Thursday, June 30, 2022

My Mom's 70th Birthday ~ Purple Quilt

Before we can talk about the purple quilt, let me tell you a little bit about a red quilt I made 10 years ago... 10 years ago, when my mom turned 60 years old, to celebrate her special birthday, I made her a red quilt. There is an old tradition in Japan that when you celebrate your 60th birthday you wear a red vest and hat with your family and friends. My mom didn't want to wear them AT ALL, so I made her a red quilt instead. Even though I was born and raised in Japan, I had no clue about this tradition, how it started, and the meaning behind it. So I did a quick search and I wrote about that in my blog post 10 years ago, if you are interested, you can read it here.
During the research, I found out that there is a theme color for each decade and the color for 70 is purple. I told her that when she turns 70, I will make her a purple quilt. 10 years passed so quickly... and to tell you the truth, I had forgotten about the promise I made. One Sunday, I was facetiming with my mom and she was using the red quilt I made. Talk about divine timing!! I was thinking to myself "Thank you God SO MUCH!!" I definitely want to keep my promise to her. The last couple years were very hard for her and I wanted to do something special.

I made the red quilt with only solid fabrics to play with color gradients. For the purple quilt, I thought it would be fun to use prints and make it scrappy. I had most of the fabrics on my shelf, but I added some new ones to them. I used Half Square Triangles to create this quilt and I will show you how to make 8 of them very quickly. There are MANY tutorial posts and videos out there if you want to explore.

* Purple Quilt How to

Finished quilt size 64 1/2" x 80 1/2"

1. Cut 40 pieces of 9 3/4" x 9 3/4" squares from dark fabrics and 40 pieces of 9 3/4" x 9 3/4" squares form light fabrics.
2. Combine a dark and a light square, right sides together. Draw diagonal lines on the square.
3. Sew 1/4" seam on each side of each diagonal line. I had my 1/4" Quilting Foot with Guide on my Baby lock machine, so I just use that as a guide to sew 1/4" seam from the diagonal line. You could draw the lines next to the diagonal line before you sew too. Draw a vertical and a horizontal line in the middle of the square.
4. Cut in the middle of the sewed diagonal lines, on the vertical and horizontal lines to make 8 triangles.
5. Open them up and press them with an iron!
6. I didn't have a specific design idea in mind. After I made all the HSTs, I sat in front of my design wall and moved them around for a few days. I thought about doing a more unified look at first, but then I changed my mind to do a more scrappy look. I pieced squares first, then pieced them to make rows and sewed the rows together. Once I finished with the quilt top, I was going to take pictures and like always, my little dog came and joined the photoshoot. He was too cute to dismiss...
I machine quilted it myself, added the label and packaged it. Now the quilt is on its way to Japan and I hope my mom will receive it before her birthday. Happy Birthday, Mom!!
P.S. In case you are curious... The theme color for 80 is yellow. I normally don't use many yellow fabrics, but I better start thinking about what to do!

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Queen's Cross Quilt with Piping Finish

Have you seen the Queen's Cross Quilt designed by talented Aussie Quilt designer Jen Kingwell ? A few years ago, I learned that she is coming to a quilt shop not far from where I live; I had to sign up. I loved her Queen's Cross quilt; especially the block designs with lots of circles. After the class I was pretty much obsessed with making those blocks. I enjoyed finding fabrics from my scraps, stash and quilt shops. I had so much fun creating different blocks with various combination of colors and patterns.

I decided to make a quilt with just the blocks that I love so much, instead of combining them with other blocks like in the original design. The blocks are all hand pieced and appliqued, but I used my baby lock sewing machine to sew the blocks, borders and sashing together. After hand quilting it, I thought about how I wanted to finish the quilt... should I do a simple binding? I put so much time and effort so far, I wanted to do something very special to finish off the quilt. I decided to add piping!

I have made/used piping for a small project such as pillows and pouches, but I have never done it for a quilt. I was not 100% confident in my abilities to do it, but there is a first time for everything, right? I will share what I did with you.

* You Will Need

Cord of your preference

Fabric strips

Clear thread and regular thread

Zipper foot

* How to

1. I wanted very thin piping, so I bought Dritz's 3/32" cable cord. Then I cut 1 1/4" wide fabric strips from the same fabrics I used in the quilting. You could make the piping from just one fabric, but I was going for a scrappy look for the piping as well. It is a little more work, I knew it would be worth it. I prefer the fabric strips that are cut in bias for binding, but I didn't have enough fabrics. I just cut them with the grain and mitered the ends. I pieced them together long enough to go around the whole quilt.

2. After I pieced the strips, opened the seams and pressed, I folded the fabric strip in half and very LIGHTLY ironed it to just leave a half line mark. The reason for this is that it is easier for me to keep the cord in the middle lining up with the folded line while I sewed the cord in, at the same time keeping the seams lined up nicely together.

3. Attach the Zipper foot to your machine. The zipper foot is one of the feet I use most often. I use it for inserting zippers, snap tape, attaching piping and decorative cording. When you sew, don't sew right up against the cord. It is better to have some "give" when you are sewing the piping to your project.
4. I used clear thread for the top and regular thread for the bottom. I didn't want to find out afterwards that the color of the basting thread doesn't match after I finish sewing the piping onto the quilt. I tried to use clear thread for the bottom as well, but winding the bobbin with clear thread was a nightmare! After reading some posts online about other people's experiences, I decided to use the clear thread just on top.

5. Just keep sewing! You want to go a little slower when you are dealing with clear thread.
Looking at the growing pile is so exciting!
6. I wasn't comfortable sewing the piping and bias tape at the same time, so sewed the piping to the quilt first with the largest stitch setting. Then I sewed the bias tape. I made my bias tape out of 2" wide strips.
Here is the view from the front. Ahhh, so exciting! It is coming together!

7. I like finishing my binding by hand using blind stitch. It is calming to sit and do hand work, at the same time I enjoy feeling anticipation of seeing the finished quilt soon!
This was definitely a labor intensive quilt for sure from start to finish, but I enjoyed every minute of it. I am going to enjoy looking at it for a while before moving on to my next project.
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