Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Two of My Favourite Quilt Tips

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I have a few quilt tips today that have helped me with the quality of my quilt finishes.

I personally have never been able to sew a perfect block, with perfect seam allowances, which effects how the whole finished quilt top sews together, as each 1/16th of an inch can add up to a significant amount in the finished size.

What I came up with early in my quilting, was to draw a line at the 'finished size', with a mechanical pencil, on the back of each unit or block. I use this sewing line as a guide to pin to the next block, plus to sew along. The final result may have the blocks slightly off, or 'charming' in the quilt top, but the final quilt top itself lays flatter and in the end the finished quilt is nicer.

My 'Blocking' how-to file, that describes the technique step by step, is available in the Techniques ~ General Directions section, in the Library of my site here.

I start with a fine grade piece of sandpaper and tape it to a cardboard with masking tape.

I lay the unit or block with the wrong side up onto the sandpaper (or rough section of my cutting mat if the block is larger), and center a ruler (the finished block size I need if I have one, otherwise I use a ruler the closest to the size) onto the back of the unit.
Draw a 'sewing' line, with the mechanical pencil, around the ruler.

This gives you good corners and makes up for any uneven sewing.
You can trim any extra seam allowance, if you wish to take the time.

Pin your blocks together using this Perpendicular Pinning trick:

Place a pin in each corner of both the two blocks you are joining. Don't anchor them. Hold the pin perpendicular (90*) with your first two fingers (underneath) and your thumb on top. Now place an anchor pin (going in at an angle) beside it. Do the same for the other corner, and a few times in between, making sure you are matching up the two sewing lines. This pinning method keeps the blocks from shifting out of place.

You then stitch them together, sewing edge to edge, along the line you have drawn.

When you combine both of these tips I promise your quilt tops will end up neater.

Happy Stitching!

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Monday, June 18, 2018

A Decorative Kind of Hand Quilting

Whee! Close Up
A different kind of quilting, that adds a wonderful detail to many of my quilt designs is stitching blanket stitches with embroidery floss, around the applique elements, through all the layers.
And with this stitching no extra quilting is required around the designs.

I think the look is charming!

This detail of my Whee! quilt shows the black stitching I added.

Faux 30's Close Up
I also used black blanket stitches for my Faux 30's quilt, as that was the style back then.

Butterfly Garden Quilt
My Butterfly Garden quilt, which is made as a quilt-as-you-go project, I also used black blanket stitches.

Family Tree Quilt
They added such a unifying detail for the colourful My Family Tree quilt, too.

Stuffies Ellie the Elephant Baby Quilt
But black stitching isn't the only way I add blanket stitches.
Using matching embroidery floss makes the detail subtler, but it still adds a charm!
For my first Stuffies baby quilt - Ellie the Elephant I used her turquoise colour, and even added regular quilting stitches with embroidery floss, across the border patches, for more charm.

Pet Stuffies Calico the Cat Baby Quilt
I used this finishing method for all of my Stuffies series.

Stuffies Monkey Close Up
And now again for my newest Stuffies Monkey - this quilt pattern is coming soon.
This is my progress picture from yesterday, which gave me the idea for this post. :)
If you'd like the how-to for the Blanket Stitch, you can find the free 'Decorative Stitches' file in the Techniques ~ Hand Sewing section, in the Library of my site here.

Shower Keepsake Signature Quilt
Adding the blanket stitching around the hearts as the quilting is a perfect way to finish this Quick & Easy Shower Keepsake Signature quilt.

Baby Patchwork Set
See how charming the embroidery floss quilting makes this sweet set for Baby?
Victoriana Quilt Designs Member's can find the link to the tutorial for these on the Pattern Page - Scroll down to the Scraps Section.

Dresden Plate with Butterfly Free Quilt Pattern
I have free instructions for making the Dresden Plate with Butterfly quilt, which is another perfect design for the black embroidery blanket stitching, done as the quilting.
This quilt block would also make a lovely pillow, if you'd prefer to try it as a smaller project!

I don't use anything fancy - this was today's collection of tools.
Psst....I added the instructions for that mini hexagon pincushion to the 'Handwork' section of my site in 2013, when I was hosting a hexie stitch along.
I thought this pincushion was a nice touch to add to my hexie sewing kit!
The free tutorial is still online here.

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Happy Stitching!

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Sunday, June 17, 2018

A Quilt for My Dad

In the mid 1990's, I made a series of scrap lap quilts for my family members.
Except for my Dad.

I made a quilt especially for him, based on a school book of his I found.
My Grandfather had a series of butcher shops (yes the old-fashioned kind with meats & sausages hanging from hooks), and my Father went to 'sausage school', to learn the art of making yummy sandwich meats and sausages.
In his papers, I found graphed out designs that he created, and then made into sausages, so the slices of meat would have fancy designs.
I believe these were part of a final exam, though my memory on that is lacking, and alas he is no longer here to ask.
I was so excited to see how much they looked like quilt blocks.
He didn't know I had seen his school notes, and with my Mom's help, I was able keep it a secret, until he saw the quilt.

Butcher Blocks (1995)
This 'Butcher Blocks' quilt is the result.
I used a farm print for the center, and the four 'sausage' designs are in the corners.
Can you imagine making a sandwich with these fancy slices of meat?
Pretty amazing to think about, considering they were made from meat!
If you look real close you can see that I quilted a windmill in the center of the quilt.

I'm so pleased it is now treasured by my brother, who also became a butcher.

Happy Father's Day to all the 'Fathers' in my life!

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Friday, June 15, 2018

Where My Quilt Designing Began

Victorian Manor - 1991
I thought it was a good time to take you way back, to where my designing quilts began.
This week it'll be 17 years since Victoriana Quilt Designs went online.

Earlier I wrote about the first quilt top I made, when I was 13.
But then it took me until the late 1980's until I made my next quilt and a few small quilt projects.

In 1991 I joined Simcoe County Quilters' Guild.
Following my third meeting, after listening to guest speaker Nancy Halpern, I went home all inspired.

I loved Victorian homes and decided I would make one as a quilted wall hanging.
I hadn't even learnt everything about quilting...and didn't even know there was a rotary cutter and mat, yet. In retrospect it was a bold thought.
The 'Victorian Manor' quilt is the result, which I brought to the next meeting, a month later.
I used solid fabrics, embroidered the brick and roof tiles, and used ribbons and laces for the rest.
I can still vividly remember what it sounds like to have 150 skillful quilters gasp, as my quilt was revealed for show & tell.
I floated on that for weeks! 
That sent me home to make more.

The Painted Lady - 1992
The Painted Lady Close Up

The Mill - 1992
Those rocks in the foundation are all individually appliqued.
There was no fabric printed with rocks then.

Attic Treasures - 1993
Attic Treasures Close Up 1
That's a real rag rug, that I braided, before appliqueing it to the quilt.

Attic Treasures Close Up 2
My first Crazy Quilting!

By 1993, I also belonged to Georgian Bay Quilters' Guild, and they asked me to create a workshop to teach my pictorial quilt method.

Victorian House - 1993
That's how my Victorian House Pictorial Quilt Workshop was created.
And for several years I taught this workshop - and even did some travelling to teach.
But decided in the end, that I enjoyed staying at home and creating, which is why my website is the perfect method for sharing my quilt pattern designs with you!

In 1998 I even designed the banner for Simcoe County Quilters' Guild!

If you'd like to see how my designing evolved from there, I have a 'Quilt Show' section were you can see them through the years.

Thanks for Your Interest!

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