Friday. It's a big deal.

Today is a big, big day here at Blue Bird Sews. The talented and gracious AnneMarie from GenX Quilters is featuring me for her weekly spotlight Follower Friday where she showcases the work of a fellow quilter from my generation, do you remember grunge, the Cosby show, light brights, keds or neon? Well then this is for you! Skip on over to the post and peel back another layer of the onion that is me.

But such an occasion deserves something extra, something special & I've got just the thing, well two things really. Here they are: double Concrete Cabin quilts. Cut, pieced, sashed, quilted and bound. Finished.

Just waiting for a picnic
Side by Side
The backing is pieced using two extra blocks. This side really shows off the
 geometric quilting on the purple quilt, I love how it makes so many squares.
Purple Concrete Cabin
Fabric: Legacy Floriana
Batting: Poly/Cotton blend 80%/20%
Dimensions: 47"x61"
Started: March 2011
Finished: April 27, 2011
Quilting style: Continuous Straight Line in Boxes
Sewn & Quilted by me on Husqvarna Viking 980 Prisma
Red Concrete Cabin
Fabrics: Various Quilters Cottons from JoAnn Fabrics
Batting: Poly/Cotton blend 80%/20%
Dimensions: 47"x61"
Started: March 2011
Finished: April 27, 2011
Quilting style: 1/4" stitch around inside of each square
Sewn & Quilted by me on a Husqvarna Viking 980 Prisma
I like how the 80/20 batting gives is a little puff

The white sashing pops these blocks out and catches their details.
And I am in love with this easy continuous straight line quilting
with a walking foot. There are lots of turns, but so worth it in the end.
The binding all nice and neat. I am getting good at those mitered corners :)

The tutorials for this block, sashing & easy peasy quilting are up right now free for your use, soon I'll be posting tutes for the more advanced quilting technique of the purple quilt and a binding tutorial to finish it up. I didn't plan on making a quilt-along but I kinda did : ) How's that for spontaneous art! 

Thanks for stopping by! I will be linking up for Sew and Tell Friday at Amylouwho and a few other great link parties, find them all and more in the side bar and share what you've been up too.
And you are invited to come by on Sunday when we start Eat, Grow, Sew - a link party that is always happening, hosted by me. 
Have a wonderful weekend & happy sewing!

Work's In Progress #10

Wednesday check in day with all the ladies at Freshly Pieced is a great time to clear the mind of project clutter. 'What have I been working on, what stage is my quilt at, how does my blog schedule look, where does my creativity want to take me next' These are the thoughts going through my mind right now.
How about you?

To answer these questions let's take a look at some photos, shall we? Let's!

The Concrete Cabin is quilted! I made two of these quilts with different fabric and quilting techniques and they both have their own style. I still need to put on the bindings on, but I am determined to get this done for Friday show-off! I will also have a tutorial for this style of quilting, I hope you like it!  
The Happy Birthday Bunting for my son's first birthday party was a big hit with the family.

It is hard to see because of the balloons but I added a 1 and room for 9 more numbers, one for each year.

Mug Rugs! I made these for fun and sent the polka-dot flower to my partner, she really liked it and I like hers. Hooray, there are successful swap partners out there!

I am starting a link party right here on May 1st! Come and join me at anytime during the month to post your favorite projects, recent or past. I want it to be a really informal meeting spot to gain ideas and inspiration. No need to stress about what day this party happens, it's always going on! :)

All in All: 
Finished!: Birthday Bunting
Needs Binding: Concrete Cabin Quilt 1 & 2, Ribbon Rainbow
Needs Quilting: Baby Quilts: Love practicing quilting process on these little guys!
Long Arm Quilting Projects x3 
Needs Piecing: Small Nine Patch
Needs Cutting: My first modern is going to be my first pattern, moda scrap bag quilt, 1/4 bento box
Needs Design:  a whole slew of fabrics to create with

New Projects: 0
Completed Projects: 1
On Going Projects: 8

Not sure how my 'on-going projects' number hasn't changed but I've been getting tons done, ha! I think I've got enough going on in my head to last me a year! But in the mean time I will be switching gears to start working with paper and making note cards, also something I've done for a long time but haven't picked up in a while. We will see where that takes me. 

Thanks for reading, as always! Go on over to Lee's lovely site Freshly Pieced to be inspired by all the wonderful sewing ladies!


Quilting the quilt; part 1

 © Kelly Cole 2011                                                                                                                        

Concrete Cabin is easy to construct -- and to quilt. Quilting the top together with the batting and backing makes something useful out of the beautiful design, colors & fabric, instead of a UFO lurking in the stacks and drawers. Embellishments like feathers and swirls are exciting to think about but maybe a bit intimidating to start. There are some quilts that just don't need anything fancy and the concrete cabin is one of those simple straight forward quilts that looks good simply quilted. You can make this quilt from start to finish, I promise! You can quilt the quilt in just an afternoon, it took me two 1-hour (plus a little) sessions to complete -- and I didn't even mess up that much!
Find the block tutorial here and the sashing tutorial here.

You will need to start:

  • 1 concrete cabin quilt top measuring 44" x 69" approx.
  • 1 piece of batting measuring 6 inches larger than finished quilt top ex. 50"x75"
  •            (I use an 80/20 cotton poly blend)
  • 1 piece of backing measuring 6 inches larger than finished quilt top ex. 50"x75"
  • Spray adhesive -- So much easier than using safety pins. I only recently started using 505 fix spray and it has improved my end results and given me less frustration than safety pins. I strongly urge you to splurge on a can and see what you think. 
  • 2-3 bobbins wound with 40 weight thread in color of your choice*
  • spool of 40 weight thread
  • Walking foot (recommended, but not completely necessary)

Sandwiching the quilt together is a little tricky the bigger the quilt, you need a space big enough to lay everything out nice and flat. Sometimes moving furniture is in order. For the purposes of this little tutorial I'm going to show you the steps in a smaller format, but the end result is the same.
Start with supplies

Spray backing - not fabric
Notice the zig-zag joining seam? This is a really handy way to use leftover pieces of batting to make bigger batting. Just butt the two pieces together trying not to overlap and use a wide and long 3-stitch zig zag and presto scrappy batting.
Place backing first and smooth

Flip and spray batting again

Place top and smooth out wrinkles
Make sure there is batting, backing and top
on each side 
Now we are sandwiched and ready to go! Let's get our sewing machine area set up to go and figure out the plan of attack. I like to place an ironing board to the side of the machine to catch the excess weight of the quilt. This helps with keeping the stitch straight..
<<<----This is what your big Concrete Cabin top will look like when all sprayed and smoothed out. There is backing and batting bigger than the top all the way around, it might be wonky but  as long as there is batting and backing beneath it you are good to start.
Quilting plan block by block
I said we were going to quilt this simply and nothing is more simple than 1/4" seam around the inside of each of the three squares on each block. The picture above is the order to quilt the blocks in starting from the inside and working out and around. In the 1st square start on the very inside small square.
Start inside the smallest square of the middle block at 1/4"
 from the edge of the back and side.
Roll the fabric into the throat of the sewing machine.
Stop 1/4" from the edge in the needle
down position. 
Here comes the turn, careful not to get the quilt top bunched in your thread at the back of the sewing machine. Checking your thread line and making sure the thread is correctly done will save you many headaches. This is my number one reason for sewing errors - the fabric got mixed up with the thread and put it out of line.
For each turn have the needle in the down position, lift up the presser foot and turn the quilt being mindful about where the fabric is placed. While turning roll the quilt top up into the throat space just like with the first seam. Complete the inside square in the same way and backstitch* where the seams meet up.

Next move the needle to the next outer square without cutting thread. Keep the thread taught as you pull the quilt over, doing this negates any thread or tensions issues you might create when you cut thread or reach under to cut bobbin thread and move the quilt around.
Repeat seams on middle and outer square repeating the rolling, turning, back stitching and keeping the thread intact as you go. Follow the diagram at the top and go in order all the way around the quilt.
When each block is sewn and the quilt is laid on the table go through and remove all the loose threads being careful not to cut into the fabric. Do this front and back.
 Next trim excess batting and backing around quilt. Square up the side by keeping the ruler even with the line of blocks and the top of the quilt. There is usually a little fudging around at this point but try to keep it neat.
*This is what backstitching looks like on the back of the quilt,
especially noticeable when using light fabric and dark thread.
If you don't care for this look make sure your
thread/fabric choice is appropriate.
You've done it, a quilted quilt top. Wasn't that simple? I hope you liked this tutorial and that is was easy to understand. This is the third installment of making a Concrete Cabin Quilt. You may have noticed the title of this tutorial is Quilting the Quilt, part 1. In part 2 I will show how to quilt the top in a different way using the walking foot and continuous straight line quilting. This method does not use backstitching or moving the quilt from square to square. It gives a different look but still uses simple quilting techniques.
Back of the quilt all nice neat with threads removed
We began with a stack of fat quarters to make the blocks, then sashed in a simple fashion and now the quilt is held together and ready for the last step. The binding will be the last step of the quilting process and the last installment of this impromptu quilt along. If you do make a Concrete Cabin let me know and post a picture in the flickr group. I would love to see your imagination at work.

This tutorial is one of five in a Concrete Cabin Quilt Tutorial Series
Find the other tutorials by their links:


Spring Growth

I couldn't resist posting photos of flowers and quilts; Happy Easter! And I wanted to tell you about the party I'm hosting here at Blue Bird Sews called Eat, Grow, Sew. Find out all about it here -
 I can't wait to start!

Modern Values

Monday is back and time to share for Sew Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations & Manic Monday at Sew Happy Geek

This little value quilt was just some playing around with scraps from a quilt I made for my son. It was my first attempt at a value quilt with half square triangles and I like the way it turned out, and I really like working with HST, they are one of my favorite things right now, along with white fabric and rainbows -- oh and mug rugs. :)
The quilting around the squares are different embroidery stitches on my sewing machine. It was a fun way to try out the fancy ones without have to commit.

Hope everyone is having a great Monday!

Easy Sashing Mini Tute

© Kelly Cole 2011

Adding sashing to a stack of finished blocks is a snap when you've got a plan. Here is my plan for sashing the Concrete Cabin Quilt - it involves a little less than 1 yard of 60" white cotton. The 60" is key for me because it leads to way less sashing piecing and makes the process go a bit quicker. I love going quick!

Start by laying out blocks in a pleasing manner, spacing out fabrics
and turning the blocks this way and that

Next time to cut sashing. 
Sashing cut pieces required - as shown in photo:
8 strips: 3 1/2" X 12"
5 strips: 3 1/2" X 48"
2 strips: 3 1/2" X 60"

How to cut the strips to get the most from your yard:
Start by cutting out 8 strips 3 1/2" wide -- Set 2 aside
Then from 5 of the other strips cut off a strip 12" long from each
Then from the 1 left over strip cut out 3 strips 12" long

Now you have the strips needed to start sewing the sashing. But later on there is a little piecing to make the two longest strips just a tad bit longer, so watch out for that

Sew 12" strips vertically between blocks

Set Seam by pressing before opening
I recently learned about setting the seam before pressing open and it really does help to give a nice finish on an open seam. There are no little wrinkles coming from the stitches.
Press all seams open

Vertical sashing sewn together
Next sew sashing onto the rows from the top to the bottom. The top row will have sashing sewn to the top and bottom of it, the rest of the rows will have sashing sewn onto the bottom of the row. Do not join the row together yet, just sew the sashing to each row.
Sashing sewn onto rows
In order to get a nice line up of the sashing and blocks the horizontal sashing will need to be trimmed before sewing the sashed rows together. I trim the sashing at this point instead of at the beginning to ensure I have enough fabric at each end. I don't want to be 1/2" short at this point, it's a real bummer! Reserve scraps to use in the last step.
Sashing trimmed then rows sewn together, almost done!

Ops, our quilt is just a bit longer than 60"
To make up for the slight shortness of the sashing on the longer sides of the quilt sew a scrap onto the end. 

To sew a diagonal seam place scrap piece perpendicular to the end of the long sashing. Mark a line from top left to bottom right. Pin and sew along the line. Doing the seam this way gives a nice crisp finished look.
Join the scrap piece to the long strip with a diagonal seam
right along the marked line
Cut excess and press open
Pin and sew the long pieces onto either side of the quilt to complete the sashing all the way around. 
Now wasn't that a piece of cake? 
Sashed Concrete Cabin Quilt.

Thanks for reading! I hope this mini tute will help out when you go to put your blocks together. If I haven't given something enough explanation please let me know, I really appreciate the feedback so I can improve my tutorial skills. 
This tutorial is one of five in a Concrete Cabin Quilt Tutorial Series
Find the other tutorials by their links:

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