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4 posts from November 2017

Monday, November 13, 2017

Easy Christmas DIY Table Runner!


Table runners.  They are easy and fast to whip out on your sewing machine, and make great gifts for family and friends!  Fast and Easy - my kind of project with a big impact when the recipient opens their gift!  What could be better! And I'm going to show you how to make this holiday table runner in this single post!



Stopping by my favorite quilt shop "The Quilt Patch" in Stallings, North Carolina, I grabbed me up a slew of interesting holiday fabrics, including a black and white striped fabric I thought would make a cool binder around the table runner.  I got a half a yard of each of the fabrics I was going to use for the stars.  I picked up a yard of the black and white striped fabric for the binding, which was more than enough, but I knew I was going to make more than one of these table runners as a gift.  The green fabric will be used for the backing.  I got a yard.  More than enough for one table runner.  Also, I picked up a small package of white cotton quilt batting.  

Also purchase 1 yard of Pellon 725 Heavy-Duty Wonder-Under transfer web.  You will use this on the back of the stars.  

All set!



I had a bolt of white muslin 45" cotton fabric at home.  I cut 6 15" x 50" pieces for making 6 table runners for gifts.  If you are just making 1, then you will need one 15 x 50 piece of white cotton.  This will be the quilt top.



With your Wonder-Under, trace your stars on the paper side.  I used 12 on my table runner top, but you can use more or less as you like.  Also, you could draw several Christmas trees too and add them to your design.  It's up to you!  Be creative!



Cut out each star, leaving a gap around the traced outline.  With the paper side up, press the stars onto the back of your fabric pieces.  When they've cooled to the touch, cut them out neatly along your drawing.



You'll have lots of pretty stars!



Peel the paper off the back of each star and arrange them onto your 15 x 50 white cotton fabric. 



When you have them arranged just like you want them, press them in place.  The spots you see on the fabric in this image are water spots from my leaky iron.  But now all the stars are affixed to the white cotton fabric rather nicely.



Next step, using a zig-zag stitch, or decorative stitch if you prefer, stitch around the perimeter of each star.  This will help in preventing fraying when washed.



And it looks nice too!  No stabilizer was needed to stitch around the stars.



Your quilt top table runner is done!  Now to finish your project ...



On your cutting table, place your backing fabric, face down, and your batting on top of the backing fabric.  Then, place your table runner top on top of the backing and batting.  Trim the backing and batting to about 2" additional all the way around the table runner top.



Baste your table runner top to the batting and backing using a contrasting thread and nice big stitches.  This holds all the layers together when you are quilting on your machine or hand quilting.  I prefer this to safety pins.  It lays flatter and prevents the layers of the quilt from shifting.  It only takes a few minutes to baste your quilt together and it's worth the extra effort.



Now that you have all three layers basted together, using a "Fine Line Mark-B-Gone" water soluble ink pen, draw your quilting design onto your quilt.  Now, I know a lot of quilters like to just randomly place their quilt in the machine and wing it when it comes to stipple quilting.  Not me.  I've done it.  If you knew how many times I got stuck somewhere I didn't belong, you'd understand.  So, I draw it on the quilt in sections.  It isn't even one big "stipple" design.  There are lots of designs that start and finish in the same spot, it just looks complicated.  But boy is it a lot easier to machine quilt when the design is already on the fabric!!



Here's a tip: wear quilting gloves when machine quilting.  It's a lot easier to move the layers around the design on your fabric.  And when you are done quilting your design on the layers of your quilt, spray some water on it and wipe it off with a wash cloth or rag.  The ink disappears and your left with nothing but your beautiful quilt pattern.  You might also notice that I hand quilted around each star.  That was a personal preference.



You will be amazed at how fast all the quilting went!  Now on to the binding.  BUT, first, trim your quilt so that you have perfect right angles.  After trimming, my quilted table runner measured about 14" x 48" 

Now for the binding.  I use 2 1/2" strips, and I'm not even going to begin to tell you how to do the binding!  I'm going to leave that up to Jenny Doan with the Missouri Star Quilt Company.  Best video tutorial you'll ever find on adding the perfect binding to your quilt.




And it's done!  The corners of the binding are perfect, the quilting is pretty cool, and, well, if I may say so myself ...



I think it looks pretty awesome lying on top of the quilt I am still hand quilting for my mother as a Christmas gift.  Now to make 5 more of these table runners!!  

Hoping you have a creative holiday season!!


Thank you to Andy Knowlton of https://www.abrightcorner.com for the great table runner idea!  Andy can provide the star template and instructions for you.  Andy's instructions are for a 12" x 40" table runner, whereas I made adjustments for a 15" x 50" table runner.  You can purchase the complete pattern and template for the star HERE





Sunday, November 05, 2017

Mother's Double Dutch Quilt Part 8


Hand quilting really isn't all that difficult.  It just takes patience and callouses on your finger tips.  Two things I did not have until today.  Now that I'm in the swing of the quilting, it's enjoyable.



It feels good to complete an entire section.  I can look on with pride for the results and then roll the quilt down onto the front bar to expose more of the quilt to be quilted.



I am not using templates or patterns.  I am just drawing freehand a design onto the quilt and then stitching over top of the marks



I consider myself to be a bit of a rebellious quilter.  Whereas many quilters must have perfect stitching and perfect design, I really like the "randomness" of just drawing something on the quilt and then quilting it.  Many quilters use tiny stitches.  Not me.  Mine are 1/4" and very stitch apparent.  Like my paintings, I love to see brushwork, I love creating brushwork.  In my quilting, I love to see the stitching, all the imperfect, perfect stitching.



I've always been able to write, paint, and quilt using both my right and left hands, although I am "right handed" and prefer doing all my quilting with that hand, there are times I find myself having to go in a direction that I don't like.  On this quilt I am stitching what is called "Stitch in the Ditch" around the quilt block and triangle seams.  Then I am creating random designs in the other sections of the quilt



Another trick I find useful is to pin the seams that I have completed with the "Stitch in the Ditch" technique.  Especially if you are getting up frequently from your quilting, which I was today, I placed pins where I had completed the quilting along those edges.



Now that I have several sections quilted with the curving design, I kinda like the way it looks! 



This is what the quilt looks like from the underside.  You can't see the quilting, but it's there.



And now I've rolled down another section to be quilted.  Progress.  It's a wonderful feeling.



Saturday, November 04, 2017

Mother's Double Dutch Quilt Part 7


I had high hopes of completing this quilt swiftly, by handing it over to a professional long arm quilter to do all the quilting for me.  And, I could have, but then the design would cover the entire quilt as one large design, rather than a single design around the sashing and in the large blocks.  That is what I envisioned anyway, was having a quilting design that complimented the quilt top.  Oh well, so much for that idea!  So, reluctantly, my Big Bear and my grandson, Glen, pulled out my 96" Grace EZ3 hand quilting frame from the attic.  That thing has been collecting dust for 15 years. 



When making large quilts, it helps to have a large bed to use as your work space.  I cleaned everything off our bed and placed the quilt backing fabric face down flat on the mattress



I laid the quilt top on top of the backing fabric.  Smoothed it out, and prepared to cut the backing fabric to size.



I trimmed the backing fabric so that it was about 5" - 6" larger than the quilt top all around the quilt on all 4 sides



I removed the backing from the bed and set it aside and did the same thing for the batting, leaving plenty extra around the perimeter so that it was larger than the quilt top



I folded the quilt top in half, long ways, and marked the center of the quilt on both ends with a pin.  I did the same for the backing and the batting.  You want to mark the center of each layer before you place it on the quilt frame so that all layers lie flat and even on top of one another when lined up with the center marks on the 3 bars of the quilt frame



First process to attaching this large quilt onto this frame is the backing.  I attached it "right side facing DOWN" onto the frame.  Using quilting tacks, I tacked the top to the middle rail



And tacked the bottom to the front rail lining up the center of the quilt back to the center mark on the rail



I rolled the backing onto the middle rail until the fabric was firm but not too tight.  While rolling, you want to fun your hands across the length of the fabric to make sure it is smooth and even while rolling



Next layer - the batting.  I tacked it onto the front bar, lining up the center on top of the backing, but the rest was just thrown over the back of the frame for now



I placed the quilt top on top of the batting layer and lined up the center on the front bar.  Again, I threw the rest of the quilt top over the back of the frame



No need to tack it on like I did with the backing and the batting.  I just pinned the quilt top onto the batting and backing across the front, smoothed it out along the back of the frame and moved on to tacking the batting and quilt top to the back bar. 



It was an arduous experience, but I got the quilt top and batting smoothed out and tacked onto the back bar! 



Using red thread and long 2" stitches, I basted the quilt top to the backing and batting along the bottom edge and up the side edges as far as I could go



I decided that for the large sash going around the perimeter of the quilt top, I would hand stitch a simple diagonal checkerboard pattern.  My stitches are 1/4"



Hopefully I will have this bottom section quilted today and will be able to move on to the section just above the sash! 


It's a process! But, I have a feeling it will all have been worth it when the quilt is finished!





Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Mother's Double Dutch Quilt Part 6


Progress is a beautiful thing, especially when that progress settles into a finished quilt top!!  And here is how I finished the quilt top for the Double Dutch Quilt!  This is the largest quilt I have ever made.  I've made many a lap quilt, but never a queen size quilt like this one.  Intimidating?  Yes.  Possible?  Well, so far so good.



Today was all about the remaining sashing around the perimeter of the quilt.  Following the instructions, I matched squares with rectangles, clipped the  seams, and pressed.



These pieces, once sewn together, will be the final quilt block pieces for the center of the quilt.



And after pressing the seams open, I have these long rectangular pieces



I had the quilt top lying on my bed, and I placed the first completed side sash up against one side to make sure it was right.  It was!  I pinned the side sash to the side of the quilt, lining up and matching seams, and then I sewed it on and pressed it in place



After I got the left and right side quilt sashes sewn in place, I created the sashes for the top and bottom, laid them on the quilt to make sure they were the correct length and that once pinned, I had the points going in the right direction.  Always check your points!



By the time I got to this point today, I was pretty sure I would finish the quilt top before the day was done. 



After sewing on the final quilt block sashes, it was time to add the trim sashes.  Trim sashes are actually easy.  No need to match up seams, just make sure the edges are aligned when sewing your 1/4" seam and that the fabric sash is longer than the length of the side of the quilt you are sewing.  Once you have sewn on one side, trim the end so that it is flush with the edge of the quilt (the perfect length for that side).



Done with the dark blue sashing around the perimeter of the quilt block center!



And now to add the final wider sash to the perimeter of the quilt top.  This is the final step



And here it is!  The completed quilt top! 



Now the hard part begins.  Yes, you heard me right.  This was actually the easy part.  Next, I have to make sure I have the right size batting.  I better start looking.  I might have to buy some to fit this quilt.  Then I have to press and pin the backing face down on my bed.  Place the batting on top of the backing and the quilt top you see here on top of the backing and batting.  I will pin all three layers together then hand baste all three layers together corner like a pizza.



That alone will probably take me several days.  Then, I will begin to machine quilt after I figure out what quilting patterns I want to put in the quilt.  There is a lot of work that goes into making a quilt.  It doesn't end with the quilt top!  And there are two very important creative elements to every quilt - the design of the quilt top and block pattern, and the design and pattern of the quilting itself that holds all three layers together.  Both of these elements makes the finished quilt spectacular!

Hope you've enjoyed following along as I make this quilt top!  The process will continue as I now begin the process of actually "quilting."





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