Saturday, January 26, 2013

Curved Piecing...The Romantic Quilt

A few months ago, I was at my quilt group, The Quarter Seamers.  We meet at Miss Lou's Quilting Studio a couple of times a month.  This particular evening we were introduced to the Improved Nine Patch, also called the Glorified Nine Patch.  It was love at first sight.  I was lying awake at night thinking about this quilt. I just had to make one.  Or two.  Or....we'll see how far it goes!

I sewed up my nine patches with these pretty fabrics I received as a Christmas gift from Wendy, one of the Quarter Seamers.  Not my usual color scheme, but I really, really, like it!  And, Isn't it romantic?  After sewing the Nine Patches, I used Marti Michell's Double Wedding Ring Template Set to cut the curves into the sides of the blocks.

Then, I cut my melons.  I used the same fabric for the melons as I used for the center squares in all my blocks.  So romantic!

After all that cutting, you mark each melon on the center edges and each end, using the holes in the templates.  

Same goes for the nine-patch blocks.  This photo shows the back of my block with the template on top, for marking.  These templates are amazing!

At this point my quilt was assaulted by a three year old with cabin fever and a big rig truck.  We had ice falling from the sky all day - no outside playtime!

To sew the curved seams, the concave piece (the nine-patch) goes on top.  In the past, I've done this by heavily pinning all along the edge and then slowly sewing while taking the pins out.  Marti Michell suggests only pinning at the three marked points.  I tried it out.  I sewed very slowly, checking and adjusting my fabric every inch or so.  

It worked pretty well.  Here's my result, before pressing.  

A stack of romantic 9 patches, all pinned and ready to stitch!

After pressing.

After sewing a couple of the melons, on, I determined that yes, it can be done with only three pins, but for me it worked better with four.  I added another pin, about one inch away from the first one.  This makes it easier to keep the two patches lined up when you remove the first pin and start sewing.

When you insert the first pin, be sure the melon is lined up straight on the back side.  You can also achieve this by finger pressing each piece in half and lining up the creases.

Here's the first block with two melons sewn on.

So romantic!  

Maybe next I'll try the Pickle Dish.

Until next time...please visit the Curlicue Creations Shop...and have a super day!

Jennifer Schifano Thomas

Friday, January 4, 2013

Quilt Labels

Hello and Happy New Year to you.  I hope 2013 is an amazing year for you and me and the quilting world, too!  I am going to start this year by discussing the end of your quilts...the label.  Every quilt should have a label.  You just don't know what is going to become of your quilt in the future.  Whose hands will be caressing your special work of art?  Will it be passed down in your family for future generations to enjoy?  Will it end up at the thrift shop, to be purchased by a stranger?  Will it somehow get lost, far away from home?  These are all good reasons to make a simple label, documenting your quilt.

I made this table topper, Log Cabin Pumpkins by Suzanne's Art House this past Fall.  I actually finished it before Halloween and had it on my kitchen table.  I was so proud of it not becoming another U.F.O.  It was high time to make a label.  Here's what I generally do to make a simple label for my quilts.

I start with a scrap of muslin.  Some people like to iron freezer paper to the back to make it easier to write on.  I do not.  I just write slowly, along the edge of a ruler, and it comes out just fine for me.  Information I include on my quilt labels are as follows:

1.  The name of the quilt.
2.  My name.
3.  The date the quilt was completed.
4.  Where the quilt was made.  (I put the county and state I live in - You could put your city, state, country               or whatever you like.)
5.  Any other pertinent information to the quilt.  If it is made as a gift, you could add the recipient's name.  Also note if it was made for a special occasion, such as a wedding.

Next, I use a ruler to cut around the label.  I cut 1/2" away from the edge of the writing on all four sides,

Oh yes, you should use an acid free pen to write your label with.  I have been using this Zig pen by Millenium for years and years.  It's still working great.  You can find one of these at an art supply store.

Here is my label, with all four sides trimmed.

I like to add an edge to my label, using one of the fabrics from the quilt top.  I love these green batiks - so pretty!  I cut them into strips, 1" wide.

I sewed them onto my label Log Cabin style, using a 1/4" seam allowance.

Then I pressed the edges under 1/4".  This is easy to do, as they should meet up with the edge of the label.  Be sure to also press the label.  The heat from the iron helps to set the ink.

Normally, I pin the label to the lower right hand corner of the quilt, but since this quilt is an unusual shape, I just pinned it about an inch from one of the edges.

Then, using a tiny slip stitch, I sewed the label onto the quilt.  Be sure to bury your knots so they don't show.  

Ta-da!  Here's my finished label.

Get creative.  You can make a pieced label to match your quilt top, for example, a small log cabin framed label for a log cabin quilt.  If your quilt is mostly applique, you could write your label on an applique motif used in the top and applique it to the back.  You could use photo transfer fabric and add a picture of the quilt's recipient.  This is really nice if the quilt is for a child.  If you have a light colored background, you could just write the information directly onto the back of the quilt.

Until next time...please visit the Curlicue Creations Shop...and have a super day!

Jennifer Schifano Thomas