Saturday Quilting Bring and Share (252)

Welcome to Saturday Quilting Bring & Share. Bring along your projects(s) and enjoy sharing in some of the inspiration and conversations circulating through our Worldwide Quilting Community. Join in by visiting blogs via the links below and be sure to leave a comment or two 🙂

It’s been a bit of a strange week here with ‘stuff’ going on and the Bank Holidays making it totally impossible to work out which day of the week it might be! Anyho! I found myself doing a lot of sewing. The 2021 Rainbow Scrap Challenge took over my sewing room.

I started out with the dual aim of making the green March blocks before sorting through the strings box to find all the bright blues for the April blocks. Once I’d started sorting I couldn’t stop!

All the strings were pulled out of the box and sorted into colour groups. Then what? Well! Either squash them all back in the box… OR… Yep! make all the Scrap Challenge blocks NOW!

It took several days – don’t ask me which days! – several bobbins of thread and a lot of back and forth trips between my sewing machine and the ironing pressing station but all 80 blocks are now complete. I can only fit half on the design wall. The finished quilt will measure 64″ x 80″ in an 8 block x 10 block layout.

To make space for the Rainbow blocks on the design wall I had to switch my attention back to the squirrel quilt. The blocks have been hanging around on the wall for a couple of weeks. Rather than just removing them all, creating another WIP/UFO, I decided to ‘bite the bullet’ and get them stitched together into a quilt top.

On the whole piecing is the part of the quilt making process I particularly enjoy. However, I’m not so keen on sewing long rows of blocks together. The thought of all those intersecting seams to pin together before stitching and pressing those l-o-n-g seams tends to send me into a bit of a spin. Having looked at those blocks on the design wall for a couple of weeks I hatched a plan to take the long-seam-blues out of piecing a quilt top. You may well gasp in amazement when I share the following piecing tip with you – I mean how long have I been patchwork quilting without cottoning on to this simple idea? The PLAN: stitch the blocks together into sections rather than complete rows.

Ta da! Only having one long seam to stitch across the width of the quilt top is a game changer for me!

The ‘Squirrel Quilt’ – pieced using the section method!

I will be employing this method to stitch the Rainbow quilt top together too.

I’m sorry the list of links is so short – holiday week and pedal-to-the-metal sewing are to blame – this bares no reflection on the quality of blog posts published, it’s just indicative of the small amount of time I’ve spent reading:

Melva has launched the ‘Pieces of the Santa Fe Trail Sew Along‘. She is sharing excerpts from a book written by a Victorian ancestor who travelled the trail five times. I’m not sure I’ll be making the blocks but I’ll definitely enjoy reading the first hand accounts of a legendary time and place. Find the first instalment and block here.

Taking quality photos of quilts can be tricky. Shelly has some easy to apply tips to help us achieve photos that show our quilts at their best 🙂

Quilt Spot’ is a monthly feature on Melony’s blog site. She shares any quilts she’s spotted whilst watching TV shows and films. In March she watched ‘Witness’ a thriller set in an Amish community. It’s one of my favourite films but like Melony I’ve never paid attention to the quilts that feature in several scenes. I may have to persuade my boys it’s time we watched the film again. If I turn my attention away from Harrison Ford I might just spot the quilts!

Jan has been using Jelly Rolls to make table runners. They all look great with fresh Spring colours and dense machine quilting.

Joining Denise for the Put Your Foot Down link-up.

Happy Stitching!

Allison

 

Speedy Patchwork and a Pre-Wash Surprise!

Well! This was a bit of a surprise! To allow the fibres to shrink before cutting and piecing I pre-washed a piece of white cotton from IKEA I wasn’t expecting the colour to change! I mean it’s white, there’s no dye to bleed!

Left: Before washing and Right: After washing

My husband knows a thing or two about this and says its the OBA (Optical Brightening Agent) in the detergent and demonstrated it’s effect with a UV light 🙂

Left: Before washing and Right: After washing

I generally wash my quilting cottons before cutting and piecing. I know there are good arguments on both sides of the pre-wash vs. don’t wash debate. I just feel more comfortable knowing excess dye has been washed out of deep colours and the cotton fibres have shrunk before I start sewing. Of course there are exceptions to most rules and I’m willing to be pragmatic on this issue. Fabrics in packs of pre-cut strips and squares can’t be washed without fraying and becoming distorted. If I’m using pre-cut strips or squares I don’t wash the background fabrics I’ll be piecing with them – they can all shrink together when the finished quilt is washed.  And scrap quilts do end up being a mix of pre-washed fabrics and off-cuts from unwashed pre-cuts. So, in principle, I pre-wash but there are plenty of exceptions 😀

Back to sewing 🙂 I decided to take out the dark solid from the blocks I made over the weekend. I don’t think it was the dark colour value bothering me, it was much more that the chunk of solid colour in amongst the prints and lighter solids kept drawing my eye – becoming less a place to rest the eye and more of a distraction.

Looking at a B&W image of the completed quilt top I’m satisfied there is a fair range of value without the dark solid.

 

Having completed this quilt top my attention went straight back to the remaining fat quarters.

I decided on another simple block pattern and found a really helpful strip piecing technique for making the blocks in Allison Harris’ book, ‘Growing Up Modern’. It was easy to adapt her width-of-fabric instructions to my fat quarters and non-standard width IKEA cotton. I am enjoying giving my sewing machine a pedal-to-the-metal workout as we race through all the long seams together 🙂

Ready for some high-speed strip-piecing action!

I haven’t decided on a layout for this quilt but as there are only four prints I think it may be easier to keep them in an orderly fashion rather than try to make a ‘random’ distribution. Here are the blocks I’ve made so far:

Linking with Jennifer for Wednesday Wait Loss – a place to encourage one-another to keep going with our WIPs. Also linking with Susan for Midweek Makers – she’s found a lot of green quilts to get in the spirit of St Patrick’s Day. With all this speedy strip piecing it seems appropriate to link with Denise for Put your foot down Thursday 🙂

Lastly a heads up that this coming Saturday, 20th March, is International Quilting Day 🙂 Will you be doing anything special to mark the day?

Allison

Table Top Sewing Basket Tutorial

Hand sewing projects have the great advantage over machine sewing of generally being mobile activities. Even if ‘mobile’ only means moving from room to room or sofa to armchair within the home! Which is basically as mobile as sewing projects can be in current Covid restricted circumstances! Of course being mobile, even in this limited sense, does raise the need for some sort of container to carry and store sewing notions.

I had the perfect container hidden away on a shelf in my sewing room – a little fabric basket just the right size for the threads, needles, scissors and other bits and bobs I need for English Paper Piecing and applique projects. As well as being a useful container for carrying all the notions the basket also serves as a way to keep them all safely in one place – rather than thread spools rolling off the coffee table and my scissors getting lost between the sofa cushions!

Realising how useful the fabric basket has been to me over the past few weeks I decided I would make one as a gift for someone who is about to recommence home sewing after a long break. I’m really chuffed with the little basket and matching pincushion I made from a fat quarter and a few smaller scraps.

My word for 2021 is SHARE and in that spirit I thought I’d post a tutorial should you feel inspired to make a Table Top Sewing Basket 🙂 I certainly wouldn’t claim that this is an original idea. I first made a fabric basket back in 2014. I can’t remember the tutorial I followed. If  ‘make a fabric basket tutorial’ is typed into a browser the choice is overwhelming! Overtime I’ve adapted that first tutorial, introduced ideas from other basket tutorials and tried different combinations of materials. So this is a hi-bred of several tutorials and plenty of experience 🙂

To make a basket with a 4½” (11cm) square base that stands 4½” high you will need:

  • One Fat Quarter cut into: one (1) 5¾” x 20″ rectangle; two (2) 4¼” x 7″ rectangles
  • Contrast fabric: one (1) 1¾” x 20″ rectangle.
  • Lining: Two (2) 9½” x 7″ rectangles.
  • Medium weight iron-on interfacing (optional): one (1) 5″ x 19″ rectangle.
  • Wadding: one (1) 9″ x 22″ rectangle.

Step One – Preparing the Outside of the Basket

  • Using a ¼” seam, stitch the contrast fabric rectangle to a long edge of the 5¾” x 20″ rectangle. If either of your fabrics are directional be sure to orientate them correctly with the contrast fabric at the top of the basket! Press seam open.
  • Fuse the iron-on interfacing to the back of the pieced rectangle.
  • Lay the pieced rectangle face up on top of the wadding. Baste the two layers together. Try using masking tape to keep the wadding slightly stretched and in one place whilst lightly pinning the pieced rectangle in place.

  • I could write ‘quilt as desired’ and imagine the howls of frustration 😀 so instead I’ll just say that I generally choose to use a walking foot to stitch gentle wavy lines along the length of the piece. But if you are keen to practice free motion quilting stitches then a project this size is ideal! Keep the stitching lines about ½” – ¾” apart to help give the basket a bit of extra rigidity.
  • Once quilted use a rotary cutter to trim away the excess wadding.
  • Cut the quilted rectangle into two (2) 7½” x 9½” rectangles.

Step 2 – Making Boxed Corners

  • Place the two quilted rectangles right sides together. Use a ruler and pen to mark a 2¼” square in the lower left and right hand corners.

  • Line up the seams and pin. Stitch the two pieces together using ¼” seam. A walking foot is useful for getting through all the layers. Use strengthening back stitching at the start and end of each seam AND over the drawn lines.
  • Use scissors to cut out the marked 2¼” squares.
  • Fold one cut corner so the side and base seams are lying together.

  • Pin in place and sew along the opening using a ¼” seam, back stitch the start and end of the seam.

  • Repeat with the opposite opening.
  • Turn right sides out.

Step 3 – Make the Lining

  • Place the two Lining rectangles right sides together. Use a ruler and pen to mark a 2¼” square in the lower left and right hand corners.

  • Stitch the two pieces together using a 3/8″ seam. Leave a 2″ opening in the bottom seam. Use back stitching at the start and end of each seam AND over the drawn lines.
  • Use scissors to cut out the marked 2¼” squares.
  • Make boxed corners in the same way as for the Outer Basket.
  • Finger press the seams open and leave the lining wrong side out.

Step 4 – Make the Tab Handles

  • Place a 4¼” x 7″ rectangle wrong side up on an ironing board. Fold the shorter sides to the centre. Press to crease the folds. Fold along the centre line to make a 1¾” x 4¼” rectangle. Press the folds.

  • Top stitch close to both long edges of the rectangle.

  • Repeat with the second 4¼” x 7″ rectangle.

Step 5 – Constructing the basket

  • Place the Outer Basket inside the Lining, right sides facing with the side seams against each other.
  • Fold a Tab Handle in half widthways and slip it between the Outer Basket and Lining layers so it is centred on the side seams. Allow the raw edges of the Tab Handle to protrude ¼” above the rim of the basket. Pin securely in place.

  • Repeat with the second Tab Handle on the opposite side of the Basket.
  • Pin the Lining and Outer Basket together all around the rim. (This might be a bit of a tight squeeze as the Lining is shorter than the Outer Basket).
  • Stitch a ¼” seam inside the rim – a walking foot is useful for stitching through all the layers.

  • Use the gap in the bottom seam of the Lining to turn the basket right sides out.
  • Hand or machine stitch closed the gap in the bottom seam of the Lining.
  • Roll and pin/clip the rim of the basket so the seam is uppermost.

  • Top Stitch ¼” below the rim to hold the layers in place and create a neat edge.

I hope you enjoy making, using and/or gifting a Table-Top Sewing Basket. Any questions? Pop them in the Comments box and I’ll do my best to help.

One last tip: Best not to use a bag wadding such as Bosal In-R-Form for a small basket like this one. I did once and turning the bag right side out was very difficult – a bit of a Call the Midwife situation if you know what I mean? :-O

Linking with Alycia for Finished or Not Friday and with Denise for her Put Your Foot Down linky.

Allison