Monday, December 14, 2009
I decided to add some placemats and napkins to match.
If you are looking for a really quick gift for someone, either for the holidays or for a little hostess gift, here is how I do my placemats.
you will need 12 charm squares per placemat.
Backing for the placemat is 14" x 18"
14" x 18" batting (cotton such as Quilter's Dream Cotton or Warm and Natural is recommended - avoid polyester batting).
Thread for piecing and quilting.
Binding strips cut 2 1/2"
Additional supplies for making this go very quickly!
Alene's Glue Baste It (or Elmer's School Glue)
505 Basting Spray
Pounce Pad with Chalk
Mary Ellen's Best Press
1. Stitch your charm squares into pairs. Place them Right Sides Together (RST) and stitch using 1/4" seam allowance.
2. Using Best Press, press seams to the darker square.
3. Stitch 8 pairs of charms into 4 patches.
4. Stitch the (2) 4 patches together so you have 4 squares x 2 squares.
5. Take the remaining charms and stitch them into a row, which is one patch by 4 patches and add that onto the 8 patch unit completed in Step 4.
You now have placemat top which is a total of 12 squares (4 squares by 3 squares).
6. Cut your placemat backing 14" x 18". Tape it down, snuggly, wrong side up on a flat surface and spray it with 505 spray. Just a bit will do it.
7. Cut a piece of batting 14" x 18" and smooth it onto your backing. Spray it lightly with 505 also.
8. Smooth your placemat top on the batting, centered, making sure you have backing and batting around all sides.
9. Select your quilting stencil (if you are using one) and place it on your placemat. Use your Pounce Quick Swipe Pad to mark your quilting design. (I like to tap my Pounce on the table several times before I remove the cover. Then I just rub the Pounce pad over the stencil several times and the marking is done).
The pounce gives me a beautifully clear marking which I find very easy to follow when I am doing free motion quilting on my placemats.
10. Complete the free motion quilting. Use a bobbin thread which matches the backing fabric and a thread in your needle which matches the majority of the charm squares. I used a deep rose color for my quilting which blended nicely through all the fabrics, and was a bit calmer than a deep Christmas read.
11. Prepare your binding strips. I used 2 1/2" binding strips which I joined end to end, using a bias seam.
I place on strip on the table Right Side UP and then place a second strip perpendicular to it.
12. Using a ruler, draw a line from the upper left hand corner of the top strip to the bottom corner of the bottom strip.
13. Carefully place the strips in your machine and stitch on the drawn line.
After stitching, trim the triangle to the right of your stitching line, and press the seam open.
14. You'll need about 75" of binding for each placemat. Once your binding is long enough, press it in half lengthwise, right sides out, and use Best Press when you press it.
15. Once the binding is prepared, pin it to the edge of your placemat top, with raw edges aligned. Place a pin 1/4" away from the first corner you come to.
16. Stitch the binding to the placemat, using 1/4" seam allowance. Stop stitching at the pin 1/4" away from the corner. Back stitch to anchor your stitching.
17. Remove the placemat from the machine and flip the binding strip up over your stitching line. This creates a 45 degree angle on your binding strip.
18. Now fold your binding strip down to the next side of the placemat to be stitched. The fold of the binding strip should be even with the raw edge of the placemat.
19. I like to put a pin in the binding right where I feel that 45 degree angle and I put my needle down right near that pin in order to start stitching on the next side of the placemat. This process is repeated on all 3 remaining corners.
20. When I get to the starting tail of my binding, I make a 45 degree angle fold on the beginning tail and trim 1/4" away from that crease. I then slip the ending tail withing the beginning tail and stitch completely.
21. Once the binding is completely stitched, I trim a little triangle off the seam allowance in each corner. This allows my corners to finish nicely. I use my rotary cutter to trim the excess backing and batting 1/4" away from my stitching line.
I use glue in my binding technique, and at this point I like to set my glue bottle in a mug of warm water. My applicator is very tiny and the warm water bath helps the glue to flow more easily through the tip.
22. Run a small bead of glue along the seam allowance of the binding on the front side of the placemat and press the binding toward the seam allowance. This will heat set the glue and it will secure the binding nicely.
Do this on all 4 sides.
23. Turn the placemat over and looking at the backing side, run a small bead of glue along the seam allowance again, and press the binding to the back side of the placemat. The glue will heat set and hold your binding in place. The folded edge of the binding strip should be right on the bobbin stitching line on the backing of the placemat.
24. Your binding corners will automatically fold in at 45 degrees. For my placemats, I used a dark green thread which matched my binding. I used a buttonhole decorative stitch on my machine.
Stitching on the front of the placemat, I ran my stitching just along the edge of the binding, and when completed, I had a nice decorative stitch right along the edge of the binding on the wrong side.
25. Mist your placemat with cool water and brush with a towel to remove any quilting marks and your placemat is done.
26. To make coordinated napkins, take 2 fat quarters and press them Right Sides Together. Use your Best Press.
27. Take the fat quarters to the cutting mat and trim them to 16 1/2" square.
28. Stitch the fat quarters around the edge, using a 1/4" seam allowance. Leave a 2" opening for turning the napking right side out. Trim a triangle off the seam allowance of each corner to help the corners turn crisply.
29. Reach in through the opening and grab the opposide side of the napkin and pull it right side out through the opening. Use a pencil or other small pointed object to gently push the points out in the corners.
30. Press napkin. You can push seams flat from the inside or pull them from the outside. Spray with Best Press again. Top stitch 1/8" from the edge.
Have a Happy Holiday! We have kits available for these placemats and napkins. Great for the holidays and gifts. Enjoy!
I recently completed a Turning 20 Around the Block Quilt using the 12 Days of Christmas collection by Nancy Halvorsen. The collection included a panel, which I cut apart and integrated into the instructions in the book "Turning 20 Around the Block" by Tricia Cribbs.
This quilt was sooo much fun! And you can use any type of panel for this quilt pattern. The 12 Days is a favorite of mine, and the colors of the collection went so well together. I would recommend trying to incorporate as many coordinating fabrics from the collection that go with your panel, if at all possible. It gives the quilt a very cohesive look.
If you are curious about how to make a panel square or rectangle work, here's how it is done.
Here is the original 12 Days of Christmas panel:
1. Cut your panel squares apart. Usually there is a line in the printing of the panel that you can follow as a "cutting line". On the 12 Days Panel, I cut right down the green line between the squares.
2. Take one (or more) of your coordinates and cut strips to "frame" your blocks. They will be used to bring the focal blocks from your panel up to size. A good size to cut the strips is usually 2 1/2"
3. Place the strip Right Sides Together (RST) with your panel block and align the raw edges.
4. Flip the panel so that the framing strip is on the bed of your machine and the panel block is facing you (and it will now be wrong side up)
5. Stitch along one of the print lines and use that as your "stitching" line. The stitching may not be a perfect 1/4" seam allowance, but that is ok in this instance.
6. Repeat with another framing strip on the other side of the panel block.
Here you can see the green framing strip has been sewn to the panel block.
Once strips have been added to both sides, the strips are trimmed even with the top and bottom of the square.
Then framing strips are added to the top and bottom of the square and trimmed even with the side strips.
Once the block is pressed, you place it under the Turning 20 Template Ruler, and trim it. Be sure the block is centered under the ruler. Continue with the rest of your blocks.
Once the blocks are trimmed you just integrate them into the quilt according to the directions in the Turning 20 Around the Block.
The 12 days panel also included a "title block" at the top of the panel which I chose to integrate into the quilt.
It was a bit longer than the standard 16 1/2" block in the quilt, and not as "tall" as the standard blocks, so I added some scraps from the cutting of my block pieces to bring it up to size.
Next I created 2 side blocks to place on either side of my "title Block". Again, I worked with my scraps and some additional fat quarters so The blocks would blend in, and I made 2 patched hearts which were appliqued onto background squares.
I added these blocks to either side of my title block, and trimmed them to size so that the top row would fit my other rows, and finished off the quilt with the addition of borders.
The end result was totally charming and everyone that sees it loves it.
I hope you will be inspired to try this technique with a 12 Days panel or with a panel of your choice.
We have kits on the web site for the 12 Days, but grab yours soon, as quantities are very limited!
Merry Christmas to all!
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Hi Everyone and welcome to my first ever post on the QP Café!
Nothing is more important to me than my family. I wanted to take a moment to introduce you to a few family members who will be mentioned often in our blog. Pictured here is my niece Caitlin, 5, who is reading to her sleepy little brother Liam, who is almost 4. They also have another brother, Jack, who is only 17 months old, and was asleep for this photo. Caitlin is now in kindergarten, and Liam is in his first year of nursery school. They are lots of fun, awfully cute, and they keep us very busy and smiling a lot!
The kids just love the new Snow Day Flannel Quilt you see here in this photo. After we took this picture, Caitlin headed to bed and asked me to bring the quilt along, as she thought it would work just perfect in her room. When I told her this one was actually going to Mimi’s house (my mom’s) she was a bit disappointed, but understood. She then asked me to get her princess quilt (another we quilted) so she could sleep with it.
Quilting seems to be double the fun to me when you have little ones excited about the project. Anyone with kids in their life should give our Snow Day kits a look, especially if the little one’s you know love snow and snowmen as much as these kids. Our Snow Day Kit includes a pack of 64 pre-cut Flannel 8” squares, and extra fabric for binding. It sews up in no time at all. We used Benartex Snow Show flannel for the backing, Warm and Natural Batting, and tied simple square knots with embroidery floss in the corners of each four patch. Then we added the beautiful coordinated binding to completely finish it off. It’s the perfect blanket to cuddle up with the kids and read a book, watch a favorite movie, or warm up after playing in the snow.
I’m glad that I’ve introduced you to Caitlin, Liam and Jack, and I promise I will share lots of stories about them. Next up on our list of projects is Liam’s Disney Cars Quilt. He found a bolt of Lightening McQueen Fabric when he visited me at the warehouse and proceeded to carry it around saying "Aunt Ing, please make me a quilt with this." With those big green eyes, who could resist! So stay tuned and thanks for allowing me to introduce my three favorite little people!
Friday, November 13, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
A frequently asked question is "How do I baste my quilt to prepare it for machine quilting?" I use a spray basting technique, which I have used for years, whenever I am hand quilting or machine quilting at home (as opposed to using a professional long arm machine). Here's how I do it:
STEP 1 - PREPARE YOUR QUILT BACKING, QUILT TOP AND GATHER SUPPLIES:
For this basting technique, we recommend cotton batting. I usually use Quilter's Dream Cotton (Request weight), but I have also used Warm and Natural and Tuscany Bleached Cotton. I would *not* recommend using polyester batting or high loft batting using this method, because it has too much stretch. Once you have selected your batting, prepare your backing. Your backing and batting should extend 3" beyond the edge of your finished quilt top on all four sides. (So if your quilt is 40" x 50", your backing should measure 46" x 56").
If your quilt is large enough that you need to piece your backing using 2 or more pieces, press the seams open, and preferably use spray starch (I recommend Mary Ellen's Best Press) during the pressing process, which will help to stabilize the bias grain in the backing.
Next press your quilt top, pressing seams flat and be sure to snip off any loose threads. Press your quilt top both on the wrong and right sides, as this will help to assure a nice flat quilt top with no bumps or ridges. I also use Mary Ellen's Best Press on my quilt top. I find it helps to the precision of my piecing, and it helps my seams lie flat.
Gather enough large binder clips (which can be purchased at an office supply store) to clamp around the edges of your table every 12-18", 505 spray adhesive, a scissor, and clips or safety pins (size 0 or size 1) for pinning the edges of the quilt after the sandwiching process is complete.
STEP 2 - CLAMP YOUR BACKING TO THE TABLE:
My dining room table with leaves in it is a great basting table. Many craft cutting tables with extensions can also be used for this purpose, as well as banquet tables. If you don't have a table in your home, you can often use tables at a recreation center, school, library, church, or any community center that uses standard banquet tables. Two tables side by side make a great surface for basting.
Whatever size table you have, make sure it is clean and the area around it is clean, as your quilt will likely fall to the floor at some point during this process.
Place the center of the quilt backing on the center of the table and smooth it out, WRONG SIDE UP. On my table, which is 42" wide, the seams in my backing run right down the edge of the table, which is very helpful in keeping it straight.
Once the backing is positioned, clamp it to the table, smoothing it as you clamp and keeping it relatively taught between clips. You can see this on the above photo.
Once your backing is clamped on one side of the table, repeat the process on the other side of the table. Gently smooth out the backing and clamp it, smoothing any excess fabric toward the edges of the table. You can also clamp the backing down on the ends of the table also, if you wish. The most important thing is that you should not be able to pinch the backing up off the table when it is clamped. You are not stretching the backing, you are just smoothing it taught.
STEP 3 - CENTER YOUR BATTING ON THE BACKING:
Unfold your batting, and place it centered on your clamped backing. Usually the batting is folded lengthwise down the middle, and that fold should run lengthwise right down the center of your table and backing. Smooth out any lumps, bumps or wrinkles. Once that is done, carefully fold back one half of the batting as shown in the photo (the white side on the left is my folded batting and the darker side on the right is the wrong side of the backing facing up).
Take your 505 spray can and shake it several times. I usually hold my can about 8-10" from the backing, and start to spray at the edge of the table right in front of me, and then I spray toward the middle of the quilt. I move quickly along the edge of the table and mist the backing with the 505 as I move. When one side of the backing is misted, carefully unfold the batting and cover the sticky half of the backing with batting. Smooth it carefully. You can reposition if necessary, but it should not take much effort to get the batting smooth.
Now you can peel up the other side of the batting and fold it back so you can spray the other half of the backing. Use the same technique. Stand at the edge of your table, spray from the edge toward the middle and move along the table rather quickly to put a fine mist of the 505 over the entire backing. Then unfold your batting and smooth it out.
STEP 4 - COVER THE BATTING WITH YOUR QUILT TOP:
Fold your quilt top down the center, with right sides together. Take the center of the quilt and place it on the center of the batting, centering the quilt on the table as you go. Spray half of the batting with the spray, again misting from the edge toward the quilt in the center of the table. Once one side of the batting is sprayed, unfold your quilt and smooth half of the top onto the sticky batting. Lift up the other side of the quilt top fold it down the middle and spray the other side of your batting. Once it is fully sprayed, then smooth out the entire quilt top onto the batting.
If you have a small quilt, you may be finished, and you can release the clamps and trim away excess batting and backing, as described in STEP 7. If you have a large quilt, you will need to continue to STEP 5.
STEP 5 - RELEASE THE BINDER CLIPS HOLDING DOWN YOUR BACKING AND SLIDE THE QUILT:
In the following images, you'll see I've lifted both the quilt top and the batting that were hanging over the edge of the table, and I have folded them back, which exposed the black binder clips that clamped the backing to the table.
Once I release the clips, you can see I have a good deal of backing fabric hanging toward the floor. Because I now have only the center part of my quilt basted, I need to baste it all the way out to the edges on both sides. So I'm going to slide my quilt totally to the other side of the table until the edge of the left side of my backing comes to the edge of the left side table. My "basted" section of the quilt (where the quilt top is adhered to the batting and backing) is now draped over the other (right) side of the table and onto the floor.
STEP 6 - RE-CLAMP THE BACKING AND SPRAY THE REMAINING SECTION ON THE TABLE:
In the photo above you can see that the seam in my backing, which was once at the left edge of the table, is now in the center of my table. The left edge of my backing is now at the left edge of my table and I am clamping it down. You can see I have clamped all the way around on the ends as well for a little extra security. On the other side of the table, the weight of the basted quilt will be enough to keep the backing taught. I cannot pinch the backing off the table. That assures me that I will not have to worry about puckers on my backing when I have the quilt in my machine for quilting.
Once the backing is clamped again, I spray the wrong side of the backing, which you see on my table, with the 505 spray. Then I carefully smooth my batting on top of the sticky backing, smoothing out any lumps or wrinkles. I will then spray the batting, and then smooth the quilt top on the sticky batting. I repeat that entire process on the other side of the table. To do so, I will release these clips on the side that is now all basted, and slide the entire quilt toward me until the edge of the backing on the opposite side comes to the edge of the table. I take my black clips over there, clamp the backing all around, spray it, smooth the batting down on it, and spray the batting. The final step is to smooth the quilt top on the sticky batting and I am done basting my quilt.
If necessary, you can also do this on the top and bottom sides of the quilt. It will all depend upon the size of your quilt and how it relates to the size of your table.
STEP 7 - TRIM EXCESS BACKING AND BATTING AND SECURE EDGES:
When the entire quilt is basted, you may release all your binder clips and trim away excess batting and backing. I usually leave about an inch all the way around. Then I turn the backing up and over the quilt top and clip it in place with the Martelli clipper. Here's an image of my clipper:
The little metal clips go inside the clear clipper. If you put the end of the clipper on the edges of your quilt with the backing folded up and over the edge, when you slide the little blue button toward your quilt, the clip pops onto the quilt and holds everything in place. I pop these around the perimeter of my quilt and they remain there until the quilting is done and I am ready to apply my binding.
If you don't have a clipper you can use small safety pins (size 0 or size 1) to secure the edges of your quilt until your machine quilting is done. There are also little metal binding clips which can be used for this purpose. They look like barrettes and it is actually less expensive to purchase them in the drug store. I don't recommend using straight pins, as you are apt to stick yourself with them during the quilting process. Safety pins and these small clips work very well.
This is not how I will BIND my quilt, but it is a way to keep the edges of my quilt top protected, and it will keep my backing from ever catching on anything as I slide it into my machine during the quilting process.
On these last 2 photos you can see my clear clipper and some loose clips on the border of my quilt, and then on the bottom photo you can see my clipped quilt as I prepare to take it up to my sewing machine for quilting.
If you have any questions or comments, please post them to the blog and I will be happy to answer you.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
When the movers came to estimate the cost of moving all our fabric, we bribed them with crumb cake. We promised them we'd be ready for an early start and we would have breakfast for them. Ingrid noted that my crumb cake was "really good!" with a special emphasis that made the boss's eyes light up. So when moving day arrived, crumb cake was provided, as promised, and the comment of one of the mover's to my husband was, "Forget the fabric, tell her to just sell crumbcake!"
Somehow my crumbcake has developed a reputation, and so I thought I would share the recipe with you, as it is so easy, it's embarassing!
You will need a very large baking pan (17" x 12"). If that is not available, you could probably use a 13" x 9" plus a 9" x 9" or maybe 3 round cake pans. (it stores very well and can be made ahead and even frozen).
Spray with non-stick spray.
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees (maybe 375 if your oven runs cool like mine)
1 box Duncan Hines Butter Recipe Golden Cake Mix
2/3 cup water
1 stick butter
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract (or 1 tsp. almond extract for a different flavor)
3 sticks cold butter cut into pats (which is 3/4 pound total)
3 cups of flour (I use Heckers Unbleached Flour)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 Tablespoons cinnamon
I make this entire crumb cake in my Cuisinart food processor with the metal blade. You can also make it with a mixer, but the Cuisinart (or any food processor) makes such quick and easy work of the whole thing, that I recommend it, if possible.
First, prepare the cake batter according to the package directions. The only difference is you are adding 2 teaspoons of vanilla.
If you don't have any cake mix handy, substitute your favorite recipe for yellow cake.
I put the cake mix into the food processor, then the 1 stick (1/4 pound) of butter, cut into pats. I pulse the processor, until the mix has a resemblence of course damp sand. Then I mix the eggs, water and vanilla in my measuring cup, pour into the mixture in the processor and process just until smooth.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Place the pan in the middle shelf of your pre-heated oven and set the timer for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, rinse out your processor and prepare the crumbs.
Place the flour, cinnamon, and granulated sugar into the processor, along with the 3 sticks (3/4 pound) butter, cut into pats.
Pulse until the mixture starts to hug the sides of the bowl. You don't want to cream this or blend it into a batter - remember it will be crumbs - so you want a dense mixture that is holding together, which you can crumble or cut into crumbs for the cake.
I usually take a knife or fork and sort of "chop up" the crumb mixture in the bowl of the processer, and then when my cake timer goes off, I am ready with the crumbs.
When the oven timer goes off, sprinkle the crumb mixture onto your cake. Cover the entire cake with crumbs right up to the edges of the pan. Return it to the oven for another 15 minutes, setting your timer once again.
When the timer goes off, your cake should be done. Allow it to cool a bit and sprinkle with powdered sugar, and serve. If served warm it will melt in your mouth. (of course it does with all that butter - but don't tell anyone - let them enjoy it).
We don't make this every day. It's for special occasions. But it is delicious! Enjoy!
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Ingrid with Richie, our oldest son:
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Right now we are in the midst of a moving sale, getting ready for our fabrics to move to a new home. The fabric will be moving in a huge moving van from Water Mill, NY (out on eastern Long Island) where it has been for the last 10 years. It will then travel through New York City to its new home in Westchester County. The new spot has more room and we think the fabrics will be very happy there! (You know how fabrics love to fluff themselves!)
The move is planned for the Thursday after Labor Day. As we prepare for the movers, we will have a slight delay shipping orders, but we are very organized and should be up and running in the new spot within 48-72 hours from pack up. Since the move will occur at the end of the week and the new spot will be set up over the weekend, we think you will hardly notice that we have been busy with something other than shipping! We should be all set to begin shipping as usual on Monday morning.
Lots of you have offered to help with moving day. Here's what you can do for us. Help yourselves to books, patterns and fabrics at great prices so we have less to pack up. Here's a list of Today's Specials at the QP Cafe:
We'd like to take fewer bolts on our move. Yes, we did have the movers here to assess the job ahead, and we were able to show them *all* the fabrics, books, patterns, kits and miscellaneous items that we sell. And yes, we did wave goodbye to them, close the door and no smelling salts or oxygen were needed. However, we know things will go more smoothly (and they will be delighted) if they have to take a bit less on the big truck.
SO, if you finish the bolt, we will give you 25% off. Most of our bolts are in the inventory control system, and when you click on the image of the fabric, you will see a notation that says "Quantity on Hand". If you are willing to take that quantity (or close to it when we actually measure the bolt out), we will take 25% off the cost of that fabric. It does not matter if the fabric is already on sale, if it has 25 yards or 1 yard left. You just have to take the Quantity on Hand.
We have set up a special category of BOGO books. That's BUY ONE/GET ONE FREE! Any book marked BOGO is included in this offereing. If you put 2 BOGO books in your shopping cart, we will charge you for one and the second book of equal or lesser value is FREE. If you shop so that you have even numbers of books, then we will be sending half of your books at no charge.
We also have a BOGO pattern section. Buy one pattern marked BOGO and get another pattern of equal or lesser value for free. You may mix and match BOGO books and BOGO patterns. Depending upon the prices of your selections, in most instances, when you mix and match, you pay for the books and get the patterns for free.
Because our web site is not programmed to differentiate a BOGO book or pattern from a regularly priced item that is not included in the offering, and because it is not able to tell if you are finishing the bolt or just buying one yard off a 15 yard bolt, our price reductions will not appear on your order confirmation. But when we get our hands on your order, we will take care of all that before we put your charge through and we will send a copy of your revised invoice in the mail with your order. The revised pricing is also what appears on your credit card. No worries!
We hope you enjoy the cafe specials. We will be blogging again after the move for sure, possibly before. Meanwhile, if you have any questions you may post them here or email us.
Have a wonderful and safe Labor Day Weekend!