Table Runner

My foyer table needed a new runner.

As an aside, I recently bought a house so be prepared for a large number of new posts as I fill it with my style.

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The planning stage of my table runner:

  • 5 quilt squares
  • extra fabric for the trim
  • know your dimensions!

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  1. Cut the fabric into 2-1/2 inch squares. There is n picture of this so here is a picture of one of my helpers:

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2. Line up the fabric right sides together but offset by a predetermined distance. I used 1-1/8 inch. This will give it the horizontal effect. Make sure each strip is off by the same amount.

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3. Sew the strips together. Ensure you keep a standard seam with. I used 1/4 inch.

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4. Keep sewing! You will have one long  . . . .long fabric piece.

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5. Iron so that all the seams lay in the same direction.

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6. Cut the fabric piece in half.

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7. Lay the right sides together and fold in half. Use the folded crease as a way to keep your fabric piece square. Line the crease along a line on your cutting board and then cut off the edges perpendicularly.

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8. You may have to square up the top edge again when you are done to ensure a nice rectangle.

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9. Cut batting to suit.

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10. Not shown: sew with the fabric pieces right sides together and batting on one side. Leave a gap in the seam so that you can flip the piece inside out.

11. Flatten the piece and then iron the edges flat.

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12. Create quilting lines: I did one seam along each white piece front and back. It turned out very nice.

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You can see the front and back here with the fabric folded.

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13. Cut your trim fabric in 3 inch wide lengths.

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14. Iron trim fabric in half.

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15. Sew the trim fabric to the edge of the fabric piece. The open edge of the trim should be in line with the outside edge of the piece. I did the long edges first.

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16. Before doing the trim on the short edges finish the long edges by folding the trim over the fabric piece and sewing down the side again.

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17. Next sew the trim on the short edge as done in step 15. Leave 2-3 inches on each side as extra. Also, start sewing just inside the trim for the long edges.

18. Now let’s set up our corners. Cut the fabric at an angle as shown below.

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Fold as shown:

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Flip the fabric piece.

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Fold over the long edge as shown:

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Fold over the short edge as shown:

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Pin your edges down and then do the final run along the short edge.

19. Now cut your thread and dab each end with some fray check.

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Clearly I was really making a cat blanket:

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Rand, the Dragon Reborn, thinks the new blanket is for him . . . .

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All done!

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On the table clutter free:

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The finished product looks AWESOME!

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Wedding Quilt

 

The plan:

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This quilt was planned for a wedding this past August. They both love Game of Thrones and the Elder Scrolls so I went with a medieval theme. The top right is the groom’s crest and bottom left is the bride’s crest. These field is split by a row of purple (a royal color) and wedding rings encircle the center.

Shopping!!!

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First I made the bride’s crest using my typical square patterns. The stars and half moon will be sewn on later.

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After these are laid out on the sewing room floor, I have to gather them up and label them to be stored for later.

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The same was done to the groom’s crest.

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The rings were a special problem. Here is how I did them. First sew two squares together diagonally, then cut the excess. For the purple squares, I just ironed them in half to get a good line.

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Then I took one of the “excess fabric” triangles that I just cut off and placed it on the gold side. I folded the fabric in half and ironed a line.

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I then flipped the free triangle and put a seam on the far side of the line.

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Iron it! Then line all the squares out. I had to do it twice for both rings, the diamond was sew on later.

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One side all sewn together ready for it’s accents.

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The half moon.

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The stars

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The other side all sewn together.

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The finished product on the recipient’s bed!

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Fabric Coasters

I’ve been wanting to make coasters for some time now since the wooden coasters I got in Ecuador are falling apart.  You may think: “Can’t you just sew two pieces of fabric together and call it a day?” Well, no because then you still have condensation seepage through the fabric or heat transfer from a hot cup. I can do better than that.

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First I started with some 4 by 4 squares I had left over from various quilts or other projects. I had a few other small scraps of fabric that I cut into 4 by 4 squares. The fabric color choice was to have a set of multi colored coasters to use while gaming; each person in our group has their own game colors they use everytime. The colors are typically red, yellow, orange, blue, green, purple, and black depending on the game. I didn’t have any black scraps ready so I used dark blue. My typical color is blue which is prevalent in every game, Kyle is always orange but will settle for yellow. The coasters will prevent our game pieces or cards from getting wet when we have drinks while we game! The owls are just cute extra fabric I wanted to use up.

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Next I needed some insulation. I used left over fabric batting. Remember – Never throw anything out! These were small and oddly shaped pieces that I was able to cut into 4 by 4 squares.

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Batting still doesn’t account for the condensation issue. I need plastic! I’ve made these before with painters plastic and I prefer to use that. However my stash was out and right now I’m not buying new supplies unless needed. Instead I can upcycle some plastic bags!

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I tried my rotary cutter first and it worked! Shown below are the bags cut into 4 by 4 inch squares.

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Time to make sandwiches! Put the two fabric squares right sides together. Then lay a plastic square, insulation square, then plastic square on top and pin.

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Next sew the square around leaving a gap along one edge for flipping. Then cut off the extra trimmings and thread.

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Next flip your squares so that the fabric is on the outside.

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Pin the mouth shut.

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Sew around the outside edge. (For a wedding present I made some for a friend and I added a 2-inch square seam and it really popped. I’ve also done some with a spiral square seam pattern and that also looks really good. I imagine you can do all sorts of seam patterns to add extra zest to the coasters and to make them lie flatter.)

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Finally a finished product! The coasters work on hot and cold beverages.

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Note: Since there is plastic inside, do not use these as mini oven mitts. They are machine washable, but I’d let them air dry.

More Babies!

I’m at the age where all of my friends are making BABIES!!!! I made another quilt and a second set of hats.

The design is unisex because it was still too early to know the sex, but I have too many project to wait. I’ve had these two color schemes sitting around for just the right project and I think it fits the couple’s style very well. I didn’t except to use the color schemes together but there is no clashing as each is on a different side of the quit.

To finish the quilts I used the tying method with matching colors on the plain pattern side.  I hid the stitches on the gold side that they wouldn’t clash.

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As always Blue was a good boy to model the hats. (He got a treat afterwards.) The first was orange/blue reverse and it was sent along with the quilt. I used the ‘S’ size so the baby will have to wait until next summer to use it. If he/she is anything like the parents the hat will be welcomed for sun protection.

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The second hat is below. I sent this to another friend whose child is under one just because I hadn’t sent her anything in a while. I love to do nice things for people unexpectantly.

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Please ignore my messy sewing room.

Winnie the Poo Baby Quilt

My best friend from college is having a baby! As soon as I heard the news my next question was “What is the theme of the nursery?” and she answered with yellow, green, and Winnie the Poo. This quilt was made back in the fall and finally shipped in December. I started planning as soon as I could.

One of my favorite Winnie the Poo stories is the ‘Little Black Rain Cloud’ episode where Poo pretends to be a rain cloud in order to steal some honey from a tree.  The basic concept is a semi-pixelated tree with a cross stitch Winnie. The second image below shows the type of squares I will need. When picking out fabric I found the most wonderful Winnie the Poo print of the little black raincloud episode, the main colors were yellow and gray. Instead of having a brown tree I decided to match the fabric and found the right shade of gray.

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A few of the images below show how I made the triangular blocks.

  1. Place the two colors right side together and fold in half point to point.
  2. Iron to make a sewing guide.
  3. Sew just to one side of the crease.
  4. Cut about 1/4 from the seam on the opposite side of the crease.
  5. Iron flat.

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To make the other squares the process is similar; iron the fabric to create guides and sew to the opposite side of the crease. Then, cut off excess fabric and iron flat.

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A few different blocks are shown below. A lot more planning went into the squares than usual as I wanted all the Winnie the Poo fabric to lay the same way, upright in reference to the tree.

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After all the squares were made it was time to layout the design and see where I made mistakes! Once again, all the Winnie the Poo fabric was to lay upright. The main issue I found was that I didn’t cut enough solid blocks of green, gray and white. I missed about 3-7 blocks of each color. This is an easy fix as all I had to do was cut more.

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Here are some images of the quilt top laid out. I think these photos do a great job of illustrating the small size of my workroom.

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What is missing? Winnie the Poo!  I choose where I wanted Winnie to be placed which was over three vertical squares. The squares were sewn together which left me with the hard part, the cross stitch.

1. I found the image on the internet and printed it out. I then traced over all the solid lines on a separate paper.

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2. I traced over my original with a dark permanent marker so that the lines would be visible.

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3. In order to keep the cross-stitch bold and bright, I affixes a solid white piece of fabric behind the three verticle squares. This was to stiffen up the fabric and add a white background so that when cross stitching I had more meat to hold onto.

Now, how do I get this image onto fabric?

4. Initially I held the image behind the fabric and then tried to hold it up to the window to be able to trace. But I’m smarter than that. I have lights! The first image shows the headlamp on my leg so I could trace the image onto the fabric. The second image shows what I was able to see using this method. The light had to be moved around a few times. The third image shows the tracing complete.

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Then begins the arduous journey that is cross stitch.

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Back to the sewing! I always sew columns first. Here they are completed and laid out in order:

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Half way done and then complete!

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Almost done . . . . The front is laid on the batting which is laid on the back. I used the Winnie the Poo print on the back.  Since this was a baby quilt I used 3 layers of batting. Then pin it everywhere!

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Blue is helping me cut the binding. I decided to go with gray across the top and bottom since most of those blocks were green and green down the sides since the gray trunk ran down the middle of the quilt. It turned out to provide great contrast. Iron the binding!

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Always make sure to have wine in hand when pinning, it makes the process go smoother. Here, I’m having a Chardonnay as it was still quite warm outside.

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Me with the final product! I really like how it turned out. This is easily my best quilt to date and the one of which I’m most proud. The soon-to-be parents LOVED the quilt when it arrived and said “we might share it with the baby too.”

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Place mats, table runner, and hot pads

My friend is getting married and what is better to give a newly married couple than kitchen items? The idea was to make non traditional place mats that are his/hers reversible. After a bit of information gathering I found that her favorite color is purple and that he prefers marvel to DC.  So first I do the planning! (Also, this is my 50th post! Big step.)

1. His: I got quite a few designs, but none of them looked good enough, I just couldn’t figure out what to do. Hopefully you can see Thor’s hammer, a pow symbol, a shield and some others. Instead, I started on what I knew I wanted to do for her, which was butterflies. I went with the easiest design in the center bottom.

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There are three colors for both sides. His: marvel, purple, yellow. Hers: white flowers, sparkly purple and gold dragonflies.

2. First you get the fabric and you cut it, you cut it! 2-1/2 inch squares make 2-inch squares when you have a 1/4 inch seam.

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3. I made all of the triangle blocks first. Since there were 3 colors there would be 6 different ways to organize the colors into butterflies. I outlined them below and it follows: body, wings, background.  There are 10 spaces that need triangle blocks on each placemat, so that’s 20 of each dual-color combination.

  • Yellow, Purple, White
  • Yellow, White, Purple
  • Purple, Yellow, White
  • Purple, White, Yellow
  • White, Purple, Yellow
  • White, Yellow, Purple

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4. Sew! There are better ways to make triangle blocks, ways that save a lot of fabric. But I’m lazy so I aligned the squares face together, then folded the squares corner to corner to create a triangle. I then ironed to make a sewing guide line. Finally I laid a seam just to one side of the line, it doesn’t matter which side as long as later you cut off the excess fabric on that same side beyond the seam.

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5. Cut and iron. Cut on the same side of the fold as your seam about 1/4 inch from the seam and then iron flat.

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6. To make the 1/2 triangle blocks. I needed 4 of each dual-color combination. I also needed 2 each of 1/2-1/2 blocks

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7. Lay it out: All the blocks are cut, ironed and ready to go.  It is time to lay out the butterflies. The first one I laid out is actually incorrect, the yellow center should be down by one block. Luckily I noticed this before sewing. I did all my layouts at once separating each block with tissue paper.

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8. Sew the blocks together. I sew all the columns first and then I sew those together. You can do rows first, it shouldn’t matter.

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9. Time to decide what to do on the reverse. The butterflies ended up being approx. 12 by 17. So instead of doing a fancy design I decided to keep it simple so you can see as much of the themed fabric as possibly. Below is the plan, and remember to add 1/4 inch on each side for seams.

10. Cut the fabric! I decided to do 3 with purple on top and yellow on the sides and three the opposite way.

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11. Sew them together! Here is an example of each style.

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12. Then I laid pairs of butterfly and marvel together with a layer of batting.  Sew together leaving a 2-3 inch gap from end of seam to beginning of seam to be able to reverse the place mat to right-side out.

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13. Reverse and Iron each place mat.

14. Pin the place mats together and quilt the pieces. I decided to go with a seam around the outside edge, a seam one block in (on the butterfly side) and a third seam the next block in (on butterfly side). After consulting with my boyfriend I decided to use the thread of the minor color (i.e. the color of the body) to do these seams, it offered a great contrast. I used purple thread on the marvel side throughout. The finished results are below.

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15. The table runner. I am not going to break this down as it is the same process as above but with a different design. I went with diagonal lines on the ‘her’ side and solid panels on the ‘his’ side.

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16. I then added a border to each to ensure that the sides would match up. I did a bit of a miscalculation on the width so the diagonal lines were wider than the panels meaning I needed a wider border on the marvel side.

17. Pin right sides together with a layer of batting and sew. Leave a gap so you can invert! Then invert and iron flat.

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18. Pin it.

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19. Quit it. In the image below you can see the different colors on the outside seam. It is approx. 1/4 inch from the edge.

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20. I did diagonal lines along the ‘hers’ side which gave a good effect on the reverse. The finished products are below.

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21. All the finished products together:

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22. Finally With some left over squares (from the diagonal lines on the table runner) I made a few hot pads. they aren’t very big but they will work under pots, pans, and hot plates

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Lessons and Mistakes: Making two different designs that should match up, is HARD to match up. I ended up cutting corners or stretching fabric so that everything would work. In addition, when quilting the fabric a seam on one side might look fine, but it would be crooked on the other side due to the mis-match.  I really wish I could have make a more intricate design on the marvel side, but by the time I was done the butterflies, I didn’t want to do much more. I’m really happy with the end result, but maybe next time I will avoid dual design items.

Dog Baby Blanket: How to Plan a Pixel Quilt

The main type of quilt that I’ve been doing is the pixelated design. You can see my first one here: https://ormecreate.wordpress.com/2014/06/24/first-niece-the-play-quilt-baby-shower-post-2/ which was for my niece. I did another for my best friend and I will post it soon. The one below is for another friend who is about to pop!  They decided not to find out the sex of their baby so I needed to make a gender neutral blanket. I found this fabric square pack and thought it would be perfect.  Another factor is that I cannot begin to imagine their room design colors because we’re not that close, so I will make a smaller blanket for playtime or other uses.

But what to design?

I’ll take you through my design process.

1. Set out the squares and think. The batman symbol you see started if for a wedding quilt for another set of friends, I have a completed design on another paper. I use graphing paper as my grid. You can print some off here: http://www.printfreegraphpaper.com/ or buy in packs at the store. My boyfriend and I both have enough laying around because we’re young engineers and still have some left from college.

Generally I start with a design first, and then go buy fabric, however with fabric in hand I’ll do the reverse.

I do not do fully pixelated designs, I have 7 different block options that I use. To keep it simple I stick to these 7 so that I do not have anything to complex. I had a few extra block options when I made my niece’s quilt, but since then I use the KISS principle.

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2. Sketch. I decided to keep the dog theme and laid out three designs. I liked the dog the best but he was too large. If I am doing 4 by 4 squares from approx. 18 by 22 inch quilt square then I can only do 20 blocks total of a given pattern/color. Any one color must be less than 20 blocks.

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3. I drew a smaller dog and it should work.

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4. Then plan your colors!

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5. Time to cut the 4by4 inch squares.

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6. Layout the design on the floor/table before sewing to ensure you designed correctly and do not mess up when sewing. All blocks are facing the same directions unlike my baby play-quilts: https://ormecreate.wordpress.com/2015/02/04/simple-baby-play-quilts/  In addition, the eyes were sewn on the blocks before they were added to the layout, to sew the eyes on I used a narrow zigzag stitch over the exposed edge of the fabric.

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7. Sew! I generally sew columns first and then sew those together. You can do rows first, it shouldn’t matter.  See how much it shrinks from the layout once you have seam allowances?

This is an important consideration in the design. If I have 4 inch squares with 1/4 inch seams then I really have 3.5 inch squares.  The total finished quilt will be 6 by 9 squares or a 21 by 31 inch quilt. Pretty small.

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8. Iron all the time. After you sew a column, iron, after you make a square, iron. Ironing keeps every thing flat and allows for less screw ups as you’re sewing it together.

9. Make Mistakes! Can you see my mistake below?

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The bottom of the cheeks should be a diagonal square with the orange fabric and the background fabric. I decided not to correct it.

10. Sew the quilt together with the back and front facing each other and the batting attached to one side. Leave 4-5 inches open so you can turn it right side out.

11. Then sew a border around the outside of the quilt, giving approx. 1/4 seam.

Shown below is not my own mistake but my sewing machine.  I got my sewing machine from my mother’s old job. She used to repair sewing machines and this one was left for 8 years without being picked up.  Her boss wanted to get rid of a number of sewing machines that had been left so my mother donated a bunch to the girl scouts and gave me and a sister our own!

The issue below happens when you don’t have enough tension. Either the thread will slip out of the bobbin or it will slip out of the eye hook. Sometimes I just adjust the tension a little and it will go away. Other times there is no apparent cause and I will walk away, come back and rethread the machine and then it’s fine. I guess it just got tired. My machine is quite old.

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12. Quilt!  The finished product is shown below. I wanted to do another tie quilt, bit I thought that instead I would sew around the edge of the dog. I like the affect it has on the reverse side. The little dots you see is my thread sealer that I use on the ends of all my exposed seams; it dries clear.

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Lessons: As I said before generally I make the design then buy the fabric. As you can see above the dog ears blend into the background fabric, these are things you have to watch for and figure out before creating your design.

Simple Baby Play Quilts

When I was younger my sisters and I all had a 3 by 3 ft quilt that we would use to play with baby dolls, have tea parties on and any number of other uses. I recently got some baby fabric on sale and with all the people I know with young children I wanted to make a few blankets so that I will always be prepared for baby showers and birthdays.

1. Cut 4 by 4 inch squares, the fabric are little bears and a farm pattern, I matched them up with other scrap fabric I had bought on sale.

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2. Sew into 2 by 2 blocks. Either make all the fabric face the same orientation or ensure it’s semi random. All matching looks great, and all of them misaligned looks cute, but if most of them were one way and only a few were misaligned it would look like poor workmanship.

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3. Sew in 2-1/2 inch strips between the squares.

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4. Sew the 3 columns together again separated by 2-1/2 inch wide strips.

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5. Sew front and back sides facing together with batting. Leave a 4-5 inch gap in the seam so you can turn the blanket out the right way.

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6. Sew around the outside edge to give a border.

7. Make mistakes! In order to reverse the blanket you have to leave an unsewn slip, this would have been sewn together with the border.  However while I was sewing the border part of my unsewn edge slipped out! So I had to take out the stitching and sew again, but more carefully.

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8. Quilt. Instead of making this a tie quilt (like ours were growing up), I decided to sew little squares into the intersecting lines. Since the 2 by 2 squares are a bit misaligned the sewn in squares weren’t perfect, but I think it serves just fine for a blanket that is sure to see a lot of wear and tear.

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You may be able to see in the picture above, my dog Blue is waiting for me to hide his toy. I make him hide in our bedroom and then I go hide his toy in the house and he will find it. Provides mental stimulation and keeps him active during these cold winter months.