Let it Snow Show and Tell

I’m sorry to have been away so long.  I haven’t forgotten about the giveaway, but I was going to do my post last Tuesday when the kids got sick.  Tuesday is the only day I daycare for both, so that means no blog post until next Tuesday!  Hopefully they are over it, but tis the season. . .

 

Before I move on to today’s post, here is the randomly selected winner of the giveaway from my last post:

Anke Dudas, who commented on February 17th that she had just finished piecing the runner.  Yay!  Please email your shipping info to hmulder@wecnet.com.  I will have your fabric, books and patterns shipped out asap.

 

I have just a few things to share for the next step in the QAL, and then I will share some show and tell.

If you have all your trees pieced, the next step is to add the fillers to the top of the small and medium trees.

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Next, just sew them together as shown in the diagram.  You can also add borders if you want.  I added 2 borders to mine.   (You may remember that the original runner has one scrappy border)

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If you want to do your like this, it will take 4 strips of each color.  I cut the red 1 1/4″ and the black floral 2 1/2″.

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My only tip here is to look more closely at the diagram when sewing the trees together than I did.  See the circled part below?  I need to rip that section out and turn it around.  Somehow I didn’t even notice it until I was editing these photos😉

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Lastly, I want to share just a couple of show and tell photos from a few people who have shared their work on Instagram.  (Screen shots used with permission)

 

This one is so cheerful and happy.  She made it larger by adding one extra row of trees to the bottom.

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I love the addition of the extra cabin and trees on this one, along with the stripe border.  I always love a good stripe!

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Isn’t this cabin beautiful?  I makes me want to add some of this fabric to my stash.  It’s Winterberry from Kate and Birdie.

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Lastly, check out this version!  I love the beautiful prints and bold colors – don’t they just pop?

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That’s all for today.  I have a new Alabama Chanin style shirt and a finished quilt top to share next.

 

 

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Let It Snow QAL (Part 4) and a Giveaway

Today we are going to talk about doing the angles on the trees.  This technique is a great skill to have.

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The technique works with lots of angles, so it isn’t something that you will just use to make these trees.  With the teaching that I have done on this technique, I have found that many people don’t know how to align the angles when they sew.  This results in their points being off and their blocks aren’t the correct size.  This will be a long post, but I really want to show in detail how this is done so you can avoid these problems.

 

I have already done a tutorial on this technique, so you might have seen some of these pictures before.  Here is an excerpt taken from that tutorial to get us started:

My experience with teaching has been that once the angle is changed from the standard 45 or 90 degrees, many people have no idea what to do, so they just kinda wing it.  Sometimes it works, but most of the time the points are chopped off, don’t meet, or they end up with A, B, or C cups.  Sound familiar?  And in this case, a C cup is not better than an A cup.  In fact, totally flat is best.  Case in point?  A cup to the left, flat on the right.

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But – getting back to what I started talking about – How to align angles.  The technique that I’m going to explain works for many different angles.  For example,  all of the rulers shown below cut different angles, but you would align them all using the same technique.

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The samples that I have prepared to show the technique all use my Triangler ruler.  First up, just sewing two triangles together.

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Nothing complicated here – just lay them right sides together, align them evenly at the top and bottom, and sew.  This is the easiest of the angles to line up and sew.

The main thing to watch out for here is that you sew with a perfect 1/4″ seam allowance and that you have cut the top point accurately.   If you don’t have the little flat top of the ruler aligned perfectly with the top of the strip when you cut, it will throw you off in two ways.  If there is excess fabric to the top of the flat point, your point will not be 1/4″ from the raw edge of the block after you have sewn the triangles together.  Then, if you alter your seam allowance to make sure that the points meet in the center of the block, that will cause your block not to lay flat.  You also want to be careful when working with the bias edges because if the bias gets stretched out, that can also cause your block to be wavy and not lay flat.

 

If you take that same ruler and cut up a skinnier strip, you get pieces that look like this.  I am going to sew them together as laid out below.

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Lay them right sides together and align as shown.

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The trick to knowing exactly how to align them is to make sure that your 1/4″ seam allowance aligns perfectly with the valley at the top and bottom of the pieces.  Do you see the valley?  It’s very important that you know what I mean by a “valley”.  See the little yellow dash in the photo below?  It is aligned in the bottom of the valley.  That is where your 1/4″ seam allowance needs to be – right in the middle of the valley.

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I think the easiest way to see this is to draw a 1/4″ seam allowance on the block.  Then slide the piece up and down until it lines up perfectly with the valley, as shown below.

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In this sample you can see that the 1/4″ seam allowance isn’t lined up with the valley because the red piece is way too high

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In this sample you can see that the 1/4″ seam allowance isn’t lined up with the valley because the red piece is way too low.

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You won’t need to draw the seam allowance on every piece that you line up – it just helps as a guide until you get the hang of the technique.   Another thing that helps is to set your sewing machine so that the needle is always down.  Then you can see right away if your valley is going to line up with the 1/4″ seam allowance.  See the sample below – I have made the needle bright yellow so you are sure to see it.  I also put a yellow dash in the valley so you can see how they line up.  See how much easier that makes it?  If your needle is left up, you have no reference point and keeping the needle down gives you something to watch for.

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After sewing and pressing, the top edge of the unit should be nice and straight (see sample in the top part of the photo below) – not jagged (as shown in the bottom of the photo below).  If your unit looks like the one in the bottom of the photo, you just need more practice aligning the valley with the 1/4″ seam allowance.

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Now let’s practice the angle again – this time by sewing two half triangles to a full triangle.

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The concept is the same – Lay right sides together, and line up the valley with the 1/4″ seam line.  With these pieces, the valley is much harder to see.

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It’s there – you just have to look a littler harder to see it.  It’s a teeny, tiny, baby valley.  But again – the concept is the same.  You need to align the valley with the 1/4″ seam allowance.

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I think one of the things that gets people confused, is that after they press, their point isn’t exactly in the corner of the block.   See how the point is about 1/8″ in from the right bottom corner?

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Depending on the angle you are working with, this distance will vary a bit, but the trick is that after you sew a 1/4″ seam allowance on both sides, then the point will be right in the corner.  On the sample below, I have drawn in the 1/4″ seam allowance and you can see how the point is perfectly in the corner now.  That’s how it’s supposed to work.  (I say supposed to work because I will be the first to admit that my points aren’t perfect.  I know how to align the angles, but they are tiny, bias angles after all, so they don’t always behave every time.)

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Now, let’s move to the other side.  Again, align the piece so that your 1/4″ seam allowance will align with the valley at the top and bottom.

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Press and double-check to make sure that the top point is 1/4″ in from the top edge of the block.

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Now, I want to add a little more to the tutorial, with a few things that are specific to the “Let It Snow” project.  I’ve laid out the pieces for one of the trees below.    It is possible to get the triangle on the wrong way, so I find it helpful to lay out a sample block like this by my machine.

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As you can see below, the long edge of the triangle can fit on either side of the tree, but it’s easy to see that the one in the bottom photo is wrong.  I just point it out because you don’t want to rip out if you don’t have to – especially with those long bias triangles because they can become distorted easily.

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I start by lining up the valley on one end of my tree, then sewing about half way down.

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At this point, I pause and look down to the valley at the bottom of the block.  If it looks like the valley and my 1/4″ seam allowance aren’t going to just line up perfectly on their own, you need to make them line up.  In the photo below, you can see that I lined them up and put a pin to hold the pieces in place.  Because the edges are bias, you can easily make them fit by stretching or easing a bit.

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Lastly, I just want to mention pressing.  When quilting, I think it’s very important to press carefully so you don’t distort your shapes.  As shown in the photo below, I just use the very outside edge of the iron to press the seam allowance toward the blue triangle.  It’s a small, careful movement, rather than a “slide the iron all over to try to flatten this thing”.

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In the photo below, you can see that I wasn’t careful with my pressing and the bottom corner of the tree wings out.

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Now is your chance to go and practice this technique.  You may even want to try it out on a few scraps if you haven’t done this before.  You can also add the tree trunks if you want.

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As a reward for completing the hardest step, don’t you think there should be a little prize?   How about a Layer Cake of Cookie Exchange by Sweetwater, another book to help you use the ruler from the QAL and  couple of patterns?

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Here’s a closer look at the fabrics

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The giveaway is available to anyone doing the Let It Snow QAL.  All you have to do is leave a comment telling me what step you are on and what fabric you are using.  To get a second entry, share a picture of your QAL project on Instagram using the hashtag #letitsnowqal

If you have any questions on this step, be sure to leave that in your comment as well.

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Vintage Afghan KAL

A couple of weeks ago, I started the largest knitting project that I have attempted thus far.  I also joined my first KAL (knit along).  They are related, but I’ll get to that.

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I’ve been thinking about how many of my hand-knit sweaters spend so much time sitting in the closest.  Sometimes they don’t fit right, styles change,  they are too short, or I’m too hot – and I end up not wearing them as much or as long as I would like.  I seem to be stuck in a rut with just knitting sweaters and I’ve been thinking I should knit an afghan or pillow – something that I can use around the house and enjoy every day.  In addition to that, sweaters are also so big and bulky to work on – especially when you are chasing a 1 year old around.  I needed an easier to transport project.

Then, I see this post by Maria.  She stared a KAL using Norah Gaughan’s Vintage Afghan pattern.  (See the Ravelry link to this project here)

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It totally fit the bill for what I had been thinking about doing.

1 – It’s full of cables (which you know I love)

2 -It’s pretty enough to have out around the house

3 –  It’s assembled in blocks.  This makes it very transportable.   I can just throw a block in my purse and take it wherever.

4 – Each block is different, so even though it’s a large project, I won’t get bored.  It’s like making a sampler quilt, with each block being new and different.

 

I happened to have some yarn leftover from a sweater that would work for the project.  I made one test block to see if I liked it.  The yarn is Targhee Worsted by Blue Moon Fiber Arts.

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After doing the test block, I went back and forth about what colors to do.  I was going to do it all grey, and then at the last minute decided to go with some boy colors.  (I have knit my boys some sweaters, but if I make them an afghan, they won’t grow out of it so quickly!).

I went with orange, grey, teal, green and navy.  Only when the navy came, it was purple ( see photo below).  Oops.  Just one of the perils of ordering online . . .

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I over dyed the navy/purple, and now it looks more navy.  I love each of these colors individually – now I just hope I like them knit up.   060

 

My plan is to do 1 block a month.  That means it will take me 20 months to finish the project, but I’m in no hurry.  It’s just fun to have a project with no deadline.

 

If you want to learn more about the KAL, you can also go to the thread that Maria started on Ravelry – click here.  I’ve really enjoyed seeing everyone’s blocks that they are working on, so it’s really fun (and helpful) to be part of the group.

 

This new project has me thinking that I need a new knitting bag and I’m looking for suggestions.  Does anyone have any favorites?  Please leave me a comment if you have any ideas for me.  Thanks!

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Let It Snow QAL – Part 3

How is everyone doing today?  Do you have your cutting done for our project?   Today we are going to talk about the strip units.

The first step is making the strip units for the tree trunks.  There are 3 different sizes, each with a skinny brown center strip.  Because the strip is skinny, you will want to be as accurate as you can with your seam allowance.   If you are off a little, it may show as small pieces are always less forgiving.  I would suggest starting with the strip unit in Step 1, and if it measures 8″ from top to bottom, then you are ready to cut into sections and sew the strip units for Step 2 and 3.  If it isn’t 8″, take a closer look at your seam allowance to make sure it is an accurate 1/4″.

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One other thing to watch is to cut each strip unit at the correct width.  As you can see, they are all a little different.

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The next step is to make the strip units for the trees (Step 4 in the book).  This is the fun part – playing with all the cute fabrics and the sewing is very easy.  The main thing you need to pay attention to here, is to get one of each size strip in each strip unit – That way the strip units are all the correct size.  Arrange these strips so that the order is different in each strip unit.  This will really add to the scrappy look of the trees, but requires little work on your part.

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The next step is to cut the tree units.  For this step, I like to use a small cutter.  It’s a 28mm cutter and it’s my favorite size to use for most of my cutting.  It’s very easy to maneuver and it’s easier to see the flat tops of the trees when cutting.  It’s important that this be accurate, or your tree points will be off.  (There are also a few more pictures on how to cut these triangles on page 3 of the book)

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You will end up with 2 different size trees from this step.

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If you have time, you can also do the first part of Step 5 (see the first 3 diagrams in Step 5).  This is how you make the tallest tree.  Just be sure to use a 2 1/2″ wide strip on the bottom of your trees.  Use the ruler to trim as shown.  Your tree should be 9 1/2″ tall.  The only other thing I can think of right now is just to mention that the angled edges of the trees are bias, so just be careful when pressing, etc so you don’t stretch them out.

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That’s it for this week.  If you have any questions, just leave them in the comments.  Then be sure stop back and check the comments to see the answer to your question.   If any of you are on Instagram, please use the hashtag #letitsnowqal, so I can see your project!

 

Next time, we will talk about sewing the background triangles to the trees.  If you have never done this angle before, I will show lots of pictures.  After that, it just takes some practice to get the hang of it.  It’s a great skill to have, so hopefully you will enjoy learning about it.

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Bethioua

I thought I would share a little garmet sewing in between the Let It Snow QAL posts.  Last December, I finished this top and forgot to share it.  It’s too good of a pattern to forget to share, so I wanted to take time to do that today.

 

The pattern is called Bethiou.  It’s a really easy pattern to sew, with fun details.  It would also be really quick to make, though mine took a little longer because I wanted to fussy cut the stripes.  My favorite part of the pattern is the back.  The details are just really cute and you know how I love a raglan sleeve.  I just love when I don’t have to set in a sleeve.  It’s an easy piece to layer too, for when the weather is colder.

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If you are interested in the pattern, I purchased it from IndieSew.  I also purchased the fabric there too, though it is gone now.  You can view the pattern here.  I will definitely be making this one again!

Have a great weekend!  I’ll be back early next week to share the next step in the QAL.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Let It Snow QAL Part 2 – Hints for Cutting

For those of you joining the Let It Snow QAL, I have a few hints to share today about the cutting.

 

I won’t go over the basics of cutting.  I am assuming that you all know how to do that, so I won’t bore you with that!  I am going to go over a couple of things specific to this pattern.  There are also a few hints in the book on page 3 that you will want to take a look at.

 

The specific things that I wanted to point out  are Cutting the Half Triangles and cutting the roof for the cabin.

For Cutting the Half Triangles, see the cutting box for the Tree Tops, found on the top of page 22.

The biggest mistake people make when cutting these triangles is they align the solid center line with the edge of the rectangle.   The cutting instructions (found on page 3), say you are to align the Outer Left Dashed line with the outside edge of the rectangle – as shown below.  Then make your cut along the right edge of the ruler.

If  you use the solid center line, you will find that your triangles are too small.  This will cause your blocks to have the incorrect distance beyond your points when you sew everything together and your blocks will be smaller than the proof size given in the pattern. (see last diagram on Step 5, page 22).

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Make sure that the little flat top of the triangle is aligned exactly with the top of the rectangle as shown below.  The bottom edge of your rectangle should align with whatever size triangle you are told to cut.  For example, the one below is a 7 1/2″ tall triangle.  There are two other size Half Triangles in the cutting directions – all are cut with this same technique, they will just be different heights.

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Now flip your ruler upside down and align the outer dashed line with the right edge of the rectangle as shown.  Again, make sure that the little flat top aligns with the edge of your rectangle as shown in the bottom of the picture.  (There will be a tiny scrap of fabric leftover in the middle)

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You will notice that the pattern tells you to cut something like this – “7 and 7 Reverse Half Triangles.”  The easiest way to get a Reverse is to lay to rectangles wrong sides together when cutting – like this:

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One of the Half Triangles that you will be instructed to cut is 9 1/2″ tall.  The ruler is only 7 1/2″ tall, so you will need to have a second ruler handy to lay next to the Triangler like this:

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Then pull the Triangler away and cut next to the longer ruler.  Repeat on the opposite corner.

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Next, let’s talk about cutting the roof for the house (If you are doing the runner, you don’t need to worry about this step).  This step is found in the cutting box on the top of page 23.

 

I have had a few people email me, asking “What line on the ruler do I use for this step?”

You don’t need to worry about a line on the ruler.  Just line the bottom edge of the rulers up with the bottom edge of your roof piece.  Then slide the ruler over to the left until the bottom point of the ruler is perfectly aligned with the bottom corner of the roof piece – like this:

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A close up of that bottom corner:

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Now, flip the ruler upside down and repeat on the opposite top corner.

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Next time, I will talk about cutting up the strip sets.  See you back here then!

 

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Streak Over

So I had trouble sleeping last night.

I realized that I made a mistake in the information that I sent out for the QAL runner.  I laid awake being upset with myself for making a mistake on something so simple, and thinking about how I had to tell all of you about my screw up.  Errors in books and patterns are not something that I take lightly.  In fact, I do take some pride in the error free run of books and patterns that we have been putting out.  It’s always such a relief, because editing is such a huge job and my brain isn’t what it used to be!  I am a big believer in testing (and by testing, I mean paying someone to actually make the quilt) and then lots of editing afterwards.  With this runner, I thought –  the book has been out for 9 months with no errors, so just a little change by making it a runner should be fine.  But . . .  I forgot one cutting step, which then changes the fabric requirements and cutting instructions.  And I forgot one Reverse, so that changes one number in the directions too.

For those of you who have already cut according to the directions that I sent out, you didn’t cut anything wrong.  The sizes are all right, etc – you will just need to cut a little more of two items.  You can download the new instructions here.  Now I will just say I’m sorry and go eat some humble pie.  Streak over😦

 

On a lighter note, I have a few pictures to share of my boys.  I snapped them when I was working on our Christmas card.  I don’t think I’ve shared any of them yet, but it is a fun memory for me.  We started shooting inside.

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It wasn’t long before the boys realized that it was snowing outside – Big, giant flakes.  It the first snow of the year that had arrived on a day when we could go out and play.  So, we took the party outside.DSC_1233 bw

 

It was Max’s first time out in the snow.  He just kept putting his arms out to catch it, eyes wide with wonder.  There was also lots of snacking on the snow.  We had a good time, got good and wet, then ventured back in to see if I got my shot.

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And the final cut –

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Posted in Family, Quilt Along | Tagged , , | 17 Comments