Quilter’s Questions: In A Bind

I’m not sure what it is but I’m awful at binding!

I’ve had success before but lately my binding is getting worse and worse.

This project was the real kicker for me. It pointed out how poorly I was doing and how much I still had to learn.

When I started quilting I didn’t realize all the steps that went into completing a quilt. I just thought you played with color and patterns. I didn’t realize so much went into it.

This has been my go to video and has worked for me for some time. But it’s still not really feeling comfortable. Maybe I just need practice. But I’m curious to find out if there are other ways to bind a quilt that might be easier .

So I’m on the hunt! I’m looking for different ways to bind a quilt. Here is another tutorial I found using a different method to make the binding. Instead of folding the binding strip in half, you fold and press the two edges into the center. I’ll have to try this one soon.

On Pinterest, I found another way. It’s considered a cheater binding but I’m all for finding  simple way to do something if I can 🙂 I don’t consider it cheating.

My quilter’s question is: What is your favorite way to bind a quilt? Do you stick to what is the usual way to bind or do you have a method that is a little different?

I’m open to suggestions although I realize that most of my problem is just that I need to practice.  

From dream to reality: The sewing/crafting room!

I was wishing out loud the other night about how I’d love to turn the “extra” space in our den into a crafting room.  It was originally added on to accommodate a large pool table.  The table is no longer there, and we’ve simply moved a set of furniture to fill the empty space.

It pays to mutter out loud lol!  My husband simply said “why not?”.  That began a fabulous, creative buzzing in my head, lots of time on Pinterest and the internet to find ways to make the room functional and fabulous.  Adding Katie as my partner in planning, we are excitedly working together to get this space up and running!

My first priority is a cutting table, with storage,maybe something like this:

:CuttingTable

The second, is having a table that will accommodate my sewing machine(s).  I’d love to have a sewing machine table that would support a large quilt as well.

SewingTableWithExtension

This could work!!

The third, of course, is STORAGE!  Fabric, accessories, books and DVD’s are in need of their own home.

This is gonna be SO MUCH FUN!

Here are a few ideas we’ve accumulated:

FileCabinentFabric CubeCuttingTableTarget FlossStorage  YarnStorage

There’s TONS more, but this is definitely a start!

What would YOUR dream creative space look like?  What are your priorities?

We’d love to hear from you!

Hugs, Dori

Fifth Quilt: The Peaceful Planet

On August 12th I started the Peaceful Planet Quilt with the intention of giving it as a gift to my niece for her birthday. She was to visit from Washington as a birthday gift from her mom and my plan was to have it done by then.

Everything came together pretty smoothly. I used a simple jelly-roll to sew together all the strips and made a long quilt top with simple borders and a yellow binding. The colors were all green and blue and soft with a very serene nature theme to it.

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I ALMOST made my goal! I was super close to finishing it when she arrived for her visit, then I hit a snag. I was using a needle that wasn’t conducive to sewing through so many layers. This was something I had no clue about! But Lisa over at Lisa in Port Hope popped by and left me a wonderful comment and a link to give me some insight into needles. I had NO CLUE about needle size and the different types! Talk about learning something new everyday, this was news to me.

I ended up finishing my quilt binding with whatever needle I had left and just took it slow to make sure I didn’t snap this one because I have no others left. And you can bet your sweet tushies that I’ll be buying new ones but this time with more information and knowledge about the types of needles I need!

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This quilt got finished up pretty late in the evening but I can’t express how happy I was to have it done and in record time! This one was finished in 3 weeks, rather than 3 months. Or even 3 years! I tend to let projects languish and hang around while I move onto other things. Because this blanket was meant as a gift and I’ve been on a kick with the finishing of things, I really had the spark to get things done.

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I’m super excited to send this gift up to Spokane to my sweet niece who got to see the almost finished project and loved it even then. It couldn’t go to a more loving and sweet girl! And I told her, when things get tough, she can wrap herself up in it and think peaceful thoughts and remember her trip to California!

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The finished product!

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Ok so now to think over this whole process and find a few good points and some learning points.

The good:

  • Sticking with a project from beginning to completion and finishing in record time.
  • The quilt top itself is beautiful and the colors are well organized.
  • Love the color combination of the light blues and greens bordered by the darker star fabric and bound with the clean yellow.
  • The forethought of making extra binding which saved me time.
  • Sticking with a simple top and not trying to get all fancy.
  • Taking my time, not rushing through the steps, and not jumping ahead.
  • PRESSING! I really did make it a point to press the seams opens and to take the time to press in between steps.

The Bad:

  • Basting. I need to improve this area because I rush through it and then things get all wonky.
  • Measuring. I still skip this step in places and that caused some unsightly issues with the back of the quilt.
  • Using the correct needle size! This is new to me and now that I have some stuff to read about it, I’m going to bone up and learn how to choose my needles.
  • Alignment. Instead of aligning the strips from the center and then squaring things off, I lined up one side and the whole thing kinda went crooked. If I had lined up the strips from the centers and pieced them together, I think I would have had a straight top.
  • Quilting. I didn’t do enough to anchor the layers together. Next time I’ll make more of a effort to tie down or quilt the top better.
  • Binding. This is still an issue for me. It’s so 50/50. Sometimes it goes well and I adore my mitered corners, and other times I suck at it. This time? It sucked!


Crazy Mom Quilts

Quilter’s Question: Storing Your Stash

Recently, I convinced the husband that I needed a new desk and filing cabinet from Ikea. I’d seen enough pictures around Pinterest to know that this set-up would work well for my beauty supplies and would relieve my bathroom stink from all the clutter. So I sold it to him on the premise that our bathroom would be cleaner and we’d have more room on the sink.

Low and behold I got my desk and filing cabinet! It took me some time to fill it out and rid the bathroom of all my palettes but we’re now able to see the tile around the sink and all my stuff is better organized. Yay for organization!

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Along with all my makeup things, I realized that this desk would be a great place to set up my sewing machine and there was enough room to start storing my fabric stash here, too. So it doubled as a beauty/sewing center. Score another point for me!

But as I started to dig into my fabric and move it to my new craft center, I realized I had no method at all to my madness. I had a box from work that used to hold reams of paper on a shelf. I opened that sucker up and BAM! I found loads of fat quarters and bundles of fabric I forgot I had.

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A Box O’ Fabric

Then I found another bin with lots of loose material floating around, some finished squares I bought on eBay to be put together to make a quilt (what was I thinking!) and jelly rolls for those quilts I had the best of intentions to make as gifts.

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In short, things were a mess. I started moving some of the stacks to my desk and filled two shelved built into the side of the desk. Then I started to filter through the boxes and bins but got so overwhelmed I had to put them back together and store them in the closet as they were. Then I went to start the binding on my son’s quilt. That’s when I realized I didn’t know where it was!!

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My disorganization was coming full circle and now I couldn’t find the last bit of material I needed to finish his quilt. After some searching, I found it tucked away in some vintage inspired fabrics. It was probably stuck with all of that fabric because the common color schemes are browns and yellows. But it definitely was the last straw.

I need a better way to store my fabric. And preferably a system that won’t require me to spend a lot of money.

My question to all of you fellow quilters is this: What is your preferred method of organizing your stash and storing it? Bucket? Hanging files? Do you wash, press, then fold them into neat stacks? Do you organize by color? Theme? Fabric type?

I’m curious to hear what everyones’ method is and maybe it’ll give me a direction to take when I start to get my mess of a stash organized.

For now I’ll show you the jelly rolls I found in a box tucked into the closet.

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I had completely forgot about these. I think I found them on sale at a Wal-Mart near us that was closing down its fabric section. They have a nice beachy feel so I think I’m going to use these for my next quilt. And instead of using the same four strip squares I’ve been sticking too, I’m going to change it up a bit.

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More to come…

Fresh Poppy Design

Quilters Question: Border Advise, S’il Vous Plaît

I have a conundrum.

I’ve been working on a quilt for my son for some time. It’s officially my new UFO (unfinished object) that I’ve been putting off and putting off. Why? Well I’ll tell you.

It is a quilt that I started 2 and a 1/2 years ago after finishing a project for my son’s bear. The plan was to make bear’s quilt and then make a matching quilt for my son.

That was 2 and a 1/2 years ago. Then I picked it up again and got the quilt top about 90% finished. Then this happened. I got all smarty pants and decided to add borders to lengthen the quilt. Instead of making it better, I made more work for myself as the borders did not go on properly and left me with buckling and tenting.

Ring a bell now? Yeah…so as of that last post, I haven’t touched the project and instead let it sit while I worked on other things and stewed over my choices.

Buckling borders at the top

First choice is to add the colorful borders back in at the top and bottom of the quilt, thus making it longer and more like a twin quilt than a lap quilt. I’ve already trimmed the lime green borders surrounding the quilt top to straighten things out. The borders are the left over strips uses to the make the squares.

Then I came up with a second choice, a new fresh idea to tie in the fabric I’d use as the backing.

The three together

Instead of using the same fabric used in the squares, I’d border the whole blanket with the polka dotted fabric I’m using on the back. Then, I’ll add the backing and bind it with the yellow.The risk is that it will become too busy with the change in fabric pattern since the polka dot material isn’t apart of the bug kit. But the change in fabric might bring the whole thing together, too.

Humm…what do you think, quilters? Should I go with my original plan to use the colorful bug strips used for the squares to border the ends and lengthen the quilt? OR should I border the whole quilt with the polka dotted fabric I’ll also use as the backing and then bind with the yellow?

Decisions…decisions.

Quilter’s Question: Help Me Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re My Only Hope!

Happy May The 4th Day!! Or better known as Star Wars Day!

I am a self-proclaimed Star Wars geek and get a kick out of May 4th. Something about it is so entirely geeky and cool that I am proud to show my true colors as a Star Wars Fangirl.

Now I was little when Star Wars originally came out. Hell, I don’t remember it coming out I was so little. But my dad loved it and taught me the ways of a Jedi from a young age.

(Click for photo link)

I was even present at a screening of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi in 1983 but again, I was too little to remember. But the story goes that while I was too little to remember it happening, I was old enough to remember and repeat verbatim lines from the movie.

For many years I wanted very badly to be Luke Skywalker until I became old enough to understand that I was a girl and the character was a boy. Then I quickly change my tune from wanting to be him to wanting to be with him.

Princess Leia was pretty cool, too (for a girl).

But that’s not why I’m here. I’m here to ask for some help from my fellow quilters. I’m currently in the market for a new sewing machine.

Kenmore-Sears 6 stitch.

Wow, I just heard the very distinct sound of eyes rolling along with a small whoop of joy. It’s such a mixed bag of nuts this question about quilting by machine versus quilting by hand (and I know it) but I’m really interested in hearing the opinions of free-motion quilters and the machines they use.

So far my research has introduced me to Berninas, Janomes, Singers, Vikings, and loads of other machines. And damn it’s tough to read through. There is just so much to take into consideration. And I’ve been reading for at least a month now, devoting a little time here or there to this machine research.

The moment I think I’ve found one I’m ready to buy, I read another review of another machine and then I’m back to square one. One moment I think I have it then I get this distinct feeling that this isn’t the machine I’m looking for…

So, my fellow Jedi Quilting Masters, if you use a machine with a free motion quilting option, what machine are you using? Do you love it? Hate it? And, if you could without any strings attached get any machine, what would be your dream machine?

May The Force Keep You In Stitches!

(Ok, I'm done, I'm done. No more cheesy, geekiness from me)

Quilter’s Question: Stash Building and Window Shopping

I recently discovered eBay.

I know, I know. I’m a bit behind on this one. Never mind that. Focus on the post…

As I said, I’ve recently discovered eBay and all the glories that lay before a computer bound quilter who is at work all day.When you have no chance of hitting up a fabric store after work or visiting the local quilters shop before closing, you make due with what you have.

So I have eBay. Oh, and Etsy. Two of my favorite online window shopping destinations when I’m in the mood to shop, browse or get inspiration from. Another online favorite of mine is Fabricworm.

Most of the time, I’m just favoriting or saving what I’d like to have some day, like a quilter’s wish list, while I hope I’m being good enough to get what I want someday.

My question to all fellow quilters reading this is where do you go online to purchase, window shop or wish list fabric?

Quilter’s Question: Tools of the Trade

Every quilter will tell you that there are certain tools that everyone who has ever made a quilt uses. These are the tools of the trade.

These tools cut and stitch and put together fabric to make memories and dreams in the comfort of a warm, snuggly blanket.

Whether the quilt goes on the wall for decoration or it’s used by the children to make forts, quilts are made and slowly become apart of the family.

With every stitch, another piece of the quilter’s heart goes into their project. Well…at least that how I feel 🙂

The basic tools are fabric, thread, pins, needles, measuring tape and scissors. Those are the basic must haves to make a quilt. Then things can step up a notch and you can add a sewing machine.

This is where some people will side one way or the other (which is just silly) saying quilting is done by hand while others will say machining is best. Personally, I’m a machiner only because I don’t know how to hand quilt but I’m fascinated by it and want to learn someday. I honestly think one is no better than the others and that it’s up to personal preference.

After that, you can add bits and babbles all over the place from rotary cutters to cutting boards and plastic rulers that are wide and see-through.

Kenmore-Sears 6 stitch.

Now if you are a machine quilting fan, you’ll laugh when you read this: I don’t own a walking foot. Yep…my 20 year old Kenmore is a simple 6 stitch and did not come with a walking foot. Thank goodness Sears puts out quality items along with excellent customer service so that with my serial number I can purchase one that fits my machine.

And, always, you need a simple iron and ironing board. Nothing fancy for the basics. I think I got my iron at Target for $9 and my ironing board at Goodwill for about $2.

Nothing special here.

I don’t know, readers, have I missed any important tools of the trade? I have lots of little gizmos at home that really aren’t necessary but are fun to have ( love a wrist pin-cushion and my huge cardboard floor mat with measurements on it). If you have anything that you couldn’t live without when quilting, I’d love to hear about it.