10 April 2012

Tutorial: Mitered Corners

A bunch of you have asked how I do my mitered corners on my quilts, so here's a quick tutorial!

There are a bizillion methods to make your quilted corners pretty, but after years of trial-and-error, this is my favorite. This tutorial assumes you are using the backing fabric to bind the quilt, not bias tape.

NOTE: I don't use pins for this.  If it helps you to use them, go for it!

  • Your quilt top is done, and it's time to make your sandwich. 
  • Cut your batting to the same dimensions as your quilt top.
  • Cut the backing fabric so that you have a few inches of overhang on all sides. Depending on how large my quilt is, I make sure my overhang is somewhere between 2-6" on all sides. **The backing does NOT have to be even on all sides at this point!**
  • Quilt your sandwich as desired.

  • Lay your quilt flat and smooth out the backing fabric so it's flat and even. 
  • Cut the backing fabric so that you have a 1-2" frame around your quilt top.

  • Take one of the longer sides of the quilt and fold the backing fabric in half toward the quilt (remember hamburger folds in elementary school??).
  • Fold the double-thickness backing onto the quilt top. It should be 1/2 the width of the frame you cut earlier. (ie. If you cut a 1" frame, the fold should be about 1/2")
  • Sew the border down only along the length of the sandwich. Don't sew the backing to itself on each end.
  • Repeat on the opposite side.

This really is simple. All you're doing is making 1 extra fold at the corners before double-folding your frame to make the border. 
  • Hold your quilt so that an unfinished edge is pointing to your right. Holding it close to the foot of your machine helps. 

  • Take the top, finished corner and fold it down so that it is in line with the edge of the quilt top on the unfinished edge. It will make a 45-degree angle at the corner.

  • While holding onto the folded corner, fold the raw edge down just like you did with the long sides of the quilt. Think "hamburger" again!
  • Just like the sides of the quilt, fold the whole folded mess over onto the top of the quilt. Instead of the ends hanging off, they'll be tucked under, making a pretty mitered corner!

  • Once the first few inch or two are folded over, carefully position the corner under the sewing machine's foot. Lower both the foot and the needle to hold everything in place! 

  • Sew along the border, folding the binding over as you go.
  • Once you get within 8" of the end, you can miter that corner. Be sure to lower the needle through the fabric to hold it in place as you fold.
  • Follow the same steps as the top corner:

  Voila! You have mitered half your corners!  Now just repeat on the other side of your quilt to finish!

Pretty corners every time!

In Short:

  1. Trim backing fabric to 1-2" on all sides
  2. Bind longest sides first.
  3. Fold corners to make a 45-degree angles.
  4. Bind short sides.
  5. Easy-peasy!

Sorry for the inconsistent quality of the photography. I was trying to take pictures and hold fabric at the same time! :)

25 March 2012

The Last Word on Diamonds in Parisville

Thanks to my hubby and his Canon, I have my final pictures of my Parisville quilt! Without further ado, here they are:

22 March 2012

Dresden Plate Baby Quilt

As I have mentioned before, a friend of mine is adopting a baby girl from China. The adoption won't be finalized until later this year, when my friend will be living in Korea and we will be in Cuba. So, now's the time to give her a gift for her daughter.

I found the quilt I would use as inspiration on Pinterest, but we've already talked about that (HERE).

Using a template I found online for a 20-point Dresden Plate, I arranged my pieces and began sewing them together.

Only to find that my pieces were for a 19-point Dresden, not a 20-point.

See the extra point popping up to say hello?

So, I sewed the extra point out of the plate.

The cream background wasn't exactly the right size, so some piecing had to be done.

Once the plate & the background were done, I cut charms out of the same fabrics as the plate for the border. 
Luckily, the border was exactly 7 charms by 8 charms.

The original quilt had embroidery around the Dresden plate. I just did echo quilting.

And there you have it. A 36"x40" baby quilt.

I certainly hope that my friend will be able to wrap her little girl up soon. I wish them all the best.

14 March 2012

REPEAT Update & Back to the Diamonds

A very heartfelt Thanks to everyone who encouraged me in the REPEAT contest. Sadly, I didn't make the cut, but they had a large pool of very talented people apply. The 10 finalists have amazing pieces in their portfolios, and they clearly deserved a spot.

I'm really looking forward to following the contest and gleaning expertise from the contestants. Who knows, maybe with a little attention and practice I can pull together a stronger portfolio for the next opportunity!

If you want to follow the contest, ThePrintedBolt.com is hosting. The first challenge is "Tiny Dwellings".  Huh? Huh? Enough to draw you in??

Okily dokily, onto my BIG NEWS!  I'm done, Done, DONE with my Parisville Diamonds quilt.

And guess what.

I love it.  It's bright and noisy and happy.

And it's done. Done. Done. Done. I don't think I can say that enough. It's done.

Too bad it's raining/snowing/hailing to damn hard outside to get some good shots, so I have some crappy pictures I took with my phone then tried to edit-up. I promise, as soon as I can catch a dry spell, I'll take a few good pictures to show off.

The yellows are more mustard than this picture indicates.

I love the mix of colors.

Robin's Egg Blue Grunge Solid by Reily Blake for the background.

I had to show off the cameos!

02 March 2012


Oof.  I can't believe it's been a week since I've posted.  I've had a terrible, terrible head cold that just won't go away, two kids who also have said head cold, a birthday party to plan and prep for, and...dah, dah, DAH!, I put together a portfolio this week to submit to the REPEAT competition. (Contest site here)

The competition is a Project Runway-esque vehicle to bring an independent textile designer into the professional quilting-fabric world!  I really, really don't expect to become a contestant, but I really wanted to at least try for a spot.

It has seemed silly that I'm almost 30, been a lifelong student of art/design/typography and now textiles and I don't have a real portfolio.  I suppose I'm using this contest to force me to actually put one together. And (cough, cough) I suppose I need to start putting myself out there if I ever want to accomplish anything cool.

Unfortunately, I didn't catch wind of this contest until Wednesday, and the deadline to submit a portfolio is tomorrow. If you recall, our computer crashed in January, taking all my portfolio pictures with it. Sooooo...I had some scrambling to do.

I found some previous work that I had [luckily] snapped with my phone or sent to my mom via e-mail, so I just had to clean those images up a little bit.

"Green & Blue, Leaves of Two". 30"x40". Ink on canvas.

"Mediterranean Veranda" 40" x 60". Acrylic on canvas.

And I found a couple textile designs from last fall I uploaded to Spoonflower.com:

Play on Plaid in Butter.

Exes and Ohs in Coral.

And I threw in a photo of my Prince Charming quilt to show that I actually like textiles:

So there were 5 of the requisite 6 images.  All I needed was 1 more.  This is what I came up with:
"Pennies from Heaven". "18"x24". Acrylic on Canvas.

There you have it.  My portfolio submitted to the contest. I'm looking forward to following the competition, most likely as a spectator, but now I have a slim shot of competing, right?

24 February 2012

In Honor of Poppies

I had forgotten that during my (ahem) sabbatical from this blog I fell in love with a new fabric line. Artist Karen Tusinski debuted her first fabric line, Gallery Fiori, at Quilt Market in May 2011.

For about a year now, as you all know, I've been a die-hard Tula Pink fan.  It had to take something pretty dang special for me to dub a new designer/line a favorite.  Tula Pink's fabrics play to my need for vibrant color, symbolism, joy.  Gallery Fiori is completely different: sophisticated pallet, meandering lines, muted colors, metallics.  You can actually see the brush strokes on her fabric.


Soon, I'll photograph the wall hangings I made using this line, but for now I'll just introduce you to the fabric.

Gallery Fiori Fat Quarter Bundle in Red from HawthorneThreads.com.

Just for detail's sake, here's a close-up of the poppies:

Unfortunately, I can't "zoom in" close enough to show the gold veins in the fabric.  See the lighter outlines of the layers in the poppies?  That's actually metallic gold.  It reflects light and makes the poppies simply radiant.

I'm sure she'll never see this blog, but just in case...

Well done, Ms. Tusinski. Gallery Fiori is gorgeous. I am already a huge fan and cannot wait to see what your next lines will be.

Party Time!

My daughter is turning 2 in just a few weeks, and I'm in the last stages of planning her party and heading into the execution phase. Her absolute, most favoritest thing in the whole world are ducks. Rubber duckies, stuffed animals, books about ducks, real ducks. You name something duck, and she loves it. So, guess the theme of her party. Yup, ducks.

When I relayed the duck theme to my mom, she immediately suggested that I use a blue tablecloth on the table to create a "pond" effect. Brilliant!

I've also had the idea of having a rubber duck derby, but without a body of running water it may be a little difficult. My husband suggested a slip-n-slide down our lawn...may have to give that idea some thought.

The first acquisition to the duck motif was Wilton's 3-D Rubber Ducky pan.

Thankfully, my awesome mother-in-law is amazing with cake decorating and is going to help me with this one. I've done the Wilton 3-D Cruiser for 2 of my son's birthdays, but most of the surfaces on that cake are flat. The rubber ducky is most definitely not flat, and I'm going to need help or else it will end up being posted on CakeWrecks!

I also found this tutorial on the Tidy Mom blog for Rubber Ducky Punch. It's oh-so-adorable, and soooo perfect for the theme.

I usually put streamers up for birthday parties, but since we're going with the duck pond idea, I think blue bunting and white cloud mobiles will be hanging from the ceiling instead.

Maybe something like this, sans balloons:
Floating in the Clouds 3D Mobile by GoshandGolly on Etsy.

Any other great duck/pond/cloud ideas before I move away from the planning stage?

20 February 2012

My First Ultra-Girly Quilt

**Ms. Tonovitz, this post is about your quilt.  If you happen to be reading this and would like to be surprised, well, stop reading!

****FAIR WARNING!!****

Ok, for everyone else:

Friends of ours are in the process of adopting a baby girl from China after having boys.  Understandably, the Mom has been aching for a girl and is going ultra-girly with her long-awaited daughter.  So when I decided to make a quilt for this little girl (and her mommy), I knew I would have to step out of my usual box. Hint: I'm not ultra-girly.

My friend Dawn posted this quilt on Pinterest months ago, and I instantly knew that it would fit the bill for this baby.

Quilt by NanaCompanyPosted on Pinterest via Flickr.
Since there were no other details about fabrics, I was left to my own devices to find fabrics to use. I perused my friend's--the recipient of this quilt--pins on Pinterest to see what she is drawn to. This caught my eye:

And after begging Dawn to help me find fabrics, then sidelining the project too long to be able to buy any of the fabrics Dawn found (sorry, Dawn!), I settled on the Cabbages and Roses Northcote Range collection.

Fat Quarter Shop is not paying me to add this image.
They just had the best pic of the collection.  I do, however,
think they are one of the best online quilting shops!

I'm planning on pulling out the more saturated blues and reds and sticking mainly with the pinks and greys.  I'll be using some yellow and green prints from my personal collection to round out the color scheme from the picture above.

I might also add that this will be my first attempt at a Dresden Plate (the flower in the center of the quilt), and I'm really excited to try my hand at it.  Fingers crossed, it will be easier than my diamonds were.

More on the diamonds and the Dresden tomorrow.

Good night, cyberspace.


13 February 2012

I hate Paris in the springtime...

No, I'm not flying to Paris to save my fiance from the clutches of a "god-dess" ala French Kiss's Meg Ryan.  I'm making my damned Parisville diamonds quilt. Who knew that diamonds were so difficult?!

I've done hexagons, I've done queen-sized quilts, I've done quiltagami. But nothing could have prepared me for the nightmare of diamonds.

Diamonds are 4-sided, like squares or rectangles, so they should be easy to piece together. It's all straight-line stitching. No applique. Large blocks making up a lap-size quilt. Sounds easy-peasy, right?  WRONG.

Diamonds have straight edges, yes, but they aren't on the x/y-axes.  They're diagonal. That means that instead of lining up adjacent pieces like you would, say, square or rectangle pieces, you have to offset them to adjust for the diagonality.  (Yes, I just made up that word.)  So say two diamonds are just a hair off and not lined up correctly. This seemingly minor error is the pebble that sets off an avalanche. Those two don't line up, so the whole row they're in doesn't line up, so the quilt doesn't line up. I think I've spent more time ripping seams than sewing them together.

Lesson learned: never attempt diamonds again.  Period.

Okily-dokily.  On to a topic not dripping with disdain: ducks.

My daughter is turning 2 in just a few weeks, and the greatest love of her young life is ducks.  Stuffed ducks, rubber duckies, ducks waddling across the road.  She loves ducks more than peanut butter loves jelly.

My mom had bought two prints from Lizzy House Red Letter Day collection to make her something for Christmas, but the project never materialized (rimshot, please).  She sent the fabric to me in hopes that it can be used for something for my daughter's birthday.  I adore this fabric.  It's fun and funky and soooo reflects my daughter's personality.

Does anyone have any suggestions for these prints?  The word "pillows" keeps popping into my head, but the girl has about 305897122984 stuffed animals that she takes to bed with her every night.  I fear pillows would get lost in the shuffle.  Thoughts??

11 February 2012

I'm Baaaaack!

Hello again!  Yes, it has been almost 6 months since my last post.  My good friend Allison has prompted me to pick this up again, so here I am!

I was thinking of filling you in on the projects I completed August through January, but sadly, a terrible fate befell our family computer and I lost almost all the photos I took of those projects.  Even more sadly, I have an chronic case of Mommy Brain, so recalling all the projects I completed would be impossible.  Bum deal.

I have a few pictures from my phone - they aren't great, but alas, they'll have to do.

The robot buddies for Finn and his best bed, Liam.

A rag doll for my niece, Elsie, made from a t-shirt, polyfill and yarn.

The face didn't turn out quite like I wanted, but an embroiderer I'm not.

Baby blanket no.1 for friends of ours at Stephen's work.

Next on my to-do list: Baby blankets nos.2-5.

For friends who are adopting a sweet baby girl from China.

For my nephew, Hezekiah, who is arriving in March!
(quilts 4 & 5 are TBD - one is for my niece, Sydney, who was born in November, 
the other for my cousin's baby who isn't arriving until September.)

And last, but not least, I am finally working on my Parisville quilt for me, myself and I.  (See post about it here.)  I love the fabric so much, and I'm really digging the diamonds.  BTW, I decided to go for the plain old diamonds similar to the first picture.  As soon as I have some better pics of this quilt, I'll post them!

A preview of Diamonds in Parisville.

Well, now that I'm back, you're stuck with me!  Talk to you soon!