Improv Scrappy Block Project 2017

by Judy Tucker


Improv Scrappy Block Project 2017

It's a new year and I'm starting a year long project!  If you quilt a lot, or have quilted for a long time, you collect a lot of scraps that are just too good to throw out but hard to use up!  I want see how many ways I can use my scraps to create fun and interesting quilt blocks.

I plan to make 2-3 blocks Improv Scrappy Blocks each month so that I'll have at least 30 blocks, enough for a good sized quilt, by the end of 2017.

Here are the rules I've set for myself.

  1. As much as possible, blocks will be made from the pre-cut scraps in my stash.  These include rectangles, squares, strips and strings (strips under 2 inches wide)
  2. If supporting fabrics for a background are needed, they must come from my current stash
  3. The unfinished blocks will be 12 1/2 inches square
  4. Blocks need to be pieced with intention.  They can be color studies, interesting piecing or just fun to piece.

The first 2 Improv Scrappy Blocks are at the top of this post.  There is a simple slab, a hot pink color study, on the left and flying geese, a blue color study, on the right.

If you have a stash of scraps you'd like to use up this year, please join the fun! I'll be posting my blocks here and on Instagram. If you are make blocks too, please post them using the hashtag #ImprovScrappyBlockProject2017. Thanks!!

Thoughts about the Blog for 2017

It turns out that a craft blog is a mighty hungry critter! Sometimes it is hard to keep up with it, Especially since I am blogging about projects that are all handmade! I love making and writing. I really enjoy this. But I've also noticed that there are days when the dogs don't get a second walk or I skip doing other things because I need to sew so that I have a project to write about. That's not so good.

I have been posting on Mondays and Thursdays for almost 3 years now.  This year I am going to try posting on a less rigid format. I want to write when I have something to share, not just to meet a deadline.

Blogs tend to focus in on a theme. Mine focus has been primarily quilting, with some doll making and a bit of surface design, drawing, band weaving and rarely cooking. Expect to see more on all these topics, though I will probably make fewer quilts this year.

So my loyal subscribers and faithful followers, for now, expect to find a new post most Thursdays. From time to time, I expect I may post more than once a week. I'll see how it goes!

Please feel free to leave comments and let me know what you are thinking!

HAPPY CREATIVE 2017! 

 

 

 

 


Tutorial: Quick Cloth Holiday Table Napkins

by Judy Tucker in


 

 

Quick-Sew Cloth Holiday Table Napkins,  17 1/2 x 17 1/2 inches, finished

Quick-Sew Cloth Holiday Table Napkins,  17 1/2 x 17 1/2 inches, finished

I love looking through my bin of Christmas/holiday fabrics at this time of year. There are usually several multi-yard cuts of fabric picked up at an end of season sales--just perfect for sewing up a quick present of table napkins.  The napkins pictured above are actually from THIS year's fabric sale!  Too pretty to wrap, all they need is a ribbon!

The napkins pictured above where sewn with a serger.  But it is just as easy to fold under the edges and sew them on a regular sewing machine.

Tutorial

Supplies

  • 1 yard of fabric (that has been carefully cut) for each 4 table napkins, cut as 18 x 18 inch squares. Quilters cotton is recommended but slightly heavier cotton fabric is great too.
  • Matching or contrasting color thread, whichever you prefer
  • Pins if you are hemming with a sewing machine
If using a printed fabric, pick one that has a wrong side that isn't too different from the right side. A fabric with dark printing on the right side, and white on the back won't look good. Woven plaids are great as there is little difference between right and wrong sides.

If using a printed fabric, pick one that has a wrong side that isn't too different from the right side. A fabric with dark printing on the right side, and white on the back won't look good. Woven plaids are great as there is little difference between right and wrong sides.

  • Cut the selvage off the fabric using a quilting ruler to make a straight edge.
  • Cut a straight line across the end of the folded fabric the full width of the fabric.
  • Using a 24 inch quilting ruler with a 12 1/2 inch or 16 1/2 inch square quilting ruler makes cutting an 18 inch square easy.
  • If the long ruler is 6 inches wide, put the square ruler on the cut selvage at the 12 inch mark. (12 + 6 = 18).  Put the 24 inch ruler on the fabric next to the square ruler, with the 18 inch mark on the cut end of the folded fabric.  The square isn't long enough but you can move it up and down along the 24 inch ruler to make check that the cut square will measure 18 inches.  Leave the square even with the TOP edge of the long ruler. This makes it possible to cut across and then down without moving the rulers.
24 inch ruler is on the left, with the quilting square on the right. The fabric cut will be 18 inches long and 18 inches wide.  Note the fabric at the lower right edge that isn't covered by the shorter square ruler.  That's fine because no cut is needed there.

24 inch ruler is on the left, with the quilting square on the right. The fabric cut will be 18 inches long and 18 inches wide.  Note the fabric at the lower right edge that isn't covered by the shorter square ruler.  That's fine because no cut is needed there.

  • Here is a photo of the cut table napkins.  Because the fabric is folded in half, 2 napkins are cut at the same time.  Note the long strip of fabric along the fold that can be used for another project.
The cut napkin with the left over strip along the FOLD of the fabric.

The cut napkin with the left over strip along the FOLD of the fabric.

Now you have a choice about how to proceed. The raw edges can be turned under with a rolled edge with serger OR they can be folded a quarter inch, and then folded again a quarter inch and secured with an edge stitch. 

Here is a photo of the napkin edge being rolled under by the serger.  Follow your machine's instructions to set the serger to sew a rolled hem.  If you have a serger, this is the fastest way to finish cloth napkins.

Using a rolled edge hem on a serger

Using a rolled edge hem on a serger

IF USING A FOLDED HEM, the corners can be mitered but the napkins will still look great if you choose not to miter them.

Hemming WITHOUT MITERED CORNERS:

  • Fold under the right raw edge 1/4 inch on the wrong side of the napkin, pressing the fold with an iron as you go. Turn under another 1/4 inch, enclosing the raw edge and pin. Repeat on the left side. Once both sides are pinned, turn under the top and bottom raw edges.
  • Sew the fold down stitching close to the loose edge of the fold.
  • At each corner put the sewing machine needle down to anchor the napkin, then pivot the fabric to sew the next side. 
  • That's it! One napkin done!

Hemming WITH MITERED CORNERS

  • Fold under the first side, turning the raw edge 1/4 inch toward the wrong side. Press. Turn it again 1/4 inch enclosing the raw edge. Pin.
  • At the corner, fold the corner inward forming a triangle approximately 3/4 inches long on each side. See below.
  • Then turn the new side 1/4 inch and then another 1/4 inch. It's fine if it gets a little wider.  The second fold in the photo below is 1/2 inch.
  • Press, pin.  Continue folding under all four sides.
  • Sew the loose edge closed with an edge stitch, right along the free edge of the fold.
  • That's it!  One napkin is done!

Once you have sewn all the napkins, fold each napkin in half, and then in half again. Press.  

Wrap the Quick Holiday Cloth Napkins up as a present or put them on the table enjoy them yourself!