Thursday, 22 November 2012

How Not to Make a Quilt

Today's lesson is in how not to make a quilt.

Many months ago I bought a couple of Kaffe Fassett jelly rolls - because they were so beautiful (I'm a Kaffe fan from his knitting days) and thinking maybe I'd make some cushions or small projects.  I admired them when they arrived (a set of greens, and a set of neutrals)(Kaffe Fassett neutral - so still pretty colourful!) and then put them away... where they sat until the morning my new sewing machine arrived.

While looking for fabric to 'test the machine out' I remembered the jelly rolls and started making what I vaguely recalled was a log cabin square.  It was fun...and before I knew it I had 9 squares...and then 16...and finally 20 haphazard log cabin squares.

Clearly something had to be done with them and so it seemed I was making a quilt!

I have done some small quilting projects in the past - nothing this large but I felt up to the challenge (and I had 20 squares I had to do something with!).

My first thought was just to stitch the squares together but the haphazard way I'd pieced the strips together (before I realised I was making a quilt) meant that wouldn't work. (Or at least not in a pleasing way - the seams would NEVER line up.)

Adding a strip of fabric between the squares seemed the only option so I set about cutting those (I'd invested in a rotary cutter, mat and ruler to help out) and stitching all of the pieces together.

At each stage of this project I bulldozed my way through - and then did some research and discovered how it SHOULD have been done.  I have no idea why - particularly as there is so much great information a quick search and click away.

But you know, despite no planning and my 'give it a go' approach, when I finished stitching the binding on Monday I was in love with the quilt!  I wouldn't let a real quilter within 5 feet of it - but I think it's great.  I love the colours and it's perfect for curling up on the sofa with a cup of tea and a good book.

I do think I need to make another one now -- but with a bit more planning and a LOT more research into the  best techniques.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Cutting and Sewing up a Storm

Discovering how easy it is to cut fabric I've been cutting anything I can get my hands on!  I was particularly pleased to discover that I could cut felt - as the general feeling seemed to be that felt wouldn't work.

But quality wool felt, with Heat n Bond on the back cuts like a dream!  Hurrah.

My biggest recommendation is to make sure your blade is sharp (I now keep my fabric blade separate from my paper blade, it's marked with a Sharpie pen so I can identify it easily.) and that your mat is sticky.

Also, I've found the world seems split on whether or not the Heat n Bond backing sheet should be removed before the fabric/felt is put on the mat - and I fall firmly in the 'remove it' camp.  It helps the fabric stick to the mat and (for me) results in a cleaner cut.

The banners are some basic tag shapes - I removed the holes using the 'hide contour' feature in CCR.  I used a simple label shape (might have been from Craft Room Basics)(but any would do), and the letters are the shadow from Cricut Alphabet.

The fabrics are all Tilda fabrics - a beautiful range of read, white and green patterns.

To give a finished look to the banners, I actually applied the Heat n Bond to the stripey fabric, ironed that on to some red backing fabric BEFORE CUTTING.  I decided that cutting the pieces separately would waste Heat n Bond (and time).  That did make it harder for the fabric to stick to the mat so I needed to use my stickiest mat for these shapes.  It worked alright for the basic tag shape but I'm not convinced the same technique would work too well with complicated cutting.

Would love to stay and chat but I've got more fabric to cut!!!!