Things I’ve Learned from Carol: 9 Patches

How to Correctly Sew a 9 Patch

Sew together three sets of two squares, right sides together, using a leader piece to sew on and off. (you should end up with three sewn pieces)

Important tip:  Don’t clip the threads between patches, and don’t press them yet.

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Sew on the last block for each row.  Again, don’t clip threads, and don’t press.

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match edges
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sew on third square of each row

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Match the first two rows, right sides together.  Adjust the fabric pieces so that they match on the first seam line in the middle. They should “kiss” each other.  As you sew the rows together, flip the seam allowance up away from you for the first square. This allows the corners to “snuggle” in together nicely.  Use your stiletto and hold the fabric on that middle seam allowance. Gently pull the fabric so that the two pieces “settle” into their proper, matching spots.

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Notice how the seams “kiss” each other.
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Top seam allowance is flipped up, away from you, and bottom seam allowance is flipped down, towards you.

Once you’ve sewn to the middle seam allowance, stop and adjust your fabric again.  The second square of the row is opposite:  Flip the top seam allowance down and towards you, the bottom up and away from you.  Because this “feels” funny for the fabric pieces, they will likely slip a little.  Hold the seams firmly, or better yet, put a pin ahead of the matched seams.  Once you’ve sewn to the second seam allowance, stop and adjust your fabric again, this time matching and then holding the bottoms of the fabric.

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Top seam allowance is flipped down and towards you, bottom seam allowance is flipped up and away from you.
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Placing a pin in front of, or ahead of, the seam allows the fabric to remain in place better.

Repeat this process with the third row of the block.

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You can see by this picture that I still need to work on getting those second seam allowances to snuggle better.   You don’t need to unpick the entire row, however!  Just a few stitches ahead of and behind those mis-matched seam allowances.  Re-position them, remembering to let them “kiss and snuggle.” Re-pin, and re-sew.  If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!

Pressing a 9-Patch

Similar to pressing a 4-patch, shown here, correctly pressing a 9-patch will give you flatter results.

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Start by clipping a thread from the seam allowance on the raw edge side.  Then, carefully open the center seam allowance so that it lays flat, and mimics a 4-patch.
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Press the seams one at a time, going around as if a clock.  The seams should lay down based on how you’ve opened up the center little 4-patches.

I finished my 9-patch off by adding a cute Around the World sort of border.  I love how it looks!

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Let’s Bee Social!

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Things I’ve Learned from Carol: Four Patches

So… (pun intended)… I have pieced many a quilt.  I’ve been quilting for at least 20 years (yes, I started quilting while still in my mother’s womb!) and until last month, I didn’t realize how many bad habits I had, or even that although I had taught myself adequately, my techniques needed work.  And some things I have been doing for all these years were just plain wrong.  I could never figure out why my blocks would never come out square and the size the pattern would tell me it should be.  Instead of investigating, (remember I am the LAZY quilter of this bunch!) I just chalked it up to the weight of the thread, or the weave of the fabric, or rulers that scooted, or whatever other excuse we have all made for getting wonky squares.

And then I sewed with Carol.  And she taught me how to finally get a block to come out square and flat, and even have matching seams.

I pass along this information for two reasons.  The first is selfish:  I learn best when I have to regurgitate information and teach it to others.  The second is more altruistic:  I  simply hope that it will help someone out there in cyberspace take one more baby step on their journey to being a better quilter.

How to Correctly Sew a Four Patch

Sew together two sets of two squares, right sides together, using a leader piece to sew on and off. (you should end up with two sewn pieces)

Don’t iron the first two pieces you have sewn together!  (This is probably THE MOST IMPORTANT step I never knew!)

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Sew them first to the other two patches, matching the top of your two pieces.

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Use a leader, sew onto the fabric and stop.

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Adjust the fabric pieces so that they match on the seam line in the middle. They should “kiss” each other.

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The seam allowance of the top piece should always face away from you and the bottom towards you. This will allow the fabric to “fall” or “snuggle” into it’s correct position.

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Use your stiletto and hold the fabric on that middle seam allowance. Gently pull the fabric so that the two pieces “settle” into their proper, matching spots.

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Once you’ve sewn to the middle seam allowance, stop and adjust your fabric again, this time matching and then holding the bottoms of the fabric.

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Sew off onto your leader.

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To iron your four patch:

Clip one of the seams from the seam allowance of the middle, bulky part of the patch. This will allow the seams to be pressed the correct direction.

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 Looking from the back, seam allowances should go clock wise around the square. So, press one down towards you (just the seam, NOT the whole patch), then move to the next one going clockwise around.

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Because you clipped that seam, the center seam allowances should now open up and lay flat- no more bulk!  It’s like magic! 🙂

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Once the seams are pressed, press again (from the back still), gently pulling the corners into square position.

Flip the four patch over and press again on the seams, going clockwise.

 

Pull the pieces gently to allow the iron to make sure the seam is nice and flat with no “lips.”

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Voila!  That is one good looking four-patch!

*A huge Shout-Out to my 16 year old photographer!*

Let’s Bee Social!

The Rippling Hexi Quilt

In the spirit of finishing our Unfinished Projects in 2016. I present to you today:

The Rippling Hexi QuiltRippling Hexi Main

Just a little back story on this project.  I LOVE hexi’s!!  I picked up this darling Jelly Roll of Riley Blake Hexagon fabric at Quilt Market 2014.   Needless to say that for over a year, I thought and thought and picked my brain on how to best use this jelly roll.  I knew I wanted to make something Hexi, but I wanted to go hexi big!  One day I was perusing all the beautiful log cabin blocks out there, and had light bulb moment.  I sat down the next day and started to sew.

My finished quilt measures 38″ x 53″ (But it is easily adaptable to go bigger or smaller)

Supplies for this project:

1 jelly roll-2 1/2in strips

2 yards coordinating fabric (I used 1 yard of a grey & white polka dot and 1 yard of a black and white polka dot)

Batting

Backing Fabric

Binding (I striped my leftover fabric and used that for binding)

Hexagon Template (Marti Michell: My Favorite Hexagon Ruler 6 sizes-2-4/12 Finished Sizes)

Cutting Fabric:

Using Template: Cut your beginning size hexagon out of chosen yardage fabric.  I chose to use the largest size on my template which has 5” sides finishing off to 4 1/2 inch sides and I cut my Hexagon out of the grey & white polka dot fabric. 

Cut the rest of your yardage into 2 1/2 inch strips for easy sewing.

Organizing for Sewing:

I went thru my jelly roll and organized my strips into rainbow order (Red Pink Orange Yellow Green Blue) and then I took the multi colored stripes and “placed” them where I thought they would blend in the best.  It was the same process for the black & grey fabric from the Jelly Roll pack.  It was my plan all along to alternate the black & white polka dot fabric between each of the jelly roll fabric.  Because I started with the grey & white, it was easy to alternate from there.

Sewing:

This is where it gets fun!  Grab your headphones, tablet, a book on tape or episode to binge watch and let’s get going. 

1. Take your hexagon and sew the first jelly roll strip to just one side of the Hexagon! 

2. Stop and press seam open with preferred method.  (I pressed to one side on this project)

3. Trim the excess strip with ruler and rotary cutter, being careful to trim exactly to the next side of the hexagon.   Repeat Steps 1 thru 3 of the sewing directions.  This time trimming the first sewn edge to keep the hexagon angles.Hexi 1

Strip 2:

Hexi 2

Strip 3:

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Strip 4:

Hexi 4

Strip 5: 

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Strip 6:

Hexi 6

And there is the beginning of your adorable Rippling Hexagon quilt.  Now, if you notice on the main picture of my quilt, I decided to off set the main hexagon for a fun variation.  To do this you need to decide how “wide” you want your quilt.  Add several rows of strips just like described above.  After you have made several rows around the main hexagon, you can square up the bottom corner.

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Keep sewing on the remaining three sides until you have achieved the “width” that you would like your quilt to be. When it gets to that point, square the second corner (taking care to make sure your hexi is straight) From that point on… you are only sewing on 2 sides and then on 1 side. 

Once you have reached the height of the quilt are making you can give it one good press, layer it with batting and backing and quilt it as you see fit. 

I find a scrappy binding is an adorable way to finish off a quilt as bright and scrappy as this.  Plus I love the fact that there is no left overs. 

Rippling Hexi 2

If you would like a printable version of this quilt, please visit our free projects page. (And if you aren’t registered, please do so. We pinky promise that we won’t share your information!!)

Let’s Bee Social!

Things I’ve learned from Carol

I belong to a local quilt group- we are loosely organized, and in no way resemble a guild, but we get together once a month and work on quilts.  Sometimes we are all doing the same one, and sometimes we are just working on our own things.  We are lucky enough to have a woman in the group who also teaches classes at the local quilt stores.  She is amazing, and I have learned so much from her.

Recently, we started working on an awesome new pattern put out by Lori Holt of Bee in my Bonnet called Farm Girl Vintage. (I have yards and yards of fabric from Art Gallery that is just dying to be used, and I think this quilt will look awesome in a sort of bohemian look, but I digress…)

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As we began our first blocks, and Carol showed us how and what to do, I realized that I had taught myself wrong, and that if I followed her instructions, I would be much happier with my final results.  (Now mind you, I JUST learned this, like a week ago, so I’m still in the process of learning.)  It occurred to me that if I didn’t know these things, maybe others didn’t either. I happen to learn best by regurgitating information, so, I am going to write a blog series called “Things I’ve Learned From Carol.”

  • Always start and END seams with the leader fabric. This way you don’t get bird’s nests at the beginning, and the feed dogs don’t try to eat your fabric at the end.

This is leader fabric.  I just grab some smaller, scrap pieces and use that:

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  • Sew onto your fabric, then pause and match up the bottom of the pieces, holding them in your left hand. Gently pull and adjust the two pieces so they lay straight and match up.

Sewing onto the fabric:

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Matching up the pieces.  You don’t need to use pins for small piecework like this:

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  • With your right hand, guide the fabric as you sew using a stiletto as a mobile “pin”. Your left hand is holding the bottom of the fabric that you just matched, making sure it stays matched up.  If you gently “tug” the fabric in this way (with your left hand holding the bottom, and the top being kept still by the needle), the fabric should just fall into alignment.

Keep the stiletto on the fabric, moving it down, until it hits the needle and runs out of room at the bottom:

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Sewing off the fabric:

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  • Ironing: Before you set a seam, make sure the edges of both fabrics lie straight and match each other. Otherwise, the fabric tends to swoop out and make ripples once it’s opened up:

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Setting a seam is an important step of quilting.  When you set a seam (simply pressing the seam after you’ve sewn it, but before you open it up), it allows the thread to sink into the fabric.  This will make your patchwork flat and lovely.  It also will smooth out many tension issues that can cause wrinkles and puckers.

Setting the seam:

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  • After the seam is set and both ends of the pieces match, open the fabric and using the tip of the iron, gently run down the length of the seam opening the fabric as you go.

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  • I like my seams pressed open unless I’m doing a really bulky corner. (I know, I know, this will probably cause a riot in the comments section… have at it!  What are your reasons for pressing closed or open? I’d love to hear!) I have a neat little tailors seam stick that allows me to press the seam open really nicely.

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  • Finally, turn the fabric right side up, set the iron down across the whole seam and “press.” (Don’t iron- the ironing motion stretches the fabric out)

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I would love to hear if any of this helps anyone but myself out!

(BTW, a big kudos and shout out to my 16 year old who is my photographer… it always amazes me how tech savvy these kids are!  She is taking photography this semester and loves it… she definitely has a knack for it, too!)

Let’s Bee Social Today!

The Hexi Bat Buster

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

As I was decorating for Thanksgiving this year, I needed a little something for my round table.  It sits sort of in the foyer area of our home, so I love having a candle burning as our guest walk into our home.  I didn’t have any linens that were appropriate for this size table so I hurried and whipped up this cutie.

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It is a revised version of the The Bat Buster Quilt.
Which you can get for free by going here!

The best part about this cute little table hexi is that you can make it as big or as little as you like.  And you are busting thru that stash of fabric and batting quick as a whistle.

Here it is before i adorned my table.  I love the colors and the shape. Perfect for Fall and Thanksgiving. thumb_IMG_4843_1024

And here is my table adorned with a garland and my hexigon shaped lantern.

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And because we are SO SO SO grateful for our StashLadies Friends, Family and Supporters: This also is a free downloadable pattern for you!  Just click here, (register if you need to) and it is yours.Thank you! We are so Thankful for your support!!

Dollar Store Project Organizing

Recently a text message chain between the StashLadies has prompted me to think about my Project Organizing and how much I really love the system that I have going on.

I have a “temporary” studio set up in my unfinished basement.  I have wonderful morning light, two awesome 8 foot florescent lights that my honey hung for me, AND my AWESOME Stella Lamps, that work perfectly in the low light hours.  Our plan is to eventually finish our basement and like the planner that he is, Hubs decided to make my studio “expandable” to see how much space I really need.  I have several shelves and utilize bins for easy mobility and re-arranging.

The text started as a question from Quilted Harmonies:
How do you keep your on-going projects organized?”

I use white dish pan basins from the dollar store.
This is what it looks like all stacked into the basin. I can move it around,
pile stuff on it and have it available when I am ready to work on it.

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Here is what I have in this project basin today.
~Prairie Points ready to go, stored in an old stamp container that snaps shut.  Playing 52 pick up isn’t really fun with triangles! This keeps them tamed! 😉
~My Lace Trim
~My Binding all ready to go
~A baggie of the selvedges.
~All the left over fabric. In case I need it prior to finishing the project.
~My pieced backing is ready for a sandwhich
~The Empty $1 Basin

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And in all fairness, the above project is very OCD organized. I am at the tail end of my project and took a minute to clean up my studio the other day.

This dishpan is more what my on going projects look like:

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I do try to keep like items grouped but sometimes at the end of the day or if I need to quickly clean it up, it just gets “swiped” into the basin and piled up.  This project isn’t nearly as complete, so I don’t have any binding, trim or backing ready. It is just the block material I have going on in here.
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As OCD as I am, my natural tendency is to be a pile-er. So, I work with that weakness and pile into baskets, basins, & bins.

How do you organize your ongoing projects?

 

In-an-Afternoon Grocery Bag Tutorial

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I have these awesome fabric grocery bags that were “gifts” from an former employer (stamped with the company logo as big as you please).  They are bright and colorful and I got compliments every where I went with them.  After a good 8-ish years of use, and the fact that I no longer work for said company, I decided it was time to look around for new bags.  What I found just didn’t work as well as the ones I had.  So the other day, I was at the local chain fabric store and I saw this darling bag fabric.  It is stiff, yet light weight and the colors were adorable.  I just had pick up some yardage and make my own bags.
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I present you:
In-An-Afternoon Grocery Bag


Supplies for 1 bag:

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-1/2 yard Lightweight Bag Fabric (My fabric was 59” wide from selvedge to selvedge)
-Double Fold Bias Tape (I bought 0.875 wide and cut it in half lengthwise re-pressed and re-folded it.)
-Thread


Cutting Instructions for a 12″x16″bag:

bag tutorial
Cut 2 each 13”x16” fabric
Cut 2 each 7”x29” fabric
Cut 2 each 2”x31 fabric
Cut 2 each 44” of bias tape
Sewing Instructions:
Step 1:Fold and press 1 of the handles pieces in half lengthwise. You will have a piece that measures 1”x31”. Sew 1/4” down all four sides. Repeat with the second handle piece.
 
Step 2:Take your 2 pieces of 7”x29”. Measure 13” from the end of both pieces and mark with a marking pen. Line up the end of one piece to the 13” mark and you should have a 16” over lap on each piece. Sew 1/4” around this 16”x7” section.
This is doubling up the bottom giving your bag more stability.
**If you prefer to skip this step you can cut your fabric 7”x42 and
skip ahead to step 4.

 

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Step 3: Mark an X from corner to corner of your sewn bottom. Sew on the X to secure the bottom together.

Step 4: Line up one side piece, 13”x16” to the sewn bottom. (The 16”sides will line up). You can find the center of each piece and pin and sew it if you wish. Putting the material wrong sides together: Sew from the edge of the side piece along the 16” line to the end of the side piece. Repeat with other side piece.

piping markedGrocery Bag Tutorial
Step 5: Take the long section not attached and fold it down (see Figure A.) to create a triangle off the bottom/. Next fold the length back up matching up the sides. (see Figure B) Pin and sew down the left side. Repeat on the right side. Repeat Step 5 on the other side of the bag.

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This is what my bag looks like when I am sewing the 2nd side on.
This fabric is pretty stiff!

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Step 6: Sew the piping onto the bag. I sewed the piping onto the front and back of the bag. I started at the top of the bag, sewed until 1/4” off the bottom. Mitered the corner , turned the corner, sewed across the bottom, stopping at 1/4” off the side, mitered the corner, turned the corner and sewing back up to the top.Step 7: Trim the piping to match the top of the bag.

Step 8: Turn down the top of the bag 1” and sew 1/2” down to finish the top.

Step 9: Pin handles 3” in from each side. Sew a 1/4” seam around where the handle overlaps the top hem of the back and to secure the handle, sew an X across the box the seam formed.

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Viola!! Enjoy your adorable shopping bag!

Extra Bonus: Click here —-> for a FREE PDF of this pattern, including the cutting dimensions needed for a 14″x12″ bag.

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