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Soldier Boy Quilt Block Tutorial

As promised, here is my version of a traditional quilt block. Print out both pages. You may use this pattern for your own use free of charge–just tell ’em where you got it.

Soldier Boy

Soldier Boy Paper Pieced Units

Soldier Boy Block

Soldier Boy Blocks

Since my husband served in the Air Force, I’ll make my Soldier Boy using blue fabric. I have previously made this block in light tan for a Quilt of Valor. These quilts are distributed to wounded soldiers. Check with your local quilt guild or go to the link for more information.

www.qovf.org

READ THROUGH THIS ENTIRE POST BEFORE STARTING, ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAVE NEVER PAPER PIECED BEFORE. If you have questions, email me.

After printing the paper pieced units, trace them onto quilting paper or tracing paper. Either of these will rip easily away when you are finished sewing. Sew several stitches beyond the outside line or the stitching lines will not be caught when you sew the units together. I also used a colored pencil to denote where my blue fabrics were placed. I had the fabrics reversed in my first draft so my first unit was all wrong.  Do over. After you are finished tracing, cut out the other fabrics as directed on page 1 (Soldier Boy).

Marking some pieces

Marking some pieces

Oops--wrong colors--fix pattern

Oops–wrong colors–fix pattern

After tracing, cut out leaving 1/4-inch seam allowance around. Then pre-fold each line of the paper.

Prefold on lines

Prefold on lines

Start with a background piece of fabric (1b). The paper will be face down and the fabric will be right side down. Fold the paper back and cut the fabric including 1/4-inch seam allowance as shown. (The photo is actually after adding fabric 2). The process is always the same–fold the paper back, add a seam allowance, add the next fabric (right sides together), sew. Set your stitch length to about 1.5 instead of the default (2.2).

Trim beyond fold line

Trim beyond fold line

Fingre press seam

Finger press seam

Here #2 is sewn to #1; finger press the seam. Continue until all pieces have been sewn. Trim the outside edges, being sure to add the seam allowance, unlike I did here on the end. I had to go back and resew the last two pieces.

Oops--cut off seam allowance

Oops–don’t cut off the seam allowance

When you paper piece the hat, start with the background fabric. Usually, you leave all the papers attached until you sew your units together; in this case, go ahead and remove the papers. Fold the paper back at the seam line, and tear away.

Tearing paper away

Tearing paper away

Position all of your pieces as shown below.

Lining up the rows

Lining up the rows

Sew each vertical row. Press toward the dark fabric EXCEPT, press away from the hat toward the face–your seam will lie flatter. Then sew the rows together.

Rows sewn together

Rows sewn together

Press your final seams as shown.

Pressing direction

Pressing direction

Here is my finished fly-boy. His name is Dave. Isn’t he 35-10?

Finished block

Finished block

If you wish to add a face, here are a couple of ideas.

Doll faces

Doll faces

You could also embroider the face. If you’re not sure about adding a face, iron a piece of freezer paper to the back of your face fabric (stabilizes the fabric for drawing) and draw before piecing your soldier.  I TOLD you to read all the directions first. I hope you enjoy making this block. Till next time, be kind and do something creative. Better yet–make a Quilt of Valor. Here is one I made–all my other photos are non-digital. I quilted this with a loop-d-loop with stars design in variegated red/white/blue thread. The center medallion was an original block; the star blocks were a block of the month (Star-Thangled Banner, 2008) by Jan Williams, Calico Cut-Ups Quilt Guild.

And if you like mystery quilts, go to the following link. The quilt is in red/white/blue and started in January 2016.

www.calicocut-ups.blogspot.com

QOV08WIP

Tutorial: Printing Quilt Labels

You can print out my directions for printing quilt labels on your home computer by clicking on the link.

InstructionsLabels.BubbleJet

I will show you step by step photographs in the post, but first we should talk about what information you should put on your label.

Why make a label for your quilt?  If you give your quilt as a gift, a label can denote a special occasion such as a birthday, wedding or baby gift.  I title my quilts and give some details about the quilt including techniques, date finished or presented, my name/city/state, anything of historical or general interest.  I have also starting adding dimensions of the quilt.

Historical significance.  There is a lot of documentation and research being done on quilts.  You can make it easier for your descendents and researchers by labeling your quilts as you finish them.  There are some wonderful quilts out in the world with no history as to who made them, who they were given to or why they were made.  You can sometimes date a quilt by the fabrics used but it can really add interest to a quilt with specific information as to maker and date finished.  NOTE:  The date denotes the last time the quilt was worked on.  If you finish granny mommy’s quilt and add new fabrics, you must use the current date.  You can always add that the blocks were made by so-and-so in 1920, but if you added borders, backing and quilted it yesterday, you need to document the quilt as being finished in 2015.  This information may not be important to you or your kids, but it may matter to someone else down the line.  If nothing else, it is fun to know why a quilt was made.

Here’s a sample of one of my recent labels.

Quilt label

Quilt label

On to the tutorial.  Always read the directions first before starting. I”ll give you resources at the end.

Make a new document with your quilt information.  I put my page on landscape and formatted two columns.  I can usually get four labels per page this way.  Leave space between the labels so that you have at least 1/2-inch margins all around for turning under edges.  I sometimes use the enter key to shorten up each line. Set up your printer ahead of time to print best quality.

Supplies

Supplies

  1. Prepare the fabric for printing.  Cut a piece of fabric slightly more than 8-1/2×11 inches.  Shake bottle well and pour enough Bubble Jet Set 2000 into the bottom of an aluminum tray to cover the fabric.  Using rubber gloves, make sure the fabric is saturated and soak for 5 minutes.
Soaking fabric

Soaking fabric

2. Using rubber gloves, let fabric drip into tray and lay flat on an old towel.  Do not wring fabric. Pour remaining Jet Set back into bottle for reuse.

Pouring Jet Set 2000 back in bottle

Pouring Jet Set 2000 back in bottle

3. Let fabric dry.  I use a hair dryer to speed the process and then finish drying with the iron.

More tools

More tools

4. Press the shiny side of a sheet of heavy duty freezer paper to the wrong side of the fabric.

Pressing treated fabric

Pressing treated fabric

Pressing freezer paper sheet to fabric

Pressing freezer paper sheet to fabric

5. Carefully trim the fabric to 8-1/2×11 inches; press the edges again.

Trimming prepared fabric

Trimming prepared fabric

6. Place the fabric/freezer paper fabric side down in the paper tray.  (This is how my printer works–check yours.)  Print.  Let stand for 30 minutes.

Place in printer fabric side down

Place in printer fabric side down

Wait 30 minutes after printing

Wait 30 minutes after printing

7. Remove the freezer paper from the fabric, being careful not to distort the fabric.

8. Using the timer again and rubber gloves, swish the fabric in cold soapy water for 2 minutes.  Rinse until all the soap is removed.  Let the fabric drip into the tray and dry as before.

Hand wash in soapy water 2 minutes

Hand wash in soapy water 2 minutes

9. Cut your labels, leaving 1/2-inch on all sides.

10. Press under the edges.  To miter corners, open up the corners as shown, fold down a triangle and fold in each side.

Pressing, mitering corners

Pressing, mitering corners

11. Pin the label to the bottom left side of your quilt, looking at it from the back.  Blind stitch the edges down.  You now have a professional looking label and wonderful documentation for your quilt.  If you followed the directions, the label will be permanent and totally washable.

Pinning on label

Pinning on label

Resource for Bubble Jet Set 2000 and heavy duty freezer paper sheets: http://www.cjenkinscompany.com/

The Grandmother’s Flower Garden Project

I started this Grandmother’s Flower Garden in 2009 when I belonged to a miniature quilt group.  In an effort to finish all my UFOs (UnFinished Objects), I have once again dug this quilt out.  I immediately decided that I needed to add on some more hexies.  Or did I?

The Hexie Project

The Hexie Project

I guess I could have left it as is, but I keep stewing about how to finish this project and how to quilt it.  One method would be to quilt 1/4-inch inside the hexies but each hexie is 1/2-inch across, measuring from one flat side across to the other.  How did I come up with this size?  When I was a stay-at-home mom, I always sent for free things and one of them was this cool template from Crayola.  Last week, after once again tracing the wrong size, I finally dummied up and marked the two sizes I was using.  Use a permanent Sharpie marker–you can always remove the marks with alcohol, the kind you rub not the kind you drink.

P1020052In traditional English paper piecing, you baste your fabric to the paper hexie, hand sew the hexies together, and remove the basting and papers later.  Being these were so tiny, I decided to trace freezer paper templates on the dull side and iron the fabric to the freezer paper.  Note that you place the freezer paper shiny side up on the wrong side of the fabric.  By the time you get to the last side, there is no shiny freezer paper left–just iron a crease anyway and sew that side first when attaching your hexies.

P1020068 I started using an off-white fabric for the background but after preparing 112 hexies I realized I would not have enough fabric.  At one point I was going to use these to face the edge of this project on the back but decided that was just way too crazy, even for me.  I wish I had a dollar for everyone who told me I was crazy when they saw this project.  To me it’s just another piece of handwork that I enjoy.  So where was I?  I would have used the same 30’s repro green for the borders but there wasn’t enough left and I didn’t really like anything else.

Auditioning Borders

Auditioning Borders

The blue duck print was directional.  Luckily our modern quilt guild had a little fundraising sale of donated fabric and I found a tone-on-tone green that I thought would set the whole thing off nicely.  I barely squeezed out the borders as it was barely 16-inches across of useable fabric. After doing some measuring, I decided to make a background to stitch on.  Here’s a little tutorial for adding borders.

I added the long borders first.  I used to measure to find the center of my top and border strips but after making addition errors, I now just fold each piece in half.

Next bring the end of your strip to the center and place a pin there.  Do this as many times as you need, depending on the length, and then match the pins in the border and the center.

Pinning evenly

Pinning evenly

Finding centers

Finding centers

I also add an extra pin to keep the border even with the center.

Pinning Borders

Pinning Borders

Sew with the border on the bottom.  Next, you need to find out how long to cut the top and bottom borders–measure through the center and cut two strips and sew those on.

Measuring Borders

Measuring Borders

Here is the background.

Background

Background

As it turns out, I measured quite accurately and the seam on the hexie project matches the seam on the background piece.  As we say in golf, it’s better to be lucky than good.  I took the hexies outside and spray basted the back and placed it on the background, pinning the corners.  Then I pinned the short sides, the long sides, and through the green centers to hold everything in place.  Here’s a tip for your box of curved safety pins–don’t close them when you take them out of a project. If they come out in a clump next time you use them, just drop them in the box lid and they will fall apart.

Pinning

Pinning

So now I’m ready to hand stitch the edges.

I got some really fuzzy photos of our sweet little hummers–shooting through a screen presents difficulties.  Here’s our new feeder–we had SWARMS of honey bees on our old feeder this year.  Honey bees, good for the food chain, not so good for the hummers and us.  This is a bee/wasp resistant feeder and it works.  I have made one last batch of nectar.  Don’t worry that you will feed hummingbirds too long–they know when to go south.  Keep your nectar out a couple weeks after they leave–you just might catch some transients–ours go to South America and Mexico.  Hasta la vista, babies.

Hummingbird feeder

Hummingbird feeder