I grew up in a wonderful home with an amazing mother. My 2 grandmothers lived close by and we were spoiled by them. One was named Anna and the other Rhea Anna. And so my handle if you will is Granny Ann. Together those 3 women taught me everything and taught me how to love living life by hand. I hope you enjoy the adventure as much as I have.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Machine Quilting at Home: Preparing the quilt

In times past if you were going to machine quilt, the blanket had to be pinned together every few inches. And then as you quilted you were constantly stopping to take out all those pins. Forever slow.

Now the quilt can be held together temporarily with a quilt basting spray as pictured above. It is fast and fun after the first time you do it.

Prepare the back of the quilt by cutting it 1 inch bigger that the top on all sides.
Next cut the batting 1 1/2 inches bigger than the back on all sides.
I fold my batting in 1/4ths, line up the straight edge and then cut it.

 If you are doing a baby or lap quilt you may need to only fold it in half to fit your cutting board.

 In a well ventilated area or outside on a calm day, roll out paper on the floor to cover a larger space than the batting. Put the backing right side down on the paper. Position the batting over the backing by lining up one side of the batting with one side of the backing. It would be easier to put the batting down first but I find that the spray adheres better if it is not sprayed on the batting.
 Since it's hard to see the process for spraying these 2 light colored fabrics together follow the steps as outlined for spraying the front of the quilt onto the binding. When finished the backing will stick to the batting. If there is a wrinkle it is easy to pull the fabric off and reposition it.
With the backing now adhered to the batting lift it off of the paper. Place the front of the quilt face down on the paper. Place the batting on top of the front of the quilt with the backing facing up. 
The edge of the batting that lines up with the backing should extend over the top of the front of the quilt by 1 inch as seen below.
Fold 8-10 inches of the batting from the top down. Continue folding down until you reach the center of the quilt.

Shake the can of spray adhesive according to the package directions. Spray 10 - 12 inches of the quilt. Unfold the batting one fold over the sprayed portion of the quilt and pat in place. Do not rub or stretch the fabric in any way. 
 Repeat this step until the top edge of the quilt has been sprayed and attached to the batting.
Repeat the above steps with the bottom half of the quilt. 
Now the 3 pieces of fabric are combined into one piece.
Check to make sure that the backing of the quilt extends past the front of the quilt.
Trim the edges of the quilt to within 1 inch of the front of the quilt. This extra selvage will help in the actual quilting process. Directions for quilting are here.
To see how this quilt is pieced go here.

Binding a Quilt

My grandfather was a Math Teacher. When he taught Geometry he would have his students draw beautiful designs using triangulation. I love math myself and think binding corners are so easy. But sometimes people I am teaching just can't see it like I do. They probably just need to see Grandpa's pictures. But we don't have those so here are my pictures.
 After the quilt is quilted remove the excess batting and fabric.
 Measure the outside edge of the quilt. Add at least 8 inches to this measurement.
Take binding material and fold in half or in quarters, depending on the size of the cutting board. A good rule to remember is to always measure twice and cut once.
 Cut the binding fabrics in 2 1/4 inch strips, cutting enough strips to equal the outside measurement +8 inches. I use the measurements on the board as well as the first strip I cute to make sure I am cutting it right.
Sew the strips together end to end to make one long strip of fabric. Grandma never wanted to waste any thread so she taught me to just slide my next seam to be sewn onto the sewing plate after backstitching so that I wouldn't have any threads hanging.
 Then you simply cut carefully between the pieces and don't have to worry about any trailing threads.
 Iron the seams open and flat. I left the selvages on so it was easier to see. Trim those off.
Fold binding in half lengthwise and iron flat.

 Sew binding onto quilt going through all 5 layers. Start in the middle of the bottom edge of the quilt. Start 5 or six inches onto the binding. This will leave enough binding to attach to the end of the binding. Do not let the binding stretch. Gently help the binding go under the foot do not stretch the quilt to accomplish this. I use the edge of my presser foot as my sewing guide. This makes my binding a little larger than 1/4 inch.
 Corners are a fun challenge. Stop sewing 1/4 inch from the edge of the quilt. With the needle down, lift the presser foot and turn the quilt. Sew at a 45º angle off the edge of the quilt. Be sure to backstitch.

 Turn quilt to begin sewing the next edge. Fold the binding back against the 45º stitching as pictured below.
 Bring the binding material down over the edge of the quilt. The fold in the binding should be even with the edge of the quilt. 
 Begin sewing on the edge and across the length of the quilt and continue around the quilt until the last corner has been sewn. Stop sewing  a minimum of 6 inches away from where you began sewing on the binding.

 IN this step you sew the two ends of the binding together. Find the middle of the unsewn edge. Bring each side of the binding to the middle and fold the extra back. Finger press this fold to mark it and then put a pin in each side. Lifting the binding up make sure the pin is only through the bottom of the fabric, or the side of the binding that lies on the quilt.

 Line up the 2 pins from each end of the binding, right sides together. This will be the sewing line.
 Remove marking pins and pin the 2 pieces together allowing the seam to be sewn. Stitch along the fold line. Sometimes I stitch just a 1/16 inch inside the fold line to make sure the binding won't be too long.
 Before trimming off the extra material lay the binding down on the quilt to make sure it is the right length.
 If you are happy with the length, trim excess binding to 1/4 inch. Open seam and finger press flat.
 Finish sewing the binding onto the quilt.

 Bring the binding over the edge of the quilt to the back. Hand stitch the binding slightly over the seam. I like to put my needle through the middle of the fabric layers on the back then . . 

 . . .put my needle in the middle of the binding exactly above the place where my needle came out of the fabric.
 Repeat this process of going in and out of the quilt and the binding exactly above and below until you are close to the corner. The stitching is almost invisible.

 A few inches from the corner of the quilt fold binding over the next edge of the quilt. Secure with a pin. Finger press the upper binding on a 45º angle. Fold binding over edge of quilt.
 This will give you a nice mitered corner. Be sure to stitch through both bindings in the pinpoint of the corner.

Split 9-Patch Quilt

My Daughter-in-law loves green and polka-dots.We found this line of fabrics and had to use them in the quilt we were going to make for her little boy that she was expecting. Here is our version of a split 9-patch quilt.

We selected 10 different fabrics for our squares.
 Cut a 4 1/2 inch strip from each fabric. Each strip needs to be at least 40 1/2 inches long.

Cut each strip into 4 1/2 inch squares. The fastest way to do this it to lay the strips all on your cutting board at the same time. To accomplish this, lay 5 strips on the mat making sure they are perfectly straight with the measuring lines. Then lay another strip on top of each of the strips. It is very easy to cut through several layers of fabric (4-6 layers).

 Cut through all strips and all layers every 4 1/2 inches.

This will give you 4 1/2 inch squares, 90 of them.
Choose 9 different squares to begin with. Lay them out in whatever pattern you would like. I wanted to keep my bigger polka-dot fabric in the bigger square so they are on the 4 outside corners of the 9-patch design.
 Start sewing the squares into rows as pictured above. Be sure to make your seams as perfect as you can to 1/4 inch and back-stitch at the beginning and end of each section.
Ironing is critical to the success of your project. And how the seams are ironed will make a hugh difference in how your seams fit together. As seen above, on the middle strip the seams are pressed to the middle and on the outside strips the seams are pressed to the outside.

 Now sew the 3 strips together making sure that the seams match perfectly. They easily butt up against each other. Never stretch the fabric, only ease the fabric to help it fit. Iron the seams down together. Now you have your first 9-patch. Proceed in the same manner with the remaining squares until you have 10 different 9-patch squares.
Split the 9-patch square into 4 seperate squares by cutting it exactly in half. . . 
. . .and then in half again. 

You now have 4 squares of equal size with 4 different fabrics in 3 different sizes.
I wanted to personalize this quilt so I made a square the same size as the 4-patch with his name (to be) on it. Arrange your squares in whatever design you like.

 You see we looked at a couple of different options before arriving at the final decision.
All the rows have 5 4-patch squares and there are 7 rows. (Sorry that it is on an angle.)

The top row  has 2 4-patch squares together, 2 4-patch squares together and 1 4-patch square alone with sashing in-between. The sashing is 2 1/4 inches wide x 6.25 inches. You need 2 of these strips.

The next 3 rows are sewn together by first making a 9-patch square from the 4-patch squares. Then sewing 2 rows with 3 4-patch squares each. These are then sewn together with sashing strips that measure 2 1/4 inches x 17.75 inches. Two strips are needed.

The next 2 rows are made by sewing together 2 4-patch squares and 1 2 4-patch squares. These are then sewn together with sashing strips that measure 2 1/4 inches x 12 inches. Again 2 of these strips are needed.

The last row is assembled the same as the top row. Every row is ironed by pressing the seams into the centers of the sashings.

You now have 4 sections. These are sewn together with sashing strips that measure 2 1/4 inches x 32.25   inches. Iron after attaching each sash and before attaching another section.

The boarders are from the same fabric as the sashing. The top and bottom boarders are 21/4 inches x 32.25. The side boarders are 2 1/4 inches x 48 inches. Iron all seams toward the outside of the quilt.

TIP: Very seldom does everything work out perfectly mathematically. So before attaching boarders a measurement must be taken. Measure the middle of the quilt in both directions, NOT THE EDGES and DO NOT AVERAGE. Simply cut the 2 1/4 inch strips the same length as the middle measurements. This will make your quilt "square" from the middle (even though the shape is rectangular).

Materials needed:
4 1/2 inches of 10 different fabrics
20.25 inches of sashing and boarder material

To see how to finish this quilt, go here for preparing the quilt for machine quilting or how to add the backing and batting, here for the machine quilting, and here for how to bind the quilt..