Friday, December 31, 2010

My First Quilt -- part 1 -- Cutting

Quiltalong Series:

Allright, so you have your fabric and you're ready to cut into it...  here we go!

First.... whether or not to prewash fabric.  
There are as many people on both sides of this argument, and I'm not going to steer you toward a side here.  People can get very adamant about their side!

People often say you should prewash if you are using fabrics that run, like bright reds or purples.  They say that you should wash so that the fabric shrinks before you use it.  They also say it removes chemicals.  They are probably right.

Non-prewashers like to work with fabric that is still crisp and easier to cut.  They are often the impatient types that don't want to wait to use fabric.....  this is the group I tend to fall into.
I don't prewash my fabric unless I am working on a project for a group that specifically requests it.

So.... that said, if you prewash, you may want to iron your fabric before you start the cutting process.
if you don't prewash, open that shopping bag and let's go!

Now, I've labeled my fabrics below so that you can see which ones are working as my darks and which ones are lighter.  
the insides of the blocks will consist of a dark and a light, and the outsides will be a dark and a light as well.  
Before you cut, please label which of your fabrics will be each of the 4.  

See my abbreviations above?  I'll keep using those through the tutorial, so you may want to use them.  It might be helpful to cut a scrap of each and pin a label to it.

My cutting directions will assume that you are using the Light Inner (linner) for the border and Dark Inner (dinner) as the binding.

First, remove the selvedge.  It's the thicker edge and the tiny holes next to it.  you don't want it in your quilt, so just use your ruler and cut it off using your rotary cutter.

Now this is a good time to tell you to be careful with that rotary cutter.  It's a blade, and you can cut yourself with it.  (Have done this.)  Be sure you cut away from your body, and keep your fingers out of the way.  Keep the safety on when you're not using it, and try to get in the habit of putting the safety on every single time you set it down.  Yep, I put that one in bold italics.  

I generally do my cutting with my cutting mat either on my kitchen table or on my hardwood floor.  You want to put it on a firm, stable surface.  And it's easier if you can reach at least 2 sides of it without moving the mat.

If you are using fat quarters, skip to the text below the next picture.
If you are using quarter-yard cuts, cut on the fold so that you have 2 pieces that are each 9" x 22". Then go to the text below the picture.

Alright, so we've removed selvedges, and now it's time to straighten up the edge of your fabric.
I generally do this by lining the grain up along one of the marked lines on my cutting mat. 

You can cut 2 at once.  If you cut 2 together, cut your inners together.  And then cut your outers together.

We're going to be cutting 2 1/2 inch strips.

From your inners, cut 5 strips.  
From your outers, cut 3 strips.
Each will be 2 1/2" wide by approximately 22" long.

As you cut, it may be helpful to move the previous strip over a bit so you can see the edge of the fabric.

You will have some larger bits left over, just put those aside for now. We'll use them in the backing.  

Allright, that's it for cutting.
How did it go?

Quiltalong Series:

Thursday, December 30, 2010

It's my birthday and....

I wanted to share it with you.

It's not a monumental age, but I have found that after a certain age, or after certain life experiences, all ages are monumental.  I am exceptionally grateful to be here today.  It is certainly more than I deserve.

Anyway, in true hobbit fashion, I wanted to share. (Kudos if you got my LOTR joke there...)
I went fabric shopping today, and it's not that I bought anything extremely exciting, but I bought enough to share a few fat quarters with some readers.  2, to be exact!

So leave me a comment if you'd like to be included in that 2.... ok?
I'll close the "opportunity" and choose a winner somewhere around noonish on New years Eve....
Oh, and a very very happy 2011 to you as well!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"My First Quilt" Quiltalong Series....coming up!

Quiltalong Series:

Friends, I'm doing something I've wanted to do for a long time... and it's starting next week.

here it is all basted... pictures of the finished project soon...

I'm going to do a series on "my first quilt" and take you through making a small quilt.  This is how I got started, and how many of my friends got started, and I have a cousin who's going to be trying it out and blogging along with me.

Now, when I got started, I was flying blind.  
I jumped in and did a quilt for my daughter's babies... out of half-square-triangles!  
Seriously, why did I start there?  

So anyway, I wanted this to be a good resource for a good starting place.

The finished project will be a doll quilt, approximately 19" x 19" with a pieced back.   I'll give alternate directions for making a minor change and creating a table runner instead, approximately 16" x 22".  (You know, in case all the dolls at your house already have blankets...)

What will you need?
sewing machine
foot for quilting:  called an embroidery foot, free motion foot, darning foot.  Looks like a gun scope
rotary cutter (mine has a 2 1/2 inch diameter blade)
cutting mat (mine is 18" x 24")
thread (both for piecing and for quilting)
safety pins
fabric (see requirements below)
cotton or cotton blend batting (a piece approximately 20" x 20")

fabric requirements:
4 fat quarters (2 light, 2 medium/dark)
4 cuts of 1/4 yard each (2 light, 2 medium/dark)
2 1/4 yard cuts of lights and 1/2 yard of medium/dark

If you are making the table runner, you will need an additional 1/2 yard cut for backing.  

Here's my fabric I'll be using.  It's by Riley Blake.
I'm going to piece and quilt it using an ivory thread.

So, who's in?  Want to quiltalong with me?  
Leave a comment so I know you're in.  
Additionally, I'm setting up a flickr group so you can show off your progress to the other quiltalongers.  

Monday, December 27, 2010

Wendy tackles paper piecing....

Let me make a confession.  I'm terrified of paper piecing.

And so... when in one of my quilting bees... a member asked about paper piecing?
Were we comfortable with it?
I answered with much enthusiasm, "I'd love to try that!"  
Why, oh why did I say that?  so scared.....

My sister in law has assured me it's easy.
So I've started with this video series, which seems friendly and easy to understand.

So I keep reminding myself that I like to try new things.  That I am capable of learning new things...
This is the first one I tackled.  It's the Golden Snitch from Harry Potter.
I think I can....
I think I can...

Starting to come together...
I fixed that funky corner there... but not bad for a first try, right?  

Sister was right... (1) Don't try to conserve fabric (2) shorten your stitch length (3) just try it, it will be ok....

So then I started in on this one, the Hogwarts tie.
Man those are some teeny pieces!

I think it looks rather dapper...

Next was Rita Skeeter.
Finally the time-turner.  I am proud of this one.  It was more challenging.  And I persevered!

All 4.  

Thanks to Kristin for giving me a challenge and helping me to learn something new!

So help me here:  I really liked paper piecing.  
Do you have a favorite paper-pieced block you can link me to?  I'm eager to try more!!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Wanna see what I made for Christmas?

Friends, I've been wanting to show you this project, but I didn't want to take a chance of spoiling the surprise in case my mom stopped by this blog... (hi, mom!)

I wanted to do something personal and handmade for my mom for Christmas, and I was quite inspired by Jacquie's post here ...  so here's what I ended up with!

I started from this picture that my daughter drew of her and her sister with my mom and dad:

And I had a Wee Play charm pack... so I picked out squares that I thought would be nice for the solid pieces....

And WonderUndered pieces for the bodies... "WonderUndered" is a verb, right?

And I used my redneck light box (also known as the back window) to trace the design onto a piece of cream fabric that apparently needs to be pressed...

 I ironed the bodies into place.  And I had her write names on a separate piece of paper so that I could place them exactly where I wanted them:

I added pieces from the charm pack around the edges.  No pictures, but you can imagine, right?

And then I layered up the top, 2 layers of batting, and another layer of cotton fabric
And quilted it in black using my daughter's lines as a guide.  
This took a lot of concentration, and it isn't perfect, but I love the way it captures her drawing!

I did everything on the machine except for the eyes, which were quicker/easier to embroider by hand.

I quilted the edges in cream using pebbles.

The backing and binding is out of the Wee Play line as well.

And here's the finished product:
I was so pleased with it!  
My daughter loved being involved, I was thrilled with the way it turned out, and my mom absolutely loved it.  
{ I love it when a plan comes together...}

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


What fun the Sew, Mama, Sew! Giveaway was this year.  I am amazed at the number of comments, and it was so wonderful of all of you to stop by!

Right, the winner....  it's Ammie:    

Ammie said...

Thanks for the chance to win the charm pack!

This year for Christmas I am making seven seahorses (for my nieces and nephews), felt finger puppets for my son, and knit socks.

I can't wait to see your busy books! I'm working on those, too, but not in time for Christmas.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Need a last minute gift or party favor?

This week I remembered that I was in charge of party favors for my daughter's preschool.
I didn't want to do candy.  
I wanted to do something handmade. 
Preferably something that my daughter could help with.
And less than $1 per child.
Eek! Steep order, yes?
Here's what we came up with.
Christmas ornaments

We bought empty ornaments (look for the plastic kind)
And my daughter (4yo) filled them up with stuff:  glitter pompoms, tiny jingle bells, and some amazing stuff I found at the dollar store called "table scatter" that was really tiny foam glitter trees, snowflakes and snowmen.

We filled them up, glued the top on with some E6000, wrote each child's name on the ornament (with a Sharpie) and I tied some ribbons through the top and added a loop for hanging it up.
They were lovely and sparkly!
I love glitter!
And.... total cost? About 70 cents each.  
Plus a really fun project with my daughter!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Giveaway Day!

Welcome to Giveaway Day in the Wendy City!

I LOVE Giveaway Day.  
And I'm glad you're here!

This year I'm giving away something that is hard to find.  
It's a charm pack of Moda Wee Play.  It's in its original packaging.  
If you don't win, you can purchase the other ones I have listed in my Etsy Store.....

So to enter:
1.  Leave a comment telling me what you are crafting for Christmas.  
2.  If you are a follower of my blog or you decide to become a follower of my blog, then leave another comment telling me that for a 2nd entry.

Please be sure I have a way to contact you.  Leave me an e-mail address if you are not sure.

So just for funsies, I'll answer my own question....   
What am I crafting for Christmas?  A quilt for my dad, a surprise for my husband (who lurks here sometimes so I can't say what...), a blanket for my daughter, and busy books for both my children.  I hope I get everything done!  

Also... I have a fun series coming up this week entitled "My First Quilt!" in which I'll take you through the basics of constructing your first quilt.  It will be a doll sized quilt.  
Thanks for stopping by the Wendy City!

Friday, December 10, 2010

What I got to do today

I have a niece who asked me to help her make some hair clips.  
Now, I LOVE requests like that.  You know, ones that make me feel useful and mean that I get to spend time with someone special crafting...  
 So we made these clips.  
The flower ones are made from felt using this tutorial, which was fantastic!

As long as we had everything out, we made some headbands for her as well.

My niece has naturally curly long dark hair, and I think this will look fabulous on her!
Yes, I'm jealous of her hair too....

We determined this one was our favorite.  It's on a clear headband.

This one may be a hair clip... and it might be a pin for a jacket.  
The plaid is cut from a wide ribbon with a woodburning tool.

I love these.  Very simple, but they will be nice in my hair.
Of course I had to make a couple of things for myself!

And my oldest got into it as well.  She designed this herself!  
I put it together for her, but I am really impressed with her eye for design!

The black glitter felt didn't photograph as neat as it looks in person.  All the felt I used came from Hobby Lobby.  I am heading back over there as soon as I can to get some more...
I'm going to whip up a few more for Christmas presents!