Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Kids Camp Quilt! Get 'em sewing this summer.

 Kids Camp Quilt 2014

What could be better for a snowy or rainy day than snuggling up under a quilt you can be proud of because you made it yourself?  If you take a rainy summer's day to go to your local quilt shop and select fabric with a close relative or friend of the family, please print these directions out so that you know what needs to be purchased to make your very first quilt!

Kids Camp Quilt

Finished lap quilt will be approximately 40” x 59.5”
11 – 6” x width of fabric strips, pre-cut
1 – 45” x 60” piece of batting of your choice (I suggest 80/20)
1 and 3/4 yards of backing (cotton or flannel)
1 -  200 m bright colored thread for topstitching decorative stitches (make one bobbin)
2 – 400 m neutral-colored construction thread (100% cotton in 40 weight) (wind two bobbins)
Walking foot – optional
¼” quilting foot – optional
6” x 24” ruler
Large 12” x 12” or larger square ruler (for squaring up corners)
Clover marking chalk
Fabric scissors
Sewing machine in working order
Iron and ironing board
Designated work space (table or floor)
About 24 Pins in a pin cushion
A bodkin or “That Purple Thang” for corners

Step 1.
Arrange your eleven 6” fabric strips into sewing order.  First on top, last on bottom.  Make sure you like the layout before you sew. 

Step 2.
Marking.  Take the batting and mark a line with chalk 5.5” along one ‘short’ end.  This will be the top of the quilt where you will begin sewing.

Notice that the chalk line is marked along one short side.   This will become the “Top” of your quilt.  A blue Clover chalk made for quilting works best on white batting.  If your batting is black, you could choose a white or yellow chalk.
Using an 80% cotton/20% polyester batting will keep your quilt from shrinking too much.

Step 3.  Pinning.  Lay your first fabric strip face down along the sewing line that you marked with chalk.   You should pin using at least eight pins so that the fabric doesn’t separate from the batting when you move over to the sewing machine.   Pins are SHARP, so be careful!  (Keep in mind that pins kept in the pin cushion ensures they won’t be on the floor and possibly stuck into your foot.)  Pin heads tend to get stuck into the batting, so it’s best to pin so that the pin heads are on the smooth, cotton fabric strips.

Step 4.
Dealing with bulk.  When you carry the batting and strip of fabric over to the sewing machine from where you pinned it together on the table or ironing board, slide the batting and fabric gently under the needle; being careful that you do not catch the batting in the presser foot or on the needle.   Place the edge of your presser foot onto the edge of the fabric where it was pinned to the marked chalk line.  You will sew a straight line along the edge of the fabric.  (Sew as straight as possible.  It’s OK if your line waves a little bit, but if it waves a lot, then stop and ask the teacher for help.  The stitch ripper can be very helpful in this situation.  Sewing takes practice and patience.  You will improve with time.)


Step 5. Pressing is a very important part of sewing.  Just like you need thread, fabric and scissors to sew, you need an iron and ironing board.  When fabric is smoothed out and there are no wrinkles, your entire project will look much more professional.  It is important to use the cotton setting.  I prefer no water in my iron; instead, I use spray starch.  

 Step 6.  Set the stitches by pressing down onto the stitch line (picture above), then Turn the fabric over so it’s facing up, and press the hot (be careful!) iron across the fabric so that it is as smooth as possible (picture below).

Step 7.  Joining the rest of the strips onto the batting.
This process requires pinning.  Pin the next strip on to the edge of the previously sewn strip right sides together and continue sewing in a straight line, pressing open with your hot iron and then pinning on the next strip.  Continue in this way until all eleven strips cover the entire batting.

Step 8.
Managing bulk.  You will notice that when you have applied five of the eleven strips, it is getting more and more challenging to manage the bulk underneath the “arm” or space to the right of the needle on your machine.  This is easy to manage, however!  Just roll up your quilt like a hot dog to keep control.

You can also roll up the batting to the right of the need to help keep control.  Always STOP before a pin.  Make sure your needle is DOWN, then remove the pin and continue sewing.  I keep a pin cushion nearby so that I don’t step on any pins that might fall onto the floor!

Hot dog!  You can roll up your quilt top to the right of the needle to help manage bulk.
 Step 9.  Continuing on with the same technique until all eleven strips are attached to the batting.

Once you get to the sixth strip, you will want to turn your quilt around the other direction so you don’t have so much bulk to the right of the needle.

Step 10.
  This picture below shows that five strips have been sewn on to the batting.  Time to change direction!

Step 11.  Sew on the eleventh strip – the final one.  It is alright if there’s still a little bit of batting to the right that remains uncovered because we’re going to sew all around the top and then trim it.  Please DO NOT use rotary cutters without the aid of an adult.  An adult MUST help you with trimming the quilt top.

Step 12.  ADULT ASSISTANTS:  Square up the quilt top using rotary cutters and a large square ruler.  If you are under 18, please do not attempt this yourself.  This picture is for illustration only.

 Step 13.  While your top is being trimmed by an adult, you will iron out any wrinkles from your backing fabric.  The fabric must be smooth with no wrinkles before attaching it (right sides together) to your trimmed quilt top.

(Henny Penny holds all my pins so nicely!  For some reason, she likes to hang around upside down...)

Step 14.   Pin the backing fabric face down onto the right side of the quilt top fabrics.  (The batting should be on the bottom.)  You will use many pins to secure each side.  Be careful not to poke yourself!  It’s alright to ask for help, too.
Notice the picture below shows an opening.  We will sew almost all the way around the quilt rectangle, but we will leave an 8” opening.  When you are pinning, be sure to leave one eight inch space that will not be sewn together.  This opening will allow us to turn our quilt right side out, so it’s very important!
Be sure to leave an 8"-10" opening on one side so you can turn your quilt right side out!

Trim all four corners being careful not to cut through the stitching.

Step 15.  (Below.)This is called a bodkin.  Another name for it is “That Purple Thang” by Lynn Graves.  AFTER you have sewn around the entire rectangle to secure the front, batting and backing together AND you have left an eight inch opening, you will trim all four points with a scissors (being careful to not trim away the stitches that secure your quilt together!) away, then you can use this handy bodkin to help you gently poke out the corners, so you get a beautiful, professional look.
Once the quilt has been turned, pin the opening together (tucking the fabrics inside) and stitch all the way around the quilt about ¼” away from the edge (above).  The inside right edge of the foot is a good indicator of what to follow when stitching.


Step 16.  Top stitching. You will now change your thread to a decorative thread color.  You can use one color in the bobbin and a different color in the top if you’d like.  You will sew using one (or many) of the S1 stitches (decorative stitches).    Which colors and which stitches you use are up to you, but please keep in mind how much time we have remaining in the class.  The quilt back must be secured to the quilt front and this will happen when you stitch through all three layers.  It’s called “top stitching”.  Some people even add buttons or ribbons!  This is something you could do at home, if you like.
This time, stitching will follow the center of the foot.  Please look carefully at the picture below.  Try your best to keep the stitches centered along the lines between the different fabric strips.  Sew on each line from edge to edge.  

  Hot dog! Roll up your quilt to help manage the bulk and weight so you can sew in a straight line without accidentally sewing over top a different part of your quilt.  Quilting gloves can make this an easier job for your hands.  They have ‘sticky’ fingers and grip the fabric nicely.

  Step 17.    Enjoy!  It’s traditional to sleep under the quilt you’ve made before giving it to someone else.  You may like it so much, though, that you will want to keep it!   You can always make another one for a friend.  Can you imagine their happy surprise?

                             CONGRATULATIONS, you’ve finished your FIRST QUILT!

Please leave comments and photos of the quilt you sew below in the comment section - I can't wait to view your creations and I'm sure my readers/followers feel the same!

All the Best,


Friday, February 21, 2014

Orange Peel Quilt (non-traditional method)

Love the traditional orange peel quilt?

Love it better if it were easier to make  (like this below)?

Then this is a must-see video!

Circles Sew Simple Video

Where to Buy

All the Best!


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

What's on the machine tonight...

Easter for April

St. Patrick's for March

Valentine's Day for February

With Christmas on the back

This has been such a fun project, I bought fabric for every month of the year!

January and Birthdays
June Roses and Patriotic July
August and September
October and November

I'm using Anita Goodesign's project "Seeing Double" from

Happy Stitching!  
Mary Ann @ RocknQuilts

Hexies a go go!

Waiting for my son at the dentist's office is actually a productive time-I've brought my prepared kit and it took only 10 minutes to make two complete hexies!  Fun and rewarding, too!  Really, it's doubly rewarding because I'm using scraps, so even better!   I've got to find 60 degree plastic diamond templates next, but where is the question....any advice for me?
Mary Ann @ RocknQuilts


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