Tag Archives: Bijou Lovely

Favorite Finishing Techniques and Tools

With so many fabulous tutorials out there in this vast internet world, I try to avoid reinventing the wheel whenever possible. So far, when it comes to finishing my quilts and other stitched projects, I’ve had great luck in finding clear, well-written tutorials that help clarify exactly how to best finish a project. Today I thought it might be helpful for me to create a reference list of my top go-to finishing tutorials and tools to share with you.

finishing tips and toolsHere is a visual map I drew to help keep track of my favorite methods during an #Honestcraftroomies Periscope hop about this topic a few weeks ago, along with my top favorite finishing tools. (If you click the photo it should open in another tab a bit larger so that it’s easier to read. All of the information is in the blog post, too, though!)

I’ll begin by linking to each of my favorite finishing tutorials below with a brief explanation as to why it is a favorite (Each heading and photo link to the tutorial. Click and it will open in another tab. Peruse at leisure. Bookmark. Revel in sweet knowledge!)

Making Straight-Grain Quilt Bindings
by Bijou LovelyBijou Lovely making-quilt-binding

Holly DeGroot at Bijou Lovely was one of the first quilters I started following regularly, and for good reason. Her photos are superb and eye candy abounds! This tutorial is super straight-forward and has clear photos for every step. It also shows you how to get the end of your binding ready for the next step: attaching it to the quilt, which is very helpful. When binding any large, rectangular quilt, either entirely by machine or hand-stitched to the back, this is how I make my binding.

Attaching Binding to a Quilt
by Bijou Lovely 

Bijou Lovely binding attachingThis gets you set up for hand stitching your binding to the back of your quilt. The brilliance is in the overlap join where the beginning and end of your binding meet. For someone who initially struggled with getting that final binding seam sewn straight and in the proper place (hi, that’s me!), this tutorial was a lifesaver!

Machine Binding a Quilt
by Cluck Cluck Sew

Cluck Cluck Sew Machine-Binding-TutorialWhile I love hand stitching bindings to the backs of quilts, some quilts just warrant machine binding, either for durability or for the sake of saving yourself a bit of time.  This tutorial is fabulous! I now machine bind all baby quilts and kid quilts, and I use this tutorial to help machine bind things like mug rugs and table runners, too!

Binding Tiny Things
by Crazy Mom Quilts

crazy mom quilts binding tiny things mini tree and binding stripThis tutorial makes binding tiny things a breeze. Seriously! One tip I have to emphasize is the step where you press the binding away from the front of the quilt after sewing it on. This step makes all the difference in the accuracy of your final stitches and the overall perfection of your finished (finished! yay!) mini. If you are at all infected by the mini mini quilt bug, this tutorial is a must!

My Top 3 Finishing Tools

Finishing a quilt includes more than binding. To me, quilting and burying threads count within the ranks of “finishing steps”, too. I have three top tools that I couldn’t live without when it comes to actually quilting a quilt and burying all those threads. (Each tool name is linked to where you can buy it, but they are not affiliate links; they are just there for your convenience. I’ve heard rumors that Maine does not allow affiliate link payout, and I’m thinking they may be true. You probably will see a lot less affiliate links, but I will always link to products because I think it’s helpful to you!!)

Hera Marker

hera marker in useWhen I first heard of a Hera marker, I envisioned a special pen. The name is misleading a bit until you realize that it “marks” the quilt with creases, NOT with actual physical marks like a pen, pencil, or chalk would. (The white thing in the photo above is the Hera marker for those of you who have not yet heard of them). Hera markers are my go-to quilt marking tool, and I use one for marking straight lines for small quilting projects, marking increments before free motion quilting, marking seam lines when joining binding or sewing HSTs, and just about any other time I need to mark the fabric somehow.

Painter’s tape

painters tape marking quilt linesPainter’s tape is another fantastic tool for those of us who shudder at the thought of actually writing on a quilt top. I use painter’s tape to help keep straight line quilting evenly spaced and as a visual guide when sectioning off areas of free motion quilting. It is easily repositionable, and paired with a ruler, can be placed exactly straight. You NEED some of this in your quilting arsenal. (I also use it to tape up quilt blocks for photos!)

Self-threading needles

self threading needlesThese needles sound magical, and trust me–they are! When you have a gabillion threads to bury after epically quilting your quilt baby, the self-threading (also called easy-threading) needles are your bff (that stands for ‘best friend forever’, for those of you who aren’t savvy to teenage acronyms). The drawing I did of the self-threading needles shows how they work best (in my humble opinion) so I’ve included that above. Basically, they have an open top so that you can just pop your thread end right down into the eye of the needle, easily burying threads like a champ, again, and again, and again, and again…

I hope this collection of resources is helpful to you. There’s nothing like finishing a quilt, and these tutorials have helped those final steps be as smooth as possible for me. You know me; I love to share the love!

I’m sure there are more great tips and techniques that haven’t yet crossed my quilting path, and I’d love to learn about them. What are some of your favorite finishing techniques or tutorials that I haven’t included here? Thank you in advance for sharing!

I’m linking up with Tips & Tutorials Tuesday and Quilting Mod’s Lessons Learned Linky #3.

Summer Knitting and a New Toy

IMG_1008Spring is officially here in midcoast Maine, which means summer won’t be far behind. I typically do most of my knitting during the colder months, since the gardens call my name during every waking moment of the warmer seasons.

I’m still working on the Panem Katniss Cowl that I’m knitting as a barter for Night Quilter logo design, but I’ve completed the Julian Vest for my son. Normally, I would probably complete my current works in progress without picking up a new project until fall, but I think this year I may try some summer knitting. I have some skeins of linen blend yarn destashed by my knitting cousin, and I received a gorgeous new knitting toy for my birthday that makes me eager to cast-on a new project.

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Holly DeGroot from Bijou Lovely recently designed some adorable heart-shaped, engraved wood knitting and stitching tools, and my mother-in-law bought the knitting gauge for me for my birthday. (Thanks, Johanna!) Anyone who knows me knows that I spot hearts everywhere, and I knew that I just had to have a heart to help me sort out the knitting needles at the bottom of my knitting basket.

IMG_0997Now all I need to do is choose a quick summer project or two. I’m not sure I’d wear knitwear during the hot summer months, but a few projects on Ravelry caught my eye.

leafycloth5_medium2Maybe some Leafy Washcloths by Megan Goodacre? I’m not sure I’d be able to let them out and about in my house, though, since my kids would surely turn them brown with mud in no time. They are super adorable, though!

cozy_coaster-0225-2_medium2Or maybe some Cozy Linen Coasters by Anne B. Weil. I think I’m leaning toward these, since I know we will definitely use them. In fact, perhaps I’ll knit up both the leaves and the cozy coasters and use the leaves as coasters, too.

Linen_Stitch_Bag_medium2I also might try the Little Linen Stitch Bag by Cindy Walker. Thus far, I’ve mostly knit hats, cowls, and baby sweaters, so I’m eager to try something new.

Do you knit during the summer months? What’s your go-to hot weather knit?

 

 

 

Pattern Testing for ShannonMac Designs

I recently had the opportunity to test a new pattern by a fellow designer. Shannon of ShannonMac Designs created a new beginner paper piecing pattern called “Oops… I Scrapped My Pants”. I’m not typically a big scrappy quilt fan, but I was drawn to her various layout suggestions and so I offered to test it out.

The layout on the bottom right called to me. I love it!
The layout on the bottom right called to me. I love it!

Note that her pattern includes an easy to follow tutorial for paper piecing using the freezer paper method. I tested the pattern before the tutorial was finished, so I used my favorite paper piecing method instead–printer paper piecing, where you stitch along the lines on the paper and then remove the paper after the block is pieced. I’m tempted to give the freezer paper method a try after reading Shannon’s tutorial, though!

With my test quilt, I knew I wanted to incorporate a rainbow gradient since I’ve been ALL about color these days. Perhaps it’s the stark white environment outside: snow, snow, and more snow!  I debated creating a large quilt with color gradient pants, I toyed with shrinking down the pattern to make each block 2″ or 3″ instead of 6″ so that I could have a full color gradient in a smaller quilt, and then I finally settled on stitching together some wonky, scrappy rainbow fabric panels and using them to get the full gradient in four pairs of pants.

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I’m also all about love, so it seemed only right that I make those rainbow pants into a nice big X and O. Hugs and kisses!

I love the complexity of the backs of paper pieced quilt blocks.
I love the complexity of the backs of paper pieced quilt blocks.
All laid out and stitched together!
All laid out and stitched together!

I’m finding myself drawn toward modern quilting more and more, so I went for a modern look with this mini quilt. I opted for some echo straight-line quilting to emphasize the X and O.  My Clover Hera Marker was the perfect tool for marking out the quilting lines! Being new to quilting, I am still too nervous to use any kind of “disappearing” fabric pen or other marking tool to actually write on my quilt before quilting. A hera marker is great, since it simply indents the fabric, creating a clear yet mark-free line. You can see how clear the marks from the hera marker are, and they certainly helped me find those perfect intersection points!

Herra markers are the best for marking quilts for straight line quilting.
Herra markers are the best for marking quilts for straight line quilting.

I used the walking foot for my borrowed sewing machine for the first time while quilting this, and boy was it fun! I can see why quilters swear by them! I’m really looking forward to quilting a larger quilt with the walking foot to really see its even-feed skills in action.

I used my go-to tutorials on bindings–on the Bijou Lovely blog–both to make a straight-grain binding and to attach it to the quilt.

Using my favorite straight-grain binding tutorial.
Using my favorite straight-grain binding tutorial.

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I love how this quilt turned out! The pattern is a very basic, beginner-friendly paper piecing pattern, and is extremely versatile. What can’t you do with scrapped pants?!

The day after I finished stitching the binding to the back of this quilt, we got another massive snowstorm, which dropped another 18″ of snow–yes, in March! It provided the perfect backdrop for a rainbow quilt photo shoot.

photo 1 (7)

 

photo 2 (5)

Now this bright mini quilt lives happily on my craft loft pegboard, brightening up my sewing space.

photo (12)

 

I definitely would recommend this pattern, for both beginner and seasoned paper piecers. If you’ve been wanting to try paper piecing, this is your chance to learn the freezer paper method. Shannon is offering this pattern and tutorial for free in her Craftsy store, so hop on over and check it out!

 

Waterlogued

Let me tell you about my new favorite iPhone app. I know what you may be thinking: I thought this was a blog about quilting and occasional knitting. What’s this film flam about an app!? This is not just an app. It’s one of the coolest, most artsy apps ever!

buy waterlogue now
I first discovered Waterlogue when Nancy from graceandpeacequilting (Find her on Instagram) posted a waterlogued picture of her Tula Pink’s City Sampler quilt. I was immediately smitten with the idea of turning my quilts–or other pictures–instantly into watercolors! I don’t usually (ever?) buy apps; I’ve only downloaded free ones. Waterlogue’s $2.99 was an exception.  Without further ado, here are a few of my Waterlogued quilts:

My second ever quilt: the Colorblock Quilt design by Bijou Lovely. I used almost all Kaffe Fassett fabrics with Laura Gunn's Wing Song from the Garden Wall collection for the vertical strip. I made this quilt for my cousin's baby girl Mabel. I love it!
My second ever quilt: the Colorblock Quilt design by Bijou Lovely. I used almost all Kaffe Fassett fabrics with Laura Gunn’s Wing Song from the Garden Wall collection for the vertical strip. I made this quilt for my cousin’s baby girl Mabel. I love it!
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A double wedding ring wall hanging I made for my sister & brother-in-law for their wedding. It was my first time sewing curves and I actually enjoyed it! They both loved the quilt, too. Always a plus!
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This baby quilt was for a dear friend’s baby (as seen!). The quilt was my own design.
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Circling gulls is taking shape! My own design and in-progress pattern looks great as a water color, too, huh?!
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Ahhhh…. Delight in the Little Things!
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Fabric spools as part of the Spool-Along I’ve joined this year. I’ve got some catching up to do!

Don’t you want to turn your quilts into watercolors now, too?! Yeah, I thought so! TOTALLY worth giving up a half a cup of Starbucks coffee to buy the app, wouldn’t you say?

Note: I have NOT been compensated in any way by Waterlogue , I just think the app is extremely fun and creative.  (Although that would be cool—Waterlogue, want to pay me for the good review?) Have fun with it!

Wonky Rainbow

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I’m attempting my first wonky anything in quilting. “Wonky” is a word I rarely heard before getting into the modern quilting world. The first quilting blog I ever followed is Bijou Lovely, and it’s still one of my favorite blogs!  The photography is always stellar with lots of bokeh (narrow focal length resulting in that gorgeous blur around the point of focus), the projects are gorgeous, her tutorials are the best I’ve found, and I’m always on top of the newest fabric lines by following. Holly, the creator of Bijou Lovely, creates a lot of “wonky” quilts.

bijou lovely wonky-mini gift
The “wonky star” in this awesome wall hanging was the first wonky that really caught my eye. It’s actually a gift quilt made by Holly’s friend Jen at http://mjandco-quilting.blogspot.com/. Click the picture to go to the Bijou Lovely blog post to see more of the little details. Trust me, it’s worth the side trip!

Quilting is traditionally very exact and symmetrical. With “wonky” quilting, elements of the quilt are all a kilter, asymmetrical, or otherwise skewed. There’s a lot of wonky in the modern quilting world. Come to think of it, the project I’m working on may not even be categorized as wonky; it might be more scrappy. I’m still learning this quilting lingo! Whether scrappy or wonky, it’s a bit uncomfortable for me. I like exact. I like precise. I really like symmetrical.

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So far, despite this new-to-me wonk (something with wonk is wonky, right? :)), I like the way this is turning out. I can’t show you more, since I’m testing a pattern for a fellow designer, and the pattern isn’t out yet! Once the pattern is published and I’m cleared to show you, I’ll be sure to show you the finished work. Maybe you’ll be able to tell me whether it’s wonky or scrappy!

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