Sunday, August 28, 2011

Quarter Trim Paper Piecing

How's that for a name?  I have been doing paper piecing for a while and I don't think I use all of any one technique.  I've put together a tutorial for my version of paper piecing and I thought I should give it a name.
These are the tools that I use for my paper piecing. 

A couple things I forgot to include in my tutorial is the settings on my sewing machine and the paper I use.
My machine defaults to 2.5 when I turn it on.  When I am doing paper piecing, I turn that down to 1.6.  At 1.6 my paper tears away easier and is still possible to rip it out with a seam ripper if I should make a mistake... no one makes any mistakes... Right!!! 
There are all kinds of paper out there for this purpose, but I use the common 20# paper that is used in most printers.  Once I am ready to rip the paper off the fabric, I fold on the stitch line and carefully pull to start the rip... most the time it rips off fairly easy.  Occasionally I might need to use a pin or tweezers to get out some little scraps of paper, but that is not the norm.  I recently found that I could print on paper from a doodle pad.  That is newsprint weight paper that is in a pad for kids to draw on.  It has to be trimmed to fit in the printer, but it does go through my printer fine.  I printed on this paper for a friend who wanted a lighter weight paper.  The doodle pad had 60 sheets and it cost $1.84... so it was pretty cheap.
Oh yes, I have to give you a link to the tutorial... Quarter Trim Paper Piecing
There is one other note I should make regarding how big to cut your fabric pieces.  You will typically have a little more waste with paper piecing because you want to have a little more than the 1/4" seam allowance on all sides of the piece, and making it even bigger is not an issue.  The area that I have the biggest issue with is triangles or angled cuts... sometimes when you flip the triangle over into place after you have sewn it down, it doesn't fit the way you thought... so it is worth double checking before you stitch triangle pieces down if you don't want to use your seam ripper.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Needle trick

I guess it's not really a needle trick, but something I learned a while back that I think is a pretty neat way to bury those threads.  Could be most people know about this, but it is still worth sharing for those who do not.  When you are quilting, you typically draw your bobbin thread to the top when you start and stop.  This allows you to tie the ends to secure them, but then you have to "hide" the thread ends.  I have a needle threaded ready and waiting to do just that... bury the thread.  I use a thread that is a little heavier than some of the thread I use for quilting, but not so heavy that is will make a big hole.  I probably cut about a 12 to 15" piece and fold it in half and thread the looped end through a large eyed needle... not too large though.  I put the needle point in close to the base of the tied ends and direct the needle in a clear path... maybe an inch, under the fabric but not through to the back.  The needle in the picture is just laying there so you can see the loop good.  After the needle is inserted, I position the loop over the insertion point and pull the loose ends of the thread up through the loop with my fingers.  Holding the loose ends securely, I pull the needle out the other end and continue to pull... releasing the thread so the ends come out the other hole.  I don't like to stop and start any more than necessary, but this little trick makes a nice clean finish, quickly.

This quilt is not a quilt that I pieced, and the border was actually hand appliqued, but my friend wanted me to quilt it.  This is part of the border... I chose not to show the whole quilt with it not really being my quilt, but this was the part I liked the best and I wanted to share.  It was my husband's suggestion to echo the elements in the border.  I meandered on the blocks.  He often gives me good feedback when I ask for an opinion of what I should do.  Sometimes he shakes his head and says I don't have a clue, but this one he was pretty sure it would look good echoed.  I think he gave me good advice.  I was very pleased with the thread I found to use. The variegated red/yellow blended in nicely on the border.  I changed the thread when I meandered on the blocks to an off white on top as I thought the red would have been too high of a contrast. The blocks were retro little children playing.

I am in the process of echoing the elements of the border on my hand applique quilt that I have been working on for a while.  I have the hand quilting for twoof the borders done and I actually attached these side borders using my QAYG technique.  Couldn't wait to get all four borders done because I wasn't sure how the QAYG was going to work with the borders.  Pretty slick how it is turning out.  Hand quilting takes a long time, but I am on a roll and really anxious to get it done.  I didn't post a new picture because it looks kind of funny with just the side borders attached, but I will get the next two borders done and a new picture posted... very soon I hope.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Another WIP - start of a new quilt

I really have no real count of the works I have in progress, so adding one more really does not matter a whole lot.  It is nice to occasionally finish one, so starting this one is going to be a good thing because I have a target date that has already been established.  New grand-baby will be here in November.  When we were visiting earlier this summer, my DIL and I went shopping and bought the fabric she would like me to use in the quilt I will be making.  I have been trying to find the right pattern to use and yesterday I worked on creating my own design in EQ.  Of course I didn't create blocks that have never been used before, but I put some existing blocks together and came up with my design.  This is the center block... an Ohio Star, and it is 24" square.  There will be a white border around this block and then there will be flying geese all around, and another white border.  We did not buy fabric for the backing, so that is still another decision I will make once I get to that stage of the project.

My Country Cousins quilt is in its final stage, the hand quilting of the border.  The four borders have all been hand appliqued, but the quilt-as-you-go is going to take a bit of time, as I am echoing all of the elements, and that is a slow process.  The trick will be when I get to the point of attaching the borders with the QAYG technique that I used to join the twelve blocks of the quilt.  I'm not convinced I know just how that will go, but I am confident it will work out fine.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Momentos from the cabin

Our cabin in the mountains will be a fond memory for many years to come. Not going there anymore will seem strange, but I have many momentos.  Actually we brought alot of "things" back home, and have found uses for a few.  Like the "garage art" that used to hang over our beautiful stone fireplace.  I didn't want to fold it up and leave it in a stack somewhere, so I decided to hang it where no one can get real close to critique it.  It was a quilt I made when I was still just a seamstress.  Probably the last one before I jumped head first into real quilting.  On this quilt I did some hand embroidery, some fusible applique, then pieced the border.  Didn't know I made bear paw cornerstones at the time... it was just a block that fit the theme.  I hand quilted in a few places and used a fancy stitch to machine stitch lines in the outside border.  I had no clue how a binding was supposed to be sewn on.  There was no real plan, it just kind of came together as I progressed along. This quilt is suspended so that you can walk under it without hitting your head.  Our garage is almost two stories high.

One of the bigger items to come back with us is my  cutting table.  It folds up pretty compact, but it still needs to be stored somewhere.  Well last week we found a use for this table. We sometimes enjoy putting puzzles together, but it requires a big table space and you have to be able to cover it up or move it because they typically take several days to put together.  When we first thought to bring it in to temporarily set it up in front of the fireplace we were trying to figure out how we could cover the puzzle in progress so that the cats don't walk all over it and lose the pieces.  I just happened to have an extension for my design board that folds up so I can put it away when I don't need it.  It is flannel covered coraplast board that is 24" by 48" when folded (it has a hinge) and opens up to 8' long... so that means we open it up and spread out the pieces, then when we are done for the evening... close the top down over the puzzle.  The added bonus to this setup is... I'm not going to load it up with stuff like my cutting table gets loaded, so when I want to pin something or have an open table to spread something out... my closed puzzle cover works great.

We even brought back a puzzle we had bought about 10 years ago that we never opened out at the cabin.  The bag inside is sealed and it looks like brand new.  It has 1,000 pieces and the picture on the box is pretty obscure, and there is no picture inside the box, so it looked very intimidating... the reason we never opened it.  My husband did a search online and found the puzzle is selling on eBay for a pretty good price.  I think we have decided that is the best thing for us to do.  It's called Buried Blueprints, and they are definitely buried.  We could probably buy a couple puzzles that we could complete for the price we could sell this one that would be too frustrating.  Puzzles are supposed to be a fun past-time.