On the Bubble Quilt Tutorial

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On the Bubble Quilt Tutorial Title

Making an On the Bubble quilt is a lot of fun because you get to combine solids and scrappiness all in one visually interesting quilt.  I named it “On the Bubble” because of the appliqued circles, but also because the placement of the color values of the squares builds an illusion of a curve where none exists.  I made mine with shades of gray, but you could easily convert this to an ombre selection of fabrics, or for a different look you could switch the solids and prints to have a layer of solid bubbles floating over colorful scrappy squares.  This will make a lap sized quilt about 67.5″ square.

I purchased a yard each of Robert Kaufman’s Kona cotton solids as listed below.  Beside them I’ll list the number of five inch squares you’ll need of each:

  1.  White  13
  2.  Silver  24
  3.  Shadow  28
  4.  Medium Gray  36
  5.  Coal  44
  6.  Charcoal  52
  7. Pepper  28

You’ll also need 225 circles cut from various scraps.

On the Bubble Quilt: Cutting Circles and Squares

I used a 2.75″ diameter circle template.  I’ve made a circle template and a placement template that you can download and print on cardstock: On The Bubble Templates from CoopCrafts_20150206_0001.  I traced 225 circles onto the paper side of Heat n Bond Light.  (Numbering the circles as you trace will help you keep track.)  Then roughly cut them out, leaving a little space around the edge of each circle.  Follow package directions to attach the circles to the back side of your fabric scraps, then trim carefully around each circle.  You can use the placement template provided (cut out the center square) to help you center the circles, or if you have one, you can add washi tape to your five inch square ruler as I did below.  Then, following package directions, attach the circles to your squares.

On the Bubble Quilt: Circle Placement

The next step is to stitch around your circles.  If you want to keep your edges neat and free from fraying, use a zigzag stitch that encloses the edge of the circle.  For my quilt, I’ve used a vintage hand crank machine that only makes straight stitches (and doesn’t stitch in reverse), so the edges of my circles will lift over time to give ruffly, textural interest.  For whichever method you choose, I recommend this trick to keep your applique from unraveling.  If using straight stitches, complete about three rounds, as seen below.  Try not to stitch over the edges if you’re going to let them ravel, but let the circles “drift” a bit as you sew, kind of like the first few rounds of a Spirograph drawing.

On the Bubble Quilt: Detail of Top Stitching

The backs will look like this, with the thread ends neatly tied:

On the Bubble Quilt: Back of Stitching

Once all your circles have been appliqued, it’s time to lay out your squares.  Here’s the fancy grid I used, direct from my sketchbook, with the color numbers from above to help with placement.

On the Bubble Quilt Layout Guide

It may help to start in one corner.  Once you approach the middle, it’ll be easier to see and follow the pattern.

On the Bubble Quilt: Laying Out the Blocks

Mine looked like this, with a couple squares needing to be remade because my hand crank machine gets grouchy as her bobbin runs low.

On the Bubble Quilt in Progress

Begin stitching your rows together, taking time to admire your favorite fabrics as you go.  This was a gift from a friend and I love it!

On the Bubble Quilt in Progress

And although it’s not even quilted yet, I’m sharing the tutorial because several Instagram friends are eager to start bubble quilts of their own.

On the Bubble Quilt Top A

On the Bubble Quilt Top B

If you make one, I’d love to see it!

On the Bubble Quilt

sarahsigres

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Cherry Pit Hand Warmers Tutorial

Cherry Pit Hand Warmers

This beginner level sewing project is quick, easy and low cost and would be great for craft sales or little gifts.

Cherry pits are wonderful to use in hand warmers or heat packs because they naturally retain heat and release it slowly.  Their small, round shape helps them to comfortably conform to the shape of your body, and they have a very pleasant light cherry scent.  They can be purchased in bulk, cleaned, dried and ready to use from many sources online.  (I found mine at The Next Door Down on Etsy.)

To make hand warmers:

  • Stack two charm squares (or scraps of fabric cut to 5″ square) right sides together and cut them in half, so that you have two pieces of fabric 2.5″ x 5″.
  • Sew with a quarter inch seam allowance around the outside of the rectangles, leaving an opening along one long side.  (Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of your stitches to lock them in place.)
  • Turn right side out and press with a steamy iron.
  • Lightly fill with cherry pits.
  • Sew the opening closed very close to the edge of the fabric.  If you find it’s hard to maneuver under the presser foot, remove a few cherry pits and try again.  You’ll want the cherry pits to be able to move around a little when finished, so don’t over fill.

Cherry Pit Hand Warmers

Mix and match all kinds of fabrics, or make matching sets and tie them up with a little ribbon.  To use, pop them in a microwave for 20-30 seconds.  (Don’t overdo it, scorched cherry pits don’t smell nice.)

The packs are small enough so that they can stay in coat pockets all day without being much in the way, so kids are likely to bring them back home to heat up again before the bus stop wait tomorrow.  If your kids are fidgety like mine (and me!) they’ll probably enjoy the soothing feel of the warm cherry pits rolling around inside the warmers.

Make larger packs with the same method to use as a heating pad, or chill in the freezer to use as an ice pack.

sarahsigres

Lava Meets Sea Half Square Triangle Quilt (With Tips to Make Your Own)

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Lava Meets Sea Finished

This is possibly my favorite quilt, and it’s certainly the one that has had the most “how can I make one” questions as I was making it, so I thought I’d share some tips on how to make your own.

First, the story behind it:  This quilt is a gift for my best friend Kim, who is engaged to Matt.  I wanted to make a quilt for them that would illustrate the blending of two hearts, two lives and two families.  I named it Lava Meets Sea, because when lava hits the sea it makes rock, a strong foundation.

Lava Meets Sea Quilt Tilted

To start yours, decide on the colors you’d like to use.  To make it easy on myself, I bought bundles of fat quarters of coordinating reds and blues.  Both are Colorstory Fat Quarter Bundles by Robert Kaufman.  The red is called Hot Spice, the blue is Grecian Waters.  This gives you a wide range of lights and darks in each color to work with, but keep in mind that this quilt is based on value (the depth of color) as much as it is on color itself.  Be sure when choosing your colors and making your blocks that you continue the pattern of dark and light even as you change colors.  With the bundles of colors I chose, the red bundle is darker than the blue, so notice how the colors meet in the middle of the quilt.  The darker shades of the red are used with the paler shades of blue to keep the dark and light values moving through the center of the quilt where the colors meet.  It is very important that you not rely on the different colors to create the effect, make sure you’re keeping the dark and light values even through the color changes.  That might be easier to see from this photo where I was first laying out blocks.

Kim's Quilt Progress Blue

Here’s my super fancy chart.  Notice that this was not meant to be shared with the public, as I even wrote my optometrist appointment reminder at the top of the page.  *Sigh*  This makes a generous lap sized quilt, big enough to share for a nap on the couch.

Fancy Lava Meets Sea Quilt Chart

If you follow my chart, you’ll want to cut 201 red squares and 195 blue squares for a total of 396 squares.  Then you’ll want to make 127 red blocks, 121 blue blocks and 148 mixed blocks for the middle.  (I’m not sure that I kept completely to the chart, but it is helpful when you first start laying out the blocks.)  You can see how I separated my colors into two stacks each of dark, medium and light, one for the “solid” red (or blue) and another for the mixed (middle) area.

Kim's Quilt Process 3

The blocks for this quilt are the most simple blocks you can make, half square triangles.  Even if you’re new to sewing, with just a little practice you can make perfect blocks.  There’s a full tutorial here if you need to learn the method.  (I started with five inch squares just as in the tutorial.)  The tutorial will explain to separate colors into dark, medium and light and then mix them together to get the contrast you need for each side of the block.  By looking at the photos here, you should be able to lay out the blocks to form the diamond pattern that flows across the quilt.  Remember, if you’ve made half square triangles with contrasting values, you can create many different designs just by changing the direction of the blocks.  Play around with them and you may find a design you like more than this one!

Lava Meets Sea Quilt Completed

I chose a plain black binding, something that wouldn’t distract from the strong pattern of the quilt.

Lava Meets Sea Quilt Black Binding

Please let me know if you have any questions about construction, and I’d love to see your photos if you make one!  Please link me up so I can see what you made.  :)

Lava Meets Sea Quilt

Lava Meets Sea Quilt Porch Swing Cushion

Lava Meets Sea Quilt Porch Swing

sarahsigres

How To Make Ribbon Key Fobs

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Ribbon Key Fobs Detail

Ribbon key fobs are incredibly easy to make and so handy to carry!  If you’re wondering what to make for a fund raiser or just want to send out a little something to some friends, this is a great gift.

Ribbon Key Fobs in a Row

Here’s what you’ll need to make some of your own:

  • Key fob hardware, like these from Everything Ribbons on Etsy.  I used 1.25″ size.
  • Canvas webbing or belting the same width as your hardware.  (Got mine from the same shop.)
  • Ribbons  (I found great ones here and here.)
  • Fabric Scraps

Cut  the webbing and ribbon to 12″ lengths.  Then cut scraps of fabric 12″ x 3.25″ and “wrap” around the webbing.  Pressing with a steamy iron will help it stay in place.  Then carefully pin the ribbons so that the cut ends of the fabric will be hidden underneath.  Sew down either side of the ribbon.  If needed, neaten up stray threads from either end of the covered webbing, then insert into the fob hardware and use pliers to press firmly closed.  Add your key ring and you’re finished.

Ribbon Key Fobs

They’re so comfortable to carry and easy to find from the line of keys hanging up at the gym.  These will all be mailed to friends, and I already want to make more!

sarahsigres

How to Bind a Quilt

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My friend Kim asked for a tutorial on binding a quilt, so even though there are plenty of tutorials already out there, I’m adding mine.  That’s one of the nice things about having a blog, it makes it easier to explain stuff like this.

So here goes!  First, choose a binding fabric and cut strips three inches wide across the width of the fabric.  (You can measure your quilt if you want to know just how much fabric you’ll need, but as a general rule a half yard is plenty for a baby quilt and a yard of fabric should be enough for up to a twin size quilt.)  Then take the first of your three inch wide binding strips and lay one face up to the left, and put another face down on top of it, so the ends meet up across each other as in the photo.  (The whole process will be easier if you keep it in your mind that left side faces up from underneath, right side faces down from the top.)  Draw a line from the upper left corner of the top strip down to where the lower strip ends at the lower right, making a little triangle shape out of the corner.

How to Bind a Quilt, Making Binding 1

Sew directly on the line you just drew, backspacing at the start and finish to secure your stitches.  Then trim, press the seam open, then fold the binding in half lengthwise and press flat.

How to Bind a Quilt, Making Binding 2

That’s it!  That’s all there is to making binding.  Keep going until you’ve got all the binding you need, then begin pinning it to your quilt.  Leave a little “tail” at the beginning, and pin the raw edge of the binding along the raw edge of the quilt.  Start in the middle of one side and pin to the corner.  Sew clockwise around your quilt.

How to Bind a Quilt, Sewing on Binding1

Using a walking foot, stitch with the edge of the walking foot along the edge of the binding and quilt.  Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and stop about the width of your seam allowance from the edge of the quilt corner.  Backstitch, cut your threads and get ready to pin the next side.  Pull the binding up, AWAY from the direction you’ll be stitching, then fold over and begin pinning along the quilt edge again.  There will be a little triangle of fabric under the top layer of binding.  This is going to make a nice corner on your finished binding.  Begin stitching near the corner.  Keep going in this way until you reach the side of the quilt where you started.

How to Bind a Quilt, Binding the Corners

When you get back to the side where you started, go on and sew a bit more of the binding down from the last corner, but backstitch and stop sewing a good distance from the tail you left at the beginning.  Leave an ending tail where you stopped.  These two ends are going to be sewn together in the same way you connected all the other binding strips, but it’s going to be a little trickier because they’re both connected to the quilt.  To help you know where to connect the ends, bring the tail ends towards each other until they meet, then fold them away.  Use a steamy iron and press where they’ve met so you have fold mark you can see.

How to Bind a Quilt, Connecting Ends 1

This is always the funkiest step for me.  The “ending tail” is to your left, so open it laying face up, then open the right side binding and lay it face down (without making a rotation, so it will still lay flat), and line up the right side’s edge with fold on the left binding.  Make sure the fold mark on the upper right piece is lined up with the top edge of the left binding.

How to Bind a Quilt, Connecting Ends 2

Just like before, draw a line from upper left to lower right, and sew along that line.  Be sure to pin well, and fold the quilt up a bit so that the binding pieces have the slack they need to stay together properly.  After sewing the line, check to be sure the binding “fits”, then just like before, trim the ends, press the seam open, then press the binding flat.

How to Bind a Quilt, Connecting Ends 4

Sew this last little bit of binding down and you’re finished with the machine sewing part of your quilt!  Then it’s time to flip the quilt over, fold down the binding and hand sew it down.  Pro tip: This is a great time to watch a great series on Netflix.

How to Bind a Quilt, Hand Sew to Back

And I can’t resist showing you the truth of how it really goes at my house.

How to Bind a Quilt, Kitten

It is easier without the kitten.  Trust me.

Kim, and anyone else, please let me know if any of it isn’t clear, and I’ll tweak it a bit!