Saturday, August 19, 2017

Picked By Jen - Two-hand Casserole Pot Holder

This Picked By Jen is from Hey Lets Make Stuff

You can find the pattern and tutorial here: The Easy-Sew Two-Handed Casserole Pot Holder.

This really is a quick and easy sew and makes a great gift. In fact this Picked By Jen came about because my husband requested some like his mom's. Since his birthday was yesterday I thought it would be the perfect time to whip it up.

The instructions are easy to follow, but definitely take the time to cut slowly. I was in a hurry and my cuts weren't exactly equal. I made my seam allowance larger to accommodate. Looking at this picture I think it's time I finally bite the bullet and get a pair of pinking shears. What do you think?

Now, because I was in a hurry I pinned just one side, stitched to the other, laid the second side layers together and stitched, only to find out I hadn't paid close enough attention to the sequence. Isn't that the way it goes? When you are in a hurry you will always end up taking out the seam ripper.  You could always twist it in the middle to have the mitts work, but I wanted to make sure I gave him something nice, since he actually asked for it.

  See the opening where you pull it all through right side out? I always back stitch each side, that way if I have to put it all back, and then pull it right side out again, the stitching stays. I can guarantee that works, because I always have to go back and fix something.

Top stitched and ready to use. They turned out great, mistakes and all, and he loved the gift. I will definitely be making this one again, but I will be making it a bit wider and the mitt part a bit longer to fit "man sized" hands.

Fun Fact in Minnesota the casserole is known as a hot dish. What do you call it? 

Happy Stitching!

Friday, August 18, 2017

New digital patterns!

I am excited to add two digital patterns to my Etsy shop.

The first is Criss Crossing. This pattern is for a 78" x 103" quilt top. Using a large block this quilt is quick to build. It is perfect for the college dorm beds as there is a little extra length from the large blocks.

You can also choose to make just one block and turn it into a pillow instead. This quilt is for the advance beginner as accurate seam allowances are important. 

The second pattern is Quilt Crush. This pattern is for a 63" x 81" quilt top. 

The blocks are large enough to showcase some of your beautiful fabric finishing at 9" square. This quilt is perfect for a beginner. 

Follow me on Instagram and Facebook for daily peeks at my work. 

Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Beginners Unite! Labels

Welcome to the last Beginners Unite! 

We're talking labels. As with everything in quilting, there is more than one way to add a label. Have I said that before? ;) There really isn't one way to do anything in the quilting world, you will enjoy it more if you do it your way.

Here are the tools I use for making my labels:
Scrap of muslin or light fabric
Heat n Bond, or any adhesive
Pigma pen/marker
Coordinating fabric strip (here I had extra binding, so I used that)

For this particular label I used a 4" x 3 1/2" muslin rectangle. I cut my heat n bond at 3 1/4" x 2 3/4". This gives me a 1/4" seam allowance all the way around plus a little extra. Leave the paper on the heat n bond for now, this helps stabilize the fabric when you are writing.

I write on the muslin before stitching my "border" pieces on, of course I forgot to take a picture of that. I will also stick a piece of lined paper behind the fabric to give me nice straight lines to follow when writing.

 I like to write the name of the pattern, who it's designed by (still trying to find that info for this one, the perils of not finishing something for 2 years), who it's for, then my name and phone number. On the quilts I mail to my photographer I write directly on the back of the quilt with permanent pigma; name of the quilt, Patterns by Jen, my name, address and phone number.
Once I have written down the pertinent information I will attach the borders, pressing out towards the borders.

When the label is written, the borders are on, then I will remove the paper from the heat n bond and attach it to the back of the quilt. I like the back right hand side. I don't know why, it just feels right.

I fold over the border until I can feel the seam allowance in the fold.

I start stitching the label the exact same way I start the binding.

I also stitch 1/4" stitches.

When I get to the corners where the border is folded I make sure to stitch just the border, not the fabric folded under. This keeps that fold under the border and not peeking out the sides.When I get to the end I knot off the same way I do the binding.

Now you have a nice labeled quilt or wall hanging. If you want to add a hanging sleeve to your wall hanging I have a tutorial HERE.

I hope you have enjoyed the Beginners Unite series!  Next Tuesday I will go over fabric amounts for the Beginners Unite Quilt Along! I hope you will join me.

Happy Stitching!

**Here is the info on the designer of this wall hanging, you may have heard of her, Kimberly Jolly of the Fat Quarter Shop. Follow this link and if you page down to the 2015 March mini, you will find it! Thank you, Pat Sloan, for helping me find my way back to this pattern!**

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Beginners Unite! Hand stitching the binding

It's time for the binding!

I love hand stitching the binding. It's my favorite part. I love sitting and stitching down the binding. Here is how I do my binding.

First we need to square our quilt. While I am showing you on a  wall hanging, I do the same thing for any size quilt I am putting binding on. It is important to have square corners and straight borders. 

Find a place to measure from. With this wall hanging, it's easy, I'm just going to use the border for my measurement. Here I'm using 1 3/4" as my mark.

I use this same measurement all away around. When marking the cutting line, I also make sure the cut I made before is straight as well.

Once the quilt is squared measure your sides and add them all together. For this one it is 13" x 18". 

Once I have this number I'm going to divide it by the width of fabric (WOF). I always use 40" as my go to.

62/40= 1.55

This is how many strips I need to cut for my binding. I take that number and multiply it times the width that I cut my strips. I cut my binding strips at 2" wide. Since I will be cutting two strips I multiply 2 x 2 and know I need 4" x WOF. Find information for Accurate Cutting here.

Place your binding strips right sides together (RST) as shown. Leave 1/4" edge of both strips over the end. 

Stitch from one corner to the other. 

Trim 1/4" from seam.

Now press the binding in half. Years ago I read in a magazine (I don't remember which one) that it's better to press the binding with it hanging over like this, and not have it stretched out along the length of the ironing board. Something about stretching and pulling. 

Press the seams to one side, not open.

Ilike to roll my binding up, it's easy to keep from getting bunched up and knotted. You can also put it in a bag and have it come out slowly. Side note: it's important to know how to get the correct amount for your binding or you will end up with a baggie like the one pictured. That is a sandwich sized bag filled with a long strip of binding. That binding is leftover from the first TWO twin size quilts I ever made. Yes, that is how much extra I made. It was funny then, and still funny now! I hope you have funny quilting stories to tell, but hopefully, not binding if I've done this right!

I leave about 6" when starting to attach the binding. Here is a video to help show how I do the binding. I believe it's easier to watch than to try and do pictures. 

Here is Part 2 of the Binding Tutorial, because YouTube editor wouldn't let me go over 15 minutes. Since I have limited knowledge of video editing, and my family was headed out the door for a family day at the time of this upload, it stays in two segments until I can come back and figure it out. Thank you for understanding!

Do you hand stitch or machine stitch your binding? Let me know in the comments!

While this was the last planned post for Beginners Unite, I'm going to add one more to the list. Next week Tuesday I'll show how I put on my labels.  Don't forget we are going to have a Beginners Unite Quilt Along beginning the first Tuesday of September. More information in the next couple of weeks, but you can check out the quilt we'll be making here: Here a Square, There a Square. It is currently a free lap sized quilt pattern.

Happy Stitching!

1) Intro - May 2 
7) HST - Half Square Triangles (My one true love) - June 13
8) Flying Geese - June 20
13) Sandwich that top - July 25
14) Quilting - Aug 1
15) Binding - You are here!
16) Labels - August 15

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Beginners Unite! Quilting

We have pieced our quilt, sandwiched it and we are ready to quilt.

To be completely honest, I am a much stronger "piecer" than quilter. I have a few tips to share, though, and will hook you up with a couple of links to those who are more knowledgeable in this area.. Plus, stick around to the end and get the info for a Beginners Unite! Quilt Along, sponsored by Phat Quarters.

Tools that I use for quilting on my domestic include a good pair of gloves. I have quilting gloves, but I find they are bulky, so my go to are gardening gloves with the little rubber fingers.

I also use either a walking foot or a free motion foot. Lately, I have used the walking foot for everything. I don't have to decided on a design, I just stitch in the ditch and get it done. When I didn't have a walking foot or a free motion foot I simply used the foot that came with the machine, dropped my feed dogs and quilted away. It can be done.

When machine quilting on your domestic, start in the middle. I'm not an expert, so maybe others say differently, but I have found that it's worth figuring out the quilting pattern from the middle out, even with a lap sized quilt. This keeps the fabric from bunching, especially underneath where you can't see it, as it gets pushed out towards the edge. When using a walking foot (shown) keep the feed dongs up, if you are using a free motion foot, make sure the dogs are down. Start with your needle down, that way you know you are starting in the right place, and pull your thread ends towards the back. Hold them for just a second as you start, to keep them from getting tangled.

My plan is to just quilt the angles, so when I get back to my starting spot I am going to give myself some extra thread before I cut. We'll bury the threads when we are done. If you have a big project I recommend burying threads every now and then so you aren't faced with a bazillion threads to bury. That's no fun.

I work my way around the quilt.

Since I decided to just do the angles I had a lot of stops and starts. It's time to bury those threads. Burying your threads gives your quilt a nice finished look. The backs of my quilts and wall hangings before burying threads (BBT) looked a little rough. Knots all over the place. They are unsightly, but a good reminder of how much I learned, and how I wasn't afraid to try. FMQ (free motion quilting) can be intimidating, but if you can bite the bullet and just go for it, it will be worth it.

See the itty bitty loop? I'm going to use my pin to pull that all the way to the back.

Here is how I bury my threads. I have no idea if this is the "correct" way to do it, but it works for me. Please feel free to share your tips in the comments!!  Flip your top to the backside. Taking one thread, pull on it gently until you get a little loop of the thread from the top side. Pull it all the way to the back.

I do this for all of them before I start knotting.

My little knot loop and the pin goes through that loop and marks the spot I want the knot to end up at.

Make a little loop knot. (For the life of me I can't figure out how to tie a quilters knot, so this is what I do.) I have found that by putting a pin through the little loop know and holding it where I want the know to end up to, next to the backing, I don't end up with a knot half way up the thread.

Once you have your knot, thread your needle and take a stitch directly under the knot and coming up a little bit away from that point, making sure to catch some of the batting, but not coming out on the quilt front.

Pull the thread until the knot "pops" into the fabric. Keeping the thread taut, clip very carefully next to the fabric. (I'm a righty, holding the scissors with my left hand, so I can hold the camera in my right. That was interesting!!) Once the fabric smooths out, the thread will disappear.


Your top is quilted, your threads are buried.

The back is just as pretty as the front.

Christa of  Christa Quilts (new book just came out yesterday and I'll share more in a couple of weeks) hit me with a link that has all of *her* links on free motion quilting articles. Trust me, you will want to check them out, because she teaches this stuff, I just play with it.

Find all of the links HERE.

These two are great starting points: Introduction to Free Motion Quilting and 10 Beginner Tips for FMQ.

Now. Drum roll, please! I'm hosting my very first Quilt Along, and it's especially for those who have been following Beginners Unite! Though anyone can join, obviously. We are going to be making the Here A Square, There A Square quilt I shared in June. This is currently a free pattern for a lap sized quilt.

I think this quilt is the perfect quilt to practice all of the topics we covered, plus a few more, like adding sashing and fussy cutting. I'm so very excited about this!!!  Phat Quarters is sponsoring the Beginners Unite Quilt Along and I'm using the beautiful Haiku 2 fabric line from Monaluna Organic Fabrics. Yum. Phat Quarters is also going to run a sale especially for us that I will announce August 20th along with more information. The Beginners Unite Quilt Along will start September 5th!

Happy Stitching!

1) Intro - May 2 
7) HST - Half Square Triangles (My one true love) - June 13
8) Flying Geese - June 20
13) Sandwich that top - July 25
14) Quilting ~ You are here - August 1
15) Binding - August 8
16) Labels  - August 15

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

August Muggamo

The August Muggamo pattern is here!

This is a simple, simple star, because we are entering into the "dog days" of summer now, and simple, quick and easy is important. 

If you are here for the Beginners Unite! series, it will post tomorrow, with an announcement for a quilt along. Come back for all the news!

Download the instructions HERE.

Cream - Four 2 1/2" squares
Green and Yellow - One 4" square
-Two 3 1/4" squares
*Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of all the yellow squares*
Blue - One 2 1/2" square

Make your half square triangles first with the 4" green and yellow squares. Here is a post on how to make Half Square Triangles.

Hourglass units

Sew 1/4"  on both sides of the drawn line.

I still chain piece, even though there are only a few units being made.

Cut on line. Press towards green.

Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of two HST units. Make sure the line is perpendicular to the seam.

Matching the units, opposite colors, sew 1/4" on both sides of the drawn line.

Cut on the line, press either way.

Square to 2 1/2". The pieces meet at the 1 1/4" mark.

Lay out your block.

Sew into rows first.

Then sew rows together.

Next sew the side piece, noting direction of HST.

Sew the star and side piece together.

Sandwich and pin.

Quilt. Once again I just did a quick stitch in the ditch.

Bind. Enjoy!

Happy Stitching!

When you make your August Muggamo, use #muggamo on social media so I can see what you made!