Saturday, October 12, 2019

Hand Quilting & Binding

Okay, this one is going to be EPIC! It's basically the run-down of the demo I did today for the Payson Quilt Show. I will attach my supplies list in THIS POST, but they are also scattered throughout the presentation.

Good, Old-Fashioned Hand Quilting
I started out pretty young, probably about 6 or 7, hand quilting with my mom and all the older ladies at the church. Mom was the youngest by probably 30 years -- so they really were old ladies! Sometimes we would have a quilt "on" (meaning on the frames) at my Grandma's house too -- that was always fun because my Grandma and aunts are pretty much the best people I've ever known. I loved being with older people, and I learned REALLY young that if you kept quiet, you could find out ALL SORTS of juicy things about people! :)

Back in those days, there was a bit of a stigma about machine quilting. I guess it was okay for people who wanted their quilts to look like a MACHINE did it, but if you really cared about someone you would hand quilt for them. I actually didn't even discover professional longarm quilting until my fourth child was born -- so all those three older kids' quilts were hand quilted when I was around 8 months pregnant!

When I was a teenager, I had a goal to make a quilt for the local children's hospital. I had had a cousin who was diagnosed with leukemia at 2, and I wanted to give back to that hospital that had taken such good care of her. I let my mom choose most of the fabric and pattern -- but I was able to donate the cutest little blue bear holding balloons! (I'll try to find a picture and post it later.)

After I discovered professional longarm services, I realized there were quicker and easier ways to quilt than with hand quilting. Then I learned to quilt on my OWN machine -- at first with just my walking foot, but now I'm fairly comfortable with free motion quilting too. But after a little while, I returned to hand quilting for smaller projects, and every so often the quilt just CALLS for hand quilting. I love working with my hands, it's very soothing! And each section finished feels like a victory.

With traditional hand quilting, there are five ways to sandwich your quilt. Two of them, I haven't ever used -- they are the quilting hoop and thread basting. To me, the quilting hoop just seems like something extra to store that I probably won't use, and thread basting seems so wasteful of thread and energy. I know lots of people swear by them though! The three other ways are to use quilting frames (which are far bulkier than a quilting hoop, I know! But that's how I learned originally), spray basting, and pin basting. I used quilting frames on all those baby quilts! But of the three, pin basting is my favorite -- mostly because I just LOVE the way it feels like a real quilt when you finish, and I really love that I can snuggle under that "quilt" while I'm watching a show on TV! I had the idea the other day to try pin basting from the underside of the quilt, so the pins don't catch your thread when you're sewing -- but I haven't tried that yet. You do need to be careful if you're saving that project long-term -- I believe they can rust, especially if you live in a humid environment.

The stitching method for traditional hand quilting is to do the tiniest stitches possible! It keeps the stitches strong and looks the most historical and authentic. You can do that two different ways -- by rocking the needle back and forth to take little "bites" of the fabric all at once, or by taking a one small stitch at a time and then pulling a group of three or four of them through. I usually use the second of those methods. I like that I can make the stitches really even and uniform, and I like the pucker it gives to the quilting.

When you're hand quilting, you usually use a quilter's knot. My aunt showed us all how to make one back when I was a young teenager, and it's the only way I make knots in thread any more. You wrap the thread around the needle two or three times, then pull the needle through to make a knot in the end of the thread. When I start my quilting, I generally put four or five "wraps" around the needle, and three or four at the end of the quilting.

One other thing you MUST know for all these methods of hand quilting and binding, is called burying the knot. It's basically just popping the knot through the fabric. For your thread ends to be buried, you have to use this method. When you're starting quilting, you'll take a medium-sized stitch, starting a little away from where you want the thread to come up, and then pull the needle through in the exact place you'd like to start. When the needle starts to pucker the fabric (due to the knot at the end), you pull it, while simultaneously pulling the fabric against the knot. The knot will slip in between the weave of the fabric, and be hidden in between the layers of your quilt sandwich. It takes a little practice to pull just hard enough that it goes through the fabric, without coming out the other end too -- but you'll love that all those threads are hidden! I use the same method for burying the end of the knot, too.

Hand Binding
I absolutely LOVE using my binding kit! I got it from THIS FREE TUTORIAL by Vanessa Goertzen at Lella Boutique. I made an extra little pocket for my thimble, and made it a little bigger to accommodate all my Clover Wonder Clips, but everything else is pretty much the same. Its' so nice to have everything in one place!

When I hand bind my quilts, I almost always cut my binding strips at 2 1/4", then press them in half and roll them into an oval shape to do a double-fold binding. I attach the front first, then wrap the binding around to the back. I really like to press my binding towards the outside of the quilt before I wrap it too -- I feel like it's a lot easier to make sure that seam on the back is covered if I do it that way.

I like to start in the middle of the longer side of the quilt (because then it feels like you only have one long side!), and I usually use ten "wraps" in the quilter's knot, since I don't have to bury it! It's so nice to just have it super secure. Then, when I end my thread, I make the knot and bury it at the same time.

Big Stitch Hand Quilting
I love to use this method any time I really want to show off my piecing! I have used it to outline, to go along both sides of seams, and to quilt diagonally on a quilt. I've also used it to embellish, almost like embroider -- it was particularly useful to make the "vines" on a pumpkin table runner I made last year. It goes SO FAST and it's so fun to see your quilting shine!

One small change in supplies is that you will need to use a bigger needle, with a bigger eye. This is really important, because the bigger needle and eye will "plow the road" for your thread to go through. Don't worry -- that hole you're making with a bigger needle will go in between the weave of your fabric, and will disappear in just a little bit of time.

You will also use different thread. I usually use 50 weight thread to piece my quilt tops, and either 40 or 50 weight for quilting -- but I almost always use size 8 perle cotton for big stitch quilting. You can also use size 12 perle cotton or Aurifil thread, but I really like the heft of the size 8.

As far as method goes, it's almost the opposite of traditional hand quilting. You make a bigger stitch on the top of the quilt, about 1/2" long, and as tiny as possible on the back side. Generally my back side stitch is about 1/8". You will also use less "wraps" on the quilting knot -- I usually do just one wrap around for burying the threads.

Big Stitch Binding
When you're doing big stitch binding, it is generally because you want to emphasize it! I generally use a bigger binding (although I didn't in my example) -- whatever size you want is fine, but I usually like to do it if there is a big border, so my binding can be bigger as well. If you're doing a double-fold binding, you can cut it any way you'd like -- if you use a 1/4" binding on one side, you can wrap it around and it will fold just right.

You should attach your binding to the back of the quilt (opposite of traditional hand binding), then wrap around to the front. That way you can see your pretty stitches!

One last trick is to sew under the binding, quilt top, and batting -- but not through the back of the quilt. You could "quilt" through it all, but I like the look of the stitching just being on the top side. That is how you attach a regular binding anyway, so that part of binding should feel familiar. But again -- it will go so much faster than regular binding!

And that's my little presentation! I opened it up for some questions at the end, but that's the gist. I hope you try some of these methods another time!  And you can get the full supply list, and list of helpful links I've used, HERE.

Hand Quilting & Binding - Supply List & Helpful Links

·          Water soluble marker
·          Size 40 or 50 thread (for good old-fashioned quilting & binding)
·          Size 8 or 12 perle cotton or embroidery floss (for big stitch hand quilting & binding)
·          16 Dritz Embroidery needles, size 3/9 – large eye needles

Natalie Smith’s Hand Quilting blog post: 
Natalie Smith’s Hot Pad Tutorial:

Vanessa Goertzen’s Binding Bag Tutorial:

Simple Quilt Frames Tutorial 

PVC Quilt Frame Tutorial 

Sarah Fielke’s Hand Quilting Techniques for Beginners 

Erica Jackman’s Big Stitch Binding Tutorial 

Friday, October 11, 2019

Hot Pad Tutorial

Hey everyone! I'm teaching a little demo at the Payson Quilt Show this Saturday at 10:00. It's all about Hand Quilting -- good, old-fashioned hand quilting and binding, and modern big-stitch quilting and binding. I am equal parts nervous and excited -- I hope I tip it over more on the excited side soon!

One of the things I'm planning to show is this CUTE hot pad I made this week. I've actually needed a buffer in between my Pyrex pans for quilt a while now. Every time they clink together, I get nervous that I'm going to make some sort of a crack and the next time I make a delicious dinner, it will explode and splatter all over the oven! And lest you think I'm being overly dramatic -- that actually happened once! *insert crying face here* In fact, to add insult to injury, I was feeding ALL my in-laws and it was just a huge mess and we had to break the news 5 minutes before dinner was supposed to be on the table. So sad!

So, to prevent that again, I really wanted to put a hot pad in between each pan. I have three different sizes -- the biggest is about 10x15, the middle size is 9x13, and the smallest is 8x8. Those sides taper in though, so I actually needed a set of hot pads that would end up 9x14, 8x12, and 7x7. I will use them mostly as buffers in between pans, but I realized the other day that they are ALSO the perfect size for a hot pad under the pan! Haha the original purpose is now the new purpose. :)

Since almost everyone has a 9x13 pan, I will post the tutorial for that size. I think it's the cutest one of them all anyway!

center (pink): 
   (1) 5" square

inner border (yellow):
   (2) 1 3/4" x 5"
   (2) 1 3/4" x 7 1/2"

middle border (green):
   (2) 1 1/2" x 7 1/2"
   (1) 1 1/2" x 9 1/2"
   (1) 1 3/4" x 9 1/2"

outsides (orange):
   (1) 2 1/2" x 9 1/2"
   (1) 3" x 9 1/2"

   (1) 1 1/2" x WOF strip of fabric

1. Sew one inner border (yellow) 1 3/4" x 5" strip to each side of the center (pink) square.

2. Sew one inner border (yellow) 1 3/4" x 7 1/2" strip to the top and bottom of the pieced unit.

3. Sew one middle border (green) 1 1/2" x 7 1/2" strip to each side of the pieced unit.

4. Sew the middle border (green) 1 3/4" x 9 1/2" to the top of the pieced unit. Sew the middle border (green) 1 1/2" x 9 1/2" to the bottom of the center unit. (Note: The width of these pieces will not match up with the outer sides of the middle border. Just center these pieces when you sew them.)

5. Sew the outside (orange) 2 1/2" x 9 1/2" to the top of the pieced unit. Sew the outside (orange) 3" x 9 1/2" to the bottom of the pieced unit. 

6. Quilt as desired -- I loved hand quilting the center and inner borders, but for stability I machine quilted on both sides of all the other seams. I also used two or three layers of batting -- I have used Insulbright in hot pads before too.

7. After quilting, cut down to 8 1/4" x 12 1/2" -- this is cut a little bigger than usual, to allow for shrinkage. 

8. Single-fold binding -- *note: Please feel free to look on youtube for any tutorial that makes this easier! This is what worked for me, but I didn't take any pictures of my process.

Lay the binding strip right sides together with the top of the hot pad (do not fold!). Attach it with a 1/4" seam allowance all around, as you usually do with binding. (I usually do a straight seam instead of a diagonal one.) After you finish sewing down the top of the binding, press it towards the outsides of the hot pad. The corners will be a little tricky, just press to the edge of the seam allowance. Turn the hot pad to the back, and then fold the binding to the edge of the hot pad, and press along the fold. Fold the doubled binding edge over the seam from attaching the binding. Sew along the seam on the front side, catching the back of the binding all around.

And now you're done! Have fun using it in between your Pyrex pans, or under them!

Friday, October 4, 2019

General Conference Stitching

Wow, I haven't done one of these in a LONG time! But I've been working hard on some more cross stitch charts, and I think you'll really like them.  Since I haven't done any blogging for a while, I have the 2019 and 2020 charts below.  Each chart is JUST a chart -- I have not assigned specific DMC colors, because I think that really depends on what color of cloth you're using (aida and linen come in many colors!). Please feel free to change up the colors however you want -- that's half the fun!

I have a cool version and a warm version of both the 2019 Primary Theme and the 2019 Youth theme, as well as a cool and warm version of the 2019 Youth Theme and the 2019 Youth Initiative (which includes the Primary).

2019 Primary Theme
 2019 Primary Theme - cool

 2019 Primary Theme - warm version

2019 Youth Theme
 2019 Youth Theme

 2019 Youth Theme - warm

2020 Youth Theme
 2020 Youth Theme

 2020 Youth Theme

2020 Youth Initiative
 2020 Youth Initiative - cool

 2020 Youth Initiative - warm

And here are links to the other General Conference stitcheries I've done:

2016 Primary & Youth Themes
YW Torch
Provo Temple & Instructions

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

New Year, New Me!

Hey everyone -- long time no blog! I'm pretty excited about the coming year, and I've got a REALLY great plan in place to be successful at this blogging business (which isn't a business at all for me -- I'm not monetized!).

So, here's the plan. For this year, I am working on something really special -- something that's been on my mind for at least a couple of years -- a Quilt Along!

Now, I recognize that I've been pretty silent for a long time, so I assume that it will have to gain a little traction before anyone is actually quilting along... haha. That's okay! You can start whenever you like, and go at whatever pace you like -- so if you're just starting out with my blog and it's June and you still want to do it, then DO IT!

If you're interested in Quilting Along with me, I'll be sharing my first post in about a week and a half -- we're starting January 7. 

And, since just about every post needs a pretty picture... here's a little teaser about what I'm doing...

Monday, April 3, 2017

Under Construction

Well, that was an unexpected hiatus -- and after such a consistent couple of weeks! But I've been a little swamped lately with all the little things in life -- Christmas, and reorganizing my house, and catching up on two-years'-worth of laundry -- that all turn into big things, without any warning at all. I've felt like my life has been under construction lately -- and that's turning out to be a really good thing.

So I guess this is my "I'm still alive!" post -- with a promise that sometime soon I'll be posting again -- and hopefully this time with a little better consistency. But not this week, because it's Spring Break and we are Having Adventures! :)

Thursday, August 25, 2016

School Day Pledge

My kids are like everyone else -- some love school and can't wait to go back, others kind of dread it, but the first day of school is always a lot of fun. It's so great to see people you haven't seen all summer, and the promise of a fresh start is always so great -- that's one of my favorite things about a new anything!

Just a day or two before I sent my kids off to school, I came across this AMAZING Facebook post. It was posted in 2015 by a Dad BOLDLY EMPOWERING HIS CHILD* to have the best school day ever. Have you seen it? I'm amazed by the statements this child is saying -- it's so inspiring to me as a parent, and for my own children. I feel that they're really entering that struggling teenage time of uneven self-confidence, and how great would it be if they told themselves this every stinking day? I wish I could write a letter to this Dad saying how much I admire what he's doing with and for his son -- but I have no idea where it came from, so I guess this will have to serve as my open fan-letter. :)

In fact, I was so inspired by it, that I made a printable for it. I just couldn't NOT display this in my home where my kids will see it every day! And if they're struggling with homework, or even just going to school, I'm going to have them go read this empowering statement. In the end, I did two versions -- one ending in pink, and one ending in blue -- I just couldn't choose which one I liked best!
(please click on the picture to make it bigger, if necessary)

If you'd like a copy for yourself, please feel free to follow THIS LINK for the pink version, and THIS LINK for blue -- it will print out at 8 1/2" x 11", then you can cut it down to 8" x 10". I printed mine on cardstock so it would hold up better, but it should print out just fine on regular printer paper.

*Sorry for the gratuitous use of caps in this post -- I'm just so dang excited by it!