Friday, January 23, 2015

Cutting Binding angles and the Binding of Log Cabin Project

I am SO excited. The 3rd time really is the charm :)
My first two quilt bindings I had a terrible time with the 45 degree angle and the strips being even. Remember? They looked like this :
I just couldn't figure out how to get them to come out straight!

But, this time, I've got it! Look! They are perfectly straight!
 Since I'm more visual, and the instructions just didn't give me what I was looking for, maybe this will help someone else.  Since I don't sew anything else, I'm not that knowledgeable in how this works, except by what the instructions say. So, now this is a visual of what I have learned.

My ruler has a 45 degree line.  I lined it up perfectly against the top edge and cut off the end of the strip, both ends, wrong sides together.
 Now, I ran through the small piece that I cut off BEFORE I attempted to run my strips through. I think that trying to run the strip through by itself, it would get bunched up, and not pull properly through.  I was able to use my 1/4" guide somewhat, but mostly I made sure after I put them together as the book outlined, I sent them through sewing exactly from notch to notch, like this:

 The notches are more important than the 1/4" seam. And, make sure to finish with the piece of fabric also. It also helps to use the end of the seam ripper to hold the fabric in place as it is going through the needle. You can see that I don't use the seam guide here, or else it would not be straight when opening.


Press seams open, and press binding in half and press the end 1/4 " to the inside, I sewed the first layer to the front of quilt about 4".

And, the quilt lays perfectly on my table!  After I sewed the first 4", I cut thread and started again almost 2" away from where both layers come together. This is for the end of the strip to fit inside when you come back to this end.

When I got to the edge, this was tricky. Another part that wasn't that clear in the instructions.
Stop sewing about 1/4" away from the end. Leave the needle down. Lift presser foot, and turn your quilt to go the next side down.  Like this below.

Now, put presser foot back down, and push the back up button to sew back off the edge.

Next, fold the binding up, and turn back down so you have the nice square end.  You can pull a little thread through to make room if you need to, as it will get buried inside the binding, but DON'T cut it. I think the instructions did a good job of how to do the folding part. Now, sew straight onto the edge just as before.

 When you come to the end, you will simply tuck the end into that beginning opening, and keep sewing until you have it completed. It will then look just like all the other 45 degree angle seams!

This is what the front side looks like when you turn the binding over to back side and sew. A nice mitered corner!
 This is the back side of mitered corner!

So, after the 3rd time, I think I finally understand how to apply those instructions that seemed to miss a few key visuals.  

Another project complete.  I have an appt. at The Quilt Crossing for the Long Arm Machine next Thursday, so I better go get the borders on my next piece.  
Until next week......

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Project 3: Log Cabin Quilting

The holidays are over, and I'm back to the sewing room!

Here is my log cabin pieced top, 32" x 32":

I spent 2 weeks on trying to figure out how to quilt this top.  I got 2 new quilting books for Christmas, Thanks Sis :) : Shape by Shape by Angela Walters, and Quilting Inside the Lines by Pam Clarke.  My goal with this quilt was to quilt from the front in a free motion style. My last 2 have been by pantograph, which I'm comfortable with and find rather easy and not very exciting.

I decided to use these two patterns:

The top one I decided would be for all the smaller squares.  The bottom pattern I wanted to use for the big center block of 4 squares.

The idea here is to only make the guidelines through center, with dots to help know where to make the rounded circles.
I chickened out, and made a few marks to help with the center square.  However, I think for the first time on free motion, I would have done better to pick a pattern that I could draw on the quilt first! But, that isn't my goal to follow lines, and draw them all over, so I kept to the guidelines and dots.

Because this is my first attempt, I am giving myself some leniency.  I could be practicing the Long Arm Quilting on large sheets of fabric, and never get anything done, or I can use these "learning" quilts and learn both aspects together along the way.  I've decided to use these quilts :)

So, please, don't be too critical... I'm going to show you my progress!
This is my first square.  It only took me 45 minutes to set up the machine and actually do this one square. LOL.  I practiced moving the machine in the manner I thought would get me there. It was a good thing to do that, as it was very different than practicing with my finger at home.
I found it was very hard to bring up my bobbin thread and take the small locking stitches to start.  And, I couldn't see where I was going when I was at the bottom and working back up to the left and top, which is why you see such a rounded left side in the middle.  

It took me the entire top row to get used to going slow, pausing at the corners, and figuring out how to see beyond the machine when I was at the bottom going back up. Sometimes, I didn't even get the quilting in the right square.  Twice I went into the next square with my point :(
This is much different than a pattern you follow by laser from the back of the machine!

Here is my center square:
I drew in the arcs, since I wasn't sure I could make the arcs consistent.  I didn't need to do that, since that wasn't really my problem.  I was supposed to come to within a couple stitches in the middle, so there wouldn't be big knots of thread, but I didn't get nearly close enough. I liked the design for the square though.

And, by the time I was done, here is my last square:
I see much improvement, but its far from good.  It will take much more practice before I can say I know what I'm doing.  This took a total of 1.5 hrs. I'm amazed at how much can be accomplished on the Long Arm.  I LOVE the no basting aspect.

Now, off to binding and it will be another project completed from Quilter's Academy Freshman Year.

I made another appt. at my Local Quilt Store to quilt my next project next week. I plan on skipping the table runner for now, and move onto the next one, which requires a border, so I better get sewing!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Goals for 2015

Happy New Year!

At this time of year, I reflect on what I accomplished last year, and think about what is still important to me and what I want to concentrate on this year.
I have a simple piece of paper that lists different areas of life: Financial, Health, Spiritual, Hobbies, etc.....
Last year I fell off the wagon half way through.  I was fairly intentional in my daily happenings, until I went on a road trip in the summer with my son.  When I got back, I just never got back into my routine :(  The Very Important things got done, but too much got left behind.
And, I wasn't doing the quilting at all last year, because I just didn't sit down and figure out what I wanted to do about the finished project tops and their quilting. It was a procrastination thing.

So, it is a fresh start. Don't you just love that about every January? I have my list of important things and quilting is one of them. LOL

My goal this year is to finish all the unfinished quilt tops from Quilter's Academy 1. There are 8 of them remaining. Two I finished in December.  And, I want to get started on Quilter's Academy 2, which I received as a gift this Christmas. Thanks Mom :) I don't believe I can finish the entire book this year, but I'd like to be working on projects weekly.

My hope is to be finished with the Academy 1 tops by May 1 before a house full of guests arrive for my son's High School graduation.   I hope to start on Sophomore Year soon so I can get back into piecing! Here is the list I used for my quilting goals:

Speaking of old projects.. I got out my project tops and was planning the quilting and I've already come up with the first problem.  I don't have backing fabric that goes with the tops!  We were given information about yardage needed for the project itself, but nothing was ever mentioned about the backing.  I have lots of wonderful fabrics I used for the tops, and would have wanted fabric to match on the back.  Now, it has been so long, I cannot go back and find any of these lines of fabric. :(  It will take me a little while to gather fabric for the backs.

Problem 2 comes with the dreaded table runner with the pointed ends.. (project 4)  I remember having to email Harriet about the instructions for this table runner.  Now, as I have it up on my design board, I realize I am really stuck with figuring out how to make mitered points on the border!  GRRRR. She simply says, this requires 6 mitered edges! I think if I were to do this all over again, this table runner doesn't belong with the other projects.  It is definitely a level 2 or 3 skill. lol  Too hard.  I may just put it away and wait until later to finish it.

So, what am I doing this week? I get to hunt down fabric! And, I am reading through Freshman Year again, to refresh my mind on what I have learned so far!