Saturday, November 26, 2011

Mitered Corners

I love mitered corners on multiple strip borders, although butted borders with cornerstones are nice, too.  In a small table top quilt I am currently making, the mitered corners echo the corners in the quilt block itself

However, getting everything to line up precisely isn’t always easy.  Borrowing on a technique used by Sharon Schamber, I have found an easy way to get the corners to match as well as possible.
  •   Sew your strips together.
  •  Sew the longer side strips to your quilt using a ¼ inch seam.  HOWEVER, stop and start ¼ inch from each end.  Backtracking at each end is recommended.  Press the seam towards the border or open, as desired.  Leave a tail of at least 1.5 times the strip width at each end. 
  • Sew the shorter side strips on, starting and stopping right at the point where you ended the sewing on the previous strips.  Again, leave at least 1.5 strip width tails at each end.
  • Lay one end of your quilt out of your pressing surface. 
  •  Fold under the top strip at the corner to form the miter, making sure that everything matches the way you want it to – it may take a bit of futzing.

      Initial positioning of the miter
    •  Press this fold, using starch to make sure you get a sharp crease.

Iron in the crease

    •   Fold the top piece back and run a fine bead of Elmer’s or Glue Baste It along the very edge of the fold.  Lay the piece back down and adjust it into place.  

    Add a bead of glue to the crease edge
    • Press again – this sets the glue.
    •  I then pin the ends just to make sure nothing shifts when I move to the machine.
  •   Open the top part to expose the crease and sew right in it, stopping (or starting) right at the corner where the borders seams meet. 
Open the fold and sew along the crease

  • After checking that all is well, trim the tails to ¼ inch.  Press the seam open – you are going to have to open the part that’s glued – spraying a bit of water will help with this.

Final corner

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Autumn Star

A few months ago I stumbled across a used book called Strips That Sizzle by Margaret Miller.  I was intrigued by all the things you could do to create great illusions and color play, 2 things that attracted me to quilting in the first place.

Basically you select at least 5 values from two color families.  The values should range from very dark to very light.  I selected browns and orange/yellow (okay, I know that’s 2 families, but it worked).  You cut a sequence of variable width strips across the width of fabric that range between 1.5 and 2.5 inches.  Then you randomly sew a strip of each value together, going from dark to light, to form panels.  I wanted 6”blocks, so the panels had to end up no less than 7 inches wide – not remotely hard to do.  You can use fat quarters or whole fabric width.

Taking a panel of each color family (let’s call them A and B), you lay panel A right side up with the dark strip towards you.  Lay panel B right side down on top of it, again making sure the dark strip is closest to you.  Now cut squares (finished size plus 1”).  Leaving these squares together, cut them diagonally – always make the diagonal in the same direction.  It’s best to move the squares as little as possible, so you don’t inadvertently rotate them.  Now sew along each diagonal using a ¼ “ inch seam: you are forming  Half-Square-Triangles.  Either press seams open or to one side, as preferred.  Trim to the desired block size.  I cut 7”blocks which I then trimmed to 6.5” blocks after sewing.

Now the fun begins.  This is where owning the book is good: Margaret Miller does a great job showing you the possibilities and how they work.  It’s out of print, but Amazon shows plenty of used copies available and apparently it is a print on demand book.  Visit her website as well.
I opted for a central Ohio Star pattern and as I wanted a rectangular quilt, I extended the top and bottom using some other placement strategies.  The outermost rows look a lot like Attic Window.
I quilted mainly feather motifs (see my previous blog about them). 

Autumn Star: 50"by 64"

Close up of some of the quilting

I love the overall result and my daughter is now begging for one.  It’s a great way to burn up stash.  Some examples in her book show quilts that used over 50 fabrics!  You also can do more than one color family – look at more examples of her website.

Autumn Star is a gift for a friend and is going to its new home in Germany in a few days.