Sunday, April 26, 2015

Parkbench, Sort Of

I've worked up the courage to show what I've done with Parkbench.

It's just a top at the moment, but hey, it's lucky to even be that!

I found Parkbench yesterday when searching for fabric and cleaning up in preparation for my Spangled Stars Quilt-Along. Finally deciding that I did not want to make any more blocks, I laid out the three blocks I had on the floor.
Pieces that were ready for another block filled in some of the edges.
Told myself, 'Looks great! Sew it! Get it done!' 

Figuring this would go on a light grey background, the remaining corner areas are filled in. Now I have three diamonds.
Notice in this picture that the lower right diamond is turned the wrong way so that the yellows don't touch. Did I notice? Not until I had the whole thing sewn together! Dang it!

Anyway, now I just needed four corners to make this a rectangle. Easy enough. Using a wide enough piece of background fabric, it's folded right sides together so that a mirror image piece for the other edge is cut at the same time. One of the diamonds placed on top yields the right angle for cutting.

The corner piece is pinned on and sewn, 

and the same is done for the other edge with the remaining piece.

Now for the other side. Since that angle is already cut on the background fabric, it just needed a straight trim on the other side, yielding two more pieces for the other corners.
Adding a few narrow pieces along the other edges, time to for sewing all three parts together. And I still haven't detected that the one piece is oriented wrong!
Notice the Y seam. They are really not difficult. Just start 1/4" in from the center, and use a few backstitches so the seam doesn't come undone. One leg is sewn here,

then another leg, and finally the last. I'm calling it done.

And, yes, I fixed the orientation of the wrong-way diamond. Now it looks better!

Tomorrow, I'll have some more information about my Spangled Stars Quilt-Along. The more I play with color options, the more I fall in love with this quilt! I do hope you'll join me!

Happy Quilting!

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Quilt-Along and Updates

Introducing my first Quilt-Along!

I had so much fun with the Irish Chain Twist Quilt-along on Melissa's blog, Happy Quilting Melissa, that I want to have one of my own!

I've designed a beautiful star spangled, red/white/blue project because July 4th is one of my favorite holidays. This pattern would also make a great QOV quilt, if you so choose.

Spangled Stars Twin size

Starting next week, Thursday, April 30, I'll post the schedule, fabric requirements, and prizes. Over the next eight weeks, each Thursday I'll post another step, concluding with the Grand Parade and Prizes on July 2, just in time for July 4th. I do hope you'll join in on the fun! Feel free to grab a button!

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Other news includes the border pattern, graciously sent by Cristy Fincher, to finish my paperless paper piecing project.
Be sure to check out her Craftsy class, Pain Free Foundation Piecing to learn this fabulous technique!

And this month, I'm ahead of schedule, with this cute log cabin snowball block for my Modern group quilt. 
Also completed where the next two blocks for the Patchwork City Westside QAL. Each one took almost two hours, and when I show them, you'll understand why. I want to make a few more before their reveal, just to make sure this is a project I'm going to finish, unlike Parkbench--argh. And the t-shirt quilts are now waiting on further discussion with the owner. I've gotten some ideas, and want to clear them with her after she gets back in town.

Now I'm off to choose the fabric for my Spangled Stars Quilt-along! Are you choosing yours?

Happy Quilting!

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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Piped Binding Tutorial

Machine stitched piped binding is my newest favorite binding, but only when a) it works with the quilt design, and b) I need the quilt finished in a hurry. I've applied it on several quilts, so it's time for a tutorial on stitching this beautiful binding.
There are a lot of pictures to explain the process, and I hope it's easy to follow along.

Binding Preparation:
Start by choosing the main color for the binding, and the accent color. Cut enough main color strips at 1 1/2" wide, and the same amount of the accent color at 1 3/4" wide.
Join all of the main color strips together as usual, and do the same for the accent color.
Stitch the two strips together, using a 1/4" seam.
Press the seam toward the main color.
Fold the edges together, revealing 1/8" of accent color, and press.

Applying the Binding:
Starting midway down the edge, apply the binding to the back of the quilt, with the main color face down. This allows the binding to be folded to the front to show the accent color.
I personally use a bit bigger than a 1/4" seam, but not quite 3/8".
Stitch to the corner, stopping within a seams width of the edge.
Turn the quilt, backstitch to the edge, and remove the quilt from under the foot.
Fold the binding back, forming an angle from the corner.
Bring the binding forward, lining up the the fold and the binding edge with the edge of the quilt.
Start stitching at the top edge.
Continue until within at least 15" of the starting point.

Joining the binding:
Snugly lay each strip along the edge of the quilt, folding each at an angle at the join.
Mark this fold on each piece. Here I used a chalk marker.
Slipping fingers into each binding piece, pinch both pieces together at the marking/folds.
This helps eliminate the confusion of orientation for the next step.

Open up each binding piece, still holding the two together.
The piece that came from the top of the quilt lays on the bottom, right side up, and the piece coming up from bottom of the quilt lays on top, perpendicular to the other. Match the markings.
The line in the picture denotes where the marking is underneath.

Carefully lift an edge to line up the seams of the binding. The arrow shows the match.
Holding everything in place, carefully replace the piece, and put a pin at the joint.
At the sewing machine, take a few stitches at this point to check for alignment.
This looks pretty good--maybe off a smidge, but it's okay for this quilt. If it was for show, I'd redo it.
Sew the whole joining seam.
Check for correct orientation, and length against the quilt.
Trim off the excess, and continue applying the binding.

Finishing the binding:
Before the turning of the quilt, remove some of the bulk in the corners, by trimming out the little triangles there.
Clip the fold.
Then trim out the triangle.
Press the binding on the backside, creating a nice crease.
Fold the binding to the front. For this quilt, I've used school glue to hold the binding down on the front. Press to help set the glue. I'm not worried about it's use, as it's a starch product and washes out.

At the sewing machine, choose a thread that matches the binding accent color, and stitch in the ditch between the accent and the main color.
And ta-da! A beautiful piped binding, adding that extra special something to a quilt!
Happy Quilting!

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