Sunday, April 30, 2017

April Stash Report & Goals Update

OK, let's switch it around and get the goals taken care of first, then we can look at the stash. I just got home from Paducah, where some serious fabric acquisition took place.

April Goals Recap:
1. Make/finish Hands2Help quilt. DONE
2. Quilt Alaska gift quilt for Jackie. DONE
3. Keep up with Pat Sloan Solstice Challenge blocks. Mostly done; have not done the one for 4/26 because I've been in Paducah since before it was posted. But, I made an extra block earlier to test out my new die cutter. 
4. Start planning a Christmas tree project requested by my son. DONE: Planned, fabrics collected, cutting started. 
5. Make progress hand piecing my WIVSP Piecing Group project. No, not touched.
6. Keep up with bee blocks. Mostly done; I'm still working on the hand pieced block to get it done but it will be done by Tuesday night when it's due. 

Other: Basted, quilted, and bound Dancing Plus II and posted a tutorial about how I do machine binding with glue basting. Here's a detail of the quilting & binding, but I need to get some good photos of the whole quilt. The color is not good here, and the wind was a little too "helpful" when I was trying to take photos.

May Goals: 
1. Resolve label for Alaska quilt and get Alaska quilt labeled and bound.
2. Piece top for Christmas Tree project for 12 Days of Christmas in July.
3. Write & post Snake Quilt tutorial.
4. Bind Cherie's quilt from the boomerang patches.
5. If it comes back from the long armer, bind KBFG.
6. Work on WIVSP hand piecing project.
7. Keep up with Solstice Challenge and bee blocks.

April Stash Report
Okay, now that we've got the project accountability out of the way, let's look at the good stuff. I had some finishes so I can count out a lot of fabric used in April. But there were some local sales, and I indulged in serious stash building in Paducah, so I have to count a lot of fabric in.

Month IN: 42 yards (35-1/5 yds from Paducah; 6-1/2 yds from local sales)
Month OUT: 19-1/8 yards (3-5/8 yds for H2H race top; 4 yds H2H back; 1/2 yd H2H binding; 3-5/8 yds Alaska top; 2 yds wide backing for Alaska back; 4-3/4 yds DPII backing; 5/8 yd DPII binding;)
Month Net Change: 22-7/8 yards IN

YTD IN: 62 yards
YTD OUT: 54-3/8 yards
YTD Net Change: 7-5/8 yards IN.  I can easily make that up by the end of the year, don't you think?

So, Paducah was so much fun. Girls' week out, gorgeous show quilts, plus fabric shopping! We spotted this rotary cutter at the AQS show.

We spotted Quilt Man, too.  

So, my haul:
1. A few more greens for the Christmas tree project requested by my son. The triangles were already cut and I brought them along so I wouldn't duplicate any of those fabrics. The new fabrics are mostly FQs except for a half-yard of that ombre print, and a yard of the plaid for binding. Amount purchased: 3-1/4 yards.

2. Flannel: DH has requested a flannel quilt. I have several of his old flannel shirts, but not enough variety, so I was on a mission to find more flannels. The tan plaid on the right is my constant and/or background, so I bought 3 yards. The rest are either less than one-yard flat folds from the sale table, or half yard cuts. Total flannel yardage here: 7-5/8 yards.

3. Bindings and miscellaneous stash enhancement. I specifically need mostly black with bright white, and black with ivory. I don't have enough of anything in my stash. So, black binding prints. The rest of the fabrics here were from the flat fold sale table at Hancock's. Navy Grunge, natural Essex linen, some low volumes including a numbers print by Basic Grey, and a stripe that I liked for some future binding on something, I just like the color combo.  Total 9-5/8 yards in this photo.

4. We always go to the Rotary exhibit of antique quilts every year, and there are vendors there too. One in particular I like, Nancy J, has packs of four coordinated FQs for $5. I picked up a couple of packs; one had a green that's in the photo above. These are just stash enhancement because I liked them. 1-3/4 yards here.

5. New project: I was very taken with one of the large quilts in the AQS show, very traditional, mostly reds. My stash is very lacking in reds, and I've been so into the more modern-ish fabrics lately that now traditional looks very warm and appealing to me. So armed with an inspiration, I collected a few traditional prints, 13-1/4 yards. I can use these for QOV projects, too. Most of these were flat folds from the sale table, color of the day at Eleanor Burns, or half-yard cuts at Hancock's.

Speaking of Hancock's, the best time to go is right when they open at 8:00. This has to be the least crowded I've ever seen Hancock's during quilt week!

All in all, April was a very good month. Now let's see if I can bust some of this new yardage in May!

Linkups: Patchwork Times, Molli Sparkles

Monday, April 24, 2017

Machine Binding with Glue-Basting

At the last STLMQG meeting, a lady and I were talking about binding and she was asking how I finish mine entirely by machine, no hand stitching whatsoever. Both of us have arthritis in our hands and prefer to avoid hand sewing as much as possible.

Since it's easier to show than to tell, here's a tutorial of how I do it. I'm binding my Dancing Plus II quilt, which is getting a dark binding, so I hope everything shows up well enough in the photos for you to see it.

In this method the binding is applied to the back of the quilt and brought around to the front, glue-basted down, and edge-stitched from the front. The binding finishes about 1/2" wide on the front. The stitching is visible along the edge of the binding on the front of the quilt, and next to the binding on the back.

Cut binding strips 2-1/2" wide and prepare binding as usual.

1. After quilting, trim the excess batting & backing 1/8" away from the edge of the top fabric.

2. Working from the back side of the quilt, determine a starting point and walk the binding around the edge of the quilt to make sure none of the binding join seams will fall at the corners, because you don't want the bulk there in the corner miters. Once okay, pin the binding to the back of the quilt at the starting point.
Tip: from the back, gather up most of the center of the quilt and secure it with a big rubber band or tie a string around it. This leaves the edges free but keeps the weight of the quilt mostly at the center, so the weight stays on the table and doesn't drag the quilt down. It looks sort of like an octopus. 

3. Stitch the binding to the back of the quilt using a 5/16" seam allowance (heavy quarter inch, not quite 3/8 inch).

4. Miter the corners as usual as you get to them, and close the ends of the binding using your preferred method. Here you can see the binding attached, ready to bring it around to the front.

5. Press the binding away from the quilt back.

6. Bringing the binding to the front, miter the corners and pin them securely. The binding should fully cover the line of stitching where you attached it. See where my thumbnail is here? You should be able to feel the ridge of the binding on the back along there. Make sure your binding fully covers that ridge.

7. Clip (or pin) the binding along one side of the quilt so the binding covers the stitching. Here the clips are about 4" apart.

8. Using a wash-out glue suitable for fabrics,* apply a very thin line of glue under the binding. I usually work on the spaces between 2 or 3 clips at a time.

9. Press to set the glue. As you press, make sure the binding fully covers the stitching.

10. Repeat for all four sides of the quilt, until the binding is completely glue-basted in place. Leave the corner miters pinned. You can now handle the quilt as much as you need to; with glue-basting, the binding is not going to shift.

11. Octopus the quilt again, from the front this time.

12. Edge-stitch the binding down from the top. Use thread that matches the binding in the needle, and thread that matches the backing in the bobbin. Go slowly and stitch right next to the edge of the binding. Here, the center guide on my presser foot is at the edge of the binding and my needle is set one step to the right.

13. Backstitch about 3 stitches when you start and as you go around each corner, but keep the stitching from going too deep into the corner of the binding. You can continuously go around the whole quilt, or if you prefer you can do one side at a time, starting and stopping at the corners.

Here is what the front looks like finished; you can see the stitching just along the edge of the binding.

And here's the back as well; you can see the stitching next to the binding.

After the binding was attached to the back of the quilt, it took me 55 minutes to glue-baste it, but I was stopping frequently to take the photos for this tutorial, including looking at them on my laptop to make sure they were okay. Then it took me about 20 minutes to sew the binding down all the way around, again including time for taking and viewing photos. Without photos it probably would have taken me less than an hour to glue-baste and sew down this binding. This quilt is 66 x 81".

* Glue: I have had good success with Roxanne Glue Baste-it and with Elmer's School Glue (no affiliation in either case). Be sure whatever you choose will wash out. Apply the very thinnest possible line of glue and make sure the binding fully covers it so it doesn't get on your iron.

I hope this explanation of what works for me is clear enough. If you have any questions, please leave a comment.

Linking ups: Patchwork Times, Em's Scrapbag, Love Laugh Quilt

Sunday, April 23, 2017

A Very Active Stash Report This Month

... and I haven't even gone to Paducah yet! Just wait til next week's report. I'm sure I'll have some acquisitions to account for.

Meanwhile, April has been a good month for finishes. The Hands2Help race quilt, the Alaska quilt, and Dancing Plus II have all been at least quilted, in some cases bound and finished, so I can count them all out. That's 19-1/8 yards out this month.
Hands2Help Race Quilt

Alaska Quilt, Needs Binding

Dancing Plus II, Binding in Progress

Another LQS had a sale last week and some more fabric made its way into my stash. 2-1/2 yards of beige Grunge wide backing (no photo) and these quarter-yard cuts. The reds are just stash builders and the purple is a fortuitous find because I'm using this print in my Solstice Challenge blocks and my original FQ is just about gone. 

So, combined with the sale purchases from earlier this month, I've added 6-1/2 yards in April and used 19-1/8 yards, for a decrease of 12-5/8 yards. Net stash decrease for the year is 27-7/8 yards. Lots of wiggle room for shopping in Paducah!

About that Alaska quilt shown on the bed above: I haven't been able to get a good photo of it since it's been quilted; we've had some dreary, rainy weather. My SIL and her friend who are giving it as a wedding gift to their Alaska friend need to give me what they want on the label before I can finish it. No worries, it's due at the end of June so I have time. I like to enclose the label in a corner of the binding (less hand stitching) so I can't bind the quilt until I have the label.

I requested either wool batting or poly, for warmth and fewer wrinkles when they pack and carry this quilt for gifting. SIL's friend, who has done some quilting and works at a chain store where she can get a discount, chose high loft poly batting, I guess because she thought it would be warmer and because they didn't have wool batting where she got works. This is my first experience using high loft batting. I'm not a fan. The loft created lots of texture, but it's stiff, not very soft and drapey. It was hard to work with. Like the H2H quilt, I quilted this quilt with organic wavy lines, spaced 1-2" apart. You can see how puffy it is.
High Loft Poly Batting

The Alaska quilt finished at 59" x 72". I hope to get an outdoor photo of it soon, and I'll post it when I can.

Linking upwith  Patchwork Times and Molli Sparkles

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

DH Is Very Very Good to Me

I had a birthday recently. My dear husband has been pushing me to get all the big-ticket quilting items I'll ever need before he retires, while he's still bringing in a paycheck. I've been debating getting a die-cutting machine, and some friends recommended the AccuQuilt Studio 2 (no affiliation).  It showed up for my birthday, imagine that!

I selected a handful of the dies I'm likely to use the most, including two sizes of HSTs and the die set for Triangle-in-a-Square (otherwise known as Peaky & Spike to those of us who learned to quilt back when). So to try out my new machine, I made a test block.

Perfect Peaky & Spikes! They went together so easily! I like designing with these units but I've always hated sewing them because they never come out well unless you paper piece them. I forgot to take a picture of the cut pieces, but they're cut off at the corners so the seam allowances line up perfectly. So easy; these went together in no time, chain pieced.

Some corners and a center square, and here's the block.

I chose some of the same fabrics I'm using for my Solstice Challenge blocks so I can just add this one to the mix. Of course, it needs to be the same size as the others; no problem, just a simple frame in the background fabric I'm using for the Solstice project and it'll fit right in.

Right now the Studio cutter is sitting on the work table in my sewing room. It's heavy to lift onto the table and I don't have a good place in the sewing room to keep it, so it will live on a dresser in another room when I'm not using it. DH is building a counter-top surface for the dresser that's wide enough for when the cutter is open as shown above, so the cutter can stay there and be used there all the time. I'm looking forward to using it!

DH is very good to me, don't you think?

Link up: Sew Fresh Quilts

Monday, April 17, 2017

Design Wall Monday

Actually, it's Dining Room Floor Monday. 

Recently I pin-basted my Hands2Help Race quilt and the other race quilt I'm making for my SIL for her Alaska friend. Both are too big to pin baste anywhere in my house except on the dining room floor. So we moved the table & chairs into the front room temporarily, to give me lots of floor space for basting.

As long as the furniture is already out, I might as well pin baste another quilt while I can, so here's my Dancing Plus laid out. This top is 66" by 81".

Since I have only sub-floor under the carpet, I can pin directly into & through the carpet to smooth out the backing and the top. Here it's laid out and the backing is pinned around the edges, but the top hasn't been pinned yet. The space works well, but it requires crawling around on the floor, and my knees don't love that so much any more.

Little Murphy doesn't need to go into the dining room for any reason, and I don't want him unsupervised on the carpet, so we keep the barricade up across the doorway all the time. He sits on the hallway side and watches while I'm crawling around in the dining room pinning. 

I need to get this pinned this week so we can get the furniture put back where it belongs. DH is getting very tired of the table & chairs being in the front room. 

How about you - where do you have space to baste? 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Welcome Home, a Quilt for Hands2Help

This is the second of my Hands2Help quilts; scroll down to see the other one.

Some of the fabrics (collection name unknown) were from a guild challenge/swap a few years ago, and since they have a home/neighborhood/park theme, I thought this would be perfect for a child in a family served by the St. Louis International Institute. Since I live in St. Louis, I'm happy to send my Hands2Help quilts to a hometown destination this year.

Although this quilt is a bit smaller than the International Institute's requested twin size, my SIL has a friend who works there and the friend said they can use this size, no problem. I'm glad. This quilt will soon be on its way to its forever home.

Linking up with Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Friday, April 14, 2017

A Hands2Help Finish

Vibrant and cheerful! This ought to warm someone's heart. 
Or keep them awake?!!! 

Quilted with organic wavy lines.

Lots of Kaffe Fasset fabrics in this, as well as other prints. 
Even the binding is a Kaffe print, a hard to use bargello, 
but it works perfectly here. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

A Little Camera Bag

I have a nice camera with a sturdy case, but the case is a bit too big and rigid to fit in my handbag. I take my camera to my CSQ guild and Piecing Group meetings because I take photos for our newsletter. I need a softer, more flexible pouch to protect the camera, one that's small enough to carry easily.

Here's a little zipper pouch that I use to keep all the charger cords in when I travel. Nice size, but with no interfacing or batting it's too flimsy to protect my camera.

So I figured if I made a similar pouch using two layers of batting, and quilted it, it would work for my camera.

I chose a fabric that's light enough in color to show up easily in my handbag but a print that won't look dirty; it sort of looks like mini urban camo in grey and lilac. I roughly measured the red bag and quilted up a 12" x 10" sandwich.

I left the last inch on each side unquilted, trimmed away the batting close to the last line of quilting, and pressed the raw edges under 1/2".

I found a 9" sport zipper in my stash - perfect! I pinned those folded edges around the zipper tape and sewed it in.

I turned it inside out and sewed across the ends, then added extra stitching across the zipper for reinforcement.

Then I boxed the corners, turned it right side out, and voila, I have a quick, convenient little camera bag.

Yes, it has some raw edges on the inside, but we'll just keep that our little secret, OK? Nobody's ever going to see it but me, and I don't care as long as this little bag does its job.

It's an okay fit for the camera - could have been an inch shorter, but I used the 9" zipper I had, so that determined the length (before boxing the corners).

I've already used it and I think it's going to work out well. Problem solved. It probably took longer to take the photos and write this post than it did to actually sew up this little bag!

Linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts

Monday, April 10, 2017

Organic Wavy Lines

A sneak peek - I'm almost done with the quilting and I should be able to get my Hands2Help race quilt bound and finished this week.

I like the organic wavy lines quilting - the simplicity of it complements the simplicity of the piecing. The lines are about 1 to 1-1/2 inches apart, close enough to securely hold the quilt together so it will last a long time, but soft enough to allow the  quilt to drape so it'll be snuggly, not stiff.

Before quilting: 

Linking up with: Patchwork Times, Em's Scrapbag, Love Laugh Quilt