Tuesday, January 30, 2018

MEOW: a Candy Cat Quilt Along Free Pattern/Tutorial

Hello, again! 
As promised, I am back to post my free tutorial for MEOW, a simple patchwork pattern to accompany the Candy Cats from Unicorn Harts. In case you missed it, I am hosting a free Instagram based Quilt Along. Click here all the important information and get ready to join us in making a whole litterful of kitties! There is no sign up required, just jump in and have fun.

To make MEOW, you will need:
-Large scraps of a background fabric and four different coordinating fabrics. 
**I suppose you could  make them all the same, but it might be hard to read, unless you put a background strip in between each letter. Something to consider when choosing your fabrics, right?**
-fabric pen
**although, the pen marks won't be seen so you could use a regular ol' ball point, like me**
-all the usual machine sewing accoutrements

Now, let's get started...

For the M, cut the following from M fabric
-TWO 2 1/2"x9 1/2"
-ONE 5 1/2"x2 1/2"
-FOUR 1 7/8"x1 7/8"
You will need the following from Background fabric:
-ONE 2 1/2" square
-ONE 3 1/4" square

For the E, cut the following from E fabric:
-ONE 2 1/2"x9 1/2"
-ONE 3 1/2"x2 1/2"
-TWO 4 1/2"x2 1/2"
You will need the following from Background fabric:
-TWO 1 1/2"x4 1/2"
-ONE 3 1/2"x 2 1/2"

For the O, cut the following from O fabric:
-FOUR 2 1/2"x2 1/2"
-TWO 2 1/2"x3 1/2"
-TWO 2 1/2"x5 1/2"
You will need the following from Background fabric:
-FOUR 2 1/2"squares
-ONE 2 1/2"x 3 1/2"

For the W, cut the following from W fabric:
-TWO 2 1/2"x9 1/2"
-ONE 2 1/2"x5 1/2"
-FOUR 1 7/8"x 1 7/8"
You will need the following from Background fabric:
-ONE 2 1/2" square
-TWO 1 1/2" squares
-ONE 3 1/4" square

Label your pieces to make it easier to put it all together, if you like. 
I didn't do this, but I do reccomend it!

On the back of the letter M 1 7/8" squares, draw a diagonal line from corner to corner on all four pieces:

To make the flying geese, with right sides together, lay two 1 7/8" squares on top of the 3 1/4" square. 
Sew a scant 1/4" seam on both sides of the line.

Using a rotary cutter, cut on the line you drew:

Press the triangles out, being careful not to stretch the fabric:

Place another square in the corner as shown, sew a scant 1/4" seam on both sides of the line:

 Using your rotary cutter and acrylic ruler, cut along the drawn line and press:

Arrange the M pieces as shown; stitch using a scant 1/4" seam to sew the flying geese to the 5 1/2"x 2 1/2" strip. Press the seam toward the strip for a flatter block. Sew the 2 1/2" square to the bottom of the center strip. Once the center strip is sewn, stitch the 2 1/2"x9 1/2" strip to either side. Press seam away from center strip:

For the letter E, arrange pieces as shown:

Stitch the 1 1/2"x 4 1/2" background pieces to the 2 1/2"x 4 1/2" E pieces, then stitch the 2 1/2"x 3 1/2" background and E pieces together, pressing seams towards the darker fabric. Stitch the sections together, using the photo below as a guide:

For the O, arrange the fabric as shown. Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of the 2 1/2" E squares; place right sides together on the 2 1/2" background squares:
{totally not the right layout in the center, see third photo down for correct representation}

Stitch directly on the line:
(I chain stitch whenever possible!)

If you have one of these handy little thread cutter gadgets, you can quickly separate your blocks without having to put down and pick up your snips a bunch of times. (I HIGHLY RECCOMEND THIS TOOL!) Trim the seam; press the triangle out being careful not to stretch the fabric.

Stitch the pieces you just made to the top and bottom of each 2 1/2"x 5 1/2" piece; press seam toward the center:

Stitch the center as shown, pressing seam toward the darker fabric; stitch the sides to the center, pressing seams toward the center:

For the W, make flying geese as described in letter M. Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of both 1 1/2" background squares, place in the outside bottom corners of the 2 1/2"x9 1/2" W strips; sew directly on the line. Trim seam to 1/4", press towards darker fabric.
 Follow the same instructions for letter M to assemble the W.

Assuming all went well, you now have a finished MEOW! I am waiting to sew mine together until I have made a decision on the quilt layout. Each two letters measures 12"x9" finished, the same measurement as the Candy Cat. Be on the lookout for a possible FPP pattern from Jo of a smaller version of this! 

Don't forget to follow and/or tag us, @unicornharts and @schnitzelandboo and our sponsor @thecottonfarmlongarm on Instagram. 
Stay tuned for more free patterns to accompany this quilt along! 

Happy sewing!

Candy Cat Quilt Along

So, 2018 is here (how crazy is that?) and I find myself in the middle of hosting the Candy Cat Quilt Along on Instagram. I'm totally loving the heck out of it. I was browsing Pinterest one day, as one does, and I came across an adorable little teepee block. I followed the link and discovered Joanna Hart aka Unicorn Harts and a whole bunch of really fabulous foundation paper pieced block patterns, including one called "Candy Cats". To my absolute giddy delight, it was a free pattern (like, for real?? A pattern this cute and it's FREE???) Naturally, I had to have it, so I snapped it-and a bunch of others-right up. I'm not even that into cats! I just had to make this block! And you know how it goes, you make something and you absolutely love it so you have to make a whole bunch more. I decided to contact Jo and see if she'd be interested in letting me host a quilt along using her pattern. Not only did she say yes, she also agreed to creating a few patterns to go along with it! Before I get to that, let me show you my litter of Candy Cats so far:

I'm trying hard not to buy any new fabric. Instead, I'm use some of my favorite pieces and scraps that I have in my stash. My goal is to make about 25 cats, but I haven't quite decided yet. Once we get all the complimentary, complementary patterns out, I'll have to finalize a layout and how many cats to make.

Jo released our first free pattern, Fishy Bones. I absolutely love this block. It has more character than a Disney movie! Here's my first Fishy, his name is Ralph:

Isn't he the best?? Fishy Bones has been out for a week now, which means it's my turn to give you a free pattern. Since I'm not an FPP designer, I am giving you a break from sewing on paper by offering you MEOW, a nice and easy patchwork pattern:

 MEOW is designed to take up some space in your quilt, to add a little more whimsy and to allow you some freedom from being so symmetrical. MEOW can be sewn in a row of four letters, or a square of two by two:

Because this post is already long enough, and I'd like to keep the tutorial page as simple as possible, I will write the instructions for MEOW in a new post as soon as I get home from picking up my daughter from school. Until then, I hope you'll join us and this fun quilt along. The Cats can be made in about 45-60 minutes, and take only scraps and small pieces to make. Every #candycatqal hashtag is an entry to win one of two prizes: a Choose Five pattern bundle from Jo, or a quilty prize pack from me. Every completed quilt top is entered to win FREE LONGARM QUILTING from The Cotton Farm Longarm. (*Winner must pay shipping*) It's not too late to join! Jump in any time! We are trying to post a new, free pattern every Monday but we are busy mom's with busy families, so we'll do our best to notify you if there's a change in the schedule. 

Head on over to Instagram for more information, inspiration and friends to sew along with. 
Be sure to follow me (@schnitzelandboo), 
Joanna (@unicornharts) 
and our sponsor (@thecottonfarmlongarm) for more good stuff throughout the QAL!

Happy FPP'ing!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Animal Quilts by Juliet van der Heijden (and a Paper Pieced Rhino)

About four years ago, I taught myself how to foundation paper piece (FPP). It was confusing, frustrating, and challenging. I had only just begun to learn quilting, and I was eager to learn every technique I could. I made Badskirt's Sew Out Loud block for my friend Katy (@imagingermonkey on all the various social media stuffs) with the words "slave to the needle" embroidered on it. If you know Katy, you would totally know how perfect that was for her! Anyway, even though it was an entirely maddening experience, I was completely hooked and began to FPP every chance I got.

One of my favorite FPP designers, Juliet van der Heijden,  has recently written a delightful and charming new book called Animal Quilts. In it are 12 animal FPP patterns, instructions and helpful hints so that even the very beginner can handle stitching up a stunning new quilt. I was thrilled to be asked to join the blog hop for this book, but not so thrilled that I had to choose just one pattern to feature. I wanted to do them all, but time wouldn't allow it. SIGH!

 They are all so unique and gorgeous! The monarch butterfly on the cover immediately jumped out at me, but I thought that it would probably be done a few times, so I flipped through the pages again, trying to decide which one to sew, which one would challenge me, which one would be unique.

The highland cow was a strong contender, and it's not hard to see why. Isn't he amazing?? I'm going to make this one anyway. In fact, I'll probably sew my way through this whole book (it's that good!) I'm fairly certain that's what Paul has been doing, actually! (See schedule below for Paul's information. You won't want to miss it!)

 I LOVED the highland cow, but eventually decided to do the rhino pattern.

He was everything I dreamed of: challenging, unique, quirky, and charming. I started working on him at Aurifil's demo table at Quilt Festival in Houston. Lots of people stopped by to watch me work, admire the book, learn, ask questions or exclaim over how tiny the seams were in some of the pieces.

{the eye: some seams are only four 1.5 length stitches long!}

{messy business!}
Because I was continuously starting and stopping, I wound up making a several mistakes and had to redo five sections. I think it was worth it, though. I love the way it turned out. 

I am working on a second one right now, it's his eye you see pictured above.

When this pair is finished, I will quilt them with a layer of batting and muslin, then turn them into pillows for my dear friend Elizabeth. It's her birthday today and these are exactly perfect for her. 

I hope you will stop by the blogs and/or Instagram accounts of the other hoppers below. There are some gorgeous pieces being featured (and more photos of the book and quilt patterns!) 

Happy Sewing!

Monday 6th November – Juliet from Tartan Kiwi

Tuesday 7th November – Annabel from Little Pincushion Studio

Wednesday 8th November – Chris from Made by Chrissie D

Thursday 9th November – Quilting Daily
Friday 10th November – Matthew from Mister Domestic 

Monday 13th November – Kate from Quilt with Kate 

Tuesday 14th November – Kristi from Schnitzel and Boo (That's me!)

Wednesday 15th November – Angie from Gnome Angel 
Thursday 16th November – Paul aka Evildemondevildog
Friday 17th November – Sarah from Sariditty

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Tutorial: How to Join the Ends of Quilt Binding

Me again! Two days in a row, weird! I'm back, as promised, to show you how I join the ends of the quilt binding when finishing my quilts. It has taken me a LOOOOOOONG time to figure out a good method for this, and an even longer time to remember how. Now that I've got it down, I'm comfortable with sharing it with all of you

 I almost always cut 2 1/2"xWOF strips of fabric to make my binding. *WOF= Width of Fold, which is generally 42 usable inches. To figure out how many strips to cut, add up all four sides of your quilt and divide that number by 42. For example, my quilt was 82"x90". 82+82+90+90=344. 344 divided by 42= 8.2. Always round up, so in this case, I cut 9 strips of 2 1/2"x42". Join them all together, then roll it up to make it tidier for stitching. 

Until I can write my own tutorial, click here for a good how-to on making quilt binding, 
and here for how to attach it.

You will need:
-Fabric scissors
-Ruler with a 45* angle
-Fabric marker

 Once you've got your binding mostly stitched on, you are ready to join the ends. Make sure to give yourself plenty of space between the loose ends to work! 20" is ideal, but make the most of what you can with the size of your quilt.  

Now is a good time to trim the other binding end to a 45* angle if you haven't already done so. Align the 45* line with the bottom edge of your opened up binding; use the fabric marker to draw the line. Notice that this is the tail on the left.

Open up the binding tail on the right, aligning the bottom raw edge with the edge of the quilt. Make sure there are no gaps or wrinkles in the binding and that it is perfectly smooth and matched up with the quilt! Pin it in place so it doesn't shift while you're working on the rest. 

Place the tail on the left on top of the pinned tail on the right.

Use the ruler as a guide to draw the cut angle of the tail onto the binding below it.

Remove the top tail, measure 1/2" to the LEFT of the original line; cut on this new line. This accommodates the 1/4" seam allowance for both sides.

Place the tails right sides together; pin in place and stitch. 
Because the ends are at an angle, you will have little triangles sticking out of both sides by 1/4". This part always confused me, so I took a picture at a distance and close up so you can see how this is supposed to look. 

Now all you have to do is finger press that seam open, refold the binding on its original crease and finish stitching it to the quilt. Well done, you! 

I'll do my best to remember to take photos of the making and attaching steps the next time I'm working on a quilt. I hope you've found this tutorial to be simple and straight-forward. 

Happy sewing!

PS For details on the above quilt, click here.