Quilts in a Barn?

This past Saturday I went to a quilt show in a barn. Yup. But this was no ordinary barn – it was a newer show barn built on a beautiful, century-old estate.  This is an annual quilt show put on by a local group of women as a fundraiser for The Road Home – a local homeless shelter.
So I thought I’d share a little bit of what I saw.  
A charming setting for a lot of lovely quilts.
 Some good circle inspiration now that I have my circle die cut!

 You know me: drawn to the vintage looking stuff.
 These little appliqué flowers were so sweet.
 There was also a craft market with proceeds going to the cause as well.
Love the fabric on that first apron!

 These guys (Shetland Ponies) were made homeless themselves while the quilts overtook their quarters. But they seemed plenty happy basking in the warm sunny day and posing for pictures.

Lovely fall decor, including a live goat who happened to be consuming some of the fall decor. Presumably no quilts were consumed or harmed by small domesticated farm animals in the production of this charitable fundraiser.

Quilt Along Series: Cutting Fabric

Part 4 of the Beginning Quilting Series

Grab your rotary cutters! (Wait! Please make sure the safety thingy is in place first!) Cutting fabric. Does it scare the heck out of you? Hopefully from this day on you will wield a rotary-cutter with confidence.
Rotary cutters have made cutting fabric much more accurate and efficient.  I love my rotary cutter. Be careful though – those blades are sharp.  Make it a habit to keep the safety cover in position and the cutter hidden away from curious small people.
An important – and sometimes over-looked – aspect of cutting fabric is squaring-up the fabric edges before you start hacking-off strips or squares. Sometimes the fabric is wound funny on the bolt or the busy fabric-store worker may just randomly hack off your yardage.  Above is a piece that I brought home from the fabric shop. When I stopped to match-up the selvage edges I found out how off it was.
Before you start cutting:
  • Match-up selvage edges
  • Press the fabric. This may include re-pressing the center fold if the fabric was stretched out of place.
  • A light mist of spray starch can also keep things crisp and help with accuracy.
After fabric is pressed and lined-up nicely we want to trim any uneven or frayed edges so we start cutting with a clean, square edge. (Why all the fuss? What happens if we don’t square-up the edges? Your strips will end up in a useless v-shape instead of a straight line.)
  • 1- Line up center fold with a straight line on the cutting mat
  • 2- Use rotary cutter to trim off the uneven edge
  • 3- Line up a straight line on the ruler with folded edge to make sure your strip is square
  • 4- Now you’re ready to cut your first strip at the desired width.  Whenever possible, use your ruler (not the grid on the mat) to measure the width of the strip. Place the ruler over the fabric at the desired width.
When using the ruler and rotary cutter, hold the ruler in place with a wide, steady hand. Make sure your finger is not hanging over the edge of the ruler. (Trust me on this one. Blood on nice fabric is not pretty.) Cutting while standing will give you more control.
There are other helps to keep your ruler from sliding around.  The Notions department at the fabric store sells little sandpaper dots you can stick on the back of your ruler. I use Nexcare Flexible Clear Tape on the bottom of my ruler. I like it  because it’s cheap and clear.
Grip the rotary cutter firmly and push it away from your body like a pizza cutter. Be sure to put pressure on the cutter so that it goes through all layers of fabric and keep the blade right next to the edge of the ruler. (The above demo is obviously for right handed folks.  Reverse the image if you are left handed.)
If all this seems like a lot to keep track of, remember, the more you do it, the faster it will get and the more it will become automatic. But don’t be afraid to take it slow at first and remember the old carpenter’s rule: measure twice, cut once. Double check your ruler before you start slicing!
For our Quilt Along project, we are going to need these cut pieces:
  • 81 – 4 ½” (4″ finished) squares. You should be able to get 9 squares out of  1/8th yard. (Or 64 5″ squares if you are using a Charm Pack.)
  • 4 - 3 ½” strips for border fabric.
  • 4 – 2 ½” strips for binding fabric. (see photo at the top.)
I am using different fabrics for my border and binding (in my case yellow pin stripe for borders and red alphabet print for binding), but you could use the same fabrics if you want. For this quilt I would go with a smaller print or solid for borders to frame the patchwork part of the quilt -especially if the squares are busy. Also keep in mind that the border fabric will become the dominant color of the quilt so go with the color you like best.

Up next Tuesday in our Quilt Along Series: Piecing Squares

Originally posted at Make and Takes

Accuquilt Go! Cutter Review

 I was recently give the opportunity to test drive an Accuquilt Go! Cutter.

Bee Blocks

 A few recent Bee Blocks that I never posted.
These spiderweb blocks are for Natalie of Beyond the Reef. I’ve always wanted to try the spider web block. My work is not perfect (sorry to be your guinea pig, Natalie).  Part of my defense is that I was blinded by her amazing choice of fabrics. Lots of Denyse Schmidt, a little Joel Dewberry – and they all looked so cool with that charcoal gray to set them off!  You can see some of the blocks assembled here.
This quilt-as-you-go block is for Erica of Crafty Blossom.  Again, my first time trying a new technique I’ve been eyeing and admiring for a while now. This is based on Penny’s Quilt-as-you-go tutorial, which is great. Erica sent lots of vintage fabrics which also made it very fun.  I even added a small piece of my own vintage fabric find. Can you spot it?
I think every bee block I’ve done has been a total pleasure.  I’ve tried blocks that I’ve had my eye on without having to commit to a whole quilt. And I got to play with other people’s cool fabric.  My month is coming up in November. Which means I need to finally decide what I want to do. Clearly I have commitment issues.
PS If you want to see other quilt-as-you-go awesomeness check out Heather at Alamodefabric.