Monday, July 7, 2014

My Design Process for the Crab Walk Mini Quilt


I am always fascinated reading other people's process when they design and make things. This is a few of the books/pads, along with pencils and pens, that I have around to jot my ideas in.
I have also been known to scribble things on napkins in restaurants, the backs of mail envelopes, receipts, and my own hand.  Anything is fair game when I need to write something down quickly.

I would like to share the process that ended with the Crab Walk mini quilt.

June was a swap month for the Virginia Beach Modern Quilt Guild and the theme was a Summer inspired mini quilt.  I had lots of ideas rolling around in my head, and as usual one didn't pop out onto paper until a week before the meeting.  Luckily my graph paper notebook was handy when it happened.  This is the original sketch, which of course had to be colored, and includes approximate measurements of each block to start.  I put a photograph of a crab underneath to get the basic (rough) crab shape.

I used EQ to make the final draft of the pattern since the legs, arms, claws, and eyes blocks were going to be paper pieced.  I drew out each of the paper pieced blocks, and the hst blocks, and fine tuned the pattern in EQ.




The next step was to make the actual mini quilt.  This happened the day before the meeting where the swapping was taking place.  I seem to work better when I'm not finished early and have the opportunity to change my mind (several times), so at 2am the last stitch of the binding was finished.



The recipient seemed to really like it, and in the end that was what mattered the most to me.  There was interest in how the quilt was made, so I spent today writing the actual pattern.


It is now listed as a free pattern download in my Craftsy pattern shop.  I would love to hear any comments or feedback about the pattern at angelatackettdesigns@gmail.com



Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Pattern Writing, WIPs, and Organizing. Oh My!

My name is Angie and I am a craft addict.  I also hoard crazy amounts of pens, containers, and WIPs.

I hadn't realized how out of control my WIPs had gotten.  In an effort to feel less guilt about not finishing them I had been hiding them in a large Rubbermaid container under my cutting table.  That method worked very well until a few months ago when I had to start stacking them on top of the container, and then one day they hit the bottom of the table and there was no more room.

It was overwhelming pulling out the bags of completed quilt tops, partially completed quilt tops, and projects that were cut out but not started.  The first thing I did was write up a sheet where I can document information about each project.  I am keeping the sheets in a WIP/Project binder where I can see what I need to work on without digging through that overwhelming box of incompleteness.


 Of course Priority is essential to determining in what order to finish my WIPs. 


They are kept in the WIP binder according to priority.  After the project is finished, I will print a picture of the completed item on the back of the sheet, and then the sheet will go in the Finished Project binder.

I am a little embarrassed to admit that, after giving some away and scrapping others, there are 32 WIPs still in the box.  I'm promising myself to not add anything else to that box, and to start getting those projects finished.

I also set up a binder for patterns that need to be written from my designs.  That binder currently has sixteen sewing/quilt designs that need to be made, or have been made but the pattern needs to be written. My cross stitch patterns are kept on my computer and I will be sharing those as well as a few crochet and knit projects. Several of these will be free patterns/tutorials in my Craftsy pattern store, my Etsy shop, and/or here on my blog, and include...

Happenstance Mini Cowl
(knit in the round)

Super Simple Crochet Wash Cloths
(great beginner project)


Practical Zipper Pouches
(made using a simple template for cutting)


COMING NEXT WEEK!
I will share the process behind designing and making the Crab Walk mini quilt for my VBMQG swap partner.  The pattern, which includes some paper piecing, will be available as a free download.


Have a wonderfully creative day.







Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Chevron Pillow Tutorial

I joined the VBMQG March of 2013 and immediately signed up for a pillow swap the following month.  This is the pillow I designed for my partner, and was also the first picture I posted on Instagram.

It has been on the never ending list of things to do for the last 15 months. I finished editing this morning and I'm excited to share it with you now. If you want to download, save, and print the tutorial it is available as a free download in my Craftsy pattern store.


Chevron pillow tutorial
Finished Size: Approximately 17” x 17”


Pillow front features a chevron pattern made from half square triangles (hst), and the back features a zipper hidden under a flap. Use one print and a background color, or make it scrappy.

Thank you for downloading my pattern/tutorial.  Please feel free to make as many pillows using this tutorial as you like on a home scale basis.  You can give them as gifts, keep them for yourself, sell them in your shop, or throw them at each other.  What you make is yours to do with as you please.  The instructions and pictures in this pattern/tutorial are mine, please do not copy or distribute any portion of this document without my written permission. 

What you’ll need:

Sewing machine
Thread for piecing and quilting
Rotary cutter
Mat for rotary cutting
Acrylic ruler
Scissors
One 20” zipper


One 16” or 18” pillow form
Background fabric ¼ yard
Print fabric ¼ yard
Batting 20” x 20”
Lining fabric for front quilting 20” x 20”
(2) 9-1/2” x 18” pieces for pillow back, and   a 4” x 18” piece of same fabric for flap


Step One:
-Cut the background fabric into twenty five 3-1/2” squares.
-Cut the print fabric into twenty five 3-1/2” squares.

Step Two:
-Mark lines for sewing half square triangles (hst) on background fabric.

You can mark a line diagonally across the center of your squares and sew ¼” from each side of that line.  You can go an additional step and mark the ¼” lines on each side of the center line to sew on. 

I use the Quick Quarter 2 ruler by Betty Call, and a Frixion pen to mark my squares.


Step Three:
-Place print fabric right side (rs) up.  Then place a background piece on top with the lines you marked facing up.

Step Four:
-Sew on both lines that you marked.
If you only marked the center line, you will sew ¼” from each side of that line. 


Repeat steps three and four for the remaining print and background squares.

Step Five:
-Press the squares you have sewn together to make them lay flat. 

Step Six:
-Lay your ruler down the diagonal center between the two lines you have sewn and cut apart.


    

Step Seven:
-Press the seams open. 
-Trim off the dog ears, and square to 3-1/8” if necessary.

Step Eight: 
-Lay out your hst units using the diagram below.



Step Nine:
-Using ¼” seam allowance sew the hst units together into horizontal rows.


Step Ten:
-Press seams open.  I press front and back to get the seams laying as flat as possible.

Step Eleven:
-Sew horizontal rows together using ¼” seam allowance. 
-Press seams in one direction.

Step Twelve:
-Place 20” x 20” lining fabric on table with 20” x 20” batting on top of that. 
I used a white Kona as the lining for this pillow front, but I have used flannel on other pillows.  This is also a good place to hide ugly fabric.
-Lay pillow top rs up on batting.  Pin in place if desired.
I always iron my quilt sandwiches front and back to make sure that there aren’t any creases.

Step Thirteen:
-Quilt as desired.  Press front and back.

Step Fourteen:
-Square pillow top.  Trim to 18” square.
Trim from the bottom to avoid losing more of the chevron points at the top of your pillow.

Now it’s time to assemble the zipper and the back.

Step Fifteen:
-Place one 9-1/2” x 18” back piece rs up.
-Place the 4” x 18” flap on top with the raw (open) edge lined up with the top of the back piece.
-Place the 20” zipper rs down (zipper pull facing fabric) on top.
-Pin together.


Step Sixteen:
-Sew together.
You can use a zipper foot for this step if that is your preference.  I set my needle position to .4 to the left and use this foot on my Janome.  I find that I can get a more consistent and even line with no puckering this way.  I just let the left edge of the foot ride along the edge of the zipper teeth.



Step Seventeen:
-Press flap away from back section. The flap should be covering the zipper.
-Topstitch along the top edge of the back piece making sure that the topstitching is catching the zipper tape.

-Push the flap back over the back piece.  It has to be out of the way to sew the zipper to the remaining back piece.

Step Eighteen:
-Place remaining 9-1/2” x 18” back piece rs up.
-Place flap/back piece section on top with the zipper rs down.
Make sure that your flap is out of the way.


Step Nineteen:
-Sew zipper to remaining piece.

Step Twenty:
-Press this side back away from the zipper.
-Topstitch along the top of the back piece, again making sure that the stitching goes through the zipper tape.

Step Twenty-One:
-Press flap down over zipper.

Step Twenty-Two:
-Open zipper so that the pull is about two inches from the edge of the pillow.
-Sew back and forth over the edge of the zipper to keep it from shifting while sewing the pillow together.

-Open zipper halfway.

Step Twenty-Three:
-Place pillow top rs up with the top of the chevron design at the top.
-Lay the back piece rs down on pillow front.  Pin in place.
Your flap should be facing open side down toward the bottom of the pillow. The back is folded over in the picture below to show the orientation of the top and the flap.

Step Twenty-Four:
-Sew ½” seam around the outside edges of the pillow.  When you come to the zipper sew back and forth several times to secure.

Step Twenty-Five:
-Trim zipper ends even with the sides of pillow.

Step Twenty-Six:
-Trim the corners of the pillow.

Step Twenty-Seven:
-Turn pillow right side out through the zipper opening.

Step Twenty-Eight:
-Using your finger, a large blunt knitting needle, or any tool you have on hand that won’t poke through the fabric, poke the four corners of your pillow out to points.

Step Twenty­-Nine:
-Insert the pillow form, close the zipper, and enjoy!

I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial and that it was written in a matter that is easy for every level of sewist/quilter to follow.  If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me at angelatackettdesigns@gmail.com.

I have included front and back pictures of the pillow used for this tutorial, and the original pillow made from this tutorial/pattern in March 2013.

© 2013 Angela Tackett

Front of pillow used in this tutorial.
Quilting echoes the chevron shape at 3/8” apart

Back of pillow used in tutorial using one print for the back and flap.

The zipper is nicely tucked away under the flap.

Pillow made for my VBMQG swap partner March 2013.
Quilting done echoing the chevron design at differing distances apart.

Back of swap pillow using strips of the front fabric.  
The zipper is hidden under the chartreuse flap in the middle.  
Straight line quilting at ¼” apart

Have a wonderful creative day.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

My Newest Pattern is Available

I am so excited to announce that the pattern for The Knitting Sack is now in my Craftsy pattern store and in my Etsy shop



I love to knit, but never had a good bag that was the right size for my knitting. So, I guess it's very convenient that I also love to sew.

This bag is sturdy enough to stand on its own. The top folds down to keep the bag open with the help of fusible interfacing, and a generously boxed bottom.


Two dividers make three separate areas in your bag, which is perfect to keep two skeins of yarn separate for two at a time socks. One of those dividers has a zipper so you can keep your scissors and stitch markers safely away from your yarn and your project.


 
The pattern features easy to follow step by step instructions and pictures. Great for beginners and advanced sewers.

 
 
It is available as an instant PDF download and is currently available for $5.00.  If you make The Knitting Sack I would love to hear what you think.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Secret Sewing and Pattern Writing

I've been super busy with things I couldn't/can't share just yet.  I'm working on getting at least three new patterns out in April.  I have more ideas and designs than there is time to get it all finished.  I'm also pattern testing for a few other people, but here are a few things that I can share.

This is a cowl design that I've been working on.  It's still on the needles for now, but so far I'm happy with how it's working up.  The Cascade 220 feels really good and I love this color.  It is called ocean, but for some reason I can't get the pictures to show the true color.  It's more of a denim blue than this grey color.

I made this "N" block for a surprise baby quilt for Kristen (kd_quilts).  We presented it to her at this month's meeting, so I couldn't show the block yet.  We used Tula Pink's pattern.

I love the way it turned out.  The blues and greens go so well together considering that none of knew what the others were using.

Chen did a great job with putting it all together.  She even made little blocks on the back and wrote our names on the quilt.

I'm working on a pair of socks using this beautiful hand painted Manos del Uruguay Alegria yarn.  No pattern just knitting every row the same to get really good at toes, heels, and binding off.   I taught myself to knit a few years ago and I have avoided socks because I knew my hands couldn't handle all those dpns.  I am so happy with toe up and magic loop.  I also absolutely love the fish lips kiss heel by Sox Therapist on Ravelry.
 
I made these Swarovski crystal Stitch markers for an Instagram swap.  I can't wait to see what I get back.
 
I have serious doubts that I'll have the border finished on this before the December part is e-mailed.
Once Upon a Time sampler by Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery.
 
I'm working on three quilt patterns (in various stages), and a bag pattern.
 
I hope you all will hang in there with me while I finish up my "secret sewing".  I have several free tutorials and patterns that I'll be sharing in the coming months.