31 January 2014

It's FRIDAY!!!

Before I show off my Friday Finish, I would like to please share my appreciation and excitement.

This first month, January 2014, is coming to a close today.
I wish to thank everyone who has been taking part
in the NEW Let's Bee Social Wednesday link up.


Your support and kindness have been such a blessing!
Making new friends, not to mention seeing all those other familiar faces, and being inspired by
ALL your lovely works has made me SEW HAPPY!


You are AWESOMAZING!  Thank you!



Thank you also to everyone who took part in the Mad About Patchwork Giveaway Day!
That was the highlight of my month and has become the most popular post to date!


Sharing the KONA Fox Kits quilt as part of the Wake Up to Kona blog hop at Madame Samm's Sew We Quilt was very exciting.
It is so hard for me to keep a secret!


Using the left overs from that project, I have been especially busy this week, sharing a new tutorial for making an Equilateral Triangle Quilt.

This was a lot of fun and has come to result in this Friday Finish.....

FOX & FRIENDS

This is how they looked before the eyes and noses were appliqued on.

This is FOX.  What does he say?  HAPPY FRIDAY!

And this is FOX's FRIEND, Raccoon!


Anyone who really knows me must be wondering, "What is with all these finished tops?" And, "Why is there no quilting going on?"

Since the Kona Fox Kits quilt, there have been three completed tops.
Including today's Fox & Friend

The two other unquilted tops
are Modern Charm and Modern Flower Garden (a.k.a. That 70's Quilt!).

Aunt Elna and I are doing our very best to be patient as we await a much anticipated order of NEW thread from Superior Threads.

Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for these three finishes.

I leave you with the hint that a prompt for discussion on the subject of thread , just may result in an impromptu GIVEAWAY this coming month!

Until next time....
Keep On Quilting On!


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28 January 2014

Let's Bee Social #5

Welcome to this week's social linky party!  Last week, I was again overwhelmed with how many links we had.  There were 74 linkers, including myself!   I sure enjoyed visiting everyone, meeting a lot of new friends, as well as seeing what my wonderful old quilty peeps were up to last week!

This month's Featured Social Bees are........
Jasmine and her blog Quilt Kisses.
Kathy who blogs at Kathy in Ozarks.
Linda from Talking Lunchbox Quilts.
Debra and her blog Quilting Artist.
Susan of The Bored Zombie.
Elita who blogs at Busy Needle Quilting.

As I mentioned last week, you may have noticed that your Let's Bee Social linky party button is no longer working.  I was using photobucket for many of my sidebar items and have now changed that.

Please use the new code to add the NEW linky button to your sidebar.  Sorry for the trouble!

For those of you who are joining in the OBLONGAGONALONG quilt along...  Same thing.   New button! Sew sorry.

Please keep in mind that the point of this linky is to BEE SOCIAL.  So don't worry if you don't have a work in progress or a finish to share.  Link up anything you like!  I decided to link up a tutorial this week.

PLEASE visit a few of the other linkers and leave them a friendly comment!

Equilateral Triangle Quilt Tutorial - Part 2

Welcome back for part 2.  Yesterday I covered how to cut your equilateral triangles here.



Today we will cover how to sew your triangles together into rows.
And then to sew the rows together to make your top.

Line up the first two pieces in your row, with right sides facing.  The points of the triangles will line up.  In this case, I am using half triangles on the ends of my rows.

Begin sewing at the edge and sew all the way along, using a 1/4" seam.

You can easily piece pairs of triangles for your entire row, making it easy to transport them to the ironing board for pressing.

I like to press my seams open.  If you like to press to the side, press all the seams up in this row.  Then press all the seams in your next row down.

When you go to join the pairs in your rows, you will line up the tips of the triangles on the ends, where the picture is labeled "These two points match up", at both ends.  There will be two other points, one on each paired unit, sticking out.  Because I am using the 1/4" foot with guide, I trim both of those points off.

Press the seams.  Continue joining the units for the entire row.

When your row is completed, press from the right side also.


When you are ready to join the rows together, with right sides together, you will sew a long seam.  I don't prefer to pin, but match my seams as I go.  All the points for these rows were also trimmed off.

Press the seams and then press your seam from the right side.  This is how your finished joined rows will appear when finished.

Hope you found this tutorial helpful!  I have added it to my tutorial page which can be accessed by clicking on the page tab under the Sew Fresh Quilts header anytime.  Looking forward to finishing this top and then my next step will be to applique some facial features on these little foxes and raccoons!

Till then......
Keep On Quilting On!

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27 January 2014

Equilateral Triangle Quilt Tutorial

Did you all see that sweet finish last week by Paula of The Sassy Quilter?  I remember admiring this as a completed top back in October.  Paula shares a link to her design wall tutorial in that post.  It was her design wall tutorial that inspired me to put up one of my own.  Thank you, Paula!!!

Equilateral Triangle Quilt

Now that I have tackled and overcome the whole hexagon, I thought it was time to take on the Equilateral Triangle.  And while I am at it, I thought it would be fun to share my experience with a tutorial.

The sides of an Equilateral Triangle are all equal in length.  Hence the name.  And this type of triangle also has 60-degree angles at each corner.


So how do you cut Equilateral Triangles?  First thing you need to know is what size are you making.

If you know how long the sides of your triangle are going to be, you then need to determine the height of your triangle.  To do this, I used this handy online calculator.

I wanted my FINISHED triangles to measure 4.25" along the sides.  Or side 'a' as seen in this diagram.  Using the calculator, the height is then determined to be 3.68"

The height measurement then needs to be increased by 3/4".
That total will give you the measurement of your fabric strip width.


3.68" + .75" = 4.43"

This is just under 4.5" and so that is the width I cut the strips.  Not terribly accurate.

I used two similar methods to cut the strips into the triangles needed for the quilt layout.  The first example is cut from WOF (width of fabric) strips measuring between 40" to 44".

Using this method, your fabric strip is folded in half, and you will be cutting through two layers of fabric at one time.  The fold in this picture is on the left, under the acrylic ruler.  Place the 60 degree line of your ruler on the bottom edge of your fabric strip.  The top of your fold will line up with the edge of your ruler.  Use your rotary cutter to slice off this triangular piece.  The cut will provide you with a single folded equilateral triangle.

Now place the 60 degree line of your ruler on the top edge of your fabric strip.  The bottom of your strip will line up with the edge of your ruler at the point where it was cut.  Use your rotary cutter to slice off these triangular pieces.  This cut will provide you with two equilateral triangles.

Place the 60 degree line of your ruler on the bottom edge of your fabric strip.  The top of your strip will line up with the edge of your ruler at the point where it was last cut.  Use your rotary cutter to slice off these triangular pieces.  This cut will provide you with two more equilateral triangles.

Continue in this manner until you can no longer cut any whole triangles from the strip.

The second example is cut from strips of a fat quarter width measuring between 18" to 22".
Using this method, your fabric strip is NOT folded in half, but two strips are stacked on top of each other, and you will still be cutting through two layers of fabric at one time.  Place the 60 degree line of your acrylic ruler on the bottom edge of your fabric strip.  I left a little more than 1/4" to the right of the ruler's edge to allow for half triangles that will be used along the sides of the quilt.  Use your rotary cutter to slice off these triangular pieces.  This cut will provide you with two partial equilateral triangles.

Now swing the ruler a little clockwise and place the 60 degree line on the bottom edge of your fabric strip.  The top of your strip will line up with the edge of your ruler at the point where it was last cut.  Use your rotary cutter to slice off these triangular pieces.  This cut will provide you with two whole equilateral triangles.

Now swing the ruler back counter clockwise and place the 60 degree line on the bottom edge of your fabric strip.  The bottom of your strip will line up with the edge of your ruler at the point where it was last cut.  Use your rotary cutter to slice off these triangular pieces.  This cut will provide you with two more whole equilateral triangles.

Continue swinging your ruler back and forth as you continue down the strip until you can no longer cut any whole triangles from the strip.  I was provided with two more partial equilateral triangles at the end.

When you have determined how many equilateral triangles you can get from each strip, you will be able to determine how many strips you need to cut, using either method.

******Edited to add*******

Be careful to keep your triangles piled with the fabric grain running in the same direction.  When cutting the triangles from your fabrics strips, the straight of grain is running perpendicular to the top and bottom edges of your strip, and your cuts are on the bias.  You want to keep your strip edge, the cross grain, as the bottom of your triangles when piling.  The fabric will stretch along the bias sides.

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Click here for the Equilateral Triangle piecing tutorial...

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Edited to add.....
I now have two patterns for sale which use equilateral triangles.
The first is the Fox & Friends triangle quilt for sale here.



The second is this full set of Watermelon Table Decor for sale here.




Keep On Quilting On!


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24 January 2014

Tutorial for Sewing Hexagons by Machine

It's a Friday finished quilt top!  Modern Flower Garden - finished at 53.5" x 55".

Whole Hexagon Quilt







Below, you will find a tutorial for sewing whole hexagons by machine.
This is also part 2 of the Oblongagonalong Quilt Along instructions.

Week 2 - Quilt Along Update:
Last week we covered planning your design and cutting the blocks.  Those instructions can be found here and all the instructions are linked up to the QAL 2014 page found just under the blog header.

This week we will be working on trimming those blocks and sewing your quilt top together.  Mine turned into hexagons!  Surprise! Turns out the best use of my 18" x 21" fat quarters being cut into 5.25" x 6" pieces, has resulted in near perfect hexagons.  Who knew?


Step 1:
Trim your squares into oblongagons (or rectangles into hexagons).  Fold your fabric in half.  If using rectangles, the fold is the longest side.  Using your acrylic ruler, place the 60 degree line on the fold with the side of the ruler at the edge of the fabric.  Use your rotary cutter to slice off the triangular pieces.  The cut will be toward the top center of fabric's raw edges.

Place the 60 degree line on the fold with the side of the ruler at the edge of the fabric

Use your rotary cutter to slice off the triangular pieces.

The cut will be toward the top center of fabric's raw edges.

Unfold and admire your piece!


Step 2:
Marking the 1/4" mark.  You will need to know where to start and stop stitching.  Using a plastic template, trace your cut out fabric onto the plastic.  Draw 1/4" seam lines on the template.  Use a nail to poke a hole through the plastic to mark your corners.  Then, using a non permanent fabric marker or pencil, mark the four corners as shown.

Trace your cut out fabric onto the plastic.  Draw 1/4" seam lines on the template. 

Use a nail to poke a hole in the template for the 1/4" points.

Using a non permanent fabric marker or pencil, mark the four corners.
 

Step 3: 
Plan your design.  Using a design wall or floor space, arrange your pieces into the desired pattern.  You will need to cut some of your pieces in half, to make the straight edges, and may need to cut some into quarters, to make the corners.  It all depends on how many rows and columns your plan has.




Step 4:
Sewing the blocks into columns.
With presser foot down, insert needle at 1/4" mark, begin sewing and backstitch to the 1/4" mark, then continue sewing until you reach the other 1/4" mark and backstitch.  I changed to my 1/4" presser foot with guide after taking these photos.  I had also placed masking tape, intending to use this as a guide instead of marking all the pieces for the 1/4" mark, but found it was too inaccurate to use this method.

Insert needle at 1/4" mark, begin sewing and backstitch to the 1/4" mark, then continue sewing.

Sewing until you reach the other 1/4" mark and backstitch to secure the thread ends.


TIPS:
  • Backstitching at EACH end of the seam must be performed to secure the thread ends.

  • Do not sew from edge to edge. I tried this for my first quilt and it became a source of frustration.

  • Chain piecing can be done providing each new pair of pieces is started on the 1/4 mark.

  • Sew into pairs.  Then continue sewing the pairs together until your column is completed.

  • No PRESSING of SEAMS required until entire quilt top is finished.

  • Label the top of each column using a slip of paper and straight pin.


Step 5:
Sewing the columns together.
Double check that all your pieces in the columns are in their correct placement.  Sew the first two columns together, backstitching at the beginning and end of each seam.  Make sure you never have more than two layers of fabric under the needle, sweeping all seams out of the way.

Line up the raw edges to begin sewing the columns together.  The point will NOT extend past the whole hexagon.

Spread the seam open and notice last stitch.  This is where you will stop sewing and backstitch.

Begin sewing at the edge of the fabric, backstitch and then continue sewing.

Stop sewing when you reach the seam junction and backstitch.


No need to cut the threads at the end of your seam.


Sweep all the seam allowances back out of the way and insert needle into the last hole at the end of the seam.


The pin shows where this seam will end, just before the junction, at the point.

My three best friends: Pointy Tweezers, Seam Ripper & Small Scissors


TIPS:
  • It may help to put the needle down into the last hole where the seams were used to join the pieces into columns, before lowering the presser foot.

  • Sew from this junction to the next and try to get as close to the seam as possible without going over it.  It is better to stop just shy of the intersecting seam than going past, which causes puckers to form at those points.

  • Do not cut the threads as you continue down the column.  Just sweep the seams under and restart at the next junction.

  • Pointy tweezers help me to line up the fabrics and adjust them.  Maybe it's just my fat fingers, but I find those tweezers to be an invaluable tool.  Thank you, Mom!
  • Work from left to right, always adding only a single column at a time.  This allows the bulk of your work to always be on the bottom and makes it easier to manipulate the single column you are adding.
  • Use your 1/4" presser foot with guide if you have one.
   
Step 6:
Press all the seams of your completed top.
From the back of your quilt top, press the seams all one way.  I pressed all my seams to the left and down.  Then press the quilt top from the front.

Aunt Elna

I would like to take a moment to introduce my Aunt Elna.  Up until now, all my sewing and quilting was performed on my Lil' Janome 2030 QDC, with only 6.5" between needle and base.


Lil' Janome


Looking forward to experiencing what it will be like to quilt with this Elna Excellence 760.
But don't get me wrong... I still love my little Janome!


Tune in next week for the backing and binding instructions.
Until then...

Keep On Quilting On!

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