Stitching Times serves up stories, examples and tutorials about needlework related crafts, especially quilting and crochet. Almost all of the projects shown have been designed by Kay Stephenson

Monday, July 21, 2014

More Quick Satisfaction

Well over a year ago, I wrote here and here about ideas for using up some of the stash of selvage edges I've been collecting. 

Way back in February 2013 I got them all color sorted

I decided to make a long narrow wall hanging to replace this painting, which I kinda hate. It's boring and mundane and I was pressured into buying it at one of those art by the yard house parties. 


Now that it's hanging in that little piece of wall space between two doors I kind of wish I had added more neutral border at the top and bottom, and then added a dark narrow border to frame the whole piece. Ah well, next time. This went together so quickly - probably a total of five or six hours over two days - so I may well make another one soon. I am loving these quick projects.

To make one of your own, select the selvage strips you want to use overlapping the finished edge on top of the raw edge of the piece below. Sew the strips together, sewing a scant 1/4 inch from the finished edge. Cut a couple of pieces of background fabric that are the height of your selvage collection and the desired width to go on both sides of the wall hanging. Now lay these strips on each side of the selvage collection overlapping by about two inches. Use your rotary cutter to cut a wavy line through both, and discard the scraps. Now pin, pin, pin those curved edges and sew the sides on. Clip the curves and press the seams towards the center. That's it. 

Quilt and bind to suit, including either a hanging sleeve, or corner pockets for a hanging rod. I've been using this method with corner pockets and a simple piece of dowel from the hardware store lately. Easy Peasy. I hope you decide to make one and if you do, please leave a comment here with a link to where we can all see it.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Love Quick Finishes - Here is "Prairie Bloom"

This is so unlike me. I started this project last weekend and here it is finished. I'm not that inclined to dawdle when I do apparel sewing or make bags. Those are often start to finish in a day or two, but quilts? Never,

It does help that this one is a small wall hanging or table topper - it finished at about 25 x 23 inches - but consider: 

I didn't know what I was making when I started building the equilateral triangles (look here for the technique); The background material was still sitting at Fat Quarter Shop and had to be mailed; used a different quilting design than I had ever tried before; and, the binding was done by hand.

You can really see the quilting in the picture of the back. 

I may have to do more small projects just to get that burst of happiness that comes from accomplishing something more often!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Delightful Distractions

I'm so easily distracted. One day last week my guild-mate, Allegory, posted about the technique she uses to make scrappy string triangles. The idea of piecing on muslin instead of paper seemed brilliant to me. So did I file that away for some future project? Heck no, I hightailed it straight down to the studio, pushed everything I was supposed to working on to one side, and started making my own scrappy gems.

Pretty, pretty

Even with a couple of days off to work on some outdoorsy growing stuff projects, I've now completed two dozen of these six inch equilateral triangles, and purchased some lovely mushroom colored sashing fabric. Yep. That's me. So easily distracted.

Until next time...

Monday, June 30, 2014

Quilt Label Brilliance

I know I tend to rhapsodize about the West Atlanta Modern Quilt Guild, but here is reason number one zillion and two for why it's great to belong to a guild. A couple of months ago we were talking about quilt labels and I mentioned that I buy special ink jet printer fabric on rolls. I can cut the fabric to size and because it has a paper backing attached to keep it firm enough, I can run it right through my printer to make labels. The only problem is that it comes in one color – white.

One of my guild mates piped up and said that she didn't bother with special paper. She prints right on a scrap of the fabric from her quilt. How does that work you ask? Perfectly.

Just start with a scrap of fabric - in my case 8 ½ inches wide by 4 inches tall.

Spray the back of the fabric with some spray adhesive. I use OdifUsa 505 brand. Make sure to place the fabric on a scrap of paper so that you don’t end up with over-spray on your table or cutting mat.

Affix the fabric to a piece of regular computer paper, and trim to the proper size.

Now use whatever application you prefer to design your label. I use Microsoft PowerPoint, but as long as you can position the text and print, it really doesn't matter what you use.

Once your label is printed, let it dry completely (about fifteen minutes), then use a dry iron to heat set the ink.

Peel the computer paper off the back of your label, fold the edges under and give it a good press, and you are ready to stitch it onto the back of your quilt.

Brilliant right? And I never would have known to try this if I didn't belong to a guild with talented and clever quilters!

I also made the label for my Michael Miller challenge quilt but you will just have to wait until I can get some decent pictures to see more of that. 

Until next time, happy stitching!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Pouch Crazy

Last week I wrote about the pouch I made for my sewing buddy. Well it didn't end there.
I made a three pocket pouch for my grandniece for her birthday. 
See... three lined pockets with matching zippers. I followed this tutorial with a few modifications.  I don't usually sew from other people's patterns as I like the design component so much. However, I learned some really neat tricks working with that pattern, which I was able to incorporate into the pouch for the guild swap.
And as my reward, I received this adorable thank you note. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy to know that there are still kids who write thank you notes.
I had no sooner sent this pouch off and received the sweet note when my guild announced - you guessed it - a pouch swap. Because it was for someone in my guild, I wanted to make something original, so I went to the drawing board.
First I tried to think about a type of pouch that I would really use, and hope I've hit on something others will appreciate. 
Here in Atlanta it is festival season. Every neighborhood has their own festival to raise money for parks, and other improvements that taxes just can't cover. Ours is called Summerfest. Typically a festival is held on Saturday and Sunday and kicks off with a parade and road race in the morning. Key streets in the neighborhood are closed off to set up an artist market, food trucks, a stage for bands, beer sales, and did I mention an artist market? You get the picture. Me wandering around listening to music, sipping a beer, and needing a place to keep cash, ID, and a credit card - 'cause did I mention the artist market? 
Based on that need, I came up with this idea for a zippered pouch with a very long strap so it could be worn cross body.
As you can see, I used English paper piecing to make a fabric piece about
nine inches wide by 20 inches tall. The finished bag is closer to eight by nine. 
There it is all pieced with the papers still attached to the back. You can see that I used two different shades of orange combined with some gray scraps all left over from another project. The fabric shown here is from the Spot On and Metro Living collections from Robert Kaufman, and they differentiate the colors as orange and tangerine.
After I removed the paper templates, I fused a lightweight piece of interfacing to the back of the fabric to give it a bit more body and stability - I don't honestly trust my hand stitching all that well, but fusibles can fix anything.
Next I squared up the fabric, 
and cut it in half. 
Fortunately I had purchased a bulk package of YKK zippers a couple of months ago, so matching zippers were in my stash. You can see with this photo where this is headed.
I love this neat technique found in the triple zipper pouch tutorial for finishing the zipper ends. 

And I was able to line each pocket (one shallow pocket on each side and a large full sized pocket down the middle) with more Spot On (snow on white). The instructions for how to insert the zippers and line the pouch pockets in one fell swoop are included in the tutorial from Debbie at A Quilter's Table mentioned above. And yes, Debbie is a much more prolific quilter and blogger than me. Hats off to that, and to her awesome quilts.
The exchange happens on Thursday, so I really hope whoever gets this one likes it. And I have full plans to make another for myself. I'm noodling with using up some prized selvage strips for mine instead of the hand sewn hexies. What do you think?

Until next time!
Kay Stephenson for Stitching Times