Graphic Interfacing Tutorial.

Okay.  In my last post I talked about using graphic interfacing to make a quilt block.  This technique is used for quilt blocks that have little teeny tiny squares, sometimes referred to as postage stamps.  Because, well, they are as small as, you guessed it! Postage stamps. These tiny little quilt squares are very difficult to machine sew.  They are almost as small as my pressure foot!  They tangle easily in the feed dogs and are generally difficult to work with.  Using this method the quilt block comes out with nice straight rows and columns!  The best part is that the tiny little pieces stay where you want them and don't get tangled into one another. Think of it as a car seat for your quilt pieces!

For this example I used a medium to heavy weight interfacing.  Before beginning you need to determine how large you need your interfacing to be.  To do this you need to take the size of your fabric squares and multiply it time the number of squares you have.  For example.  I have 14 squares per row. I multiply this time 1.25 inches (the size of the squares) and I end up with 17.5 inches.
 (14 x 1.25 = 17.5)  I cut my interfacing 1 inch larger to give myself a little extra space to work with.  Total my interfacing was 18.5 inches square.  You certainly do not have to make your interfacing larger because prior to fusing your squares you will need to trim off the excess interfacing.  Either that or you will have to clean off your iron.

Once you have the size you need cut out, flip the interfacing over to the non-fusible side.  Using a straight edge and a pen or pencil draw a grid onto the back of your interfacing.
I used my personally designed duck-tape pen.
If you don't have one that's OK.
I am sure a plain ordinary pen works just as well.
Be sure to space the lines out the size of your squares.  My squares were 1.25 inches so I drew 15 lines 1.25 inches horizontally and vertically to create my grid.

Now that your lines are drawn you can flip  the interfacing over and start laying out your design.  You should be able to view the grid from the opposite side.  Lay out your pieces according to your design, lining up the fabric along grid lines.

Once your design is aligned carefully (This is an important step. ) Very carefully press and fuse your fabric to your interfacing.  Be careful not to "iron" your fabric a slight movement will cause those tiny little blocks to shift. If the blocks shift this will cause you great pain and suffering as you try to gently pull off the fabric pieces before they cool.  You will pull too hard and find out they are permanently fused thus tearing your interfacing. This will result in you starting over from the beginning. This is all theoretical.  It never happened to me, ever.

After you have carefully fused your fabric, the fun really begins!  Now it is time to sew! Flip your design over and you should notice the interfacing wants to naturally fold along the rows.  Isn't it great!  Fold the interfacing along your line, right sides of fabric together. Pin every couple of blocks to insure you squares stay aligned as you sew.  Then sew 1/4 seam down the side of your column. Continue to sew your rows across the block.  Your design will then look something like this...

after sewing--seams create tube

or this..

Now you will need to cut the seam allowance open.  You will need a small pair of sharp scissors.  Large scissors work but they are a bit cumbersome with the tiny seams. Insert the scissors into the "tube"(for lack of a better word) that you created when the rows were sewn.  Cut as straight as possible, through the tube, down the interfacing on the backside, being careful not to cut through your stitching.  Once the seam is cut open press the seem open. 
seams pressed open

 The reasons for this are as follows... One.  An open seam will be much easier to line up when you sew your columns. Two.  Sewing through all those layers is difficult and exhausting.   Three. Quilting through all those fabric lumps and bumps is a nightmare.  Your long-arm quilter will thank you.

Pin your rows in several strategic locations, insuring your seams line up. Sew down the rows at 1/4 as you did before.  Once all of the rows are sewn cut seam allowance open.  Press seams open.

Whoop!  You have done it!  Congratulations!


Emma's Art

Over the past 3 weeks Emma has been enrolled in her first year of Tri-Dac in Art.  It was a difficult 3 weeks. Each week had it own teacher and it's own challenges, artistically and socially.  She persevered and now has 3 new pieces of art to share.  Sadly her sculpture met with an accident and made its debut in pieces.  Even that didn't dampen her spirits!  The girl loves her some art.

This mama is so proud of her girl!  Great Job Emma!


Minecraft Pick-Ax Block.

Here is the graph for the Pick-ax block.

You will need.

24 teal blocks
15 sage
18 dark brown
10 Light brown
104 background blocks.

I cut mine to 1.25 inches. because I wanted a block size of roughly 10.5in to 11 in square (depending upon how close your seam allowance comes to a quarter of an inch). If you want your block smaller reduce the size of the blocks.  If you desire a pick-ax quilt make your blocks 2,  4 or 6 inch squares.

For the smaller sized blocks I recommend using graphic interfacing. I didn't the first time through and believe me that was TORTURE.  It will make keeping those tiny little blocks in order SO much easier. You can buy it at stores like Hancock, Jo-Ann and maybe even Hobby Lobby.  Or you can make your own.  I believe most of the interfacing you can purchase has a standard 1 inch grid.  If you need an alternate size you will have to make your own. Making your own is time consuming but if you can draw a straight line it is pretty simple.

If you choose not to use the interfacing lay out all your pieces first!  Nothing worse than getting half way through only to discover you switched two blocks and have to rip out tiny little seams.  I laid my block out on my ironing pad.  I have a small portable ironing pad that I use for most of my small pressing.  This pad worked great as a temporary design 'wall' of sorts, I could just pick up the entire block at once and not worry about little pieces being dropped or blown away.

Good luck and happy sewing.


Slightly distracted

The distractions just keep coming.  I was up in my sewing room putting the finishing touches on the Buttercup Bags when I was struck with idea.  Minecraft.

Let me explain... My kidos were up in the sewing room on the computer playing Minecraft.  Have you heard of it?  If you haven't, I'll give you what I know.  It is an online computer game, although they can play it off line and on their tablets and ipods.  It keeps them busy for HOURS.  That's it.  That's what I know.  Sad really.

The game is set up in a 3D world where the players can build and create out of cubes.  There are people, if you call them that, called creepers, there are zombies, scarecrows and something called a 'Mooshroom?"  Ask a 13 y.o. they'll explain it.

The world of Minecraft is pixalated which makes turning it into a quilted item quite easily.  I know a few boys, and some girls who 'ooh and aah' over anything mindcraft.  So I dreamed up this block.
pick-ax block with top and bottom border

It's a pick-ax.  Exciting.
In the world of Minecraft you  use this handy dandy little tool to break through block, which in turn helps you build things.  Or something to that effect.
my sketches

I drew a tentative sketch on some paper and then transferred the design to graph paper. After that I cut up what seemed like 124 little 1.25 inch squares.  Tedious.  Why yes, it was.

1st half of journal cover.

I sewed them into rows and then into this beautiful block.  In hindsight I think I should have used more contrast between the pick ax block and the background.  C'est la Vie.

journal front cover

After I had the block sewn up I took it to my two youngest and asked, "Do you know what this is?"  Their reply was immediate.  "It's a pick-ax from Minecraft! That is so cool.  Can you make me one?"  Ah, those 5 little words that let mom know that for once you did it right.  Although they would never admit it outright.
journal back cover

I took the block and sewed it into a journal cover.  Sadly the block was a little bigger than the cover, but it works.


Buttercup Bag

I was browsing around the internet a week a go and I stumbled upon the blog Made-By-Rae.  I don't remember how or why I ended up there.  But, I know it must have been fate because while there I ran across the pattern for these adorable Buttercup bags!  Well, my ADCD (attention deficit craft disorder) kicked in and I was off.

I made these two bags over the weekend.  
I must say they are ADORABLE!  

While they are not certainly not big enough to be a 'Mom' bag, they are the perfect size for the teen or pre-teen in your life.  I know two girls who are going to love this bag.


Now what?

WOW!  What a weekend.  I feel like I need a vacation! We kept ourselves busy traveling to the coast.  We had a beach day and then did fireworks.  We also had a Fishing day.  Both days were beautiful, calm and relaxing.  There is just something about the salt air at the beach that just oozes relaxation.

 Or perhaps it was just the wine.

 I took the hexagons along for the trip.  I have been working ever so steadily on them. I worked on them in the car, at the fireworks, on the boat and in a stadium.

But not on a box
or with a fox.

So you could say I have been sewing a bit.   I am making a good bit of progress.  Now the question is...What should I do with them?

Originally, I was going to use them to make a tote, because the pattern is for a small purse.  I don't really use smallish purses.

I think I can use small purses but sadly, I can't.  I try.  I really do.  But all my c@#p just doesn't fit.

Here is the pattern piece.  Kinda hard to tell but trust me I have about 1/2 of the hexagons sewn.

Now I that I am over the halfway point, I want to make the purse.  Perhaps it is just the compulsive type A in me wants to have a project finished.  However, the creative part of my brain says, 'we can come up with something better!'  Okay, but what?


Baby Quilt for a Baby.

I received this cute little 'mini' quilt in the mail.  It is a baby doll quilt for a little one.  I was lucky enough to quilt a very similar quilt for the baby last year.

 Isn't that just a great idea?!  Make a few extra blocks from the baby quilt and when the baby gets older. . . Instant gift.  A quilt for her baby doll that matches hers.  Brilliant.


Teeny, Tiny

Ah...summer. It is here in all it's glorious splendor.  Filled with bright laughter of the kids as they rush in and out, in and out, AND in and out of the house.  The Hot, Hot Sunshine, that radiates off of everything causing sweat to pour off of small, and not so small faces as they run in and out And in and out of the house. The bold colors of summer that stick to the feet and shoes of the kids as they run in and out, in and out of the house. (Shut the door Already! Were you born in a barn?!)
And with the arrival of summer comes the arrival of Vacation.

One of the things  I took with me on vacation was these tiny little paper hexagons.   170 tiny little hexagons.  Let me explain.  I saw a pattern in the August 2012 issue of American Patchwork Quilting for a scrapy little hexagon pieced bag.  How Cute!  The idea of a hexagon piece bag has been in my mind for almost a year.  Just hanging there.  Bugging me.  Suggesting ever so politely, that it be made. Pestering me. UGH.  The problem was that the Pattern in the Magazine called for 1 inch hexagons.  Which, let's be honest, is CRAZY!

Mine are a more reasonable 1.5 inch hexagon...definitely sensible. HA!

So I've been stitching, and stitching and stitching red fabric to the tiny little hexagons.  And guess what?  Now I have 170 teeny tiny little hexagons.  Ta-Da! Now it's time for more Stitching, but the fun part...stitching them together.  Where will this lead?  Most likely to the UFO pile, but hey! I have all summer to play with them.

2 down...168 to go.