Saturday, May 7, 2011

And The Winner Is . . .

Thank you to everyone that entered the Burgundy Buttons Sponsor giveaway!!!  I appreciate  all the sweet comments about Happy Quilting and Burgundy Buttons and tried to reply to them all.  If you didn't get a reply it is probably because you are a no-reply blogger and you might want to change that for the future :)

Now it's time to announce the winner of 2 charm packs of their choice!!!

So, with the help of Mr. Random.Org the winner is . . . . . .

Who happens to be . . . .

Sandra Àlvarez 106said...

I bought the 'Hugs and Kisses' kit from Burgundy Buttons and their service was fast and professional. Leah even solved my doubts via email. I was elated when I received my first parcel from them! FOLLOW
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Friday, May 6, 2011

VIBee Block for Tracey

*** Last Day to enter the Burgundy Button Sponsor Giveaway here :)

And I thought the unpicking (see yesterday's post) was going to be the pain part of this block.  Boy was I wrong.  What really drew me to this pattern was the curves on the inside.  I have never pieced curves before and have wanted to learn how.  Well I think the next time I try something new, I won't find the most difficult pattern that teaches that technique.

Trying to piece a curve that is only 2 inches wide and piecing it to 4 separate pieces of material, defiantly a learning experience.  My first few pieces were done several times.  And I do mean several times!!!  By about the 5th segment, I was starting to figure out the process and only had to piece it once, even though that once still took a lot of patience :)

So then I am thinking I am out of the woods right, wrong :)  Once you have all the segments done you piece them all together and then fiddle with those seams to get the whole thing to lay flat.  Luckily, I only had to adjust one seam and it laid down fine :)  Then you turn the raw edges under on the outer edge and stitch the entire wheel to the background fabric  (it is a lot harder then it sounds to get those curved edges to turn under perfectly without little seams wanting to pop out on you while sewing )

So with all that said, I will add that I am happy with the result.  I am not ecstatic, because it isn't perfect.  Some of my seams don't line up perfect and the outer edges don't curve as perfect as I would like.  But I am happy :)  I learned a lot, and that makes me super happy because it makes me a better quilter!!!  I do love the little border I added to make the block the right size :)  Will I make another??  Maybe, but not for a while :)

So if I haven't completely scared you off and you want to give this block a try, you can find the pattern here.  You can also see much better versions of it here at Twin Fiber's blog, where I first got the idea :)

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Seam Ripper to the Rescue!!!

**  Note - If you are looking for the giveaway you will find it here :)

I almost hate to tell this next little story but I figure, I need to show my little duh moments as well as my successes.   Otherwise you might get the crazy notion that I never make mistakes.  (Which I do, often :)

So I started working on my VIB Block yesterday.  It requires some major cutting, piecing, and a first for me, curved piecing.  So basically, I was trying something new to me :)   So I got everything all cut out and laid out.  Won't these just be adorable little arches :)

I begin sewing the pieces together and start to get the feeling that something might be wrong.  But of course, I ignore that little feeling telling myself it will all come together in the end.  So I keep on stitching.  And then press and Wha La!!!  It didn't come together in the end.  I am staring at this trying to figure how in the world I piece a curve into that bottom and why it isn't a pretty scallop anymore.  And then it hits - I mixed up the inner and outer pieces and sewed the pieces backwards!!!

And this is the only time when chain stitching becomes a major bummer.  Not only do I have to unpick one segment, I have to unpick them all.  Why don't I listen to that little voice in my head saying this isn't right???  Luckily, at this point, it was time to pick the kids up from school so my seam ripper and I became friends again while waiting for the bell to ring.  

I think it will be much easier to piece a curve into this arch then the previous one.  Hopefully tomorrow I can show you the finished product :)

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A HST Rag Quilt Tutorial

I am so excited to be guest blogging at Stash Manicure :)  That's right, I made up another tutorial.  And this time not just any tutorial, a comically charged tutorial.  (We'll at least it is funny to me, but I have a very quirky sense of humor :)  So either visit stash manicure for the tutorial or follow below for the tutorial.  Either will work :)

So a few weeks ago I was pondering on what to do with these.  They are a bunch of HST's that I have left over from my Happy Quilting Quilt A Long :)  I wanted to try something new and different.  The next day I was reading one of the many quilting blogs I follow and a pictures was posted of a rag quilt.  Light bulb!!!!

It was the perfect idea!!  I could use them to make a Rag Quilt.  But not just a plain old square rag quilt, a pieced rag quilt, with a cute little pattern.  So let's make it!!


So, In order to make a "Pieced" rag quilt you have to start first with making the pieces.  Makes sense, right.  HST's are a great piecing tool because they give you so many design options.  So, here is how to make one :)  I very much doubt there are many of you who haven't done this, but I wanted to be thorough :)  Start with 2 squares that are the same size.  I like one being solid and one print to help the design show up but it isn't necessary.   These can be any size, charm squares work great for it!!!
Lay the 2 squares with right sides together and draw a line diagonally from corner to corner on the wrong side of the fabric on one of the squares.
Now sew a 1/4" seam on the left and the right hand side of that line. I always forget to trim my threads before taking pictures.  
Now using your ruler and cutter, or your scissors for that matter, as long as you can cut semi straight, cut along the drawn line creating 2 separate pieces.
Press your seam.  I like to press my seams to the print side.  You can press them any way you prefer.  I really need to buy a new iron, mine leaks water like a sieve.
Now, it's just trimming your block.  You will be trimming it to a 1/2" smaller square than you started with.  So, since this started as a 5" square, I will be trimming it to 4 1/2".  To do this, align your ruler so that the 45 degree line is along the diagonal seam of your block and that the left side edge is on the 4 1/2" line of your ruler.  Trim the excess on the right that is sticking out.
Rotate your block, this is where I wish I had one of those spinning mats, and align your ruler just like before.  Trim away.  Sometimes, there isn't a whole lot to trim away.  Keep rotating your block until you have trimmed all 4 sides and have a perfect square :)
So Now you know how to make a HST!!!  Now, just decide how many squares you want in your rag quilt and make up your HST's.  It helps to do them assembly style, but you already knew that.  I am doing a 7 x 7 layout so I need to make 49 HST's blocks or have 25 sets of charm squares.  Oh, and if mine look smaller from here on out it is because they are.  They are actually 4" blocks going forward.


Okay, so now your Pieced HST's are ready you need to get the rest of the parts of your rag quilt squares ready.  Here is where there are like a million options.  Basically here you are looking for a backing and a center.  People use snuggle flannel, flannel, minky, cotton, the sky is the limit.  It just depends what "feel" you want.   I choose to do a cotton print backing, so that it matched the front, and a felt square center.  If I had it to do over I would have used snuggle flannel instead of felt, it was stiff and hard to work with, but it was what I had on hand.  

Now, You want to cut the same number of squares out of your backing and center as you have for your top.  Now here is where there is another option. Some people cut the same size squares, and some people cut their center, the batting piece, a 1/2" smaller.   I went for the same size as I wanted the red felt to really stand out in all those little cuts.  Although, I have to admit, when dealing with the bulk, you tend to wish you choose different, but it was worth it in the end.
So, now you should have a stack of backing squares, a stack of center or batting squares, and a stack of pieced top squares.  And you are ready to go.  Oh, and one more mention, you can just do 2 layers, but goodness, as there weren't enough options already.
You are now ready to make what I like to call square sandwiches.  It is just like making a quilt sandwich but you do it with each individual block.  Take a backing square, a center square, and a pieced top square.  Stack them up so that the backing square is wrong side face up, the center square you can face any way you like, and the pieced square is faced right side up.  Then go ahead and pin along either side of your seam to make your square sandwich.  Repeat this with all of your squares.
Now, here is where we have some more options.  Seriously, I have to admit, I was a little overwhelmed when taking on this project with how many decisions I had to make to come out with pretty much the same product.  You are going to sew your pieced sections together.  You can sew a X through each square set, you can sew a border around the whole square set, or you can sew nothing at all and just keep the pins.  This is not pictured, obviously.  I choose to sew a single line down the seam line of my pieced square so that it enhances the design.  You don't see it much on the front but it looks cute on the back.
Start by feeding your first squares set into your machine.  Sometimes it is hard to start right on the edge because the layers want to bulk up so I recommend starting about 1/8" in from the edge.  No worries, it will all get sewn into the row seams.  Sew down the seam line.  Just keep feeding in square after square until you have sewn them all.  If you have a walking foot, put it on for this step and leave it on for the remainder of the project,  It helps a ton!!!  Trim the threads between your square sets so you have a stack of squares.  Leave the pins in.


So, now all of your square sets are nice and sewn together and you are ready to choose a layout.    The possibilities are quite numerous.  Here are a few ideas.  
I tend to love pinwheels so that is what I decided to go with.  Layout your blocks (in however many rows and columns you decided on) in your choose pattern.  I like to take a little time here so that I get a nice mix of color that is pleasing to the eye.


Once you have the layout down you are ready to start sewing your rows together.  This is a little different than sewing normally as you are going to be putting wrong sides together.  Ya totally backwards, it took me a minute to wrap my head around that.  Grab your first two pieces in your first row and place them wrong sides together.  I didn't bother with pins, I rarely do for things under 5" that do have seams to worry about.
Now sew a 1/2" , Yes, a 1/2" not a 1/4", seam along the side of your square.  If you have a heavy duty needle available I would highly recommend it.  It took me 2 broken needles to figure that out.  
Now you are ready to attach the next piece in the row.  Once again, place your now sewn together squares 1 and 2 and place them wrong sides together with square 3.  Sew your 1/2" seam.  Continue this way down the entire row.
So this is what a row looks like.  So now, move on to the next row.  I found it helpful to stack mine up slightly so that I could take an entire row at a time to my machine.  I can only get up and down so much in a short period of time :)
So, here are all your rows sewn together.  I know, not much now but just give it time :)  Go ahead and remove your pins now.  I add a pin in each row on the number square of the row to help me keep my rows straight.  Just fyi
So now, onto taking those rows and sewing them together to make a top.  This is done in the same way as making a row, just on a longer scale with seams to worry about.   Grab row 1 and row 2 and place them wrong sides together.
This is where the pinning gets important.  I found it easiest, and actually quite helpful when you get to the cutting stage, lucky break, to open your seams both front and back to pin them rather than to do a traditional "nested" seam.  Align the seams and pin both sides of the seam down.  Then pin the edges of the rows.
Hopefully this close-up helps a bit with the idea of opening the seams. Yes, that is a lot of bulk to sew through on those seams, once again, kicking myself for not going to the store to buy something other than felt.  Now, Sew a 1/2" seam down the length of the pinned side of the row.  Don't go over pins, take them out right before you get to them.  Seriously, I busted a third needle when I got lazy.  
So here is your first two rows sewn together.  You an see that design starting to form.  Just keep on with this process, adding one row after another until you have all of your rows sewn together.  I have little helpers in my sewing room who like to stick their toes in photos :)
So here is your top now.  Only one more sewing step to go.  And then it is on to sore hands :)
Lastly, sew a seam 1/2" in from the edge of the quilt around the the entire quilt.  I pinned all of my edges open so that the cutting would be the same.  However, it really wasn't necessary to pin, it would have been just as easy to lay them flat as I went around.  


Okay, so onto the cutting.  Basically, anything sticking up has to be cut.  So go find your favorite Jane Austin flick and stick it in.  You will be here for a bit.
 I found the easiest way to cut is to fold the seam line I was working on in half so that I would cut through the whole width and still see the seam so as not to cut through it.  But if you happen to do this, and yes I did, no worries, You can just resew the seam again.  
So basically there are three types of seams to deal with when cutting, at least that is what I found.  Straight seams, which are the easiest.  Just cut a nice little fringe like so.
Well call these seam centers.  Lots and lots of fabric.  I was seriously debating going and buying a pair of spring loaded scissors at this part.  You can cut these the same way as you do the straight seams.  It is okay if you cut the vertical seam, just don't cross the horizontal seam.
And lastly, The open seams in opposite directions.  Don't you just love these terms I am making up.  I found it easiest to first snip right next to the horizontal seam on both sides of the square on top and bottom.  This allows you to now fold your piece in half along the seam line and cut it just like all the other seams.
So now everything has cut little clips in it.  Make sure you also clipped around the outside edge.  And go massage your hand for a bit.  


Now just throw the blanket in the washer and dryer. And Ta Da!!!! It comes out in a cute, adorable little blanket.  Mine is small, the perfect size for a car seat snuggler and then to be drug around as a toddler when Mom doesn't want to cart around a huge blanket.
I hope you enjoy making up a Pieced Rag Quilt as much as I did!!!  I think I will be making another one very soon.  Although, I will be using larger squares and will not be using felt as the centers.  Thanks for joining me and if you happen to whip one of these up, please feel free to add a picture to my flickr group here :)  I would love to highlight it on my blog some time!!

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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Introducing Burgundy Buttons - My First Sponsor!!!!


That's right, Happy Quilting now has sponsors!!!  And you all know what that means, right :)  (hint . . . it starts with give and ends with aways)  But well get to that in a few :)

To start, I would like to introduce you to Happy Quilting's first Sponsor.  It's Burgundy Buttons!!!!  Can I just start by saying I love Leah and her amazing team!!!  Seriously, I could just end there, but I won't.  This lady is amazing and her shop is terrific!!!

Now if you have never shopped at Burgundy Buttons you are missing out!!!  Leah and her group are fantastic!!  Their customer service is tops, their prices are outstanding, and their packages arrive quick.  And I mean super quick!!  Burgundy Buttons has been around for about 2 years and is growing with tremendous speed!!  Recently, they announced that Burgundy Buttons is expanding to sell patterns :)  You can click on the Love Notes below to see some of the amazing testimonials about the wonderful service Burgundy Buttons offers :)

Burgundy Buttons carries all the Moda you could dream of, pre-cuts and yardage!!!  And you can always count on  the newest prints being available on the shelves.  You can also find other fabric collections including Free Spirit, and Westminster.  (oh yes, some of that new Ty Pennington, Impressions are there :)

By following their blog, you can keep up with all the great sales going on at Burgundy Buttons.  And believe me when I say, Leah seems to always have a reason to celebrate and offer a discount on orders.  Like this one, going on right now :)

Lastly, and probally my "personal" all time favorite thing about Burgundy Buttons shop, is that you can find all kinds of super fantastic Quilt Kits there.  (Yes, mine included, shameless, I know :)  These are great for getting you everything you need to make a particular tutorial, with ease, and at a discounted price.

So Thank You to Burgundy Buttons, your friend in the quilting business!!!!  And they truly live up to their slogan.  I am so happy to have them as my friend and now as a part of Happy Quilting!!!

Now, as you might have guessed, As part of their introduction, Burgundy Buttons is sponsoring a fantastic giveaway!!!   Remember those amazing Moda pre-cuts I mentioned.  Well here is your chance to win 2 charm packs of your choice!!!  That's right, you get to choose!!!!  You can choose 2 charms out of the following options : Hullabloo, Just Wing It, Full Circle, Pom Pom De Paris, or Oh My :)  What fun!

There are three chances to win, and please, leave a separate comment for each (for a total of 3 comments max :)  If you leave one saying I did it all, Mr. Random.Org will only count it for one :(

1 - Follow Happy Quilting and leave any old comment and then type the word follow at the end. :)  (Meaning, I really don't want to read a ton of comments saying I follow your blog, so write something and then just type FOLLOW at the end of your something:)  (you can be a new or old follower, I am not picky)

2 - Follow Burgundy Buttons Blog and leave a comment about them and type the word follow at the end :)  (Same thing, you can write your experience with them, or if you are just finding them, and then write follow) (and once again, new or old follower, Leah is not picky either :)

3 - Alert the Media - Post on facebook, twitter, or your blog about this giveaway.  Leave a comment saying where you posted and a link to that post :)  You can post on all 3 sites but it only gets you one entry, although there is always good giveaway juju :)

So that's it :) The giveaway will close on Friday the 6th at 5:00 EST and I will announce a winner shortly after.  The winner will then get to select their 2 charms :)  Good Luck to all and Happy Quilting!!!
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