Thursday, December 13, 2012
Long story short, it was late Tuesday afternoon before I came up for air and got out to the studio.
The good news is that I quickly found some fabric I liked for the backing. Looks like cascading water, to me.
Or wet the bed, dunno.
To make life easier, I use zippers on the quilts.
But for this one, since I knew it was square and because it is so small (and it is mine so if I screw it up, I haven't harmed anyone), I believe I can just use about two inches along the top and that gives me 3.0 inches along the bottom. I wouldn't do this for someone who hired me - too risky. And I sure wouldn't risk it on a quilt that was much larger. I'm not crazy or masochistic, either.
I currently have three types of batting out in the studio - a light polyester, an 80% cotton and the tail end of some warm and natural I bought years ago. I ended up going with the warm and natural because I personally like the feel - and I was using up the roll.
Wednesday and today have been too hectic to get back out to the studio for any length of time, and tomorrow is the same. Hopefully, I will be able to get this quilted sometime early next week.
Monday, December 10, 2012
The good news is that this pattern lends itself to using the beautiful scraps you have laying around around making your children worry about your mental health. I so hope you aren't hiding that stash to try to keep up the facade that you are in your right mind because, eventually, someone is going to go through your stuff and they'll learn the truth. It may be after you're dead and how unpleasant a surprise would THAT be for your family? Hmm? And you won't even be there to explain the situation. Just be honest about it, baby.
So here is a photo of the Can't Screw It Up Baby Quilt before it is quilted (with any luck, I'll get to it in the morning - stay posted for photos):
Nine blocks (3 X 3): Baby Quilt
Twelve blocks (3 X 4): Big Baby Quilt
Sixteen blocks (4 X 4): Great Big Baby Quilt or a Lap Quilt for someone you just owe a quilt to.
Thirty six blocks (6 X 6): Lap Quilt if you really like them.
Fifty-four blocks (6 X 9): Twin size - nice for that new graduate going off to college. Be sure to check with her on the colors she wants, first.
Sixty-three blocks (9 X 7): Double
Eighty blocks (8 X 10): Queen
One Hundred blocks (10 X 10): King
I'm tell you, flat out, I personally would give up quilting before I would make 100 of these blocks for a king size bed. I am just not that dedicated and get bored way too easily. IMO, this pattern is better suited for a smaller quilt and if you want to make a larger one, I suggest you make the block bigger. You do what you want, though. It is a very fun, low stress, no stress quilt to make, just the thing if you want something easy, quick and happy - and as colorful or muted as you want.
Light background fabric (in the above photo, this is the cream background with grey polka dots):
(1) 4 X 4 square
(2) 4 inch wide by 11.75 inches
(2) 4 inch wide by 4.25 inches
Note - you can get 1 block from a 4 inch wide LOF strip of background fabric with about 8 - 10 inches left over.
If you are making several blocks, those 8 - 10 inch leftover background strips are good to use for the short sides of the blocks so there is less waste. If it were me, I'd just cut several 4 inch wide LOF strips of the background fabric and then cut three "almost" 12 inch strips and use the remainder for the short sides. After you've done a few, you'll have a better idea of how long the strips need to be.
Oh who am I kidding? I'd just cut a few 4 inch wide LOF strips after figuring out how many blocks I wanted to make, then I'd cut off the lengths I needed, when I needed them. If I needed to cut more strips, I'd do it when I was sure. If I was worried about having enough fabric, I'd be more cautious but I generally get extra, just in case. Know thyself.
(1) 4 X 4 inch square.
1. Making the center of the pinwheel block:
Okay, so here we go. First, slap the 4 X 4 background fabric to the color 4 X 4 piece, right sides together, like this:
Stitch two adjacent half squares together, then stitch the other two together.
The tricky part about pinwheels is getting the middle right. Be careful to line up your seams when you stitch the two halves together. If you need to do a little trimming to get the edge straight, so long as you leave room for a quarter inch seam allowance, no one cares. Just do it, baby.
I usually set the pinwheels under a heavy board while they are hot and that really smushes them flat.
2: Adding the outside of the pinwheel block:
After you clean up the pinwheels, stitch the 4 X 4.25 inch background strips to a side. Doesn't matter which side. Press it with the seam allowance against the background fabric.
Then, stitch a 4 X 4.25 inch strip of background fabric to the opposite side. Don't try to make it fit - if it is too long (and it will be), just let it creep past the edge and trim it off, later. Press it with the seam against the background fabric. At this point, you've got about a 11.5 inch by about 4 inch shaggy looking block. Doesn't have to be perfect.
Once you get opposite sides on, trim and add the other two sides (the 4 X 11.75 inch background strips). Press with the seam allowances towards the background fabric.
If you are at all worried that things might come up short, cut the long sides to about 12 inches. That length is generous - Don't try to force them to fit. There is NO forcing in this quilt. If they are too long (and they will be) just let them hang over the edge of the side. Chances are you won't need that much and if that is the case, adjust in cutting for subsequent blocks. I am writing this for the folks who are nervous that they are going to mess up and giving them lots of room.
3. Squaring up the blocks:
The trick is that you use a 9.5 inch square ruler on these large, floppy blocks. And the second trick is to find the center of the ruler and place it on the center of the pinwheel. If you are using a 9.5 inch square, it will try to trick you because of the half inch measurement on two sides. Don't be fooled. It won't be the end of the world if you get a pinwheel a little off center but better to take the time before you start cutting and find the center spot. See what I mean?
First - I didn't want to confuse you, earlier, but I'll risk it now - if you have a few pinwheels you don't want to twist, i.e., you want them to be just straight up, you don't need to add 4 inch wide strips to the center pinwheel. Just use 3.5 inch wide strips and it will be wide enough. The pink pinwheel in the photo just above isn't twisted, for example. Keep this in mind when it comes to cutting out the background fabric LOF if you are running short. I personally think adding a few "straight" blocks makes the quilt look better.
Next - If you wanted to use charm packs for your colors, you can do that. Charm packs are 5 inches square so just cut out a 5 X 5 inch background fabric square (instead of a 4 X 4 inch square) to make the center of the pinwheel blocks. Then, change the background strips from 4 inches wide to 3.5 inches wide. You end up with center pinwheel that is about an inch larger but that might actually be an improvement for a larger quilt. You'd still end up with a 9 inch finished block.
4. Piecing the top:
Lay out the blocks in the order you want. I'd alternate the short sides with the long sides. See the seams in this photo?
5. Inner Border:
I think adding an inner border is nice but you don't have to do it. I just added a 1.5 inch wide strip in a complementary color.
6. Outer Border:
The edges of the pinwheel blocks have enough space that you really don't need a border unless you just want one for looks or you want to make the quilt bigger. If you wanted to frame it, you could do that with a colorful binding and not even worry about a border. Up to you.
However, for the purposes of this pattern, I used a 5 inch wide strip to make a mitered border.
This quilt went together super fast and, as I said, you really can't screw it up. If you decide you want to do one, please send me a photo - I'd love to post it to show it off!
Thanks for visiting,
Friday, December 7, 2012
Make sure the thread ends are trimmed. Stray threads can show through the finished quilt and after all the expense, love and effort you’ve put into making your creation, you just don’t want that to happen. It will drive you absolutely nuts every time you look at it.
Ask me how I know...
Press your quilt top seams flat. This is really important and can make a big difference in the final look of the quilt. It doesn’t have to be perfect (believe me, we’ve all had twisted seams) but you really want to iron them as flat as you can. Work on the seams from the back, then iron from the top (front) so it quilts easier and doesn’t wreck havoc on the tension.
Do your best to get the sides square/avoid waves in the borders. Speaking from experience from when I was a new quilter, ahem, there is only so much a longarm quilter can do if the quilt is running wild! My best advice is to fold the quilt in half lengthwise and measure the center of the quilt and make the side borders the same length as the center measurement, NOT the edge measurement. After you attach the side borders, fold the quilt in half the other way and measure the crosswise center (including the borders you just put on) and make the other borders the same length as that center measurement, not the edge measurement. Good luck!
Make sure the quilt is clean. Most of the time this is no problem but if you smoke and the quilt has absorbed the aroma, it can affect other quilts or the canvas on my machine. Because of that, I wouldn’t be able to accept it before it had a bath. J
Your quilt backing must be a MINIMUM of 4" bigger than your quilt top on each side. That means a total of 8" longer and 8" wider.
If you are piecing the backing, trim off the selvages, first, because they don’t shrink at the same rate as the rest of the quilt. You won’t like the result after it is washed if you leave those selvages in.
Although we quilters typically use a quarter inch seam on the top, remember to use a 1/2- 5/8" seam on the backing and press the seam open.
Square up your quilt backing. This is important because if it isn’t square, it won’t work with the longarm. You can do this by folding it in quarters and using your rotary cutter and rulers to trim it even. Just make sure the back ends up at least 8" longer and wider than the quilt top.
Press the backing.
You need batting the same size as the backing.
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