Learn to Quilt – Lesson #5 -Lay Out

Hello again!  Today is going to be a fun day. We are going to be laying out all of our blocks and sewing them together to make our quilt! Fun!!!:)

We have a lot to do so let’s get started.  

Take all of your finished blocks to a place in your house that has a large enough floor space to lay out about 70″x80″.  Start laying each block down with one block having the stripes go vertically and the next block having the stripes go horizontally.

Look at how the pin wheels magically appear!  Lay your blocks into 12 rows of 10 blocks each.  Lay them out and arrange the blocks so the colors are the way you like them.  

Woo hoo!  We are ready to sew:)!!   It is a little tricky to make sure all of these blocks are sewn exactly in the place we have put them.  But don’t worry, if you are patient with walking back and forth from your machine to your laid out blocks, you will have no problems at all.

The first thing we have to do is mark the left side of the first block of each row.  I like to use clover clips, but you could use stickers, safety pins, or bobby pins.  Whatever you have to mark that side of that square is fine.  In fact, if you use stickers, you could even write the number of the row.   That would be the BEST way:)

Starting on the top #1 row,  place the left square on top of the square to the right.  Place those squares on top of the next square, and those on top of the next. Keep placing your squares on top of each other until the whole row is in a pile.  Take this pile to your sewing area.  

  • Move the top square to the left of the pile
  • Flip the next square over on top of that square like turning the page of a book
  • Sew the right edge of these blocks together.  
  • Open the blocks up and add the next block to the right side of the last block
  • As you are sewing, check to make sure the flipped cream pieces are snug together tightly or as I like to say, “kissing” each other. You can feel this with your fingers as you go, or you can pin them if you need to.
  • The half  pinwheel should have the point 1/4″ up from the edge and look like this:
  • Repeat this process until all 10 blocks are sewn together.
  • Take your row to the ironing board and press the seams flat and smooth.

Yea!  Our first row is done!  

Take it back to our layed quilt and lay it in its place and repeat the process for all of the rest  rows.  Whew!  That is a lot of walking back and forth.  But believe me, you won’t get lost in your quilt this way.

Now let’s take row #1 and #2 to our sewing machine.  Be sure to mark #1 row with an extra clip or sticker to be able to keep them in the right order.  Here is why the stickers with the row # written on it would be the best method of marking that left edge.

Sew the bottom of row #1 to the top of  row #2.  Make sure that the blocks are kissing each other at the seams as you go.

Sew the whole row together and press it open.

Just look at this beautiful, magical pinwheel! SWEET!!

Sew and press all of the rows together in this same manner.    

Woo hoo!!!!  Your quilt is all sewn together and it looks FANTASTIC!!

We are almost done with our quilt.  In our next lesson we will add the border.  See you then:)

Don’t forget to post pictures of your fabric and progress on Instagram #pinsandstripesqal I will be giving away a jelly roll to someone who posts a picture from all seven lessons and a picture of themselves with their new quilt by the end of July 2017!!

If any of you are just joining us, you can find the previous lessons here:

Learn to Quilt- Lesson #4 -Stitch and Flip 

Hello again and welcome back!  We are really moving along on our beautiful quilt.  Last lesson left us with our 1.5″ blues and reds all sewn together.  They are so pretty:)

Today we are going to tackle the 2″ reds and cream squares.   So let’s take them all over to our sewing space .

For this step, we need to change back to our regular sewing foot.  The 1/4″ one will get caught on the fabric.

We are going to be learning a technique called “stitch and flip”.   It is very easy and you are going to LOVE how it looks in the end!  But first we need to mark our machines.

  • Raise your presser foot and lower your needle.  
  • Place a ruler or straight edge right up against the needle.  The arrow in the picture above shows the needle against the ruler.  Make sure the ruler is straight.
  • Place a piece of painters tape right against that edge of the ruler to give you the center line of your needle mark all the way to the edge of your machine.

Now we are ready to stitch and flip!

Place a square right sides together on the edge of your  rectangle as shown above.  We are going to be stitching from the top left corner to the bottom right corner.   

Some people like to draw a line to help them sew a straight line.  

But we don’t have to do that because we have marked our machine. All we have to do is line the bottom right corner on the masking tape and sew from corner to corner.   Perfect!!

Sew all 240 rectangles and squares together this way.

Yep, that’s what I said.  Chain sew all of them together.  Just keep adding another rectangle/square pair under your presser foot until they are all sewn together.  You will have a very large bundle of fabric behind your machine when you are done. Yea!!  You are doing fantastic!!:)

Cut them all apart, and take them to the ironing board.

Now for the flip part of the stitch and flip.  Flip the bottom left side of the square up and press it even with the top right edges.  How easy is that?!  No trimming is needed. 

Don’t worry if the flip isn’t EXACTLY up to the corner.  As long as it is CLOSE, within 1/8 of an inch or so, it will be covered  when we sew them together:)

Now we are ready to sew them to our blue stripped pieces.  Take everything to your sewing area and set them up as in the above picture.  We are going to sew the right red piece to the middle blue piece first.

Change back to your 1/4″ foot.

Fold that right, red piece over on top of the blue piece and sew them together.  Chain sew all 120 of them this way.  Cut them all apart and bring them to the ironing board.

  • Place the fabric with the larger piece on top
  • Lift it up and press it open.  This makes the seam allowance go to the blue fabric and away from the bulky part of our stitch and  flip piece.
  • Make sure that the seam is very open before you press

Take these blocks back to your machine. 

Place the block on your space with the free blue side on the right with the rest of the red flipped pieces also to the right as shown above.  Sew these just like we did on the other side,  

Cut them apart and press open.

Remember to put the larger piece on top and then press open.

Congratulations!  We have 120 pretty, finished blocks.  SWEET!!

They are absolutely gorgeous!

I’m looking forward to next time when we will be putting them all together:)

If any of you are just joining us, you can find the previous lessons here:

I hope you all are having as much fun as I am!  Until Thursday, –Happy sewing:)

Don’t forget to post pictures of your fabric and progress on Instagram #pinsandstripesqal I will be giving away a jelly roll to someone who posts a picture from all seven lessons and a picture of themselves with their new quilt by the end of July 2017!!

Patio Chair Make-Over Scrap Happy Style!

It a Scrap Happy day around my house today:). Each month Kate @ Tall Tales from Chiconia hosts a use your scraps party called Scrap Happy.  It has been a great motivator for me to use what I have.   Waste not, want not is always a good idea:)

I have been working on my backyard lately.  Every now and then I do get out of the sewing room believe it or not!:).  Our patio table was in extreme need of replacement.

The cushions were destroyed by the sun, the webbing felt a bit weak, and the color was dated.  Yep, time to go!

I wanted an all metal table and chairs with large pillows. I started looking online, around stores and on Craigslist for new or almost new sets in the burnt orange-red and greens that are a bit more trendy.  But wow, they were pricey!  Some were as high as $4,000.00!

Nope, that’s not my way.   I will not spend full price on something I can make almost as nice myself.   I bought 8 wrought iron chairs on Craig’s List with two extra tables for $500.00.  

These chairs are never going to weaken in the Arizona sun and heat:)!  They gently rock and are comfortable to sit in even without the cushions.  Yea!  

I scrubbed and cleaned them up, and bought 10 cans of Rust-Oleum. $60.00  I spray painted everything, including my old table with this lovely hammered bronze.  I love it!

Now, on to the pillows.  Thick chair covers were anywhere from $35-50  each.  Ouch!  Nope.  Not gunna do it!  I found these large Solarium pillows at Costco.

They were two for $15.00.  Now we’re talking!  I stuck eight of them in my cart and smiled all the way home:).  $60.00 for eight!  The only thing they needed to make them into chair cushions was ties in two corners to keep them from blowing away in the wind.  I can do that!

Scrap Happy to the rescue!!   I have a bunch of old orange fabric that I have used to make pioneer skirts and quilts out of.  It is the fabric that never reduces no matter how often I use it.  Here it is in the quilt I made for my niece.  Remember?

I cut a bunch, well really ripped a bunch of 3″ strips.

I cut them in half.  Then I  folded them in half lengthwise and sewed them into a tube

Next I took out my handy Turn-it All.   

This is a wonderful little tool.  

You place the plastic tube into your fabric tube and sew the fabric tube end closed.

Next, you use the dowel to push the sewn end into the tube and pushed it through.  The fabric magically turns!  You can use the dowel to push out the edges.  How easy is that?!

I made 16 of these.  I then pushed in the open edges, and edge stitched all the way around.



Now I just had to sew them to my pillow cushions.

I folded the ties in half and sewed them to corners of the pillow.  They were easy and turned out PERFECT!

I promptly ran outside and tied them to my chairs.  They look great!

Woo hoo!!  So for a total of $620.00 I now have an all metal table with 8 rocking chairs and large squishy cushions.  I saved up to $3500.00!   That’s what I’m talking about!!:)

From this–

To this–

It was definitely worth the elbow grease:). I know we will be enjoying this new set for many many years to come.   

I think I may have to eat my pizza from the Fantastic Bake Along pizza party out here on the patio!  SWEET!!

Learn to Quilt -Lesson #3 – Chain Sewing

So here we are at Lesson #3 of this 7 part Learn to Quilt series.  We are almost halfway done with our Pins and Stripes Quilt. Yea!  

After our last lesson, we finished cutting all of our rectangles and squares.  It always makes me so happy to look at neatly stacked fabric that is patiently waiting to be all sewn together. They are so pretty!

We will be sewing the center three strips of our blocks together today.  We will use all of the blue and red  1.5″ rectangles.  

Go ahead and take all of them over to your sewing space. But  before we start sewing, we have a few things to get ready ready first.

  • It is always a good idea to wind a few extra bobbins before sewing.  You will be happy you took the time to do this at the beginning.  When your bobbin runs out, you can quickly pop in another and keep right on sewing:)
  • Thread your machine
  • Place a 1/4″ sewing foot on your machine.

Now we are ready to sew!  Take one rectangle of each color and place them right sides together. Make sure the edges are even all the way around.  

  • Place your layered fabric under the presser foot with the long edge butting up against the 1/4″ marker plate on your foot.
  • Chain sew all of the red or color #1 rectangles to a blue color #2 rectangle. You do not need to stop after each rectangle.  Just ease another fabric set under the foot at the end of the previous set.  
  •  There will be a very large bundle of fabric pairs all chained together at the back of  your machine as you sew along.
  • Cut all of these apart and take them to the ironing board.
  • Place the lighter or red fabric on the bottom with the darker or blue fabric on the top.
  • Press the blue fabric up which will cause the seam allowance to be towards the darker color.  Be careful here.  It is easy to not open the fabric completely.  Use your left hand to finger press the seam open as you go.
  • You will have 120 blue and red rectangles. Now, back  to the machine!
  • Match the remaining blue rectangles to the other side of the red rectangle.  This will sandwich the red between two blues.
  • Chain sew all of the 120 blocks the same as before using the 1/4″ foot as your guide.
  • The center piece should have a 1/4″ stitching line on both sides.
  • Pressing is a very important part of quilting.  It is imperative that the seam is fully opened.  If it isn’t, your finished block will not be the right size.  
  • So once again, finger press the blue up and iron press it open.

Done!!  Just look at how perfect these turned out:). You are doing a fantastic job!  Isn’t this fun?!

We will be sewing the squares and larger rectangles next time.  I can’t wait!

Until then, 

Don’t forget to post pictures of your fabric and progress on Instagram #pinsandstripesqal I will be giving away a jelly roll to someone who posts a picture from all seven lessons and a picture of themselves with their new quilt by the end of July 2017!!

Here are the links to the lessons if you are wanting to join along:

Learn to Quilt – Lesson #2 – Cutting Fabric

Hello!  Welcome back! Let’s talk about fabric and cutting today.  For a long lasting, quality quilt, high quality fabrics are a must.  The best fabrics come from reputable quilt shops either in your home town or online.  The easiest way to choose fabric is by using a designers precut fabric line such as these.

The nice thing about using a precut bundle is that you get high quality fabric with a nice mix of coordinating fabric.   While these cuts aren’t inexpensive, they are worth buying for the ease of having all of the matching fabric in the line already there for you.  If you had to buy yardage of all 42 pieces, it would cost much more.

Here are some of the common fabric cuts available:

  1. Jelly roll-  This is a beautiful roll of 2.5″ fabric.  There are usually 42 strips that have been cut the width of the fabric
  2. Fat Quarter Bundle-  The fabrics in this bundle have been cut by opening a yard of fabric and cutting it in half and in half again going the other direction.  In the shape of the above picture.  This creates four pieces or fat quarters.  Working with fat quarters instead of just 1/4 yard of fabric is nice because you get a big block of fabric to work with instead of a small strip.
  3. Layer Cake-–  Layer cakes are squares of 10″ fabric
  4. Charm Packs-– These are 5″ squares of fabric.  We will be using these in our next project in this series.

Now that you know what is out there, feel free to use a fat quarter bundle for our Pins and Stripes Quilt project.

But I know that many of you want to start quilting because you have a lot of fabric that your mother gave you, or you have a lot of scraps that you want to use up from old sewing projects.

I feel you.  I have been, and still am there quite often.  So for that reason, I will be making my quilt from scraps and some yardage.  Not all quilts are heirlooms.  Most quilts do not make it to a quilting show or a competition.  There are no quilt police.  Use what you have.  It’s ok.

Some of my pieces look like this.  I bet some of yours do too.

We need to get our scraps ready for cutting into strips.

  1. Iron your fabric
  2. Lay it out
  3. Fold it small enough for your ruler to go from top to bottom
  4. Stand up.  Hold your ruler tightly on top of the fabric with the part you want to cut to the right of the ruler.  If you are left handed, it goes to the left.
  5. Open your Rotary Cutter and place it right against the ruler while still pressing the ruler down tightly with your left hand.  Start at the bottom of your fabric and using quite a bit of pressure, roll your cutter against the edge of the ruler to make a nice, straight cut.  Don’t worry, you will get the hang of it by the end of today’s lesson:)

Just a note on cutting strips– it is very important to make sure the grain is straight before you cut a folded piece of fabric.  Here are a couple of exaggerated pictures of fabric that is crooked or not on the grain

Make sure the bottom edges line up with no wrinkling or waving along the top.  A good way to check is to lift your fabric up, fold it, and look to see if it is hanging nicely and the bottom edges line up.

Ok.  Now that our fabric is ready,  off we go!!

Color #1 fabric cutting requirements:

  • Cut 240 rectangles that measure 2″x6.5″
  • Cut 120 rectangles that measure 1.5×6.5″

  • Fold your fabric if needed and square it up by cutting a small amount off of the right edge.
  • Holding it neatly together, flip it the opposite direction so the fabric is going to the right of the cut you just made.
  • Cut the fabric into 2″ strips.  Be sure to check that the edge and the top or bottom of the ruler are lined up neatly with the edges of the fabric.   Sometimes after cutting a few strips, the cuts can get a little bit off. Square the fabric again. And keep cutting.
  • If you are cutting full width of fabric strips, you will need to cut 40 strips.  You will need to cut more if you strip is less than 42″ long.
  • Once your strips are cut,  you can cut them individually or stack them in groups of three or four like I have done.
  • Align your stacks of fabric strips in groups of three with no more than four strips of fabric per stack.
  • Cut the selvedge and uneven edges off.
  • Use the width of your 6.5″ ruler to cut the strips into 6.5″ lengths.  Make sure the left edge perfectly lines up with your cut edge.  Remember to press the ruler tightly with your left hand.
  • Cut 240 rectangles 2″x6.5″

Repeat this process for the 1.5″ strips of color #1. Make 120 rectangles that measure 1.5″x6.5″ 

Fabric requirements color #2–

  • Cut 240 rectangles that measure 1.5″x6.5″

Cut this fabric the same way as color #1.

  • Square up your fabric
  • Flip it the opposite direction 
  • Cut strips 1.5″ wide. 
  • Cut these strips into 6.5″ length

Requirements for fabric #3 or Cream Stars:

  • Cut 240 squares that measure 2″x2″
  • Cut 12- 2″ strips if you are cutting the width of the fabric
  • Cut the same as above except  instead of cutting the strips to 6.5″ rectangles, you will cut them into 2″ squares.

So that is it for today.  Whew!  Look at all we have done:)!  These strips and squares look fantastic!

Learning how and where to measure and cut takes patience and practice. Don’t worry if you have to cut a few extra strips as you are learning the technique.  It will come, just keep trying:). It’s all good!

Please don’t hesitate to comment if you have any questions.  In fact, I  love comments so just comment to to let me know you are having a SWEET time along the journey:).

Don’t forget to post pictures of your fabric and progress on Instagram #pinsandstripesqal I will be giving away this jelly roll to someone who posts a picture from all seven lessons and a picture of themselves with their new quilt by the end of July 2017!!

I look forward to starting the sewing part of our journey next time.:)   Until then, happy cutting!

Here are the link to the lessons if you are wanting to join along:

Learn to Quilt- Lesson #1 -Preparations and Supplies

I have had several of my readers mention that they wish they could quilt, but didn’t know how to begin.  So I am happy to start this 7 part series in beginning quilting.

I will be posting a new lesson each Monday and Thursday  for the next 3 weeks.  We will be learning how to make a beginning quilt that I designed just for this series. It will introduce easy, beginning techniques that will ensure success. We will Quilt Along or QAL together:).

So, if you are ready, let’s get started!

Since it is summer here in the States, I thought it would be fun to make a Stars and Stripes type of quilt.  I have named it Pins and Stripes because of the obvious pinwheels and stripes:). It finishes to 66″ x 78″.

Mine is red, white, and blue, but you can make yours in spring colors, fall colors, Christmas, scrappy happy, or even black and white.  It will look great in any color scheme you choose.

Step 1-  Choose a Pattern —   Pins and Stripes

Step 2-  Gather Your Supplies —

  • A Good Cutting Mat –   Invest in the nicest mat you can afford.  It will give you years of service.  I have several boards in different sizes.  Look at your space and buy the largest one that will fit in the area you have.  Always store it flat.  If a mat is stored upright, on an uneven surface, or in the heat, it will warp.
  • A Rotary Cutter – It has been many years since quilters have had to draw shapes on fabric and cut them out with scissors. Rotary cutters make life so easy.  There are different sizes from large to small.  A nice medium 45mm one will work fine.
  •  A Clear Quilting Ruler If you can only get one ruler, make sure it is 6.5″x 18.5. That size will work for most projects.  I like to have a 6.5″ square and a smaller ruler as well.  As you get going, you will learn that there is a special ruler available for almost EVERY type of block:). It is easy to spend a lot of money on rulers!
  • Thread-  Choose an all cotton thread that matches your fabric.  I like to stock up on creams and grays because they tend to match almost everything.
  • A Seam Ripper– “un” sewing is a necessary part of any sewing project.  It is never the favorite part, but plan on it and don’t get too worried about it if you become good friends with your seam ripper like I have with mine:)
  • Pins–  You may find that pinning your seams together helps match those points.  As you get better, you will be able to feel the matching seams and finger pin them as you sew.
  • A Quarter Inch Sewing Foot–  This is really a must.  A lot of machines come with this foot as a standard accessory.  If yours didn’t, you can find one online or at your local sewing shop.
  • Painter’s Tape— We will be using this to mark our machines to help with a few stitches.
  • Fabric-  There are so many beautiful precut  fabric lines out there.  It is easiest to get a perfectly matching quilt by using one of them.  I use them all of the time.  If you have a large fat quarter stack, go ahead and use it.  But I know that many of you want to start quilting because you have a bunch of old shirts or dresses from grandma or fabric that your mother gave you that you want to use.  So for this project I will not be using pre-cuts.This is my fabric.  I had some of it in my  stash and I bought a few of them at my local store.

Here are the amounts you will need to make our quilt:

  • 3 yards of assorted reds- color #1
  • 2.5 yards of assorted blues- color #2
  • 1 yard of cream- color #3
  • 5 yards of coordinating fabric for backing
  • A twin size batt (the soft warm stuff in the middle)

This is all that is needed for our quilt.   You now will have a few days to gather all of your supplies before we get started on the cutting of our fabric.   I can’t wait to see what scraps and colors you all choose!

If you are just starting, here are links to all of the lessons:

Post your the pictures of your fabric and progress on Instagram #pinsandstripesqal.   I will be giving away a jelly roll to someone who posts a picture from all seven lessons and a picture of themselves with their new quilt by the end of July 2017!!

We are going to have so much fun!!!    See you on  Monday!


How to Back Loop and Front Loop Stitch 

I like to have hand work to do at night.  Since I have finished my baby afghans, I am ready to start another needlework project.   I have noticed that a few of you are joining Polly’s Stardust Melodies CAL @ Every Trick on the Hook.  I love all of the textures she is introducing, so I will definitely be joining in:)

I have a lot of purple yarn just lying around in my stash that I want to get rid of, so purple it is!  I think this afghan is the perfect project for all of these  lone skiens of yarn.  I may need to add more to these, but I don’t want them to match, so that makes it easy!  

The only tricky part of this square is learning the techniques of back loop only stitching BLO, and front loop double crochet FLDC in the previous row.  

Here is how to Back loop Stitch:

  • A regular stitchgoes under the v of a stitch, but a back loop stitch only uses the top part of the v.  I have pointed the arrow to the stitch on the top picture.
  • Place your needle in the center of the v and stitch as usual.  Easy!

By stitching this way, a line of stitches is left on the front.

Here is the Front Loop Double Crochet stitch:

  1. Wrap the yarn around your needle and identify the front stitch that you will be going around.  The arrow in this picture shows the horizontal bar that was left from last rounds back loop stitch,
  2. Place your needle under and through this stitch 
  3. Wrap the thread around your needle.
  4. Work off as a normal double crochet.

Once you get the hang of it, it is so fun to crochet this way.  It adds texture and interest to the finished piece.  It also holds my interest longer.  

Am I the only one who tends to get the doldrums about midway through a project?  This CAL should help solve that problem by making it easy to finish one small afghan square at a time:) 

Here is my first small finished afghan –the Bequine square.  

I just love all of the texture and the directional pattern:). Don’t you?  It sure would be SWEET to have you join along!