New Walker Grips (aka Seat Belt Covers)

003 My mom has been using a walker for some time now, and those grips are anything but kind to her hands.  She discovered a while back that she could purchase seat belt covers to put over the grips, and they work pretty well, but they are fairly expensive–because she always has to buy a pack of two.  And some of them aren’t all that soft.  So, being a problem solver, I decided to make my own.   You can make your own too!

1.  For each grip:  cut 2- 10 inch square (one outer, one inner) and a 10 inch square of batting.  I used minkee for the outside of the grip, and cotton for the inside.

2.  Layer them with the two fabric pieces right sides together and set on top of the batting square.

3.  Sew all the way around the outer edge using a 5/8 inch seam, leaving a 2 inch opening in the center of one side.

4.  Clip the corners a little to reduce bulk.  Turn inside out, and slip stitch the opening closed.  Finger press the edges a little to keep the grips from being puffy.

5.  Add an 8 1/2 inch piece of hook and loop tape.  I put the hook on the minkee side and the loop on the interior side   Pin in place about 3/8 inches from the edge of the grip.  Before sewing down, fold the material over to make sure that you are applying the hook and loop tape so that your cover will make a continuous tube.

6.  Sew down the hook and loop tape.

Voila!  New walker grips–or seatbelt covers.  Your choice.

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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).

Enjoy!

What WAS I thinking?

I was doing an apple core quilt with the pink/green/brown scraps left over from my RRCB.  I decided that it needed strings too, so I set my heart on a string border.  I decided to applique the quilt top to the border, and then I decided that the corners needed
to be mitred.

 Well that all sounds real simple.  Actually it doesn’t even sound all the simple now that I’ve written it out, but it did in my head
(if you know what I mean).  Finally, yesterday I pieced and pieced strings until I had enough for the border, and today, I put it on.  Now that I have done it, I am wondering if it is one of those things that has a much easier way to do it and I, of course, found the hardest way.  The way I did it was to turn the top under a quarter of an inch (gluing the edge down) and then pin to the border, then construct a mitred block for the corner.  When I had one side and a corner done, I glued down the top to the border.  I also left in some pins just in case.  Repeated for each side, carefully postioning in a mitred block in each corner so the tip of the applique core touched the mitre line.

After I had the border going all the way around the quilt, I machine appliqued the top to the border using a variegated red thread and a buttonhole stitch.  If you know of a simple way to do this, please feel free to leave a comment.  But be gentle.  My “Scrapapples” is now ready to quilt.  Yay!

Also this weekend, I put the finishing touches on a Four Patch Swirl, which I had listed on my UFO list simply as “Cuddle Quilt”.  Marking off another one.  What a great weekend!

Remaking the Lap Desk -Or- When Good Microbeads Go Bad

My lap desk was propped against a chair and fell over.  My husband stepped on it and his foot caught on the button and “rrrrrrrrippppp”.  There it was, all those white microbeads all over everywhere.   Instead of throwing it out completely, I used the opportunity to remake my lap desk.

Step 1:  I went into the garage and ripped off the microbead bag and then used a razor to remove the hot glue from the back of the plastic desktop.

Step 2:  I pouted about the demise of my lap desk for several weeks.  I really liked that lap desk.  And I pondered how best to fix it.  Or even if I could.

Step 3:   Measured the area of the “pillow”.  It was 18 x 12.  From muslin I cut  2 – 18.5 x 12.5 rectangles, 2 – 4 x 12.5 rectangles and 2- 4 x 18.5 rectangles.

Step 4 - Muslin "pillow form"

Step 4:   I sewed the  4 x 18.5 and 4 x 12.5 inch rectangles end to end to make the sides of my “pillow”.    Then I sewed on the bottom.  This is a little tricky as you must stop a quarter inch PLUS  a couple of stiches before the corner (if you sew right up to the quarter inch you will have tucks).  Sew one side at a time.  Then sew ACROSS the corners to prevent leakage.

Step 5:  Repeat for the top–EXCEPT leave a 4 or so inch opening in one of the shorter sides.  Note:  you can leave the seams on the oustide.  No one is going to see them.

Step 6 Big old bag of scraps

Step 6:  Stuff your muslin pillow form with your itty bitty scraps, threads, selvedges, batting scraps.  I used about 2/3 of the scraps from this bag.

Step 7:   Sew that open area closed.  I just stitched it down with no attempts at prettiness.  I had planned on covering up my pillow, so who cares what it looked like?

Step 8:  The cover.  Again cut cut  2 – 18.5 x 12.5 rectangles, 2 – 4 x 12.5 rectangles and 2- 4 x 18.5 rectangles.   I cut one of the 18.5 x 12.5 rectangles from a plain fabric since I knew it was  going to be the top and under the lab desk–and therefore not going to show.

Step 9:  The top piece–I sewed 2 long strips of velcro on the long sides–one inch from the edge.  A lot of people use self-adhesive velcro, but I always find I get better results if I sew on velcro on fabric.

Step 10 - hook & loop closing for cover.

Step 10:  On one of the short ends of the top, I turned under 1/4 inch.  On the underside I sewed a piece of loop tape to what would be the inside of the cover.  This is only sewed on the very edge–the opposite side of the loop tape is not attached.  Now take one of the short sides of the bag.  Turn the top edge over 1/4 inch and sew the hook tape to the inside edge AND THEN sew down the other side.  Hopefully the picture will illustrate why you sew one tape completely down and only one side of the other–it si so the top tape will pivot 90 degrees and maintain the box-like structure you are trying to create for the cover.  The picture was taken after the complete assembly.

Step 11:  I decided that a pillow form full of scraps was going to be heavier than microbeads, so I decided to add a handle.  I used a 12 x 3 inch fabric, folded in half and seamed wrong sides together.  Press the seam open on the back.  Then used a 2 1/4 x 12 inch accent strip folded

Step 11 - Handle

in half and seamed wrong sides together.  Press the seam open on the back.  Then place the two ugly seams together, centering the accent strip on top of the handle and stitch down the edges.  Voila, ugly seams hidden.  Turn the ends of the 12 inch strip under and center the handle and sew on.

Step 12:  Sew together the cover like you did the basic pillowform only DO NOT sew across corners and, of course, don’t sew the velcro end closed.

Step 13:  Insert your pillowform into your cover and velcro closed.

Step 14:  Measure and apply your hook velcro to the underside of your lap desk piece.  Then place your pillow on it and match up the velcro.

The Lap Desk Makeover Complete!

Voila!  My new lap desk is complete.  And because I have attached my new pillow with velcro, I can clean my pillow, or replace the cover if I tire of it!

AND BEST OF ALL!  I used a whole, whole lot of tiny, tiny scraps.

And what are you doing with all those scraps?

Use False Borders for Small Backings, Pieced Borders, and Bias Edges

Last night I was putting a quilt on the frame with a heavily pieced border.  I have a technique for dealing with quilts with heavily pieced borders and/or bias edges that I thought I’d share.  I have used this on a backing cut exactly the same size as the top.  I did have to cut the top down a tiny bit (less than 1/2 an inch).  False Border

To attach your quilt/back to the frame, you will first need to cut yourself some muslin strips.  I like mine about 2 or  2.5 inches wide.  Then sew the muslin to the edge of your quilt top/back to the WRONG SIDE.  Sew approximately 1/4 inch from the edge and use basting stitches.    I like to refer to this as a “False border”.  As you can see in the picture, it leaves the raw edge of your quilt/top sticking up a bit, with an ugly muslin border that you can then attach to your leaders.

You can now quilt freely right up to the edge–even over the edge onto the false border.  You don’t need to worry about the bias edges stretching, or your heavily pieced border seams giving way if you stretch your quilt a little tight, as your false border holds your bias/pieced border in place.  If you’ve used it on the backing, you don’t have to worry about running out of room.  And because there’s a seam, you can “feel” the edge when it is on the back if you run your hand along it.  A little care when positioning to make sure your top lines up with the side seams and you should be able to fit your skimpy backing.

And best of all, when the quilt is done, you just lop off the extra border and leave the muslin layer inside the quilt.  If a few of your basting stitches show after attaching your binding, they should be easy to pick out.

Drunk and in Hiding

As I mentioned in previous posts, I am participating in the Quiltpossible! Studio QuiltAlong.  Thursday Block 2 came out.  This block is the Drunkard’s path.  Once again, this is a die I did not have.  I purposely did not buy this die because I have loved Drunkard’s Path for a long time and have several sets of templates.

I have made several Drunkard’s Paths.  For example, this one that has hung in my living room in my previous home, and now in my new home.  It is my own design based on a Drunkard’s Path.  I named it Fade Out.  And no, I did not die or bleach any fabrics, and they are not coordinating fabrics from the same fabric line.  I simply chose them very carefully.  It took me visits to several quilt shops to have just the fabrics I needed.

Since I knew I had the templates to make Drunkard’s Path, I scurried up into my quilting loft and started rummaging through my drawers to find where they were hiding.  In some ways I am much more organized since my move, in other ways, less so.   It took me a while.  But–I did find my complete set of templates that I purchased from Betty Kiser of The Path Less Traveled, and one of her books, and one pattern (but I swear, I have more!!)!  I have seen Betty at many quilt shows and took a class with her in my previous guild.  (I took the class after making the above quilt–you can always learn something new, you know).    If you are unfamiliar with her work, visit http://www.getcreativeshow.com/path_less_traveled.htm. I also found two other drunkard’s path template sets in other sizes, hiding in the same drawer.  Good grief, what was I thinking?

Anyway–I sat down and figured out which templates I needed to use to make the blocks the same size as the Accuquilt Die.  I have included my cutting instructions here.  Cutting Instructions for Drunkard.  Note these are cutting instructions only.  I did not delve into the world of piecing curves, in fact, Ebony has some great videos/tutorials on that on her website Quiltpossible! Why reinvent the wheel, err….curve?

I am enjoying my Accuquilt Studio and I am not trying to convince anyone NOT to buy this particular die.  However, if you are like me and have a burgeoning template collection and don’t want to duplicate it (any more than you already have), then you now have some instructions that will enable you to create the exact same block with templates you already own.