Squaring Up Wonky Blocks

Remember the wonky log cabin blocks I’ve shared with you the last couple of weeks.  Well I have all 35 blocks made now, and some of them are very wonky.  I auditioned several different colored backgrounds based on solids I had on hand already.  I decided I really liked the darker blue backgrounds.  The blue I chose ended up being the one I had the most yardage of.  I really liked the other one better, and I might have had enough, but it was just too close to be sure and I didn’t want to get 90% done and then run out.

Turning them into a square, rather than a wonky, 13 1/2″ block has proven to be challenging.  Not because it’s hard, because it’s not.  I could just cut a strip the width I need (3″ wide should be largest enough for most sides), sew around all 4 sides, and then trim to be square discarding the parts that I trimmed off.  That would be easy, but it would create a lot of waste and a lot of new scraps. In the example below, the piece I cut off is approximately 1 3/4″ on one end, and 0″ on the opposite end.  Which basically means I can’t use this scrap  on another block and it will have to go in the scrap bucket.  Oh the horror!

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Remember the whole point of this was to use my scraps, not create more.  So I have been challenged in how to square up each block with as little waste as possible.  I started out trying to use a spreadsheet and that didn’t work.  Eventually I moved on to a post it note that I could pin to each block.  Still took me a bit to figure out how to measure what each block needed.  Don’t worry about trying to figure out this mess.  I’ll give it to you in a nutshell below.

 

What I have come up with is to pair up the squares, and then to cut the strips wide enough so that what is cut off of one block is close to the right size to fit on a different block.

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pair blocks with similar but opposite wonkiness (is that even a word??)

I put the block on the left under the ruler centering it as best I could between the 13-1/2″ finished square size that I wanted.  I’m working with just the right edge of that block right now.  It measures 2-1/2″ from the top edge and 1″ from the bottom edge. (see below)  Add 1/2″ to both of those numbers for the seam allowances for each fabric, and that means I need a piece 3″ wide on the top and 1-1/2″ wide on the bottom to finish the right edge of this block.  The left edge of the other block I measured the same way, and for it I needed 1-1/2″ on the top and 2-3/4″ on the bottom (no picture).   So I took either the top or bottom measurements, which ever were the largest in total and then added 1/4″ for safety.  In this case, the top measurements were the largest so 3″ left block + 1-1/2″ right block + 1/4″ for safety means I need to cut the strip 4-3/4″ wide.

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Here is my 4-3/4″ wide strip between the blocks.

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Cut a wide strip

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Sew to one size. Cut off amount not needed

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Sew to opposite block

I might trim 1/8″ off each of these in the end (remember we added 1/4″ for safety).  Also, this method is taking about 10 times longer than it would otherwise, but at least I won’t have much wasted fabric when I’m done.  So, in that manner, I’m meeting my goal.

Also, since I cut a strip 4-3/4″ by WOF (width of fabric), I still have about 34″ left of that strip after the two blocks above.  So I matched up more blocks that needed that same width (or close to it) and did the same thing with those blocks using up that entire strip I just cut.  Do this same thing for all 4 sides of each block.  I made 35 blocks, so in this case that’s 140 sides!

Let me know if you would like to try this or if you have questions on how this is done.  I can write up more detailed instructions.

Now to work on squaring up more of these blocks.  I’m ready to get this thing put together.

If you want to read about how (and why!) I started this scrappy log cabin adventure click here, and I share some helpful tips and tricks here on working with wonky blocks.

 

 

Raw Edge Applique Tutorial

I just finished another raw edge applique project that I just love.  For the local MQG chapter we were challenged to use the Allison Glass Ex Libris butterfly motif in charcoal or white.  I decided to use the charcoal colorway.  Each circle in the panel is approximately 10″ in diameter.

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I’ve been wanting to make a silhouette of a deer for a quite a while now and I thought this would be a good project for this fabric.  I had to do some piecing, but not much.  So other than the quilting, it was a quick project.  I just love how it turned out.

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Thought I would share with you how I made this and the Anchored with Love pillow since the technique is the same.

You will need the following items:

  • Double-sided fusible web, paper backed on each side (I used Lite Steam-a-Seam2)
  • Quilt top
  • Fabric scraps
  • Scissors
  • Iron
  • Pattern of applique piece
  • Pencil or pen

Trace pattern onto paper on one side of fusible web.

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Cut out image leaving approximately 1/4″ all the way around.

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Peel off the paper from the other side of the fusible web that does not have the traced image.

Please your fabric scraps on the exposed fusible web where wanted.  Lite Steam-A-Seam2 is sticky, so it holds your fabric scraps while you work on placement, and it can repositioned as needed.  Just make sure the fabric covers all traced lines.  Once you are satisfied with where all fabric scraps are placed, press with hot iron to make permanent.  (Note that the other side of the fusible web is still backed with paper to keep it from sticking to anything else.)

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Turn the applique image over and cut along the traced image to clean up the edges.

 

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I have trimmed on all traced lines and have just the one antler left

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close up

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close up of head shows several fabric pieces

Peel paper off applique image and position where wanted onto quilt top and press with hot iron.

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Once ironed onto fabric, the fusible web should be permanent (per the instructional sheet that comes with the fusible web product).  However, it’s always a good idea to put some sort of quilting over it just to make sure.

When I made the anchor pillow, I decided not to quilt it.  So, instead I zigzag’d along all edges of the fabric pieces.   This was probably a good decision for this project because I accidentally forgot to leave 1/4″ all the way around the fusible web before I placed the fabric scraps, so the edges are a bit more frayed than they would be otherwise.

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Or you can do an all over quilt design making sure to ‘catch’ the applique as part of the quilting like I did here.

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Or simply stitch 1/8″-1/4″ from edge of each applique piece.

Ta da, you’re done.  It really is super easy.  I hope you’ll give it a try and make something you love.

Deer measures approximately 9 1/4″ by 18 1/2″.  Finished project measures 17″ x 21 1/2″.  My plan is to hang this in my new mountain home.

Linking up with Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts and  Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict

 

 

 

Top Posts

I find it interesting to look at the stats to see which posts have been most popular.  Two posts stand at the top with 3 times the views as the third post on the list.

First up is 1 Year Blogiversary.  The top search terms have nothing to do with a blogiversary, so my guess is that all the visits to that post came internally from WordPress.  If I had known it was going to be such a popular post, I would have put some more meat in it.  It was pretty boring as posts go.  Oh well, lost opportunity there.  For my next Blogiversary I’ll be sure to plan something grand!

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Up next is Baked Apple Slices – no added sugar.  This is an excellent recipe and everyone loves it.  Even if you’re not trying to cut down on sugar, the apples themselves have so much sugar you feel like you are eating an apple pie without the crust.  I find it strange that this is the second most visited post though because this isn’t a recipe site.  In fact, I have just three recipes listed.  This one, Choconut Chippers, and Game Day Sausage Dip, which is, ironically, the least visited post ever.   But search terms for the baked apples are coming from all over with things such as:

  • baked apple slices no sugar
  • no sugar baked apple slices
  • stewed apples no sugar
  • baked apple slices without sugar

I sure hope someone has decided to try the recipe and that they loved it!

Baked Apple Slices

And rounding out the top three posts… Lego, Car, Truck Sack Tutorial.  This is a cool sack for kids to carry their toys around.  I first heard about it as a lego sack, but I thought it would work great for cars, especially with road map fabric on the inside, so that is how I made it for my grandson.

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And the top referrer to my blog is Crazy Mom Quilts.  Thank you!   Go check out her blog when you get a chance.  It is full of great quilting projects.

What does all this tell me?  Keep linking up my quilting projects with Crazy Mom Quilts until I can turn this into a full-time blog.  And, I either need to include more no-sugar/low-sugar recipes or I need to create a new no-sugar/low sugar blog.  Hmmm… now, that’s an idea!

Here are some of my favorite posts that I think you might enjoy.

Thanks for reading.  I am truly humbled that you have taken the time to read my posts and follow my blog.  I do appreciate each and every one of you!!

Little Man Suspenders

sThe two older monkeys were in their aunt’s wedding a few weeks ago.  Aren’t they adorable?

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I made the bow tie and suspenders for little man, and wanted to share with you a very easy tutorial for the suspenders.  If you aren’t not interested in the tutorial, you can stop reading now.

To make the suspenders you will need the following:

Fabric – 2 pieces 2-5/8″ x 21/23″

Interfacing – 2 pieces 2-5/8″ x 21/23″ 

Elastic – 2 pieces 1″ x 5″ (I used non-rolling elastic)

4 suspender clips 

Matching thread

2013-04-03Insert one end of an elastic piece through loop in clip, fold under 1/2″ and stitch in place using a zig zag stitch across the raw edge.  Be sure to secure your stitches.

DSC_0028-001Repeat with other piece of elastic and a second clip.

DSC_0029-001Set these two pieces aside.

Attach interfacing to wrong side of fabric (I used iron on).  Fold fabric lengthwise with right sides together and then sew down the long side using a scant 1/4″ seam to create a tube with both ends left unsewn.  Repeat with other piece of fabric.

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Turn right side out.  Roll seams between your fingers to move seam to edge.

DSC_0032-001Reposition seam to the middle of the back side of strap and press.

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On one end of the fabric strap, fold the raw edge about 1/2″ into the tube to create a finished edge.  Insert elastic approximately 1/2″ into the tube.

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Top stitch close to edge to finish off.  Repeat with other strap.

DSC_0035-001At this point you have two straps.  You just need to figure out how long they should be. Now would be the best time to grab your little man and try them on.  Attach the clips to the back of the pants, drape over the opposite shoulder, pull down to the top edge of the front part of the pants, and mark with a pin.

Slide on a clip.  My clip has an approximate 1/2″ area from where the top edge of the pants will be in the clip to where the strap will be attached to the clip, so I actually want my suspenders 1/2″ shorter than what I just measured.

DSC_0039-001Cut length of strap approximately 1″ from where the strap will be folded when attached to the clip.

DSC_0040-001As with the other end of the strap,  fold the raw edge about 1/2″ into the tube to create a finished edge

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Slide the strap onto the clip, folding under to the back side at the position marked by the pin.  Be sure the strap is lying flat on the table and that the top side of both clips (one on each end) are facing the same way (both facing up).

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Top stitch close to edge to secure strap to clip.

DSC_0043-001Time to grab your little man and try the suspenders on again.  Clip the elastic end to the back side of the pants, drape over the opposite shoulder, pull down to the top edge of the front of the pants and attach with the clips.  Pin in place where the straps cross in the back.  Remove the suspenders and mark a chalk triangle where they need to be sewn together.

DSC_0044-001Topstitch on top of the chalk triangle.  Your suspenders are finished.  Well done.

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(Note: these suspenders actually slid off his shoulders a little bit.  I would probably sew the triangle a little higher up the straps next time so it will be closer to the middle upper part of his back and that should fix the problem.)

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Lego, Car, Truck Sack Tutorial

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My grandson turned 2 today.  He loves playing with cars and trucks.  To him, anything with wheels is a truck — a vacuum cleaner, a bus, a cart.  There is no difference.  Wheels = truck.  Period.

I made my nephew a Lego sack in December for Christmas and I thought it would be a great idea for a truck sack as well.  All you need is somewhat different fabric, and you have a cool sack for things with wheels.

Following is a tutorial for making your own sack whether it be for Legos, things with wheels, or little ponies.  I included a bunch of pictures, so this post is quite long.  But it’s easy peasy so you should be able to get through it quickly.  Feel free to let me know if you have questions, or if you run across problems with the tutuorial

Lego Sack or Car Sack Tutorial

Materials Needed:

1-1/4 yards interior fabric

1-1/4 yards exterior fabric

4-1/8 yards cording or rope, 3/8” – 1/2” wide

Scrap pieces of heavy duty interfacing or craft fuse

General Sewing Supplies – thread, scissors, pins, marking pen or chalk, measuring tape

Most fabric is 42”-44” wide.  You will want to start by cutting the length of your fabric to be the same as the width of the fabric.  So, if your fabric is 44” wide, the length should also be 44” so that you have a square.  There are a couple of ways you could do this as pictured below.  This is a small sample of fabric I am using just for demonstration.  This does not need to be perfect, close will work.

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Once you have your fabric length and width the same size, fold the interior fabric in half, and then in half again, such that a square is formed.   Then do the same for the exterior fabric.  Place one on top of the other, matching the corner fold and lining up the edges.

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Using your measuring tape, measure from the folded corner out to the raw edge, a distance of ½ of the width of your fabric.  My fabric was 44” wide and 44” long before I folded it into a square; therefore I am going to measure 22” from the folded corner and make a mark at that point.  If your fabric was 43” wide, you would be making a mark at the 21 ½” point.  (Note: from the last picture to this picture, I flipped my fabric over so the folded corner would be to my left, instead of my right.  I am right handed so I wanted to hold the tape at the folded corner with my left hand, and make the marks at 22″ with my right hand)

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Continue to move the tape measure across the square of fabric, starting at the folded corner each time and making a mark at the 22” point.  This will create an arc across your fabric.

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Once you have an arc marked across your fabric, cut along the dotted line.  (Note: You will be cutting through 8 layers of fabric, so if your scissors are not strong enough for this, you will need to cut the interior and the exterior fabric separately, in which case the other fabric will also need to be marked following the instructions above.)

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 Once you have cut along the arc you should have two nearly perfect circles that are 44” in diameter.

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At this point you will need to decide how you want to create the holes on the interior fabric for access to the cording.  I used buttonholes for mine, but you could also use extra large eyelets.  On the interior fabric, place pins marking where you would like to create the buttonholes.   I put 4 buttonholes on mine, spaced evenly around the circle.  Since the fabric had been folded it had created 4 equaled-distance fold lines.  So I used those fold lines as placement for the buttonholes.

At the placement for the first buttonhole, measure down ¾” from edge and make a mark, and then measure down ¾” from that mark and make another mark.   This is where I will create a ¾” buttonhole, with a ½” opening.  I used a flat ½” wide cording and it was a tight fit through the buttonholes.  If you have a larger diameter cord, you may want to make a larger buttonhole.

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Now that I know where the buttonhole will be, I like to stabilize the fabric by ironing some interfacing onto the wrong side of the fabric before actually sewing the buttonhole.  I used heavy-duty craft fuse.  Since it has a grain, I ironed on one small piece on the back of where the buttonhole will be, and then ironed on another small piece on top of that with the grain going the opposite direction.  This will strengthen the buttonhole and provide more stability to this area since this is where the weight of the sack will be held.   I would also suggest doing this if you were to use large eyelets instead of buttonholes.

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Do this for all four buttonholes around your circle.  And then sew and open each buttonhole.  The interior of your bag is now ready.

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 If you wanted to do anything special to the exterior of the bag, now would be the time.  I embroidered my grandson’s name onto this one. 

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Moving on…

With right sides together, pin the circles together.  You don’t need many pins, but 10-12 around will help hold it together as you sew.  Once pinned, sew a 3/8” seam around, leaving about 4” unsewn for turning.  Clip edges around, being sure not to clip any of your stitching.  This will help the circle lay flatter.  (I forgot to take a picture of this, but if you need help with it, let me know and I’ll take a picture of a sample and email it to you quickly.)

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Turn right side out and press seam flat.  You may need to roll the seam between your fingers before pressing in order to get the seam to the outer most edge.

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Once the seam has been pressed flat, sew around edge of the sack about ¼” from edge.  Then sew around the sack again about 1-¼” from edge.   (If you do not have a sewing guide for your machine, you may need to mark this second line all the way around.  I know I wouldn’t be able to eyeball that distance with any precision.) The buttonholes should be between the two lines of sewing you just made.  This will create a pocket around the sack for the cord.

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Thread your cord through the pocket, all the way around until you get to the beginning again.  I like to use a safety pin to do this, although you might have your own favorite method.   Tie a knot to join the two ends.  You may need to burn both ends of the cord so it doesn’t unravel.

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Pull up a loop of the cord from the buttonhole that is directly opposite that knot, and tie a knot on that side as well.  This will give you easy access to pull the cord from each side to close the sack.  At the moment, I am leaving the other two buttonholes unused, but you may find it easier to close the sack from all four corners, rather than just 2, especially as it gets full.

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Congratulations!  You have just made a lego sack.

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My grandson just turned two.  If you are making this for an older child, you may find that you need a larger circle.  To do this you would need to either buy 60” wide fabric or sew two widths of fabric together for both the exterior and interior.   You would also need a longer length of fabric.  However, the instructions for creating the sack would be the same.  You start with a square (the length and width of fabric being the same size) and go from there.