Christmas in July ~ Part 1

Happy Friday!

Even in July, I’m already a little behind when it comes to getting ready for Christmas.  My parents used to tease that the week before Christmas, you could go my bedroom at 11:oo pm – even on a school night – and the light would be on and you could hear the sewing machine going full-speed.  And I still always wound up wrapping a box or two filled with the almost-finished whatever I was giving someone.  Fast-forward about 20 years – snort – and things haven’t changed.  I’m finishing stitching the night before… I’ve got three more Fridays to see if I can be finished with my projects ahead of time.

This is what we’ve got planned… it’s still early but Christmas and Holiday fabric is arriving in stores.  Since I obviously need to get started now to have any hope of being finished by December, we’re going to share some of the ideas I’ve found for little gifts to make.  This week, it’s all about charm packs.

Cutting-Table---Christmas-Charms

A month or so ago, I happened upon Lisa and Sarah, a mother and daughter team who share recipes, project ideas and tutorials on their blog, A Spoonful of Sugar.  They had made an absolutely adorable little tray using charm squares.

I immediately gathered my supplies… and left them sitting in my sewing room until Wednesday night.  I used one charm square for the lining and a square of Mochi Linen for the outside.  They can be made with two charm squares, meaning that one charm pack would make 21 trays.  The only other things you need are batting, thread and some embroidery floss or thread – I used Aurifil 12 wt. thread.

Cutting-Table---Charm-Trays-Collage

For Lisa and Sarah’s terrific instructions on making these – Charm Square Fabric Tray.

After they made the Charm Square trays, they got an idea for another tray… using a Moda Honeycomb pre-cut.

Cutting-Table---Hexie-Trays-1

Hexagon trays – these are my favorite.  A Spoonful of Sugar – Hexagon Fabric Tray.

While I was playing with the hexagons – sort of explains why I get behind, doesn’t it? – I had an idea for another little project I’ve made before.  Coasters.  Do you use coasters?  Thanks to my Mom, I use coasters all the time.  I even have a couple on my desk for my coffee, tea and water.

These are easily made using a Honeycomb pre-cut or a hexagon ruler.

Cutting-Table---Hexie-Options

Bigger is better – at least the 4 1/2″ cut hexagon.  There isn’t any seam allowance so it will finish about the size it’s cut.  These rulers – the Hexagon Template by Darlene Zimmerman for EZ Quilting and the Hex ‘n More by Jaybird quilts – are terrific.  So is the Hexagon Ruler by Marti Michell, I just didn’t have one of those handy.  (All three can also make all sorts of other really cool projects.)

The items required are fabric, Steam-a-Seam Lite, illustration board and a roll of sticky-back cork.  It’s made by Contact and it’s available at Target, Walmart, The Container Store and any place that sells Contact Brand.  I’m sure there are other brands but I’m not familiar with them.

Cutting-Table---Cork

If you’re using pre-cut hexagons, put the hexagon  between the layers of paper and adhere the fabric to one side of the Steam-A-Seam.  If you’re cutting your own hexagons, adhere the fabric first and then cut the hexagons – it’s much easier that way.

Peel off the backing and adhere to cut hexagon to the illustration board.  A little steam is fine – you’ll be surprised how quickly and easily it adheres.  (I use this same process to make mat-boards using fabric.)

Using a sharp rotary cutting blade, cut the hexagon from the illustration board using the ruler-template or a rotary ruler placed along the edges of the fabric.  The illustration board will cut fairly easily with a sharp blade.  Press again to really seal the fabric to the board, especially along the edges.

Optional – At this point, there are two additional things you might want to do.

  • Illustration board comes in white and black.  Unless your fabric is black or very dark, use the white illustration board.  If you’d like the exposed edge of the illustration board to be less obvious, use a small colored stamp pad to ink the edges.  A Sharpie will also work for the stamp pad is much easier and I seem to be better at not getting the ink on the fabric.
  • To seal the sides and make the coaster a little bit water-resistant, paint the top and sides with a thin coat of Mod Podge.  I use the Matte but Satin or Gloss will also work.  If you’re inking the sides, do this step after.

From the cork, cut squares a little larger than the widest measurement of the hexagon – I used 5 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ squares.  Peel off the paper backing and center the illustration board on the sticky side of the cork – fabric-side facing up.

Using a rotary cutter – a 28 mm or 16 mm size works best for this – trim the cork to the edges of the illustration board.  And that’s it.

Cutting-Table---Hexie-Coasters

And that’s all there is to it.

Whether you’re making a project for the holidays or something else, I hope you get to do a little bit of sewing this weekend.  I’m hoping to finish a project I started back in January.  One of them anyway… if memory serves, I started three or four of them the same week.

That probably also explains my always being a little bit behind.

Have a great weekend!

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Eat dessert first…

I’ve always liked that adage – “life is uncertain, eat dessert first.”

It explains why I’m not a Size 4 – genetics notwithstanding – and it explains why I am such a pushover for every single incarnation of Moda’s “desserts”… those luscious pre-cuts known as cakes, jelly rolls, candy and turnovers.

Cutting-Table-Mini-Bundles

I can have pieces of every fabric in the collection – which is so much better than having to decide which fabrics and how much to get of each.  I can have them all.  (Those “Hoarders” folks have a lot of quilters on their “Watch List”.)

You’ve asked many times about pre-cuts, primarily about how they’re made and some of the particulars.  I wish I could tell you that it was some really cool machine that took bolts of fabric and magically turned them into Jelly Rolls.  Better still, a pre-cut replicator like the one on Star Trek.  (Wouldn’t we all want one of those?)

It’s pretty simple – long lengths of fabric are stacked in a particular order based on color, print and so on.  The fabric is cut by machine and the packages are assembled by hand in much the same way that any packaged good is done.  Somebody has to put all those Thin Mints into that sleeve of Girl Scout cookies.  You asked if there might be a video of the process but when I asked about it, it was pretty clear that nobody ever thought the idea of filming the process would be of interest.  (Maybe someday.)

The other common question is always about the pre-cuts themselves – how many pieces, duplicates, why the pinked edges, etc.  Did you know that there is a chart of “Equivalent Measures” on the Moda Bake Shop?  It’s at the top – Weights & Measures.  There are several terrific charts with useful information on the Bake Shop but this is my favorite – I refer to it frequently.

MBS Equivalent Measures

 

So here’s what I can tell you about each – and show pictures of pretty new fabric.

Fat Quarter Bundles. 

Cutting-Table---Fat-Quarter-Bundles

(From left to right… Lorraine by American Jane / Purebred by Erin Michael / Mille Couleurs by 3 Sisters / Bright Sun by A Quilting Life.)

These are called AB Bundles – for Absolutely Beautiful, of course.  An AB bundle is comprised of one fat quarter – 18″ x 22″ – of each fabric in a collection.  There are no duplicate pieces in a bundle of fat quarters – some folks also call these bundles “stacks” or “towers”.

On a side note, for some unknown reason, the ribbon used to tie AB bundles seems to knot very easily, resulting in many quilters being unable to ever untie the bundle and use any of the fat quarters.

Fat Eighth Bundles – F8s.

Cutting-Table---Fat-Eighth-Bundles

(From left to right and top-to-bottom, Very Merry by Sandy Gervais / Mon Ami by Basic Grey / Lorraine by American Jane / Chic Neutrals by Amy Ellis / Eliza’s Indigo by Betsy Chutchian.)

As with the fat quarters, these bundles have one fat eighths – 9″ x 22″ – of each fabric in a collection.  No duplicates, just one of each.  They’ve been my favorite for several years because I could combine collections without having a lot of extra fabric – another case of not having to make a decision about which one to get.  And with the larger collections, one F8 bundle was almost always enough to make a nice-size quilt.

Jelly Rolls. 

Cutting-Table---Jelly-Rolls

(Top to bottom, left to right – Purebred by Erin Michael / Mon Ami by Basic Grey / Farmhouse by Fig Tree Quilts / Nocturne by Janet Clare / Collection for a Cause Nurture by Howard Marcus / Windermere by Brenda Riddle / Eliza’s Indigo by Betsy Chutchian.)

A Moda Jelly Roll is always 40 strips of fabric – 2 1/2″ x 40″.  If there are only 32 pieces in a collection, there will be eight duplicates.  It might be 2 strips of 8 of the fabrics, or there might be three of some prints.  It varies depending on the prints and colors in the collection.

These are rolled by hand – and it’s hard!  Try unrolling one and then rolling it back up.  Having recently rolled some strips for various projects I’m working on, I figured there had to be a trick or secret.  There is – the strips are rolled in a “chute”.  It’s the only way to keep it straight.  Tight?  That’s totally dependent on the skill of the Jelly Roller.

Junior Jelly Rolls?  Those are half the size – 20 strips.  They’re available in Bella Solids and some collections, like V&Co.’s Simply Colorful and Ombres.

(The ribbon used on Jelly Rolls seems to have the same knotting issue… of course, it has nothing to do with how cute they look on the shelf in one’s sewing room.)

Layer Cakes.

Cutting-Table---Layer-Cakes

(Color Daze by Laundry Basket Quilts.)

A little Australian bird recently told me that this is her favorite size of pre-cut because it’s the perfect way to get the widest variety of fabrics for her amazingly awesome scrap quilts.  Her shop cuts fabrics this size – 10″ x 10″ squares – and after folding them, they’re tightly rolled and sold as “lollies”.

What’s in a Layer Cake?  Each Layer Cake has 42 squares measuring 10″ x 10″.  Every Layer Cake will have at least two duplicates since Moda collections are usually limited to 40 different fabrics.

Junior Layer Cakes have 20 fabrics and they’re mostly available in the Bella Solids.

Charm Packs… This is what started all of it.

Cutting-Table---Charm-Packs

(Canyon by Kate Spain.)

You might already know that it took me a long time to embrace charm packs.  I thought they were cute but really, what could you make with a charm pack or two?  To date, more than 80 quilts… but that’s another subject for another day.

A charm pack has 42 squares measuring 5″ x 5″ and there will be at least two duplicates.

And finally… Mini Charm Packs. 

Cutting-Table---Mini-Charm-Packs

(Let’s go with many many different ones.)

Like the regular charm packs, there are 42 squares and there are some duplicates.  The difference is that these squares are 2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″, one-quarter the size of a charm pack.  Hmmm… coincidentally, a charm pack is one-quarter the size of a layer cake.

Porquoi?  Because the math works out easily.  The size of pre-cuts is determined largely by how efficiently they can be cut within a 42″ wide fabric without having concerns about selvages.

The pinked edges?  They don’t fray or “thread”.  That means they’re essentially little “lint bombs” but cleaning that off your stretchy-sewing pants is easier to deal with than cutting or sewing a square that has threads along the four edges.

There are also Turnovers, Honey Buns, Honeycombs and Dessert Rolls but not every collection has these.

I’m sure I’m forgetting something – lots of somethings – but I am not forgetting the most important thing…

Karen Seitz!  You’re going to have to put”making an Irish Chain quilt” on your “to-do” because you’re going to have a new book and a Layer Cake.  (Karen – check your e-mail box.)

That’s it for today – Happy Friday!  And have a wonderful sunny, summer weekend!

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Coffee Koozie – Moda Indigo

Coffee-Koosie-Photo

How cute is this Coffee Koozie made out of Moda’s Indigo fabric?

Don’t you just love the old worn look of these prints?

When Fat Quarter Shop asked us to join in on the Koozie fun,

I grabbed my coffee cup and mini charm packet and was ready to go.

The directions are easy and this is a simple gift idea for anyone and everyone.

  The hardest part is choosing only 12 fabrics,  so you might have to make a couple.

What a clever way to sew the two patches together and quilt it at the same time.

Love the stitch and flip quilt as you go method.

Puting-it-together

I didn’t have any pony tail hair bands,

but I did have a elastic head band that matched the fabric and worked fine.

sewing

Always looking for a quicker way to do things,

I just layered the quilted piece then the backing  right sides together and then the template.

Sewing right on the paper template, stopping where indicated for turning.

Tear off the paper, trim and the turn right sides out,

add top stitching and a button.

Thanks to Fat Quarter Shop for the free pattern and  click here to see the video.

Tammy V

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