Stairsteps Quilt Top Is Finished AND It’s A Big ‘Un

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I knew this quilt would be a big one. But dragging on the floor!! 90″ by 78″. I ran out of design wall space.

Sashing was finished a while ago.

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But the Borders… Let me tell you.

I struggled a bit with the borders trying to make sure they were even on all sides. It took me longer than usual since I added two extra steps. When one side was slightly longer, I sewed a seam using the longest stitch on my machine (5) very close to the edge. That proved to be the equalizer it needed. And THEN I pinned the edges and ran another long-stitch seam connecting the border to the quilt top. As a test to make sure the measurements matched the cut borders. It worked. My sides matched up.

So glad to put this quilt top in the finished column. It looks exactly as I envisioned it would. I started cutting the squares and strips on April 8. Exactly two months ago. Not that I worked on it two whole months. But on and off in between all my various other projects.

Still lots to do though. Not sure yet for the backing. But I am not going to piece one. Will use yardage from my stash. Then have to quilt it. Thinking waving lines going top to bottom. The binding I will use you can see in this photo. Upper right corner. Sort of a striped brick and cream.

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And then… as luck would have it… I will have my matching pillow after all. I have enough leftover burgundy fabric to use for sashing. I already cut the strips and have the fabric squares in strips. Ready to sew. So happy.

IF it isn’t raining. IF the sun comes out. I will try to take a photo of the entire quilt top outside. So for now, I will leave you with this last image.

It’s A Big ‘Un. πŸ˜€

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You can read more about the making of this quilt top here.

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Wishing You A Happy New Year From Me and Scrap Buddy

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Happy New Year to all of YOU from me and my newest creation, Scrap Buddy!!

All of last year, I hope I kept you entertained with my projects, mainly quilting. It was my second year learning to quilt and there is still so much more to learn.

But my plan for 2013 includes a few of my other crafts. Like macrame. Quilting will still be Number One but I will squeeze in a few macrame creations. Also crochet and beading. (I miss them.) A return to my roots, so to speak. Mix things up!! I want you to continue to make This Year’s Dozen a regular stop on your Must Read Blog List.

So.. please do come visit me. Leave a comment so I know you were here. I love reading your comments!! They make me smile and laugh. I also get great ideas and suggestions from you. But mostly you give me encouragement to keep going with my crazy projects. And for that… I THANK YOU!!

Have a blessed New Year. May it be all that you hoped for.

Learning Two New Quilt Blocks Before Year’s End: Granny Square and Braid

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Granny Square and Braid. These two blocks have been on my To Learn list all year. That list is so long, I thought I needed to cross a couple things off before the new year got here.

So… I Googled both and found easy tutorials to follow. (See bottom of post)

First off, since I was working with my orange scraps, that was the color I used to make the first Granny Square block. Made four.

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Then I made two green ones. Not sure what I will do with the orange ones but I think the green ones will look nice next to my scrap block I showed you a few days ago. What do you think? Might work, huh.

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The Granny Square is easy though the hardest part (to me) was getting a pleasing arrangement. I think I like the darker shades best. The light shades seem to get lost.

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I didn’t use white fabric for the last round since I will probably use white for sashing. Squares are 2 1/2″ and I used scraps where I could and some stash. The block finishes at 9″ square. As I make my way through my scraps, I plan to make more Granny Square blocks in different colors.

Braid Block

I LOVE the look. I have seen some really pretty quilts around the net using this technique. Mine will be all different shades of green (still working from that huge bag of green scraps). I was kind of worried it would be too bland BUT I think with the sashing it will be OK.

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I sewed 50 strips and it measured 36″. Got a ways to go before it begins to look like a quilt top. My strips are 1 1/2″ by 4 1/2″. The tutorial said any size strip will work just to make sure the length was 2 1/2 times the width. Most of my scrap strips were 1 1/2″ anyway. Didn’t make sense not to use them. I was so excited to get started. But it took about four hours to cut all the strips. I cut hundreds.

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Why did I cut so many? No clue. I couldn’t stop!! πŸ˜€

Now, I have to sit and sew. And take frequent breaks. Hopefully I won’t get bored building my braid quilt top. I will set up a reward system. Sew 50 strips. Go for a snack. Sew 50 more. Go take a nap. That sounds like a plan I can work with.

What about you? What quilt blocks are on your To Do List? Do tell.

Here are the links to the tutorials I used.

Linking up to…

Building Scrap Blocks

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For the last week I have been working with my fabric scraps. They vary in size. From about an inch all the way up to about a FQ. In two years since I learned to quilt, I have accumulated a nice rainbow collection and now they are threatening to overtake my craft room. They are in several large bins separated by color. And even the tiniest pieces are in small baggies.

A week ago I had a brilliant idea. To go into 2013 SCRAP FREE!! Ha. Not hardly!! Way too many scraps. But I did make a dent in the blues, oranges and reds.

This is how I worked through the red scraps and Built A Scrap Block.

First off, if you haven’t done so already, separate your scraps by color. If they will fit, put them into large ziplock baggies. Now pick a color to work on. For me, I selected based on which colors were hogging all the space in the bin.

Red first. (This is just a tiny portion, all neat in this cute little faux-paint can.)

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Lay the scraps out on a table to eyeball the sizes. Iron any wrinkles out. (Yeah, I know. But go ahead and get that iron “hot and ready” to go. πŸ˜€ ) Trim any not with straight edges. Scissors will do fine.

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Now grab a handful and start sewing. Don’t think too hard. Just grab and sew. Press seams to one side. Trim again, if needed. And now the puzzle making begins.

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Pick a scrap you love and start there. I started off with the red fabric with large black dots. That little piece in the center. Love it!! I think it was in the scraps Deb, from Deb’s Losing It, sent me. Arrange and rearrange. Sew one section to another. Keep building.

This size would be perfect for a Mug Rug!!

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But I wanted bigger.

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And even BIGGER!!

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Added a fussy cut “Wednesday” and some piano key borders all around.

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And done. This is where I stopped. At 18″ by 14″. LOVE IT!! Can be a wall hanging or table mat. Or use it as the “front” to something. Even frame it and turn it into a work of art.

Next I moved to the blues. I made this panel the same size as the red.

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I was trying to make them different. Some horizontal strips, some vertical. A bit of Log Cabin style borders. With a few selvage strips thrown in. And some fussy cutting.

Next up. The orange scraps. Now I am thinking I am on to something. Perhaps turn all the blocks into a scrappy rainbow quilt with white sashing. Might be pretty.

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I made more projects with these scraps but that will be another post. Soon.

What do you do with your scraps? Are they organized? Do tell. πŸ˜€

Linking to…

Testing, Testing… Dipping My Toe Into The “Applique” Waters

HELP!! I am so out of my comfort zone. Going to applique my String Circles.

I have only done mostly zig-zag stitches around raw fabric edges. I have to rewind back to St Pat’s Day to remember the first time I tried something different. Blanket stitching. Remember? But this time I wanted to try the applique stitch.

Got my sewing machine ready. Cleaned out the bobbin area. Put in a new needle. Swapped my quarter inch foot for the “F” foot and practiced making a few stitches to see if I needed to adjust anything. Nope. Stitch length seemed about right.

The first string circle I practiced on was one of the yellow ones.

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I pulled it from the pile for two reasons. It wasn’t my favorite. Kind of pale looking and I had been thinking it wouldn’t make the cut. Wouldn’t be used in my quilt. And also the strings crinkled when I ironed them. Meaning either bad fabric or bad sewing. So I figured, what the hay, stitch around it to see what happens.

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Not happy. Nothing to write home about.

On to the 2nd one. Turquoise/Aqua. A circle I liked and for sure wanted it to be part of my quilt.

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I got about the same result. Pulling in around the edges of the circle. Not the flat look I was trying for.

OK.. so what gives.. what was I doing wrong?

Ah, Ha. I know!! Something in my head said “stabilizer”. Some sort of backing. Off I went to dig out what I bought YEARS ago around the same time I purchased my sewing machine (which BTW, embroiders).

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Since I was clueless on which did what, I experimented with both, using the same background fabric.

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And they both turned out the same. No pulling, no ruffles. So… that is what I needed. A stabilizer. (It appears I spent WAY too much on one of these.) But glad to know I could achieve a flat look.

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These aren’t the best applique but with practice and perhaps using my embroidery thread, I should get better at it.

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Questions for you applique experts out there.

  • What stitch do you use for applique?
  • Do you use any special thread?
  • Any tips for me, the Newbie?

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer. πŸ˜€

OK, What Is Today? It’s BINDING Day!!

It took 5 hours to quilt my Hugs and Kisses quilt top. I stippled the 5″ squares and left the diamonds plain. Didn’t see the need to mash them down. They kind of “pop” up at you. I like that.

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I didn’t do all five hours in one sitting. I did 8 columns, took a half day break and finished the other six columns yesterday. And I ended up clearing off my 2nd banquet table and pushing the two together. Working from one wasn’t working. The back kept going all wonky.

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Quilt top is trimmed and ready for the binding. Notice I left 1/4″ of the batting all around.

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Going to see if I like it this way. I always feel like the binding should be fuller. Have you ever done this? Hope I like it. If not, I can always unpin the binding and trim off the extra 1/4″.

Anyhoo, glad that is done!! My one regret… that I didn’t think to use the cranberry scissors fabric for some of the 5″ squares.

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Don’t know why. I had already decided on the back and binding well in advance of finishing so I had plenty of time to use it. Oh well. Something to think about for the next one using this design.

BBL to show you the finished quilt. I am not going to hand sew the binding. No siree. I am tired of looking at it. Want to finish up as quickly as possible and move on to something else. πŸ˜€

Thanks for coming along with me as I created this quilt top.

Birthdays and String Blocks

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Between relatives and friends, I have five birthdays coming up this month.

I like to give handmade crafty gifts so since I am on a String Block kick, I decided to make a few mug rugs.

This mug was my inspiration.

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I pulled out all different fabrics and colors from my scrap bin. And then ended up using WAY too many colors in the first mug rug.

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That yellow strip down the center should have been white. Even hubby gave the same critique. He has a great eye for colors.

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For the second mug rug, I used a bit of control. Tried not to go overboard. The white strips help separate all the different colors. Your eye has a spot to settle on and not go all cross-eyed. πŸ˜€

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I decided on turquoise blue gingham for the back and binding. For both. I don’t normally work with gingham. Out of my comfort zone but surprisingly I was pleased with the result.

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The first mug rug has a plain back but for the 2nd one, I freemotion quilted a daisy flower to the backing and batting.

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Then sandwiched it to the top and quilted with wavy lines.

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Mug rug measures 11″ by 11″. One of the five will be getting this set. πŸ˜€

Next, I plan to make one or two mug rugs from this fabric pull. I will use scraps where I can.

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I am thinking Log Cabin with a fussy cut center square of the Happy Birthday fabric. Isn’t that yellow fabric with the numbers different? Like a tape measure. Could also represent how old the birthday celebrator will be. Cool!!

Well, that does it for me. I am still working on my Hugs and Kisses quilt top. I will post photos in a day or two. May need your help in deciding something.

Hope you had a great holiday weekend and are still enjoying today. Do something relaxing and fun. Did you get any crafting done?