About zippyquilts

I quilt for pleasure but I also teach and write about quilting.

A Little Help From My Friends

As in, “I get by with…”  Anyway, my blogging friend Chela asked for tips on how I matched the doggone intersections in “Plaid-ish”, and several other people commented that intersections are a challenge.

Yes! There were a lot of little intersections to match–good practice!

I’m always glad to have somebody suggest a blog topic, so here we go:

It’s important to note that I learned all these techniques from other quilters, so it’s good to pass them on.

First, a little editorial comment from me.  YOU are the only judge of how exact your seams need to be.  I’ve made several quilts for the cat.  I matched my seams as well as my skills allowed, but I did NOT take any out and re-do them.

  1. Practice helps the most.  I DID say a few bad words while piecing this quilt with orange squares that finished 3/4″, but it was a learning experience (eek!).

    You can find the original pattern for this quilt by going to AllPeopleQuilt.com and searching for the “trail mix” pattern

  2.  That consistent 1/4″ seam is as important as you’ve always been told.  (Yada, yada.)   I like any of the devices out there to help sew an accurate quarter inch seam, including the foot with the little guide on it and a variety of things you can stick to the surface of the machine bed.  Most of us have this one mastered.

    My tool to help with 1/4″ seam has been around so long the plastic is yellowed!

  3. With regard to cutting accurately, I’ve been told several times not to use the lines on my cutting mat because they are less accurate (being wider) than those on the ruler.  Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.  If I ever get SO accomplished that the little difference in using the cutting mat to measure is what’s throwing me off, I’ll change 🙂
  4. When I’m going to have a 4-point intersection, I press seams to the side whenever possible so that they can be nested.  This makes a big difference in aligning the intersection precisely, at least for me.

    Here are the pieces laid side by side as they will be sewn, so you can see the seams pressed in opposite directions.

  5. I learned somewhere to put the pin to the side of the intersection that will be sewn second so that the foot is pushing the intersection together.  It is the opposite of what I was doing, and it seems to work.
  6. Even more important, Cindy Williams told me to always sew in the direction shown by the arrow (above) so that the seams are pushed together rather than apart as you sew.  That one really does help (thanks, Cindy!).  If the piece is small enough, I’ll even use the opposite side of the foot when necessary to be able to sew in this direction
  7. And now the picky part, but it saves time and frustration.  If I have any doubts, I set my stitch length as long as possible and machine baste through the intersection and about 1″ on each side. Then I look.  If it matches, great; just set the stitch length back to normal and sew the entire seam. Sew right on top of the basting.  If the intersection doesn’t match, it’s quick and easy to pull that basting thread out and try again.
  8. If the problem with matching seams is that the two pieces being joined are not quite the same size, here are a few options.
    1. Take out a couple of inches of one of the seams and make it either bigger or smaller, depending, and then taper your stitching back into the original seam line an inch or two down from the end where you started.
    2. If the difference isn’t too much, pin well and then sew with the longer piece on the bottom.  The feed dogs sometimes can “ease in” a section that is a bit too big.
  9. Finally, I choose my limits.  Sure these points match, but I really don’t plan on making another quilt that requires bringing 6 seams together any time soon!

Please feel free to email me with questions. And thanks to Chela and others for the idea for a post!

 

Plaidish–Color Gets the Credit, Value Does the Work

I found this quilt on Pinterest and followed the link to the directions because I thought it was such a great example of “color gets the credit, value does the work”.  Also, it used a lot of scraps!  In particular, I had TWO bins full of 5″ charms from a swap group I used to belong to, and I used an entire bin to make this quilt 🙂

You can find the free pattern here: Kitchen Table Quilting

Yes! There were a lot of little intersections to match–good practice!

If you ask Ms. Google or search on Pinterest, you can see many variations made by other quilters.

QUILT DETAILS

Name: Plaidish

Finished size: 63.5” x 63.5”

Designed by Erica at Kitchen Table Quilting

Made by me

Quilted by Julia Madison

Color Gets the Credit, Value Does the Work

I don’t recall where I first heard the statement that titles this post but, when I ask Ms. Google, I find it a common saying on art teaching sites. It is certainly true in quilting.

The class I taught most recently was about learning to use color in quilts. We used Linda Hahn’s pattern Junk to Jems. I gave each student a handout with numerous ways to vary the blocks. Everyone brought scraps and we all worked on different ways to combine them. It was fun and we got some very interesting color combinations.

Here are some of the blocks made in the class:

And here are a couple of variations I made as class samples:

As with all Linda’s patterns, Junk to Jems was clearly written.  I’ll probably use it again because so many variations can be made with this block.

And yes, I am using both cream and white backgrounds in the same quilt 🙂

Chela’s Journal

My blogging friend Chela makes beautiful fabric journals (and other fabric art) and recently used Kraft-Tex to make a cover for last year’s journal pages. You can read about how she did it in her post here.  However, she had some difficulty with pictures on her site, so I have some pictures of her process below:

Chela used a tool to crease the Kraft-Tex, and I do too–it’s tough enough to stand up to this

She also used clips to hold it for sewing–of course you don’t want pin holes!

She decorated the cover of her journal with stitching and buttons–Kraft-Tex can be stitched either by hand or by machine

Chela had trouble with glue for applique, but stitching worked fine. If you want glue, I use the Aleene’s Jewel-It glue with good results on Kraft-Tex

And here are some of her creative journal pages.  Click on any image for a larger view.

You can see Chela’s blog here:  colchasymas.blog

Rabbits!

I guess every quilt has a story, but sometimes I think “Hoo-boy, this one really has a story!”

The finish here started with a shibori dying class with Debbie Maddy in 2018.indigo dye

I decided to use the fat quarters (FQs) I’d dyed in the class to make a quilt using Debbie’s Usagi pattern.

The blocks were easy to make and I enjoyed the process.  Then I decided to quilt it myself!  I usually do pretty well quilting on my domestic machine, but my walking foot decided it didn’t want to participate.  The resulting quilt was quite a mess.  No, I did not take pictures!

I took out a lot of the quilting, using both a regular seam ripper and a tool that looks like a miniature electric razor.  Both worked pretty well, and I managed not to make holes in the fabric!

Finally I got up the nerve to try again.  I did small meandering in the blocks to make the rabbits stand out, some stitch-in-the-ditch around the blocks, and some wavy quilting in the border.  Done!

Quilt stats:

Name:  Rabbits!

Pattern:  Usagi by Debbie Maddy

Fabric:  Most shibori-dyed in class with Debbie Maddy; border is a commercial batik

Size: 44″ x 44″

Quilted by: me (twice–a learning experience!)

New Classes

I like to start the year with a scrap quilt, so I’ll be teaching one January 21 at Studio Stitch in Greensboro, NC.  It’s based on this pattern by Linda Hahn, but I have made some significant changes.

On February 29 I’ll be teaching a quilt I call “Easier Than It Looks”.  It’s great for those “just can’t cut” fabrics, whether you can’t cut because the design is large or because you love the fabric so much. 

Not sure yet what I’ll be teaching in March, but I’m thinking about tiny landscape quilts.  Opinions, anyone?

If you live near Greensboro, please join us for one of these classes–we’ll have fun!  And there’ll be chocolate 😉

One of the Last Finishes of 2019

Having the internet out for several days caused problems with my blog, but I got a lot of quilting done.  I finally finished (got the binding on) my bed-size One Block Wonder (OBW) quilt!

I found this Jane Sassaman fabric many years ago and just had to make something from it.

one-block wonder quilt

Garden Divas fabric by Jane Sassaman

After many design experiments (using photocopies of the fabric so as not to waste), I decided on OBW.  Not sure I’d do that again.  Anyway, here’s the finished quilt, as well as some detail shots.:

Quilt Stats:

Name: Wondering in the Garden

Size: 69″ x 85″

Pattern:  One Block Wonder

Quilted by: Julia Madison

It Was A Very Good Year

This year’s finishes:

One bed size quilt:

This isn’t as wonky as it looks, thank goodness! It’s just that I had trouble hanging it for the photo because it’s bigger than the design wall!

And a number of other quilts for various family, or for things I was teaching, or just because I wanted to:

A few of this year’s 13 donation quilts:

And finally, some table runners, art quilts, etc:

These projects were started this year but still aren’t finished:

Yes, quitting my day job really improved my productivity 😀