Quilts 2011

21 March 2011

You can teach an "old" quilter new tricks!

"Old" in quotes in that I've been quilting for around 14 years.  I haven't aged a day during that time.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Last night I finished up a wall hanging for our dining room, based on this quilt done by Crazy Mom Quilts.  I loved the zig zags and the thought of not having to do triangles!  My version ended up using 6 different materials for zig zags (four from brand new fat quarters and 2 from my stash... love using the stash!) There was 8 blocks of each color.  Why eight?  I only had enough of the red polka dot material to do eight, so eight it was.

I also cut the pieces to be 2.25 inches instead of 3 inches. It was because of that red polka dot!  Didn't have enough to do 3 inch wide strips.

It went together very smoothly and I didn't even goof up sewing the rows together on the diagonal!  I thought about labeling all the blocks, but got lazy.  Usually when I get lazy  I get to spend lots of time with my seam ripper.  Not this time though!

Here they are all laid out.  (Excuse the less than desirable photo... I always take pictures of the layouts with my phone so I can reference it if I mix something up.)

You'll notice I added in some solid white blocks along the top.  I did this on the sides and bottom as well so I didn't have to cut off as much of my zig zags.  When it came time to trim it, I cut the top and bottom 1/4" away from the tops of the zig zag so that I kept the top of those points.

After I got it all sewed together and cut off the points I realized that my zig zag on the left side went down longer than the right side so I had to trip another inch or so off to make them go down the same amount.  I was measuring and trying to figure out exactly where to cut it.  Finally I just folded the quilt in half lengthwise, using the center zig zag as the fold line, and trimmed to the too long side even with the shorter side.  Much less frustrating than measuring!

When it came time to quilt it, I followed the zig zags in both the color and the white, a quarter inch from the seams.  I thought it needed something more and I thought of some of the quilts I've seen recently with handwork using perle cotton thread.  I really like that look and happened to have some in the right color.  How handy!

Then it was time for the binding.  This is where the new trick came in... The binding always frustrates me because I can never ever get it right.  I learned one way (that always had me ripping it out and cursing under my breath), read numerous posts on the internet, watching a friend do it her way... all the time trying to find the best way for me.  Well, I think I found it!  

This amazing tutorial combined a couple of ways I'd tried doing it and it worked so slick for me!  Having the pencil line and the 45 degree fold line match up and stitch that?  DUH!  Why didn't I think of that?!  Brilliant!  I didn't have to rip the joining-together-stitch out a hundred times, I got a nice 45 degree like all the other binding pieces where they'd been pieced together and the best?  I couldn't even tell where I'd joined them together!  No lumps or awkwardness!

Since I was on a roll learning new things, I thought about how I stitched the binding on the back.  My stitches always show and I'm not the neatest.  So Google was my friend and a lovely blogger introduced me to the ladder stitch.  (Follow this link and scroll down a bit where she has pictures explaining how it works.  There's also videos out there too if that helps you understand it better)  Once again, BRILLIANT!  You can't see any of my stitches and it went together just as fast as my old way of doing things.

Here it is finished (just needs to be washed to achieve crinkly goodness!)

20 March 2011

New to this whole blog thing

I love quilting, sewing, making "stuff".  Growing up, many hours were spent out in my dad's workshop behind the scrollsaw making things to enter in 4-H at the county fair (and always trying to figure out what I could make that could beat out my 4-H woodworking nemesis Kelly Kramer who always seemed to one-up me with her projects!)  I never did get that State Fair trip thanks to her!  Always the runner-up.  (I'm not bitter or anything...)

I dabbled a bit in sewing through 4-H too, my first project being a ski-bag for my cross country skis.  Tried some garmet making (that didn't go so well) and I stuck with "Clothes You Buy" for 4-H instead.  (Always wondered about that category, buying an outfit and modeling it!  But it meant I got to go shopping so I kept my thoughts to myself!)

Then I got into quilting about 14 years ago.  Had some good friends that helped fuel that interest and we'd get together weekly to sew.  They moved away but I kept right on sewing. (I'll do another post on my first quilt as it's a bit of a funny story.)  However, as of lately I was getting increasingly frustrated when I'd go to buy fabric.  I never could find what I really wanted.

Earlier this winter I discovered a quilt shop in my home town, Hannah Johnson Fabrics.  Full of modern quilting type fabric.  I called my husband as I left the store, "Honey, I think I've died and gone to fabric heaven."  THIS is the fabric I've been searching for in quilting shops for years.   I'll take a yard (or two or three!) of everything, please!  Thank goodness it's on the other side of town otherwise I'd be there all the time.  Wait.  It being on the other side of town hasn't stopped me from being there all the time.  

At about the same time (within the same week of finding Hannah Johnson) I discovered quilting blogs.

Oh. My. Goodness.

All these amazing women have inspired me to a whole new level with their creativity.  My Favorite list is a mile long of ideas.  

And then I discovered Google Reader.  And a Google Reader app for my phone.  I can't get enough of seeing beautiful fabrics sewn together in new ways.  Now I can see anytime, any place when someone adds something new to their blog!  

Amazing fabric + cool ideas + and the ability to have said-ideas at my finger tips 24/7 = ADDICTED!  I've been a sewing-machine, cranking out projects left and right!

The next logical step seems to be for me to jump on the quilting blog bandwagon.  So here I am!  Welcome to Life on the Selvage Edge!  I look forward to sharing ideas, projects, and getting some feedback if anyone ever reads this!