Don’t you LOVE hand work? It is so portable! Today I’m going to show you how I prepare my piecing for travel.
First, I lay out my design on the design wall.
Layout your design.
Next I pick up one row at a time starting with bottom, being careful to keep the shapes the way I’ll be sewing them.
Knot a long piece of quilting thread onto a needle and push up through the row of pieces from the bottom.
Come up from the bottom and back stitch at the end of the row.
Keep adding rows, backstitching as you go. You’ll have a long “string” of patches.
This is a WHOLE quilt top!
I backstitch at the end so the pieces won’t fall out. Now I’m ready to fold this string up in my block keeper and away I go. The really neat thing is because I was careful when I picked up the pieces, the first pieces will be the first row. I just stitch until I get to another back stitch and I know I’m done with that row.
Now isn’t that a great TIP!
Talking about tips, be sure to sign up for the NEW “Stitching with Cindy Blackberg” face book group. You can share your pictures of your current Cindy projects with everyone in the new closed group. A new contest is coming soon on this group page “Show us your Sewing Rooms!” (With a really neat prizes!)
I hope this year brings joy and peace to all of my friends and family!
Our Christmas decorations are out and waiting for the arrival of Santa. The red and green quilts are hung along with the wonderful things that remind me of my friends and family every year. The stockings that my sister, Gayle, made for us years ago, the cute snowman applique made by my sister, Doreen, and my sister Val’s cross stitch angels by my crèche. The swag I made from a kit from one of the fabulous knitting tours I took with Jean Moss.
On my “Santa” Christmas tree (an idea from quilting friend, Susan) are Santa ornaments I’ve been collecting from friends and family for years, including special ones made by family members long gone.
I guess you would say that Christmas evokes memories of times past and times to come. I wish you all the very best this Christmas as you celebrate with your friends and family.
Have a very Merry Christmas and a Joyous New Year!
Last time I showed how to MAKE bias binding and why I love it so much for the edge of a quilt. Today I’ll show you how I apply the binding to the edge of the quilt.
Many quilting teachers will sew the binding on and then trim the excess batting and backing. I like to cut it all off before applying the binding. It makes it easier to put under the presser foot of the machine and gives you a clean edge to line up the bias with a 1/4″ seam.
First, I put on a walking foot on my machine and move the needle to the far right. (On my walking foot this gives me a nice 1/4″ seam if I line up the raw edges of my quilt and binding with the right edge of the walking foot.)
Leave a tail (at least 2″) and line up the binding on the right edge of the quilt right sides together.
Sew in 1/4″ from the top of the quilt and from the edge of the quilt.
Sew the bias right sides together 1/4″ from the top and 1/4″ from the side. Sew all the way down the side and stop 1/4″ from the end.
Sew along the edge and end 1/4″ before the bottom.
Cut off the excess binding leaving a 2″ tail.
Flip up the tail and sew the next strip onto the next side by positioning it 1/4″ from the top.
Start sewing where I placed the pin.
Your binding should be free on both sides. (not caught in the stitching)
Binding should match at the corners.
After sewing the binding onto all 4 corners we are ready to miter the corners. Switch your machine foot to an open toe or regular foot. Move your needle back to the center.
For marking my corners I use a pencil and clear ruler with small markings.
You will need a pencil and clear ruler with 1/8″ markings.
Make a dot at the corner beginning of one of the bias strips. Then make another dot 1/4″ from the edge, holding the ruler completely perpendicular.
Hold the ruler perpendicular to the edge and make another dot 1/4″ from the edge.
Now place your ruler at a 45° angle making sure you have the same number of marks on the top and bottom. (To make sure your angle isn’t skewed.)
Line up the ruler with the same number of marks on the top and bottom of the dots.
Now trace the 45° with a pencil. This will be your stitching line.
After marking, pull up the bottom bias to match.
Holding the adjacent bias so that the tops match, sew ON the line, making sure you are only sewing bias, do not catch the quilt into the seam.
Sew from dot to dot, back tacking at the dots.
Do the same for the other 3 corners. Trim the excess binding about 1/8″.
Trim the binding to 1/8″.
Flip the binding to the wrong side and using a chop stick or other dull point, poke out the corner.
Poke out the corners to the back side of the quilt.
To finish the corners, turn under 1/4″ and pin.
Pin under the edge 1/4″.
It will look like this on the top.
Front view of the pinned corner.
Now turn your quilt to the back and sew the binding down with a whip stitch or invisible stitch by hand with matching quilting thread.
I must admit I LOVE sewing on the bindings. It gives me a chance to relax as watch the final step finish my lovely quilt!
Binding a quilt can be a daunting process or a simple one. I ALWAYS use BIAS binding when finishing my quilt. WHY? Because it will always lay flatter. It does take more fabric to make bias binding, but it will be worth it when your quilt is done.
Here is my method for making bias binding.
First I make a square of fabric and then fold it up into a triangle. The larger the square, more bias can be made. For small quilts, my rule of thumb is use a 27″ square. (3/4 yard) The fold is on the bottom in this illustration.
Lay your folded square on a rotary cutting board.
Next cut straight up from the bottom to the top point, laying your rotary ruler on the fold on the bottom.
Now you have 2 pieces.
I GENTLY put the left hand piece over the right, lining up the cut edges, so I can cut 2 strips at a time.
I cut my binding 1 1/8″ like my friend, Jo Morton.
Jo Morton cuts her binding 1 1/8″ for “single fold”. I’ve been making my binding like this since she told me about it several years ago and LOVE IT! It is smooth and durable. Continue cutting down your triangle until you have several strips cut. (The strips will get smaller lengthwise as you cut down the triangle.)
Here is an optional step, but it does help to make sewing your strips easier: (Point trimmers are sold in your local quilt shop.)
Using a “point trimmer” I cut off the excess.
I do have 2 bias strips I’m cutting at time. (So there are 4 thicknesses.)
When you are done, it will look like this…
Makes it easier to sew to the next piece.
Lay another strip on top right sides together as shown below.
Lay your strips right sides together.
Using a 1/4″ seam, sew the strips together. (I generally chain piece this part by taking the free end of the top strip, flipping it and taking the next strip and placing it on top and sewing.)
Sew with a 1/4″ seam.
I open the seams on the strip and press them flat.
Press open the seams.
Now you are ready to apply the bias to your finished quilt top. That is the next blog subject coming soon…
Do you want your quilt to hang straight when you finish? Do you have an upcoming quilt show and your quilt is just a tad wonky? Well, this blog is for YOU!
I use these steps EVERYTIME I make a quilt.
FIRST… I ALWAYS place the lengthwise grain of my backing fabric going from the TOP OF THE QUILT TO THE BOTTOM. Remember the lessons I taught on how important the grain line is to the piecing? Well, it is equally important to the BACK of the quilt. (It might be a little late for the quilt already finished, but try the rest of the blocking tips below to see if you can work out any wonkiness.)
The lengthwise grain has NO STRETCH!
If you have ever made curtains, you KNOW that the lengthwise grain needs to running from the top to the bottom or your curtains won’t look straight. The same principle applies to the backing.
Next, I do WASH my quilts when I finish quilting. I use the gentle cycle and quilt soap. (Exactly like I wash my fabrics before piecing.) I place the quilt in the dryer just for 5 minutes to fluff out the wrinkles.
Now I lay the quilt on a carpeted floor under a ceiling fan.
The quilt will be damp and pliable.
This is the best time to pull out the corners and pin if necessary. Use a square to make sure the quilt is drying square. If the quilt is really out of shape, you can spritz the quilt with spray starch to add a little sizing to it while it is still wet.
Square up all the corners and pin if necessary.
After the quilt dries, it will be perfectly square and ready to hang.
Hi Everyone! Even though it has been an Indian summer, I see fall colors right around the corner! I’ve already taken out my fall quilts and am ready to sit and sew. Last week’s trip to Canada with my knitting friends was wonderful, but now that I’m home my fingers are itching to get working on a new project.
The first thing I do is WASH my fabrics. I do wash all my fabrics to remove the excess sizing, making them easier to hand piece and hand quilt.
Use the GENTLE cycle.
I don’t use any harsh detergents. If I have quilt washing soap, I use it. I’ve also used Eucalan, a washing soap for wool and my hand knit garments. I do use warm water and rinse with cold on my delicate cycle of my washing machine.
Next I put the fabrics into the dryer just for a few minutes to let out some of the wrinkles. (Caution, DON’T LEAVE THEM IN AND WALK AWAY! Your fabrics will be a wrinkled mess. Ask me how I know that!)
Take them out and hang dry.
Remember these drying racks?
If you have access to an outdoor line, even better. I TRY to not let the fabrics dry completely, so I can press them while they are still damp. (You can see I hang several fat quarters right on top of each other, no need for a separate bar for each fabric.)
Now to press…
Love my Rowenta steam generator iron!
I press all my fabrics and fold them up to put into a basket until I’m ready to start stamping.
Okay, my fabric is ready, what shall I stamp today? 🙂
Those of you working on the mystery quilt have been asking about pressing the blocks you just put together. As a rule, I usually wait until I have the entire block completed before pressing. That way, most of the edges of the block are on the lengthwise grain or crosswise grain. The grain lines will hopefully keep the block from stretching.
Here is the back of my mystery block after pressing.
Back side of one of the mystery blocks.
Can you see I just pressed the seams where they logically wanted to go? Kind of around in a circle. Don’t be obsessive. If one seam wants to go in another direction, let it! 🙂 AND NO SQUARING IT UP, PLEASE! I know my block doesn’t seem square, but I’ll press it better after it is contained in the quilt with borders.
After I’ve pressed on the back side, I flip the block over to the front and give it a final press making sure I don’t have any creases.
Next question of course is “Do you use steam?” I have a steam generator iron I love and use steam for the final press. BUT… YOU NEED TO BE CAREFUL! I press, not iron the block. (The difference between pressing and ironing: Pressing is just placing the iron down on the surface and gently rolling it over the block. Ironing is placing the iron down and forcing the block forward as you move the iron.)
Here is the front side of the completed blocks after pressing:
Front side of the mystery blocks.
Now, only one more clue in November to put the blocks together and quilt them. The big ta da! My quilt is quilted and hanging in my living room right now. It is one of my very favorites. I hope your quilt will be one of your favorites, too!
PS I’ll be traveling to Canada next week so I won’t be able to send out orders as quickly as I normally do. Please be patient and I’ll mail them out as soon as possible.
I sometimes get questions how can my stamps be used in different quilt patterns. You know I love to use my stamps over and over in different patterns so you can get a lot of use out of each set. The most confusion is over diamond shapes.
Do you remember your 9th grade geometry class? (Beside the cute boy sitting beside you.) I do remember drafting different shapes, especially diamonds and triangles.
There are 2 basic diamonds used in quilting. The first is the familiar 45°, which I will blog about today. This shape is used in 8 pointed star designs. (45° x 8 = 360°) You need EIGHT of these to make a flat block.
I have 2 stamp sets that contain the familiar 45° diamond.
The first is the carpenter’s star stamp set. The stamps in this set will make a 4 3/4″ finished size 8 pointed star block. (Or 9 1/2″ if you put 4 of them together as shown in the pattern.)
Carpenter’s Star set of stamps will make a 4 3/4″ finished size 8 pointed star.
You can use this stamp set to make the pattern contained with the stamps:
Carpenter’s Star Quilt made with the Carpenter’s Star set of stamps.
You can use the SAME stamp set to make this pattern, “Wild Mountain Vine”.
Wild Mountain Vine pattern made with the Carpenter’s star set of stamps.
Using just the 45° diamond piece in the Carpenter’s Star set of stamps, you can make this pattern, “Lone Star Blossoms”.
“Lone Star Blossoms” pattern was made using the carpenter’s star stamp set diamond and the sunflower stamp set.
You can also use the Carpenter’s Star set of stamps to make the free pattern on my website for the “Tumbling Stars.” (Hint: The quilt in the foreground will be available soon as a free pattern, too. Made again with the Carpenter’s Star stamp set.)
“Tumbling Stars” free pattern available on the website was made with the carpenter’s star stamp set.
I recently made a smaller set of stamps called the “Lemoyne Star” stamp set. This set of stamps finish to a 3″ block. (The same shapes, but smaller!)
The Lemoyne Star stamp set will finish to a 3″ square.
Here is a picture of the blocks set on point using the Large Triangle to set the blocks.
The 3″ Lemoyne Star was made with the new 3″ Lemoyne Star stamp set.
By using the diamond and triangle in the Lemoyne Star Stamp set, you can also make the “Circling Swallows” pattern.
By using the pieces in the Lemoyne Star set you will get a 6 3/4″ finished size block.
This pattern is free on my website, too! (And YES, you can make this pattern with the Carpenter’s Star set of stamps. I haven’t made it myself, so I’m not sure what the pieces around it will measure.)
All of these quilts feature the 45° diamond. So, hopefully, you will find new uses for your sets of stamps. So dust them off and start stamping!
One of the unhappiest moments in a small business is when prices go up and I have to tell my customers. I try very hard to keep my prices down even when all of the supplies used to make my rubber stamps keep going up! I absorb as much of the cost as is feasible, but wood prices are going up again.
As you can imagine, the larger the wood, the larger the increase…
And with lots of larger pieces, such as the Mariner’s Compass, it is a hard decision to make…
So, reluctantly, I’ll be raising the prices on these 2 sets on October 1st. If you have been thinking about ordering these 2 sets, now is the time to purchase them.
BUT, the good news is that these are the ONLY sets that will be raised. I’m holding the line on the other stamps even though their prices have been raised slightly.
My stamps are made locally in the United States with real wood, not wood product.
I’m working on several new shapes and designs, too. They will be coming out later this year and into next year. I’ve been designing so many it is hard to keep up!