Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Ten Minute Tutorial - Really!

I'm back!  It's Marlene from StitchinByTheLake here ya'll with another quick tutorial.  Well, I'm not so sure how quick the tutorial will be but once you've read through it and chosen and cut your fabric, then it'll be quick because the stitching takes only about 10 minutes or so!  Really, it's true!  Of course, if you're anything like me the choosing of fabric could be pretty long and drawn out.  What is it about choosing fabric that makes us say..."this one, no that one, no this one...?"  We can be so decisive about other things, like spending major bucks for a  new car...you know exactly what you want and why, right?  But a yard of fabric, good heavens it could take us days to choose one.  Anyway, last time I was here I showed you some really fast Everything Bags to make for gifts and this time it's really fast table runners.  This runner is one you might have seen last year on several blogs...I actually have seen it credited to three different designers so I have no idea who came up with it first.  But the copy that I have came from The Utah State University County Extension Office and says "enjoy or share with a friend" so I'm sharing with my friends.  This is the second Ten Minute Table Runner that I made:
You're probably asking yourself, "why is she showing me the second one she made and not the first one?"  Right?  That's what you were saying!  Well the second of anything I make is always better than the first.  And I'm no fool - I show you the best first so you'll keep reading.  :)  Cute, don't you think?  Oh my, I just noticed those threads on the carpet.  Should have vacuumed.

On to the tutorial...no time for vacuuming!  I had this fabric for about 5 years and couldn't figure out what to do with it.  Yes, really, five years.  Could be longer.  Or shorter. 

Perfect for this project!  This would be my theme fabric.  So that's your first assignment - pick a theme fabric.  You need 10-12" by the width of the fabric (WOF).  Then you need a coordinating fabric about 18" x WOF.  I tried out some greens first.  Yuck!
That green on the left ended up being in my second table runner but it was awful here.  So I tried some reds - two differrent solids.
I ended up choosing one of these - the darker.  It absolutely, positively was not because it was the color of my mascot uniform in high school.  Really it wasn't.
Cut this fabric 18" x WOF.  Sew the two long sides of the theme fabric to the two long sides of the second fabric (right sides together) to make a tube.  Then turn it.  Do you know how hard it is to show a tube in a picture?

Press this flat with the same amount of the second fabric showing on both sides - you can guess at it if you want to but I'm a tad OCD so I put the seams together and finger pressed the middles and then ironed.  Your ends will probably not be even so even them up.

Now here's the tricky part.  It's not too tricky, you just have to pay attention.  Fold your tube long sides together so that your theme fabric is on the outside.  Outside...that's crucial.  Sew the short ends together on both ends.

 Press the seams open.  To do that you have to fold the short ends sort of the inside and when you do...

it automatically forms a triangle on the end!

How cool is that!  It needs a little decorating I think.  If you remember I appliqued a tree from my theme fabric on the ends of my second runner.
But for this one I wanted a button.  Or buttons.  So I auditioned a few.

In the end I decided on three gold buttons on each end.  Maybe.  Unless I change my mind.

This runner takes about a yard of fabric and about 30 minutes with the choosing, cutting, ironing, sewing, etc.  Don't think just seasonal either - any two fabrics  that coordinate would be great for other times of the year.  Make one for the neighbor, or your sister, or your cousin three times removed.  They'll love you for it.
This is one I made for a friend - a real girly girl.  The print fabric has ladies hats on it so I added some some Swarovski crystals to decorate the hats!

And after you've finished making your table runner, or before you start, hop over to my blog here for a little giveaway I'm having.  :)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Scrappy Quilted Ball Ornament Tutorial

Hello all!  I'm Melissa and my little corner of the virtual quilting world is over at Happy Quilting.    Feel free to swing by for a visit. (In fact, I am having a giveaway that ends later today, so you might just want to head over and enter, but of course, finish reading here first :)  I am so excited to be posting here at Stash Manicure.  I love reading all of the amazing things that can be done with a bit of fabric.  I just started "stashing" about 9 months ago.  Here is where I am today :)

It is not huge, but compared to my non-existent stash just a little bit ago, It is huge.  My husband teases me about it all the time :)  I keep my notions and my WIP in the baskets above. I love to arrange my fabrics by color.  It reminds me of the Yankee Candle Shop. (I love that place, beautiful colors and great smells, a fabulous combination :)

So That is my stash, not much to write about :)  With that in mind, I decided to do a little Scrappy Christmas Ornament Tutorial for my post today. First, the disclaimer.  This is not my original idea.  I learned it about 6 years ago from a friend, who learned it from a friend and so on and so on.  Who ever came up with it, I love it and thought you might enjoy it as well.  

Scrappy Quilted Ball Ornament

What you will Need
( 1 ) 3 inch Styrofoam ball                                           1 foot lace or ribbon                                   
(12) 2.5 inch square pieces of base fabric                    Lots of straight pins with flat heads      
(16) 2.5 inch square pieces of middle fabric                 Hot glue 
(16) 2.5 inch square pieces of border fabric                 Ribbon or sting for a hanger

Step 1 - Begin by selecting the fabric that you want to be the center of the design. Place 2 squares wrong side together and pin to the ball at the four corners

Step 2 - Grab another base square of fabric and fold in half and then in half again. (Right side out). 

Open it up and place a pin from the wrong side of the fabric through the center of the square. Pin this to the center of the square on the Styrofoam ball.  (when pushing in the pins, it helps to use the eraser of a pencil, trust me, your finger will thank you :)

Step 3 - Fold your square down into a rectangle with the pin on the inside of the fabric.  Then fold the 2 corners of the rectangle down to the opposite edge. Place 4 pins along the bottom edge.

 Step 4 - Turn the ball 90 degrees and repeat steps 2 and 3 three more times.  Your ornament should look like this.

Step 5 - Find the opposite side of ball and repeat steps 1 through 3.  Finding the opposite side can be a little tricky and it is important so that it turns out the same.  The best guideline is to measure from one pin to another on both sides of the ball.  You want it to be the same distance apart :)

Step 6 - Pick your second fabric or middle fabric. Continue with the same folding pattern but start the second row approximately 1/2 inch out along the centerlines of the first row.  Place all 4 pieces.

Step 7 - Once the 4 main pieces are down begin placing the pieces on the diagonal. The easiest way to figure out the placement is to draw an imaginary line between the two points of the folded fabric already placed.  Then place the point of the fold about a 1/4" below that line.  Repeat for all 4 diagonals.

Step 8 - Flip the ball over to the other side and repeat steps 4 and 5.

Step 9 - With the final fabric or border fabric repeat steps 4 through 6, once again measuring out about 1/2".  All of your pieces on both sides should meet around the center of the ball or close too.

Step 10 -  Hot glue the ribbon around the ball so that it hides the unfinished edges and pins. Make a hanger out of ribbon or string and secure it to the ornament with pins or hot glue.

 And you are done!!  Now you have an adorable Scrappy Quilted Ball Ornament that didn't require any quilting.  Super fun and super cute!!

The combinations are endless.  I made this one for my daughter's first Christmas and added a cute little Pillow Tag to remember it by.  

I think next I will be making an all scrappy one in different reds, greens, and whites.  I would love to see what you make.  When you are done your Scrappy Quilted Ball Ornament feel free to upload a picture on to my Tutorial Flickr page.  

Thank you so much Madamm Samm for having me here as a guest blogger at Stash Manicure.  I love this blog and am honored to be posting here.  Until next time, Happy Quilting!

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Let's talk Trees...

And yes my soul is fed by needle and thread, and I am sure that is for most of you here today!~
 Hi, I'm Molly from Molly's Place.  I'm here, once again, to try to help you Manicure your stash.  I come here regularly to get inspiration from all of you and this is just a little "pay back". 
It just so happens that I have had a little FREE Block of the Month going on over at my place the past year called "TREE TIME".  I started it not only to bring interest to my blog, but to challenge myself.  My goal was to learn new hand embroidery stitches and to make sure that the blocks were simple enough for everyone to do--even beginners.  In the beginning, I did not plan to use wool, but as my blocks evolved, I decided to do just that.

Sew!  This is an idea, not only to manicure your fabric stash, but also your thread stash.  Embroidery thread!  You don't have any?  Seriously?  Then this might also serve as a challenge then.  A challenge to make a small purchase (did someone say small purchase???).  This is only for one reason!  To help you Manicure your stash of fabric!  (Sure, you say).  Wool is also an avenue that some of you may not have tried.  The greatest thing about wool is that the edges don't fray.  Great stitching fun!  You can buy wool garments at flee markets or garage sales or use your own used garments by washing them in hot water to condense the fibers.  Then add them to your stash and use them in my blocks.  Living in Texas, we don't have many wool garments, but those of you who live in the north--well you just might ship me some of your remnants!  LOL

In the beginning, I intended for all the trees of  "Tree Time" to be generic trees, not associated with any month or time of year.  I had so many comments encouraging me to add "stuff" to them that I did just that many  months and then encouraged my followers to "make the blocks their own" by leaving off or adding to their own liking.  We can all be designers, right?  Maybe we just need a little head start.  One of the things I learned in this project is that the end result of my design was never what was intended in the beginning.  It would evolve and I was generally most surprised at what it turned out to be. 
Because it is the season, I am showing you the trees that I think most fits in as a Christmas Tree.  Actually it is the March block.
 This is another version of the same design used a different background and different decorations--buttons instead of stitched berries and ribbons.
Another thing I started out doing was using buttons and stars on every tree.  That did not ring true as the year past.  Seems EVERY tree did not need or want a button and a star.

Here are several more of my Tree Time blocks.

As you can see, the blocks are very diverse and can be used not only together, but separately or singly.  I can see them used in row by row quilts, stitched in scenic quilts, or as a quilt depicting the months of the year.  A few additions or depletion's, here and there and you will have a completely original design.


FYI--I plan to begin a Texas Boot Boogie Block of the Month in January.  I hope you will visit Molly's Place now to see the other Tree Time Blocks and also don't forget to take a look at the boot block in 2011.  What did you say?  You want a little preview?  OK--here ya go!

Also, as a little bonus for visiting Stash Manicure and commenting on my post (in advance) here is a bonus Tree Time pattern that I did not use.  It has potential.  I never chose which stitches I would use, but there are a multitude that would work great.

 I have tips and tricks and many links on my blog for stitch tutorial sites and even tried my hand at a tutorial myself!  It is really pitiful, but hey, don't laugh until YOU try it.  I can't stitch and hold the camera at the same time very well---LOL
Happy Holiday and don't let the holidays get in the way of your stitches!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Let's Talk Binding

Hi quilters!  I'm Sandie from crazy'boutquilts and my blog name pretty much tells you all you need to know about me. lol  :-) I made my first quilt 20+ years ago, then sewed mostly clothing while our children were growing up. I got back into quilting approx 8 years ago and haven't looked back. I love quilts! And anything to do with them.;-)  My original  goal was a quilt for every bed, now I'm working on another round. ;-)

I have been binding things like 'crazy' lately and thought you might like to see how I sew my bindings. I know there are a number of ways to do this, but I like to try to do my best all the way to that last stitch, and I think I've hit upon a few tips for you. You've probably seen the little tutorials in magazines for binding and how they fold and tuck the ends together. If you've tried it, you may have been as unimpressed as I was... I did not like the ensuing bump or lump in my binding!  I like it when no one can tell where the binding was joined from where the fabric strips were joined. ;-)

I cut all my bindings, (no matter what I'm binding) the same width, so I can keep the scraps for a future project. When I have enough scrap strips~ or close to enough, I sew them together. Maybe you have a favorite width you cut yours~ please tell me! I'm always curious. :-)  I sew the strips together on the diagonal. Trim off the little triangles. And press the seams open.  I usually make my stitch length smaller for this part.

Strips sewn together
and pressed open
Then I press the strips in half and sew them to my top. ( I baste a little less than a quarter of an inch all the way around my top, so I don't have to worry about creating any puckers with the back.)  I always pin the end and start sewing a quarter inch seam about 6 to 8 inches from that end.  If your machine has a 'needle down' setting, it works great here. Stop sewing 1/4 inch from the end, and sew diagonally thru the corner... I hope you can see that!

sewing the diagonal helps when stitching the binding down
Then lift your needle and presser foot and take the quilt out far enough that you can fold the end of the binding straight up.  Fold it back down so the fold is even with the end of the quilt and start sewing right from the edge. Continue sewing until you get close to your pinned end and stop.  You want to have enough room to work so stopping 4 to 6 inches from that pin works out great.

and it helps when folding up and back ;-)
start again on the edge
Now take your top to your table and smooth the bindings out flat. Make sure you have 2 tails each about 4 or more inches long and over lap them. (I didn't realize this would be so hard to explain!)  Cut the excess so that the overlap is as long as what your binding width is. I cut my binding at 2.25 inches, so you can see my overlap is 2.25 inches.

the overlap
Fold the left side up from the quilt and open it with the right side down. Open the right side binding and place it under the left side with right sides together and on the diagonal.... here is where a photo helps a lot! ;-)

pin the direction you will stitch
Sew the diagonal just like you did when you joined the strips. Trim it out leaving a quarter inch seam allowance and finger press it open. Fold your binding back in half and finish attaching it to your quilt. :-)

I finger press, but you could press it with your iron too
finish stitching down
I usually leave a half inch or more of the batting and backing until I've attached my binding, then I trim it back.  And one more little trick~ to get nice smooth corners when you are sewing down the binding, trim out as much as you can without cutting your binding or quilt. I cut the corner diagonally, and then trim from the sides too.
the polka dot fabric is not attached, I just slipped it behind so you could see the corner better

another finished scrappy binding :-)

I hope I've helped you to get lump-free bindings. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask!
Good luck and happy quilting! :-)  I appreciate the time you took to be with me, and thanks Stash Manicure, I enjoyed sharing with you.