Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Gail's Quilt

My friend Gail has created some wonderful fabric from photos she took and manipulated and she asked me to make a wall hanging from the fabric. Hot diggity!

So that she (and anyone else who is interested) can see how it's progressing, I'm posting pictures here. Here's the fabric:

Here it is divided into two groups (the quilt will have two kinds of blocks, half from squares and half from triangles):

Now I'm ready to cut the fabric:

All cut to 7" squares:

And now, all cut up and ready to sew!

Blocks are sewn together, and rows are sewn. Compare the black in between the blocks to the white in between the rows. Which one do you like?

Here's the top sewn together:

Now the quilt is on the frame, ready to be quilted:

That's quite a contraption, isn't it?


And now, drumroll please, the final product:

Can't really tell much difference from the top ready to be quilted in that small a photo, but the quilting is done and the binding is on. It's ready to go.

Goodbye, quilt!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Crumb quilts

I just re-visited quiltville.com today and reaquainted myself with "crumb quilts." Sigh. There's just no hope for me ever throwing out any fabric again.

Here's the link:


I'm going to have to go out and buy myself some bins to sort my scraps in. Right now I've got them in one medium-sized box, but that's just not going to last long.

And don't get me started about water soluble stabilizer, throwing a bunch of scraps on, then sewing up a storm. I mean that could have me cutting up fabric just to MAKE scraps! Check out Lorraine Torrance's "Needle in a Haystack" vest, and you'll see what I mean:


P.S. Confessions of a scrapaholic: I've been known to actually BUY scraps at garage sales.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Stuffed Fabric Bowls

First off, these bowls are not my idea. I learned to make them from a friend. I’ve searched high and low on the Internet to find something like them and have come up empty-handed, so I hope I’m not stepping on anyone’s toes by putting these instructions out there.

What you’ll need:
Round template (14 – 16” is a good start)
Two squares of fabric a little larger than the template
Iron-on interfacing
Batting about 1/2" smaller than the template
Some extra fabric for the binding
Fiber-fill stuffing
Circular sewing attachment (see below for a something that sets new standards for excellence…)
Notions: the usual suspects (needles, thread, scissors, markers)

I made a template from this pizza pan:

Iron interfacing onto fabric square.

Trace around template on fabric. Whatever you trace won’t show later.

Cut two circular pieces of batting about ½” smaller than the template.

Make a second paper template dividing a circle into 16 segments. You can fold the paper twice, mark those folds, then use a protractor (imagine that!) and mark the points that are at a 45 degree angle and a 22 ½ degree angle.

Put the template on top of the fabric circle and mark each point with something non-permanent that you’ll be able to see while sewing.

Make a sandwich of fabric, two pieces of batting and second piece of fabric. You can pin them together, but I’ve found the pins tend to get things out of sync when sewing. I’ve been spraying the batting VERY lightly with quilt basting spray, then making the sandwich.

Now you’re ready to sew!

With the first baskets I made, I started sewing at one side and ended at the other. The centers turned out pretty funky. Then I tried starting in the center and going to the edge. MUCH BETTER! The center is flat and sits quite well. You can always put some kind of embellishment in the center if it starts looking a little ragged.

Once the lines are sewn, it’s time to get out your circular attachment. Here’s mine:

I took some template vinyl and poked holes in it every ¼ inch. The partial eraser is a safety device. It sits on top of the thumbtack which gets poked through the center of the fabric sandwich.

Sew three or four circles using those great fancy stitches you never get to use. I’ve had some trouble on the inner-most circle when using stitches that are dense. The circle is too tight and the stitch patterns don’t show, so try something a little looser on the smallest circle.

I got all anal-retentive (of course it has a hyphen!) and made a sample of all my stitches using the circular attachment, so I could see what they look like in the round.

Except for the very center, it came out okay.

Anyway, the outer-most circle should be around 3” from the center. Of course, you can make it larger. I just haven’t experimented with that, so don’t know how firm the base will be.

Now for the stuffing. If you’ve used basting spray, you’ll have to coax the batting pieces apart. Take some fiber-fill and stuff it down inside each opening. You can use a chopstick to help get it down in there. Check both sides at the bottom to make sure they’re filled. The more densely you pack the openings, the more vertical the bowl will want to be. Stop filling about ½” from the top of the batting.

Take some very strong thread and hand stitch the top closed, gathering the edges together. Stitch about ¼” from the top. The gathering and the density of the fill will determine the pitch of the sides

Cut 3 – 3 ¼” strips of fabric, enough to go around the edge and overlap for the binding. Sew strips together as you would for quilt binding, fold in half and hand sew to the outside edge. (If your machine can do a decent job of sewing something this ungainly, go for it!) Since I can't do anything straight, I drew a line about 3/8" from the edge of the binding to follow when hand sewing.

The binding is wider than usual because you’re going to pad the binding with some batting. Take a ½” to 1” strip of batting and stuff it inside the binding before pinning the binding to the other side. (Tip: use fairly sturdy pins. I bent more than one glass-head pin on these bowls before I realized I should be using something thicker.)

After it’s pinned, I turn the bowl inside out and hand sew the other side of the binding on.

And that’s all there is to it!

Here are some photos of completed projects.

Here's a link to a .pdf document of this tutorial, if you'd like to print it: