Are UFOs, PIGS, or WIPs a part of your New Years Quilting Resolutions?
UnFinished Objects, Projects in Grocery Sacks, and Works in Progress can weigh a quilter down if she or he isn’t careful!
Maybe you could use this easy binding technique to get some of your projects out of the way and off your mind. The Lickety-Split Quilt Binding makes that last big step go quickly and looks smart!
When I have “git-er-done” quilts on my quilting resolutions list, this is my go-to technique. This technique provides a 2 1/4″ or a 2″ binding (for mini quilts) options for those quilts that don’t require a hand-turned binding. See this original binding method here – it finishes a larger than 2 1/2 inch size binding.
What’s nice about this machine stitched binding is that it gives your quilt a tiny burst of contrasting color between the quilt and the binding, appearing to be piping or a “micro-flange”. This also gives your needle a perfect nesting line for stitching on.
2 1/4 ” binding: Cut main binding strips 1 1/4″ width and cut the accent strips (piping look) slightly larger at 1 1/2″ width.
2″ binding: Cut main binding strips 1 1/8″ width and cut the accent strips (piping look) slightly larger at 1 3/8″.
Simply cut your strips, sew them end to end and press like normal binding. Do this for both sets of strips. Then, with right sides together, sew your long strips, press the seam to the binding color.
With the seam facing down, align the edge of the binding along the edge of your quilt and stitch a scant 1/4 inch seam (or smaller than your final stitch seam. Lastly, using bobbin thread that matches your backing and upper thread to match the accent, turn your binding to the front of your quilt and stitch in the ditch between the two fabrics. You might use a seam guide and adjust your needle position to a comfortable spot.
And just like that – your binding is finished – Lickety Split!
Here’s to your health, happiness, and many finished quilts in 2020!
Need a new project? Shop more than 40 patterns at Creative Bee Studios that use BOTH beautiful sides of your fabric!
I first fell in love with light-weight fusible web when I used it with the Leaves Galore rulers.
Water Colours was made with Misty Fuse, a nearly weightless fusible web.
Misty Fuse is a paperless fusible web.
First, Misty Fuse is paperless. Like a thin spiderweb of glue, it is nearly weightless. It is so soft, your machine won’t even know it is there! Neither will the loved ones who snuggle in your quilt.
However, because there is no paper on this fusible, I feared it couldn’t be used for tracing templates. I do a lots of fusible applique which require tracing templates. In fact, about half of the more than 50 quilt patterns I’ve designed use templates.
Soft Fuse is my favorite paper-backed product.
Soft Fuse is a paper-backed fusible web that is also very lightweight. Although any lightweight fusible will work, I recommend Soft Fuse in my classes and workshops. Even with large applique, your quilt feels softs to the touch. In addition, with a light pressing, it is possible to remove and re-position your applique if needed.
Transferring Designs with Mistyfuse Fusible Web
If you’re in a pinch and caught without your trusty paper-backed product, here’s what you can do!
First, draw or trace your design with lead pencil on to parchment paper. You need to make your tracing dark. I use a #2 lead pencil.
Then cut a piece of Mistyfuse large enough to cover your design.
Using a protective sheet (I used a Goddess Sheet), press the Mistyfuse to the wrong side of your fabric. The Goddess Sheet gives the Mistyfuse a sheen so you can see where it is on your fabric.
After the fabric cools, place it with the fusible side up on a hard surface. Cover it with your, design side down, on your fabric and trace the design with a hard pointed object like a stylist tool.
However, these tips for half-square triangle blocks can really help the beginning quilter to understand how and why you need to square your units or blocks accurately. I know they helped me!
There are lots of techniques for making these blocks. This one describes how to make them individually versus mass-produced, in case you don’t need 200!
Start your half-square triangle block with two squares.
For example, shown above are two 4-inch squares of fabric. One is a dark gray batik. The other is a soft white.
The block we need will be 3 1/2″ (before sewing to other units). The actual “finished” block size will be 3 inches. Therefore, above you see two 4-inch squares. Draw a diagonal line, corner to corner, on the reverse side of the lightest fabric.
Draw a diagonal line from corner to corner on the light square.
While it doesn’t really matter which fabric you choose, you’ll follow this line as a guide for stitching. Just make sure you can see your marking well.
Stitch on both sides of the marked line.
Layer your squares with the marked one on top; I’ll say “right sides together”. However, remember that if you are using BOTH beautiful sides of fabric in a half-square triangle block, you’ll want your “intended fronts together”. This means BOTH right sides will either be facing down or facing up.
Next, stitch from corner to corner, 1/4 inch from the drawn line.
Make great time by chain-stitching.
If you have lots of these units to make, try chain-stitching them. First, have your squares marked and paired, ready to stitch. Second, stitch on one side of the line on each set, without cutting threads in between. Thirdly, turn the string of them to repeat the stitching on the other side of the line.
Cut on the center line.
Separate the units by snipping the threads. See “Two Purple Tools for Quilting” for a great cutting tool. Press to the darker fabric. The block should be larger than 3 1/2 inches and have threads and tails (or ears) on them as shown below.
Use a squaring ruler with a 45 degree line.
Using any ruler with a 45-degree line, place that line along the diagonal seam of your block and so that the over-all size after you trim the first two sides is still slightly larger than 3 1/2″. Notice the extra fabric outside of the 3 1/2″ marks?
Don’t trim the first two sides at the 3 1/2 inch mark.
Trim the first two sides slightly larger than 3 1/2 inches. This will allow you to get the most accurate finished unit with a perfectly aligned diagonal seam.
Next, spin your half-square triangle block around and line up the trimmed sides directly on the 3 1/2″ marks. Trim the last two sides.
I AM from the Show-Me State!
Perhaps most new quilters would figure out on their own not to make the first trim at exactly 3 1/2 inches, but I needed a kind teacher to show me why I shouldn’t so that with the first trimming cuts.
If you are making the River Heritage Block-of-the-Month Mystery Quilt, you are probably figuring out that there are a lot of half-square triangle blocks in the design.
Here is a the Trail of Tears block, featuring all half-square units.
In fact, my favorite binding tool is more of a seamstress tool, really. I’m not even sure what it is called. It’s a ruler and a gauge. There are several reasons I keep this tool right next to my machine at all times.
Firstly, most of these types of tools have a marker that slides across the measurements. It’s snug enough that when you set it at, say 1/4 inch, it stays. The extended points above and below the ruler aid in measuring seam allowances.
Since it is important for finer quilt bindings to have the back and front of the binding to be equal size, this marker helps “gauge” the size you need your seam allowance to be.
Additionally, the market can assist you to know when to stop stitching at the corner. Just match the marker to your seam allowance!
Thin, straight edge.
Secondly, these rulers/gauges are very thin. In addition the top has a nice straight edge. Together, this makes for a great corner folding tool for your binding application. Furthermore, thicker rulers add bulk to the folded binding. This can cause looseness in the binding corner fold.
I recall my early years of quilting when I’d refer to my Happy Endings book each time I came to that part of the quilt-making process. Making a quilt took me so long that I’d forget how to do binding by the time I came around to it again! Even though I understood the technique, there would be so much time in between bindings, that I couldn’t remember how to do it.
The test of time.
While trying to get the end my stitching to the exact size of my seam allowance, I’d use this familiar tool which I’d inherited from my mother-in-law and mostly used by her in garment construction. One brand calls it a “Rule ‘n Gauge”. In addition to providing a precise measurement, I use the straight edge of this little tool to give me a perfectly square fold for my binding corners. While any straight edge will do, this favorite binding tool is readily available and has that has passed the test of time.
The tradition stands.
In conclusion, after making more than 50 quilt patterns (that use both beautiful sides of fabric), I no long have to look up how to attach quilt binding! I use the Rule ‘n Gauge each and every time!
Before you turn that binding, try adding prairie points! It’s a fast, easy way to hang your quilt! Learn more HERE!
As a new quilter, the method of chain piecing seemed magical to me! Not only was I surprised by the time savings, I really liked how soothing this technique made my stitching time.
Firstly, when piecing a sampler quilt (for example, the River Heritage Block-of-the-Month Mystery Quilt), chain piecing individual blocks can save you time and help you stay organized.
Chain piecing is a great technique for all quilters to know.
Secondly, since we have all levels of quilters participating in the free mystery quilt offered here, I decided to share a technique with our newer quilters in mind.
Moreover, chain-piecing is something seasoned quilters do without thought. I remember the lightbulb going on when I was first taught to chain-piece.
My approach to this method.
Actual chain-piecing is not nearly as hard as describing it in words.
Have you ever given road directions to someone and said, “It’s not nearly as confusing as it sounds.”? That’s how describing chain-piecing is. Hand’s on, it’s easy to grasp. In words, it seems confusing. Take it a step at a time the first few times and soon you’ll be chain-piecing without even thinking about it.
Here’s how I approach chain-piecing an individual block.
The goal when chain piecing is to do as much continuous sewing as possible.
Cut and prepare block pieces. Sample shows all half-square triangle units (HST).
Arrange block pieces according to block design.
Notice your columns and rows. Here there are four columns and four rows. The unit on the top left is in Row 1 and Column 1.
Turn each HST in Column 2 onto the HST to the left, in Column 1, right sides together (RST).
Likewise, turn each HST from Column 4 onto the HST to the left, in Column 3, RST.
Stack the Column sets to move to your machine for stitching, taking care not to lose their proper order.
Starting with the top set ( the unit from Row 1, Columns 1 & 2), stitch down the right edge with your normal 1/4 inch seam allowance.
In the same fashion, feed all of your units, one after another into the machine without clipping their threads. A machine with a knee bar makes this easier, but it is not necessary.
Lots of quilters use leftover fabrics from their stash to piece together a quilt backing. Initially, that was my intention with this pieced backing. I needed to add enough random fabrics to “stretch” the gray Stonehenge backing!
By and large, quilt backing is an afterthought for me. Until now, all of my excitement and energy is focused on the quilt top. My brain can’t handle more decisions while I’m mastering the creation on the front of the quilt! However, when the top is finished, I want to quilt it immediately.
Incidentally, such was the case with Something’s Brewing. This quilt features a huge cauldron that has bubbles and steam simmering over it’s sides. Also, there’s a crooked broomstick and, my favorite, honey buzzard claw feet. Moreover, one focus fabric makes all of these things, plus the binding! That is to say, it is made with both spooky sides of one focus fabric! See How to Use Both Sides for more info!
Various spooky background fabrics.
Furthermore, notice the very VARIED background fabrics in this quilt. This background is made from eleven radically different fabrics, including batik, Stonehenge, glitzy plaid, spiderweb, and more. Moreover, there’s even a fabric with William Shakespeare’s Macbeth! It’s such spooky fun!
Why should the front have all the fun?
Although I had pieced my quilt backings before, it had never dawned on me to “instant bargello” my backing! While searching for a single Halloween print to add to my yardage, I found numerous smaller cuts of very fun fabric.
Instant Bargello to the quilt backing rescue!
Instant Bargello by Susan Kisro is one of my favorite quilting books. I’ve made several fun and fast quilts using this book as a guide. I decided this technique would allow me to use small pieces of fabric to make a fun quilt backing. I grabbed some scraps and did three little columns of that technique which gave me enough width for the backing. It was fun and fast!
Prairie Point Hanging Method
Even the Prairie Point Hanging Method got a splash of Halloween fun! The two brown ones have tiny candy corn on them. This was some old Debbie Mumm fabric which I’d inherited from my mother-in-law. I love using little bits of her fabric in my quilts.
Finally, when preparing this quilt to hang in Hancock’s of Paducah for AQS Quilt Week, I brewed up another little cauldron for the label. Incidentally, this cauldron was made from the REVERSE!
Have fun with your backs!
To summarize, if you have to make a quilt back, why not make it fun?
Are these the three best quilting tools EVER, in the whole world? Okay, maybe not. However, if you are making quilts using fusible applique or even broderie perse, THESE ARE THE THREE BEST
Anyone who quilts knows you gotta have tools…and the right tools can really make quilting fun!
I’ve been sharing tips of the trade when it comes to working with value and auditioning fabrics for my latest patterns, which use both sides of one focus fabric. Now I’m going to share the three top tools I’ve found and grew to love while making these patterns.
Karen Kay Buckley Scissors
They cut like a dream. The edges are serrated which makes them seem to grab and hold on to the fabric as you cut, rather than pushing it away from you. I have made many of these #usebothsides quilts and cut many, many paper-fused appliques with them – and quickly, too. They cut today as well as the first day I bought them. I highly recommend them. They make cutting enjoyable, even under deadlines. I use the blue handled size.
Soft Fuse Premium
A few years ago, I wandered upon Misty Fuse. I liked that it looked almost like a spider-web and, once fused, it felt like it wasn’t even there. It works great for projects where you use rulers or die cutters and you don’t need to trace patterns–because there’s no paper on which to draw.
Enter…Soft Fuse Premium , a paper-backed, but thin, web-like fusible which quilts like a dream. Soft Fuse doesn’t make your applique stiff or hard to manage and it quilts like a dream (kinda like Karen’s scissors cut). I highly recommend it.
Temporary Basting Glue
Last, but not least, Glue-Baste-It with this micro-applicator tip is the bomb–and life-saver when it comes to whipping out quilts! This has saved me many times! It gets into tiny places, dries clear (really, it does, except maybe on Lame – but how often do you applique with that?), and it lasts forever! I still have a teeny, tiny bottle from 15 years ago (from the Sewing Basket) by my machine and it still works great (but doesn’t have this fancy applicator tip). So, why do I need this product? When I’m cutting flowers for Colorful Petals or Colorful Wings, I don’t cover my entire piece of fabric with fusible but I might see a flower I really want in my quilt. Rather than set it aside, I keep it in my pile and put a dot or two of Glue-Baste-It on it when I place it on my quilt. It holds the flower in place just as though it was fused, until I quilting it down. Likewise, if I’m quilting a long the edges of my applique and find a spot not adhered fully, I don’t plug in the iron and wait for it to heat up to reheat the fused fabric -I just dab a dot of this glue and keep on stitching! It really is a great product to have on hand.
Do you NEED these products to make #USEBOTHSIDES quilts?
Nah, but having cool tools is part of the game of quilting, right? If nothing else, put them on your wish list for Christmas!
Speaking of Christmas…the countdown is on and a new pattern is coming SOON! Stay Tuned.
What’s your favorite quilting tool or product? Let me know!
When you pin fabrics to your design wall, you can step back, get perspective, see how a fabric reads at a distance, and most importantly observe the values.
Granted most quilters don’t audition fabrics for four quilts all at the same time, but in this case, having four new designs waiting to be created made me realize how much more I like auditioning fabric on the wall rather than on the table or floor.
Plus, it’s much easier to take that black and white picture for observing value when the fabrics are in front of you! See The Tricky Traits of Value.
This past week was the kickoff of classes for Colorful Wings (click here for patterns) and I can’t wait to see the eleven finished quilts. In the meantime, my next post will give you sneak peek on how completely unique each of these winged-girls (and boy – yes, we had one boy) are!
A big thanks to all of the eleven students who took the challenge to #usebothsides!
You know you’re a quilt enthusiast when your home decorating is based on the quilts you’ve made…or plan to make.
Write your blog post…write your blog post…write your–wait, I should get my fall quilts out for the front porch–no, write your blog post…well, I need to run downstairs to look up a password anyway, so I might as well just grab that one panel quilt for the swing…THEN I’ll write my blog post…hmmm, that old Thimbleberries baskets quilt would look nice here…I don’t use it in the house anyway and I’ll wash it at end of the season…oh, maybe the pumpkins one could go here…I really need to work on that blog post…its crazy how many quilts I have all over my house…hey, maybe I’m not alone…
So today’s blog post is about decorating with quilts! Do you? Decorate with quilts? And I’m not talking about hanging one quilt on the wall… do you immerse your house with your quilts? Maybe it is just me. It does seem kinda eccentric. Well, for better or worse, here it is–this is how my mind works when it comes to quilts and decorating:
A few years ago, I had a vision, if you will, of an Italian landscape quilt and so…I repainted my kitchen (complete with break-away brick) in preparation for the quilt I was making. (Yeah, kinda backwards, I know.) Click here to see Bella Vista. Turns out Bella Vista inspired a whole line of quilts, wool applique, and punch needle for an Tuscan-themed book proposal. Two of those projects hang from tables right now:
Bella Tablescape features an arched window on either end of the table runner with a landscape scenery.
Bella Piastrella (beautiful tile) is a pieced tile pattern with fused applique. Click here to see the whole quilt in this post about using flange.
Bella Piastrella means “beautiful tile” in Italian.
Now a Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt hangs in my kitchen (I adapted the colors and borders).
In my dining room hangs Italian Proverb, which was a row-by-row pattern I designed for promoting said book proposal. I felt quite accomplished cutting the letters for the proverb with my Scan N Cut.
Italian Proverb Row by Row
In our coastal-themed living room there are currently five quilts. Tropical Fun toured the AQS circuit a few years back in an Accuquilt display.
Tropical Fun made the AQS Accuquilt tour a few years ago.
Click here to see the others in my post, Summer Quilting.
Now for that one quilt I had on my mind, the one for my porch swing. A panel. Simple but great for a swing quilt because it wasn’t too involved or expensive (in case it blows away). Then there are the old greats from Thimbleberries club.
So, please tell me below that I’m not that weird and that you decorate with quilts, too! Or you can say whatever you want, but please comment!
In upcoming posts, I’ll show the rest of my Italian designs and introduce some NEW patterns using both sides of one focus fabric (it’s not just for winged-girls anymore!).
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Choosing fabrics for quilts isn’t hard, but it can be tricky.
Choosing fabrics for quilts involves auditioning the color, size of motif, and value of the fabrics. I have long thought I understood the value of fabric values. Value is what makes, say, a simple, two-color quilt have bold areas of light and dark. Value also makes those cool secondary patterns in your multi-color quilt design appear like magic.
Easy, right? I thought so. However, a few years ago (actually about 20 now), Blended Quilts became popular. I became mesmerized by blended quilts. I bought the books and studied them, reading about fabric choices and how to combine fabric values to work together, while not being too obvious. Turns out, I never did really “get” it. It was too hard for me to look past the floral motifs and colors. Thankfully, our guild had a program presenter who sold blended kits! Problem solved (for the moment).
Turns out, choosing fabrics for quilts based on value can be tricky!
For the record, I love all kinds of quilts.
My Grandma Emma Wichern’s lavender and white embroidered quilt is precious to me. Simple, clearly defined values. But I also love those wild “crazy-quilts” which practically shout in all dark values. Modern is fun, bright, and happy…or sometimes calming and simple. I have a passion to some degree for all types of quilts. But what really gets me excited about a quilt is when it is successfully splashed with all kinds of rich, colorful and different fabrics…and it works! Value is what makes the magic happen in those quilts.
To truly know the value of fabrics, you have to remove the color.
You can do this numerous ways, but the simplest trick for me is to take a picture of fabric choices or my blocks on my design wall with my phone and change the picture to black and white (mono or noir). Colors and motifs can fool you. For us quilters, fabrics aren’t just fabrics. They evoke emotion (usually happiness). I used to fall in love with a fabric, or line of fabrics, and be determined to use it because of my emotional connection. Consequently, I’ve made some quilts that turned out okay, but had the potential to be brilliant.
When choosing fabrics for quilts, remember that values change depending one their surroundings.
That’s the tricky part! A quilter once said, “My Light looks too dark when I use that light of Medium.” Okay, that was me who said that, but it’s true! And, it can be tricky.
Light. Medium. Dark.
The fact that my neat little piles of lights, mediums, and darks can change their values, depending on what is around, them was a “V8” moment for me!
Let’s look at this dragonfly quilt for an example.
Lilly’s background is made of scrappy, light neutrals with a couple of colorful accent strips. The background is light when compared to the dragonfly focus fabric. The flowers at the top of the quilt are made from the reverse side of focus fabric. The flowers “read” as a medium value. Clearly the dark value of the dragonfly is what you notice first. The flowers are secondary. The various background fabrics catch your eye last and allow your eyes to linger on them.
When you are just working on your background, those strips of color can look quite bold and may seem too dark to be part of the background. But when looking at those same fabrics in black/white WITH the focus fabric laying across them, they all fall into the light category and they work!
Phoebee is made with both sides of one focus fabric on a scrappy background. Choosing fabrics for this quilt is how I first learned the nuances of value. Using both beautiful sides of fabric taught me that lesson.
Notice that the boldness of Phoebee’s focus fabric allowed for a variety of values in the eclectic background. Phoebee is clearly the “buzz” of this quilt!
Next, lets look at Belle, the butterfly quilt.
Again, the RIGHT side of the butterfly focus fabric has a dark enough value that it can “handle” a lot from any background fabrics, including the accent strips. However, the REVERSE of the flowers made from the same background fabric are medium to light in value. Some of those flowers might have been lost if the value of the background fabrics were too similar.
In conclusion, choosing fabrics for these quilts might be a little out-of-the-box for some quilters, because they call for mixing so many colors of background fabrics. But if you follow this guideline it’s easy: If the value is right and you like the fabric, use it. It’s freeing to combine lots of “styles” of fabrics, like miniature prints, batiks, grunge and more! I encourage you to combine a variety of fabrics in your quilts. Remember, it can be fun choosing fabrics for quilts, when you take the guess work out of it.
It’s the combination of background fabrics that make these quilts sing!