Wednesday, February 12, 2014

If knitting were an Olympic event...

While watching the Olympics last Sunday I knit this little bag (called a "Lipstick & Change") purse.  The chain fits over a ladies wrist - perfect for date night!

It took another day to felt/full it and wait for it to dry, then yesterday I attached the frame and sewed on the little beads.  This came in a kit available from RaggZ Fiber Art in Forbes Road.  Easy & quick to knit in yummy colors - you could easily make 2 from each kit, if you buy an extra purse frame.

LACI's in Berkeley carries similar purse frames without handles - for a 'change purse style.
I expect to make more of these little bags using this frame - it comes in antique gold, antique silver, and silver.  that little loop on the frame is just right for attaching a charm.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Easy Peazy Strippy Quilt - aka the former "Totally Tubular Teen" quilt

Hello again,

This is the blog post for the TUTORIAL version of this little quilt for the FEBRUARY NewBee class.
Here is a finished quilt that I did a long time ago.... don't try to find these fabrics in stores today!
It's even hand quilted!  Ancient history, this one!  It's an 'oldie but goodie' that I'm dusting off because many of today's new quilters missed some great patterns and methods that were popular back in the early days of strip quilting but for some reason many of them have dropped off the radar.  This is one such pattern that deserves to be on every quilters skill set.  I've done with to match the living room, spark up a crib and lots of other 'gifting' opportunities!  The personality of this quilt changes drastically with the choice of fabrics - and all that's necessary for success is a few fabrics that contrast.  It's perfect for a Moda Jelly Roll... it takes only 36 2 1/2" strips - but if you want to make it more compact, you could use any size strips!  I've also used 2" strips and it worked great!

This is another quilt from the same 'pattern'... pardon the clutter....
this one is called 'Anger Management'

It can stand on its own without borders, or the borders can be whatever you have handy... rules are very loose on this one!

This is a pile of 'leftovers' from the above quilt... still waiting to 'grow up' into something fabulous...
these colors just were not angry enough at the time....

So, here we go... for a 'Baby Quilt' size... use a Jelly Roll - set aside the 5 darkest strips to use for the binding (or accent strip/border).  Sort 20 strips into pairs of light+dark sets.
You need 10 sets for the baby quilt size.  Use a medium stitch length - this is one time when you do not want tiny short stitches!

Sew the sets together and press seam allowance toward the dark side.

it really helps to separate them into stacks of lights and darks first....
 ....then you can feed them through the machine one after the other and be roaring along...

You will also need a 6" square ruler with a diagonal line, a rotary cutter and mat, and a seam ripper.

Pair up the 2 strip sets and sew them together again to make 'tubes' of 4 strips each.  Darks and lights should be opposite each other for a high contrast version... or not, depends on your fabrics - it's your choice!

this is the wrong side of my strips...  a mix of black, green and light prints - each strip set has a black, a white (light) and two 'greens'... hard to see in this pic, but I hope you get the gist ....

at this point, you want to take time to thoroughly spray starch these sets and give them a good pressing - after the starch has dried - to prevent stretching along the edges as we sew them together.  All the edges of these blocks will be bias edges - and there is some risk of stretching, so we are going to wait until we can join them together before we proceed with the cutting!
why is this on its side?  I don't know.... ask BlogSpot!

This is a picture of my strip sets - all soaked with starch, hanging on a plastic covered line to dry overnight.  Don't iron while the fabric is damp from the starch as it will cause stretching and you don't want that!

nice stack of strip sets... ready to become blocks
Once all the strips sets are starched, dried and pressed, you are ready to cut your blocks!

I used a 6" ruler with a diagonal line on it - place the line on the ruler over the stitches - cut both sides.

turn the ruler so the line is on the other side of the strip set and cut the next block...
Very gently pull the stitches out of the corners, releasing the blocks... use the seam ripper if necessary.
Each strip set will yield 8 blocks - 4 of each color way:
Each block will be approximately 6" square - check before you go any further:

Put them on your 'design wall' and continue to cut the rest of your blocks.
eight blocks from one strip set
The baby quilt size uses 36 blocks - 6 across and 6 down.  This will be almost a 36" square quilt, add borders as you prefer.  I do recommend at least one border, as it keeps the edges from stretching while you quilt it.

Play with your blocks until you have an arrangement you like - being careful not to stretch those bias edges!  Your quilt can be as simple or complex as you like it.  Your five strip sets will give you a total of 40 six inch blocks - you can use them all on the top, or save some for the back or a matching pillow.

If you have an abundance of strips but they are a different width.. go ahead and make the strips sets and proceed to make the top - I've used strips up to 3" wide, and as narrow as 2".  Wider strips will yield fewer blocks per set, while narrower strips will yield more blocks.

It is not necessary to match seams exactly when joining the blocks.  Diagonal lines are very forgiving. Please let me know if you have any difficulties.

Below are some of the blocks made in the class:
lay a six inch ruler on the strip set with the diagonal line of the ruler right over the stitching line - cut both sides to make a 6" block - open the stitches on the opposite 'point' carefully to reveal the block.

Now flip the strip set to the other side, align the ruler on the stitching line again and cut another block. 
Repeat until all blocks are cut

Arrange blocks on a design wall to determine your best layout.

A lovely Barn Raising...

Scrappy Red, Black and White option....

Calming blues and tans...

Another central medallion started...

Sweet pink & white blocks ready and waiting!

Cozy Blues and Neutrals in a scrappy version.

Two completed Square in a Square Blocks from one strip set!