Finish It Up Friday + Binding Tutorial

Happy Friday Everybody!  Today I wanted to show you the finished quilt from last week’s “Life’s A Charm” series.  You can click here to read more.

Cherry Valley Designs Binding Tutorial

I did an easy all over block design on this quilt which was a lot of fun, it was a new design for me and it doesn’t take away from the busyness of the quilt.  However, for the binding I wanted to try a new technique I learned a couple of weeks ago and thought I’d pass the tutorial on to all of you.  I learned about this a few weeks ago at a machine quilting guild I belong to.  With this technique, you put the entire binding on by machine.  While I’m sure many of you know about this, for those of you who don’t I hope this helps a bit.

First, make your binding the way you normally would.  Mine is 2 1/2″ wide and I fold it in half and then press.  A little trick is to use an old coffee can and put it in while you’re ironing, that way it doesn’t fall all over the floor and you can just pull it out easily as you’re stitching it down.  This has been a lifesaver for me.

Cherry Valley Designs Binding Tutorial

Once your binding is prepared, attach your binding like you normally would with the raw edge of the binding matched to the raw edge of the quilt, but make sure you sew it to the back of the quilt.

Cherry Valley Designs Binding Tutorial

Then … you need to cut off the excess at the beginning and end of your binding on the diagonal and do the final sew down.

Cherry Valley Designs Binding Tutorial

A tip of mine is to take a picture of positioning the ends correctly, taking a picture, printing it and keeping it at my sewing machine.  This way, when it’s time to do this, you have an easy reference.  I was always getting mixed up and ended up twisting all my ends every which way.  Now I have a nice visual to clue me in … no more frustrations!

Cherry Valley Designs Binding Tutorial

Finally, pull the front of your binding around to the front (make sure your top thread matches your binding!) and stitch down with the blind stitch.

Cherry Valley Designs Binding Tutorial

This was the first time I’ve tried it myself and it went pretty smoothly with the exception that my machine doesn’t allow a stitch to have a mirror image.  So when I used the blind hem stitch I had to push the whole body of my quilt into the machine so the stitch was facing the right way.

Special shout out of thanks to the linky parties today: Finish It Up Friday; Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?; Thank Goodness it’s Finished Friday.

Have a Wonderful Weekend!

July: Life’s A Charm – "X" Marks the Spot

Hi Everybody! For all of our US friends, we hope you had a wonderful 4th of July weekend.  This would be the reason why we’re a little late in getting our Life’s a Charm out, along with the fact that I’ve been sick the past few days and have been operating at a slower speed.  Did you do anything fun to celebrate?  We visited Gettysburg and I cooked a big meal for our family – marinated and grilled chicken; cole slaw; potato salad; and of course, homemade cherry pie!  It was so much fun to cook a big meal like that, I don’t get to do that nearly enough!

For this month’s Life’s a Charm we decided to make a quilt (imagine that! … our first for “Life’s a Charm”), something easy that could come together in a snap.  We’ve had 16 fat quarters of 30’s reproduction fabric sitting around in our stash for a long time and decided it was high time to do something with it.  So, I cut it up into 5″ charm squares and got 192 squares.  We ended up using most of these squares for this lap quilt.

For those of you making charm squares out of a fat quarter, it is very easy to do.  You will be able to get 3 rows vertically and 4 rows horizontally giving you 12 charm squares.

Here’s how it goes …

“X” Marks the Spot
Finished Size: 50″ x 50″
Cherry Valley Designs Hourglass Quilt

– 4 color scraps of material for 162 – 5″ squares (this would be equivalent to 5 charm packs);
– 56″ x 56″ piece of batting;
– 56″ x 56″ piece of backing fabric;
– 220″ of binding;
– A 6 1/2″ x 24 1/2″ ruler (for cutting your 5″ squares out) – I prefer Creative Grids;
– A 2 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ ruler – again, Creative Grids; and
– A 6 1/2″ square ruler – of course, Creative Grids;
– Your favorite rotary cutter, cutting mat, sewing machine, iron and ironing board!

Step 1: 
Separate your color scraps and make two groups of two.  So, I put purple and blue together (group 1) and pink and green together (group 2).

Cherry Valley Designs Hourglass Quilt

Step 2:
Chain piece your squares together, right sides facing, and sew a quarter inch seam allowance down one side of all your pieces.  Next, sew a quarter inch seam allowance on the opposite side.  Yes, that’s right, just trust me on this one 😉

Cherry Valley Designs Hourglass Quilt

Cherry Valley Designs Hourglass Quilt

Step 3:
Using your 2 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ ruler, cut each square on the diagonal and iron the seam flat.

Cherry Valley Designs Hourglass Quilt

Cherry Valley Designs Hourglass Quilt

Cherry Valley Designs Hourglass Quilt

Step 4:
Pin your pieces back together, lining up your center point to create an hourglass block and sew together.  Your will need 49 blocks of your first group and 32 blocks of your second group.

Cherry Valley Designs Hourglass Quilt

Cherry Valley Designs Hourglass Quilt

Step 5:
Using your 6 1/2″ square ruler, proof your blocks to 6″ x 6″ squares.

Cherry Valley Designs Hourglass Quilt

Cherry Valley Designs Hourglass Quilt

Cherry Valley Designs Hourglass Quilt

Step 6: 
Iron your seams flat.  Lay your quilt out starting with one color in the center and lay the alternate color around the center block.  Keep alternating colors (around the world) until you have a 9 block x 9 block quilt.  Sew your rows together.  Your quilt top is complete!

I can’t wait to get it on the longarm and get it quilted!  Check back next week for how we quilted this and bound this quilt! … There may even be a tutorial involved!

Until next time!

Playing Around With Colors

Believe it or not I would definitely consider myself a novice when it comes to the Adobe suite of products.  Back in November I faced the stark realization that I needed to make “the switch.”  Thankfully though, Adobe now has a service called Adobe Creative Cloud.  It is, in a word, awesome! I was hesitant at first, but not having the $1,000+ to throw down on Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign, I decided to give the Creative Cloud, a shot and I am so glad I did.  I specialized in Information Systems with my business degree, so I’m pretty comfortable with the computer.  I was also the “queen of handouts” (an honor bestowed upon me by my supervisor, complete with a certificate … lol) when I was a college math tutor, so I was comfortable making graphics and writing directions.  What is the Creative Cloud?  You pay for it monthly and it houses pretty much the entire suite of Adobe products and then you can download the programs you need … as many as you need!  To me, $50 a month was much more reasonable than the upfront cost of the standalone Adobe products.  The other huge upside is you don’t have to worry about product upgrades and having to pay for those as well.  The upgrades with Creative Cloud run seamlessly through your product and when one arrives, you’re simply notified – it all is included with your subscription cost.  Oh, and you’re getting the professional grade of the Adobe products!

That turned out to be a lot more information than I was planning on saying, but if you are in need of Adobe products I would definitely recommend looking into this and seeing if this would be a good fit for you.

Like I said, I’m still definitely a novice.  I do a lot of trial and error.  The worst is when I get something right and I have no clue how I did it!  Grrrr … does that ever happen to you?  Well, I won’t forget this little trick.  Last night, I was working on proofing some new pictures and I stumbled upon this photo alteration trick.

Do you remember our pattern Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend that I debuted in the spring?  It’s a pretty peach and spring green …

… But look what happens when you change the “hue” using Photoshop?  Oh, the color combinations!

Option #1: Aqua and Purple

Option #2: Two-Toned Green

Option #3: Two-Toned Purple
Option #4: Blue and Green
Option #5: Pink and Peach (My fave!) 

Option #6: Purple and Pink

What’s your favorite “new” color combination?  We’d love to hear!
Have a wonderful weekend!

Thank You + How to Make Your Own Large Pom Pom Fringe

Happy Monday Everyone!  I hope your week is off to a great start!  First, I have to thank all of you who stopped by on Friday and left your kind words.  I also have to apologize to the first 37 people who left comments.  When I leave a comment on someone’s blog, it’s always nice when I get a personal e-mail from the blogger thanking me …  hmmm? How do they do that?  Well, midway through Friday morning, I thought, “This is ridiculous, there has to be a way!”  (In the past, I have just directly replied in the comments form.)  Well, for those of you who did not get an e-mail from me this is why and I want to send a special THANK YOU to all of you, sorry for the confusion!

Also, if you would like to have comments forwarded to your e-mail this is how you do it (if you have Blogger).

Step 1: Go to your Blogger home page and click the dropbox to the right of the blog you want to change the settings on.  Select “Settings.”

Step 2:  Once on your settings page, click “Mobile and Email” on the left hand side.

Step 3: Here, under the “Comment Notification Email” type in the email you want comments sent to and click save.  Now, you’ll receive email notifications when you get new comments on any of your posts and this way you can send messages back to the person who left a comment (as long as they weren’t ‘anonymous’).

I hope this helps anyone who has had this problem and makes it easier to navigate Blogger!

On to the jumbo pom pom fringe.  One of the comments I got several times was about the fringe at the bottom of my wallhanging from Friday.  If you missed Friday’s post, click here, I participated in Madame Samm’s “Shake Your Pom Poms” blog hop … needless to say, it was a LOT of fun!

Cherry Valley Designs Wall Hanging

For this blog hop, one of the sponsors was Clover who wanted to promote their pom pom makers.  When I first signed up for the blog hop I went to my local JoAnn’s store and picked up both sizes they offer (there are 2 in each package, so I had a total of 4 pom pom makers), plus the yarn.  At this point I still wasn’t sure what the size of my finished project would be, so I wanted to make sure I had options!  We always need options, don’t we? 🙂

My first few pom poms didn’t go so well, they were scrawny and weak … nobody wants scrawny and weak pom poms!  What to do?!?  Well, the package directions show very clearly to carefully wrap a string of yarn around tightly to each other.  With nothing to lose, I decided to make the pom pom by wrapping several pieces of yarn around tightly to each other (see first picture below) … what a difference!!  The pom pom was all of a sudden nice and full (see second picture below).

Cherry Valley Designs Pom Pom Fringe

Cherry Valley Designs Pom Pom Fringe

Then after you’ve cut the pieces that you just wrapped in half, tie your knot to hold the pom pom together and make sure you leave about a 6″ handle on this piece, this is very important!

Cherry Valley Designs Pom Pom Fringe

Next, cut a piece of 1″ wide fabric by the length of your pom pom fringe.  Lay your pom poms down as far away from one another as you want with your 6″ handles laying over the backside of the fabric.  Pin these in place and sew them down (I used a tight zig zag stitch to secure them down.)

Cherry Valley Designs Pom Pom Fringe

Cherry Valley Designs Pom Pom Fringe

Cherry Valley Designs Pom Pom Fringe

Finally, cut the excess yarn off the top, iron down the fabric in half, and sew down with a straight stitch to create a finished look.  Your pom pom fringe is ready!  Enjoy!

Cherry Valley Designs Pom Pom Fringe

Make sure to check out the projects for Day 4 of the “Shake Your Pom Poms” blog hop.  Here’s today’s round up:

Have a great day!

Life’s A Charm: Valentine’s Mug Rugs

Hello Everybody, I’m finally starting to feel back in the swing of things and it’s a good thing since it’s that time again for “Life’s A Charm,” our monthly series where we create a quick pattern using either a mini charm pack or charm pack.  Last month, we featured a table topper with nothing other than snowflakes, check it out here.  I’d also like to welcome visitors from the linky parties we’re participating in today:

February is all about love and what better way to share something with the one you love than over a hot cup of coffee, tea, hot cocoa … you get the idea.  There is one way to make it better, by using matching mug rugs featuring a pieced heart in the corner!  This month’s “Life’s a Charm” is a pattern for two matching Valentine’s Mug Rugs.  This has to be one of my favorite projects I’ve ever made and I love using my mug rug, it’s such a nice addition to my desk.
Valentines Mug Rugs
What You’ll Need:
  • (1) Mini Charm Pack (we used Odds and Ends by Cosmo Cricket)
  • (1) scrap of cream fabric (we used a 10″ x 10″ extra from a layer cake and had plenty left over)
  • (2) 8″ x 12″ pieces of batting
  • (2) 8″ x 12″ pieces of backing fabric
  • (2) 2 1/2″ x 50″ pieces of binding
  • A ruler with a 45 degree angle such as this one
Step 1: We’re going to start by assembling the pieced heart blocks. You will need to cut

  • A – 6 red mini charm pieces into (24) 1″ x 1″ squares; 
  • B – 2 red mini charm pieces into (4) 1″ x 2″ strips; 
  • C – 1 red mini charm piece into (2) 1″ x 2 1/2″ strips; and 
  • D – 1 red mini charm piece into (2) 1″ x 1 1/2″ strips.  

From your cream scrap fabric, cut

  • E – (12) 2 1/2″ x 1″ strips; 
  • F – (10) 1 1/2″ x 1″ strips; 
  • G – (4) 1″ x 1″ squares; and 
  • H – 2″ x 1″ strips.

Step 2: Next it will be helpful to lay your hearts out with all the pieces where they should be.  In the order listed below (from left to right), lay out your rows.  You can see from the picture below how I did mine.

  • Row 1: E -> E
  • Row 2: F -> A -> A -> A -> F -> A -> A -> A-> F 
  • Row 3: G -> B -> B -> G
  • Row 4: F -> A -> C -> A -> F
  • Row 5: H -> A -> D -> A -> H
  • Row 6: E -> A -> A -> E
  • Row 7: E -> E
Step 3: Rows 2, 4, 5, and 6 all have half square triangles to create “curved” edges of the heart.  This is when you will need a ruler with a 45 degree angle.  For Row 2, place the first F and A right sides together, and mark a 45 degree line on the red fabric’s back side from the upper right hand corner diagonally towards the bottom left hand corner (see Picture 1 below).  Next, using the center F piece mark the same as previously stated with the right side A piece.  Sew both pieces and press towards red fabric.  Cut off excess fabric on back side so there is 1/4″ seam (see Picture 2 below).
Finishing Row 2, place the left side of the center F piece and mark a 45 degree angle from the upper left hand corner diagonally towards the bottom right hand corner (see Picture 3 below).  Repeat with final A and F pieces. Sew both pieces and press towards red fabric.  Cut off excess fabric on back side so there is 1/4″ seam (see Picture 2 below).

Picture 1
Picture 2
Picture 3 

Step 4: For rows 4, 5, and 6, the left hand side of the heart’s angles will all be the same and the right hand side of the heart’s angles will all be the same.  For the left hand side place red fabric right side together with cream fabric and draw a 45 degree angle from the upper left hand corner diagonally to the lower right hand corner on the back side of the red fabric.  Sew both pieces and press towards red fabric.  Cut off excess fabric on back side so there is 1/4″ seam.

For the right hand side place red fabric right side together with cream fabric and draw a 45 degree angle from the upper right hand side to the lower left hand side on the back side of the red fabric.  Sew both pieces and press towards red fabric.  Cut off excess fabric on back side so there a 1/4″ seam.  Once complete lay out your rows with angled pieces in place.

Step 5: Sew your rows together and your pieced hearts are complete. Next lay out the rest of your mug rug pieces and arrange as desired.  Row 1 will consist of 5 mini charm pack pieces; rows 2 and 3 will consist of 3 pieces across, finished with the pieced heart block.

Step 6: Sew all pieces across for rows 1, 2 and 3.

Step 7: Finish by sewing pieced rows 2 to 3, then sew to the pieced heart block.  You will need to proof this piece to 4″ wide!  Finally sew row 1 to rows 2 and 3.  Quilt and bind as desired, your mug rugs are complete!

Hope you enjoy making and using these, thanks for stopping by!

Sew You’ve Always Wanted to Quilt!

Happy New Year!

In the spirit of the new year, have you always wanted to learn to quilt and not been certain what you might need or where to begin?  Last week Megan and I were on Pinterest (that is so addicting!) and we noticed how many people were pinning quilts with the captions “Things we wish our mom had taught us” and “Things we’ll have our moms make.”  That got us to thinking that there are a lot of aspiring quilters out there. In that vain we thought the first day of the new year would be the perfect time to introduce our new series “Life’s A Charm” and share the absolute necessary tools of the trade.  No fears, this year, 2013,  can be the beginning of your exciting adventure into the wonderful world of quilting!  If you are new to sewing, we will walk you through as much as possible so by the end of 2013, you will be well versed in not only sewing but also quilting!

On the 5th of every month we will be unveiling a new project in our “Life’s A Charm” series.  We will be offering you a free project along with tips and tricks to make it easy for you to complete each project.  Each project can be using either a mini charm pack (which is 42-2 1/2 inch squares) or a charm pack (which is 42-5 inch squares) – always choose 100% cotton fabric.  In addition, should you have any questions along the way, please feel free to leave a comment with your question and we will gladly answer each and every one!

Today, we are listing the basic necessities you will need to begin quilting – while it is a bit of an investment initially, after rounding these items up – you should be good to go for quilting.  The basic things that you will need to get started include:

  1. Basic sewing machine
  2. Straight pins with heads
  3. Good pair of 8″ or 9″ scissors for cutting fabric*
  4. 4″ or 5″ pair of  sharp tipped scissors for cutting threads, etc.*
  5. Seam ripper
  6. 45 mm Olfa rotary cutter*
  7. Resealable cutting mat*
  8. 24″ ruler (and 6″ square ruler, if you want)*
  9. An iron that can be both a dry iron and a steam iron
  10. An ironing board
  11. Starch
  12. Spool of cotton thread in a neutral color (like tan or cream)

* You can find our picks for these items in our Amazon shop!

You see, so far, not too scary!  Again, if you should have any questions, do not hesitate to get in touch with us … we will be glad to help!!

We hope that you will join us on the 5th of each month for a fun filled journey into the wonderful world of quilting!

Until the 5th ~


Glorious Autumn Block Party

Hello Everyone!  I am so glad you are here!  My name is Megan and you can learn more about me on today’s Quilting Gallery post and on my website here.  As part of the Quilting Gallery’s Glorious Autumn Block Party, I will be showing you how to make my block, “Autumn Bliss.”  You can download a PDF version of the instructions here or follow my picture/video tutorial here on this post!

Some things to mention before getting started:

  • Don’t forget to check out the Quilter’s Super deal on the Quilting Gallery, too!  You don’t want to miss that!
  • Check out the Flickr group with even more pictures and inspiration from the Block Party!
  • Don’t forget to check out the other 2 uber-talented designers this week, Mishka herself of the Quilting Gallery on Wednesday and Cara Quilts on Thursday who also hosts the awesome Talkin’ Tuesdays on Twitter!  This is a “Don’t Miss Week!”
  • Finally, keep checking the Glorious Autumn Block Party’s headquarters to keep up-to-date on all the latest happenings!  I just can’t thank Michelle enough for hosting and organizing such a great event!!  She has done an awesome job!

Now to the tutorial!! …

You will need:

  • 12-1/2″ square of green fabric
  • 4 scraps of brown fabric
  • A scrap of dark gold fabric
  • A scrap of light gold fabric
  • Applique materials including a fusible product, applique glue and coordinating thread

Step 1:  Cut out (36) 1-1/2″ squares from a variety of the brown scraps of fabric.  Follow the pictures below for the order in which to piece the squares together.

All 36 squares at the beginning
Work in rows from left to right and sew 2 squares at a time.
What it looks like after you’ve sewn each 2 squares together.

Sew the pieces from above so you have 3 rows.
Sew the 3 rows together so you now have a 6 by 6 block of squares.  This will be used for the center of your sunflower.

Step 2: Using the circle template included in the pattern, draw a circle on the brown squares from Step 1 using a marking pen, pencil or chalk (I used chalk to draw mine) and cut the circle out.  This is your sunflower’s center!  Set aside to use later.

The circle template laying over the brown squares.

Drawing the circle with a chalk “pen.”

The finished sunflower center!

Step 3: Using a fusible product (I use Heat ‘N Bond Lite – you can read my favorite applique method here) draw the flat petal pattern (see PDF directions at the top of this post) and cut out 10 dark gold, flat petals and adhere fusing to only the petals! Cut out petals and set aside. 

Petals drawn on my Heat ‘N Bond

Step 4: Cut out 10 of the light gold petals (see diagrams in PDF pattern).  For these, simply trace the petal directly onto the fabric with a marking pen.  Then, to make the petals ruffled watch the video below.  (This is the first video I have ever made and I apologize for it being a bit blurry, but you can still learn the technique!)

Step 5: Find the center of the 12-1/2″ green square by drawing a line 6-1/4″ down the middle and then another line 6-1/4″ perpendicularly with marking pen, pencil or chalk. It should look like a “+” sign.  Folding your circle template in quarters line the center of the circle with the center of the block.  See pictures below.

The “+” sign.
Folding the circle template in half twice and lining up the 2 centers.

Unfolding the circle to trace around it.

The finished, traced circle.

Step 6: Lay dark yellow, flat petals on the circle about 1/4″ in with fusing facing down.  Once you have all 10 petals around the circle and are satisfied with how they look, press them down and applique with a blanket stitch using coordinating thread.  See pictures below.

Notice the petals set inside the circle.

Lay petals out before pressing down to make sure they all fit and you like their placement.

The petals with their blanket stitch.  Notice that I did not sew down the inside straight part, since this will be covered by the sunflower center.

Step 7:  Using applique glue secure ruffled petals down in between dark gold petals.  Then sew down using a blanket stitch in a coordinating color.  See pictures below.

Lay ruffled petals in between flat petals.
Make sure all your ruffled petals fit and secure using applique glue before proceeding to sew them down.
Using a blanket stitch with a coordinating thread color, sew petals down.  Again, you do not need to sew the “inside” of the petals as these will be covered with the sunflower’s center.

Step 8: You’re almost there.  Using applique glue again, secure the brown center and sew down using a blanket stitch and coordinating thread.  See pictures below.  Good job!  Your block is done!

Using applique glue and let dry before sewing down in the center of all the petals.
After you have sewn the center down using a blanket stitch and coordinating thread, your block is done! Congratulations!

To celebrate our block hop, we having a fantastic giveaway!  One lucky winner will receive a spool of Aurifil thread (love this thread!), a bundle of 19(!) fat quarters of Buggy Barn fabric and one of our new fall patterns – Rose’s Palindrome!

There are 4 different chances to win (so if you do all 4 of these things, your name will be entered 4 times!):

  1. Leave a comment on this blog post stating your name, where you live and which of our new patterns is your favorite from our site (you can click here to see our shop).
  2. Follow us on Twitter!
  3. Friend us on Facebook!
  4. Sign up for our newsletter on our homepage.

Contest will end Tuesday, November 27 at 8pm EST.  Winner will be chosen at random and announced Wednesday, November 28.

Thanks again for visiting and be sure to keep checking back!