Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The border is done!

And I'm so happy this is nearly over!  The quilt itself still isn't perfectly square but I don't really think that I'm going to mind too much about it.  I like how it turned out;

The bottom border actually turned out a lot better than the top which is a bummer, so we will see if I end up tearing out the top and re-trying it.  For now it has been abandoned.  AND I got the back pieced together {but I forgot to take a picture.  Maybe when it's quilted}!

I actually felt like I got a lot of sewing done this weekend, along with all my other household chores.  I started another block for the NY Beauty QAL but I didn't let myself finish it because of the above monster.  I also sewed together a couple more white blocks for my Dad's MSU quilt and made the pillow case below for ConKerr Cancer.  It is so cute I just want to squeeze it!

I was also happy that Sunday turned out to be pretty nice, so I spent some time outside.  Hopefully you got out too!

Annie enjoying our random patch of green grass :)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Pillow Case Tutorial {With Finished Seams}

I'm sure everyone who reads this knows how to make a pillow case with finished seams, but I had no idea so I'm posting a tutorial just in case you don't!

I am making pillow cases for the FNSI donation to ConKerr Cancer and had to youtube and google search what "finished seams" actually were- then what I found really only had vague descriptions.  I need in depth, absurdly detailed tuts if I'm going to do something by myself that I've never attempted before. 

I made what are called French seams, but I did them inside-out or backwards or however you prefer to think of it.  The way that I commonly saw had the final seam showing on the outside of the pillowcase.  Not cool to me.  I saw one way {see previous youtube link in below post} to have it so that you can't see the seam but it is still sewed twice an is therefore finished.  This backwards method may have a bit bulkier seam, but I like the finished product way better! 

Simple Pillow Case with {Backwards} French Seams

First I cut 2 pieces of fabric.  One 26.5" x 40.5" and the second 40.5" x 10.5".  The first is the body of the pillow, the second is the border.  {These are the dimensions requested by ConKerr}

Lay the border right side up, long-wise.

Lay the body pillow piece wrong side up, long wise.  Match the raw edges. You shouldn't be able to see the border.

Roll or fold the body from the bottom and continue until you reach the upper middle of the border piece underneath.  Make sure you don't pull on your raw edges.  If you feel it necessary, pin the raw edges together in a few places to prevent tugging.

Take the bottom of the border and wrap it around/over top of the rolled body piece.  Match this third raw edge to the two previously paired.  This creates what is commonly called the hot dog method of creating hidden seams for the case.

Pin the raw edges together.

Sew.  Back stitch at the beginning and the end.  I used a quarter inch seam.

When you are done, you should have an enclosed hot dog case.

Turn your hot dog case inside out by gently tugging the body portion of the pillow and rolling the border back. 

This is what you have when you are done.  In a lot of directions I saw that there was another decorative ribbon added between the borer an the body piece.  This is a 2.5" strip, folded wrong sides together and pressed.  This {pressed, raw edges matching raw edges} gets sandwiched between the border {right side up} and the body {right side down}.  When you flip it after sewing you will have a nice accent ribbon.  I made my case for the charity's specifications so mine does not have this accent. 

At this point I like to press my border to give it a nice crisp edge.

Now to create finished edges on the rest!

Remember, this may be backwards from what you have seen.  Fold the case wrong sides together {it
very much looks like a pillowcase before you have sewn it}.  Pin.  I'm addicted so I pin a lot.

Sew.  I used a quarter of an inch seam.

To prevent bulk on the next step I like to trim my seam to an eighth of an inch with my rotary cutter.

I also like to trim the corner like you would if you were making Dresden blades to prevent super huge corners.

Flip the pillowcase inside out.  We are going to sew another seam.  This is a thread color that you can see if you are peering in from the outside so I switched from the white I was using to a pink to match the fabric color.  Also, because I like my fabric to lay flat all the time I pressed my seams before I sewed again.  I feel like this makes it easier in the next step.

I used my walking foot at a quarter of an inch for the long side.  The border material at this point gets very bulky using this "backwards" method and the walking foot becomes your best friend.

I switched back to my quarter inch foot for the smaller side as the bulk is significantly less {assuming you trimmed your seam.  If not, you may want to widen your seam or continue with your walking foot}.

This is what it will look like when you are done.  Notice I did NOT trim my corner this time.

Flip right side out and Ta-Da!  Pillowcase!

Nearly makes me wish I had a daughter to make a cute pillow case and quilt set for.  Almost :)

Friday, March 23, 2012

FNSI for Charity

Heidi and Bobbi who host FNSI are theme-ing their "sewing party" this next month {April 20} for charity.  They are asking for pillow case donations to ConKerr Cancer, which I think is just fantastic.  I'm going to sew a couple, and you probably should too and send them off to the address provided by Heidi and Bobbi.  This means that I'll be off to JAF this weekend to get some snugly fun themed fabrics!

All that said, I actually have no idea how to create a pillowcase with finished seams.  I found this youtube video that looks good to me, but I don't know if this is what ConKerr Cancer would want..?  If anyone has experience with that, please let me know!!

I managed to get no sewing done this week.  Our field season at work has begun and my flower beds need tending!  I have been sweaty and dirty all week, but I feel like I have made progress on the home front at least-  I will probably never feel that way about work!  I was able to weed all of my flower beds from our massive grass invasion and I laid paver bricks below our spicket to support our hose-holder thing.  Last year I just had it placed on top of all of our lava rocks and it was super unstable and stupid looking but there were so many other things to do to our house that it was put by the wayside.  Now, though, it looks pretty spiffy if I do say so myself! 

Pretty, level, mini hose porch :)
Perfect.  Now I just have to wait to make sure Spring is here to stay!

Monday, March 19, 2012

NY Beauty QAL Block 5!

I actually made another block this weekend!  My second paper pieced attempt and I love it!  A new block (block 1) for New York Beauty was posted today and I hope that I can stay on track with this QAL!

I know that it sounds funny being excited over one block, but I spent 6 hours on Sunday moving lava rock from one side of the house to the other and I'm still not done.  I hate lava rock, so much that just looking at it in passing irritates me.  But I love flowers.  So therefore I need to move all of the lava rock from the garden that the previous owners put there.  This task, I'm sure, will consume most of my spare time until the weather turns nasty again and I really can't complain too much because I love this weather!  I hope you all are spending some great time outdoors!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

My First Friday Night Sew In

Last night I participated in my first Friday Night Sew In (hosted by Heidi) and instead of working on projects that are already in progress, I decided to begin something new :)

I find that I am almost too adventurous sometimes in the land of sewing and this time to prove myself right I decided to join the New York Beauty Block QAL that Sew Sweetness is hosting.  I have never paper pieced before (obviously, since I just started quilting) but I decided that I needed to make these blocks and I just shouldn't put it off.  So I started last night!  I am not organized and this is what it is like to sew with me in my sewing area:

I don't have any large fancy table so I usually use our coffee table in the living room to cut on but I just was too lazy to walk back an fourth so I do it on the floor sometimes...  This area got worse as the block progressed.

Look What I Can Do!

It really only took me about 15 minutes to understand what I was suppose to be doing, but I spent over 2 hours on this block.  When I got comfortable I got lazy and sewed on the wrong size.  Do you know how difficult it is to pick out 1.4 thread length from a paper pieced project with thread that blends so well with your fabric that you don't even see it?  Yea, I do.  And it's bad.  I was lucky I could still use the paper to re-stitch.  I was a lot more cautious after that.  The curves on this block were also terrifying and I had to seam-rip and redo the first one but I'm pretty happy with it now.  YouTube helped me out there.

Afterwards I decided to not start the second block just yet and clean up a little bit.  OK, a lot-a-bit.  That took a good portion of my evening before I moved onto the last part of the border of my tree quilt.  Mama Spark and I decided on how to cut the lengths for them, so I cut it to 82.5", found the middles, went to pin them together, and quit.  That quilt is just horrid.  The thing is not square so putting on the border and forcing the top to match the border size is not going well for me.  It has been abandoned in the middle of the room until the next time I have energy to be brave!

Monday, March 12, 2012

This weekend...

... I finally started the border on my Christmas tree quilt.  It is not what I was going to do (Thanks DH) but I think it will look nice anyways, it is just going to be more work.  I don't have it done yet, so you'll have to wait til I sew some more :)

I kept working on my dad's MSU quilt this weekend.  I started green blocks and when I got bored with them (only after 20...) I made the white/green split blocks.  There's only 6 of those so I'm left with only white and green now.  I'm happy with how they are turning out though (these were on 2 different days with 2 different daylight varieties..)!

I've also found this Friday Night Sew In that I'm going to participate in!  It is on March 16th so if you don't have plans you should join!  I can't decide if I want to start a new project that I have on my list or if I should chug along on my MSU quilt...  assuming of course that my xmas quilt is done... Decisions, decisions.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Buttons, Borders, and Bindings Oh My!

Well, I finally figured out how to put a button on this blog, which is quite an accomplishment if I do say so myself.  I didn't realize that you just needed to copy that long code into a "gadget" in your layout area.  Odd how simple that was and how long it took me to find it :)

I took my Christmas tree quilt with me to the group I go to and we thought that maybe an alternating border using the red/green/white fabric would work well and then use the striped fabric I had as the binding.  Mama Spark taught me what cutting on the bias is, and I tell you I got so excited about it, it was a little ridiculous.  I want to get the border done just so I can bind the thing now!  But first, that means I have to start the border.  I had every intention of doing it, but that cute top still plagues me.

From Thursday to Saturday I went on a work trip to Woodview, Ontario with a co-worker to attend the Ontario AFS (American Fisheries Society) Meeting.  This coworker of mine is a knitter and we planned to sit and knit/sew after the meetings ended for the day.  I really, really wanted to get the border done while we were here but our time back at the room was split up a lot by meals and talks.  Instead I finished the binding on my first project! 

It looks pretty good now that it doesn't have strings and needles poking out of it! 

Last night I went out to dinner with my parents and my mom brought along this monstrosity:

Apparently my uncle's grandchildren were "getting into the plant" and then gave it to my mom.  My mom doesn't have room for it so she thought that I would take it.  I didn't realize it was so large until I pulled it out of my trunk and tried to stuff it into my house.  Holy cow.  What am I going to do with it now?!  I was going to try to quarantine it just in case it wanted to bring anything in with it but my quarantine area seems to be a bit small (to the left is our door to the garage and this is our laundry room/entry closet).  Before I made dinner tonight I wanted to clean our kitchen sink and I literally crawled underneath this thing to get my supplies!  *sigh* Maybe someone somewhere will want it!