Sunday, September 30, 2018

Month 10 The Patchwork Barn

This is the FREE Block of the Month pattern "Patchwork Barn", designed by Edyta Sitar exclusively for The Quilt Show. You must be a Star member of this world-wide quilt guild/show/Internet community to receive the free patterns each month, beginning January 1, 2018. Join today and get started on this journey.

Previous instructions are here:

Month 1
Month 2
Month 3
Month 4
Month 5
Month 6
Month 7

NOTE: On The Quilt Show, the Forum is the best place to ask questions, find answers, or find out if there is a change in the pattern.  I recommend you check in there frequently. And there is a Show and Tell Topic--show us your blocks. Forum Patchwork Barn

NOTE: This instructional blog is posting one day early--the pattern for Month 10 will be released October 1, 2018, as usual. 

In Month 10, you will make the two applique' borders. The pattern has the borders cut 78.5" x 7.5". This is the size the borders need to be AFTER they are applique'd and are ready to be added to the left and right sides of the quilt. 

Things to consider BEFORE cutting the borders to applique':

1. There might be shrinkage due to the applique', making the borders shorter than 78.5" once all the appliques' are sewn in place.

2. Do you plan to lengthen the quilt by adding additional sashing between each block? If so, be sure you make the borders longer to allow for that.

I always start my applique' projects with background fabric that is bigger than the size it will be when the applique' is done. For this quilt I would cut those borders 8" wide and 79" long. Make a light pencil mark 1/4" in from the top and bottom edges to show you where you will ultimately cut the long borders--they will be trimmed to 78.5" when the applique's are done.

I changed my quilt by not adding applique' at all and adding 1" finished sashing to separate the blocks. The Sunday Sew and Sews asked how to increase the size of  this project and this is what I came up with:

My Final Layout 75" x 98"

In Month 11 you will get all the instructions for putting the rows of blocks together and then adding these final applique' borders.  In my blog I will provide the measurements for my setting. 

I did make a wallhanging with the Twinkling Star center block and the same applique' shapes. I wrote about the applique' technique for Month 9, here.

We are getting  near the end of this project--I hope you are enjoying the journey.

Let's quilt.


Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Busy Week = New Finishes

In the last week I have quilted, bound and put labels on four quilts, fairly small ones. It's good to have them in the "Done" column:

The X-block, or Old Italian Block is one of my favorites. I love to teach it and I love to make it. More information in this tutorial:  X Marks the Spot  This one has 3" blocks, it is 16" x 20" and was made from a charm pack of "Rachel Remembered 1820-1850" by Betsy Chutchian for Moda:

Twinkling Stars is my applique' sample for the Patchwork barn instructions--find it here.

I was eager to get it completely finished so I could wash it to see: 1.if it shrunk and 2. how the applique's feel after washing--they were made with Wash-Away Applique' Sheets by C&T Publishing:

It was 29.5" square before washing and 29" square after washing. It has wool batting so I laid it out to air dry after washing. The applique's feel very soft, not stiff at all like they were before washing. The Applique' Sheets package says "Sheets dissolve into tiny fibers leaving no residue".

Temecula Quilt Company had a weekly sew-along this year that drew me in. The 1880's Sampler Sew Along has 4" blocks, mostly made with half square triangles. It is a replica of an antique quilt. Mine is 31" x 40". I thought I would add another border but decided to stop with just one, like the original quilt:

Finally, Kisses + Hugs., AKA Japanese X and + is done. I have taught this several times, and really enjoy these very scrappy blocks. When I decided it would be the quilt to bring to Houston to help decorate the Education office, I had to quilt and bind it. Done. It is 45" x 60":

Now I have to get my two garments made for Houston. So this was my pre-Houston quilt marathon. There are several more quilts basted, just waiting for quilting. As soon as the garments are done I'll get right on the next one, Temecula Quilt Company, Circa 2016:

And one more thing happened in the last week--Stella became a BIG SISTER--welcome to the world, Samuel:

Let's quilt!


Sunday, September 23, 2018

How To Miter A Border

I've been asked how to add a mitered border to a quilt.

What is a miter? It is a 45 degree angle seam, making the border fabric appear as a picture frame does on a picture:

Two fabrics--an inner tan solid and a border stripe
Two fabrics--an inner black solid and a batik print

Two fabrics--a narrow inner rose and a border stripe

Here is a single fabric mitered, the green stripe, and is an example of what NOT to do--the narrow white solid was first added as a regular "butted" border, then the green stripe was mitered. If you are looking for "rules", it is considered better design to treat both outside borders in the same manner:

In looking through my own quilts, it became apparent to me that I used to miter many of my borders and today I rarely do. This is true of the many quilts I see friends, guild members and students make--miters are rare. In fact, 20 years ago I used to include how to add a mitered border in my beginning class--today I do not.

Why is this? Most quilters think it is "hard" to add a miter--it doesn't have to be. It certainly uses more fabric and that is a factor when I am "shopping" in my closet and only have a certain amount of fabric. And border stripe fabrics look wonderful when mitered--we have a lot fewer of those today than 20-30 years ago and quilters don't know how to use them. An excellent reference on working with border prints comes from the master of these fabrics: Jinny Beyer.

Let's look at the basics of adding a mitered border to your quilt. Here is a small sample--of course, the same information applies to a bed-size quilt. These blocks are 6" finished and the purple sashing is 1" finished--right now, this quilt is 13" x 13" finished:

Here is the quilt with the double borders laid out:

With butted borders, I would cut two purple borders 13.5" x 1.5" for the left and right sides. After adding them, I would cut two more 15.5" x 1.5" for the top and bottom. Then I would do the same with the outer border--each would be cut to exact size then added to the quilt, one at a time. This helps make certain your quilt remains square.

With mitered borders, I make "border fabric". This means I will sew the narrow purple fabric to the print fabric BEFORE sewing them onto the quilt. This is one of the reasons I like to miter borders on a bed quilt. If I had 10" of border,  made up of three different fabrics, it would take handling the entire quilt under the needle 12 times to add each of those borders separately if I did the "butted" borders method. By doing the "mitered" method, I only have the entire quilt under the needle 4 times, as I add each of the four borders that have been created as "border fabric".

Here is the trick--you have to know how long to cut those strips. There are two options to consider.

FIRST OPTION: cut each of the fabrics you want for your border the same length, the finished outside measurement of the quilt plus about 1" for insurance. This takes the most fabric but eliminates doing the math for each border. In the same quilt above I would cut both the purple and the print 20" NOTE:The print fabric was cut 2.25" wide because I had 4.5" strips leftover and it was easy to cut those in half. The math:

6" + 1" + 6"           = 13" center of the quilt
1" + 1"                   =   2"    purple inner borders
1.75" + 1.75"         = 3.5" print outer borders
1" minimum extra = 1"
Total length for each border = 19.5"--let's just cut them 20" to keep it simple

NOTE--if your quilt is a rectangle, you will calculate the sides separately from the top and bottom. Another reason I like square quilts and often make them.

SECOND OPTION: cut the inner borders the finished length plus 1" for insurance. Do the same with the outer borders. Fold each in half, mark the middle, pin in the middle so you are staggering the inner border on the outer border. This saves some of the inner fabric--especially if the outer border is really a lot wider than the inner one. In this little sample it really doesn't matter as it doesn't save much. The math:

Purple fabric:
6" + 1" + 6"           = 13" center of the quilt
1" + 1"                   =   2"    purple inner borders
1" minimum extra = 1" 
Total length for purple inner border = 16"--cut four of these, saving 4" on each one

Outer Print fabric:
6" + 1" + 6" + 1" + 1" = 15" center of quilt and width of both finished purple borders
1.75" + 1.75"              = 3.5"  finished width of both outer borders
1" minimum extra     =  1"
Total length for outer print border = 19.5--again, I will just cut them 20", cut four of these.

The photo above shows both of these methods. On the top is the FIRST option, each was cut 20" and then joined to create "border fabric". On the bottom is the SECOND option, purple borders are cut shorter than the outer borders, then centered on the outer border fabric and sewn. In both cases, I pressed the seam toward the purple--it is narrower and might not have any quilting in it. It is also darker but the overriding thought process is about the quilting--where will the thickness of the seam allowances be less of a bother?

Now that the border fabric is created, it's time to sew them to the quilt. Find the center by pressing the border fabric in half, make a pencil mark  at the center. Now make another mark 6.5" on either side of that center mark. This is half of the center of the quilt (13") and gives you the exact place to start and stop sewing, 1/4" in from the outer edges of the quilt.

On a long border, I make pencil marks at several places where the border should line up with the body of the quilt, like where blocks join the border. If you just sew a long border to the quilt without measuring, the chances are very good your border will be wavy or full or short, not nice and flat as you want it to be.

Pin the border to the center to the quilt, matching the marks and you are ready to sew, one border at a time. You may also find it helps to make a mark on the four corners of the quilt, 1/4" in from the outer edge--this is the starting and stopping point. I sew with the quilt center on top so I can keep an eye of those seam allowances and prevent them from flipping in the wrong direction:

Here is the first border sewn in place. This is one of those rare places in piecing a quilt where you backstitch because this seam will not be crossed by another seam to lock it:

The starting edge
The stopping edge
Press toward the purple inner border, the path of least resistance:

Pin and sew the second border on in the same manner, being sure to start and stop at the dot, 1/4" inside the outer edge. If you go a "stitch too far", just take that stitch out:

Turn to the back side. Place the borders on top of each other, folding the quilt center at a 45 degree angle. Be careful to align the seams of the purple/print borders exactly on top of each other. When I have a border stripe fabric, I carefully check  by pinning that the stripes are aligned well:

Use a ruler and pencil to draw the sewing line. If you  have a Half Square Triangle ruler, use it. Align the sewn seam on the border with a line on the ruler to keep things straight and square:

If you have a square ruler, you can use it, again being sure the border fabrics are straight:

When I have multiple borders or a border stripe fabric, I usually baste the important intersections before I sew the seam for real. Here I have basted only the place where the purple and print meet, with very long stitches:

It only takes a few seconds to do this, and if things don't match up as well as you would like, it's easy to remove the basting stitches, fiddle with it again, and re-baste. When you are happy, turn the stitch length back to normal size and sew the seam, directly on top of those basting stitches. Be sure to start at the dot where the quilt joins the border and backstitch. I backstitch at the outer edge as well.  If the whole seam is good, I remove the basting stitches:

To trim the excess fabric away, place a ruler on the sewn seam, 1/4" away from the seam--remember, the part you want to PROTECT is under the ruler:

Trim the excess away and press the seam open:

The back

The front
Continue until you have added all four borders to the quilt and sewn each miter. I tell students the first time you do this you will have one that is perfect, one that is awful and two that are pretty good. The next time you do it, none will be awful. The third time you do it, you will have the process down pat.

A mitered border can add a touch of elegance to your quilt and it looks like you took a bit of extra care to make the quilt special. Try it, you just might like it!

Let's quilt.


Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Journey #5

Still taking a look back at some of my early quilts.

The Journey #1
The Journey #2
The Journey #3
The Journey #4

By the mid-1990's I was making bed quilts and lots of class samples as well as smaller quilts for magazine publication. I was introduced to needle-turn applique' by Nancy Pearson and enjoyed making several applique' quilts.

"If It's Purple"--a traditional Baltimore-style quilt, these patterns were published in the Heritage Quilters of Huntsville newsletter from September 1989-August 1990. I designed the swag border and had it hand quilted by a local quilter.  I finished it in time for the 1995 Fanfare Quilt show where it was awarded Best of Show:

 A detail of the quilting and applique':

I presented this quilt to my son Andrew and his wife Lauren for their wedding. It is currently in storage until they are ready for it. 

"Lone Star Garden"--an original  design inspired by a quilt in the book Star Quilts by Mary Elizabeth Johnson. The applique' designs I adapted from patterns by Patricia Campbell. The star is made from 8 huge diamonds all cut exactly the same from a Jinny Beyer border print--I made one big paper template so I could cut each one accurately. I bought 6 yards of the stripe, went back and got 3 more yards, then to make the outer border I bought 3 more.

The border treatment is a style Jinny Beyer called "Soft Edge Applique'". It would have been easier to just add a plain border but after all that applique' in the middle, this quilt just deserved more of a finish. It took a lot longer but I am happy with it. Hand quilted by the local quilter--I was keeping her busy during these years. 

It was fun to work with lots of fabrics from my stash for the many flowers in the background. Why use one fabric for a color when you can use lots? Detail shots: 

I basted the border stripe to the pink outer print, then carefully cut along a line in the print, a few inches at a time as I needle-turned under a narrow seam. As I recall, the process took a couple months of evening sewing. The borders were also cut exactly the same so the corners would miter nicely:

When working with border prints, it can be fun to see what you get where all 8 of the diamonds  come together. I was very happy with the central design and don't remember working it out in advance with mirrors. The big star is about 60" square:

I had this quilt finished for the 1999 quilt show and it won First Place in Group Applique'.

Fast forward to 2013 International Quilt Festival Houston--both of these quilts were featured in the Special Exhibit  "Traditional Treasures":

Although I love hand applique', the need to get quilts finished more quickly leads me to piecing most often. Other quilts made in the late '90s include:

"Purple Plus":

"Secret Stars":

"Half Log Cabin":

And many smaller quilts for classes and magazine publication.  I did not remember just how many pieces I made for Christmas Year Round, Country Stitch and McCalls' Quilting until I dug out these issues:

Let's Quilt!


Sunday, September 16, 2018

My Favorite Things

This week I finished this top, My Favorite Things:

66" x 74"
It's an original design I put together as a 6 month class, one two-hour class a month. I demo the various blocks taught that month and the students sew theirs at home. This group of about 13 students really likes this plan and they have already asked me to come up with something else for next year.

This one features my favorite blocks, from simple things like half square triangles to more complex blocks like Crown of Thorns that was partially paper pieced.

Since this is now done it's time to get back to one of my favorite UFOs--Ruffled Roses designed by Sue Garman as the 2011 Block of the Month for The Quilt Show:

The last time I worked on this was November 2015 when Sue and I were at a teachers' retreat in Virginia Beach. We had a wonderful week there and I learned as much as I could from her. Very special memories of that week together. So it is time to get this done--more basket blocks to make and a very elaborate piano key-style border to finish. With my guild quilt show in October 2019 as a target, I have to keep on this now to get it done.

It's also time to get some quilting done--been a while since I turned on my Q20. The stack of quilts basted and ready to quilt is growing.

And it's the time of year when I have to make two garments for Houston:

Road Trip and Kaleidoscope by Allison Glass for Andover Fabrics

Metropolis by MODA

I better come up with an idea or two soon so these can get made in the next month. It's always something.

Let's quilt!


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

A Little Trip Out West

A couple weeks ago my husband and I hopped on a plane and flew to Denver. I was there to tape an upcoming episode of The Quilt Show. I have written about The Quilt Show before, most recently here.

This is what I saw the morning I walked in for the taping. The audience has not yet arrived but soon these seats will be filled with more than 60 enthusiastic quilters.

The day before my taping, we arrived mid-day to deliver the four large quilts I brought so they could be hung up that evening, saving time the next morning. Also arriving about then was Christa Watson, who was taping after me the next day.
We ended up staying most of that afternoon to watch the taping going on then. This is helpful so the "guest artist" knows what to expect for their own taping.

Oddly, I do not have many photos on my phone of my taping. My husband took a few short videos, not really good to show you behind the scenes. So I am using a couple from Christa's Facebook page:

The monitors that show what the various cameras see, this is during her taping:

 The control room:

Back to my photos. When I arrived early the morning of my taping, it was exciting to see how beautiful my quilts looked in the great studio lighting. Here is Pieces of the Past--Circa 1875. I wrote the story of this quilt here.

My favorite quilt, because it taught me so much, Joyful Journey:

 Hello, old friend, nice to see you again. Red and White--By the Numbers. To find out what this quilt means to me, read this. This quilt is now part of the Corporate Collection of Quilts, Inc. and was borrowed just for this special occasion. We are so grateful that was able to happen, thank you, Quilts, Inc.:

 Another favorite, Stars in a Time Warp:

A very special quilt, one I had to bring to help "tell my story". A-Round With My Friends. I spent 7 years working on this and it has been very successful so the time was worth it:

It was hard to decide which quilts to bring, there is only so much room in the luggage, and more importantly, only so much time to talk about them.

For the first segment, I discussed how to do basic piecing, the things that help you be successful, the cutting, the sewing and the pressing. The second segment was on binding, the steps I use for a well-done finished edge and how it doesn't have to be hard. The time goes by in a flash, and then it's over.

I did get to talk with the audience a bit and answer a few questions:

Another segment taped after mine featured Bill Volckening, a quilt collector and nice guy--I've known him for several years. I am eager to watch this segment on a few of his antique quilts when it airs:

Another terrific quilt-world person I am happy to know is Becky Goldsmith. She taped the day after me so arrived mid-day of my taping to deliver her quilts. I didn't see her taping but we did get to chat a bit. Here are two of my favorite people:

All in all, this was a wonderful experience, one I never even put on my Bucket List. I have been a member of TQS since the very beginning. I learn a lot here and am happy to provide what assistance I can with the Block of the Month, answering questions on the Forum and teaching a class locally, made up of the Sunday Sew and Sews, a great group who have become good friends too.

I do not yet know when my show will air but you can be sure I'll let you know. When it does, I will have a passcode non-members can use to watch the show during one week of its' airing. But I enthusiastically encourage you to join if you are not a member, it is the best money you can spend on quilting--all of the shows are great and there is so much more. And follow them on Facebook and Instagram--lots of fun photos there.

The crew is very professional and I was treated so well. This is quite an operation--they taped 6 days in a row, two shows per day. One of my new BFFs is Shelly Heesacker, the amazing producer who makes sure everything is done as well as it could possibly be. Everyone who has ever worked with her says so. Thanks, Shelly!:

It's a wrap:

Let's quilt!