Friday, September 28, 2012

Giant Granny Panties {week 6}

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Welcome to week six of the Giant Granny Panties quilt along!  Can you believe that we are finishing our quilt along this week??

This week we are binding our quilts and doing all those little things to make your quilt look it's best.

First things first... choosing your binding fabric.  This is an important step so feel free to audition multiple fabrics.  For my quilt I used a contrasting plain binding.  You can read all about that little adventure here...

A good striped binding is always eye-catching.  An easy way to achieve that is by using a plaid like I did. 

The other way is by choosing a striped fabric and cutting it on the bias.  Here is my tutorial on cutting bias binding strips... it's super easy!

You could of course use your leftover fabric and make a scrappy binding which is always fun as well.

As you can see, I rounded my corners.  Once again, I liked the curves against the contrast of the lines and angles.  My rounded corner tutorial is a part of my bias binding tutorial. 

If you decide to round your corners the biggest thing to remember is not to pull or stretch your binding as you stitch it to the front of the quilt.  Let your machine do the work and you just guide the binding with your hands.  A stretched binding will make your corners turn up and that will make you sad. :(

I bind by hand most of the time because I really enjoy the process.  I know that some people do not so here is my tutorial on binding completely by machine.

When I hand stitch my binding I use clips to hold my binding in place and then I start stitching.  Try and use a thread that coordinates with your binding just in case little stitches are visible here and there. 

And BTW, I am a lefty so unless you are too, don't try stitching left to right; it will take you a really long time to finish and you will probably send me mean emails!

 Here are several good tutorials on binding:

- Crazy Mom Quilts binding tutorial.  This is the tutorial I learned how to bind from...

- Mary of The Tulip Patch also has a great tutorial showing you how to use a pocket binding to join those last two binding strips.

Done with your binding??  Let's finish the quilt!

This is tedious but take some time and make sure there aren't any stray threads on your quilt top or back.  Simply trim them if you find any.  And you never know what fun you will find while doing this... I found a headless Pip once. 

Fussy cutting is not my strength.

And last but not least... if you want that crinkly look then throw your quilt in the washer.  I wash my quilts in cold water on the delicate cycle.  I use Woolite for colors and a Shout Color Catcher.  I have never had any problems with colors running... knock on wood.

I dry my quilts in the dryer on low with low heat.  I have never had any issues with this method but if this is your first quilt to wash and dry you might want to check your quilt every few minutes. 

And don't be embarrassed if you sit in front of your washer and dryer while your quilt is in them... I did this with my first few quilts.  I may or may not have also been rocking back and forth on the floor with anxiety. ;)

Once your quilt is dry take it out and once again check for any stray threads.  Also check your binding... sometimes you may not have caught all the layers as you were hand stitching.  If you find a spot like this simply hand stitch it just like you did with the rest of the binding.

You are now officially done!  Run outside and take some pretty pictures in natural, indirect sunlight and then head back inside and curl up under your quilt with a good book. 

Don't forget to add your pictures to our Flickr group!  I love seeing your progress and finished quilts.  In a few weeks I'll start featuring some of your finished quilts here.

Thanks for quilting along with me.  Enjoy your Giant Granny Panties {quilt}!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Really {Random}

Pin It It's Thursday and I'm actually on time to post along with Cindy and her Really Random Thursday!

Here goes...

I did a lot of quilting this past weekend.  So much that I ran out of thread.  When you run out of thread it's always a good idea to stop and paint your toenails to match the color of your missing thread..

And speaking of nail polish... I really like this color on my fingernails but I can't remember the name of it right now.  I'll edit and tell you the name later.

After painting my toenails I stumbled on this heading back up the stairs.  These two are double trouble and I'm positive that Buddy was whispering the next plot to Gus.

I finally finished quilting so I took a pretty picture.

Be very wary of blogger's pretty pictures.  A lot of the time it looks like this in the background...

Monday night is judo night and Chaney is very serious about her judo.  She's the yellow belt.  The white blur is a boy several inches taller and probably 20 pounds heavier than she is.  I'm impressed.  Judo is 80% leverage, 10% strategy, and 10% scrappiness.  Chaney inherited an overabundance of scrap from me. 

Those poor boys...

I spotted this on my way to meet a client.  I work in a smaller town that is full of creativity.  There is a never ending supply of murals, crocheted light posts, jazz festivals, etc...

And finally, I cheated on my quilt along and fell asleep under my new Giant Granny Panties {quilt}.  The quilt along isn't finished yet but my quilt is and I took full advantage of that!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wednesday Words {husband edition}

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So, Steve and I went to Joann's this past Saturday.  I had run out of thread quilting my Giant Granny Panties {quilt} and I needed to get fabric for the binding.

I had an idea in my head about using a contrasting binding and even thought about using a vintage print in pepto-bismol pink but then I realized I didn't have enough of that fabric.  Even though I was disappointed about that I still knew that I wanted a contrasting binding to the cool color palette of the Chicopee fabrics.  I was on a mission to find that perfect print. 

Apparently so was Steve.

edited to add: one of Steve's selections

After multiple fabrics and me trying to explain to Steve that I wanted contrast it dawned on me that we were about to have a fight in the middle of Joann's. 

Over contrasting binding fabric. 

And when I say fight, I mean that in the lightest of terms because we really don't fight... just disagree at times and like most couples over the silliest things.  Like binding fabric.  And it's not I disliked his choices, I just didn't want a matchy-matchy binding.

Me:  I really think this is the one {the plaid}.  It contrasts and it has a tiny stripe of aqua to tie in with the quilt.

Steve:  I don't know about that...

Me:  I like it and I like the plaid.  It will make for a cool binding.

Steve:  It's a big risk.

Me:  I know.  But I think I like it.

Steve:  I just think you are going to regret the choice...

And then he realized that the fabric counter was calling number 21 and the next number available to take was 32.  Every guy has his limits in a store like Joann's.

On Sunday I finished quilting and made the binding.  I stitched it to the front and went downstairs to hand stitch it to the back.  I finished the same evening and held the quilt up for Steve to see.

Me:  I really like the binding! 

Steve:  Me too!  And I told you that you would.


But seriously, I know I'm super lucky to have a husband who not only tolerates my hobby but also has opinions and enjoys the process, even fabric selection at Joann's, and the end result.

Happy Wednesday!

PS: Thank you for all your sweet comments yesterday about my quilting.  They seriously made me blush. :)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Giant Granny Panties {week 5}

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Welcome to week 5 of the Giant Granny Panties quilt along.  Has time been flying by for you or is it just me??  Within the next few weeks we will be done with our quilts and I don't know about you but nothing says fall like snuggling under some Giant Granny Panties...

This is my favorite week of our quilt along.  Well, after the basting part it's my favorite week. ;) 

However, these little things have made my basting life much easier.  My mother in law and fellow quilter gave these pin covers to me and I can pin baste a quilt just as fast as I can spray baste one now.  Plus my fingers don't hurt from pinning and my allergies aren't going crazy from that nasty spray!

You can find my basting tutorial here and it covers spray basting and pin basting.  Except for the pin covers, I still do everything else the same.

Now on to quilting!  My absolute favorite part of making a quilt.  Now I know that there are a lot of quilters who don't enjoy quilting, are intimidated by it, or just don't have a lot of confidence.  And I could have fit into all of those categories at one time or another. 

The biggest part of quilting is practicing.  That and having the patience to mess up but still keep practicing. 

Start out by making some mini-quilt sandwiches out of batting scraps and fabric scraps.  So much of quilting, especially free motion quilting {FMQ}, is muscle memory and getting that down is easier on manageable sized "quilts".

I start my quilting design on paper.  If I can draw the design in a continuous line then {with a little practice} I will be able to quilt it as well.  I love to doodle so many of my ideas come from doodling.

How you quilt your quilt can separate your quilt from the typical quilt. There are always the clear choices... you can follow the lines of the quilt.

For example, our Granny Panties {quilt} has strong lines and angles. If I were to pick the obvious, I would probably choose straight line quilting. Straight lines can be visually stunning but they can also detract from the overall design if the design already has lots of lines.

Free motion quilting with lots of busy fabric patterns might be a good choice if you want the quilting to blend in... or with this quilt the squares are big so some detailed quilting will work well to stand out in this design.

This is the back of my quilt... a.k.a granny's got back

I obsess over symmetry and asymmetry in general and I tend to go the opposite of my quilt design. If there are strong lines, I might use quilting with lots of curves which is exactly what I did with this quilt.  I like using opposites to balance the overall quilt design. But that's just me... ;)

Another thing to consider is how the quilt is going to be used. If it's going to be used and washed a lot {a baby quilt} free motion quilting is a good choice. But if you want a quilt that isn't flat as a pancake and has some "fluff" to it, straight lines or even a grid pattern might be ideal.

Here is a previous post with lots of links to quilting tutorials.  My favorite free motion quilting {FMQ} tutorial is still Randi's and also happens to be the one that I learned how to quilt from. :)

After you decide on how you are going to quilt your quilt, wind a bunch of bobbins, make some mini-quilt sandwiches to practice and get your tension right, and once you feel confident just start quilting!  Oh... and make sure you have plenty of thread.  This was not a pretty scene in my studio yesterday!

If this is your first quilt, be prepared for this step to take awhile.  If you are not new to quilting and settle on some detailed design {like me} be prepared for this to take awhile too.  So I guess what I'm getting at is that there is not a shortcut to good quilting so don't try to find it. 

There are tons of little tips in quilting so if you have any questions please let me know!  And don't forget our Flickr group either.  In the next few weeks I'll be featuring your quilts so make sure to add any and all of your pictures to the group. 

Next week we will be binding and finishing our quilts! 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Giant Granny Panties {week 4}

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Well, this week didn't really go as planned.  Work was nuts but then Friday was my birthday and I was planning on taking the day off to do some sewing and have some time for myself.  But then Chaney woke up with strep throat and an ear infection so Friday turned into pretty much the opposite of what I had planned.  Oh well... such is life when you are a mom. ;)
Do you have all your rows ready to sew into quilt top?  This is the fun part when you start to see your hard work turn into a quilt!

Lay out your rows as shown above.  It's really personal preference as to how you stitch your rows
together but as you can see, the rows in this quilt are assembled on the diagonal.
I stitched Row 1 to 2B, 3B to 4B, 5B to 6B and then to 7B.

I followed the same order for the A rows and then stitched the two "halves" together.

Once you have your rows stitched together, you will see that you have essentially one giant square with edges that need to be trimmed.

It's important that you leave a 1/4" seam allowance so the points of your squares don't get cut off when you add your borders so trim as shown paying close attention to where the ruler is.

I just took the quilt top to my cutting table and with a rotary cutter and ruler, I worked my way around the square trimming a few triangles away at a time.

Press your top well and let's cut the strips for the borders...

Measure your quilt top through the middle of the quilt.  It should be approximately 60" across.  This is how long you need your first two borders to measure.

These will be 3" strips.  Take your fabric A and cut 4 strips 3" x width of the fabric {WOF}.  Piece two strips together, press, and trim to measure the same as your measurement through the center of the quilt {this is border A}.  Repeat with the other two strips for the opposite border {border B}.

Stitch these two borders to the top and bottom of your quilt.  Pin well but do not stretch your border strips... this will create the dreaded wavy border!

Press and then measure again through the center of your quilt from top to bottom to determine the length of your remaining borders.

Cut 4 more 3" x WOF strips for your other two borders.  Piece two strips together, press, and trim to measure the same as your measurement through the center of the quilt {this is border C}. Repeat with the other two strips for the opposite border {border D}.

Once again pin and stitch these borders to the sides of your quilt.  Press and you have now completed your quilt top!

Now it's time to decide on your backing...

Your quilt should measure approximately 65" x 65" now so you will want your backing to measure approximately 68" x 68".  Here is my tutorial on making a quilt back.  There are some ideas within that tutorial... you can also use your leftover scraps from your quilt top to help piece together your quilt back.

Once you have your quilt back completed, press it well and set it aside.  Next week we will be basting and quilting!

PS... Chaney is feeling much better now!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Giant Granny Panties {week 3}

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Welcome to week 3!  This week we will be piecing and preparing to assemble our quilt top.  Sound like a lot?  It could be but I'll show you a method that lets you make the pieces for the entire quilt top twice as fast and without cutting and sewing a bunch of squares.

One important note... we will be pressing our seams to one side {not open}.  Pay attention to the direction I tell you to press them to.  What you want is for the directions to alternate row by row because this will make sewing your rows together much, much easier.

Lay you your strip sets that are labeled A-F from left to right.  Add your G fabric square as the last fabric in your assembly line.

Let's make our center row first...
Take one of each fabrics shown above {A-F} and stitch them right sides together {RST} in the order shown moving from left to right to make one long row of strips.

1. Press your seams to the right and then fold the row you have made end to end {lengthwise}.  Smooth out all the wrinkles and make sure your edges all line up. 

2. Now take your ruler, measure 7.5" in and and cut your strip.  You will end up with two rows of
7.5" squares.

Remember Fabric G that is a 7.5" square already?  That's the center of this row and the center of your quilt.

Lay out your two rows as shown with the Fabric G square in the middle.  Stitch the G square {RST} to one of the F squares.  Now all you have to do is join the other F square to the other side of the G square and you have your center row completed!

Label this row 1 and set aside.

On to row 2...
Take one of each fabrics shown above and stitch them right sides together {RST} in the order shown moving from left to right to make one long row of strips.

1. Press your seams to the left and then fold the row you have made end to end. Smooth out all the wrinkles and make sure your edges all line up.

2. Now take your ruler, measure 7.5" in and and cut your strip. You will end up with two rows of 7.5" squares.

You have now made rows 2A and 2B!  Do you see how we are making the the quilt top in about half the time now??  Label these rows 2A and 2B and set aside.

Row 3...

Take one of each fabrics shown above and stitch them right sides together {RST} in the order shown moving from left to right to make one long row of strips.

Repeat steps 1 & 2 from above, pressing your seams to the right.

Label these rows 3A and 3B and set aside.

Row 4...

Take one of each fabrics shown above and stitch them right sides together {RST} in the order shown moving from left to right to make one long row of strips.

Repeat steps 1 & 2 from above, pressing your seams to the left.

Label these rows 4A and 4B and set aside.

Row 5...

Same thing. 

Take one of each fabrics shown above and stitch them right sides together {RST} in the order shown moving from left to right to make one long row of strips.

Repeat steps 1 & 2 from above, pressing your seams to the right.

Label these rows 5A and 5B and set aside.

Row 6...

Last but not least. 

Take one of each fabrics shown above and stitch them right sides together {RST} in the order shown moving from left to right to make one long row of strips.

Repeat steps 1 & 2 from above, pressing your seams to the left.

Label these rows 6A and 6B and set aside.

"Row" 7...

You will have one Fabric A strip left over.  Cut it into two 7.5" squares for your corners.

Lay your rows out and admire your work!

Next week we will be assembling our quilt top, adding the borders and getting ready to quilt.  I originally planned on completing the top in this week's post but there was a good natural "break" here and there's a lot to cover next week. :)

In preparation for next week, if you are newer to quilting and want to practice lining up your seams when sewing your rows, take a look at this tutorial.

PS: I apologize for the delay in getting this post up.  I wasn't feeling well last week and I certainly didn't want to post instructions feeling foggy!

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