Monday, November 30, 2015

Our Special Dates table runner {& tutorial}

A few months ago I bought some pre-cuts and yardage of the Wishes fabric collection from Sweetwater to make table runners. I thought it would be nice to have a table runner out to celebrate all of our special days and this fabric was perfect for that. I ended up making more than one but each one is personalized for that person's family.

This one was my mom's birthday gift. I made it long enough to fit on her dining room table (hers was roughly 77" long). It has all the birthdays and wedding anniversaries on it specific for her family. I used Microsoft Word and a light box to write the dates on the fabric, but you could also hand write them.
For the permanent pen, you need to use one that is specific for fabric. No Sharpie! It will bleed and won't look very neat. I used the Pentel Gel Roller for Fabric and I found it at my local Joann's. It writes a really smooth line, similar to a ball point pen. I went with the Pentel because another blogger did a wash test with a variety and this pen came out as #1.

If you would like to make your own, here's a quick tutorial. Click on any of the photos to see it larger for more details.

To make a table runner measuring roughly 14" x 64" you will need:
  • 1 charm pack
  • 1 yard backing
  • 18" x 68" batting
  • 1/2 yard binding
  • Permanent fabric pen

Lay out all of your charm squares into a 14 x 3 grid and sew together. I pieced them into rows and then sewed the 3 rows together.
For the dates, I created a two column table in Microsoft Word with each column 4.5" wide (the finished size of the squares) and then typed up all the dates I wanted to include. Then I was able to pick out a font and make each date big enough to fit in the 4.5" wide space. I used the font Talking to the Moon in a size 54, with the exception of a couple of the dates where I had to make them a size 50 or 52 to fit.
Using a light box, trace your dates onto the table runner. Make sure you disperse your dates so they are along the entire length of the runner. I also changed the orientation of each date, so they weren't all facing the same direction.

For the backing, cut two 18" wide pieces and then sew together to create one long piece at 18" wide. Trim the excess to the same size as your batting. Quilt as desired. I simply stitched in the ditch so that quilting wouldn't interfere with the dates, as I'm sure more will added in the future.
For binding, cut 5 strips at 2.5" by the width of fabric. Piece together using your preferred method and bind as desired.
That's it! This is actually my favorite way to make a table runner using a charm pack. I have a few charm packs waiting to be made into table runner using this tutorial. It's a quick and easy project, perfect for gifts.

If you're on Instagram, I would like to see your Special Dates. Tag me @gracelovequilt and use the hash tag #ourspecialdatestablerunner

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Farmer's Wife 1930s - playing catch up

I got 3 more blocks done last night. I still have 4 more to go if I want to catch up, but that's a big if at this point. ;) As I mentioned in my last post, there are some big changes going on so right now the priority is Christmas presents. Everything else will happen whenever I get to it. ;)

I've been using Lori's tutorials over at Bee in my Bonnet to draft some of the blocks for rotary cutting. If you have time definitely check them out, they are very helpful.

#13 - Belle
Oh Belle, you frustrating thing you. There's 3 different ways to sew this block: by the book (with Y-seams), Kerry's way and Angie's way. I chose to go with Kerry's way because I liked seeing the complete square in the middle.

If you make it this way, let me save you some trouble (and wasted fabric!): for the two large triangles in the center use a 3" square and cut it diagonally. Match up the center corners and sew from there towards the smaller triangles (there will be excess, just trim it off). Then you can match where the seams meet up (similar to an hourglass) and sew that seam.

I first used a 2-5/8" square which didn't work and ended up getting ripped out. Then I used a 2-7/8" square cut on the diagonal and while one side turned out perfect, the other was a bit short. So my advice to you is to give yourself that extra 1/8" and save your sanity. :)

#78 - Old Maid
I decided to go with the no waste flying geese method and HSTs to get Old Maid. The method I used to create the hourglass gives you two hourglass blocks, so now I have a spare I can use for another block. It's a pretty straight forward block, just be sure to press your seams open to reduce bulk.

#41 - Granny
For Granny I followed Kimberly over at Fat Quarter Shop's Instagram and used HSTs. You use two different sizes, with the smaller size used as an Easy Corner Triangle. It makes it so much simpler. She uses the same method for her Addie block (I'm going to make mine same way). Be sure to bookmark or follow her Instagram for more ideas as she seems to be doing all rotary cutting on her blocks.

I hope my tips are helpful. I will continue to write out my notes as I make my blocks.

Christmas sewing and a binding kit

Things have been busy around here. There's a big change going on over here that made me plunge head first into Christmas sewing. So a lot of my spare time has been focused on embroidering and sewing presents. But I did get something finished that's for me, a binding kit. :)

 Back when I finished my niece's baby quilt, I had a bunch of blocks leftover. I saved them specifically so I could make her a matching doll quilt. I even had enough of the same binding!
 The only new fabric I bought was a fat quarter of this Aneela Hoey print from her Hello Petal collection. Since my niece's baby quilt had fussy cuts of little girls, I wanted to include little girls in her doll quilt. I love this print showing the steps to a cartwheel (or is it a headstand?).
I used a bit of my vintage binding tape to create a label for this and I included the adorable "PS I love you" tag. I did the binding by machine and it's not perfect (don't look at the corners!) but I doubt she'll care. She's getting a doll for Christmas so I thought it was the perfect time to make her a doll quilt. I love she likes it.

I decided to make myself a Goody Goody Binding kit (tutorial here). I had all the pieces cut and the majority of the sewing done, but had to stop when I needed wool felt for the needle patch. But I finally finished it up this past week.
 I found the bright and happy fabrics at my local quilt shop. I thought they were so cute and just perfect for this binding kit.
 The Sweetwater fabric I used on the right pocket is a little too cream but I love how it has quilt block names on it, so I had to include it.

 I stitched a ribbon just above the scissor pouch so I wouldn't lose the scissors. I plan on buying a small pair to keep solely for this kit.
Earlier this year a quilting magazine had turquoise binding clips with it as a free gift. You better believe I snatched it right up! ;) They are going to live in the binding kit permanently and  my red ones will be added as needed.

I have everything all set up to stitch the binding on my fair isle quilt, which is due back from the long arm qulters today. :) I can't wait to show you the quilting.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Finally a fall table runner

 I finally got myself a fall table runner. I've been wanting one for several years now. It measures roughly 15" x 40". Very simple piecing and quilting, the quilting lines are roughly 2" apart.
 My son and I like Snoopy so when I saw this at Joann's I knew what the backing would be. :) I always put it out with pumpkin side up and  then my son comes by and flips it over to Snoopy.
The brown and orange pumpkins are from Home for the Harvest by Heather Mulder Peterson, the green apples was a sewing market find and the binding is from Wilmington.
I machine bound it using the stitch-in-the-ditch method where you sew the binding to the front. I don't have a special foot for stitching in the ditch so I made do with my zipper foot. If you want to do the same, just place your zipper foot up against the fabric and then move your needle position over to where the seam is. Works like a charm! :)

Farmer's Wife 1930s: 8 blocks down

I'm already behind! That didn't take long did it? ;) I put off doing Belle and Old Maid simply because I'm not sure if I want to piece them the way the book shows (Y seams and all!) or if I want to piece them differently. I have the measurements for both, it's just a matter of me deciding now. Hopefully I will get them done soon so I can be caught up. But here are the other 3 ladies, for a total of 8 blocks completed.

#24 Coral

#49 Katherine

#94 Susannah
I recently put together my binder organizing my blocks. I printed off all the diagrams and the cutting instructions along with the cover page and put them into a binder. I have a little video up on my Instagram that shows me flipping through the pages.
The cover page lists my start date (with spaces for when the top is finished and then when it's quilted and bound) along with all the fabrics I'm using in this quilt.
All the block diagrams along with any notes are in sheet protectors. The colored in blocks are those that are already finished. I originally was going to have everything spiral bound, but I like the ability to take out an individual block diagram. I end up cutting fabric for 2-3 blocks at a time and I use the diagrams to sort and separate the cut pieces. But I think when I am finished piecing the top together I will get everything spiral bound and keep as a memento. Then I can use this binder for the original Farmer's Wife quilt! :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Needlework update and secret sewing

In addition to sewing I've also been making progress on my embroidery and cross stitch projects.
The house on my May cottage is finally done and now I'm working on the trees.
The garden is complete and now all that's left are the raspberries and the final border.
I did end up purchasing the custom blocks from Sweetwater's First Crush block of the month. But this is secret sewing for Christmas gifts. All I can tell you is that there are quite a few of them and I need to get to stitching! :)

Farmer's Wife 1930s and Fabric Finds

I got the last two blocks done yesterday. Caroline gave me more trouble than I thought, all those seams coming together made it a little bulky. But so far so good on keeping up with the sew along. I hope it continues! 5 blocks down and 94 to go. :)
#14 - Betty
#20 - Caroline
I've been sewing postage stamps together while also working on my Farmer's Wife blocks. I make it a point to sew together four-patches when I'm finished with the Farmer's Wife blocks. It's the last thing I do before turning off my machine. I added 21 new four-patches just with these 5 blocks! Maybe I'll have two quilts done next year when the sew along ends? :)

Also I started pulling fabrics for my son's twin size quilt. While digging through one of my (many) boxes of works-in-progress I found these at the bottom! A lot of these fabrics were used in my pinwheel sampler and I originally was going to use them for the Great Granny quilt. But I decided to just make pillows out of the two blocks I've done so now these will be used for my son's big boy quilt. Hooray for buried treasure! :)

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