn't gone outside in the 100 degree heat yet!
Thank you for stopping by! And for reading this far, you have a chance to win this really gorgeous fabric panel to use as a wall hanging, the center of a quilt, a table runner, or whatever you wish! And to sweeten the deal, I am throwing in my "Peace on Earth" Christmas banner pattern. Just be a follower for a chance to win and leave a comment telling me that you are and telling us all what your dream Christmas gift would be! (One comment per person please. I will be using the Random Number Generator to choose a winner. Open to everyone! I'll choose a winner  Monday, August 6. You have through Monday at midnight to comment.)
This is a large panel (about 36" x 45").
Be sure you visit the other blogs on the hop! Here are today's:

July 31 

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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Think Christmas Blog Hop! (sneak peak)

Be sure you join us for the Think Christmas blog hop! You'll not only be inspired, you'll be given a LOT of ideas for Christmas blocks.
My day is Tuesday, July 31. (This also happens to be my 42nd anniversary! Not of quilting, but of being married to my sweet science guy!)

Here is my sneak peak. My little elf is enjoying it already! My project is another quick and easy one. You could make several before Christmas!

                       See you on Tuesday!!!!!
(My sister, at Doodling in My Mind, is posting on Monday. I have featured her several times on my blog. She is very new to quilting and has designed a cute paper pieced quilt to show. This is her VERY FIRST EVER pieced quilt, although she quilted a panel about a month ago. I think you'll be really surprised at how beautiful it is! (She is really agonizing over the free motion quilting on it. Most of us remember just how scary it can be when you're new to it. Be sure to visit her and cheer her on. You won't be sorry! She also has a nice giveaway to offer!)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Puff or Biscuit Quilt Tutorial - Part 2

 In my last post, I gave you a tutorial for making "puff" or "biscuit" quilts.
  Many of you commented that you remembered these from the 60's and 70's. Well, everything old is new again, as they say! I remember them also.
 We got as far as making the top, but now I'll show you how to put a back on it. (At the bottom of this post, I'll show you one made with much larger squares and a more adult color scheme.)
I chose a washable satin for my backing because I loved the look and feel of it with the puffy quilt top.

1. Measure across the MIDDLE of the back of your quilt in both directions. This will give you the size you need to cut your backing fabric. (Do not stretch the top as you measure.) If the measurement across the middle (from side to side) was 45" in one direction and 60" in the other, you will cut your backing 45" x 60".
2. Lay the RIGHT side of the backing down on the RIGHT side of your quilt. Pin at each corner and then down the sides.

 3. Sew all the way around the perimeter of the quilt, but leave about 12" open on one end so you can turn it inside out. Use a 1/4" seam.

4. Here is the opening I left. Reach into the opening and grab the opposite end. I like to grab a corner, but it doesn't matter.

5. Now put the opposite end through the hole and continue pulling the quilt out of the hole until it is completely inside out. You will have to poke a little at the corners to get them into a pointy shape. You can use a dowel or the handle of a wooden spoon to do this. I like to give the edges a little press with an iron to help it have a crisper edge. Press both raw edges in the opening to the inside 1/4".
6. Sew the opening closed. I like to do this by hand. If you have to, you can do this by machine, but it will not look as neat. By hand, pin the pressed down edges together like they would have been if you had sewn them. Run a threaded needle inside the fold of the edges back and forth from one side to the other to make a blind stitch to close it. Be sure and knot it off when you get to the end. Just make a stitch and before pulling it tight, run the needle back through it a couple of times and then pull it tight. You might want to do this twice to be sure you made a knot.
7. You can stop at this point and call it finished, but it is not hard to tack the backing to the front. I chose to put a decorative bow in each tacked spot. I decided to put my ribbons at the intersection of each square made by 4 blocks. I put a pin through each of 20 intersections. (You can decide how many you want, but space them evenly.)

8. On the back, where each pin shows, put a pin in and remove the one in front. The one in front was just there to show you where each intersection was.
9. I tied a very narrow satin ribbon over each pin. 
10. I then sewed across the knot of the bow a couple of times to make it secure. (You don't want a baby pulling the bow off and putting it in his/her mouth.)
                 11. Cut any loose threads and you're finished! 
I hope that if you're new to sewing, you'll give this a try. 
 Here is another one I made with a different color scheme. This one is not quite finished yet (needs a back) and I think I might try big buttons in the center of each puff. These are made with 11" squares on  a 10" backing. This is much larger than the last one (some of it is folded back in the picture), but didn't take any longer to make.

Be sure and join me for the Think Christmas blog hop!  I will be posting my own idea on Tuesday, July 31. Please come back, check out what I have to show and enter the giveaway I will be having! Until then.....

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Puff or Biscuit Quilt Tutorial -Part 1

I am writing this tutorial mainly for my daughter in law, who is very new to sewing. She is looking for ways to make gifts for friends and decorating ideas for her home. The Puff Quilt makes a great gift and a beautiful bedspread. This method, which is all machine sewn, is extremely easy to make - even for a beginner, but just enough work to make a true gift. It is very forgiving and imperfect seams don't matter as much as with other quilts. It has tucks in the sides on purpose!! How easy is that!!!? You can use scraps or you can buy fabric in the colors you want. Although I've sewn mine in sets of two, you don't need to do that. (I found myself thinking of mammograms the whole time. I think next time I would make it more random!)
1. You will be working with 2 sizes of blocks. The larger is the front of your quilt and should be 1/2" larger than the bottom. My squares are 5" and 4 1/2". You can change the size, but always keep the smaller square 1/2" smaller than the larger. (Some instructions say 1", so there is some leeway in this too.) I had a large piece of the white on white, so that is what I used, but you can use muslin, which is inexpensive, for the smaller block. It won't show when you're finished.
2. Place the larger block over the smaller one with the RIGHT side up. (It doesn't matter for the bottom square since it will be inside your quilt when finished. Of course, it will not line up since the upper square is larger, so just start by lining up the top right corner.
3. Begin sewing the two pieces together, making the seam about 1/8" instead of 1/4". Making this seam a little smaller than the final seam will keep it from showing when you finish your quilt. Sew about an inch and then line up the bottom corner (you can pin it if you want) and make a pleat in the center of the square with your fingers. Sew across it and down to the corner. Stop about 1/8" from the end with your needle down in the fabric so you can pivot.
4. Raise your presser foot, pivot, and turn the square so that you can sew the next side. Sew a little way, line up the bottom corner, make your pleat and continue. Try to make the pleat somewhere near the center of the side, but it doesn't have to be exact. Now repeat this for the third side. DO NOT SEW THE 4th SIDE AT THIS POINT. (Note: if it eases your mind, you can pin the pleat in each side before you sew it. It will take you twice as long, if not longer, to do it that way though.)
5. You now have an opening in one side and pleats along the other 3 sides. This opening is where you will stuff a little polyester fiberfill. You use polyester for this because cotton will pack down and lose it's puffiness. Fiberfill is NOT the same as polyester batting. It is sold for stuffing dolls, pillows, toys, etc. and is available at just about any big store selling fabric.
6. For my square, I chose a little puff of fiberfill just big enough to puff out the square, but not to actually "stuff" it full.
7. Pin the open side closed in the middle, where you will make a pleat. I do this by holding the corners down and working my fingers toward the center to find the pleat. I fold it over and pin it.  You can either sew it closed at this point, or sew two squares closed at the same time..... pinning the open ends of two squares,
8..... and putting them together with the right sides touching, and sewing a 1/4" seam to connect them. When you come to the pins, either remove them before you sew across that area, or very slowly "walk" your needle across them by turning the wheel by hand. You don't want to sew into a pin. It will break your needle and can even send the end of the needle flying across the room and potentially into you! It is also not good for your machine.

9. When you have two of these sewn pairs, or sets, put the right sides of them together or touching, and line up the seams. Place a pin where the seams come together. Sew 1/4" across the end to sew them together. (You sewed 1/8" earlier so that the seam wouldn't show when you made your seam to join them.)
10. Make rows of sewn square sets. Mine are 45" long, but you can make them any length you want. When you have enough, you will sew the rows together. 

11. Sew the rows together the same way you sewed the sets together, by putting the right sides together, and matching up the seams by pinning them. Remember to remove the pins as you come to them while you're sewing.

12. Here is the top after all the rows are sewn together. You're almost finished now! Notice that I did do a little planning of where colors went. I did this by laying out my squares before I even started sewing them and decided on where I wanted each color. Of course, you can make it scrappier by just not worrying about that. 

Next time I'll show you how to put a back on your quilt top and finish it up. 

You can find Puff Quilt Tutorial, Part II here!

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