Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sneak Peak!

I've been sewing all day on a new project for the shop which will probably be on display in the next week or two! It's cute, fun and simple to make. It would be great in lots of different fabric combinations but here is mine:

Connector Corners

Did you notice that this unit is a connector corner?  And, did you also see that I've drawn two lines?  I am not throwing away the bit that gets cut away after sewing on the first line.  I will sew again through the second line and cut inbetween the two and TA DA, I get a bonus half-square triangle unit!   The bonus unit is 1 7/8" which is not a very nice size to work with but, I'll leave them as is until I decide what I'd like to do with them. But, honestly, how could I just throw all that away? 

Bonus Triangles!

So, anyway, here is where the piece in the top picture ends up!  
Sneak Peak
So, what else would one rather do on a winter's day than sew!  I love my days off!  (I like days on also but, I really like the chance to piece during the daylight hours!) 

More to get some more pictures up for the journal too! 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Santa's Workshop! Project #1 - Faux Leather Journal Cover

 Do Y'all know what day it is today?  It's the 25th of the month and in only 11 months many of us will be celebrating another Christmas with friends and family!  Well, that got me to thinking about how I always wanted to get an Earlier Start on Christmas projects so How About NoW!  Anyone in with me?  I want to set aside one day each month to work on all the projects I'd like to have ready for gift-giving.  On the 25th of every month I'll share what I've been working on.  So, here is the first project:  Journal Covers!  Made with faux leather, they look quite handsome.  These cutting measurements are for a standard compostition notebook.  (When they go on sale at the beginning of the school year, buy lots of them!  I ran out and had to get some more at Regular Price.  :(

  These covers are lined and the notebook front and back are inserted into the pocket.  From a half yard of faux leather you willl be able to cut at least 4 covers.  If you are using cotton fabric that is 44" wide you will be able to cut four covers (cover only, not the lining) out of a half-yard of fabric.  You'll need 1/3 yard for the lining and pockets for each cover for either a cotton cover or a faux leather cover.  Use a 1/4" seam allowance throughout.  A size 90/14 needle worked fine for me.

Faux Leather Journal Cover

This is the basic fabric journal cover


Pieces cut

Cut (1) each from cover and lining fabrics 10 1/2” x 16”

Cut (2) pieces from pocket fabric 10 1/2" square

Press pocket fabrics in half, with right sides facing out.

Layers in place and side seams

Layer fabrics in this order:

Cover, right side facing up, then pocket fabric, raw edges aligned with outer edges, then lining fabric, face down.

Pin and sew all (4) side seams.  There are two side seams on each side.  The yellow pin heads remind me not to sew that section!  We leave that section open to turn it right sides out later. 

Top and bottom pinned

Pin and sew top and bottom edges sewing through all four layers. Sew with the fabric on the bottom and the faux leather on top.  Clip corners.

Turn right side out

Turn right side out using opening.
Press neatly.

Stitch opening closed by folding seam allowance to inside; hold in place and stitch close to edge. 

Stitch the opening closed

Insert journal front and back covers into pocket slots.

There's a picture of a couple of my pieced journal covers on the flickr link to the right.  I've made quilted covers also.  If you want to make one of those cut the cover and lining pieces about 1 1/2" larger, layer with batting, quilt, trim to an 1/8" larger to allow a little more ease since the layers create bulk. 

If you have ideas to share please post a comment!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Stash Report

Hi there!  Just a brief update on the stash usage since I've got good news to share.  It may not seem like much but for me it's a complete 180 (or is that a 360?). 

Fabric purchased this week:  1 yard (I needed to make another faux leather journal cover for a gift and didn't have any more; it doesn't take a yard but I don't want to make the trip again the next time I need to make one so I have enough now to make about 5-6 more.)  Year to Date:  1 yard!!!  This is the number I'm really excited about!  I feel like I should be standing up in an Quiltaholics Anonymous meeting saying "my name is Stephanie and I'm addicted to buying fabric!  It's been 18 days since I last purchased any fabric".

Fabric Used:  2 7/8 yards (I made a couple more blocks, the journal cover and made the rest of the triangle sets I think I'll need for the triangle exchange).  Year to Date:  3 1/3 yards.

Quilts quilted:  0.  Year to Date:  1

So, I've only bought fabric that I immediately put to use!  I've also realized that it's hard to find time to sew and practice my quilting and right now I've felt more like sewing.  I've also been trying to figure out the design and pull colors for a quilt for my nephew.  It's fun way to spend a snowy evening looking through my stack of magazines hunting for ideas!  And, I'm almost ready to start cutting.  That means more Fabric Used! 

Look for the next Layer Cake block next weekend!  The block is made; I just have to write the directions and get the pictures together!  Have a great weekend everyone!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Layer Cake Block One: Buckeye Beauty

Here is the first block of the Layer Cake Challenge!  It's a classic block called Buckeye Beauty.  It's quite simple to construct, has lots of possible colorations and looks great whether you make one block or a whole quilt since it creates a secondary design.  If you are using 10" squares from a layer cake, choose three: a light (background), a medium and a medium dark.  I'm using pinks and browns on a cream background.  If you are using scraps that's ok too.  Most of us have lots of scraps we'd like to use up!   So choose your color scheme and go for it! 

Buckeye Beauty
8" finished block

From  Cream Background, cut one 2 1/2" strip (2 1/2" x 10") and one 5" square. 
From Brown, cut one 2 1/2" strip (2 1/2" x 10").
From Pink, cut one 5" square.

Layer the background strip right sides together on top of the brown strip and sew a 1/4" seam along the 10" edge.  Open and press toward the brown (dark) fabric.  It should measure exactly 4 1/2" wide and 10" long.  If it is too narrow then your seam allowance is too deep.  Correct it now.  If it is too wide then your seam allowance is too scant.  Take it apart and re-sew it using a slightly deeper seam.  A thread or two one way or the other can make all the difference.  Once your piece is the correct measurement, cut it crosswise into four pieces each measuring 2 1/2" x 4 1/2".   Make 2 four patches. 

2 1/2" x 4 1/2"
4 1/2" x 4 1/2", make 2

Now let's make the Half-Square Triangle units.  Layer the pink square and the Cream square right sides together.  Using a mechanical pencil, draw a line diagonally from corner to corner.  Stitch 1/4" away on both sides of the drawn line.  Cut them apart on the drawn line press towards the pink fabric.  Trim to a 4 1/2" square.

Now let's put it all together.  Sew one four patch to one half-square triangle unit to make the top half of the block and repeat for the bottom half paying attention to the first photo for placement of each unit.  Press towards the four patch.  Sew the top half to the bottom half; the pressed seams will nest together to give you good corners.  The block should measure 8 1/2".   Ta Da!  I hope you like it! 

Now I have a confession to took me WAAAAY longer to figure out how to post these instructions than it did to Make the Block!!  I'm happy with the block but you'll have to let me know if you need more instructions.  I did my best, honest.  The techie part is the Hardest thing for me!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Week One: A Good Start

I feel pretty good about what I've gotten done this week.  I quilted a quilt (a baby quilt for a customer) on my long-arm.  It had minkee on the back and it came out really cute.  There's really nothing special you need to do to when using minkee on a long-arm.  You just have to check that it's smooth just like you always would.  And, you don't want it to be too taut; that, too, is normal procedure.  I ordered thread for the next quilt I want to do.  Also, I did not buy any fabric this week; that must be a first but, did I use any fabric?  Just a small bit, for the president's block I wanted to make for our 2010 guild president.  I've been catching up on some other stuff such as returns from Christmas which I hadn't gotten around to yet.   So, nothing terribly exciting but a good week none the less.  So, for my goals report:
Quilts quilted:  1/1
Fabric purchased: 0
Fabric used:  1/8 yard

Hope you all got off to a good start, too!