Monday, January 28, 2013

Quilting with Flannel

In my last post, I featured the boys flannel quilt that I just finished. The photographs in that post showed the quilt before it was machine washed and dried so I thought I would share with you what it looks like now that it has been washed.

Flannel is not as common for quilts as is the typical quilting cotton, so perhaps you've been wondering about flannel's characteristics before and after being washed. Flannel is soft to the touch and has a brushed texture. You can see that after being machine washed (gentle) and dried it gets that crinkled look that most other quilts get after being washed and dried.
However, it also gets slightly pilled. This is typical, even for good quality flannel, because the surface fibers are brushed and when they are washed and dried, they are more apt to ball up together. If you were to use anything other than quilting flannel, the result would be much more pilled, which looks bad, bad! And, you run the risk of having colors bleed if don't use quilting flannel -- definitely not what you want after putting in that much time and money.

After washing, flannel quilts are still soft, cozy and very warm.

Tell me, have you made a flannel quilt before? How did you like it?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Boys Flannel Quilt: Finished

I finished the boys flannel quilt that I've been working on and posted about here and here. The finished size is 50" x 60", which is generous for a young boy or toddler.
I quilted it using straight stitching 1/4" from each block seam. This seems to be my preferred way of quilting lately. I just like the look and think it is especially appropriate for a boys quilt. That, and I still have a fear of free-motion quilting.
For the back, I used a green houndstooth flannel that has a nice contrast to the light blue polka dot binding.

I am pleased with the final results. It's very soft and warm for these cold, cold winter days.

Have a great weekend!
I've linked up to up to Amanda Jean for Finish it Up Friday.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Boys Flannel Quilt: In Progress

Well, it hasn't been the most productive week due to other obligations, but I was able to start sewing the  top together on the boys flannel quilt that I previously posted here. My design wall has been a life-saver for arranging the blocks.

Since I didn't have an equal number of each print, I went for a random pattern. Those blocks on the left side are already sewn together vertically. I have to add more to the bottom but I am only working right now with those blocks that fit on my design wall.

I'm hoping to have this quilt done sometime next week. I know I am going to have to make a trip to my local quilt shop (oh darn, right?) to get backing and binding fabric to match.

Working with flannel couldn't be more appropriate right now. It's going to be in the low single digits the next few days here in Wisconsin. Brrr!

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Boys Flannel Quilt: Getting Started

Yesterday morning I had good intentions of staying on course. The goal was to tidy up my sewing room and put away the fabric piles from my previous sewing project. However, when doing so, I found myself rummaging through my fabric stash instead. What can I say? It's my happy place. I often look at some of the fabrics and wonder if I am ever going to get around to using them. That was the case with this quilting flannel below.
I purchased these fat quarters a few years ago on a whim thinking they'd make a soft and cute boy's baby quilt, but then didn't get around to making one. So I decided now is the time. Why? Just because. 

I was looking for this to be a quick project -- maybe have it cut and pieced in one day. I decided on basic 5" squares, all the while thinking that's kind of boring. 

I also wanted bigger pieces because I had in my head that smaller pieces would make for a stiffer quilt since it is flannel. But then I went to my local quilt shop to see what kind of flannel they had and discovered the flannel quilt on display actually was not stiff at all, and it had smaller pieces. Now I'm rethinking my strategy and end up buying a new flannel print to add to the mix. I go home and cut up all the fabric again in half. And here we are...

My quick project didn't turn out that way, but I think I will be happier with the outcome. I can't wait to get started.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Half Square Triangle Table Runner: Finished

I finished the half square triangle table runner for my sister-in-law. It measures 15" x 51" and is made of up six different prints and a neutral solid cotton.
When I was cutting the squares to make up the 3" half square triangles, I forgot that each square makes two half square triangles, so now I have enough blocks to make two table runners.
I quilted it using straight stitch 1/4" on both sides of the horizontal and vertical seam lines.
I tried something new by machine sewing the binding. I typical machine sew the top side and hand sew the back side, but I've always wanted to try machine sewing it since it is faster. This was a great project to try it out since not many people pay attention to the back side of a table runner. I referred to this great tutorial from Red Pepper Quilts.

I used 2-3/8" binding strips because this was my first time doing it this way and I wanted to make sure I caught the back side. I think on my second table runner, I will use 2-1/4" strips to get the stitches closer to the edge. I'm not 100% sold on this method just yet for my quilts because I like the concealed and clean look of hand stitiching. Perhaps I will feel different as I practice more, but I am glad I tried it.

I've linked up to Amanda Jean for Finish It Up Friday.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Half Square Triangle Table Runner: Getting Started

It feels great to be working on a quilting project again. It's been too long even though I did enjoy my most recent sewing projects. Over the weekend, I carved out some time to start on the table runner I planned to make for my sister-in-law for Christmas, but if you've been following along with me, you know the holidays were a bit crazy. I've planned out a design using half square triangles in these fabrics.

She requested earth tones with pops of red, so I hope she'll like this palette. It works for everyday or the holidays.

I've got all the half square triangles trimmed and ready to sewn together.

More to come soon!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year { 2013 }

Happy New Year! Did you stay up and watch the ball drop or some fireworks? Yeah, me either. It's ok. I was in bed by 9:00, my typical NYE bedtime. But that has nothing to do with my excitement for 2013. I just wanted to get a good night's sleep so I could wake up refreshed.

Today, I'll be taking down the Christmas decorations (bye, bye tree) and doing a lot of cleaning, purging and organizing, which could very well take me a month.

I'm putting away materials for projects I just didn't get to, like the quilt I wanted to make out of Aneely Hoey's Cherry Christmas collection. Oh well, I'll try again next fall/winter.

2012 was the year I took a leap out of my comfort zone. I quit the career I had for 12 years to spend more time with my young kids and to refocus. I'm not sure I've ever done anything that scary before. But I am here, alive, well and thankful that I did it. I started this blog only 6 months ago and have had a great time doing it. Thank you to all who have supported me.

I am excited for 2013. I look forward to more learning and self discovery and I just might do something even scarier than I did in 2012. But then again, it might have to wait until 2014. I do have a tendency to take on too much and I want to be more mindful of that in the new year.

I encourage you to do something that scares the pants off you. Try something you've always wanted to but either didn't have the time or you didn't make the effort because of fear. I guarantee it to be a learning experience and possibly one of the best things you've ever done. Leave me a comment and let me know what you would like to do in 2013.