Saturday 28 July 2012

Nikhat's Twisted Log Cabin LAL

Fact is stranger than fiction. Believe it or not, its strange but its true. Many a quilter, even accomplished ones, find it difficult to work wonky. They prefer straight cuts, no matter how complicated the pattern. So what do you do when you are that sort of a quilter but are tired of straightforward blocks? Why, you twist 'em, of course!

DQ Nikhat brings us this Learn-Along (LAL) on how to give the traditional Log Cabin a twist..

This method of making a twisted log cabin block is without paper piecing.
The choice and no. of fabric strips is entirely yours.
1. I started off by fuzzy cutting a 2 inch 

2. cut a couple of 2 inch strips along the WOF

Cut 2 strips the size of the side
Join this to the centre piece.
Next prepare your scales by marking 1/4 inch and 1 1/4 inches

Now place the scale in such a way that the 1/4 inchline coincides with the left corner of the centre square (where both the fabric meet) and the 1 1/4 inch line meets the right corner of the square.

Cut along and repeat on the other side.

This is how it looks now...

Now place the ruler in such a way that edge of the green fabric is lined with one of the lines on the ruler and the rt.side of the ruler should be 1/4 inches away from the point where both fabric meet.

Cut and repeat on the other side too.

Cut 2 strips for the other 2 sides and sew them on.

Basically, you are creating a square.
Now place your ruler or a square ruler 1/4 inch away from all the 4 corners of the centre piece and cut.

One has to go on repeating the whole process of cutting, stitching, ironing, lining-up and cutting again.
considering the red square, sew another 2 inch of fabric on the opposite sides and line up the ruler with the 1/4 inch mark coinciding with the left corner where the 2 fabric meet and the 11/4 inch mark lined along the right side of the square where the 2 fabric meet and cut.
Next attach the same fabric on the other 2 sides and square it up.

Now is the next round of sewing fabric

One has to go on with these steps over avd over till your desired square is reached.

My block here is a 4 1/2 inches square.


Now isn't that beautiful?! Wonky but straight? Traditional but twisted?
Thank you Nikhat !!

Friday 27 July 2012

DQ Chennai Meet cum Bernina FAQ Day

The DQ Meet on 24th July at Chennai was a blast. Just a short round of introductions and DQ VeenaDQ Nirmala, DQ Uma, DQ Tina and Bernina Usha were getting on like a house on fire.

Bernina lady, Usha, started with a demo of the 3 series, esp., the B380, a wonderful machine.

The B380 has 115 inbuilt patterns. Add to them mirror images and the ability to feed in combinations, and you can basically 'invent' hundreds of patterns!

With an automatic threader, who needs glasses!

Winding bobbins is a breeze too. All automatic. And with 3 thread cutters, one near the bobbin winder, one next to the bobbin shuttle, and one near the needle, who needs scissors either ?! :-)

The biggish work table is a boon for a quilter. Easier to quilt without the weight of the quilt tugging at the fabric under the needle.

With solid presser feet, and a whole range of optional accessories, the B380 can be anything you want it to be.

After the demo, the floor was open for the FAQ session. Other DQs had also joined this session online through the DQ Facebook page. Questions regarding the Bernina range of machines were answered by Ms.Usha Belose and Mr.Ajay Gupta of Bernina India. Our thanks to the both of them for a very informative session.

Post lunch, there was some playing with fabric. Solids particularly. 

DQ Veena made a Drunk Love in Log Cabin Block for Vidya2 as part of the Bee Desi. Since its a secret, she can't show the lovely block yet.

This is DQ Uma and she is organizing an exhibition of kids garments in September at Chennai. She has offered to put up DQ quilts for display and sales! Wow!

This is DQ Tina, a very happy DQ for a variety of reasons...

.. these particularly!...yummy !!

Thank you Veena for the cakes (and everything else), thank you Uma for the splendid exhibition offer, thank you Nirmala for attending (and the jamuns), thank you Usha and Ajay for the FAQ session, and this is me,Tina, so am skipping thanking myself. And Aliya, we missed you.

If you'd like to be part of this fun, join us on Facebook, follow our blog and participate in our activities. Or just hang around. Its a good place to be. Cheers!

Monday 23 July 2012

Bernina FAQ Day

Dear Desi Quilters

Our sponsors, BERNINA India, have kindly arranged for a (an?) FAQ session to coincide with the DQ Chennai Meet tomorrow. The details:

DQ Chennai Meet cum Bernina FAQ Session
Date : 24.07.12
Time : 11 to 12 AM
Venue : S-1, H-105, 3rd Seaward Road
            Valmiki Nagar, Thiruvanmiyur
            Chennai - 41
Agenda: 1.Introduction of members
              2.Introduction to Bernina Machines, esp. Series 3
              3.Fabric Play with Drunk Love in Log Cabin Block
              4.Online Question and Answer Session Regarding Machines and Machine Quilting

All those in Chennai are invited to the meet. Everybody else can join us online from the Facebook page of Desi Quilters. You are encouraged to ask plenty of questions - regarding Bernina, other machines, machine quilting and any other quilt related queries.

 And if you haven't joined the group yet, what're you waiting for?! Sign up right now for a lot of fun - quilting and otherwise !

See you tomorrow!

Saturday 21 July 2012

A Hexie Lantern LAL - Part 3 & 4

After the very inspiring Fabric Selection Phase and Design Phase, Chumkie continues with the next step in her quest to quilt an Asian Inspired Wall Piece...

An Asian Inspired Wall Quilt - Part 3
The Construction Phase

During the design phase, the fabrics for the lanterns were picked out and using the foil wrapped method, paper pieced into hexagon shapes.

6 hexagons  

Using Clover bias adhesive-backed tape, two rows of three hexagons were placed on a white background. 

2 rows of 3 hexagons placed on white background

The next step was to finalize the arrangement.  The rope and lanterns were repositioned and ironed in place.  But something seemed odd, so hangers were added to the lanterns.

Hangers were added to lanterns

This looked much more like Japanese lanterns.  It was now time to sew all the bias strips and hexagons down onto the white background.  All bias taped surfaces were zig-zagged in place.  Look closely at the lanterns and notice the edge stitching with black thread.

All pieces sewn in place

It was now time to add the first set of borders. 1 inch black strips were folded in half, sewn to each side of the white square and pressed towards the white fabric.

1st set of vertical borders added

Horizontal borders were added in the same way.

All four borders sewn in place

In Part 4 of this series, the final assembly will be completed, so watch for that segment in the near future!

An Asian Inspired Wall Quilt - Part 4

The Final Assembly Phase

Adding the Borders
I tweaked the first border to change the straight piping to a rick-rack and like it much better.
1st rick-rack border
Having got that all squared away, it was time to put on the 2nd set of borders.  To square up the quilt, I always measure through the center of the quilt, first horizontally, and then vertically.  I also tend to apply the horizontal borders first and then the vertical ones, to give the quilt a long, slim look.  Doing it the other way makes it look shorter, somehow.
To determine the length (or width) of the borders, 
measure through the center of the quilt

The border strips were cut at 1-1/2" for a finished width of 1"
Second border

and attached.  Prior to sewing them on, each border was folded in half and at the half mark, pinned to the center point of each side and along the sides of the quilt.
Quilt with second borders attached

Assembling the Layers of the Quilt
Time now to layer the quilt with the backing fabric and batting.  The black backing fabric was cut 3 inches bigger than the quilt top, and the creases were ironed out.
Backing fabric is ironed to remove creases

It was then folded in half twice and pressed to aid in the placement of the batting and quilt top.
Backing fabric folded in half twice and pressed

The same is done with the batting.

The batting is cut to the same size as the backing fabric.
The batting is cut to size

Now it's time to assemble the three layers.  The backing is taped to the table using painter's tape, and the batting, that is also folded in half twice, is placed on the right top segment of the backing.
Folded batting placed on taped backing fabric

The first fold of the batting is opened to the left.
Batting is unfolded

Then opened all the way and smoothed out over the backing fabric.
Batting is smoothed over the backing

The quilt top is aligned in the center of the batting and backing.
Quilt top is centered on batting and backing

Pinning the Layers Together
The necessary tools and equipment are laid out - brass safety pins, a little bouncy ball because I don't have a marble and a curious tool, called a Quick Klip, to help in closing the safety pins.
Tools for pinning

Here are some other tools that can be used in place of the Quick Klip - a popsicle stick, teaspoon or seam ripper.  These save your fingers from being pricked while closing the pins.
Other tools for pinning

The bouncy ball is slid under the quilt sandwich and placed in the center.  This raises the quilt off the table top and will save the surface of the table from pin pricks.
Bouncy ball raises quilt off the table top

The safety pins are left open when first inserted and then, using any one of the tools above, are closed one at a time.  The tool acts as an extra finger to avoid handling the sharp end of the safety pin with bare fingers.
Safety pin is closed using tool

Here is the fully pinned quilt
Quilt is all pinned

Quilting the Quilt
Once the quilt is pinned, it is easily transported to the sewing machine.  In order to stabilize the quilt, it is quilted-in-the-ditch within the seams of the second borders.
Quilted-in-the-ditch within seams of borders

I decided to quilt a cross-hatch through all three layers of the quilt.  Beginning at the center diagonal, 1" painter's tape is adhered from corner to corner.  Another length of tape is applied right next to it.  This acts as a 'spacer' so that another length can be placed adjacent to it. 
Painter's tape used to mark lines for cross-hatching

The 'spacer' is then moved adjacent to the most recently applied length of tape, and so on, until the entire quilt top is gridded.  The two pieces of tape in the top right corner are there because there is a tiny corner section that needs to be quilted.  Once that is done, the smallest piece of tape will be removed and the quilt top will be quilted on either side of each length of tape.  The cross-hatching wil end up being one inch apart.
Gridded quilt top

Here is the quilted wall hanging.
Completed cross-hatching

In Part 5 - The Binding and Finishing Phase, strips for french-fold binding will be made and the wall hanging will be bound and finished.

An Asian Inspired Wall Quilt - Part 5

The Binding and Finishing Phase 
This, in my opinion, is the most enjoyable part of making a quilt.  The piecing is complete, the quilting is done and we're almost at the finish line.
Pieced and Quilted

Determine Width and Length of Binding
It's now time to decide how to finish the quilt.  I like French double-fold binding which gives a professional finish to a quilt.  For this wall hanging a half-inch binding will look good, so I cut the strips three times that width multiplied by two, to accommodate the double fold.

Width of binding strip = 1/2" x 3 = 1-1/2" x 2 = 3".
To determine the length of binding needed, multiply the width and length of the quilt by 2, add the two numbers together and add a fudge factor of at lease 10 inches.  In this case, the wall hanging is square and each side measures 14-1/4". 
Length of binding = (14-1/4" x 2) + (14-1/4" x 2) or 14-1/4" x 4 = 59" + 10" = 69". 
Considering the width of fabric from selvage to selvage is about 40", I need two 3" strips for the binding.

Attach Two Strips of Binding
Once the strips are cut, lay one strip right side up, horizontally, on the ironing board.  Lay the second strip right side facing down, perpendicular to the first strip and fold down the top end at a 45 degree angle.  Press to form a crease.
Lay two strips on ironing board

Open the fold and pin the two strips on either side of the crease.
Pin the two strips together

Sew along the crease, trim 1/4" away from the seam, press the seam open and trim off any protruding triangles of fabric even with the edges of the strips.  
Attaching two strips of binding

Repeat this process to attach the required number strips, always placing the last attached strip face up and the new strip face down and perpendicular to the last attached strip.

Once all the strips are sewn together, I find it useful to place a quarter inch strip of double-sided adhesive tape at the end of the last strip.  The end is folded down at a 45 degree angle and the adhesive strip placed a little more than a quarter inch away from the fold.  A glue stick can be used for this purpose, but if glue is used it will have to be applied later.  This trick comes in handy when the finishing touches are applied to the binding.
Fold end at 45 degree angle and place adhesive strip

Fold the binding down the length of the strip and press.
Fold binding and press

Attach Binding to Quilt
The end with the adhesive strip is the beginning of the binding.  Leaving a length of about 6 to 8 inches, align the raw edges of the binding with the edge of the quilt and begin sewing about two-thirds of the way down one side of the quilt.  Since the binding finishes at 1/2", stop sewing 1/2" from each corner of the quilt.  With the needle in the down position, lift the presser foot and turn the quilt so the corner is at the top.  Lower the presser foot and back-stitch off the edge of the quilt.  
Begin sewing 2/3 of the way down one side

Remove the quilt from the presser foot without cutting any threads.  Fold the binding up at a 45 degree angle, aligning it with the corner of the quilt. 
Fold binding up 45 degrees and align with corner

Fold it down again, even with the top edge of the quilt and align raw edges with the side of the quilt.
Fold binding down again

Begin sewing at the top edge of the quilt and all the way around, treating each corner as
demonstrated above.
Sew binding to quilt all the way around

Leave a long tail so that the two ends can be sewn together.  This takes some manipulation.  I'll try to be as clear as possible.  

Open up the beginning of the binding and remove the protective paper from the adhesive strip.  If using a glue stick, now is the time to apply it.  Make sure to leave a 1/4" clearance beyond the 45 degree fold.
Expose adhesive on strip

Nestle the end of the binding over the adhesive strip and within the fold of the start of the binding. Cut it even with or even a little longer than the raw edge of the 45 degree fold.
Cut excess from end of binding

Fold the beginning strip over the ending strip and press to adhere the two strips together.  Now open both strips and maneuver the two until the crease is on the top.  Pin on either side of the crease and sew along the crease.
Sew beginning and ending strips together

Trim 1/4" from the seam and press the seam open.
Trim and press seam open

Fold the binding in half with a snap and Voila! we have a perfectly lump-free binding.  Sew the remaining binding and we're almost done!
Sew rest of binding

Trim away excess batting and backing fabric, leaving 1/4" around the edge of the quilt.
Trim 1/4" from edge of quilt

We're now ready for the finishing touches!
All  ready for the finishing touches

Finishing the Quilt

I found these cute little hair clips at the dollar store.  They were perfect for holding the binding in place while folding the binding to the back of the quilt.
Fold binding to back of quilt

Make sure the binding on the back covers the line of stitching from the previous step.  Fold the binding past the corner and then fold down the corner for a perfect miter.
Cover the stitching from the previous step

Pin the corner, if necessary, to hold it in place.
Pin corner

Turn the quilt over to the front and quilt in-the-ditch to finish the quilt.
Quilt in-the-ditch

And here's the finished quilt!
The finished quilt

This bring us to the end of my journey as I've taken this little 15" square quilt from start to finish.  I'm so glad it didn't end up in my UFO (unfinished object) bin!