Tuesday, November 25, 2014

"Woven" quilt by Kati Spencer in Scraps, Inc.

Do you follow Kati at From the Blue Chair? She's one of the first bloggers I started following when I discovered the online quilting community and have since gotten to know her through the Salt Lake Modern Quilt Guild. She has a great eye for design and is always creating beautiful quilts. A few months ago I had the pleasure of quilting this fantastic scrappy quilt, which she called "Woven," to be included in the new book Scraps, Inc. I didn't have time to get any photos of the full quilt before returning it to Kati but I got some more detailed shots of the quilting. I've been dying to share them for months, and I finally get to!

 The scrappy blocks are all made from strips in different widths and Kati wanted those highlighted with straight lines.

I quilted swirls in the vertical sashing and ribbon candy in the horizontal sashing. 

At the intersections I alternated which design was on "top," creating a woven effect. At the time I didn't know that was the name Kati had chosen, so it ended up perfect!

I divided the border into two sections and repeated the swirls and ribbon candy from the sashing on a slightly larger scale.

Like most of Kati's quilts the back was pieced and added a whole new level of interest. 

I really, really love this quilt. The color scheme and fabrics, the design and layout, and the visual interest from the scrappiness all add up to an amazing quilt. I'm so excited that I got to be part of it. If you would like your own copy of Scraps, Inc. you can get one here. If you use the code SCRAPS30 you can get a discount, at least for the next few days. All of the quilts in the book that I have seen are wonderful. If you love scrappy quilts you will not be disappointed.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Bacon Quilt-Along: Adding the NOM NOM and quilting

We're almost done! For this step you will be choosing how you want to applique your letters.

To view the main post and find links to all of the steps, click here.

First you need letters! Mine are 14" tall and you can find a PDF file on Dropbox HERE. There's a pale background pattern to help you line everything up. I'd personally like to thank my awesome sister for helping me create the file, because I don't know how to do that!

You'll need to place your letters where you want them. Mine are 3 1/4" above the seam between the large background piece and the background that is included in the bacon strip. There is 1 3/4" between each letter, and 7" between the words. There is about 9" between the edges of the quilt and the letters. You may need to adjust your letters a little so that they look good to you.

Now, to applique. You can choose any method that works best for you. Because of the tight angles in the letters, doing anything with turned edges would likely be very difficult, so I'd recommend doing a raw-edge or fusible method.

I chose to cut out my letters with pinking shears, and then I glue-basted them in place. See a photo in progress HERE. Basically I laid my quilt top out on a flat surface, placed my letters where I wanted them, and then folded back one portion of each letter at a time so I could glue it in place. I didn't actually sew them on until I quilted my quilt. You may or may not want to add some pins for stability if you use this method. Mine stayed on just fine. I used Roxanne's Glue Baste, but any washable glue or lapel stick would probably work. Just don't overdo it.

Once your letters are on you're ready to prepare your backing, baste, and quilt as desired. In the photo above you can see how I quilted all the areas of mine. I did a wood-grain pattern on the background that ended up looking quite a bit like flames. I did geometric patterns in the N and M, and pebbles in the O. I put wavy lines on the bacon. 

If you'll be quilting yours on a domestic machine with your walking foot, check out what my friend Marion did on hers. It had a nice wavy effect and was easy to do! See it on Instagram here and see more details on her finished quilt blog post.

If you want to do bias bacon binding on your quilt that will be in the next post. If you want to do regular binding, go ahead and you are DONE! Please remember to share on Instagram with the hash tag #baconalong so we can all see your progress. Tag me @thequiltingmill too!

Please leave any questions in the comments and I will clarify anything you need.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Bacon Quilt-along: Adding the Background

To view the main Bacon Quilt-along post and find links to all of the steps, click here.

 Once you have sewn together your bacon strips, you need to add background fabric to the ends.
Cut a width of your background fabric 14" wide. Trim off the selvages and barely trim off the fold, giving you two pieces about 14" by 21-ish" inches. Using your dresden ruler for the angle and your long straight ruler in the method described in the previous post, cut them into two pieces. The top of my smaller piece, pictured on the right, measured 6". If you want yours a little different go with it!

Next sew one short piece to one end of one bacon, and a long piece to the other. Make sure that when you lay it out the angles add up to make it "straight."

When you flip the background piece down to line up the edge, it will look like this. Be sure to pin as you've got bias edges. Stitch and press.

 Do the other end the same way. This is my short end.

Repeat on the other strip of bacon. Check to make sure you have the bacon strips facing the way you want them to go and so that the ends will be offset from each other as seen in the finished quilt.

Once you have sewn the background onto the ends you need to trim the long edges of your bacon strips. Line up your ruler with the innermost edges of your waves and cut off the extra. Go all the way down both sides of both pieces of bacon until both are straight.

Another example of where you will line up your ruler:

Now it's time to cut the remainder of the background pieces. Lay out both of your bacon strips and measure how long they are. Hopefully they are the same. Mine measured 86.25", yours may be a little different.

You will need three more background pieces, and they can all be cut from one width of fabric the same length that you measured your bacon. Carefully fold the length of the fabric a few times so that it is shorter than your ruler. Cut one pieces 6.5"wide, one piece 4.5" wide, and the other piece 24" wide.

Arrange pieces as follows:
24" piece, bacon #1, 4.5" piece, bacon #2, 6.5" piece. The edges of the bacon are full of bias edges so carefully pin everything.

We're almost done! Next week we'll do letters, I'll talk about how I quilted mine, and I'll give you instructions for bias bacon binding if you're interested.

Anyone want to do a linky? Or just share on Instagram with the tag #baconalong? I'd really love to see yours!

Please let me know if you have any questions!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Bacon Quilt-along: Turning Your Bacon from Straight to Wavy

To view the main Bacon Quilt-along post and find links to all of the steps, click here.

I need to apologize for falling off the face of the earth over here. I had a couple of crazy weeks quilting for Quilt Market, and between that and not knowing if anyone was actually following along, I was considering cancelling. A couple of days ago I got a comment from someone letting me know she was awaiting the next post as she is making a bacon quilt for her husband, so here we go! I won't be following a specific schedule right now, but I'm just planning to post the next step every couple of days until it's all there, then you can follow along at your own pace.

At this point you should have sewn two pairs of identical strip sets for each strip of bacon, with the seams pressed in opposite directions as shown below. Each pair will be different, but each strip set in each pair will match. I hope that makes sense.

To prepare to cut, layer one pair of strip sets on top of each other, both FACE UP. This is important. Wiggle them around until the seams nest together for the full width of fabric. Make sure that the bottom left corners match up pretty closely, as this is where you will start cutting.

The first piece you will cut will be the shape of the EZ Dresden ruler. another 18 degree wedge ruler should work fine. Line up the narrowest end of the wedge on with the top of the fabric on the left side of your strip set. The EZ Dresden ruler is not nearly long enough to reach across the fabric so you will need to use another long ruler. Line up a long ruler even with the side of the dresden ruler. Make sure that the lower end of the long ruler is as close to the end as you can make it without hanging over.

Make sure the lines on the dresden ruler are parallel with the seams in your fabric.

Carefully remove the dresden ruler and cut.

Replace the dresden ruler in the same spot and align the long ruler with the right side of it to cut the other edge of the wedge. I found it easiest to walk around the table I was cutting on because I am not comfortable cutting left-handed. If you can use both hands well you will likely do just fine. After cutting the second side of the wedge, you will cut a parallelogram 3 1/4" wide. Next you will cut another wedge, this time lining up the narrow end on the bottom of the fabric. Use the long ruler to cut the full width of the fabric as previously described.
Continue cutting, alternating upward wedge, parallelogram, downward wedge, parallelogram across the full width of fabric. You should end up with three of each piece by the time you get to the end, for twelve total pieces cut.

Now the fun part. Although I've made five quilts now with this method, it's tricky to explain it, so I decided to make a video. I made one while I was making my bacon quilt, but unfortunately it was accidentally deleted and could not be recovered. So I've made another video using another set of strips in different colors. The concept and method is the same even.

View the video on YouTube HERE

 Once you have cut and rearranged your shapes, it is time to sew them together. When you look at all those waves next to each other, you may wonder, "HOW AM I GOING TO SEW THESE WEIRD SHAPES TOGETHER?!?" Have no fear! When you flip one piece on top of the one next to it, because of the opposing angles, the seams match up PERFECTLY. If you have pressed your seams in different directions they will also nest, so you can sew it all together without pinning! Remember the one seam in the middle that will not nest--I recommend pinning that one.

After sewing all of your pieces together, press all seams one direction, it doesn't matter what you choose. Repeat the whole process with your second bacon strip, and you've got two wavy strips of BACON!

Today's post goes over the most confusing part of this whole quilt. If I explained anything inadequately, PLEASE let me know so I can address the issue.

Remember if you're quilting along, please tag your Instagram photos with #baconalong so we can all follow along! You can also tag me @thequiltingmill.

I'll try to get the next post up tonight or tomorrow, which will involve straightening the sides of your bacon and adding your background fabric for the whole quilt. I'll be attending Sewtopia this weekend so the next post after that will likely be on Monday, November 10th.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

BaconAlong: Cutting and Strip Piecing

To view the main Bacon Quilt-along post and find links to all of the steps click here.

Okay, time to start making some bacon!

Today we'll just cut the fabric strips that will go into the bacon strips. We'll worry about cutting the background fabric later.

Note: including Kona Espresso in your bacon is OPTIONAL. It will finish as a 1/4" wide dark edge on the bacon. If you don't want to bother with such a thin piece, you can leave it off.

                                         Bacon Strip One                            Bacon Strip Two
Kona Espresso                       (2) 3/4"                                           (2) 3/4"
Reddish brown #1                 (2) 3 1/4"                                         (2) 3"
Light bacon fat A                  (2) 2"                                               (2) 2 1/4"
Reddish brown #2                 (2) 2 1/2"                                         (2) 2 3/4"
Light bacon fat B                  (2) 2"                                               (2) 2"
Reddish brown #3                 (2) 3 1/2"                                         (2) 3 1/4"
Background Fabric                (4) 2"                                               (4) 2"

Strip Piecing:
For Bacon Strip One you need to sew two identical sets of strips. Sew them in the order above, except for with the background fabric you will sew one on each side of your strip set. Press all seams on one strip set up, and all seams on the identical strip set down.
Repeat for Bacon Strip Two.

Make sense? Please let me know if not.

Check back on the 20th for instructions on how to make your bacon wavy!
Although I have to admit I am up to my neck in quilting for Quilt Market, so there's a chance the next post may get delayed. I'll do my best.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Bacon Quilt-along: Fabric Requirements

To view the main Bacon Quilt-along post and find links to all of the steps click here.

Are you in? Do you want to make a BACON QUILT? Here's what you'll need.

The finished dimensions for this quilt are 60" by 86", so it is a generous throw. Great for a guy, especially if he's tall.

First, please think about how you want to do your applique letters. If you want to use heat'n'bond or something similar, two yards of that will be plenty. I used Roxanne's Glue-Baste and did a raw edge applique.
The colors above, from top to bottom: Kona Brick, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Gold, Paprika, and Espresso. The Espresso was used for both the letters and a very thin edge on the sides of the bacon strips. For the background color I used Kona Raffia. My second choice was Kona Sand, which is quite a bit lighter. These were my original planned colors, and I actually didn't order enough fabric so I had to pick up some near-solids from my local quilt shop so my colors are slightly different.

For a Bacon Quilt with regular binding:
Three reddish browns: 1/2 yd each
Two light bacon fat colors: 1/4 yd each
Background fabric: 3 3/8 yd
Very dark brown for letters and dark crispy bacon edge: 3/4 yd
Binding fabric (2.5" strips): 5/8 yd
Backing with a vertical seam: 5 yd
Backing with a horizontal seam: 3 3/4 yd

For a Bacon Quilt with Bias Bacon Binding (which is quite fun to say out loud):
Three reddish browns: 5/8 yd each
Two light bacon fat colors: 3/8 yd each
Background fabric: 3 3/8 yd
Very dark brown for letters and dark crispy bacon edge: 3/4 yd
Backing with a vertical seam: 5 yd
Backing with a horizontal seam: 3 3/4 yd

Remember, you also need a dresden ruler. I used an EZ Dresden ruler, but any 18 degree ruler should do.

Now for the bacon fabric giveaway winner: comment #11, The Full Meal Alchemist! I've sent you an email. I loved reading all of your comments! Some of them especially made me laugh. It's fun what bacon can bring out in people.

For those of you quilting along, please let me know if you have any questions!
Now one last question for you--is next Wednesday too soon to start cutting? Do you need more time for fabric to ship?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Announcing the Bacon Quilt-along!

When I was making my rainbow Dresden Ripples quilt this spring, as the first two rows were assembled they looked remarkably like bacon. I decided that a bacon quilt had to become a thing, and it's here!

 I'm still hand-stitching the binding on mine, because I'm slow and it takes me DAYS, but we need to get started on this so anyone quilting along has time to finish before Christmas. Because I'm sure you have at least one man (or anyone, really) in your life who loves BACON. If you choose to participate you can either make the whole quilt, one bacon strip for an eclectic table runner, or any other variation using my method to make your own bacon. Be sure to tag your progress on Instagram with #baconalong so we can see what you're making!

Just FYI: You will need an EZ Dresden Ruler to make this quilt. Every seam is straight and it's so easy to make!

So here's where you can find the posts for each step:

Post 1: Announcement and schedule
Post 2: Fabric requirements
Post 3: Cutting instructions for bacon strips and strip piecing
Post 4: Turning your bacon from straight to wavy
Post 5: Cutting/adding background
Post 6: Applique letters and Quilting 
Post 7: Bias Bacon Binding

So I mentioned a giveaway, right? Here are the details: I'm giving away enough fabric to make two strips of bacon and your own bias bacon binding! You'll need your own fabric for the background and letters.

There are two ways to enter. First, leave me a comment here telling me who you'd like to make a bacon quilt for. Second, check out my feed on Instagram and repost your favorite Bacon Quilt photo, mention the giveaway, and be sure to tag me @thequiltingmill and use the hash tags #baconalong and #baconfabricgiveaway. I'll randomly choose one winner either from the blog or the #baconfabricgiveaway hash tag on October 8th. The giveaway is open to all US residents. (Sorry, international friends!)

So who's excited to make some bacon?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Pin Weaving Mini-Tutorial

If you're looking for my Sewvivor Round 2 Post, please click here or scroll down, it's the next post. Remember to vote before midnight, eastern time on Wednesday!

I wanted to share how I did the pin weaving on the top of my bag. It's a simple technique with beautiful results! I didn't take a ton of pictures while I was doing it, thinking I'd be able to find a tutorial that someone else had made and just link to that. Wrong. The other methods I found were REALLY cool, but quite different than what I did. So here's the very basics of how to pin weave with fabric strips.

First you need a foam board. Mine measures 11" x 14", and can produce a piece of woven fabric up to about 8.5" x 11.5". Mark the board with a 1" grid. Please note that the edges of your fabric may not be all usable, so plan on a piece a couple of inches larger than you will need.

Place strong pins (T-pins are great, I don't have any) pointing in towards the center at about a 45 degree angle every half inch across the short ends of the foam board. I found it useful to put an extra pin 1/4" on the outside of each row to help keep the edges under control.

Next you will need two skeins of embroidery floss. I used three because I couldn't decide on two colors. They can be the same color or different colors, but I like different colors in mine. Tie the ends of the skeins together and loop the knot around one of the corner pins. Next, TIGHTLY wind the floss across the board as shown, moving around two pins at each end so that the rows of floss are 1/2 apart (1/4" on the sides). When you get to the end tie a knot to secure the end as best you can. Remember you want it TIGHT. If you use a larger foam board you may need more embroidery floss.
Cut 1" strips of fabric that you want to weave with. Mine were 1/4 of a width of fabric and were just about perfect. You want them to be 1-2" longer than the width of your foam board. You will need approximately 3 strips for every inch that you will fill. Start by weaving a strip of fabric over, under, over, under, etc. until you get to the other side. Then fold the strip into thirds. If you kind of wiggle the strip back and forth while folding from the ends it kind of folds on itself. The above photo shows a strip that has been folded once. Make sure that the raw edges of the strips are on the top. Continue weaving strips through, alternating over-under to under-over with each strip. Slide the folded strips close together and continue adding strips until you reach the desired size or can't fit any more on your board.
 Cut a piece of fusible interfacing about the size of your woven area and fuse it on according to manufacturers directions. I used a black knit interfacing, but any lightweight fusible will do.
After applying the interfacing you can remove the pins and turn over your creation!
This does need to be quilted to add stability. You can do freemotion or carefully use a walking foot. If you're worried about catching anything while quilting you can sandwich it between water-soluble stabilizer and wash it off afterward.

As I said I wasn't planning to make a tutorial of my own when I started this. If there are any steps that need additional photos, PLEASE let me know in the comments and I'll do what I can to make it more user-friendly.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Sewvivor Round 2: The Graffiti Tote

I am happy to say that I BARELY squeaked through round 1 of Sewvivor and now it's on to round 2! Our instructions were to make a quilted bag. I needed a new purse anyway so I was excited from the start to make something that I would really love. I'd say that I succeeded!

When I first started designing this bag I decided I wanted a big area of negative space just for quilting however I wanted. Recently I became acquainted with the amazingly talented Karlee Porter and her Graffiti Quilting style, and I wanted to include my take on that in my bag. That vision ultimately became what I'm calling "The Graffiti Tote." I had so much fun quilting many different designs on each side. I'm still not a natural doodler, so I had my laptop open with several different pages of inspiration pulled up while I was quilting, so I could pause and think about what do do next. I had hoped to go take some photos in front of some amazing graffiti but just did not have time to work that into my family's schedule. I've decided that close-up photos are probably best for this one anyway.

One of my favorite motifs to quilt right now is one that I'm calling "Twisting Triangles." I happened across this YouTube video a few months ago, (which has cool doodling, but is kind of odd) and wondered if I could turn it into a quilting design. Yep, it totally works! It's slow but SOOOOOOO worth it. I use a straight ruler with my longarm, but it could be done with a walking foot on a domestic machine if you don't mind turning your quilt a lot.
The effect of this design is best when you're using it to fill a hexagon or larger space. When you alternate the direction that you "twist" with each triangle, it makes a tessellating fan shape. I love it. I had originally planned on putting two different sized hexagons on each side of the bag, but there were so many other designs I wanted to try that I didn't have room. So I just did one.

I used Kona White on the back. The quilting shows up so well.

Here's the hexagon motif on the outside. I just love this quilting design!

This is technically the back of the tote, but both sides look nearly identical other than the quilting and I love them both. I've decided that graffiti quilting is super fun to do.

Here's a view of the back of the back. I loved including so many different design elements!

I loved this little area in the middle of this photo.

 And this one. I'm just so pleased with how this turned out. I used Soft and Stable instead of batting, and it not only adds excellent structure to the bag, but makes the quilting have a nice sturdy puff that batting just doesn't do. It worked so well.

Even though I wanted a lot of negative space I definitely wanted to include some piecing. I decided to frame the quilted area on the top and bottom with paper-pieced equilateral triangles, which I referred to as "waddling puffins" for a working title because they are squattier than flying geese. And puffins are cute.

I asked my sister (who is better with computers than I am) if she could make up a pattern for me and this is what she came up with. She's not a quilter so it is missing a couple of lines that would be helpful and doesn't have lines for outer seam allowances, but if you have done paper piecing before it's not really a problem. If you'd like to download the above picture and use it for your own paper piecing, go right ahead! I used 14 triangles across each edge of my tote. I used newsprint this time and I loved it. It came off SO easily.

I used my favorite prints from Emily Herrick's Rustique line and I love the saturation of the colors! I stitched in the ditch around the triangles, which was just enough quilting in relation to the heavy quilting in the center panels.
I decided to try leather handles for this because they are so sturdy and won't wear out quickly like fabric handles often do, and the leather just seems to go with the general feel of Rustique. I purchased a piece of leather meant for making a belt at my local Tandy Leather, as well as some screw-in rivet things. I'm sure they have a real name but I don't remember it. I was nervous about cutting the leather and putting the handles on but it was actually really easy to do. I used a box cutter, a ruler, and my older cutting mat and couldn't be happier with the results. I'm sure I will use leather handles often on bags that I make in the future--possibly even the same ones because they may last longer than the bag itself!

 A few months ago I learned a fun technique called pin weaving and I really wanted to include something made this way in my finished tote. It involves embroidery floss and 1" strips of fabric and is really easy to do. I decided that a flap to close the top of my bag would be the perfect place to include some pin weaving. This is one of my favorite elements of the whole bag! I'll be writing up a tutorial on it soon because the ones I found online were uber-complicated and quite different from this method. *update: see a tutorial here!

I made the flap and attached the snap before quilting it. I don't do well with free-motion on my domestic machine, so I used water-soluble stabilizer to mount the flap on my longarm and did an allover swirl pattern to stabilize the weaving. It was really easy to rinse off and then the flap dried overnight and part of the next day.

After quilting I trimmed the raw edge off of the flap, put a binding on that edge, and sewed it onto the inside of the bag, topstitching from the outside so I could hide my stitches in the ditch.

Last time I used a magnetic snap half of it eventually ripped through the lining of my purse. I was not happy with that, and didn't want it to happen again. This time I stabilized the lining with two pieces of fusible interfacing and a small batting scrap. I think it should hold pretty well.

I wanted the inside of the bag to be really user-friendly and I decided that making specialized pockets was the way to go. On this side I included a cell phone pocket and water bottle pocket, sized to fit my phone and my favorite water bottle, and a pen pocket. I didn't use a pattern for any of these but they were quite easy to make. I also stitched in the ditch from the other side below the snap to prevent it from pulling up and out of the bag.

The other side has two zippered pockets, one of which is waterproof for holding things like lotion and hand sanitizer that could possibly explode and make a mess. The fact that the waterproof PUL I used is bright pink is just a bonus!

I also included a fob to attach my keys to so they will no longer get lost in the abyss.

When making the bottom of the bag I first quilted the piece for the bottom, trimmed it up, and made a little pocket with another piece of Kona white and slid a piece of plastic canvas in. Nice and sturdy, yet washable!  Although, to be fair, I'll have to remove my leather handles if I do need to wash this purse. Good thing my fasteners are the screw-on kind.

 I also attached purse feet before sewing the bottom on.

To get the side panels to fold around the corners of the bottom piece, I did a stabilizing stitch and clipped up to it. A combination of pins and wonder clips worked really well to hold everything in place.

I like the feet on the bottom. I hadn't used them before, but I think I likely will again.

The finished bag measures 4" by 12.5" on the bottom and it is 10.5" tall. This has been a really fun challenge for me and I now have what may be my favorite purse that I will ever own. I really love it that much. If you haven't already, please go visit the main Sewvivor Round 2 Post and vote for your favorite entries! I would appreciate your vote very much!

Linking up to LAFF.
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