Monday, April 30, 2012

The Last Corner of the Graduation Quilt!

I finished the free motion machine quilting of the Graduation Quilt late yesterday afternoon.

This week after work I will make and sew on the binding.

Reaching the final corner is always a joyous occasion!
I had my doubts that I would finish the quilt by Friday, which is graduation day, but if all goes well, I should just squeak in by the deadline!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Pin Basting Gentlemen's Quarters

Here's what I've been doing during a few minutes here and there this week. I should be able to start machine quilting Gentlemen's Quarters by the weekend.

A system of safety pins at the center point in the middle and two ends of the backing, matched up to toothpicks taped to the corresponding center points on the cutting board help me to make sure everything is centered. I sure would hate to end up with the backing or batting turned just crooked enough to be a disaster!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Gentlemen's Quarters Tutorial

I finished the Gentlemen's Quarters quilt top this morning.

So, as promised here are the instructions for the Gentlemen's Quarters quilt I posted about HERE. For a long period of time this pattern could be found on the McCall's Quilting website. But, it has been removed, so I put together these basic instructions.

This is a very simple quilt. Its just made of squares set on point with setting triangles and borders.

**** I highly recommend that you cut some sample squares and setting triangles and sew them together before you cut all the pieces.

These instructions will yield a quilt that is 85 by 101. The original quilt was full size, but I needed it to be larger, so I just cut the blocks 5 1/2 inches instead of 5 inches and made the borders wider. I even added an extra 3 inch border.

If you want to make another size quilt, just adjust the size of the squares and borders. At the bottom of this post there are two pictures that show the original quilt made according to the McCall's Quilting instructions, which yields a full size quilt.

First you will need to cut 142 - five and 1/2 inch squares in the colors of your choice. You can alternate the blocks with a solid color or make them all plaid or what ever you decide on. If you want to alternate them like I did, you would need 70 plaid or colored squares and 72 solid color squres.

You will also need 80 setting triangles. The setting triangles and the first border need to be the same color so that the squares in the center of the quilt will "float". You will need to cut these setting triangles from 8 3/8 inch squares by cutting across the square diagonally two times. Cutting the triangles this way will prevent the outside edge of the quilt top from being stretchy.

If you decide to make your squares a different size there is a formula for figuring out the size the square needs to be or you can just look at a chart like the one shown HERE on the Quiltville site. If you look at the finished size of your squares to be set on point, the chart gives you the size of the square that the setting triangles are to be cut from.

It is very helpful if you have a bed or design wall on which to lay out your blocks and triangles. Lay out the squares and triangles on the diagonal of the bed. In other words you start at one corner.

Some of the rows:

After sewing all the blocks together into rows, you will start sewing rows together in the corner.

Its important to make sure all the corners of the squares match.

Each of the 4 corners are made up of two of the setting triangles.

Sew half the rows together. Then sew the other half of the rows together. You will have two big triangles to sew together which yields the center of the quilt top.

At this point its a good idea to measure the outside of your quilt to be sure there is at least 1/4 inch all the way around the quilt top so that when you sew on the first border you don't lose any points. I used a clear ruler and a pen to make sure the distance from the points of the squares were as near the same all the way around as possible. Its ok if there is more than 1/4 inch since that will just give you more float space.

On my version of this quilt top I cut the first border, which is the same fabric as the setting triangles, 3 1/2 inches wide for a 3 inch finished border.

I cut the next border 3 1/2 inches wide for a 3 inch border and the final border 7 1/2 inches wide for a 7 inch border.

This is a picture of the original pattern which yielded a full size quilt.

This is the first quilt that I made for my son using his old jeans and flannel, which is a full size quilt. As you can see it didn't have as many borders as my current version.

I hope these instructions are helpful and not too confusing!

Monday, April 9, 2012

What's On Your Bed?

Bonnie at Quiltville's Snips and Quips is hosting a linky party today to show what quilts are on our beds. CLICK HERE to see more quilts.

So here is my bed with EARY AUTUMN, a quilt I made in 2010.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Repurposing Noah's Ark and a Sewing Tip

I purchased a like new denim Noah's Ark ladies jumper from a thrift store a few years ago. My sole purpose in purchasing it was for the wonderful soft denim fabric.

The top portion of the jumper had this wonderful Noah's Ark design appliqued on it and I had been saving it for some future project. I decided to make my grandson a small tote bag. Here's the front:

The jumper already was lined so I just used the overcasting stitch on my machine to sew the seams. This closed up the seam so it would be finished nicely on the inside.

I lost some of the animals' body parts when cutting out the bag because the arm holes of the jumper were round, but my tote bag needed to be rectangular.:o)

The back:

A trip to the dollar store for various "creatures" and a Noah's Ark book with CD, completed this project and gift for my grandson.

A great sewing tip is that if you need nice denim fabric at a good price you can find lots of denim skirts and jumpers at yard sales and/or thrift stores. Many of the now out of style denim garments have full skirts that contain yards of denim fabric.

The jumper I used in this project looked as if it had never been worn and the denim was very dark. I washed the bag after making it to get rid of any excess dye and to make it soft. After washing it I hung it on a hanger to dry and then pressed it.