Friday, May 29, 2009

Assembling a Class Quilt: Part 2

Once you have all your squares from all your darling little artists, put them through a spin in the dryer to preserve their color. I recommend using a lingerie bag to keep your dryer from getting colorized. I didn't put the squares using fabric paints through the dryer, I figured there was too great a chance of them getting paint all over the other squares.

Next you need to cut your sashing fabrics. As you can see from the picture, we used squares and rectangles in the school's colors. I used an assortment of blues and greens- this was a bit of a stash buster project for me.
All seam allowances are quarter inch. We had 30 squares, so we needed 36 blue rectangles for the vertical sashing and 35 rectangles for the horizontal sashing.

Since the squares were 6.5 inches, the rectangles are 6.5 x 2.5 inches and the squares are 2.5 x 2.5. We sewed one blue rectangle to the left edge of each picture, and put an extra blue rectangle on the right edge of each square that landed on the end of a row. We then stitched the rows together.

For the horizontal sashing, sew green squares and blue squares alternating until your horizontal sash is the same length as your row of blocks and vertical sashes. You'll need one more row of horizontal sashing than rows of blocks.

Press seams to one side. On the rows of blocks, press the seams away from the blocks. On the horizontal sashing, press the seams towards the centers of the squares.

Sew the rows together, alternating horizontal sashing rows and rows of blocks. Where the seams are pressed to one side, line them up as you assemble the rows. This should give you nice crisp corners. (You'll have better luck with this if you DON'T use five different machines to put it together- but in my case, I was so happy to have the help I wasn't too worried about the rows lining up perfectly).

Once all the rows are together, you're ready to layer your batting and backing together and either quilt or tie your project.

Next installment: Putting it all together!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Instructions for Creating a Classroom Quilt

AKA, Classroom quilt project.

When I was looking for instructions on this- not so much on making the quilt, but on what to send out to parents- I came up completely empty handed. To aid some of the rest of you out there who are equally lazy about writing up your own instructions to the classroom parents, here you go:

As an end of the year gift for our teachers, we are planning to create a memory quilt for both Mrs. B1 and Mrs. B2. No sewing skills necessary! All you need to do is the following-

1. Receive 2 squares of muslin in your Thursday folder
2. Put your child's name on the "back" of each piece in pencil (both sides are the same, just pick one to be the back). A name on the front is also okay if this is part of the decoration!
3. DO NOT CUT THE FABRIC. Don't change its size in any way.
4. Have your child draw a picture of anything they want on the muslins. Fabric crayons, marker, or paint are best, but you can also use Sharpies. They could also embroider or applique something on if you want to get fancy. Please draw one picture for each teacher- hence the two pieces. If they are different, then mark with the teacher's name on the back as well.
5. Leave a 1" margin (as best you can) around the outside of the picture. Some of the fabric will disappear into the seam allowance.
6. Return the finished pictures to (quilter's kid) by (your deadline here); big Ziploc bags are best so that the picture doesn't get harmed in transit.

That's it! If you can sew and want to participate further, please let me know:
your email (at) email (dot) com

Also, when the tops are completed we will tie the quilts together. I'll send an update then to see who wants to participate. There's a nice example of a teacher gift quilt (from a preschool class) here.

Please let me know if you and your child do NOT want to participate; otherwise I'll be pestering you after (your deadline) if your quilt blocks have not appeared.

signed, resident crazy person

Additional notes:
  1. If you don't care if this is a surprise, then by all means coordinate with the teachers to see if they would like to just do it as a classroom activity. We're trying to surprise our teachers.
  2. I asked for a small contribution ($3 - $5 per kid) to cover my costs. This did not cover the costs for the two quilts, but it was nice to have a little recompense. Between the batting, the muslin, the sashing fabrics, and especially the backing and binding fabrics, I probably spent over $100. Yikes.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Kindergarten Quilts

Back around February when I was taken in a fit of idiocy, I mentioned to the kindergarten room mom that it would be fun to make memory quilts for both of our fabulous teachers. She immediately agreed, but then added, "But I can't sew!"

That's okay, some days I can't either.

I scoured the Internet for good classroom quilt instructions. I know we're not the first class to do this, someone somewhere must have posted some instructions to the parents. Unfortunately, I came up empty. I spent way more time looking for something existing than I would have spent writing my own, and then I wound up writing my own anyway. Huh.

Tomorrow (or soon thereafter) I'll post those instructions. But first, the quilts.

Each kid was given two 6.5" square pieces of plain white muslin with the instructions to complete their square. Once all the squares were turned back in, a bunch of the moms (and a few grandmas) put them together. This isn't a great picture, but I was totally thrilled with how they turned out.

We used a total of 5 different sewing machines to put the quilts together, and I was reminded of how important it is to verify that everyone knows where the quarter inch seam allowance is on their sewing machine. We would have finished both quilt tops in the first session except that we wound up having to take most of quilt #2 apart. There was no way that sucker was lining up. Oh well, it gave me something to do at the soccer games.

The quilts are tied (instead of quilted), and for the first time in my life out of sheer desperation, I attached the binding completely by machine. Don't look too closely at the corners. Other than that, the binding looks pretty good. I may never go back. The second quilt has perfect miters in the corners, but the first quilt... doesn't.

One of the moms with way more artistic talent than I have made this little fox square to go in the center. He is just too cute. Wish I could draw- but luckily I have friends who can!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Here we go

I've been diving down the blog bunny hole lately and had a hard time resurfacing. I've also been spending a fair amount of time with my sewing machine and my serger and thinking I should do a better job of chronicling what I am making, and for whom, and why. This way I can remember these things when I am old and senile, like next year.

So I'll start with a handbag I made for a friend's 40th birthday gift. I loved this bag. It was really hard to give it away. The exterior fabric is Michael Miller Bailey Branches (extremely hard to find, by the way), and the interior is from a quilt I made for my mother-in-law's birthday about 6 years ago. It was the last of that fabric from the quilt and I was a little sad to give it up- but it looked perfect for the bag, and my friend picked it out. She is a quilter and has a fabulous eye for color. The pink pocket was my idea though (she can't take ALL the credit).

Props to the lady at JoAnn Fabrics who suggested using Craft Bond for the interfacing instead of my usual stuff. It worked out pretty well. The black bamboo handles are also from JoAnn's. Say what you will about their fabric quality, they have some darned good buys in there, especially with a coupon.

The purse is teeny and really only holds a wallet, checkbook, keys, sunglasses, cellphone. I drafted the pattern myself, and I wanted to add a gusset to the bottom but then it would have been miniscule. Maybe next time. Now that this one is complete, I'm thinking that I need to make one for me!