Giving Back

Quilt

Stashpoppa and I are getting ready for an adventure in Brazil so there is a long list of to-do items before the adventure can begin.  One of those items was to attend a wedding shower for a friend’s daughter.  During our conversation my friend mentioned that she still had her daughter’s wedding quilt to quilt and with the wedding  just one week away, she knew she was running out of time.  I weighed in my head all the things this dear friend still needed to do, in addition to her daily employment, and all the things I still needed to do and I decided that helping my friend was the most important thing I should do.  So I offered to quilt the wedding quilt for her.  Knowing that this friend also quilts I wasn’t too sure that my offer would be accepted.  But I had offered!

Three days later there was a knock on my front door.  The bride stood there with her quilt and asked if my offer still stood.  Of course I said yes.  She thanked me profusely and said that her mother would be so relieved if I would do this for them.  That evening was spent putting the quilt on my rails and the next day was dedicated to quilting the wedding quilt.  I had my fingers crossed all day that my machine would cooperate fully, especially that the thread and tension would get along nicely so that the stitching would be perfect.

Corner  Border

After a long day at the rails, having had to unpick only one small section, the quilt was finished.  As I removed it from the rails I marveled that the stitching was almost perfect.  Almost always when I quilt I have to unpick at least one or two rows because of tension issues.  For whatever reason, this day my machine, the threads, and tension, were all in agreement and the finished product was indeed a beauty.

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The colors of the quilt are so vibrant and fresh yet timeless that it is one of my favorite quilts.  Also,the bride and both her parents were so pleased with the results that it was very rewarding to know that I had been able to help.  But isn’t that what service to others is all about?

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!

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!

Quilted Harmonies- America the Beautiful UFO

The first UFO I chose to finish for this year’s UFO series was a quilt that I had begun with my VBQF (Very Best Quilt Friend) almost 3 years ago. It was a 6 month Block of the Month she had found in the Jan/Feb 2011 issue of McCall’s Quilting, and had been dying to do.

“6 months!” She said.

“No problem!” She promised.

“We can do it!” We told each other.

Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

We started off strong and met every month- for the first two months. Then, we’d stretch it out to six weeks. Then it was every 3 months. We finally made a push to get it done, and she finished hers and sent it off to the quilter. I had everything done for mine except the borders. For some reason, I always stall on the borders, and this one especially as the final border was pieced. Since I was so close to finishing, this seemed like the ideal candidate to begin this blog series. (Please tell me that I am not the only one who gets back-logged on Block of the Month quilts!!)

My VBQF is very traditional in her color choices. She likes navy and tan and blacks and blues. So, she chose to piece her version of America the Beautiful using those colors.

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Way back when I was beginning to think about this pattern, one of my favorite fabric designers, Verna Mosquera from Vintage Spool, had just put out her new fabric collection called October skies. I loved it. Who cared that it was pink and brown? America the Beautiful can be pink, white, and blue, right?

This was the piece that started it all:

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(I ended up using it as my backing, but all of my borders and sashings come from this line. And I matched my inner fabrics to the outer, collection fabrics.

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I love how it turned out!

I just sent this baby off to my quilter, so stay tuned for a final showcase!

What color way would you choose for this pattern?

Linking up with Let’s Bee Social!