Sunday, December 25, 2011

Stashbusting 2011 - Week 52

I think this is the last stash-busting report of the year, but I'm writing this early since Sunday is Christmas day.

I have been able to do some sewing the past few weeks and completed a project and almost completed step 1 of Bonnie Hunter's Orca Bay Mystery quilt.

Here's a table runner I recently completed:

And here's the progress on Orca Bay:

I have all 224 QSTs made at this point, although the picture above only shows 122 of them.

Here's the stash numbers for 2011:
Added This Week:       9.72 yards
Added Year to Date:    53.61 yards
Used This Week:         4.87 yards
Used Year to Date:      40.92 yards
Net Year to Date:        12.69 yards

I would almost be in the black for the year, but I bought fabric for the table runner and because it was on sale and the end of bolts...I bought more than I probably should have. ;-)  Oh all works well for stash next year.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Table Runner

I decided to make a table runner for Christmas this year.  Originally, I was going to make place mats, but Rich doesn't like place mats, so I changed things a bit and went with a table runner.  This is my own design and I did the quilting with my Bernina (DSM).

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Binding Tutorial - Perfect Corners

Earlier this year, I took a quilting class (even though I already knew how to quilt and bind a quilt) and learned a new technique for getting the corners of binding JUST right.  Hopefully the pictures and text will be good, as this is the first time I'm trying to do something like this.

 First, you want to start out machine stitching your binding to the quilt top.  The example I have below is for a double-fold binding where I cut the strips at 2.5" wide.  My seam allowance is a little more than a 1/4" as I wanted the binding to be really full.  However, this technique works for any size binding...any seam allowance (and no math involved).

So line up your raw edges of your fabric to the raw edge of the quilt and start stitching with the desired seam allowance.

As you get closer to the corner, you'll want to stop stitching to setup for stitching to the corner.  Now, most binding tutorials have you measure from the corner back towards your needle and make a mark to define where to stop stitching.  The distance from the corner is the width of your seam allowance.  The way this technique works is that before you get to the corner, stop stitching.  Take your folded binding and fold it straight up towards your walking foot.  You'll want the folded edge of the binding at the edge of the corner of the quilt.

Next, while holding your binding folded upwards towards your walking foot, fold the binding again at a 45-degree angle towards the left.  Take a look at the picture below.  I've placed a pin in the folded section to help hold it in place while taking a photograph.  You should be able to see the folded piece that makes the 45-degree angle.

Next, while holding the binding in place, start stitching again and stitch as close as you can to that 45-degree line.  When I get within a stitch or two of the fold, I usually stop the foot pedal and I manually advance the machine with the hand-wheel.  I haven't had the needle catch the fold yet, and I hope it never does! :-)  The picture below will show how close I get to the folded section.

Because we stopped EXACTLY where the 45-degree angle was, we automatically stop at a distance that's the same as our seam allowance from the edge of the quilt.  It works EVERY time.  I've tried it with up to a 1/2" seam allowance and I still got a perfect corner.

Once you get to the folded section, lift up the pressure foot and let the folded piece go straight again.  Back-stitch with your needle to secure the stitches and cut your threads.

Next, fold your binding upwards like the picture below.  This is how you "normally" do the binding corner.

Once its folded upwards on the 45-degree angle, you can fold the binding straight down towards you.  The raw edge of the binding should be lined up with the raw edge of the quilt.  Here's a close-up of the corner.  I usually use some straight pins to hold things in place until I start stitching.

Finally, start stitching again by placing your needle in at approximately the location where the 45-degree angled piece starts underneath.  It doesn't matter if you're a little over it, but I've found that if I start stitching from the edge, it makes it hard to turn the binding when I hand-sew it to the back.

Hopefully this was easy enough to follow.  If anyone does run into problems (or has questions), feel free to contact me.

Quilting Updates - Orca Bay

It's been a while since I posted anything quilt-worthy.  We've been busy with work and with getting the house settled in, plus with Christmas fast approaching, we've been spending quite a bit of time doing prep-work for Christmas (shopping, wrapping, cards, etc.).

I have been sewing a bit though.  A few weeks ago, I posted here about joining a mystery quilt being run by Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville.  I'm WAY behind the steps that are released, but I'm working away at step one.  For step 1, I need 224 quarter square triangles (QSTs) that are at 2.5" square.  When they are actually sewn into the quilt they will be a mere 2" in the overall design.  These are TINY! :-)

Here's 122 of them sewn and trimmed to size:

Here's the first four I made.  I wanted to make sure I was getting the size right before I did a whole bunch.

Here's about 30 more blocks ready to be sewn.  These will end up with 60 QSTs once they are sewn and cut apart.

These piles are the next pairs of fabrics to make the QSTs.  I think I have enough blocks to make the full 224 that I need.  I'm not exactly sure since I was confident I had all of them the first time and ended up with only 122....exactly half.  I think this set will put me close to the end.  I may have to cut an few squares to get the full 224.  Then on to step 2.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Human 101

In the new house, we have one of these....

....a wood-burning fireplace.

Shortly after we moved in, we tried out the fireplace.....

....and failed Human 101. :-)

Rich had an awful time lighting the fire.  Heck, we couldn't even get the stupid paper to light properly, how did we think the wood would catch fire.  It eventually did catch, but it was a very smoky fire and all-in-all a poor fire.  Precisely 2 hours after starting it...all the smoke detectors in the house went off.  Argh!

After thinking about it a while, we thought maybe it was poor because it was a warm day out and maybe we didn't get a proper draft up the flue.  So we decided to try another fire on a colder weekend.

Fire #2....decent fire, but still not great.  We were able to light it up fairly well, but it was still smoky and 2 hours later, the smoke detectors went off.

Let me tell you....smoke detectors are VERY loud in a house where there's lots of hard surfaces and no rugs down yet because the sealer on the wood floors still needs to fully cure.

Fire #3....we finally got it right...I think we may have passed Human 101 this time. ;-)

We had called the fireplace store and they recommended lighting two pieces of newspaper right up by the flue first and get that heated up.  It was soon as the flue was warmed up, you could hear a roaring sound start and it was just all the air rushing up the flue.  It would have scared the heck out of me if I didn't know it was going to do that.

This fire was very good and was a very hot fire.  Definitely nice and toasty considering it was close to freezing outside.  Plus, we were burning with cherry wood - yummy smells!

The only downside so far with the fireplace is that we've determined that every time the blower on the fireplace runs (yes, even though its a wood burning fireplace, it has a rheostat that turns on a fan to blow the hot air around the room), the smoke detectors go off.  If we purposely leave the fan off, smoke detectors are quiet.  We're having the fireplace guys come take a look at some point because its kind of irritating that we can't use the blower on the fireplace, but the fireplace itself is very nice and cozy. 

I'll share some pictures when we get cleaned up a bit and get the Christmas tree up....hopefully this weekend.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Mystery Quilt

Bonnie Hunter over at Quiltville is having another of her Mystery Quilts.  This time its called Orca Bay based upon a recent trip to Alaska.

While I haven't ever done one of Bonnie's mysteries, they always intrigued me.  Despite the fact that I don't really have a ton of time to quilt, I decided to try this mystery.  I'm still working on part 1, but I'm excited about this quilt.  Its a "smaller" one of Bonnie's designs, so maybe I'll actually finish it.

Most people are up to step 3 and while I have looked ahead a bit, up to step 3 its still just piecing individual blocks.  If I see a step that starts to get into assembly, then I don't plan on looking at it.

So far on part 1, I have made 4 QSTs that are 2.5" square.  I have the pieces cut to make the remaining 220 QSTs, and have half of them marked.  I hope the string piecing in part 2 goes a little faster than part 1.  QSTs always seem to take a while, especially when you have to mark the pieces twice because I don't have the companion or easy angle rulers that would make it faster.

I'll post some pictures later this week once I get a few more QSTs made.