Monday, January 28, 2013

ARRRRGH! The Perils of a Beginner Quilter

No, I'm not pretending to be a pirate, even though Gasparilla was held in Tampa this past weekend and the pirates invaded the city.  My arrrrgh! is because I have to do some ripping. No, a lot of ripping. I layered and pinned my daughter's quilt top this past weekend. I kept coming up with one side that just wouldn't lay properly. So...I ripped out the side and sewed it back up again. I thought maybe it was out of whack because I had stitched the length of grain of the border on the bottom and the stretchier squares on top so it made the side shorter. Nope...that didn't work.

I decided to measure both sides of the top. It is almost 1.5 in longer on one side than it is on the other. Then I started counting squares to make sure I had the same amount on both sides... why wouldn't I?  Duh... but, these squares are on the outside of the first border that goes around the quilt. Apparently since this was my first quilt I have made I added 1/2 a block to one side to make it "even". Yeah, I did. Who would do such a thing without measuring first? I guess me.

This quilt was from a book that I had bought. The original pattern called for it to be square. My daughter wanted it to fit her queen size bed in her spare room. So I decided to tackle my very first quilt. My mistake was in thinking that making a quilt was the same process as making a dress or pants. You can fudge on a sewing pattern, add piece here, if it's to short, take some away if it's to long. Not so with quilting. You really do have to use quarter inch seams. You can't fudge on them and take a little here or leave a little there. It screws with the consistency of the quilt pattern. Apparently so much that I added half a square to make the seams meet. HA.

Good thing I didn't send this off to be quilted by a professional. First off I think she would have sent it back because it was full of threads. Nope, I didn't trim off all or any of the threads. What was I thinking? I guess I wasn't. Boy would she have gone nuts trying to get the quilt to lie straight for the long arm. She would have definitely  sent it back then. I am hoping it won't take me more than a week to get it straightened out so I can get started on getting it quilted. I know my daughter is anxiously awaiting it's return so she can finish decorating her spare room.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

My First Block Swap

Back in December I joined my first ever block swap. Not long ago I signed up for Strip piecing blah blah... You give it the measurement you want and the length of the fabric and it tells you how much to buy and how many strips to cut. Easy peasy, right? Wrong. There are no instructions that tell you what order to sew the squares and triangles. This was to be my first time making something with triangles. As you have seen my past three quilts are all squares or rectangles.

I had this really pretty blue fabric that I have had for several years. It was supposed to be the lining of a blue velveteen vest, but I changed my mind. Anyway back to my squares. I picked out what I thought might look like a snowflake.
As you can see the concept was a pretty good idea. My problem was I had no clue how to put this together and keep it square. The first time I sewed the four large triangles together to make a square. The I sewed the the white triangles to the blue square only to realize there was no way I was going to get it put together in the order I was sewing it. Needless to say I gave up on the above square. After playing around with the triangles a day or so I came up with the square below. But, as you can see in the top square things just don't match up like I would like them to.

I eventually settled on the block below. It's not the Friendship Block that I started with and it doesn't look like a snowflake, but I think I did a fair job of getting my points to be points and the square to be square. It is about 10 in.that should give everyone some leeway at cutting the square to 9 1/2 in.

I am getting excited to see what everyone else has made. I am thinking this will make a nice winter snuggle quilt to use during the winter months. Only in Florida do we rarely have anything below 40F.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

New Ideas

Good evening, it's been over a month since I last blogged. Sometimes life intervenes and other things are more important. Given that, here goes...

I think I might have mentioned that my daughter gave me back her quilt top that I had made last year so I could quilt it. After quilting my grandson's quilt, I felt more confidant that I would be able to machine quilt her top.

I have this really huge ironing board that I made several years ago, so I placed some light weight luan paneling on it to clip the quilt so I could pin it together. To get a better idea here are a couple of pictures of how I used my large ironing board to layer and pin my quilt.
 Doing it this way I don't have to crawl around on the floor and tape my quilt so I can pin it. It also saves my back.Tyler's quilt was a little smaller and I just laid it across the bed and spray basted. While sewing the basting spray gummed the needle a little bit but it didn't take much to clean it off and keep sewing.
How the board is attached to the ironing

This is what the ironing board looks like when I was ironing the back of the quilt. As you can tell I am really tight quarters. I eventually plan to remove the computer
desk to someplace else in the house and having more room.

This is the luan that I got from the Lowe's. It's really thin. That way the clips will fit the quilt layers and the board. Also another reason for the luan is the wood layer adds the firmness that one would get if the quilt were taped to the floor. I read that one lady taped her quilt to the wall. The wood on the ironing board is 3/8 in thick plus the layers of padding added for ironing. I would have had some difficulty in pinning the quilt. I would probably pinned the quilt to the ironing board.

I think I should have bought it as one big piece and had it cut to fit. I would like for it to have been about 5 or 6 inches deeper so it would have hung over all four sides and I wouldn't have had to keep sliding it back. It is the same width 24in as the ironing board itself. The ironing board is 60 in long. Much longer than that and it would be more difficult to handle than it is. When it's not being used with the cutting mat ,ironing or used as a cutting table it folds up neatly and stores in the closet. Out of the way. C-clamps hold the main frame to the ironing board. I have a very small bedroom which is used as a craft, sewing and bedroom.  I have another iron and ironing board in the bedroom that I use for regular laundry.

I have heard that necessity is the mother of invention. Maybe this is true. I bought two packages of the medium size basting pins. I'm glad I bought that size because I ran out and had to use the small ones I had that I had bought many years ago. Gosh! those things hurt your fingers while pinning them, which means they will hurt too when taking them out. Any way.... I ran out of basting pins altogether. Now what am I suppose to do?
Pinmoor 50 pk for 21.99
 I found these awhile back on the internet a while back and thought that this is a really cool idea. I have searched the hardware and craft stores to come up with something similar to use with the pins I have and not cost a small fortune. I've even thought of buying cheap toy erasers at the dollar store and trying them. I like cool tools to use in sewing and crafting especially those that you can create yourself and not cost a fortune.  I'd rather spend my money on fabric and other fun stuff, like patterns, books,etc... You get the idea.

After seeing the Pinmoor pins I came up with my own idea at the spur of the moment so I could finish pinning my quilt.

 No it's not food. It's corks from wine bottles. What do you use your leftover corks for?
Make sure you have a very sharp knife, be careful. Start the slice then roll it to finish the cut.
Then all that's left is to cut into quarters. I throw away the one that split because of
the corkscrew hole.
Do you drink wine and throw the corks in the draw? I do, I don't why, I just do. Not long ago I through away about 30 corks about 5 or 6 years worth of corks. Nope I don't drink wine every night. Although there are times I think I should.
Ha ha. :)
Since I remembered having seen the pinmoor pins I had this really cool idea to slice up some of the corks, quarter them and use them on my pins. WhaLa! It worked just perfect and didn't cost me anything but time. OH, have I mentioned  I like purple?  I got the purple clippies at Staples and I have several of their tiny purple storage boxes to keep the clippies in. I even have some purple binder.
Two bags of the clippies were plenty to clip the fabric to the boards.

I always have a hard time starting and ending my blogs. I am not an elegant writer like most of the blogs I read.