Thursday, February 25, 2016

50th Anniversary Wall Quilt - Final

After quilting the background, I selected the border I thought would look best and got sewing. But I wanted a mitered border, which I've never done before. I watched several YouTube videos and of course they always make it sound really, really, easy and never once to they say "don't do X because then it won't work" or "watch out for Y." No. They simply say, "See its easy!" No. No it isn't.

Mitered Corners

The first step to mitered corners is marking your center panel. Mark 1/4" away from your corners in every direction. Sew your borders on the panel starting and stopping at the 1/4" marks.

Once you get all 4 sides done, your borders will NOT be sewn down in the corners. All the borders are floppy and weird at this point. Lay all your borders flat out so that they overlap (sorry, I don't have a picture). Mark with a pen, on each fabric with a  little dot, where the two borders intersect.

Next, fold your center panel in 1/2 on the diagonal. Match up your top border and bottom border right sides together. You should now have a big triangle, wrong side facing up. Take your bottom border and the SIDE border and line them up right sides together.

The center panel gets pinched in between as you can see. Now lay everything as flat as you can on a cutting mat with a 45 degree angle. Now, draw a 45 degree line across the border. This is your sew line. Remember that little mark you made when all the borders were laying flat and the two borders intersected?  That little mark should line up on the 45 degree line you just made.

Pin along the sew line. If you have a double border like I did, make sure you pin at the seam. You want to start up near the top but NOT as high as you marked. If you do, you will see stitching in the center panel and get a big pucker. Ask me how I know.

This was definitely the hard part. Figuring out where your stitching should start. I had a lot of trouble to the point where my fabric frayed to the point where I had to take off 2 borders, re cut the gold/brown fabric, re-sew it and then sew it back onto the center. Yeah, not fun.

I'm not sure I actually did this right but I'll tell you what worked for me. BEFORE sewing on the 45, lay your borders flat out criss crossing each other. At the corner where the fabric meets, stab a pin straight down. Flip it over and mark where your needle came through.  This mark will be on the back of the fabric after you line your fabric up and you have your 45. This mark may NOT fall on your 45, but each time I dropped my needle in that spot my corner worked. Also, something else I did was extend the sew line where I attached the borders, a lot closer than 1/4" away. After I got one of the corners on and it looked good but I had gaps where it clearly wasn't sewn down just before the corner. Not good.

In the picture above, I have a teeny tiny pucker in the corner, which I tore out and resewed. I simply couldn't stand it but that's what I mean by pucker. But otherwise a really good mitered corner. The seam is really out to a corner but the picture doesn't show all the fabric and the seam looks off but it wasn't.

The mitered corners were definitely the hardest sewing I've done on this project and I admit was ready to give up. I probably sewed about 20 corners on something that only has 4.

Applique Blocks

I laid out my blocks and once I was happy with them I sewed them together and then I sewed them onto the center panel and after looking at them I thought they were missing something.

I thought I'd cover up the seams between the blocks and I used cream fabric with gold flecks looked really nice. Subtle but nice. I got out my Clover 1/2" binding tip and made some strips. Next, I took my fusible tape, pressed it onto the seams I wanted to cover and pressed the 1/2" sashing over the tape and fused with the iron.

I took a light tan colored silk thread and hand stitched the sashing down. It took a while to hand stitch it but I like the look instead of machine stitching all over the front.


Then, I took the gold/brown fabric and cut 2.5" strips for the binding, sewed those together and got it stitched down on the front and hand sewed it to the back.


I also sewed the quilt label to the back. You can put anything you want on the quilt label just remember to always put a title, date you completed your work, your name and contact information and if you used a pattern make sure to reference the pattern and author.

Monday, February 15, 2016

50th Anniversary Wall Quilt - Part 7

I decided the open space area above mom's head needed some quilting. I didn't want to have too much quilting but I wanted to fill the space. The people will not be quilted. I decided that I didn't want to mess anything up and taking the plunge to quilt even the empty space was making me nervous. I've put a lot of work into the portrait and I don't want to ruin it.

I thought a large 50 should go into the corner but what else? I had no idea and after looking through some quilting books to get ideas, I thought I'd use the Ohio quilt block pattern, which to me looks just like a star so I thought I could work with that.

I got my projector out and got to work. Using the projector simply helps with placement and keeping things straight, which most people can't do freehand. So after I got them roughed in so to speak, I needed to fill the spaces in between. I didn't just want to do a meander stitch all over because I wanted a bit more of a design. So when in doubt, use a scroll type vine and maybe some leaves. I liked the looks of it in my test drawings and so I filled in the remaining areas including the small space behind dad's head.

I placed some batting and stabilizer behind my portrait and picked my thread. I won't go into detail about my agonizing about the thread I used but I picked a Sulky variegated long staple cotton thread. It matches the background nicely in cream, tan and dark brownish.

After I got everything just about done, the Ohio block didn't look too good so I filled some areas in with a meander stitch and boy did they pop. I thought it looked good and somehow elegant at the same time. I love it so much that I filled in the 50. I also used a YLI silk thread in cream for small star and the vines around the 5. The rest is the variegated thread. I'm really pleased with how this turned out. I was looking for subtle yet pretty and that's exactly what I got. The pictures really don't do it justice.

Now, I just have to pick the border I want to use and get sewing.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

50th Anniversary Wall Quilt - Part 6

It took me a  while to figure out which 2 fabrics I wanted to border the portrait. I thought that since the center is a light colored fabric that I would have a small border (1") in brown then another (2") border in a lighter color after that making the center square 21".

I also wanted mitered corners. I have never done mitered border corners but it doesn't seem all that hard and I always like to throw in an element that I don't know how to do. But before I get to the borders, I need to work on that lovely background. It's not a huge area to try to quilt and I may not wind up doing it at all but its seems like there should be something.

Border Fabric

My MIL and I went to our local quilt shop looking for fabric to put around the portrait. I wanted a small 1/2" - 1" darker fabric around the portrait and a lighter 2-2.5" fabric around that but they both had to work with the cream/applique blocks and the portrait. Picking out fabric colors can be a little tricky. Some fabric tend to change colors when next to another so you just have audition them and usually at some point you'll say, "I like that one" or "yuck" and it'll be pretty definitive if you want to consider it or not. Then usually you can pick the one that will work the best from the yes pile.

The darker solid is a nice brownish gold color and will well right against the portrait which I'm definitely using so now just to pick which gold/design fabric. I think both would be fine but I'm leaning towards the second picture. It blends in a bit more and I think the first one stands out more. It has more gold and its a brighter white. I'll take care of the quilting part first, then audition the borders with the applique blocks and see which one looks best. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

50th Anniversary Wall Quilt - Part 5

Now that my practice piece is finished, I can move onto wall quilt.

I didn't want to do a huge center portrait but I didn't want something super small either. So I settled on 18x18" but the applique blocks I want to put around the center portrait, can be done in 6" or 7". The 6" block says "finishes at 7" but 7 doesn't go into 18 evenly. Starting to see the problem? Of course you are!

So that means the blocks have to either finish at 6 (which goes into 18 nicely) or I have to add a border around the portrait and end up with say 21, which 7 goes into. So I thought I'd add a mitered border (which I've never done before) around the center to add 3" making my center 21" square.

Background Squares

I also stitched out some embroidered background squares from the Feathered Star pattern, which came out really well. I stitched out 2 blocks. On the left, the thread is a very close match to the cream fabric and the one on the right is slightly more yellow making is stand out a bit. Don't know if I'll use these or not in the final wall hanging but they turned out nice.


Here are some of the applique blocks done in cream/tan/gold. I've officially ran out of some of these fabrics so I hope I don't have to remake any of them but I have 16 of them. I do think some of them have too much color but I'll just have to see how they look around the portrait.