Wednesday, January 25, 2012

WIP Wednesday 1/25/2012

Echoes - Cathy's Southwest quilt top

This week I finished the quilt top for Echoes - Cathy's Southwest, a charity quilt. Last night I put the quilt sandwich together to do a pillowcase finish. Normally I make throw-sized quilts, but this one is twin-sized. I lay out the quilt sandwich on my queen bed, and normally the sandwich hangs off the sides by a few inches--quite manageable. This twin-sized sandwich seems huge! It hangs over by a lot and I don't know if there will be some tugging on the edges of the finished quilt. Next time I think I'll see if I can use some big tables at my church to lay it out. I've never asked about it, but since the charity quilt is being given through the church, I don't think it will be a problem.

I intend to get the quilt completely finished this week.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Echoes - Cathy's Southwest Quilt Top

Echoes - Cathy's Southwest Quilt Top

Friday night I got the quilt top done for Echoes - Cathy's Southwest. I had hoped to get the quilt completely done, but ran out of gas after dinner. I was happy to be able to share the finished top at Saturday's Sacramento Modern Quilt Guild meeting.

I'm planning to get the quilt finished this week.

Golden Bear Restaurant

The Golden Bear Restaurant in Sacramento, California

Yesterday I was in Sacramento for the monthly Sacramento Modern Quilt Guild meeting. I got a text from my daughter-in-law Laurie, who said she was watching Food Network's Diners, Drive-ins and Dives and saw The Golden Bear restaurant on the show. I had spotted it by chance on an earlier trip to Sacramento, but I hadn't been there yet, and it was on my list of places to visit. In the late afternoon I headed on over there so I could get a picture before the sun went down. I wasn't very hungry and was hoping to get something small. I ordered the pork taco as suggested by the server. I sat on the patio and faced the street to enjoy the view.

There were about a dozen of us on the patio, most of the people being quite young. It was pretty noisy out there, but my food was good, and I can add The Golden Bear to the list of restaurants I've visited that have been on Food Network.

Friday, January 20, 2012

First border attached to Echoes - Cathy's Southwest

First border for Echoes - Cathy's Southwest

Auditioning red and black for first border

Adding purple fabric to help decide.
Love the red!

Today I sewed on the first border for Echoes - Cathy's Southwest. I auditioned red and black. The black seemed classic and safe. The red, although bright, seemed more fun and interesting. So red won. And I love it! The second border will be purple and a bit wide to help bring the quilt to a finished size of 70" x 90". I'd love to finish the quilt tonight for tomorrow's Sacramento Modern Quilt Guild meeting. I may have to partially tie just to stabilize the layers for travel, then complete on Sunday. We'll see.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

WIP Wednesday 1/18/2012

Echoes - Cathy's Southwest
Main part of quilt top

This week I sewed got the main part of Echoes - Cathy's Southwest sewn together. There will be a couple of borders, probably one in black or red and another in purple. I bought purple for backing tonight, using a 50% coupon at Joann's. I'd like to get the quilt completely finished by the end of the coming weekend.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

WIP Wednesday 1/11/2012

Roxanne - Finished Quilt
For retiring co-worker Roxanne, who wears bright, bold colors, black and white, and animal prints.
Based on Disappearing Nine Patch block
Started 1/7/2012, completed 1/11/2012
56" x 73"

Echoes - Cathy's Southwest
Blocks sewn into rows

This week I got Echoes - Cathy's Southwest sewn into rows. I'll probably finish it this weekend.

Also, I started and completed Roxanne, for retiring co-worker Roxanne D., who wears bold, bright colors, black and white, and animal prints. I found a print that combined these elements, added white-on-white print, black solid and a bright mottled pink. I adapted a Disappearing Nine Patch block that I found in an image search. But instead of doing the normal DNP method, I strip pieced. The quilt went together quickly. I started it on Saturday and just now finished it. I'll deliver the quilt to Roxanne tomorrow, her last day at work.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Roxanne Quilt Top Finished

Roxanne Quilt Top

Fabrics for Roxanne quilt
For retiring co-worker Roxanne D., who wears bright, bold colors, black and white, and animal prints.

Strip pieced units (actually twice as long)
With less than a week to make and deliver the quilt, I chose an easy but complicated-looking Disappearing Nine-Patch sort of pattern. I passed up the actual DNP method and constructed the blocks using strip-piecing, which is fast for me.

Cross cuts

One sewn block - all will be sewn this way

Four identical blocks twisted to form pattern

Quilt blocks laid out on design wall

Quilt blocks sewn in rows

All blocks sewn together

Completed quilt top

I started the quilt on Saturday. I have to finish the quilt Wednesday night, as Thursday is Roxanne's last day of work. I'm doing well on time. Tonight my goal is to do a pillowcase finish. Then tomorrow night I'll just have to tie a bunch of knots. I can do it!

Echoes - Cathy's Southwest sewn in rows

Echoes - Cathy's Southwest
Blocks sewn in rows

Last weekend I got the blocks for Echoes - Cathy's Southwest sewn into rows. I'm setting it aside temporarily to make a quilt for a retiring co-worker, which I'll finish by Wednesday night. Then I'll come back to this quilt and complete it.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

WIP Wednesday 1/4/2012

Blocks for Echoes - Cathy's Southwest

This week I got all the blocks finished for Echoes - Cathy's Southwest. Right now I'm sewing blocks together in rows. To build the quilt to the desired 70" x 90" (twin bed) finished size, I need to add 10" of border on all sides. My plan is to add two 5" borders, one probably in a dark purple similar to the one in the original quilt and some of the blocks in this quilt. Also I plan to add another border in the same medium purple seen here.

Just to make my life more complicated, I decided to make a quilt for soon-retiring co-worker Roxanne D. I scouted out fabric last night, bought some tonight, and will design and start sewing the quilt in the next couple of days. This will be a fast one, with a simple design. I don't have time for anything complicated. I'm counting on the wild, bright fabrics to be enough to tie the quilt to Roxanne, since she wears a lot of bright colors.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Blocks Completed on Echoes - Cathy's Southwest

Quilt blocks for Echoes - Cathy's Southwest

Tonight I finished sewing the blocks for Echoes - Cathy's Southwest. The centers of the blocks are made from scraps and leftovers from the original Cathy's Southwest quilt, which was recently completed. I added medium purple strips that are lighter than the original quilt, but still suggest a similar color scheme - an "echo" of the original.

I may start sewing the quilt blocks together tomorrow night. The blocks will be surrounded by more purple. I have quite a bit of the medium purple, but I may add a round of a dark purple. We'll see.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Easy Mug Rug Tutorial

Mug Rug * (no binding necessary)
Original design
This one finished approx. 8" x 10".
Yours may finish a little larger.
*Small placemat to hold coffee mug and little plate for a pastry/donut/muffin

This was my first mug rug. It is a simple design and took me about 4 hours, start to finish. I was making it up as I went along, took lots of pictures and made lots of design notes for my blog. The next mug rug will be quicker for me, I'm sure. You may be able to make it in less time, as well.

Things you'll need (shop your stash):
 2 coordinating fabrics for front and back - at least 10" x 12"
Accent fabric - strip at least 2" x 13"
Batting - at least 10" x 12"
Thread - I used red and dark brown to blend with backgrounds
Chopstick or other instrument for pushing out corners
Optional for closing the back: fabric glue, Stitch Witchery, etc.
Small piece of fabric and writing utensil for label (optional)

The dimensions given above are estimates. Keep notes for yourself as you go, recording "better" sizes for next time. Maybe you would prefer your cuts to be a little wider, a little narrower, longer, shorter, etc.

My fabric choices
Top left - Coffee cups and mugs for the front
Top right - red from stash seemed to go with the red in the theme fabric
Bottom - batik-looking fabric from stash for the back

Cut the coordinating fabrics (for the front and back) to the same size - about 10" x 12"
Take the backing fabric (the back), lay it in a "landscape" orientation and make a cut top to bottom. I deliberately cut mine off-center to avoid having to fuss over a perfectly centered back later.

With the newly cut edges together, pin the backing pieces right sides together. You need to plan to leave an area 4 or so inches wide in the center that will be left unsewn. This will create an escape hatch for turning the quilt right side out later. I use two sets of double pins to mark where to stop sewing as I near the center. Using a 1/2" seam allowance, start at one edge and sew up to the double pins, backstitching. Turn the piece and repeat on the other edge. When you finish you should have an unsewn area in the center that your hand can fit through. Press the backing open like a book, seams to one side. The extra wide seam gives you some insurance against gapping.

Escape hatch (wrong side of fabric)

As seen from the right side

The escape hatch is a technique I learned at in a free e-book: "How to Bind a Quilt: 12 NEW Quilt Binding and Finishing Methods for Your Art Quilts." I've used the technique many times. You have to be a registered member to access the e-book, but registration is free.

Take your accent strip, fold the edges toward the back and try it out against your theme fabric. Find a width that looks good to your eye, then press on both long edges. This finishes the long edges.

Place the strip on the theme fabric in a spot that pleases your eye. I placed mine off-center. It's fine if the strip goes past the edges.

Top-stitch along each long edge of the strip. I used red thread so it would blend with the red fabric.

Trim the strip even with the quilt top.

Scotch-tape the escape hatch closed on the right side. This keeps the unsewn center from spreading while you create the quilt sandwich.

Layer your quilt sandwich: batting on bottom, theme fabric right side up, backing right side down. Your backing will be smaller than the theme fabric. Pin through all layers, all around the edge of the backing.

Sew all around the perimeter of the backing (1/4" seam allowance).

Trim the quilt sandwich even with the backing. I like to notch out the corners for turning. You may prefer to take a diagonal cut across the corner.

Next reach through the escape hatch - the unsewn area - breaking through the scotch tape. Grab a corner and turn the mug rug right side out. Use your chopstick or other instrument to push out the corners.
Here's my mug rug turned right side out.
Back of the mug rug

You may want to address the open escape hatch at this time. Use your favorite method to close it. I don't like handsewing, so I might use fabric glue or Stitch Witchery. You can also pin the hatch closed for now and deal with any needed permanent closure after quilting.


Quilt as desired, or try my method: Attach a walking foot. With the left leg of the walking foot against the edge of the accent strip, sew from the top edge to the bottom edge. Clip threads. Go back to the top, place the edge of the left leg against the line you just sewed, and sew another line. The walking foot acts as a spacer to create parallel lines without marking. Repeat until you get near the right edge of the quilt. I prefer to leave an unquilted space that is less than two spaces wide. You may like an unquilted space that is less than one space wide. Either is okay.

Turn the quilt and repeat the quilting starting on the other edge of the accent strip.

Add an optional label on the back (honestly, I just write on the back with a permanent marker) and you're done!

Here's the finished mug rug

Here is the back

Here is the mug rug on a sheet of printer paper. The mug rug was for a gift exchange for the December meeting of the Sacramento Modern Quilt Guild. The mug rug was supposed to turn out about the size of printer paper. The size is not in stone. Yours can be a size that feels good to you.

Have fun making your mug rug. Keep notes as you go. And please let me know if you make one. I'd love to see it!