Wednesday, 19 November 2014

A Little Happy Patchy Heart Quilt Along ~ Week 4 Quilt Binding



Welcome back for the final installment of the Patchy Heart Quilt Along.  Today I'm going to show you my favourite method for binding a quilt.  I've tried various ways, but for me personally I always get the best results with this method.  So if you're ready, lets go!

Binding

Firstly we need to join the four 2 1/2" by full width of fabric strips that you cut from your binding fabric. (Just to clarify, the fabric used for my quilt bindings is printed with a diagonal stripe and my binding strips were cut horizontal across the full width of fabric and not cut on the bias)

To do this take two strips and place them right sides together at a right angle, make sure that the selvedges are positioned above and to the side as shown. (You can if you prefer cut them off before you start)  If you have a quilting mat, I find it helpful to use the vertical and horizontal printed lines on it to help give a perfect 90% angle.  Pop a pin in. (step A) 


Now draw a diagonal line at 45%.  Again if you have a quilting ruler, use the lines printed on it to help with the angle  (steps B and C)  

Stitch along along the line (step D) and then cut away the excess leaving a 1/4" seam allowance. 


Repeat this process and  join the remaining two strips and press the seams flat.  

Finally fold the strip in half lengthways, wrong sides together, raw edges meeting and press.

You should now have one long strip ready to bind your quilt.


We're now ready to get stitch the binding to your quilt top.  Take one end of your binding, open out and fold over the end as shown below

Place the opened binding on to the top side of your quilt, right sides together, matching the raw right hand side edge of the binding with the trimmed edge of your quilt.  Stitch with a 1/4" seam allowance (or as close to this as possible if you do not have a 1/4" foot) for aprox 4".

'A little happy' tip ~ I generally start my quilt bindings on either the right hand edge or the bottom edge of my quilt top, aprox 2/3rds of the way down/across, I find this way my eye isn't drawn to its position once the quilt is completed.
Sorry I forgot to photograph the next picture, so this is a different project, but the process is the same.  Refold the binding (you should now have both raw edges of the binding matching the cut edge of your quilt)  and start sewing the binding to the quilt top aprox 3" lower than the starting position of stitching in the previous step, this creates a little opening.  Again use a 1/4" seam allowance or a close to this as possible.
Continue sewing until you reach the first corner of your quilt......STOP stitching 1/4" from the corner (as indicated by the arrow).  Cut your threads, but NOT the quilt binding.
 Fold the binding upwards, making sure the raw edges of the binding are in line with the edge of the quilt top.  Can you see that nice 45% angle on the fold line of the binding.......
 Now bring the binding back down so the the raw edges now meet the side of the quilt again and the fold across the top of the binding is running in line with the top edge of the quilt that you previously attached the binding to (as indicated by the dashed line).  You're now ready to sew the next side.  Start 1/4" lower than the previous stitched edge (as indicated by the arrow)
Repeat this process until you have stitched all four sides and you are back where you started.  As you approach your start position, gently unfold the little pocket opening that created at the beginning and slip the tail end of your unstitched binding in to it,  trim away any excess binding that goes beyond/exceeds your 3" opening.  Refold the pocket binding and make sure that all the layers are laying flat......
 Continue sewing until you reach your first stitches (as shown in the circle).  That's it your binding is now sewn to the front side of your quilt.  By the way, can you see that little pucker in the binding, where I finished stitching..... oh how cross was I........
.....luckily this was just on this side and when I checked underneath, the seam line between the binding and quilt was lovely and smooth, so no action was necessary as this eventually was hidden when I folded the binding round to the back.

This is what the join line should look like on the front of your quilt.....
Grab yourself a cuppa and find a nice comfortable place for a spot of hand stitching.  I love to stitch bindings on an evening with something good on tv!

The final step is so hand sew the binding to the back of your quilt.  Starting from the point where you began machine stitching the binding, fold the binding over to the back of the quilt this overlaps and hides all the raw edges.  Bring the edge of the binding past your seam line from where you stitched the binding to the front, so that this is hidden and whip stitch in place.

To whip stitch, inbed your knot in the underside of the binding, then take your needle through the quilt backing and into the wadding for about 1cm (as shown in the main picture below), make sure you do not pierce the quilt front, then bring the needle back out and into the binding, as indicated by the cross, then repeat.  You can see from the inset photo how this stitch looks in progress.
This is a lovely stitch to use as it is almost invisible apart from tiny stitches going from the binding into the backing every cm or so. 
When you reach a corner, you will find that the binding naturally creates a 45 degree angle on the fold as indicated by the arrow (step A), to create the mitred corner, fold the binding on the next side of the quilt over to the back (step B),  catch the corner in place with a couple of neat little stitches (step C) and then continue whip stitching (step D) until all your binding is  neatly sewn in place.
'A little happy' tip ~ when you need to change your thread, secure your stitching and then take your needle in to the wadding bringing it out aprox 1" away.  Pull on the thread so that it is taught and snip close the backing fabric, the thread end will then slip back inside the quilt and out of sight.
Hooray.......that's it you're done, you should now have your very own Patchy Heart Quilt to snuggle under.



As always, if you have any questions, please do pop me an email or leave a comment below and I'll do all that I can to help.

I would LOVE to see pictures of your finished quilts, so if you share any on Instagram or Facebook, tag me or use the hashtag:

#alittlehappyqal

or send them to me by email.

Thank you once again for joining me on the Patchy Heart Quilt Along and I hope that you enjoyed it as much as I did!!

Monday, 17 November 2014

PJ's for Poppy

To fund raise for Children in Need, the children had to wear PJ's for school on Friday.  No problem, you would think having so far this school year rustled up costumes for Victorian day, Roald Dahl day, Pirate day and Red, White and Blue day..... that is until early last week when I actually looked at Poppy in her PJ's and realised that her trousers were half way up her shins!!

Quick phone call to Nan (Penny) and before you could say Jack Robinson, she had sewn some pretty PJ bottoms for me.  She adapted the pattern she had used for Poppy's shorts this summer and she used the gorgeous Michael Miller Berry Ta Dot .  The t-shirt was a plain one we already had and I added the matching star using bondaweb and then machine stitched it for durability.

I tried to get some good photo's for you, but having left it until 2 minutes before we should been on our way to school and the concept of standing still not coming easy to a 6 year old, they're not the best............



 and it would appear that standing in a relaxed manner, is equally difficult.....
but sitting still....yes much better!

Having learnt my lesson, I'm super organised for red, green or gold day coming up later this month, (fund raising for the PTFA)... Nan has worked her magic again and made Poppy this very twirly skirt from Michael Miller's Yule Trees, which just so happens to co-ordinate perfectly with the Berry Ta Dot.......

This time, I decided to go with a pretty hanger shot....so much easier....

 and can you guess my thinking..... remember the PJ top.....
 ....... well now we have a star on top of a Christmas tree!

I hope that you had a lovely weekend.

(Our fabric manufacturers recommend that their fabrics are not used for childrens’ sleepwear, Poppy will therefore be wearing hers for slouchy weekends!)

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

A Little Happy Patchy Heart Quilt Along ~ Week 3 Layering and Quilting


Welcome to week 3 of the Patch Heart Quilt Along.  I hope that you enjoyed sewing all your hearts and piecing your quilt top together.  This week we're going to be layering and quilting.

Layering

For this step you will need your backing fabric*, your wadding/batting* and your quilt top.  Both your backing fabric and quilt top should be well pressed.

* If I were making a larger quilt I would always allow for my backing fabric and wadding to be at least 4" larger all round than my quilt top.  For this quilt I allowed 2" all round which  made it possible to make the quilt using 1.25m of backing fabric and wadding with very little wastage.

You're now going to make a quilt sandwich.......

First off, lay your backing fabric right side facing down on a flat clean surface, ideally one that isn't carpeted is easier. Smooth it out so that it is laying nice and flat without any wrinkles, then using a low tack tape (masking tape is ideal, but I couldn't find any to hand so I used washi tape...what a waste!) tape all four corners and at intervals along the sides to hold it in place.

Now lay your wadding centrally on top, again smooth it out so there are not any wrinkles.  You'll find that it will start to naturally stick to your backing fabric.

On top of this lay your quilt top, right side facing upwards.  Make sure that it is centred up with an even border of wadding and backing fabric visable all round.  As before smooth it all out so that it is laying nice and flat.


Grab some safety pins and starting from the centre of the quilt pin through all three layers.  Working outwards pin at regular intervals, you can never have too many, one at the centre of each block would be good.  Once you've done this you're ready to quilt!


Quilting

When it comes to quilting, I am definitely a straight line quilter by nature for both hand and machine quilting.  One of my goals for next year is to find my curvier self and explore fans and scallops etc.  But as you can see from the picture below, machined straight lines were the order of the day, by all means quilt yours as desired.

'A little happy' note on quilting.....For machine quilting I switch to my walking foot on my machine.  This type of foot allows the three layers of the quilt to move more evenly and prevents them from bunching up.    If you do not have a walking foot, do not despair, when I made my Tilda brick quilt last year, I didn't have a walking foot, so I used my standard machine foot, you can see the results of this HERE.  If you take to quilting, then I would highly recommend investing in both a walking foot and a 1/4" foot for future projects.



So if you would like to quilt your quilt like mine, here's a little more detail for you.  I set my machine on a slightly larger stitch than I normally use for general sewing and personally I like to use 100% cotton thread to match my fabrics.  I quilted horizontally and vertically using the seam lines on the 4 patch and heart blocks as a guide, with the edge of my machine foot following the seam line.  This gave a lovely grid effect.  Sorry the second picture is a different project, but can you see what I mean with the edge of the machine foot?

Here's a little graphic which hopefully illustrates the course I took.  I started in the centre of my quilt (green arrow) by starting in the middle and smoothing the fabric as you go helps prevents bunching and stitched horizontally, either side of the blocks (as indicated by the red arrows) moving towards the top of the quilt (ending at the yellow arrow).


There's no need to stop stitching and cut your thread at the end of each row, simply stitch outside the quilt top in to the excess wadding and backing fabric, moving from one row to the next.  

Take your time and take a break if necessary.

I repeated the process for the bottom half starting at the pink arrow, working downwards until I reached the aqua arrow.


Now you could stop there and simply have the horizontal lines, this would look lovely (my brick quilt has horizontal lines only!)  or you could as I did, repeat this process for the vertical quilting, remember to start in the middle working outwards to the right and then repeat from the middle to the left.

You can see the grid pattern on the back .....


'A little happy' Tip.... I wear a pair of gardening gloves (clean ones!) with those little sticky palms, they really help to move the quilt about whilst stitching.


You can see more pictures of quilting in progress HERE.

Now just in case you think that my quilting was perfect and went without incident, well as you can see mine does have the odd little bit of bunching....... so if that happens to you, either grab your seam ripper and try again or if it's just a little imperfection, grab a cuppa and move on, believe me when it's all completed, you will not see this little blip, it is after all handmade and none of us are perfect!!


The final step this week is to trim away the excess wadding and backing fabric so that they are even with the edge of the quilt top and that's it your done!  Next week for the final instalment we'll be adding the binding, so I look forward to seeing you then and don't forget so that I can take a peek, if you share any pictures on Instagram or Facebook please do use the hashtag:

#alittlehappyqal

Happy Quilting!

Monday, 10 November 2014

A little crafty catch up

I've got quite a few larger projects on the go at them moment so it's been great fun to work on some small and really quick little makes.  These actually came about as a result of some furniture make overs that Andy did to freshen up some 'new to us' furniture.  He did such a lovely job, I thought it would be best to add some protective little mats to prevent them from getting excessively scratched.  I like things to naturally age rather than be damaged through neglect, if you know what I mean!!

So first up was this 'Quilt As You Go' runner.  This was a brand new technique to me which I learnt from this fabulous book.  I 'met' Jera via Instagram and I was very inspired by her beautiful quilts, you can see more on her blog here.  I was thrilled therefore when she suggested a little swap, so I sent her some pretty fabrics from my personal stash and she sent me her lovely book..... result! The fabrics I used were all from the very pretty Ballet Rose collection, which I have loved ever since they arrived for the website and our newly painted hall cupboard provided the perfect opportunity for me to use them.

Now I know a pink set of drawers in your hallway is not everyone's cup of tea, but oh boy...... I love it and I love my husband even more for not only agreeing to the colour, but then painting it for me....I knew he was a keeper the moment I met him!


Can you see that cupboard in the kitchen, the white one, well under the lamp is this little mat.......
I just love Dresden Plates...for this one I used a mix of all my favourite 30's Repro's and ditsy prints, which I hand stitched on to some Essex Linen...it makes me smile every time I turn that lamp on!
Just out of sight in the kitchen is our new dresser, a £40 bargain on Ebay...can you believe it?  It was originally orange pine with rather twiddly glass doors, but again with a lick of primer and paint this was the result.   It's now home to my crochet Mandala which I made back here and for the scales to sit on I delved into my scraps to make a simple little quilted mat.
Who would have thought that scraps could be turned into something so pretty.  (I started of with 1 1/2" squares which I made into 4 patches then stitched these together.)
I've also made a couple of gifts.  This little mini quilt was a thank you to gift to one of my friends for having us over for a Halloween supper.  The leaf pattern was from my other favourite book of the moment 'Quilty Fun' by Lori Holt.  Now I know this book is extremely hard to get hold of in the UK, I got my copy at Festival of Quilts.  I have however tracked down the website of the people I purchased mine from and hooray they still appear to have some.....find it here. 
If you're on Instagram, Lori is also running a Christmas Quilt Along, using blocks from the book, plus there's been a lovely bonus Christmas Tree block.  We're four blocks in, but they're super quick if you want to join in....Pop in the hashtag #haveyourselfaquiltylittlechristmas to take a peek!  Here's my blocks...

Finally here's a little pencil case I made for Poppy to take her friends birthday party.  The squares were left over from previous projects, and I added the little embroidered name tag.  From experience, I know Poppy loves to receive personalised things, so I hope it was well received.

That's it for now, but I'll be back on Wednesday with the next installment of the Patchy Heart Quilt Along..... this week it's all about layering and quilting.  I hope to see you then!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

A Little Happy Patchy Heart Quilt Along ~ Week 2 Appliqued Hearts and Piecing the Quilt Front


Welcome to week 2 of the Patchy Heart QAL.  I hope after last week, that you all have a stack of pretty 4 patches! This week, we're going to make the heart appliqued blocks and piece together the quilt top.  

Appliqued Hearts

The first thing that you will need to do is to print this template.  To do so highlight the picture below, then 'Right' click on your mouse, then select 'open in a new window' and  then print using the keys  'CTLR' and 'P'.  (If you have any problems with this, let me know and I'll email it over to you!)


'A little happy' tip.....I transferred the heart onto a sturdy piece of card, this makes it so much quicker to draw around.  (It's also a lovely size for making little hanging hearts, so I'm sure that it will come in useful in the future!) 

It's Bondaweb time.  Bondaweb by Vilene is the most amazing product, it is a fusible, iron on, double sided adhesive sheet and makes your raw edge applique projects a doddle.   If you're not familiar with using it, here's a step by step guide.

Firstly, trace around the heart template in pencil on to the paper side of the Bondaweb, repeat a further 14 times, leaving a smallish gap in between each heart. (You should have 15 hearts in total)


 Roughly cut out the hearts as shown below, leaving a small border.
The next step is to fuse the rough cut Bondaweb hearts on to the fifteen mini pieces that you had left over from last weeks cutting out session.  Take one roughly cut Bondaweb heart and one of your fabric pieces, place the Bondaweb mesh side down (paper side facing upwards) and iron on to the wrong side of your fabric.  You'll need to iron for about 10 seconds, moving your iron around so as not to scorch the fabric. The heat of your iron melts the adhesive mesh and sticks the bondaweb to the fabric.  Mind your fingers as this stage the fabric will be hot!
Neatly cut out the heart along your traced pencil line and peel away the paper backing.  If it's a little tricky to peel away, use a needle to lift the edge of the paper, taking care not to damage the fabric.
Now take one of your 7 1/2" Kona Squares cut last week, position the heart at the centre of the square, take your time with this, you will not be able to move the heart once you have pressed it, when you're happy iron as before.
That's it, the heart is now bonded to the fabric.  Whilst it is very secure it would not stand up to prolonged use, so you will now need to be stitch it in place.  For this, I prefer to use my standard sewing machine foot and a small straight stitch.  I used white thread, but you could totally change the look of your quilt by using a contrasting colour, it's up to you!  


Try to get as close to the edge as possible (my stitching was aprox 1- 3mm from the edge) this will help prevent fraying in the future.  As a quilt will potentially get lots of washing in its life time, I stitched around each heart 3 times for added strength and durability.  Once you've done this, pull the ends of the threads through to the back, knot and carefully snip them away aprox 1/2" from the knot.



Repeat this process for the remaining 14 hearts.


Assembling the Quilt Top

Now its the fun part.......using the following sketch as a guide, lay out your fifteen 4 patch blocks and fifteen heart blocks.


When making my quilt top, I tried to get an even spread of colour and fabric designs.  I found squinting at it quite useful, take your time and keep playing until you get a layout that is pleasing to your eye.
When you are happy, put each row in to a little pile, making sure that you do not get the order mixed up.  I made myself some little alphabet cards to help me from getting my rows in a muddle.  (A being the top row..... F being the bottom row)
 You're now going to stitch the blocks together to form each row.  Remember if you switched machine foots for your applique to pop your 1/4" sewing machine foot back on!  If you're feeling confident, you could chain sew and work on all the rows at the same time, as I did when I made my little patchwork bag HERE.  Alternatively, work on one row at time.

::EDITED TO ADD::  If you didn't use a 1/4" foot to stitch your four patches, you will find that the Heart Blocks are slightly larger than your 4 Patch Blocks.  To rectify trim your Heart Blocks to the same size as your 4 Patch Blocks, ensuring that you trim evenly from all four sides, ensuring that your heart remains centred and the blocks remain square.

Once you have stitched your rows, you will need to press the seams to one side.  As we did last week, press the stitches first and then press the seams on each row in alternate directions, as indicated by the arrows on the picture below.
 Keep going, you're nearly there!!!!!


You're now going to join the rows.  Starting with the top two rows, as we did for the 4 patch blocks, nest the seams and pop pins in.  This will ensure that you get nice neat joins where you're blocks meet.


Sew together and then press. (The direction of pressing at this step does not matter). Repeat the process adding Row C and continue until all 6 rows are sewn together.
The final stage of the quilt top is to add the border on the outside.  Now hands up, it wasn't until I was editing all my pictures, that I realised that I forgot to take any pictures of this stage.....doh......I'm so sorry!!!!!

So albeit on a slightly smaller scale, in my best 'Blue Peter' voice, here's one I prepared earlier (well is a completely different quilt but the process is the same).....

Take a 2 1/4" x full width of fabric strips of Kona cotton cut last week and pin it to the right hand side of your quilt top, use lots of pins. (Pic 1)  Don't panic, the strip will be longer than the length of your quilt top.  Stitch in place and press. (Pic 2)  Finally trim away the excess at each end (Pic 3)



Repeat for the left hand side, then add the top strip, followed finally by the bottom strip.


That's it you're done, you should now have a beautiful Patchy Heart Quilt Top!!

 As always, if you have any questions, please do pop me an email or leave a comment below and I'll do all that I can to help.

Next week we'll be making a layering and quilting, so I look forward to seeing you then and don't forget so that I can take a peek, if you share any pictures on Instagram or Facebook, tag me or use the hashtag:

#alittlehappyqal

Happy Quilting!