Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Halloween Craze

Although I started and finished this quilt this past summer, I saved this project and post just for this time of year. It is one of my favorites (of the few I've made) so far. This quilt was also my introduction to  to My Quilt Infatuation , my go to for quilt tutorials and ideas. Kelly is so creative; she has an eye for color, design and technique I just admire. I've sent her a few questions regarding her tutorials and she has been so accommodating. She is an inspiration to me, and sometimes, even though she is hundreds of miles away, she seems like a friend. She has also taken a year off from teaching to pursue a possible career change, which I admire. I only have  a few years until retirement and although I wish I could do what Kelly is doing,  it would be foolish of me at this point in my career. I have  often thought, if Kelly is still going strong with her quilts in a few years, the first thing I'm going to do when I move south is to visit her in Louisiana.

I decided  to spend the summer working on Halloween decorations, the first was my Halloween Craze quilt. The reason why just the summer is because I'm a school teacher and during the school year, there is just not a lot of extra time to make quilts.  Next summer, I think it will be Christmas quilts. Anyway, this past May, my friend, her sister,and my husband took a road trip to Windham NY to visit The Patchwork Co.  I saw it online and on facebook, but did not take the time to go for a visit. Their online site just doesn't portray what the shop is like. Well let me tell you, this shop is my new local favorite. I've been there many times since then. It's a nice drive and they have a wonderful array of Windham fabrics and the customer service is just fantastic.  Since Rich was our driver and helped with carrying our bolts of fabric to Murray to cut,  I decided to make this Halloween quilt for him. He helped me pick out some of the fabrics for the quilt and is developing an eye for color.

So let's get back to the Halloween Craze quilt. I said this was my introduction to My Quilt Infatuation. This is because I've been amazed by all  the chevron quilts I've seen and some are just so eye catching. One of them was Kelly's Easy Peasy Chevron Quilt Tutorial.  I scoured the internet looking for the best tutorial for chevron quilts, and I think this is the best by far.
I took Kelly's tutorial with me to The Patchwork Co. fabric store and Rich helped me pick some fabrics. Although not all of them were from that store he and I picked a starting place for the quilt. The rest I ordered online from various places.

I started out with squares that were exactly 9 inches.  I sewed two squares, right sides together, and then cut them diagonally as Kelly suggested.

I thought this pile of HTS ( Half Square Triangles) was pretty impressive and soooooo easy to make. 

After I pressed each of the HSTs, I trimmed them and came up with a pile of dog ears. LOL 
This sounds so funny, but look at the pile? The only trimming you'll need to do is just great. 
The only large surface I have in my house is my bed so that's where I began laying out where I wanted the colors.
Once that was done, on to sewing the pieces together. 
And here is the first oooops. 

No worries though, the seam ripper is close at hand. No one likes to make these mistakes, but I think it's kind of a Murphy's law of sewing:  Just as I think I'll have all the pieces sewn correctly, I am bound to have a mistake. That's ok though, just rip it out and continue on. 

Laid out on the bed again, I could see more of the top. I just love the color combo. Green's and purples add a little excitement to the holiday don't you think?
On to the backing: a black fabric with lots of ghoulish sayings. 
Now it's time to sandwich it together on my portable table with carpenter clamps. 
It's all pinned and ready to sew. 
Since I'm not a really good free motion meanderer yet, I decided to use a straight stitch to quilt the sandwich together. 

Time to trim it up and get the binding ready.
My calculations for the binding are close at hand. 
I found this really great tutorial for a flange binding at Aunt Marti's 52 Quilts.  I think it frames the quilt nicely.

Now that I finished  the binding there are a couple of mistakes I must fix.  The thing about straight stitching for the quilting is it really has to line up with the seams of the quilt. The two pictures below just are not acceptable.
Once again my handy seam ripper came out and I fixed up these spots in a few places on the quilt. Am I a type A? You better believe it.

And here is the finished quilt. I'm really happy with it. I love the colors and the design. And thanks to Kelly from My Quilt Infatuation, I'm going to make a few more of these truly easy chevron quilts.

One of my special purchases this past summer was an embroidery machine. I can now make some professional looking quilt tags, but I do need lots more practice.

This past September, our local Quilt Barn Trail sponsored an Airing of the quilts day. It was kind of fun to grab some of my quilts and hang them out in the beautiful sunshine. 

As you can see, my Halloween Craze quilt is there next to one my grandmother made me over 50 years ago. I think one of my future projects is to redo the quilt she made. It is worn and went through the flood from Irene four years ago. I'd like to think I can rejuvenate it so it will last another 50+ years. 

Lessons Learned: 
1. The HSTs are so very easy. I just can't wait to do more. 
2. Take your husband to the fabric shop once in awhile. You just might be surprised with the help he can provide. 
3. Although quilting is more of an activity done in solitude, it was fun for me to create them. 

This will most likely be my last post focusing on quilts for awhile. I have a few in the works, but time to finish them will be limited.  

Thanks for taking time to visit my blog and read about my creations. Enjoy the upcoming holiday seasons and for now HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

I'm partying once again with:

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Witch Is In

The start of the school year means a slow down of the creative process. At the end of each summer I
say, "No matter what, I'm going to sew  as much as I can during the school year. " Well that never seems to pan out. So here we are at the beginning of another  school year meaning less blog posts until vacation time. :(  I'll blog when I can, but I can't promise anything. Those of you who are school teachers will understand completely.
As the weather cools down here in the northeast it's time to dust of the decor of the season or in my case  put out  the ones I created this past summer. Although I finished them weeks ago, I've been waiting until the "season" to post the finished products.
This first one is a pattern from  Joined at the Hip which I've had for many years.  I love their patterns and when (if) I retire I'll make more. I decided this was the year to finally make this particular wall hanging.

I love the bright Halloween colors, especially the purple and burgundy. I can't tell you where the fabric is from, except from my halloween stash.
It started out very simple. Basic block and borders.
The applique was straight forward. I used wonder under for the witch hat, legs, shoes and well, everything.

The photos were as much fun to make as the wall hanging.
I machine appliqued as directed on the pattern.

I am so glad I have a Cricut. Cutting the letters was a breeze. I just love this machine.

Now comes the part I was a little nervous about, but  now was as good a time as any. I've been practicing my stippling with and without my BSR foot on the machine. I honestly can't make up my mind if I like to do this  with or w/o the BSR; however, this project was done without.
I was very nervous because it was such a small area. I would like to learn to do larger meandering and I'm trying to get my nerve up to do it on a quilt I have ready to go.

I think for this first attempt I did pretty well. I love doing this. There is something about it that is very relaxing (although it seemed like I had to unclench my teeth many times).
I love this project. This will be hanging on my door for many Halloween's to come.  If something ever happens to me, a very special person will get this wallhanging.

Here's a sneak peek at another special Halloween DIY coming in the next couple of weeks. 

Lessons Learned: 
1. When using the cricut, don't use the ultrabond  Heat n'Bond. A lighter weight will do just fine. 
2.  The first few letters  were appliqued without any problem. As I continued, I became more and more frustrated because the tension seemed to go way off. I just had to stop. I took apart my machine, cleaned and oiled it, put it back together and the applique went much smoother. Listen to your machine! 
3. I'm not really happy with the bright orange applique around the hat band. But, Oh Well, it's too late.  Next time I'll try to pick a more neutral color. 

Do you have a favorite halloween wallhanging or DIY decor? 
Thanks for visiting This and That from One Twenty Seven. 
This post is partying with: 

So happy to have this project shared by Lindsey at Fort Worth Fabric Studio @ http://fortworthfabricstudio.blogspot.com/2015/09/fabric-frenzy-friday-features_27.html