Thursday, October 29, 2015

Carseat cushions Sept. 2015

Carseat Cushions
Our grandkids are often travelling by car. It takes over 2 hours to drive here to Grandma and Grandpa's place.

Their paternal grandparents live 2 provinces away, a 2 day drive, so it is essential that the youngsters are comfortable in their car seats.  They had been complaining about "sore bums" so I decided to sew them each a car seat cushion.  "How hard can it be?!" I thought.

We measured the dimensions of the seat, the front, back, sides, distance to the seat buckle. Then I drew a small diagram to take home.

The back of the seats are 12 inches across and the front is 13 1/4 inches wide. The distance to the buckle from the back is 6 inches and from the front is another 5 1/4 inches.

I taped 2 pieces of white paper together and drew a parallelogram the size of their seat bottoms, plus drew a slot where the buckle hole should be 3 inches wide
Paper template

I decided to make a practice cushion. I used this template to cut out 2 pieces of fabric, and a piece of batting (about 1/8 inch narrower on all sides)
In the centre I cut the slots to accommodate the car seat buckle.  I sewed a narrow seam around the buckle opening on both the top and bottom fabrics.  So far, so good!

After that I layered all the pieces with the fabrics right sides together, then the batting on top. I sewed a 1/4 seam all around the layers, leaving a a 5 inch opening to turn everything right sides out.  It turned out well and fit the car seats reasonable well. My daughter decided a half inch bigger would fit better.

Waterproof interfacing

For the "real seat covers" I added 1/4 inch all around the outsides of the fabrics and added a piece of waterproof lining/interfacing (found at Fabricland) for the inside. (Just in case of spills or accidents.)

I also added a 4 inch double strip of fabric to the cushion back to tuck into the back of the seat so the cushion didn't move around.

Next I layered all the pieces with the fabrics right sides together, then the lining on top of them and the batting last. (The "tucking in" piece was tucked towards the inside of the layers with raw edges out.)

I sewed them together the same way as the practice one:  a 1/4 seam all around the layers, leaving an opening to turn everything right sides out.

Last I sewed a 1/8 seam all around the whole cushion then also around the centre buckle opening.
Voila, it was done! Easy peasy!  Now their little tushes will be comfy on long car trips. :)
Happy quilting.

Reverse sides of cushions

Friday, October 23, 2015

Deck Chair Cushion Covers

Deck Chair Cushion Covers- July 2015
This summer I got creative and designed and sewed myself some deck chair cushion covers.

First 2 chair cushion covers

Our deck chairs are 10 years old and the cushions are still in great shape, but they look very faded. Last summer, we went looking for new cushions to replace them with, but the only ones we could find were either the wrong size or were very ugly!

In Fabricland one day, I found some outdoor fabric that I really like.  How hard can it be, I thought, to make a simple casing for 4 chair cushions. and maybe the long lounge chair, too.  I measured the length width and depth of the cushions, multiplied by 4, added in the dimensions of the lounge chair then rounded up generously in case I had miscalculated.

Luckily the fabric that I liked best (a flashy orange and beige floral design) was on sale half price! There you go!  Serendipidy! It was meant to be!   I bought 9 meters of the fabric, some tough orange outdoor thread to go with it and 2 zippers to start with.
The summer got away on me and I didn't get a chance to start them (Plus my Lone Star quilt was taking up all my quilting time!)

Cutting the big pieces of fabric

This summer 2015, I was determined that I would get it done! I dug out the fabric in June and started cutting the first cover pieces. Basically you are sewing a 6 sided "box" to enclose the cushions. I measured all the sides of the cushions again and added an extra inch so the cover wouldn't be too tight.

I needed 2 pieces 20 1/2 " x 44" inches each for the front and the back of the first cushion, plus 2 side pieces 4" X 44" inches long, and the top and bottom pieces,  4" x 20 1/2".
What about the zipper; or should I make over lapping flaps like my pillow sham backs? I liked the zipper idea best- where should it be placed, I wondered?   Definitely it should go underneath the cushion so it didn't show (underneath the seat part.)

I cut the underneath piece an inch longer then the top piece so I could put in a zipper and have half inch seams attaching it. I sewed the front piece to the left side using a French seam so there would be no raw edges. Then I  worked on the back/underneath side and put in the zipper. (Piece of cake with the nice zipper foot I have with my Janome machine!)

Underside of cushion with beige zipper

The back of my patio cushions have a kind of upside down pocket the width of the cushion where it fits onto the back of the chair (behind your head).  I better make those, too, I thought.
I cut a rectangle 6 1/2 inches wide by 20 1/2, then sewed under the seams on all 4 sides. I sewed that on the back,  3 inches down from the top.

Next I added the right side piece to that and placed it on the cushion (which I had brought inside) to make sure it would fit. The  bottom and the right side piece mirrored the top and the left side piece.  Yes, it was going to work! I sewed the top end piece onto the front part and the bottom end piece to the back.
( I  used French seams on the front of the cushion covers only, not the back where it meets the chair. )

It needed a couple of "Y seams" at the top and bottom to finish "the box".  I had had lots of practice with sewing "Y seams" with the Lone Star quilt I had recently made, so that wasn't too difficult. I almost forgot to undo the zipper, though in order to turn the whole thing right side out once I was done sewing.  Then I fought with the cushion for a bit to pull the cover on.  I zipped up the zipper and voila, it was done!
I was so pleased with how it looked! Wow, only 3 more chairs to go ( I wasn't counting the lounge chair at the point.)

Bit by bit, seam by seam, I cut out and sewed a second, then a third deck chair cover. I made a few mistakes and had to rip out some long seams here and there, but finally the 4th one was done! Yay!
I took a few weeks break before I started the lounge chair.  I had bought a huge spool of orange outdoor thread but it was nearly gone.

We made a trip to Red Deer Fabricland and they were out of outdoor thread! Yikes!
I ended up buying a really thick beige thread to use for the lounge chair. I measured that all up and yes, I had more than enough fabric left for that cover! The "Quilting goddesses" were definitely smiling down on me! )

The lounge pieces had to be cut 20 1/2 wide by 81 long.  Instead of cutting 6 separate piece I decided to cut the front/ top and the right side all in one, make a fake French seam 4 inches in from the side to create the side piece. Then I did the same for the bottom/ and the left side.  Oops! that wouldn't work because I need the bottom separate to put the zipper into it.  In the end it all turned out well and before I sewed the last part together I decided to sew a couple of velcro strips which would attach the lounge cushion to the back of the chair.

I am really pleased with how they look!  It sure does spruce up the deck chairs and they look better than new! :)

Happy quilting!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Grandma's Dress/ Kaleidoscope Quilt top

Kaleidoscope Pattern/ Grandma's dress

This little scrappy, mostly pink and white quilt top started out last winter as blocks for a comfort quilt for our Quilt Guild. We have regular get togethers and make simple quilts to give away to people who are ill or in the hospital for whatever reason, just to wrap them in comfort and love, and bring them some cheer.

Some of our blocks are sewn at home, using Guild fabric in a predetermined design, and some are made from our own fabrics.  Then we have a 'Sew Day' where we meet and sew the blocks together.
(Some of my fabric scraps were from a sundress that I had worn and loved  about 20 years ago. I didn't have the heart to part with the dress, I enjoyed the fabric so much, I decided to use it it a quilt. Hence the name "Grandma's Dress")

Back in March, we were directed to make 8 1/2" pinwheel blocks from 4 1/2 " inch half square triangles, using white and any other bright coloured fabric scraps that we had available.  Using the same fabric, we also had to make 48 two inch fabric squares sewn to a 2" inch white square,. We then trade these at one of our meetings to get a variety of scrappy fabric squares. Then we sewed them together into six '8 patch' blocks.

These blocks were all sewn together at another Guild 'sew day' into this pretty scrappy quilt:

Comfort quilt sewn by our Quilt Guild

I had some pinwheel blocks left over and more of the fabric, so I decided to keep making pinwheel blocks and then organize them into a "little girl" quilt top for one of our little grandchildren.

Then I remembered a pattern that had struck my fancy in the fall/winter 2014 edition of "Fresh Quilts" magazine. The pattern on page 44 was called Kaleidoscope.

Creating the kaleidoscope pattern top
Because I already had most of the pinwheel blocks made it was a little tricky sewing the rows together because the pinwheels were staggered with solid white of half square triangle blocks filling in in between. I had to sew a few "Y" seams to make it work, but it turned out quite nicely.

I made a whole bunch of 1 1/2 inch half square triangle blocks for the border. At that time (it was April by now) it measured 32 1/2" by 35 1/2", about the size of a baby quilt.

I decided that it was too small! I really wanted it for one of our toddlers so it had to be bigger. I figured out how to take it apart without too much work so I could add another row of pinwheels. 

Adding more squares

I took off the bottom row of the half square border and made a few more 4 1/2 inch blocks. Then I had to add a strip of fabric to the pink inner border and make a few extra triangle blocks for the second border.  Now it measured 32 3/4 inches by 41 1/2 inches. Still not big enough.  I needed more borders.

White 3rd border and pink outer border

I added a 3 inch white on white border and a pink 4 1/2 inch outer border. I still had a few half square triangles left so I decided to make the pink outer border more fancy with the triangle blocks at the corners.

Because each of those blocks was smaller than the pink border, I had to add some white fabric at the corners, too. After fixing a mistake (oops, sewed 3 of the triangle blocks on one corner facing the wrong direction!) I was pretty pleased with the results. The finished quilt top measures 47" by 56" a better size for a toddler.

Finished Kaleidoscope quilt top 47" X 56"

After that I washed the kitchen floor, taped a piece of pink mike fleece to the floor, Cut a piece of batting  to smooth out on top, and next I placed the quilt top on top and smoothed out all the wrinkles.
After that I pinned the heck out of it starting at the centre and working my way outwards. 
Here it is draped on the kitchen railing, waiting to be quilted.

Pinned kaleidoscope quilt top- Aug 23/15

Now I'm just waiting for inspiration for a good quilting design to make on it…


Friday, August 28, 2015

Trellis Place Mat

Trellis Place Mats

After completing the Trellis table topper, I had some blocks and fabric left over, so I decided to make some matching place mats. I used 4 blocks for each place mat, 2 blocks arranged side by side on the point, the 3rd block I cut in half  to use at the top and bottom to create the flat edge, then I cut the 4th block in quarters to make the corners of the mat.  They zipped together quite easily.

Next I added the sashing borders to make the place mats measure 13" by 18", a good size for a placemat with a bit of room for shrinkage (although I did wash and dry the fabric first so there should be little shrinkage.)  I added 1 1/2 inch of swirly green sashing to the top and bottom to make the mats wider, then sewed on the 3" floral sashing all around.

I had some solid green pea pod coloured fabric to put on the backs and also a lot of left over batting from other projects. I made mock binding for the mats (by bringing the back fabric around to the front, folding it over and stitching all around the edges.)

In making these blocks there are a lot of triangle pieces cut off and I hated to waste them, so I laid them out to see if I could create a pleasing pattern. I ended up making 2 more place mats out of all the scrappy triangles with the same sashing border. I ran out of green for the back, but I had a leftover piece of turquoise from the blocks, just enough for 2 backs and the extra inch around all the sides to make the mock binding for these as well.

Triangle Scraps = 2 place mats

I quilted them all in the ditch before stitching the binding. The Trellis place mats look quite summery, I think.  I'm quite pleased with how they look and I have been using them on our table with delight.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Summer Table Runners- Trellis Pattern and Beach Calypso

Trellis Pattern

In the summer I usually don't get a lot of quilting done. I have a huge yard with 8 flower beds, a 10 foot greenhouse and a veggie garden as well to plant and maintain.
I realized the other day, that most of my place mats and all of my table runners are either fall or Hallowe'en or Christmas patterns. Not one summer table runner! And only one set of seven spring placemats (with appliquéd tulips on them.)   What an oversight!

I had ordered some summery fabrics a few months back and one rainy day recently, I decided it was time to dig it out. I already had a pattern in mind called "Trellis" which I had found in the Quilters World spring 2015 magazine a few months back. The main fabric for this project, is a summery floral print in pink, turquoise, lime greens and white.  The accent fabrics are solid turquoise and a green tiny bubbles fabric (left overs from my "paint chip challenge"which I made a year ago).

Time to get started! I washed, and pressed the fabric and started cutting squares and creating blocks.

 I cut 6 1/2 inch squares from the floral fabric.  Then I cut the 2 accent fabrics (solid turquoise and a green on green bubble fabric) into 4 1/2 inch squares.  The accent fabrics are sewn on opposite corners of the floral square.  The excess fabric on the corners get cut off a 1/4 inch from the seam line.

The blocks are arranged "on the point" with half squares at the top and bottom to fill in the spaces.

Half squares were cut crossways for the ends.  I put a number label on each diagonal row and then started sewing them together.

Auditioning the possible border fabrics.

Once the blocks were all together I auditioned some of my fabrics for the inner and outer borders. I took photos of each option but I decided to go with the white and green swirly fabrics. I really like the turquoise and green idea above as well.

After sewing on the borders, I decided the green swirl fabric was too wide so I chopped of an inch all around and also cut  a 1/4 inch of the white. 

Next I sewed the back fabric together and cut a piece of batting the same size.  I decided to 'sandwich" the front and the back, not make a binding around the edge. I safety pinned the batting to the back side of the runner top, then lay the back fabric on top of the runner with the right sides facing and sewed all 3 things together leaving a 5 inch opening to turn everything right side out. 

Swirly green on green back fabric

As luck would have it, I had to flip it wrong side out again and resew the 2 ends because the runner top wasn't sewn onto the back quite right. After a bit of seam ripping and re-sewing it looked good. Next I slip stitched closed the 5 inch opening by hand. I pressed the whole runner and then I sewed a 1/4 inch seam all around the outside after that.
Last I sewed "in the ditch" along the diagonal seams to hold the batting in place.  Voila,  it was done!

Now I'm working on making some place mats out of the left overs. We'll see how that turns out! ;)

Lantern Blocks/ Beach Calypso  45" X 22"

My friend B's birthday sneaked up on me this year! We had invited B and her husband out to our place for an early birthday celebration and I decided I wanted to make her a summer table runner for her birthday. The main colour is a peridot solid green fabric. The other fabrics were Balis from another project. 
I found this easy design in Quilter's World Summer 2015 magazine which takes simple 2 1/2 inch strips to create the lantern blocks.  The pattern is on page 52 is called Simple Calypso. I really like how it turned out!  I think I might (eventually) make one for myself, too. :)

"Beach Calypso" 45" X 22"- using lantern blocks from Quilter's World summer 2015 

Newest member of our family- 9 weeks old

This little kitty makes quilting quite challenging when she's around as she has to get into and play with everything!
Happy Quilting!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Lone Star-Done At Last!

Lone Star Sampler Quilt

Lone Star quilt is completed and looking great, if I do say so myself! I am pretty proud of myself for all this work and am looking forward to hanging it at our quilt show tomorrow! :)

After that, I will be thrilled to put it on our bed and sleep under it for a long time to come.  :)
I will most definitely not be attempting anything this big of a long while to come.; sticking to some easier, smaller projects for a while.

Continued from previous blog:
The next to last job on the Lone Star quilt was cutting and sewing together all the binding strips. I cut them 2 1/4 inches wide and sewed them together diagonally to make a long binding ‘snake’ 225 inches long!  I pressed the wrong sides together and the binding to the top edges of the quilt. (Took about 1 1/4 hours.) Then I had to fix a couple of spots...

I folded the binding over the raw edges to the back and pinned it in place. After that I hand stitched it while watching TV for 2 evenings, about 4 hours of work.

Last job, I made a hanging sleeve and hand stitched that to the top back of the quilt to hang it in the quilt show. Voila! I was done! :D 

If you are interested in making this quilt, The pattern is found in McCall's Quilting magazine, Jan/ Feb 2014 issue.

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Lone Star Sampler Quilt

Lone Star Quilt

This Lone Star quilt block is the most difficult one I have ever made, even harder than the Diamonds Jubilee Bargello quilt that I made 2 years ago

(I used a pattern from McCall's Quilting magazine, Jan/ Feb 2014 pages 27- 29.) 
I started collecting fabrics to use, mostly fall colours, rusts, orange, browns, olive green, both tone on tones and pattern fabrics. 
I began making this quilt in August, 2014 and completed it in late May, 2015.

Making the various strip sets according to the dark and light variations was quite easy and I enjoyed matching the different fabrics together.

Each diamond needed 3 strip sets.  Cutting the diamonds at a 45 degree angle was a little tricky. I had to recut the edge of the strip set quite frequently.  The diamonds are 2 1/2 inches wide.  Then 3 of them are sewn together to make the bigger diamond.  That was the difficult part!

In order for them to line up properly, I had to draw a pencil line on the back of the diamonds, 1/4 inch in from the edge.

Then I put a pin through the back of the 3 piece diamond, exactly where each seam crossed a pencil line, put it face down on top of the second diamond and lined up the pins with the seam there.   

The end of one diamond always stuck out about a 1/4 inch from the one below it, but once the seam was sewed, all the seams lined up quite well. I have to admit I did use my seam ripper quite a lot with these blocks. Any that didn’t line up well got taken apart and re-sewn. It did get frustrating sometimes, but the end results were good!

Eight of the big 9 piece diamonds had to be sewn together to make the lone star. Again, this was a bit tricky...

First I had to draw pencil lines 1/4 inch from the edges of the big diamonds on the back of all 4 sides.   I had to start sewing them right sides together at the spot where these pencil lines crossed, (not at the ends,) sewing 2  big diamonds together each time, pressing the seams. 

Eventually all 8 diamonds were together.

 Next came the setting pieces to make the star blocks square

Stars with 2 different setting pieces

Sewing the setting pieces in between the points was tricky. I went online and found a tutorial for sewing y seams.
Here are 2 that I found useful:

(Again I became good friends with my seam ripper. LOL!) 
I started sewing at the corners,  1/4 inch in from the edge of the fabric and sewing out towards the star points. Most of the setting squares and triangles fit quite well and with some pressing they all  looked good. 

The McCall's pattern called for all the big blocks to be sewn together in rows of 3 directly to each other, but I wanted my quilt to be bigger so I decided to make sashing in between my blocks. 
I did the math and figured out that I need a meter of fabric for the sashing between and around the 9 blocks.

The olive green fabric in my blocks would have looked great for that, but I didn’t have enough left and the fabric store where I had initially bought it didn’t have any more, so I had to think of something else. 
I looked at the Hamel’s fabrics online site and found a nice cafe brown that I thought might work. They also had an olive green so I ordered a meter of that, and a meter of milk chocolate brown, just in case. 

It took about 9 days to get the fabric sent and after laying out the 3 possible sashing choices next to the big Lone Star blocks, I decided that the cafe brown looked the best.

I cut the sashing 2 “ wide and sewed it on the blocks. I laid all 9 blocks out on the floor to decide on an arrangement and then numbered the blocks and labeled the rows.
Next I sewed sashing all around the 9 big blocks like an inner border. 

Outer Border

I figured out how much fabric I would need for the outer border.  I auditioned a couple of fabrics for this ‘job’. I figured out that I would need about 62 1/2 inches of fabric (LOF - 42” wide) to make the outer border.  That way the finished quilt would measure 106” by 106” inches, a nice king sized quilt.   

The fabric that  I liked the best was called Nature’s Sketchbook (by Red Rooster) which I had bought in the USA a couple of years ago.  It is also in the Lone Star blocks themselves. 
I cut the fabric strips 6 1/4 inches wide LOF, and sewed 2 together to make them long enough for each side. 

I had a beautiful king size wool batting to use for this quilt. Have never used wool batting before but it is nice and light, and supposedly very warm. 

Back Fabric: With a quilt this big, it requires a huge amount of back fabric.  I decided that 8 meters would be more than enough.
I wanted a fabric design that would complement the quilt top itself. I found a beautiful rustic, fall coloured fabric on line at the Hamel’s fabric site called “Wish You Were Here” (by  Holly Taylor for Moda.)

 Back-Star block with sashing is 33 1/2".  Fabric on either side is 42 X 33 1/2" 

I had quite a number of Lone Star ‘diamonds’ left after making the quilt top and I put 8 of them together to make a ‘scrappy star’ for the back to add some interest. :)

I added sashing around the star and then figured out how big to cut the fabric pieces to sew on either side of the star to fit across the back 10 inches longer than the quilt top (5 inches longer than each side.) 

Then I figured out how big the fabric pieces had to be above and below the centre star piece. Again they had to jut out 5 inches longer than the quilt top. (42” X 114”  each).

Our Heartland Quilt Guild is having their quilt show this weekend. I decided to get this big quilt professionally quilted on a long arm machine which I have never done before (I have always quilted 
my own work.)   It was very expensive, but it turned out beautifully!  

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