Friday, April 30, 2010

Diet, So I can have S'more

This is what my Friday night looked like, what about you?

It's all Capricious's fault...


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Dog Tag Silencers

I decided that I am going to do a craft fair in May so I wanted to make some small pieces for the fair. I ended up deciding on dog tag silencers. The ones we have were REALLY old and one of them had a hole in it so it was time for new ones anyways. I realized I have gotten so used to our dogs wearing them that the few hours they didn't have them on while I was making new ones just about drove me crazy. So for all you dog lovers out there, this is great quick project. Sorry for the bad dog didn't want to pose.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Another Scarf

Why am I making scarves in the spring? Because they are quick, easy, mindless, and good to work on while watching TV. This weekend I made another one of these scarves. Only this time I made a scarf instead of a wrap and I used super bulky yarn and huge needles, what can I say I love the results of that pattern.


Quick Easy Baby Gift

When Chase was little he loved being swaddled and one of my favorite swaddling blankets was a snuggle flannel handmade blanket because it was twice the size of a typical swaddler and was much easier to get the kiddo wrapped up in. Especially once Chase was a bit bigger.

If you have a serger these blankets are so easy to make and they are the perfect last minute gift. Each blanket is about 1 yard of fabric (approximately 34 x 40 inches), I don't think the exact size really matters as long as it is on the larger size. I just squared up the fabric and then rounded the corners (I used a single layer of fabric because I was afraid if I did a double layer they would shift in the wash). On one of the blankets I used a rolled edge and on the other I did a typical 4 thread overlock stitch and I think they are both adorable. I added a tag to mine just so they looked a bit more finished but that is totally optional.

With so many fun snuggle flannel prints out there now you could easily do coordinated sets of swaddlers. These are gifts for two different babies which is why they don't match =)


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Twirl Skirts

My BFF Capricious came over last night for our weekly sewing get together. She shared her twirl skirt pattern with me so that I can make a gift for someone I work with. I made matching skirts (12 - 18 month and 3 yrs). I am really happy with how they turned out, I think the denim is the perfect touch.


Friday, April 23, 2010


I just finished this scarf! It is a quick knit and I love the results. I used large needles (US 13) and worsted weight yarn to get a light weight wrap for spring / summer (I used 48 sts). I think it will work well as a thick scarf in the winter as well.

Also I thought this was a cute Chase picture...


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Kimono Baby Shoes

I made a pair of baby shoes the other day and I must admit I am not thrilled with the results. They aren't nearly as cute as I thought they would be but maybe it is the fabric I used.

Also here are two of the blocks from the quilt I am currently working on. I love them =)


Sunday, April 18, 2010

My Little Artist


Here is my latest quilting inspiration. I am going to make this as a 3 x 3 block lap quilt (72 x 72 inches). It is the first time I have ever tried a scrap quilt before. I have two blocks done and I am excited to get started on the others.


Friday, April 16, 2010

Quilt Binding Tutorial

Here is the last part of my baby quilt tutorial.

Binding Techniques that I have used:
- A standard binding technique where you machine stitch the binding to the front of the quilt and then hand sew the binding to the back of the quilt using a blind stitch. This is probably my favorite technique as far as "looks" go but it is also the most time consuming and for a quilt that I machine quilted and that is going to be washed a lot it just seams easier to do a full machine binding. If you choose to use this method there are some good tutorials out there.
- A full machine binding technique where you machine stitch the binding to the back of the quilt and then fold it over and machine stitch the binding to the front of the quilt. Here is one link to a tutorial but if you Google it there are a bunch of different tutorials and you can choose the one that works the best for you.

Tips for Beginners (here are a few of my tips when using this method):
- There are a ton of tutorials out there for how to create binding. For a quilt this small you would need less than 1/2 a yard of fabric.
- I like to use 2.75 inch strips of fabric when I create my binding instead of 2.5 inch strips. The reason being that when you stitch the front of the binding down you can see the stitching on the back of the quilt and I prefer for all my stitching to be below the binding itself on the body of the quilt where the rest of the stitching is. I just think it looks nicer but that is personal preference.
- I always pin my binding to my quilt before I stitch it on because you don't want the seams of your binding to be at a corner or you will have a really hard time getting a nice mitered corner.
- I find the technique used for ending your binding (attaching the beginning and end raw edges together) very confusing. So I cheat when I do my binding by unfolding the end of the binding and cutting it at a 45 degree angle. I then iron under the raw edge across the 45 degree angle and fold the binding in half again. You can then fold this around the beginning edge of your binding to hide the raw edge (making sure it overlaps an inch or two) and you have a nice finished edge. Basically the beginning of your binding will end up sandwiched inside of the two sides of the end of your binding which you have cut at an angle to match the rest of the seams and decrease bulk.

- The third technique is the method that I used for this quilt where you wrap the quilt backing around the raw edges of your quilt to create the binding. The reason that I chose this technique is because it is faster and easier then the other two methods and I think it looks just as nice. It saves a lot of time because you don't have to cut / sewing the binding and you only have to stitch around the quilt once.

- Rotary cutter / Cutting Mat / Clear Ruler / Scissors
- Iron / Ironing Board
- Disappearing Ink Pen / Chalk / Some way to mark your fabric
- Quick Easy Mitred Binding Tool (Optional) - I personally think a clear ruler can be used instead

Binding the Quilt

1) Trim the batting so that it is the same size as your quilt top making sure NOT to cut the backing fabric.

2) Trim the backing fabric so that it is twice as wide as you want your finished binding to be. For this quilt I trimmed the backing to be 1.5 inches wider than my quilt top which gave me a 0.75 inch finished binding. A standard quilt binding is about 1/2 inch thick but it is totally up to you what you want to do.

3) Fold the edge of the backing fabric to the edge of the quilt top (in half) and iron it. Repeat for all four sides.

4) Using the Quick Easy Mitred Binding Tool (or just a regular clear ruler) square up the corner of your quilt top and draw a diagonal line. Then draw two small lines where the diagonal line crosses your iron creases. Repeat for all corners.

5) Fold the corner so that the right sides of the fabric are together and place a pin through the intersecting points that you marked in step 4.

6) Stitch on your marked line from the folded edge of the fabric to the intersection marks (only half of the line should be stitched).

7) Cut off the corner of the triangle.

8) Turn the corner inside out using a tool if necessary. Fold under the raw edges of the fabric at the press lines. You should now have a perfectly mitred corner. Repeat steps 5 - 8 for all corners. Note: Don't worry about the marker lines they will wash out when you wash your quilt if you used disappearing marker.

9) Stitch around the edge of the quilt as close to the binding edge as possible without "falling off" the edge of the binding fabric (be sure to back stitch at the beginning and end of your stitches). For this step it would probably be wise to pin the binding down before you stitch but I hate pinning so I just went for it and it turned out fine.

10) Toss your quilt in the washer / dryer for the proper crinkling effect and you're done!


Machine Quilting Tutorial

Here it is, a very basic tutorial on how to free motion quilt the baby quilt we pieced in part 1 of this tutorial. This quilt could easily be quilted using straight lines / stitch in the ditch but because the top is so basic I think it lends itself well to a simple meander.

- Backing Fabric: It depends on the size of your quilt and your binding technique. If you are using a traditional binding technique your backing just needs to be large enough to cover the entire back of your quilt after it has been quilted (I would say that an inch or so larger then the top on each side should cover that). If you are using the binding technique I used in this tutorial (wrapping the backing around the edges of the quilt) you will want the backing to be large enough that there is a 2+ inch border of backing fabric around your quilt top after it is quilted. If you are unsure and want to play it safe larger is always safer. For the baby quilt we made in part 1, about 1.5 yards of fabric should work.
- Batting: The batting should be approximately 1+ inches larger than your quilt top on all side (I use warm and natural cotton batting because I like my quilt to crinkle but feel free to use whatever you are comfortable with)
- Safety pins or Adhesive Quilt Spray
- Cotton Machine Quilting Thread
- A free motion foot for your sewing machine (here is what mine looks like)

Tip for Beginners: If your quilt is small enough you can use a single piece of fabric for the backing but for larger quilts you will have to piece a backing together.

Layering the Quilt Pieces

Tip for Beginners: When I first started quilting I was a bit intimidated to try adhesive quilt spray but let me just say that I am hooked and I wouldn't go back to using pins. The adhesive is especially nice for beginners because it will help prevent getting puckers in your quilt and it is faster then pinning. You can buy it at Hobby Lobby, Walmart, or Jo Anns and it costs about $10 for a can (which will do multiple quilts). If you prefer though you can use safety pins (there are some tutorials online that will show you how to pin your quilt together but it is essentially pinned the way the finished quilt would look backing right side down, batting, top right side up).

1) I like to lay down a canvas tarp before I spray my quilt to avoid getting the adhesive on my floor. Lay the tarp down and lay your batting on top of the tarp. Spray the batting with a light spray of the adhesive (it will basically feel about as sticky as a post it note). I have found that a light spray will do the trick and that it isn't necessary to use too much of the adhesive.

2) Lay your backing centered over the batting (wrong side down so that the wrong side sticks to the batting). Start smoothing your quilt from the middle out making sure that there are no puckers in the fabric. If you accidentally create a pucker since the adhesive works like a sticky note you can always pull up your backing fabric and shift / move it until it is smooth.

Tip for Beginners: I like to remove the tarp before I start smoothing the backing on so that I don't have to work around the wrinkles in the tarp. Doing that is more realistic for a small baby quilt then a large quilt.

Here is what your piece should look like when you have attached the backing to the batting and flipped the two pieces over for the next step.

3) Spray the other side of the batting with adhesive and center the top of your quilt wrong side down over the backing. Starting in the middle smooth the quilt top to the batting making sure that there aren't any puckers. Your quilt should now be sandwiched together and there should be an even border of batting/backing around your quilt top (it doesn't have to be perfect, just fairly centered). If you are using the binding method that I used for this quilt make sure that you have a 2+ inch border of backing around the top of your quilt. Now you are ready to quilt!

Free Motion Quilting

4) Set up your machine for free motion quilting, refer to your machine's manual. This will most likely mean attaching the correct foot and checking the tension / settings. You may also want to use a quilting needle - when I use warm and natural I use a 90 (I have found that if you use warm and natural batting a standard needle seems to also work just fine). Your tension may have to be adjusted based on the type of needle you use. One thing that I like to do before I start quilting a quilt is preload enough bobbins so that I don't have to stop and load bobbins in the middle of quilting. For a baby quilt it will take about 3 bobbins.

Tip for Beginners: Before you begin quilting your quilt I would make a few practice sandwiches of fabric / batting and practice practice practice. It takes awhile to become comfortable with the motion. One thing that I did was I printed out a simple meander example and I traced it with a pen. Then I took a blank piece of paper and I drew my own meander. This will allow you to get used to the meander pattern before you have to try doing it on your machine. The goal of a meander is to have flowing wavy random lines that don't overlap each other (although if you have a few cases where you make a loop I promise no one will notice it once the quilt is done). Below are two examples I found online.

5) To get started center your quilt or test swatch, top facing up, under the needle so that you will begin quilting in the middle of the quilt. I like to line up with a seam so that it is hard to see where I started. When I first started quilting I used to quilt from side to side before someone told me that it is better to start in the middle so that puckers can be pushed out to the edges. Now you want to "pull up" your bobbin thread to the top of the quilt. This will prevent you from getting messy bunches of bobbin thread on the back of your quilt. To do that put your sewing foot down where you want to start quilting. Lower your needle and raise it once and then lift your sewing foot.

Now give a gentle tug on the end of the top string and you will see a loop of bobbin thread appear.

Pull that loop until the end of the thread appears (you now have both your top thread and bobbin thread on top of your quilt).

Lower your sewing foot where the two threads come out of the fabric so that you can start sewing in that place.

Tip for Beginners: I know it sounds REALLY silly but I highly recommend getting quilting gloves. They are like gardening gloves and have little bumps on the bottom of them. It helps you move the fabric and keeps it from slipping under your fingers. Mine cost about $5.

6) You need to lock your stitches in place now so that the thread doesn't unravel, I do this by sewing in place for 3 - 4 stitches without moving the fabric. Now start quilting your quilt by moving your fabric under the needle using fluid motions. The speed at which you move your fabric will determine your stitch length. If you move the fabric too fast you will get stitches that are too long. If you move the fabric too slow you will get tiny stitches, try to keep your speed and stitches as consistent as possible. You will be quilting in a circular direction (basically quilting in a giant spiral from the center of your quilt until you reach the very edges of the top of your quilt). Here are a few tips I have while quilting:
- Let the sewing machine do it's job (as in don't tug on your fabric too hard or faster then your machine can sew or you may break needles).
- If you have a machine that requires a horizontal thread position make sure that the thread is not upright or again you may break needles because the thread can't feed through your machine fast enough.
- You want to be looking / thinking / planning where you intend to sew not checking out what you have already done. I find that when I am not focusing on where I am heading I end up with little sharp kinks or loops.
- When I quilt my "spiral" I quilt about 4 - 6 inch sections at a time but that is really personal preference.

Tip for Beginners: Once I have quilted a few inches I usually pause and snip off the tails of the strings so that I don't accidentally sew over them.

7) So the next hurdle you will cross is when you either run out of bobbin, break the thread, or decide that you want to unstitch part of your stitches because you created a loop. How do you get started again? What I do is snip the threads that are attached very close to the fabric. Then reload your bobbin if necessary. I then start about 2 inches back from where I left off quilting and that is where you will start again. Pull up your bobbin thread, lock your stitches in place, and then carefully sew over the last two inches that you already completed and then continue quilting. Sewing over those last few inches will ensure the thread doesn't unravel.

8) When you finally reach the end of your quilt lock your stitches. I used white thread for this quilt so it is really hard to see the stitching in the below picture, sorry about that.

Tip for Beginners: If you are worried that your quilt isn't as "crinkled" as you wanted don't worry, I promise that once you wash and dry it the quilt will be nice an wrinkled.

For those of you who try this tutorial let me know if you find it helpful or not so that I can correct parts that are confusing.

Phew! I didn't realize this portion of the tutorial was going to be so long! I guess I will leave binding for a part 3.