Monday, June 23, 2014

Mitered Corner Border

I visited a new Facebook quilt group this morning and read their rules/regulations. I didn’t join because they won’t allow folks to include links. I did, however, scroll down the page, viewing the lovely creations others had shared. One in particular caught my eye.

The poster had created her “first” mitered corner border on her quilt (I’m not referring to the binding, but the border). It would have been lovely to immediately click a link to see the technique. Oh well. Each group has their own set of rules. If one doesn’t like it, it's great we can just move on in this vast virtual world!

I went to Google and did a search for “quilt mitered corners” on my own.

This is what I found:

Lots and lots of videos! However, I don’t have the bandwidth to view them while at the ranch, so I need written instructions!

Craftsy Quilting has a wonderful step-by-step picture tutorial!

McCall’sQuilting also has one. Scroll down the page a little bit.

At Quiltville, on the way down the page to find Mitered Borders specifically, she offers “Border Hints & Tricks!” that is so worth taking the time to read!

STITCHthis! shared an excerpt from an e-book that looks interesting in and of itself!

There are certainly more links to look at on the Google list. But, my favorite is the first one I listed from Craftsy!

I’m going to try this on my next Quilt of Valor! I now have the links for easy reference to get it done!

Have you mitered a quilt corner? Any tips you would like to offer me/us before I try it?

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Button Project

I’m offering a piece of advice. Don’t wait. It may be too late.

A bit of back story…
(UPDATE: Momma brought the subject up today (she doesn't read my blog, so I don't know why of all days) and said not all the buttons are gone... we'll see...but it's too late for this trip to help!)

About five or six years ago, I was looking for buttons to accent some aprons I made. I happened to be over at Momma & Daddy’s, looking through her button box. While searching for something to use, Momma would pick up a button after button and say something like, “Oh, this was on Grandmother’s coat she made.” Or, “This was from a dress I made for the State Fair of Texas.”

To me, these were very special buttons. I wouldn’t use them. However, I wanted them for something else and she said sure. I told Momma I would love to know the history behind each and every one.

I brought her a large zip lock bag with “The Button Project” written on the outside. Inside had bunches of small sealable baggies and cut-to-size card stock for her to write a bit about each button.

During the next visit to Dallas, I took Momma & Daddy to one of his doctor’s appointments. While waiting, I did something I rarely do at a doctor’s office. I picked up one of their magazines (remember, sick people go to the doctor’s office and why would I purposely touch something a sick person possibly touched?) and was flipping through it. I think it was a Better Homes and Gardens, or some such type magazine. Anyway, I saw a picture of a cool way to display special buttons, and showed it to Momma, saying “This is how I will display the buttons.”

I further explained that on the back of the frame would have the history behind each button.

I tore out the page from the magazine.
It's sort of like this:

Over the years, I’ve asked how the Button Project is coming along. The last time I asked, Momma told me she couldn’t find her button box.

The other day, I learned she gave the box away. The Button Project won’t happen now.

Moral of story:

Don’t wait. It just may be too late. Do it together!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Picture = A Thousand Words

I’m always looking for different “stars” to use in creating Quilts of Valor. Not just stars, but different and unusual blocks to incorporate in a new quilt. I spend probably too much time searching sites, gathering ideas, and saving all the various finds either on my computer or via Pinterest. Instead, I should be sewing! Because I know~ never in all my days left on this green earth will I be able to make them all! But, this girl can dream!

Have you seen this “Modern Star Block” by Laineybug Designs?

Not long ago, I saw it on Pinterest and pinned it on my Quilts!!! board. The other day I tried it – on my own – just from dissecting the picture. Nope, that didn’t work. I went to her blog, ready to purchase the pattern, and found the fabulous FREE tutorial!

I went back to the sewing room, selected my colors, and proceeded to follow the tutorial. I DID NOT, however, accurately follow the pictures. Trust me. It doesn’t work unless the color placement is EXACTLY like Lainey shows in her pictures! But, that’s why I have a seam ripper in my tool box.


She took the time to include all the lovely step-by-step pictures for a reason! The old saying, something like, pictures says a thousand words – is true!!!

Oh, and then, I get to a “Y” seam… scary… I’ve never done one before!

Again, trust me! It’s doable!!!!

My first finished block…

I ran out of white for the four corners so I used red. For this quilt I’m working on, I had to add a border to match the size of four other stars (star bursts) I’ve already created. But, I’m thinking I need to re-do this block, utilizing not as busy print in the small triangle area…

Next time, I will follow the written instructions AND with each step I WILL double check the photos against my placement!

Moral of this story?

š  Inspire you to challenge yourself in trying new techniques!
š  Encourage you to “read” to the pictures!

š  Create your own Modern Star Block!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Math Hurts My Brain!

Several have asked how I created the recent Quilt of Valor with the Navy Military Seal/Emblem panel without using a specific pattern.

A work in progress
I tweaked various quilts seen on Pinterest to fit my mental design. After pondering for several weeks how to explain my crazy method ~ because math hurts my brain ~ I will attempt the explanation! Please feel free to ask a question, or to contact me, if something isn’t clear.

Let me begin with the caveat that each Military panel square may will measure differently. There are differences between the branches of service. I’ve done the Marine and the Army, and they both differ from the other, and now the Navy also has its own dimensions!

First, measure the “pretty” part of the panel you’re working with to get an overall size. (Write down the measurements somewhere for reference later.) You’ll notice it’s probably not square! However, once it’s all done no one will know but you!

(I usually “burn 10” when measuring something, then subtract 10. It’s just something I learned from my husband when doing construction!)
"Burning 10"

It’s difficult to see the slight (but important) difference on the vertical measurement! Bottom line, it is wider than taller.
"Burning Ten"

The largest side is what you need to work with in determining the size of blocks needed.

*How to square up/equal the panel will come later – after making the immediate surrounding blocks!

Remember I “burn” 10 inches. You’ll see in the picture above ~ from narrow red to narrow red across (of the original panel) ~ the sewn panel is 16.5” wide. So, the two blocks on each of the four panel sides must be AT LEAST – finished – 8.25” – and a bit more is a good thing!

With that in my head, because so far, my brain isn’t hurting, I knew the blocks had to be at least 8.25 inches square (finished!) and 8.5” (finished!) would be fabulous.

I saw this “sold” quilt on Ebay that I really liked. But, I’d never tried braids before.


However, I thought the “burst” effect radiating from the center panel in this Quilt of Valor would be stunning. After searching Pinterest I believe Moda provided the best instructions in creating the braids. In their pdf document, you’ll find the basics:

but I quickly realized their 2 ½ x 2 ½ inch beginning square wouldn’t be big enough, and that’s not what the Ebay quilt had in it’s beginning square.

Knowing I needed at least an 8.25 (finished) block, I guesstimated the beginning square should be close to half the block size - a 4” square (finished). That’s what it looks like in the picture anyway, just a tad shy of half.

Once that was settled, I went back and followed Moda’s instructions for the braiding. Again, following the picture found on Ebay, three braids per side of burst – total 6 different colors used per block.

Uh Oh.

I’ve got a corner triangle thingy to figure out…

I took a scrap of fabric (leftovers from a previous quilt backing) and cut it into a square way bigger (eye-balled) than needed. I cut that square into two triangles. I baste-stitched the triangles on each side of the braid, pressed as usual, then squared up the block to be at least 8.50 (finished 8.25) or 9.00 (finished 8.50).

And now wait for it … this is the magical “formula” … rip out the basting stitches, removing the triangles from the braids, and carefully press flat as not to stretch the bias. Measure your triangle to determine what size of square you need to make the “real” triangles! Tah Dah!

My head still doesn’t hurt!

*After you have four pairs of “bursts” made and starched/pressed very well/flat (one set for each side of the panel), it’s time to figure out what to add to the panel to make it match.

This Navy panel was itty bitty wider than taller. Yet it must be square to make the blocks work properly!

You’ll notice at the top of the panel I used a tan “border” a touch bigger than the side “borders”. Over all, I don’t think it’s noticeable. It is what it is.

I worked the sides first, then added the top & bottom, cutting the strips a bit wider than what would be needed. For me, it’s easier to trim off a little at a time, all the way around, to match the set of star burst pairs.

Once you’ve stitched that first set of top/bottom and sides of star bursts pairs all the way around the panel, you’ll be set to finish out the quilt with the same blocks!

If all this is as clear as mud, please let me know!

Happy creating something without a pattern! ;) 

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