Thursday, May 17, 2012

Baby Ella's Quilt

A very special little baby girl, Ella, was recently brought into this world, parented by a lovely young lady and her remarkable husband. I had the honor of knowing Ella's grandmother through my church family. She was a wonderful woman - kind, generous, and brilliant in the ways of God. I loved to listen to her talk about Scripture and the Bible. She radiated love and made everyone in her presence feel special.  I wish I had known her better.

God took this amazing woman home just months before her granddaughter was born. I know she is smiling up in Heaven, because her daughter has brought an angel into this world. And I hope as Ella grows up she will have this quilt to wrap herself up in - a hug from me.

I made Ella's quilt before I really thought about starting the Blog, so there are no real directions on how to make it or photos of the process. It is a Rag Quilt made from flannel and bound with a satin binding.

I did snap a photo of the pieces cut, before I put them together.

 And this is Ella, on the finished quilt. Isn't she an angel?

God Bless you Baby Ella, and your mommy and your daddy! You are indeed a very special little girl.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Little Monkey Baby Quilt

I've procrastinated long enough. It's time to see if I can put the directions for the Little Monkey Baby Quilt into a Blog in some reasonably understandable fashion.  I'm just going to dive right in here, so if I seem to be gasping for air, throw me a rope!

This is a corner of the Little Monkey Baby Quilt. Why did I pick that name? Well, our quilt club did a fabric exchange - 3" strips, width of fabric, in juvenile or children's patterns. I have put together 3 quilts using the strips (I'll post photos in another blog) and this will be the 4th. I had only the monkey strips left from all the many different ones I received. They were white and just didn't seem to go with all the other brightly colored strips, so I put them aside. I purchased a scrap bag while on a recent trip to Lancaster with hubby and the fabrics in it just seemed perfect for the little monkeys.  OK, enough rambling. Let's see how it went together.

 I started with 10 3" strips. (Now if you buy a Jelly Roll to try this, remember that those strips are 2 1/2" wide. It can certainly be done, but the measurements will be a little different and the quilt will be smaller unless you add blocks.)

Sew 2 strips, width of fabric,  right sides together and press the seam toward the darker fabric.

Cut your long 2 fabric strips into squares. If you measure the width of the strip, it's 5 1/2" wide, so your squares will be a 5 1/2" square. Depending on the actual length of the strips and accounting for cutting off the selvages, you should get about 7 squares from each 2 strip set.

 Match 2 of your squares right sides together with your seams horizontal, making sure the pressed seams go opposite each other. (One should point up and one should point down.)

Pin together on opposite corners and mark the square using a very handy 1/4" ruler. Place the ruler with the center line lining up with each corner. Draw lines along both sides of the ruler. These will be your sewing lines.

Yes, I know this photo is on it's side. (I told you I was new to this Blog thing.) I can't figure out how to rotate it, so let's just pretend I did it this way on purpose. I chain stitched along the marked lines on each block.

 Now the magic happens. You cut between the stitched lines...

 and take the resulting triangles to the ironing board.

When you press them open, this is the result. Two neat looking squares with little half square triangles imbedded in opposite corners. Take the blocks back to your cutting mat and square them up to 5" blocks.

Lay out your blocks in a pleasing pattern. This little baby quilt is 5 blocks down and 6 blocks across. I didn't use all the blocks and now realize that the next time I document the making of a quilt I need to be much more conscious of just how much fabric the actual quilt will take.
Sew the blocks together either in rows or by making 4 block squares (with an additional row), using a 1/4" seam allowance. Add a border, your choice in width. This one was 3" wide.

Make your quilt sandwich using a coordinating backing fabric and batting. I generally use Warm and Natural. I pinned the three layers together and thought about how to quilt the layers.

 I decided to practice my stippling on the quilt, using white thread in the body.  I stitched once around the border with a straight stitch. Aren't the little monkeys cute?

Bind your finished quilt using 2 1/2" wide binding fabric, folded in half and sewn on with a 1/4" seam. I used scraps of some of the fabrics   in the quilt body to make the binding. As a finishing touch, I used a decorative stitch from my sewing machine in the border. It's kind of hard to see here, but I used a variegated purple thread once around the border. (If you go back to the very first photo you can see the decorative stitching better.)

There you have it. Directions for the Little Monkey Baby Quilt. If you decide to try to make it and have any problems with my instructions, please let me know. Like I said, I'm new to this Blog stuff.

Friday, May 4, 2012

I start here

Why Blog and why now? I'm not really sure. It's not like I'm sitting around with lots of free time on my hands. I spend a good deal of my days babysitting my grandson, keeping student account financial records for a high school marching band, looking after the busy schedule of a 16 year old, holding an officer position in a quilt club, keeping the household running, and sewing/quilting every extra minute I get.

All I can say is I suddenly seem to have a need to keep a better record of the quilts I make, especially the ones I give away. (The shoe box with photos just isn't cutting it anymore - no pun intended.)

My latest quilt, a little baby quilt, was an experiment that I documented with photos and directions so I could remember how I made it. It seemed like a good idea - and it was a lot of fun.  (Being a photojournalist for 8 years before retiring 2 years ago makes me extremely fond of my digital camera. But that's another Blog for another day.)

One of the ladies in the quilt club I belong to (the Piece & Happiness Quilt Club) asked me if I was going to post the directions for my little baby quilt after our Show & Tell.  I guess that's when the Blog seed was planted.

Now a disclaimer - although I have a personal Facebook page and created one for the Piece & Happiness Quilt Club,  I'm NEW to this whole Blog thing. Please bare with me as I try to figure out how to navigate these new waters.

I'll post a photo of the little baby quilt, just so you don't think I'm a phoney. But since it's already after midnight, I think I'll wait to try to figure out how to post the directions. There. I've started the Blog. :o)