Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas-y quilts

Two wintery looking quilts that were here lately....
The first one is using the Snowflake pattern designed by Tammy Finkler. I thought it looked just like falling snow in front of the pieced trees in the quilt.

The second on is another tree quilt, this one using the Festive Holly pattern designed by Anne Bright.

The design showed up nicely on the back:

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Applying borders

The 2 biggest problems I see with new quilts coming in are 1) the backing is too small, and 2) the borders have fullness & don't lay flat.

The backing needs to be 3" bigger than the quilt top on all sides. So, if your quilt top is 70"x90", then your backing needs to be at least 76"x96". This way, if I need to trim a side to get a square back, then there will be enough fabric to work with.

The wavy border problem can be fixed by properly sewing them on your quilt. If you just sew on the border, and then trim off any excess, it's very likely you will end up with fullness in the border. If you measure the middle of the quilt, before applying the border, cut the border to that length, and then pin in place & sew on, you will have a much better chance of ending up with a flat & square quilt.

Follow this link to my website for a very short illustration of how to apply borders:

Choosing batting

Here is a list of the battings I currently carry for your to purchase & use in your quilts.

Hobbs Heirloom 80% poly/20% cotton 96" wide - $7.49/yard
Hobbs 3 oz. polyester 96" wide $3.50/yard (similar to low-loft Polyfil)
Quilter's Dream Poly $7.25/yard
Quilter's Dream Cotton $9.25/yard

Many of you ask, what kind of batting should I use?

First you must decide if cost or fiber content is the bigger factor. If you are going for the lowest cost, then the 3 oz. poly is the best choice. It has a little higher than a 1/4" loft, and will have no shrink.

If you like a very flat batting, then the Quilter's Dream battings would be a good choice. Both of them them will have 1% shrink or less. Both the Quilter's Dream Poly and the Quilter's Dream Cotton are very similar in weight and loft, and will be very similar in the finished quilt.

And somewhere in the middle is the Hobbs Heirloom. It has a little higher loft than the Quilter's Dream battings, but not as high as the 3 oz. poly. The manufacturer says that it has a shrink factor of 3-5%. If you don't mind a bit of shrink, this is a nice batting. Right now this is the most popular batting, and I use quite a bit of this.

To minimize shrink in both your battings & fabrics, wash your quilts in cool water, and tumble on low or no heat for 15 minutes. Then lay flat to dry completely.

The battings that I carry are all on a 30-yard roll. I often find that packaged battings can have permanent creases in them & don't lay flat. Usually they relax & bit and once quilted it's not noticeable, but sometimes there is a visible bump in the quilt where there is an uneven spot in the batting. Just be aware of this with packaged battings.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Binding Tutorial, Part 1

I've made a tutorial showing my method of doing bindings. It may be a bit different than the way you're used to doing it, or you may be new to quilting & just need some basic how-to's.

Here goes....
I start off trimming backing & batting even with the quilt top.

Then, add up the length of all 4 sides, and figure out how many strips you will need. I always cut them WOF, or width of fabric (going from one selvedge edge to the other). Most of them have at least a 40" useable width. For this baby quilt I needed 5 strips. I am cutting the strips 2.5" wide.

Join the strips with a bias seam. Take 2 strips, and ay them out as shown here, right sides together. Sew on the diagonal.

Trim off the extra triangle piece, 1/4" away from your seam. It should now look like this:

Press the seam open to reduce bulk. You can use an iron, or I just run my fingernail along the seam.

Continue adding more in the same way, until you get them all together. Now, using your iron, press the binding with wrong sides together, matching up the raw edges.

Now you will be attaching the binding to the back side of the quilt. Start in the middle of one side of the quilt, and match up the raw edges of the binding to the raw edge of the quilt. Leave about 12" of binding free behind your needle. Later you will need this free part to join to the other end. I stitch about 1/4" away from the raw edge of the binding. I don't pin, I just hold a small section in place at a time, and stop to re-adjust often.

Now, when you get to the corner, stop with your needle down when you are 1/4" away from the end of the quilt. Pivot, and sew right to the very corner, as shown. Now you can remove the quilt from your machine.

Now, a little fancy folding will give you a nice mitered corner. First, fold your binding the opposite way of the next side you'll do, like so.

Now, place your fingernail right along the red line, and fold the binding back to the left, over onto itself.

This is what it should look like. It's a little hard to see in this picture.

Maybe this video will help visualize the folding part.

Now take the quilt back to your sewing machine, and start sewing the next side down, starting right on the edge.

Continue on, doing all 4 sides, until you come within about 12 inches of the place your started.

Now on to part 2......

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Binding Tutorial - Part 2

Ok, now you should have 2 loose ends. You'll need about 8-12 inches (or more) free on both ends.

Bring together the pieces, and then fold them back on themselves. Leave about an 1/8" gap where the 2 binding pieces meet. I've found this is neccesary becauase the 2 pieces will be joined on the bias, and there is a tiny amount of stretch. If you leave the small gap now, the length of the joined pieces should be just right. Without the gap, the binding usually ends up a smidge too long.

Now measure 1 1/4" from the fold, and cut to that length.

Line up your ruler on the other side, and repeat.

(If you are using a different width binding, use half of the total width for a measurement to trim each side. For example, if you start off with a 2" wide binding, now you should be cutting each end to 1" long.)

Now the ends should look like this:

Open up the ends, and lay them out as shown here. Position the right side piece on top of the left side piece, matching corner "A" to corner "B".

Pin together, and sew on the diagonal (shown in red). You may have to squish up the quilt a bit at this point to get the part you're going to sew to lay flat in the sewing machine.

Trim off the triangle, leaving a 1/4 seam.

Press the seam open. I run my fingernail along the seam, or you can use your iron.

Now you should be able to lay the quilt flat again, and it should look like this. A nearly invisible diagonal seam, that looks just like all the others. Take this back to your sewing machine, and finish up the rest of the binding.

Iron the binding away from the middle of the quilt. Here is the view from the front side now.

Starting in the middle of one side of the quilt, you are going to wrap the binding around to the front side, placing the edge of the binding just to the left of the line of stitching you just made.

Holding down a small section at a time with your hand, sew very closely to the edge of the binding. If you take your time and use matching thread, this will come out very nicely.

Continue down the side of the quilt until you get about 3" away from the corner. Leave the needle down, and trim off the tiny triangle shown here.

Here it is trimmed. Be careful to only trim the tiny point that is to the right of the stitching line. This will eliminate some bulk at the corner. If you trim too much, you will be left with a hole in your binding. It's just that tiny corner- it will be about a 1/4" size piece getting cut off.

Now, with your needle still down, position the binding past the corner, and then hold in place the binding above the corner. It should form a nice miter.

Ok, so that's little hard to explain, maybe this short video will help a little. I did say maybe.

This is how your corner should look. Continue sewing down the binding, using this method when you come to each corner.

And here is a view of the back. Your top stitching should be just past the edge of the binding on the back side of the quilt. Again, with matching thread, this is going to blend in well, and not be very noticeable at all.

A view of both sides of the completed binding.

Yeah, you're done!
Once you get the hang of it, this really does go fast. Really. It took me less time to actually put the binding on this quilt than it did to explain how to do it. I hope you'll give this method a try! I'd love to hear how it turns out for you. And, please leave a comment if there's something that's not clear & I need to explain better.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

New pattern

I've just designed a new pattern.... just in time for the coming winter months! I hope the snow holds off for a while! I needed a mitten pattern for a quilt that was here, and just couldn't find what I wanted. So, as they say, neccessity is the mother of invention, and so I designed my own. It works great as an all-over pattern, or a border.

Remember that all the IQ patterns can be re-sized larger or smaller. The pictures I show here are just a section of the pattern. Some quilters like a more open design, so I can stitch out the design larger. Like in the mitten pattern, the mittens would actually stitch out at about 6" high, but that can be changed.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

2 new Intelliquilter patterns

Here are two new Intelliquilter patterns available:

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Blaze pattern

I had the chance to use my own Blaze quilting pattern on a quilt recently. I think it was perfect for this little boy's quilt, since one of the fabrics was a flame design.

And, here is a custom quilt... I used the leafy swag pattern in the plain border, outlined and echoed the butterflies, and stitched-in-the-ditch around all the blocks.

More recent quilts

I was challenged to work on 3 quilts pieced exactly alike, but with different custom quilting patterns. I had fun finding something different for each quilt. I'm not sure which one is my favorite.
These quilts are good examples of how I can put motifs & border patterns in a custom quilt using the Intelliquilter. The block motif can be resized to fit the quilt block, and I can stitch out much more intricate designs with the Intelliquilter than by doing it freehand. All three of the center block motifs in these quilts would have been nearly impossible working freehand.

Quilt #1

Quilt #2

Quilt #3