Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Four Coins for the Wishing Well

Free Pattern!

 I was asked to make a few items for quilt market by one of my favorite fabric designers, Jenean Morrison! She has a line with Free Spirit Fabrics, and her new line is Wishing Well. I only had a few days to come up with a plan, and the fabrics inspired my to make this, Four Coins for the Wishing Well. The line is GORGEOUS. there are some small prints and ginghams that have a sugar sack feel, mixed with bold beautiful prints to bring together vintage and modern in one cohesive line. I am so in love with these fabrics! So I took a basic 4 patch and rail fence to mix up and give it a cuddle quilt feel.


Four coins for the Wishing Well

Designed specifically for use with Jenean Morrison’s Wishing Well Fabrics available now from Free Spirit

Finished size 46 by 46

For 4 patch
3/8 yard each
PWJM093 -Ring Around
PWJM089-Kiss and Tell

For Rail Fence
1 fat quarter each
PWJM091 -Floral ditzy
PWJM095-Secret Hearts
PWJM092-Diamond Geo
PWJM904-Ladder Stripe
071-Pillow Fort

¼ yard PWJM090-Chirp inner border, you can use one from another color line

½ yard PWJM095-Secret Hearts for the large border

Cut your 4 patch fabrics into 3 ½ inch strips, piece those strips then cut down to 3 ½ again, then piece those to a four patch. You need 18 total 4 patch blocks.

Cut your Rail Fence Fabrics into 2 inch strips. You will use about half of each FQ for the blocks, the rest you can save for the binding. You will use almost all of your Floral Ditzy.

Cut 4 -1½ inch strips from the small border fabric.

Cut 5 - 4 ½ inch strips from your outside border fabric.

There are two rail fence blocks, but for each Floral Ditzy is the first edge fabric. Piece the strips together, then cut into 6 ½ inch blocks. You need 9 of each.

Assemble the big blocks like the photo, with a 4 patch, then vertical rail fence. Second row is horizontal rail fence then a 4 patch.

Assemble the blocks in 3 rows of 3, add small border then larger! Sew easy!

©SFNC 2013. For personal use only.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Weighted Blanket

Hi ya'll! as you know, my daughter Serena was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome last year. It has been a hard road, but with therapy we have come a long way. As a sewist, I have been able to make items for her use, including the miracle that is the weighted blanket. Any child with Sensory Issues (and adults, I love her weighted blanket, it is relaxing!) can benefit from one. See, Serena had major sleep issues. She would not settle down and night, and would wake a few times at night and wake us a few times a night. So her therapist recommended a weighted blanket, and OMG we are now a sleeping house! I made ours, which is more affordable, and now have a group of wonderful women in my Local Quilt Guild making them for children in our county! Our biggest expense are the poly pellets. I order poly pellets online, and have found a seller on eBay who does free shipping at the best prices.

Anyway, here is a quick tutorial on how we are  making them. They really are a necessity for children with Sensory issues, and sometimes are priced out of a family's reach, since they are not covered by most insurances.

First, ask your therapist what weight for the child. Most do 10% of the child's weight, but a few children have been recommended less, and a few more.

Next, chose your fabric. This blanket is for a 7 year old girl, so I have 2 cuts of a yard and a quarter fabric.

This will make sense to quilters, if you are not a quilter someone at your local fabric store can help you! You need to square up your pieces, but also make sure they are exactly the same length. I do this by laying them on top of each other after they are pressed and folded. I have to use a bit more pressure with my rotary cutter, but it is worth it!

Next, you open the folded pieces and make sure they are the same width, since all fabrics are a little different. To cut the Salvage edge, I open so the salvages are together for both fabrics, the refold so I can cut them on the mat, like you would if you were cutting sashing from a directional print!

Just be really careful to get the folded sides lined up together.

Then trim the salvage ends even! Sew simple!

Put fabrics pretty side to pretty side (right sides together) and stitch the sides and bottom, leaving the top open for the poly pellets!

I press it at this point so the seams are nice and it is flat, because now we take it to our cutting table to measure out the squares!

Measure the width of your blanket. If it is divisible (or close) by 4 or 5 or 6, you have your square size! I like to aim for 5, which this one is!

Fold in half and press. e will use the center mark to start. Then measure the half length to double check your square size. Not all squares have to be perfect, some might be a quarter inch off because of the width, that's OK!

My squares will be 5 inches, so I open my fabric and start with marking the center crease. Then I measure 5 inches from that line on each side, and continue until all my vertical lines are done!

 Then, starting at the bottom, measure up 5 inches, and create your horizontal marks. Keep going until you have only about 6 inches left at the top. See, they are 5 inches apart!

It is REALLY important to leave room at the top. You are working with heavy beads, and need the extra room for the last row. If not, they will just all spill out!!!

Next we are going to sew our Vertical lines. I also seam the sides and bottom, but the sides only to your last marking at the top, because you will stop there and create your folded edge later.

For each seam, start at the bottom, reinforce with a few back stitches, and go only to the last marked line, so there will be about 6 inches at the top!

When all lines are sewn, you are ready to measure out the poly pellets and fill. Oh this is fun! First, break out either a mailing scale or a food scale.

Measure the weight of the beads you need. This was a 6 lb, but I have pellets in 4 lb bags, so Here is my first bag!

Now you have to figure out how much each square needs. convert pounds to ounces, and then count your squares. I had 72 squares, so 6 pounds is 96 ounces divided by 72 squares, each square needs 1.33 ounces of pellets!

Grab a bathroom cup or small cup (this is a top from a shaving cream can), zero your scale for it, and measure your per square pellet amount.

Measure out the amount for one square to see where it is at your cup. My cap has ridges, so I know that at approximately the second ring from the top is the amount I need. If I was using a paper cup, I would draw a line with a sharpie. Then start filling the pellets into the channels! Put the same amount in each channel all the way across, then sew your horizontal lines. This gets tricky, you have to shake all the beads to the bottom of the pockets, then keep the weight of the pellets on your sewing table so it won't pull, and use your hands to keep the pellets very far away from your needle!

I sew with the pellets to the left of the machine, carefully moving the pellets left away from the needle. I also use my walking foot.

Continue this until your last row.  It will start to be a struggle and be really heavy! The best advice I can give you is go slow. sew the last horizontal line, making sure you cross your vertical seams! then take it to the cutting table and cut the extra off, leaving about an inch or so to turn in on itself to create a finished edge.

Pin and sew! I sew at a few spots.

First close to the edge, then once down the center.

All done! feel free to contact me if you have any questions! Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Sew your first quilt!

Sew, it has been a long time. With Christmas sewing, school, and life I somehow missed December and January. Currently I am preparing to teach a parent/child quilt class at Sew Memphis. Of course, the teacher in me is going over and over the best way to work with young children and quilting. Rotary cutting? No, I have seen adults injure themselves! Complicated blocks? Only if I want to scare them into thinking quilting is torture. So after much thought, here is the pattern and instructions on the easy peasy little baby/lap quilt I am going to do. I am sharing this in case there is anyone out there that is currently looking to make a first quilt, or teaching a young one to quilt! This is only for the top assembly.

Materials Needed

sewing machine
paper template found here QUILT CUTS
double check you are printing actual size, and make a quick measure to make sure the large square is 6 1/2 by 6 1/2, the small square is 3 1/2 by 3 1/2 and the strip is  2 1/2 by 6 1/2 
about 6 or more fat quarters or a bag of scraps
quarter inch foot

A quick note about fabric. Cotton. Quilters cotton. 100% cotton. There are other 100% cotton fabrics, so make sure it is lighter weight like calico and not home decor weight. Most of the fabric in stores is quilters cotton. Blended fabrics are evil. Unless you are making clothes. Well, at least as you start your quilters journey. 

Quilts are blocks of fabric sewn together. How fancy the block is is up to the quilter, but for now lets start with the basics. We use a quarter inch seam, this makes our math easier. Yes, quilters use math. Lots and lots of math. I suggest before we begin, if you do not have a quarter inch seam foot, that you take a ruler tool of some sort and measure from the needle to 1/4 inch. if there is no mark on your machine, you might want to grab some painters tape and mark it. This is what I did for Evie, even with a quarter inch foot it was hard for her to keep a straight seam when she first started.

This is what my quarter inch foot looks like. I follow the edge of the foot for a quarter inch seam. Trying to keep a straight even stitch is important, it keeps your blocks measuring the same. Practice a quarter inch seam a few times before starting.

Now, here is a photo of the Templates

The large one is 6 1/2 inches. If you take away the seams, that means your finished block will be a six inch square. So for this quilt, that is the size of our finshed blocks. The small square is for a four patch, so that template is 3 1/2  inches. The strip is for a rail fence, or 3 stripes. That is 6 1/2 by 2 1/2. These are the blocks you are making.

 Cut out the templates, carefully pin to your fabric and cut  few out from each fabric. Make sure you have pressed your fabric well.You want more small squares and strips than large squares.

So, are you ready? Confident you can do and keep a quarter inch seam? First, make sure you have a tight stitch. Each machine has a different numbering system for stitches that are closer together or farther apart. Take it a little closer together. Next, find a little scrap. This is called a starter. you put it in and start your stitch on that, then you can piece one after the other. It is also an ender, instead of just stopping you go put this at end. You can see the starter in some of the pictures.

We will do the 4 patch block first. Take your 3 1/2 inch squares. Place your starter piece in the machine, go over the end of it a few stitches. Line up edges of 2 small squares with right sides facing each other, place under your foot, you will not lift your foot, just place the squares under and sew. Keep going! Go over the end of that one, then take 2 more squares and keep going until you have used all the small squares.

Now, take your sewn squares to the ironing board to press. Pressing is as important as sewing, you want a crisp press. Place square on the board with seam facing away from you. Press over the seam, then gently fold the top piece of fabric back, pressing. I do pull a little to make sure the seam is flat, but don't pull too much!

here is a side view of the pressed seam.

back view. See how nice, even and flat?

When you get all your squares pressed, go back to your machine. You need to put 2 sets together to make a square. When doing this, you want the seams to go in the opposite direction to create a lock.

See how they nuzzle into each other? That keeps the seams on the front of the block lined up. Place a pin there to keep it in place when you start sewing. Now sew that side.

Watch your seams, try to keep them flat and the direction you pressed them!

easy enough? Now you have your four patches done! Take those over to your board and press the seams.


Now for the 3 strips. Make 3 even piles of fabric. Sew 2 strips together down the long side first, then press that seam. Next, take a third strip and sew along one of the long sides. Press that seam. You should now have a stack that looks like this

easy enough?

Now you have 3 stacks of blocks to use for your scrappy quilt. This is where your creativity can fly. You are now going to take 4 of the blocks to create a 12 1/2 inch block (12 inch finshed) I have more solid squares, so I decided to do 2 solids, 1 4 patch and 1 rail fence in each big square like this.

You will need 9 finished larger blocks. To do each of these, I fold over from left to right and place a pin in the side I want to sew together. Just like the four patch, sew 2 together first, press, the sew the sets together to make a block.

For these larger blocks, I press to the solid 6 inch block, so that my seams create the lock we need.

Regardless, if you lay it out differently, you need to watch where you press to create a locking seam.

When you have the 9 big blocks done, you are ready to layout and sew your top! Lay all the blocks out. Your finished quilt will be 36 inch square. This is a great size because you can use a yard and a quarter of flannel to back it instead of making it larger and having to piece backing.

Now that it is laid out, I like to piece the top row, middle row, then bottom row. To create a lock, you need to press the top and bottom seams to the left and the center to the right. When the strips are done, piece them just like you did the rail fence block. Pin at all of your seams before you assemble! It keeps it from shifting.


OK, now you need a backing. Grab a yard and a quarter of flannel or quilters cotton and some the same size as batting. These are larger than the quilt top, so after you lay it out and pin it down, you will need to trim.

Take your backing piece and lay it out nice and flat with the right side facing up. next, lay your quilt top face down, making it nice and flat.

If you are using flannel and don't want batting, you can pin now. If not, add your batting. This is so when you are done sewing and ready to turn, the batting is on the inside.

Now pin around the sides. Here is where you want to trim your batting and backing. Sew around the sides leaving about a 3 inch gap in one side to turn right sides out. Clip your corners before turning, turn right side out. press. Make sure to pin your turning hole, then topstitch around the edge. I stitch between some of the squares to finish it up.

All Done! I hope this helped a bit! If you can, join me for classes at Sew Memphis! It's always more fun to sew in a group.