Saturday, August 14, 2010

Quick and Easy QAYG Scrappy Potholder :: A Tutorial

We have a friend (who we'll call Mr. Friend) who likes to tease me about being a quilter and keeps asking me where his quilt is. Tonight we are going to dinner with Mr. and Mrs. Friend to celebrate their wedding anniversary. I still haven't unpacked my projects from the retreat and I don't have time to make an entire quilt, but I thought I'd make them a little quilted gift for tonight.

So, here's my quick and easy, quilt-as-you-go (QAYG), scrappy, crazy stitching potholder. I made the gray and red for Mr. and Mrs. Friend last night, and the second one with Hope Valley scraps from my pinwheel sampler today. It's faster without the binding, but either one is pretty quick. I'm going to show you how I made the one without the binding.

  • Two pieces of Insul-Bright batting cut about 2" larger than your your desired finished potholder size. I like a potholder about 8", so in that case, you would start with two pieces of Insul-Bright, 10" square.
  • One piece of cotton batting cut to your desired potholder size. I used Warm 'n Natural.
  • Fabric scraps of various sizes, but nothing too small. Larger scraps = quicker project.
  • A walking foot and a point turner (or something similar).
Choose your first fabric scrap and place it in the center of one piece of your Insul-Bright batting. It doesn't need to be straight, this is all very free-form.

With your walking foot attached, choose a spot just outside the edge of the scrap (on the batting) and sew across the scrap in a straight line. I tended to start near, but not on, the corner.

When you get to the other side, sew off the edge of the scrap, raise your presser foot and spin your batting around and sew back over the scrap. My machine has a nifty pivot function so when I stop sewing, it automatically raises with presser foot foot with the needle down and automatically lowers it again when I begin sewing. This is also a nice time to have a knee lift. 

Just keep sewing from side to side at random angles to attach the scrap to the batting. Try to sew off the edge of the scrap each time. This won't be as important with the subsequent scraps.

Build your patchwork by adding a scrap approximately the length of one side of your first scrap by aligning the edges as above, right sides together.

Attach with a 1/4" seam allowance,

fold it back and press it flat.

Attach the second scrap with random stitching across the scrap just as you did the first scrap. There's no need to cut your thread until you are finished. Just raise your presser foot when you get to the edge, spin it around and keep sewing.

As you attach additional scraps, try to sew off the edge of the scrap every once in a while. This should ensure that your seams won't get too puffy after washing.

You should end up with something like this.

Keep adding scraps around the outside edge of your growing patchwork. I didn't measure anything, I just laid them atop one another and cut. 

In some cases, I attached two scraps together and then sewed them to my patchwork.

In this instance, I sewed three scraps together. No measuring, just eye it and keep going. We want this project to be quick.

You will need to make sure that your new scrap is aligned with the shortest edge of your patchwork. This will hopefully make more sense when you are sewing. If I had aligned the blue swatch with the edge of the green swatch, my batting would be showing above the pink and purple scraps when I flipped it over to press it down.

You'll end up with something like this.

Square it up to approximately 1" larger than your desired finished size. If you want your finished potholder to be 7" square, trim your quilted batting up to 8" square. 

All trimmed.

Make another one using the same technique for the opposite side. *If you would rather make the potholder with the binding, see the end of this post.* 

When you have two pieces trimmed and ready, lay them atop one another, right sides together, and align the edges on all sides.

Sew around the outside edge (still using your walking foot), about 1/4" from the edge. My seam is a generous 1/4". Leave a large opening on one side as shown above, but be sure to sew all four corners. I just sewed in about 1/2" on each corner of the side I left open. Be sure to backstitch to secure. 

Snip off your corners, just don't get too close to the stitching. Press the whole thing flat, concentrating on the seams.

Turn your potholder right side out. Use a point turner (or knitting needle, or something similar) to turn your points. Run your point turner along each stitching line from the inside to make sure your seams are opened all the way out. Iron around the outside edges.

Insert your cotton batting inside the potholder and smooth it out. If it's too big, trim it a little.

You want the cotton batting to meet the inside edges of your seam allowances, not overlap them.

If you'd like to add a hanging loop, cut a piece of fabric about 6" long by about 1 to 2" wide depending on the desired width of your finished loop. I think mine was 2" wide. Press it in half, right sides together. Sew a 1/4" seam along the open edge, lengthwise.

Turn it right side out and press it flat with the seam in the center of one side.

Go back to your potholder and begin turning in the open edge and securing it with pins. This is why I used a generous 1/4" seam allowance. (I guess a generous 1/4" isn't really a 1/4" at all, but hopefully you know what I mean.)

When you get to the end, insert your hanging loop by doubling it over with the seam to the inside and insert it into the opening at the corner. I left about 1.5" hanging out. Iron the pinned opening flat.

Sew all the way around the outside edge of the potholder about 1/4" inside.

You're almost finished! At this point, you may want to slipstitch closed the edges of the side you originally left open for a cleaner look.  I caught all my seam allowances when I sewed around the outside edge, so I didn't bother with it.

You'll want to secure that loose piece of cotton batting inside in case you didn't catch the edges, and I chose a little eyelet stitch my machine does.

But, my potholder was too thick to make pretty eyelets and they ended up being more like wonky ovals. I just laid a small square ruler (I think it was 3") in the center of my potholder and marked the four corners. That's where I put my eyelets. Next time, I think I'll try just taking a few zig-zag stitches back and forth to make a little square of stitching or try tying some perle cotton at those spots.

So, here she is, all ready to go in the kitchen.

QAYG Crazy Scrappy Potholder Tutorial
Here is the one I made last night for Mr. and Mrs. Friend. It's easier to see this stitching on this one. They are big Ohio State fans, so I chose red and gray.

I hesitate to post tutorials because I don't want to put something out there that someone else has already claimed, but I'm a firm believer that there is nothing new under the sun. The quilt-as you-go construction was inspired by the technique that Penny used in her quilt-as-you-go quilt. The random layout and stitching came from my own head, but I'm sure someone, somewhere, has done it before.

*If you want to bind your potholder, you would sandwich the cotton batting inside the quilted squares and bind it as you would a quilt. I added a hanging loop to the bound potholder with buttons on each side. Since I was sure I had caught the edges of the cotton batting on the inside when I attached my binding, I didn't add any additional stitching to secure it, but you certainly could.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Scrappy Pincushion Swap

I can't believe what the postman brought today! Remember the Scrappy Pincushion Swap I joined at flickr?

Jess (who blogs at hectic household) has blown me away today with not one, not two, not three, but six amazing pincushions!

Scrappy Pincushion Swap from Jess!
An adorable owl, 

Scrappy Pincushion Swap from Jess!
a fabulous rooster, 

Scrappy Pincushion Swap from Jess!
an amazing star,
(and yes, that's all patchwork),

Scrappy Pincushion Swap from Jess!
and three bright and fun patchwork pincushions!

From the very bottom of my heart, thank you, thank you, thank you!

Turquoise Obsession

I've always loved a beautiful robin's egg blue or dreamy Tiffany blue, but it seems that right now, turquoise is everywhere! Inspired by House of Turquoise, I decided I want to paint my kitchen island in the new house, turquoise. I didn't have any trouble convincing the hubby either.

I've been trying to pick a paint color for the sewing room, so Shea and I went paint color shopping. Now she wants to paint her bathroom turquoise and I want to paint the laundry room turquoise.

Turquoise around the house
I looked around the house for my favorite shades of turquoise; above are just a few. I'm matching them to paint colors and trying to decide what color to put where. I don't want to go overboard, but paint is such an easy and inexpensive way to decorate and you can paint over it when you are tired of the color. My only problem now is that I want to paint my bedroom in turquoise, and my console table in turquoise, and the armoire in my bedroom in turquoise, and my quilt rack in turquoise, and the inside of my bookshelves in turquoise, and my...

Too much of a good thing?

Monday, August 9, 2010

A wonderful weekend!

The retreat was wonderful! I worked on a number of projects, but they are still packed in the car. Once I get everything unpacked, I'll photograph and share.

Quilting Retreat
We stayed in a large Victorian house built in 1890. The sewing cottage was in a separate building. There was lots of sewing, lots of talking, lots of eating, and the iced tea flowed all weekend. Lisa was our ingenious inventor*, Gina (who really needs to get that blog started) was our amazing chef, Jamie was our super-sewer who cut and pieced an entire king sized quilt, Michelle was our go-to girl (and fellow aspirin-chewer* who let me test drive her 440QE), Monica shared her adorable baby boy with us, Amanda kept the cottage bright with her gorgeous blocks on the design wall, and Ellen made some great progress on a beautiful Nest quilt. Everyone worked on gorgeous projects and it was such fun to have the help, support, and opinions of others.

It was like a three-night slumber party. I even had to hide my toothbrush*. We stayed up way past our bedtimes, talked about fabrics we are going to design*, recipes we'd like to share, and various other girly topics I won't mention in mixed company. I didn't really get an abundance of sewing done, but the company and conversation alone made the weekend. I have no regrets (other than maybe sobbing in the parking lot at the tire store*). I don't remember laughing so hard or so much in a long, long time. My cheeks and abs are sore from so much laughter, but maybe the constant laughter burned off some of the delicious calories I consumed! I'll be counting the days until we do it again, girls!

House II :: facade
While I was gone, the house got some more brick, trim and tile. I'm so anxious to move! That's my sewing room over on the far right. I'm going to have a fabulous birdwatching spot under that pecan tree.

Papaw's Birthday
Last night, we joined our family to celebrate my Papaw's 91st birthday. I always love being with my family. We have so much fun catching up and teasing one another.

Papaw's Birthday
I think a great time was had by all. The perfect ending to a wonderful weekend!

* Sorry, you had to be there.