Friday, May 30, 2014

A Teacher Gift and Happy Mail

Today was Cheetah's last day of school.  So I needed to make a gift for Mrs. Rose.  Knowing that I used fox fabric for Mrs. Fox, it shouldn't be surprising that I used rose fabric for Mrs. Rose.  I love coincidences like that. 

I made two hot pads with roses on one side and green on the other.  It was my first time using Insul-Bright batting.  I was surprised by the crinkly sound it makes.  I also layered it with a 100% cotton batting scrap.  It was also my first time using a double batting.  I like how puffy it is after quilting. 

After I finished these hot pads, my new continuous curve rulers from Accents in Design came in the mail.  Happy Day!  I won these rulers in the May giveaway at Amy's Free Motion Quilting Adventures.  I had to take a picture of them on the black minky so you can see the lines etched into the rulers and the velcro strip to help grip quilts. 

I couldn't wait to try them out, so I decided to make a 9 by 13 inch hot pad Mrs. Rose could use under cake pans or casserole dishes. 

I used the 12.5 inch curved ruler to try cross-hatching.  So. Much. Fun.  I love my new rulers!!  I can't wait to try them on a larger project. 

I see lots more fun experimenting with these rulers in my future.  I need to make some hot pads for me...

What was so amazing to my boys and I, was that the rulers were not the only thing to come in my mail yesterday.  I received the sweetest package in the mail from my friend Jennifer who blogs at Glinda Quilts.  A Totally Happy Day!  I absolutely love my perfectly purple pants bag. 

But I especially appreciate her thoughtfulness and friendship.  She knows that purple is my favorite color, Jane Austen is my favorite author, and I love Persuasion.  One of my favorite things about the bag is the awesome label she sewed to the lining. 

Thank you so much, Jennifer.  I will treasure these. 

May has been a wonderful month for me.  It is my wedding anniversary, Mother's Day, and birthday month.  My dear husband gave me my Tiara early, my boys gave me a 20.5 inch square ruler, and I received these fun packages in the mail.  Plus, my friend Val from Val's Quilting Studio sent me a pattern for a pinwheel quilt. 

I hope you all have had a wonderful month as well.  I am looking forward to summer, but wonder how much quilting I will be able to do with all three of my boys home. 


P.S.  I am linking this up with Free Motion Mondays for Amy's latest ruler work adventure

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Dust Cover Tutorial

~For the Baby Lock Tiara and HQ Sweet 16 Sit Down Quilting Machines~

Please note that this tutorial/pattern was inspired by the HQ Machine Dust Cover for the Avante. 

Check out this post for more information on how I developed this dust cover design. 

My machine is the Baby Lock Tiara with a touch screen.  If you have an older model machine that does not have the touch screen, you may need to shorten the front and side panels. 

The only thing I wish I had changed was to cut my panels one inch longer so that it went over the cords in the back better.  The instructions below reflect that change.   In order to cut the panels at this longer length, you need a full 42 inches in your width of fabric after quilting.

All seams are 1/2 inch wide. 

Materials Needed: 
  • 1 1/3 yards top fabric ~ I used 100% cotton fabric that was not directional
  • 1 1/3 yards lining fabric ~ I used Kona White
  • 1/4 yard accent fabric ~ I used Kona Black
  • Batting about 44 x 50 inches ~ I used Warm and White
  • 8-12 inches sew on Velcro that is 3/4 inch wide
1.  Baste and quilt your lining, batting, and top fabric together.  I quilted with a simple loopy line design edge to edge. 

2.  Square up one edge and cut out panels:

  • Cut two 8 inch strips by the width of fabric (about 42 inches).* 
  • Trim selvage off of each eight inch strip, cut one piece 14 inches long (Back Panels A and B), and one piece 28 inches long (Top Panels C and D) 
  • Cut one 28 inch strip by the width of fabric*
  • Trim selvage off of the 28 inch strip and cut two pieces 17 inches wide (Side Panels E and F).  Then cut one piece that is 7 x 17 inches (Front panel G)
*If you do not have the full 42 inches, or you want a tighter fit, cut 27 inches instead of 28.  (27 inches is the measurement I used for mine.) 

3.  Trim the top panels C and D (8 x 28 inches)  on an angle so they are three inches shorter on one side. 

On top panel C, draw a line from the upper left corner to three inches down from the upper right corner.  Cut on line with ruler and rotary cutter. 

Top panel D needs to be the mirror image of C.  Draw the line from the lower left corner to three inches above the right lower corner. 

4.  Serge or zig-zag around the edges of your panels to finish them off.  (I did not serge around the edges that would be covered by the binding.) 

5.  The seam allowance is a half an inch, but you need to start and stop a half inch away from the edge.  Optional:  Make markings on the lining fabric, so you know where to stop. 

6.  Sew back panel A to top panel C. Back stitch at the ends, but only stop half an inch away from the corner where the right angles meet. 

Repeat with back panel B and top panel D. 

7.  Make a one inch hem on the inside (odd angle).  Ease the hem at the seam. 

8.  Cut your velcro into one inch pieces.  Add to the hemmed part of your top and back panels.  I used the zig-zag stitch  to sew the velcro in place. 

To decide where to add velcro, lay the panels over your machine to make sure there are openings around the posts sticking up.

I used a total of eight one inch pieces of velcro.  Five pieces were on the top panel.  Starting at the front (skinny) edge of the top panel I sewed the velcro 4.5 inches down, then there are four inch spaces between the rest of the velcro pieces .  I sewed three pieces on the back panel about 3.5 inches apart starting one inch down from the seam.    

Make sure the velcro lines up on both sides of your panels. 

9.  Attach the velcro to each other, and sew the top panels C and D (they will overlap) to 7 inch side of front panel G. 

10.  Sew the 17 inch sides of side panels E and F to front panel G. 

11.  Undo the Velcro, and sew the 28 inch sides of side panels E and F to top panels C and D. 

The corners will look like this. 

12.  Sew the other 17 inch side of side panels E and F to 14 inch side of back panels A and B. 

13.  Experiment with how much you want to trim off the bottom of the side panels E and F.  I did this by pinning a hem and then putting the cover over my machine. 

14.  Cut off the extra fabric on the bottom of side panels E and F. 

I decided to leave four inches the 17 inch length, then cut the rest on an angle to the 14 inch length. 

The other side panel is a mirror image of the first. 

15.  Use the accent fabric to bind the bottom edge of your dust cover.  You can use your favorite binding method, but this is how I did it:

I cut two strips 2.5 inches wide and sewed them end to end on a 45 degree angle.  Then I pressed it in half. 

I sewed the binding strip to the top fabric with a quarter inch seam allowance, folding the edges in where I started and stopped. 

I brought the binding around to the back and pinned it in place on the front.  Then I stitched it in the ditch.  (Don't sew over the pins.)

16.  Put the dust cover over your sit down quilting machine and enjoy. 

I would love to hear what you think about this tutorial and see pictures of your finished product. 


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Dust Cover for my Baby Lock Tiara

This is a project that I am so proud of.  You see, I designed most of it myself with the help of a friend.  It is loosely based on a pattern provided by Handi Quilter for the HQ 18 Avante. 

When I searched online for a pattern for a sixteen inch sit down machine, I could only find the one for the 18 inch machine.  They say the machine is only two inches bigger and to just use the pattern  meant for the Avante.  So I took some fabric I was given that I didn't like the feel of to make a practice cover... 

It was an epic fail. 

I took the practice cover to my dealer and asked for suggestions.  I learned that not only does the Avante have handles at the front of the machine, it has handles behind the machine.  So the pattern was way more than two inches too large.  My sweet friend Julie (from the dealership) worked with me and helped me come up with some ideas for alterations.  Then she sent me home to figure it out.  I know I could not have done this without her. 

This is what my practice looked like after I shortened the cover by ten inches.  (That is the section pinned on the side.)

It still looked like a saggy, baggy elephant.  Here is the view from the front.   The front panel is three inches taller than the sides. 

After making the front panel half the width, this is what it looked like.  Much better, but it still needed tweaking. 

I quilted a yard and a half of fabric, cut out the pieces, and sewed it all together.  Here is the finished product: 

The only thing that stayed the same was the cut size of the back panels and the general idea.  There is only one thing I would change to my pattern:  I would lengthen it by one inch to fit over the cords in the back better.  Other than that, I totally love it! 

I shortened the side panels, made them taller, and cut the bottom on an angle so it could go up over my touch screen.  I also tapered the top panels to make it narrower at the front.  I made a one inch hem to sew the Velcro to.  (By the way, I zig-zagged around the Velcro.  It worked so well.)  The two sections for the top and back panels make it able to go around the spool holders. 

Plus, I serged around the panels before sewing it together and bound the bottom edge.  Handi Quilter said it was optional in their pattern, "You may want to serge or bind the edges that will be open to finish."  LOL.

Here is the view from the front.  Now it looks like a sleek elephant.  In fact, I am thinking about calling my machine Princess El.  I already called her Princess, but I have been wondering about a more specific name.  :)

Here she is, under her new cover.  This picture also helps you see the basic design better. 

A cover became a necessity when my sweet Monkey decided to act like a typical two year old.  He had the mentality of "If there is a button, push it.  If there is a knob, turn it."  He enjoyed adjusting my tension for me when the machine was not in use.  Now he won't have access to my tension knob.  Plus, it is protected from dust.  A win-win solution. 

I did make lots of notes and take pictures of the process.  Is anyone interested in a tutorial? 

** I am happy to say that the tutorial is now finished.  Click here to view it.


P.S.  I am linking up with Let's Bee Social, Needle and Thread Thursday, Can I Get a Whoop Whoop (buttons on sidebar) and Finish it up Friday

Friday, May 23, 2014

My New Cuddle Quilt

~Plus~ My Favorite Binding Tip

I just finished this awesome cuddle quilt for me.  :)  I will be honest and say that originally it was going to be for my brother.  However, I decided it was too feminine and looked great in my craft room. 

So I decided to keep it!  But don't worry, I went to the quilt shop and bought new fabric for my brother.  More masculine with some butterflies thrown in.  (My brother told me that he loves butterflies.)  His favorite colors are black, silver, and burgundy.  Black, white and burgundy are as close as I can get.  Burgundy is my second favorite color after purple. 

When the fabric was all on sale (including the minky), I realized it was meant to be. 

Besides, the quilt matches this skirt I made a year and a half ago.   It is based on this tutorial, but I made it a little longer and tapered it in. 

It also matches this bag I made a year ago. 

Enough justification?  I think so.  Besides, as my husband said, it is my fabric and I can do what I want with it!  ;)

I started the quilt by moving my sewing cabinet out of the way, meaning in front of the closet.  Then I put everything up on my design wall. 

I arranged the diagonal rows alternating white with black and black with white.  I like the effect.  The piecing went very fast, because these squares all finish at 6 inches.  I put a super soft, super thick minky on the back.  Then quilted it in the ditch vertically to follow the grain on the minky. 

Because the minky is so thick, I decided to use a three inch cut binding.  While I was at it, I thought it would be good to show you my favorite binding tip to get mitered corners.  Please note that I usually use a walking foot or the built in dual feed on my Pfaff.  In these pictures I am using the dual feed.  Also, this is not meant to be a complete binding tutorial, I just wanted to show you my favorite tip. 

I actually use a square Post-it note folded to make a HST.  I line it up on the edge of the quilt like this. 

Then I sew right up to the edge of the triangle and stop with my needle down. 

I back stitch, move the quilt, and make the pinch to turn the corner.  Then I start sewing right at the edge.  Sometimes I remember to back stitch. 

This is what it looks like on the other side. 

When I sew the binding down on the top I trim the corner a little bit then pin down the binding at the corner.  One side usually works better than the other to lay down first. 

This is what it looks like all finished. 

I actually came up with this at my friend's house.  I used to use a ruler with a 45 degree angle, draw a line, and sew to the line.  Well, when I was helping my friend I didn't have a ruler.  We tried to think of ways to make a 45 degree angle and came up with the Post-it.  Necessity really was the mother of invention.  Now I use a Post-it all. the. time. 

Here is the quilt all finished.  I totally love it, in case you couldn't tell. 

Quilt Stats #105
Name:  My Cuddle Quilt
Pattern: 6" finished patchwork squares
Quilting design:  Stitch in the ditch vertically
Fabric:  Misc. black and white scraps plus a solid from my stash
Backing:  Ultra soft Minky
Amount Used:  7 yards
Batting:  Warm and White
Size:  About 60 x 72
Date Finished:  May 2014
What I learned: 
  • It is okay to keep a quilt.  ;)
  • I like white batting with white background fabric. 
I am not the only one who loves this quilt in my house.  As soon as I lay it on the floor, this happens. 

And this also happens. 

Which is awesome, because this quilt was definitely made to be loved. 


P.S.  I am linking up with Can I Get a Whoop Whoop and Finish it up Friday