Monday, September 28, 2015

Quilt binding tip and useful tool

So I like making my own quilt bindings for anything I sew from blankets to placemats. I like doing this because your not limited to what you find in the store and it opens a whole world of ways to finish off your project.  It also allows you to have different sizes of binding, though I prefer using 2 1/4 inch strips to create my binding. Which gives me a 1/4 inch wide binding when completed.

When making your own binding be sure to cut the strips on the bias so that they have a stretch to them and makes it easier to wrap around your project and to fold corners. I will make a post about how I cut my fabric to make bias strips another day I promise!!! One really cool thing about cutting fabric on the bias is if you are using a striped fabric it will put the stripes on the diagonal giving you a cool candy cane affect if that makes sense.  I wish I had a picture on hand of what I mean, but of course I don't so I will try to find a stripe to do the tutorial on when I do it, so you see what I mean.

Okay, so onto why I really wanted to make this post.  I was given a Quilt Binding Express  by my awesome mom and finally got the chance to use it not that long ago when I finished a quilt that had been sitting in my to do box forever.  Well, I had seen this odd pressing board and wondered if it would really help speed along the binding making process and IT DID!!!!  While I love making my own binding it gets to be tedious when your pressing close to 200 inches of fabric in half to make your binding. This nifty tool helped by folding the fabric in half for me and I just had to press it down as I pulled it through the slot.

In case your lost as to what on earth I'm talking about I'm going to post a few pictures of what I did and how the tool worked!


 So here's the tool set up with all the normal ironing tools and my binding strip. As you can see you pull your strip through from right to left and then press on the little board that's attached. It has 3 slots for your binding strips too, so you can use this for 2 1/4, 2 1/2 and 2 inch binding strips. You simply fold your strip in half with wrong sides together and start pulling through the slot marked at what size strip your using. Then you just pull to the end of the pressing mat attached and press the strip while its all lined up on the mat.

 Here's a close up of my strip coming through the slot. One thing you do have to watch for is your strip getting out of alignment. If you pull somewhat slowly your strip will come through the slot exactly even with itself, but if you get to moving to quickly it will get a little out of whack like the picture shows here. It takes a simple pull of the fabric to straighten it back out and get going again though. For the most part I didn't have to readjust my fabric to much and I got through my pile of binding pretty quick with the tool. So totally worth picking up a Quilt Binding Express in my opinion as it does save time and a lot of the headache involved when making your own strips!

Here's a picture of my binding attached to the quilt I made it for.  I have to admit in my rush to get things done I didn't cut the fabric on the bias the right way and so the binding strips have the flowers in the same direction as the border strip at the edge of my quilt.  This wouldn't have happened this way had I cut things right as the binding would have made the flowers be at an angle, but we all make mistakes and I didn't have the extra fabric to start over.  This quilt went to my daughter who is 3 and doesn't care anyways, she's just happy to get the blankey from me! 


Anyways, I wanted to show you this picture more because you can see a different way to finish off attaching your binding. Instead of attaching my binding to the front and bringing it to the back of the fabric I did the reverse. Then when I pulled the fabric to the front to sew down using my machine I picked a fun decorative stitch to sew it down. You can see that on this picture instead of just using a straight line to sew down the binding I picked a stitch that does little slanted lines going both ways and has a straight stitch down the middle. So I tried to keep the straight stitch close to the original sewing line I made when sewing my binding onto the back and let the slants go onto the binding and into the border fabric. If you were to see the back of the quilt some spots I did better then others keeping things lined up, but from the front almost all of it I kept things lined up pretty good. This took the stress out of making sure I lined things up right on the back of the quilt so that the front looked good since I worked on the front to finish the quilt. You could even just do a straight line stitch to sew it down, but sew on the front if you wanted to. I just liked the idea of using a decorative stitch that I wouldn't normally use on my machine!


Have fun with your binding if for no other reason to give yourself a desire to get it done. I know getting a binding onto a quilt sometimes is the worst part for some people, but if you add fun touches to it then it's more exciting to complete!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Traditional Fleece Tie Blanket DIY

 Tradition Fleece Tie Blanket instructions


  • 1-1 1/2 yards of fleece in two colors or a print and a color- I used 1 1/2 for my 3year old, but for a smaller child 1 yard would be plenty.
  • Good scissors or a rotary cutter and mat
  • Ruler


So a traditional Tie Blanket is pretty easy! Simply take your two pieces of fleece and lay them with wrong sides together, smooth out all the wrinkles and then straighten up all your edges. You'll also want to cut off the selvage edges from the longer sides. Don't worry to much about getting an even line because you won't be able to tell when your done anyways. The big thing is to not have it to far off, but with all the edges even.

 Then you will cut out a corner that is 4 inches by 4 inches like you see in the picture below. Just discard those squares or give them to your little one to use for their dolls!

Now you will cut strips in the fabric that are 4 inches long by an inch to an inch and a half wide. I am for an inch, but usually end up cutting them slightly wider.  If you use a rotary cutter and a mat it's a little easier to keep this neat and close to the right size. With scissors I like to lay my measuring tape on top of the fabric to do the measuring. Below you can see where I actually did a combination of measuring tape and mat, but I don't recommend using a metal measuring tape like I did! I totally ruined a new blade because I kept accidentally running into the metal tape and it nicked my blade :(

Once you cut all your strips all the way around you simple take one pair of strips, a top and a bottom strip, and you tie them together. I like to double knot them to make sure they aren't going anywhere! Make sure on the edges that feel a bit stretchier (not sure that's a word lol) that you don't tie them as tight or pull as tight because it will distort the fabric a little. No one will notice though so don't worry if your a bit more aggressive in your knot tying. I also like to watch how I pull my knots so that way the solid fabric I chose shows on the top and the printed strips are at the bottom. Check out my picture below you'll see what I mean!

I chose a lavender for my solid bottom fabric and when I tied my knots I just made sure to pull that towards the top layer so it's visible from the top and adds a nice accent to the blanket.

Once you tie all the way around your blanket you are done!!! Then it's ready for your little one to snuggle underneath, or they make a great gift too! If you want to try a different take on the fleece blanket check out my post on the Braided Fleece Blanket!

My little one being silly snuggling under her blanket! Love me some little piggies!!!

****update: if you wanted to make a baby or toddler sized tie blanket, you could use 1 yard and cut that in half, so you'd have 36 inches by about 29 inches and can make two out of the yard. You would cut 3inch fringe instead of 4 since it's a smaller blanket, so you'd also cut a 3x3 square out of the corners! This is a good size for them to have a lovey as some people like to call it and they can be covered by it or just snuggle it, but it's a better size to be totted around with them!

Braided or Crocheted Fleece Blanket DIY

Found an awesome post when I was looking for how much fleece to buy for making tie blankets for my girls.  I was so excited because Hancocks Fabric had fleece on sale for only $3.99 when I went in there on a mission to find it!!!  My oldest wanted to steal a fleece blanket we did the traditional ties around the edges from my Mom, but it's one we made her for Christmas so I had to veto that choice she was making.  Instead I promised to make her one of her own that was bigger since her blanket was from when she was much younger and to small to snuggle under it anymore.

Well, I can't buy fabric for one kid and not the other, so for my almost 8 year old I bought 2 yards of fleece in one print and one solid and bought 1 1/2 for my 3 year old.  The post I found was to make a crocheted/braided edge on the fleece blanket as opposed to the traditional ties most people do.  Still a no-sew technique which is good with how bulky fleece can be, but a much different outcome!

Braided edge on my daughter's fleece blanket!
 I loved this braided look so much I went back to Hancocks  and bought more fleece, which was still on sale, to make blankets for both my nieces for Christmas! One niece is a teen and one is almost there so knowing what to get them is just getting harder and harder! Anyways, apparently summer time is a great time to buy fleece too, I went once a month July, August, and September and all three times most of their fleece was on sale for under $5 a yard! Plus they have great coupons that can be stacked on top of the already great price. This makes it to where if your making a bigger fleece blanket, as I am, your basically only paying for one piece of fleece as opposed to the two layers you need.

Okay, so when making the braided sides to my fleece blankets from the tutorial, I noticed a couple things. The slits need to be cut closer to the edge of the fabric for it to lay good and flat, but I was worried about the fabric breaking. So I had cut mine maybe a half inch in from the edge and with a little wiggling it still laid nicely! Also I noticed it's not easy to get an exact slit cut, but it doesn't matter to much!

I'm sure if you haven't checked out the other post yet you're confused, but I'll post a couple pics of the process in case you don't want to blog hop :)

So just like in a traditional tie blanket your going to cut out a square from all four corners of your fleece. First, of course lay out both pieces of fleece with the wrong sides together, so you have a right side touching the floor and one facing the ceiling.  Then you will cut 2 inch by 2 inch squares out of all the corners, cutting through both pieces of fleece. After that's done you will then cut your strips just like with a tie blanket, but shorter, so these will be 2 inches long by 1-1 1/2 inches wide. Doesn't have to be perfect though you do want them as close to the same as you can.

You can see none of my cuts are perfect, but in the end it really doesn't matter!
 Once all the strips are cut start at one corner and skip the first two strips, then on the 3rd strip your going to need to cut the slits I was talking about. This is where you start doing something different from the original tie blankets. In the post I read she took each pair of strips, (the top and bottom fabric at same time) and folded them in half to cut the strips sort of in the middle.  This works for sure, but I realized I could do the same thing with my rotary cutter!! I did do it by folding over and it works, I just found it more time consuming and it already takes awhile to cut all the fringe. So on my nieces blankets I just used the rotary cutter, setting it down maybe a half inch in from the raw edge and pushing down then cutting towards the center to make about a 1 inch slit in the center of each strip. You will make a slit in ALL the other strips you cut except for those first two you skipped.

If using scissors to cut slits get a good heavy duty pair like these.
This is how I made slits in first blanket by folding strip then cutting it down the middle.

Using a rotary cutter for both cutting my strips and slits made things go a little bit faster and made for neater slits!

Once all the slits are cut you will then start on the blanket working in reverse from where you started. So start on the last slit you cut, assuming you just went around the blanket after skipping the first two. If not just start at the corner next to you two strips that aren't cut and you will take both bottom and top strips and bring the next cut strip through the slit in the one you picked up. You will do this all the way around your blanket until you reach the two strips you didn't cut. When you get there take the first strip without a slit through the last strip with slits and then you tie the last none cut strips to the one you just pulled through. This knots the whole thing together holding all your work in place. I personally double knotted the strips best I could to try and make certain it all stays together!

Sorry I didn't take any pictures of these last steps, but the are shown on the original post that I found!

After tying your knots though you are done and have a super cute fleece blanket to snuggle under!

top view of my daughters blanket

Side view of the braided blanket! This has been washed several times and still looks good, no braids coming undone or anything crazy!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Rambling about blogging :)

I started this blog with every intention of posting way more frequently and getting more tutorials online. I sure haven't done that up to this point!

I've posted some tutorials for sure, but hadn't realized how much work goes into taking the pictures, uploading and typing things out. I'm so meticulous too that I probably type out more then I need to for directions, but I want anyone reading to know exactly what to do without a doubt.

There are times when I just want to type out about my day and have no clue if I should or I worry about what others will think. I know that once it's on the internet it's there forever. Even if I delete it once someone's read it and possibly copied or shared it that it may not be deleted after all.

Some of these are things holding me back whether they should or not, but they are. It's also about the time it takes even to type up a post about my day. I think if it's worth typing it out or not and if anyone would care. I know people do it all the time and we all have our various social outlets we use. I have a Facebook that I use to post pictures for family and friends but even on there I'm hesitant to write things in my status that could be misjudged.

It's important to be this way I think though because it's better to be safe about what you write then to just dish out every aspect of your life!

Sometimes I just want to post on here about the stuff I'm not telling family and friends just so I can get it off my chest, but even that I'm hesitant to do. It's all about what I really want anyone with an Internet connection to have access to.

I realize no matter what I write there will be someone sitting there reading and judging and I just have to get over that! I'm going to try to do that as there's so many ideas I come up with on things I think someone may want to read or know about.

With that I leave you this promise to try and post more even if it's just a quick post about my crazy, beautiful life!!!

My September 11, 2015

Everyone has their stories of where they were and what they were doing on September 11, 2001. Myself, I was in music appreciation class at the college I was attending. When I got out of class my Mom had left me messages and been calling me to tell me what happened. At the time my Dad was still in the Army so that meant he could be going to fight the war that was about to start.

The events of that day have become a huge turning point in the history of our country, but yet some people show no respect for it. Our children learn about it in school now and there are countless amounts of memorials and ceremonies to honor those we lost.

I realize that some people may have only been children when the events took place and may not totally understand how much the attacks affected our country and our military. The thing I don't understand is how some people can't even respect a simple moment of silence on the date that this happened.

I was more shocked by the mother and her adult daughter at the commissary who couldn't stop shopping for one minute to offer a moment of silence for those affected! The commissary for those who don't know is a military grocery store that only military families have access to. So, of all the places to be and to not just stop for a single minute out of respect is unbelievable to me. All families in the military have been affected by the events on September 11th. That was a turning point in our history and when we as a country began the path to war. Anyone affiliated with the military has been affected even now as the nation still is at war as a result of these attacks.

The commissary had done a beautiful job of talking about the events.  They stopped the music and the majority of the store was silent just to listen to what they were saying. All you could hear were a few children who just didn't want to be shopping that day, but the rest of the store was silent especially when the moment of silence was announced. It could have been where I was located that I didn't hear anything else, but I definitely heard this mother/daughter coming down the isle I was on. While I'm standing still head bowed in silence they are talking about what chips to buy the little one in their life. When I looked up at them they looked at me as though I was crazy or in the wrong for stopping what I was doing to give a brief moment of silence for those we lost that day.

I hope that all of us can continue to remember those events and instead of not being able to stop our shopping just take that moment to reflect!