Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Delays

Hi there! Am just busy with Christmas, etc., but have lots to share once the holidays are done - be sure to check back!!

Happy Holidays!:)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Break #2 - Scarves

As I quite liked having a project to do that I could complete in an hour (and I also needed a couple of Christmas presents), I decided to give a project I found on Martha Stewart a try. I do like Martha, although I am a little overwhelmed at the mere idea of some of her projects, but this one seemed quite easy - and turned out it really was! Since it didn't come with any visual instructions, so I thought I would share mine with you - and a couple of tips/variations that I used in mine.

Martha says to use cashmere and silk for this. I would love to, but as I work on a budget, I altered that slightly by waiting for a sale at Fabricland and getting my materials for 50% off! But if you have a fabric stash, then I would raid that - you don't need much to complete one scarf: 8"x36" of each: cashmere fabric, silk fabric, cotton batting.


What I found as an alternative was a cashmere-like cotton (super soft, you could just pet it all day), and a heavy polyester satin. Aren't they lovely? In total I requested 16" of each, which gave me enough to complete two scarves - and I had a piece of the craft batting from Michaels that I got with a 40% off coupon...that batting is 36" x 45", so enough to do 5 of these scarves!

Now, as you need a piece of each material that is 8"x36", I cheated to cut this. If you have a rotary cutter and a self-healing mat, get them out now!

I folded my material in half width-wise (your two selvages meet each other). Make sure that your selvages are even with each other, then fold material over again width-wise. It will look a little something like this.




Once that is done, grab your ruler and ensure that it is square to your selvage edge - then trim off the raw edge.

 

Then measure 8 inches in and cut again.


You now have an 8"x44/45" piece of fabric. After that I just measured in the 36" and made the last cut. Do this for both fabrics, and then cut your batting (which is already 36" wide, so you just need to measure up the 8" and cut - but I cheated and folded this over once to cut it too). Easy-peasy, right?:)

So now you want to grab your pins (trust me) and your three pieces. Lay your two fabrics down, right sides facing each other, and then lay your batting on top. It should look like this.


Don't be surprised if the edges don't really match up that well - you will have a 1/2" seam allowance for play. But if it really bothers you, then feel free to trim up the three layers together (ah, the joy of a rotary cutter!).

Pin all the layers together. I'm not a big pinner, as it were, so the pic shows that I used as few as I thought I could get away with - not a great idea on my part. I suggest doubling-up on what you see here! Or, if you have a "walking foot" for your sewing machine, slip that on - it works like a dream on this!


Now, sew a 1/2" seam allowance around three edges, leaving one of the short ends undone.


Trim all four corners.


Turn the scarf inside out (use a capped pen or something along those lines to push the corners out and make them nice and sharp), and iron. Make sure you fold in the unfinished edge by 1/2" and iron that as well.

 

If you have a sewing pencil (tailor's marker), pull that out and mark a 3" line down the middle of the finished end, about 5" into the scarf.


If you have a buttonhole option on your sewing machine, this is the time to use it. If not, then put your machine on zigzag and sew down one side of the line you just drew. Once you reach the end, leave your needle in the material, lift your foot, turn the material around, put your foot down. Then sew with your stitches overlapping your first row for a few stitches, and then again at the end of the line. I have a buttonhole option on mine, so it turned out looking like this - so you want something along these lines.


Take your rotary cutter (or some sharp scissors) and cut down the middle of the stitches you just completed.

Now hand sew the open end of the scarf closed and you're done! I made four of these scarves in less about 2 hours - not too shabby - thanks Martha!!


P.S. If you need some help on how to hand sew the opening, check out this tutorial from Gratz Industries - it's based on stuffed animals, but the stitching is exactly what you want to do here - and it's explained waaaaay better than I ever could have.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Break #1 - Tealights



As I needed a short break from quilting (while I tried to figure out which project to tackle next and what I wanted to try), I decided to do a couple of little things to get ready for the holidays. In looking around my kitchen I discovered a vast array of empty glass jars, mostly for baby food. They're just so cute I can't recycle them. So, I grabbed some tissue paper, some Elmer's glue, a couple of small foam brushes, a handful of jars, and the Little Lumberjack (my Lumberjack's son).


Together we cut one sheet of each color tissue paper into squares. Then we used the brushes to paint the jars with a watered-down solution of the glue. After that we just grabbed tissue paper and slapped them on anywhere and any which way we felt like. Once we had them done we painted over the top of them with a little more of the glue solution just to help them stay in place. It also smooths them down quite nicely.We'll be making more of these over the next couple of weeks as we though about cutting out different shapes, and even using a hole punch to create dots, etc.


A nice and easy little project for big and small hands alike (even the Lumberjack jumped in to do one too!). And a good way to use up some jars! Don't they look pretty all lit up at night??

Your First Quilt Top!



Sorry for the long delay in getting onto the second post...but as you can see, I have a few projects on the go while I'm trying to get ready for Christmas! These are just three, but I have a huge basket that is full of more! 

But back to business - now that you've got all the bits and pieces I suggested in my last post, you're ready to go.


The first thing you will need to do is layout your fabric squares in a way that you like, or that you think looks pretty. You will lay them out so that you have 8 rows of 10 squares (the quilt in my previous post is a bit smaller than the one you're making). If you have a table big enough to do this, clear it off and lay them out there, otherwise just use a clear spot on the floor. It's hard to tell, but if you look closely at my first quilt, there is actually a pattern of colours on the diagonal. Don't worry if you can't see it, my partner (The Lumberjack) couldn't see it until I pointed it out to him, and even then it took a little explaining!


Once you've done that, I usually gather up each row into a pile with your first square on the left on top of your pile, so you always know that the one underneath comes next. If you like, you can place sticky notes on each pile that tell you which pile is which line - 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.


Now you're ready to start sewing them all together. Pick a pile and the first two squares on the top of your pile. Lay one square on top of the other, right sides together. Now sew them together on one side only, using a 1/4" seam.


Finding your 1/4" seam on your sewing machine may take some work. On mine I had to move my needle all the way to the right, and then measured from there to find out which line on the plate was 1/4" away - see that very first line on the plate? That's my 1/4" line. If yours does not have a line marked, grab a piece of masking tape and place it on your plate using the edge to mark your 1/4".



Alright, now that we're past that discussion...along to the fun stuff! Grab your third square from your pile and place it on top of your second square - now sew them together along the edge opposite to the one you just completed.

You now have three squares done. Keep going until you finish sewing all 10 together.

Done? Wasn't that easy?? Now just do your other 7 piles exactly the same way!

Note: generally speaking, quilters complete things in squares. Very popular (and to be featured shortly on this blog) the Nine Square aka Nine Patch, etc. But, for the sake of something this simple, we're sewing in rows.

Once you have all your rows completed, get out your iron and ironing board. Now, I hate ironing. Hate it. I use the dryer to iron things. That being said, you MUST iron when quilting - it makes it look better and also makes it easier. Trust Shan (that's me) on this.


 Iron all your seams in the same direction - this goes for each row that you iron. This will make it easier to sew them all together once you're done with your ironing. See my before and after pics here...


Alright - ironing done? Great - now grab your first two rows. Place them right side together and sew along the bottom side of your first row.
Do your best to match the squares up as you go along, but don't panic if you can't - it all works out in the wash. None of mine certainly have perfectly squared up corners - yet. But we all will, eventually. Remember this is a first quilt - matching corners is a long way off (for me, at least!).

Now, keep adding on your rows until you are done.

Iron your new seams down.

Stand back and enjoy the view of your quilt top - it's almost done! Doesn't it look good though? Don't you just want to show everyone you know? I always do!

That's enough for today. Sit back and enjoy what you've just made - in another few short steps you will have a completed first quilt!

Cheers!
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