Sunday, 27 July 2014

The Baby Quilt...

Enough basking in the fun of having completed a project!  It is time to share how this simple, yet cute quilt was made.  This is a blog for someone who would like to quilt but not sure how to start and not even sure if they have the tools to make it with.  It's also a blog for an true quilter to remind themselves of how far they have come on their learning curve in quilting and piecing.  I have to remind all that this baby quilt was machine quilted but the binding was done by hand.  There are a couple of reasons for this- it is meant to be a simple project that can be made on your sewing machine at home and it's a baby quilt that (if used) will washed a lot- so it's functional with the machine stitching.  Hand binding is optional but I need the handing sewing practice if I am ever to learn hand quilting!  

On we go!  

First, a charm pack was selected.  This will give 40 or 42 5x5 inch squares.  I chose Brushed Cotton Storybook by Moda because I liked the feel of it.  This limited me to only 2 coordinating bolts of fabric to put a back on and a binding.  

If you are going to follow along- you need- a charm pack of your choosing (or cut 42 of the 5x5 squares out of yardage, fat quarters, cotton clothing, etc.) ; a metre for the back:  7&1/2 inches of width of fabric for the binding. 

Now you mess those lovely squares up and arrange to a look that is pleasing to your eye.  It's fine if 2 colours or patterns match but try to keep it random looking.  Note: if you have an up and down direction to the square- try to keep them all up the same way- I didn't- but you have to look to find the 'upside down' square! 

Once you've shifted them around- close your eyes or walk away and back to give yourself fresh eyes on your layout. Do you like where and what you are looking at first? Where do my eyes move next?  Just some of the questions you need to think about.  Like it? Best hint I can give you ... take a digital picture!  This is so if you need to move it- you can re-create that 'pleasing' layout again.  If you ask a friend about the layout- that's fine- safety in numbers but really- this is your project and you can do it! 

If you look, this layout is not my finished setting of squares.  I also started with 40 squares 8 down and 5 wide. Part way through, the ah, ha! moment...42 squares would be 7 long and 6 wide. 

So now, you are enjoying the layout of your squares, let's turn those 42 squares into a quilt top! 

Pick one square up and place it right sides together with another.  Put a pin the the side to sew.  You really don't need to pin to sew- but I usually end up sewing the seam on the wrong side and the piece doesn't fit back into the layout the way it came out.  Sometimes, it's for the better but usually, I spend time with the seam ripper later.  

Here's the most important tip on sewing.  Hold steady at a 1/4inch seam if you can.  Do not expect precision in perfectly aligned rows & squares if you sew a different seam width each time. If you have problems with a 1/4 inch seam- try a bigger 1/2 inch seam- the end result maybe smaller- but you may enjoy the process more. Keep aiming for the 1/4 inch seam but if this is your 1st quilt- it's not the seam size that matters- it's the consistency of having all the same seam size!  

To join blocks into their rows, I find I got lazy and didn't check my seam was crooked! To fix this, I sew the 2 blocks together each time and then I add the next 2 blocks sections on until the end of the row.  

Press all the seams one way.  The next row you sew will be pressed the opposite way so the seams will 'nest' together giving a nicer finish. Quilting is slower than you think.. That's another lesson I learned.  It is not a speedy craft. The pedal on the sewing machine makes you think speed but it's really there for you to control the sewing.  Speed makes wonky seams...slow down a bit and see if that helps you control the fabric and the seam lines if you are having problems. 

Having got all the rows sewn, it will be time to attach them together!  Remember the pressing... They will fit together nicely. Pin the right sides together pinning the seams on either side. Put the pins on the side you will be sewing to make the removal of pins easier. The other thing to try is to put the seam on the top that is pressed away from you.  As you sew, you can ease the machine over the seam and keep it flat.  The one on the bottom (if pressed opposite) will be underneath and the feed dogs will make those lay flat. 

An now when the top is pressed up...

Not bad, not perfect, either....did I seam rip or leave it? I don't remember, but you are welcome to check the finished project on display at Mrs Pugsley's Emporium! 

Slowly, you piece the rows then join the rows until you have ...

A quilt top!  

Give yourself a pat on the are a step closer to quilting.  You have pieced a top! 

Thursday, 10 July 2014

I did it!...

If you've checked this blog, you will see that there are a lot of projects started but none seldom completed...Today, I'm pleased to announce- Mrs P's has finished a project! 

Drum roll please....

A completed baby quilt!  A Moda charm pack  was used. That would be 42 of Storybook Brushed Cotton 5 inch squares, a metre for the back and about 10 inches of fabric for the binding.  All together with the poly cotton batting and thread about $40 retail went into this project.  

I will start posting the blogs in making the quilt tomorrow or the next day.  Today, I am basking in the awesome feeling of finishing a project!  What a feeling of accomplishment.  It's a happy dance time for Mrs P's! 

Happiness is  ... a completed quilt! 

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Oh, Oh....


I was cutting these 'closed' squares into 4 pieces- making triangle blocks, when I wandered (wavered, veered) with my cutting blade... 

Ruining 2 out of the 4 squares.   No one was talking to me, I have no excuse, so back I went again and I made the same mistake on another set of squares!  Why?  What was I doing wrong? At this rate, I'll only have 1/2 the blocks needed!  

As you can see by the above picture, the ruler, the blade rolls against, is lying on the diagonal.  I was trying to cut along that diagonal.  I was not making the tools work for me.   Time to try again...

It's a rotary cutting mat- thought I'd be pretty good at this, but I was wrong!  I can cut straight across my table but put my arm in an odd position or stand awkward- the blade does not run true beside the ruler.  In this case, I lined the square up straight to me- where I wanted to cut- corner to corner.

See the difference using the ruler straight to me - made on the cuts?  I have 4 equal pieces...

Rotary Cutters are sharp and it doesn't take much for an accident to happen.  Be safe, install grips on your rulers, wear a safety glove or install plastic shields on your rulers.  Be alert and look for ways to reduce accidents within your workspace.  

Mrs P's does sell safety equipment for the rulers and new Olfa Blades and mats.  

My 'accident' was a piece of fabric cut wrong in the blink of an eye. It made me pay more attention to where I need to place the ruler to be safe and yet cut what I need.  Some people make cutting look easy and fast.  You need to find where and what you are comfortable with and pay attention every time you open your blade to cut.  


Thursday, 3 July 2014

Mrs P's blogs again! ...

Wow, a lot happens in a short space of time and yet I still did not make time to blog.  I'm sorry about that.  

The 7th annual Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival is coming Oct 14 to Oct 18, 2014.  Mrs P's has scored a box of brochures so feel free to come in and pick one up and if there an event you may need a few for, we can let you have those too!

Each post, I'll try to pick out a quilt related or fun project being offered....( No rythme or reason- I'm closing my eyes and picking off the brochure)

On Tuesday, Oct 14th- Vera McInnis is offering her popular Crazy Quilt course.  It will be held from 9am to 4pm at the Amherst Fire Hall.  {As a side note- you may be wondering why not the Baptist Church?- because they are doing a basement renovation and the space may not be available so alternative spaces were found.}. Contact info for Vera if you want to register or ask for more info is...
902-667-8935 or email at

Here's the disorganized part....sigh.... There should be a picture of a crazy quilt block I made in Vera's class a couple of years back!  I've looked- I had it last week but for some unknown reason- it has disappeared.  

An add in.... Someone heard of my plight of not having the block to show you and promptly sent me a picture of the the 2 crazy quilters!  Joan Beswick was an awesome 'partner in crime' that day.  I'd be the one on the right.   I had a great time in Vera's class and as a non-quilter, I was very nervous about going to 'class'. What if I made a mistake, what if I couldn't do it- lots of self doubt. 

I am so glad I went!  I learned a lot about myself and the day was for me- but the best part-I met a lot of nice people that day and I had fun!    If you are saying to yourself,'I'd like to try that'- go for it.  Give yourself permission to play.  You learn about yourself and  meet new people that are also enjoying themselves.    

A crazy quilt allows you to use bits and bobbles that you have in your sewing room. Fabrics do not need to be cotton, they can be be cottons, velvets, silk scarves and so on.  The idea is to use scraps to make these beautiful quilts.  Then they are embellished with hand work.  Vera's are exquisite and she uses ribbons to show how to make flowers and other ideas she has used.  Buttons are a great addition too.  

Vera has graciously donated a prize for the NS Fibre Arts Festival Pin-It Draw... a Crazy Quilt pillow that is absolutely beautiful. 

Remember, Mrs P's has tickets for the Pin-It Draw available  for sale.  To celebrate Karen Neary's release of her her new book on New York Beauty Quilts- named- 'Quilting Beauties Come in all Shapes & Sizes'- in the fall, Mrs P's has donated in conjunction with Showcase Tours of Amherst- a trip for 2 to New York City ( leaving in Nov- staying at the Muse Hotel) as a prize on the NS Fibre Arts Festival Pin-It Draw. There are 12 prizes to be won.   All fabulous on their own, but how awesome for the Festival to have them all on 1 ticket to help raise money to keep the festival fun and fresh!  

I'm off to spend more time looking for the lost...