Monday, November 25, 2013

A Crafty Christmas

I'm going to diverge from my typical topic. This, and likely the following posts through the holiday will be about the gifts that I'm creating. I'm planning to make most of my gifts for people this year. Well, the women folk anyway. I have a hard enough time BUYing things for the men in my life let alone making something for them... and there's only so many quilts you can make for one person.

 I'll start with one of the gifts I am making for my little girl. This is a fun rehash of a doll I made for my niece years and years ago. I purchased the PDF pattern from MMMcrafts which you'll still find in their Etsy shop here: Katy Kitty Doll PDF pattern by MMMCrafts.  Below is a picture in it's beginning stages:

The solid purple body parts are flannel which I prewashed/shrank. The face, eyes, and soon other decorative parts are felt which I will embroider (to the best of my ability). The clothing is scrap quilting cotton. She'll have a little skirt too.
There's a lot more handwork on this project than I'm used to, but I find myself completing these portions out of my creative haven - either in front of the TV or on my lunch break at the J-O-B.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Charmed, Still

This is a continuation of the "Charmed, I'm Sure" charm pack quilt that I posted last week. You can find it here:
 We left off with having completed one set of 4 squares with sashing:
Continue sewing sets of these together until you have six sets. The idea of this is that you have fewer seams to match.

It's kind of hard to tell, thanks to my lack of photography skills, but the top is broken into two parts. The top half and bottom half each have (from left to right) two sets of two of two squares across and three down, and one set of three squares by three squares.
 If you haven't noticed by now, it'll be really easy to accidentally mix up your carefully randomized squares. I recommend only taking one set at a time or putting some other system in place so you don't have to rip out seams and remember where things went.
Next sew each set of two by three to it's neighbor so you'll have two sets of four by three squares and two sets of three by three.

Then you put the top sets with the bottom sets to make two halves.

Put your two halves together, making sure to carefully match the post and sashing.
I thought it was still a little plain so I added borders with my extra yardage. The inner border is 1 1/2" finished and the outer border is 2 1/2" finished with 4" squares at the corners. If this is your first quilt, I recommend doing a simple one strip border sewn on each side..
Ta-da, you have a quilt top!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Charmed, I'm Sure

I started sewing the Christmas quilt using one charm pack, Moda’s Countdown to Christmas.
First thing I did was lay out the 42 squares that came in the charm pack on my project board and fool around with their placement until I was happy with it.I had tried a few different layouts, trip around the world, diagonal, and nothing was working for me. So I decided on random placement for the 5" squares.  I realize that I have a problem with being "actually random" so I have to be "purposefully random". I laid the blocks out in a seven by six block grid as randomly as I could, and just made sure no two of the same color were touching.
After I was happy with the layout of the blocks I was worried that I wouldn't have enough fabric to make a lap quilt. Then light bulb moment: Sashing! I also call it the quilter's friendly extender. I had purchased some yardage from the collection when I ordered the charm pack, and boy am I glad I did.

Cut 100 2.5" X 5" strips of your sashing fabric. I like to use off white or another light color.
 Then sew one sashing strip to the top of each charm block.
Then cut 2.5" squares. Lots of them. I chose two different colors and I will alternate them.

Then sew the 2.5" squares (or "posts") to one end of each remaining sashing strip.
Then sew one sash and square strip to the left side of each charm block.

When you get to the end of your row of seven, sew one sash and square strip on each side.
Then we begin to assemble the quilt top!
Starting on the left start sewing together pairs of the sash & square combo.

Then sew together one paired sash & square combo to the one below it.

That's as far as I've gotten as of Sunday. The most time consuming part is cutting the sashing and posts, and even that doesn't take too long. After this, the top goes together quite quickly, but that'll be next Monday!

Continued here:

Happy Quilting!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Quilting With Pre-Cuts

I’ll be honest, until recently I thought pre-cuts were silly. I thought they were limiting and expensive. I hadn’t purchased any pre-cuts except for the occasional fat quarter and fiercely resisted the thought that a pre-cut might be a good idea. In fact, I scoffed at it. But, I kept coming across all of these great pattern books that called for a charm pack or a jelly roll and I thought to myself, it can’t be that bad. Then I did the math: in one charm pack you have 40 different 5” squares of fabric for the price of one yard of designer fabric. With a Jelly Roll you get 40 2.5” strips of fabric for the price of three yards of fabric. For me, the clincher was knowing the variety I would get in one of the pre-cut packs. I wouldn’t have to stand in the fabric store for an hour or more trying to coordinate 30 different fabrics to only get a ¼ yard of each then only use one or two 5” squares. And unless you have access to a full line of a fabric, it’s nearly impossible to find all of one line in the same place. Yes, it is possible to do a stash buster or a scrappy quilt with these patterns, but sometimes that’s not an option.

So, I’m endeavoring on my first two pre-cut quilt projects, both with Christmas collections. One using a charm pack, Moda’s Countdown to Christmas:

I’m regretting only getting one charm pack as it will make a smaller quilt than I had anticipated, it will require a bit more creativity from me... but that’s half the fun! I also purchased one using a jelly roll, Kate Spain’s In From the Cold:

 I’m looking forward to being able to “throw together” a quilt quickly. Hopefully I'll be able to share progress next week.