Monday, July 21, 2008

Birthday Quilt - Final Version

Hello. Well, I got to Pittsburgh Friday night and had to add the binding to the quilt and create the velcro birthday sign and velcro candles for the party on Saturday morning. Of course, I was looking for shortcuts! I forgot of all things my rotary cutter so I had to cut the binding strips with scissors. Thank goodness the inside of binding is not visible.

Once the binding was cut and ironed into shape, I figured I could use seam tape to fuse the binding to the back and save a step. Here's the prep photo where you can kinda see the white tape heat set to the binding. I had hoped that once I wrapped it to the back, I'd fuse it to the back of the quilt. Nope, didn't work. So, I ended up sewing the binding on by machine front and back. Wasn't the greatest, but worked.

Next, I photo printed a sign on a half sheet of fabric paper and then folded the rest of the fabric sheet even with the banner. Sewed up 3 sides and then turned inside up and finished the last side of the printed birthday wishes.

It's hard to see but I added velcro dots to the back of the fabric birthday wishes for Justice and then to the quilt. I'll make another banner for her sister, this way it can be used for both!

Once the birthday banner and candles were adhered to the quilt, a quick press and it was ready for giving. Here's the final result. The only thing I would have changed was my fabric choice for the pedestal layer under the bottom of the cake. The pink is too light.

It was a great party. Here's the birthday girl in her formal photo and then she's enjoying cake!!


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Birthday Quilt - Quilting Completed

Hello, well last night I finished the sewing around all the cake pieces to secure the applique. I used the clear mono filament thread. This is great but what a pain to thread the machine with. You can hardly see the thread to thread the machine. I finally gave up and took a perm pen and marked the end of the thread to give me some color to send through the eye of the needle. Worked great.

So, all the pieces are secured now. The circles on top were a bit of a pain but well worth the results. I then took the secure applique quilt top and placed it on the batting and backing. For quilting, I just outlined the cake and layers and then around the inner purple border and corner blocks.

I am not going to add any quilting in the sides or corners in case they want to use it as a signature block and have birthday part attendees sign it. The final touches yet to complete tonight before I leave tomorrow after work are:

  • Place the candles on a velcro system so that they can add candles each year on the top of the cake.

  • Depending on time, possibly add clear pocket in the 4 blue corners to add photos.

  • Create applique numbers in case they want to use those instead of candles.

  • Finally, create and add the binding.

Whew, nothing like a little pressure. No worry, if I don't get it all done, I'll finish the binding on Friday at my sister's in time for the party Saturday.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Last Minute Birthday Gift

As I was finishing up the rag quilt, I knew I was going away for the weekend and i was invited to attend a 2 year old's birthday party. I was trying to think, where in my tons of quilting magazines did I see a Birthday Cake. After some searching, I finally found it. It was in a previous Quick Quilts magazine and it was the Heidi Pridemore "Birthday Go Round" design.

The question is, would I have enough time? I was able to select my fabrics and create the basic back block on Sunday and then cut out all the paper templates and their subsequent fusible web pieces.

I used a lot of the Timeless Treasures fabric with Metallics. Here's a great place to see and purchase them. OK, so I have my fabrics, I made the square on Sunday, I have my fusible web cut out as the pattern pieces. On Monday, I applied by fusible we pieces to fabric and cut out all the fabric pattern pieces. From there, the fabric cake assembled pretty quickly. I ironed the patten to the background square. As of last night, I have the full cake and icing completed and I have the candles completed. It's just that I decided to try and figure out how to make the candles interchangeable each year. Since she's only 2, I want only two candles. Next year, her mom can add another candle.

Last but not least, I have created the quilt sandwich (which you may be able to see the pins on the photo above on the right). Tonight after work, it's securing the layers with a little thread. I'm not too crazy about the light pink below the cake base but I'm thinking I'll place a seam of black around it to make it stand out. I leave for my trip on Friday, so it's crunch time. ~*~Trish~*~

P.S. Of course this is not her real birthday present. It's just icing on the cake :-)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Making a Rag Quilt - Part 6 - Assembly Completed - Second Time Around

Hello. I just could not leave the quilt the way it was. So, out came the seam ripper and I took out the two seams that surrounded the two rows in upside down. It actually went so much faster than I thought.

Then, I flipped the two row section 180 degrees and placed it back in the layout. I looked, looked, looked, to make sure it was correct this time. Then I pinned labels on the quilt for top left and bottom left so there was no mistaking the direction this time. I readded the section into the quilt and then finished the whole thing with an outer stitch around the edges.

I am much more pleased with it's original design. I hung it up for photos but it's a little bigger than the banister area so it looks a little wavy because it's too wide for the photo area. But, you can see the pattern is now correct and it matches the computerized version.

Next, I'll start snipping the seams and get what I can completed before my trip this weekend. What I don't finish at home, I'll finish on my trip and give it to my sister this weekend. Let me know what you think.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Making a Rag Quilt - Part 6 - Assembly Completed - Well almost...

Block by block, row by row, each step bringing me closer until the full quilt is assembled. I worked on it Friday a little, Saturday a little, and this morning I added the final row. Yeah, another quilt completed!! I have 12 blocks in each row with 12 rows total. So now, my 6" blocks have shrunk to 5 inches since there is a 1/2" seam on each side. Still no problem, I now have a 60" by 60" quilt.

I'll just hang it up on my split entry home "built in quilt rack" (aka the railing to my steps between upstairs and downstairs) and take a few photos for the record. Hold up the camera, look through the lens, yep I see the dark blue wavy back and forth pattern. Looks pretty good. Snap another photo.

Wait a minute, that's odd. That area in the middle looks a little funny. The dark blue is lined up but I have several blocks in the wrong order.

Son of a *%*&^, right there in the center of the quilt (of course it has to be center) I sewed on two rows backwards. UGH!!! See how the tan blocks are on the left of the line but should be on the right. There is nothing more frustrating than when you find a mistake after you are done.

Well, see if you can spot where I am talking about. I'll help you out by a red box. These two rows should be pulled out and completely turned around horizontally. Well folks, there is going to be a delay in completion of the game. Time to get out the seam ripper.... :-) I'll be back to show you the end result!!


Thursday, July 10, 2008

What the heck is that??? A crazy quilt???

So as I have been sewing away on my Rag Quilt referenced in previous posts below, I am always thinking of other crafts I want to do. You know us crafters, so many started crafts and so little completed. However, I find that now that I am posting info on my projects, I'm finishing them in order.

Well, take a look at the photo. That's a lot of little pieces of fabric in a scrambled fashion. Here's my goal. These are actually snippets of left over shirt material from my father's shirts. Previously, his shirts were cut to make memory quilts for my sisters and mom in honor of my father. I completed the memory quilts a couple of years ago but, I could not bring myself to throw away the scraps. Well, my goal now is to sew, sew, sew, these pieces together to make a halfway decent size scrap material to make a teddy bear out of.

I know, I know, it doesn't look like much. However, to the person that knows the fabrics and can render memories just by looking at the swatches, it's the most beautiful piece of fabric in my whole stash :-)

That's right, I'm on a mission to make a memory bear. Stay tuned for updates! I'm very happy with my progress so far. But, this is a one shot deal. Once I start cutting the pattern, there is no more material to cover mistakes. OK, maybe just a few pieces but quality counts here.

~*~ Trish ~*~

Making a Rag Quilt - Part 5 - Assembling - Slow and steady gets you there.

Each night I've been referring to my design layout from the previous post and assembling my Rag Quilt squares one by one vertically. I'll sew along until I complete 4 rows and then I sew them all the 4 rows together. It's still easier and manageable to fit under the sewing machine.

So far, I have 8 columns completed. The photo to the side is really two parts so far 4 vertical rows each. Only 4 more rows to go and my rag quilt of 12 rows but 12 columns will be done!!

I've decided that I'm going to give it to my sister. Just a surprise for no reason. Besides, she can cut all the fringe on each square and that will save me time.

Here's the layout so far. I'll probably be done this weekend and maybe I'll start on snipping each of the seams to create the fringe.

~*~ Trish ~*~

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Making a Rag Quilt - Part 4 - Laying out the design

Hope everyone had a safe and fun 4th of July! Luckily the weather held out here for a neighborhood picnic!

This part 4 to the Rag Quilt is definitely optional. It's deciding what to do with all your quilted squares. Now we know we sew the ends of each block to have the seams running on the same side to prepare for cutting. The seams should be a minimum of .5 inch up to 1 inch depending on the thickness of fraying you like between the blocks. You can take all your finished blocks and start laying them out on your floor until you find the design you want. Or, you can go the technical way using the Electric Quilt software. I'm using version 6.

Electric Quilt 6 is a software product that basically lets you design and rearrange quilts with ease. It does have a little bit of a learning curve, but there are many many books available. Plus, there are so many add on products such as blocks, fabric, thread, layouts and more that can help you avoid the dreaded seam ripper when you are not satisfied with the layout. Here's where you can learn more about Electric quilt. Or if you are just getting started, there's a beginner product called Quilt Design Wizard™ and here's where you can find out more about this product from the same company.

Here's an example of a layout and the actual quilt I finished. Sometimes, if the pattern is small, I'll even scan in the actual fabric I'm using to get a closer example.

So, here is the layout I have chosen for my Rag Quilt. I tried several layout designs and liked this one for the simplistic design it produces. This time I used just basic colors to represent the patterned fabric I have. Dark Blue is the Bear Fabric, Tan is Tan, Baby Blue is the plain Baby Blue fabric and the Medium Blue fabric will be the snowflake fabric I have.

Now, decide on the number of blocks per row you want and start sewing your blocks together using a 1/2 seam allowance. Be sure all the seams face up towards the same direction. Complete each row separately and then when all your rows are completed. You'll start stitching together the rows. Again, make sure the 1/2" seam allowances are facing the same direction as the blocks. Next thing you know, the whole quilt will be assembled.

~*~ Trish ~*~

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Making a Rag Quilt - Part 3 - X Marks the spot

Sew Sew Sew, that's what the last couple of days have been. You see, I'm not one to spend hours upon hours sewing in one sitting. OK, occasionally I can, but not too often. There's always something else pulling my attention that needs to be done. Anyhow, I finally finished all 144 squares of sewing X's on each block to secure the fabric sandwiches.

Don't be too concerned if when you sew the X's on the blocks that the blocks shift a little and you see they area uneven. Look at the dark blue bear fabric, you can see the whites of the bottom square. Once you sew them together and start snipping the edges, it will all blend in.

Here they are in all their glory. 36 quilt sandwiches in each type fabric. Next stop, trying to figure out how I want them sewn together. ~*~ Trish ~*~