De-Stashing: May 2013

001Over Memorial Day weekend, I head to the beach in South Carolina to hang out with some of my old quilting buddies.  One of the things I took along was my row-by-row that I did with 7 members of my North Carolina Guild.  I took the box along and made the borders, but did not attach them until I got home.  I kind of got sick of making flying geese and kept rolling around how exactly to do the inner borders.   And the corner pieces!!!    Aack.  I tossed around idea after idea.  I viewed pictures on the web.  I see very little in the way of ideas for corner pieces for a flying geese border–let alone an undulating flying geese border.

In the end, I used a diamond, two more flying geese, and a square to continue the undulating border to a point and then around the corner.  I liked the end result.  I worked on a lot of little projects this month, including the dust cover,  a charity quilt and back, some scrappy blocks, and a couple of gifts of fabric. All in all a good month.  If I can just keep this up through year end.

De-Stashed this Month:         12.75
De-Stashed year to Date:       64.75
Stashed this Month:                 8.50
Stashed Year to Date:               41.75

Net De-Stashed for 2013: 23.00<<Goal for 2013:  Greater than 25 yards De-stashed>>>

For more stash reports, visit Patchwork Times.


The War Against Dust

Finished Dust Cover

Since I started working full-time 4 years ago, I haven’t been able to sew everyday.  Sometimes I find my sewing machine covered with dust.  I have a cover–but really it’s a tote.  I’d have to take the machine out of the cabinet and put it into the tote every time I won’t (and I’d have to know I won’t) return for days.

So around my sewing room I found some ugly purse patterns with some timtex.  And a drawer full of strings.  And a big piece of muslin.  Sounds like a dust cover to me.

1.  I figured I wanted a 10 inch high cover (from my cabinet to top of my machine).  16 inches wide by 7 inches deep.
I cut pieces of timtex:
Two 10 x 16 pieces (front and back)
Two 7 x 10 pieces (sides)
One 7 x 16 piece (top)

String piecing on the diaganol

2.  I drew a diagonal line as a starting point on each of the pieces and began string piecing.  If you haven’t string pieced before, I recommend Bonnie Hunter’s tutorial .  I made sure my strings extended at least one half inch beyond the edge of the timtex.   After completing my string piecing, I trimmed the strings down to extending one half inch all around the edges of my timtex.

3.  Next I sewed the front back and sides together.

Sewing 1/4 inch from the timtex and 1/4 inch from the fabric edge
One last seam to make the box, Top waiting to be added.

I placed my quarter inch foot right down the edge of the timtex, leaving me a quarter inch seam, and leaving a quarter inch of “loose fabric” to the edge of the timtex.  This made it much easier to turn and manipulate my cover.  It, in effect, created “hinges”.

Notice the top is just laying separately.  Laying on top of the top is a piece of muslin to the size of my top.  Muslin doesn’t make a pretty liner.  But, hey, it’s a liner!

Then one last seam to make a four sided box without a top.

4. One of the tough parts is to sew the top on.  For me, the easiest way I have found is to start with the long sides.  Pin the top so that the edges match up to the original side–this means that you will start stitching leaving a 1/4 inch piecing hanging out there.  That’s OK.

See the extra “seam allowance? You don’t line the edge up with the seam- you line it up as if the side seams weren’t there.

DO NOT start stitching right at the seam.  You should be at least 1-2 stitches away from the edge.  Yes, that leaves a tiny, tiny hole in the corner.  But it doesn’t pucker.  And hey, every time you stitch, there is a “hole” from one stitch to the next.  It’s fine.  Don’t get carried away, though.  1-2 stitches is good. 1/8 inch OK.  You can probably get away with 1/4 of an inch on a good day.  But don’t go crazy.

I sew one long side first.  Repeat with next long side.  Then I do the short sides.  Do not sew all the way up to the seams.

5.  Boring part.  Make sides and top of muslin–I made mine longer than 10 inches deep.  I didn’t want them to be short.  Sew quarter inch seams.  Boring.  No picture.  And although I did this part AFTER I sewed the cover together, you might want to do it first to practice those corner seams.  Really.

Wrong side out, but cover and liner wrong sides together–right sides out. Muslin waiting to be trimmed.

6.  Now I already had the cover wrong side out from sewing it together, and the liner was also wrong side out from sewing. So I flipped the muslin as it was easier to manipulate and put the cover and liner wrong sides together.   I took my scissors and trimmed the muslin down to the timtex (carefully–don’t cut your cover).

For a finished edge I did something I don’t normally do.  I wrapped the cover edge over the freshly trimmed muslin and GLUED it down. Then to secure it, I did a decorative stitch with a variegated thread. The decorative stitching also gives a firmer edge to the bottom. The cover is practical, decorative, and machine washable.

Time spent:   about 3 hours.
About half a yard of muslin and about 3/4 of a yard of otherwise fairly useless scraps.
Sewing room looks better, sewing machine protected from dust.  I’m happier.

I still have an entire drawer of strings.

Hope you found something productive to do with your day!

De-Stashing: April 2013

001 001I think I have found the downside of monthly stash reports:  I post less often.  However, I do think a good portion of that can be attributed to my life at present.  Work has been a constant “sprint” lately.  And the situation with my mom is about the same.  she has been, for a little over a month now, been recuperating in a nursing home.

I did get some work done this month.  The blue and yellow quilt is a charity quilt.  The right is a quilt of valor–It was Mystery #30 at   my Mystery Quilts for Military group.  I named it “Gettysburg”, the pattern making me think of the Civil War.

And even though my “de-stashing” is looking pretty good so far this year, I went shopping this morning and added another 4.5 yards, so I am starting May in the hole.

De-Stashed this Month:         7.00
De-Stashed year to Date:       52.00
Stashed this Month:                 6.50
Stashed Year to Date:               33.25

Net De-Stashed for 2013: 18.75<<Goal for 2013:  Greater than 25 yards De-stashed>>>

For more stash reports, visit Patchwork Times.


De-Stashing: March 2013

001 001This month I have spent half of it away from home, so it’s amazing I finished anything–but I did!  I finished quilting 5 quilts of valor–one of them that I also pieced in February (sorry, no picture of it yet as it is the Mystery #30 currently in progress).  Also complete is my Hawaiian memories quilt–I took it with me to Indiana and bound it there while taking care of my mom post-op.  I also made a small charity quilt using the disappearing nine patch pattern.  It was simple and finished nicely.  The random blue scraps look pretty nice, I think.  I need to get that one backed and quilted yet.

Most of my fabric this month went to the Mystery sampler that I make for the Quilters of South Carolina Fall Retreat.  Again, I took my cutting stuff to Indiana and cut it all out.  The last two weekends have almost gotten it together.  All blocks done, a couple of the rows sewn.  Just need some more time.

But someone shared this tip with me and I have to share it with you because it has been so wonderful in making my mysteries.  I do a lot of “dog-eared triangles” where you overlay a square, sew a 45 degree angle and trim off the underneath.  Over the years I’ve tried various methods and gotten pretty good at eye-balling it.  Then I found this tip for using a strip of paper:
I used a nice heavyweight envelope that I happened to have lying around in my sewing room.  It was perfect.  Too light of a paper would be too flimsy, I think, and if it was too heavy you might smoosh up the under layer on the feed dogs.  But regardless, this tip has changed my life.

De-Stashed this Month:         13.00
De-Stashed year to Date:       45.00
Stashed this Month:                 3.00
Stashed Year to Date:               26.75

Net De-Stashed for 2013: 18.25<<Goal for 2013:  Greater than 25 yards De-stashed>>>

For more stash reports, visit Patchwork Times.

I will starting Mystery #30 at   my Mystery Quilts for Military group–just barely started.   You do have to join the group to participate in the mystery.

Log Cabin Heart Instructions

A couple of people requested the intructions to my Log Cabin Heart.  I made up the pattern for a row-by-row quilt.  I just needed a cute little 6 inch block to fit this month’s theme–which was hearts.  I thought it turned out well, and then another quilter “borrowed” my instructions for her row-by-row.

Click on this link to get the instructions:  Log Cabin Heart.

I think I have all the errors worked out, but to be on the safe side, piece one block first (You wouldn’t want to cut 50 blocks and THEN find out I made a 1/4 of an inch error—UGH!  Not that I think I have, but always be on the safe side).


Fractured Star Instructions

Earlier this year, I participated in a Quilt Along at Moose on the Porch Quilts.  I always intended to post the instructions here, for anyone who wanted to use this block in a quilt top.    Although it appears to be a very complex block, it’s not as complex as you might think.   I always make an effort to simplify piecing as much as possible.  And I provide lots of illustrations.

This pattern is for your own personal use and the instructions are not to be redistributed or sold.

You can download a copy of the pattern for this block here.

Pantograph Quilting Around Embellishments

I was quilting a quilt last night using a pantograph and when it came to quilting around embellishments, I realized that some newbies might not know how to do this.  Well, if you know how to quilt pantographs, it’s quite easy.

Simply set up your pantograph as usual–moving the head of your machine to determine where your row falls.  If no embellishment falls within the row, quilt your pantograph as usual.  In my case, there was a button in one block.  When I came to the row that contained that button, I set up my pantograph row, checking the four corners of the pantograph.  Then I moved the head and put my needle centered over the button.  On my pantograph, I placed a bobbin with the laser light centered in the bobbin.  Now if your embellishment is bigger, you might use a piece of paper cut out (I like index cards as they are a better weight) to use as a “placeholder” for your embellishment.

When the bobbin was in place, I then moved the head to see how close I could move to the button without striking it–and watched the laser position on the pantograph.  In my case, since I had a single embellishment I eye-balled where I would move the lines to accommodate my button.  In the picture of my pantograph, there are some light red lines showing approximately where I decided to sew.  If you’re not familiar with this method, I recommend taking a pencil and lightly marking.  Test it with your machine off, but your laser on.  If you tend to be a little off when following your panto lines, you may want to draw your lines a little further away from your marker.

Of course, if your quilt has many embellishments, you’ll need many markers and will spend much more time marking than I did.  However, this is preferable to hitting an embellishment that will damage your machine.  Here is the finished block–you can see the “hook” around the bottom and right of the button.  No fuss, no muss.  You can still use your favorite pantos with embellishments, you just need to take care.