Monday, August 30, 2010

Forest Friends Cheater Quilt Tutorial

These are instructions for finishing my Forest Friends Cheater Quilt panel.  This is not the only way to finish the quilt, but it's how I did it.  

If you're not feeling up to the quilting, but still want a precious blanket with this panel, consider making a simple blanket or a tied quilt.

Materials needed:    1 Forest Friends Cheater panel (**You must order one yard, centered**)
                                1 1/4 yards backing fabric
                                1 1/4 yards Warm n White cotton batting (or a scrap approx. 40" x 46"or larger)
                                1/2 yard binding fabric

Step 1: Prepare the quilt sandwich.
Use a hard flat surface, like a tile/wood floor or a table.  Place your fabric with the wrong side facing up and secure it with blue painter's tape or clamps.
I do this to ensure that my layers line up correctly.  I make the same marks on each layer and line them up before basting my quilt.
If you'd like more info on marking your quilt sandwich, here is a good explanation from Red Pepper Quilts.

Begin in the center and work your way to the edges.  Do not pin where the "blocks" meet.

Step 2: Quilt.

Here are some great resources on machine quilting if you need help:

Since this cheater quilt will have a lot of short quilted lines, this step is extremely important, especially if you don't want to go back and secure each thread by hand:

To begin, turn the handwheel to lower and raise the needle to its highest point. Pull gently on the top thread to bring the bobbin thread up through the quilt. Stitch in place for several stitches. Gradually increase the length of each stitch for the first 1/2 inch of quilting until the stitches are the desired length. This will secure the ends of the threads, making it unnecessary to backstitch or knot them. Reverse these steps at the end of each line of quilting. -TLC Machine Quilting
Option: It might be nice to quilt the sky in blue thread as well.

Trim all the loose ends.
Step 3: Bind.
Now it's time to bind your quilt!  I'd like to make another tutorial for how to bind a quilt, but until then, here are a few excellent resources:

Step 4: Enjoy your precious new quilt! :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Free Swatch Day on Spoonflower!

*Update: It's over now! :(  Maybe next time...
Free swatch day is here!  You have until tomorrow at noon.  Go get your free swatch right now!!  More information here.  There are so many wonderful designs to choose from, like these:

Bitty Bots by Patty Sloniger

Yellow Flower Camper by Scrummy

Peacock by Troismiettes

But, you could also upload your own!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Printable Mailer

Yesterday, I returned my August block to Karen for our Fresh and Funky Quilting Bee.  I really enjoyed the freedom in piecing this block.  Thanks for a fun assignment, Karen!
I didn't have anything to mail my block in, so I decided to make a mailer myself.  I traced a used mailer on card stock, cut out the pieces and stitched them together.  Sounds good, right?  

Then today, I thought about how great it would have looked with a little embellishment!  Well, it's too late for my August block, but maybe you can make use of it!

Here is the finished product:

Paper Airplane Mailer

1. Print my images or your own on cardstock. 
{Idea: It would be really cute to have your kids draw pictures on the cardstock instead of printing something out...if you have kids, that is.}

2. Cut out on the dotted lines, then place your cards wrong sides together, aligning the straight sides.

3. Stitch around the edges with a scant 1/4" seam allowance (if you can call it a seam allowance...).  I set my stitch length at 4.0.

Ta-da!  So easy!!

**If you use my images, please reserve them for private use only.  Thanks!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cheater, Cheater!

It's no secret that I'm a southern girl, and I happen to love country music.  The list of country songs about cheaters is quite extensive, but I'll spare you.  You're welcome.  This week, I finished my first cheater quilt.  I won't lie, I loved how quickly it came together.  I designed this panel for a Spoonflower contest, so it was extra fun seeing it come together into something really lovely.  

So, here it is.... 

I will post some finishing instructions later if you'd like to made one yourself or if you have some other cheater quilt fabric to finish.    If you'd like to make one, you can get the panel here.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Fabric Friday!

Monaco Circle Pane in Lime, Blue, Fuchsia, and Yellow
I just love the simplicity and shape of this pattern.  It might be totally obvious, but I LOVE bright, happy colors!  

I'm really loving line drawing fabrics right now as well, like this precious girl with a fox.

Last but not least, I have my own fabric entered in another and doors is the theme this time.  I was inspired by a combination of Monsters Inc., Dr. Seuss, and these funny little monsters in the form of art by kudu-lah.

I drew the picture by hand, scanned it into my computer, and colored it using Photoshop Elements.  If you like it, I'd love your vote before Thursday, August 26! :)  It's called Monster House by mandyd (my Spoonflower profile name).  

Happy Friday!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

How to Make a T-shirt Quilt: My Process and Tips

I  thought I'd share my process and a few tips for making a t-shirt quilt if you decide to make one yourself.  Here goes...
1. Select about 20 t-shirts and cut out the design you'd like to use, leaving at least 3 or more inches on each side of the design (if you can...if not, just leave as much as you can).  I used a rotary cutter.
--This is a rough estimate for a large lap-sized quilt. You may need more to make a quilt large enough for a bed.
--You can make all the blocks the same size (say, 15" squares) or use all different sizes like I did.

2. Iron a lightweight fusible interfacing to the back of your shirts according to the manufacturer's instructions.
 --I chose lightweight interfacing because I didn't want the t-shirts coming out too stiff to snuggle under.
 --I'm sure you would never do this, but DO NOT iron directly on the printed part of the t-shirt.  It will melt! I made that mistake with one of my favorite shirts from college... So sad.  :(

3. Lay out your t-shirts in a pattern you like.  You will most likely need to use some t-shirt scraps backed with interfacing or some other fabric to fill in gaps in your quilt top.
 --I put my largest pieces in the corners and filled in the spaces from there.
4.  Trim each t-shirt to the desired size, squaring off the edges.  Do not forget to allow 1/4" for each seam.  *You may not have the same number of seams in each row.*
  --Squaring off the edges after you've applied interfacing will help you get the best shape from your shirts, and you will secure the interfacing as you sew each seam.  This means you won't have to quilt over each shirt if you don't want to.

5.  Sew blocks together using a 1/4" inseam and a jeans/denim needle (100/16).  You may have to sew up a crazy seam or two, so be ready for it.  See instructions for this kind of seam below...
6.  Add a border if you'd like one.
 --I used quilting cotton for mine.

7.  Baste, quilt and bind your quilt as desired.
 --When basting your quilt sandwich, try not to pin the printed part of your shirts too much because it could leave holes.
 --I quilted in the ditch (right on top of each seam) with a neutral thread to preserve the look of the shirts.

Good luck!

**This is just the process that I used.  I do not claim to know everything there is to know about t-shirt quilts, but it worked well for me! :)

Instructions for sewing a jagged seam:

{seam 1}

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Very Special T-Shirt Quilt

This is a memory quilt I made from the t-shirts of a wonderful young man who left us all too soon.  I can only hope that my work does justice to his memory.

This was such a special project for me, and I feel truly honored to have been able to do this for his family.