Friday, 30 September 2011

Giveaway! Mug rug for you...

Shhh, it is my birthday, 41 today.  I am not a big one for celebrations ( I have had some lovely pressies, I'll share later) and even a birthday girl has to go to work, so for now it is giveaway time.
I plan to be producing more paper pieced patterns in the future and selling them as downloads so to win this mug rug I would like you to give me just a little help- leave a comment telling me what image you would like to see paper pieced.  This will help give me some ideas on where to start!
The giveaway is international.
I need to be able to contact the winner so check that your email is in your profile or your comment.  Followers get an extra entry- just leave a second comment saying you follow.
Giveaway closes Friday 7th October  6.00am GMT
I won't be replying to these comments but I will be reading closely to see what you suggest.
You can make your own mug rug here.
**Good Luck**
sib blog

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Tutorial Part 3: Finishing the Mug Rug

A bit of finishing off and your mug rug will be complete.  You have already completed sections for the mug and spoon.

from your back ground fabric cut 1 strip 4.5 x 1.25 inches and another 4.5 x 1.5 inches.  Stitch the first of these on the left edge of the mug and the 1.5 strip to the right edge.  Now cut 1 strip 2 x 6.75 inches and another 1.5 x 6.75 inches  The first strip goes onto the top of the mug and the second strip is added to the bottom underneath the saucer.

We will do the same for the spoon.  Cut  1 strip 1.5 x 1.5 inches- this is for the top of your spoon.  Cut another 1.5 x 1.25 inches, this is for the bottom of your spoon.  The final strip to cut measures 1.75 x 6.75 inches.  Stitch to the left edge of the spoon.  Now, you can stitch the spoon and mug blocks together.  Press the whole thing and trim to 6.5 x 8.5 inches.  The assembly is like a mini quilt.  You will need you backing fabric, I chose a vintage blue and cream print- cut to the same size as the mug rug front.Cut your wadding/batting to the same size, I used Insul bright.  Make your quilt sandwich- backing, batting (reflective layer facing upwards for Insul bright) and top layer- I used a bit of 505 spray to hold everything together.
Add your quilting.   I echo stitched around the mug saucer and spoon using a walking foot to keep the layers steady and a long stitch.  Zig zag around the edges of the mug rug.  Add your binding (you will need 1.25 x 40 inches, straight cut - see my single binding tutorial here for this and here for mitred corners.   Here's a back view of the finished rug... 
And with mug...
You can find all the tutorials for this project on the first post and tomorrow call back in,  I will be giving this mug rug away!
sib blog

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Tutorial Part 2 Mug Rug: Foundation piecing

I am using a different technique for piecing the spoon- foundation paper piecing.  This is where you stitch your seams through a thin paper foundation.   Its plus points are that it is very accurate, and requires less preparation than the freezer paper method.  Its downsides are that you are working in reverse/mirror image (you'll see what I mean later), you cannot control how you iron your seams, it is harder to get the grain of your fabric right or to fussy cut, it is more wasteful of fabric and it is less flexible when designing patterns.  I like the accuracy but I hate sewing through paper and I don't enjoy picking the bits of paper off at the end.  No freezer paper is needed for this technique.    We will be foundation piecing the spoon in two sections.
Start by printing out this PDF pattern onto thin paper.  Roughly cut the two sections out but keep the seam allowances intact.  It can help to print two copies and cut one of these up to act as a pattern piece guide but remember to allow for the seam allowance too if you do this.
We are starting with section B: the head of the school.  You will need a piece of grey fabric that covers the whole of the spoon area including the seam allowance and a little beyond.  If you put the fabric behind the paper and hold it up to the light you will be able to see if your fabric is big enough.  Scroll further down for a photo of this.  Secure with a pin. If your fabric has right side and wrong side, the right side faces down and the paper is pinned onto the wrong side.  Next, you need to cut triangles big enough for pieces 15,16,17,18 plus seam allowances.  You can see the size of mine- they are on an inch grid.  You always need to go a bit bigger with this method as you will trim the seams down as you stitch.
Take a triangle and place it under the paper, right sides together with the spoon fabric.  The corner of the triangle lies inwards toward the centre of the spoon.  It takes a while to get the hand of this, remember the fabric will open out after your stitch.   Place a pin along the seam line- this is where your stitches will go.
Check that the fabric is big enough, the pin will hold it in place, just flip the triangle outwards, it should extend to the seam allowance at least.  
This is how it looks on the reverse- this is going to be the right side so you are working in reverse and in mirror image!
Flip everything back so the paper is on top and the triangle is flat underneath with the right angle corner facing inwards.  You are ready to stitch.  You need small stitches- 1.5mm, a larger needle helps to perforate the paper and you could use a thicker thread rather than a piecing weight- mine held up fine though.   For a lot of foundation piecing patterns you need to start  and stop exactly with the seam line and secure but that is not necessary with this simple shape.  You can start in the seam allowance and will not need to secure your stitches if you choose this.  
You will need to flip over and press your seam, trim  the seam allowance to quarter inch with scissors (scroll further down for a picture of this) and press the triangle outwards.  Then repeat with triangles 16, 17, 18.  It should look like this.  
Trim the outside edges to line up with the dotted line of the seam allowance.  The spoon head section is complete but do not remove the paper yet!
We are working on the handle (section C)  next.  Just like before, find a piece of grey fabric that covers the whole of the handle area (19) including the seam allowance and a little beyond.  If you put the fabric behind the paper and hold it up to the light you will be able to see if your fabric is big enough.  Secure with a pin along the centre of piece 19.
We are working on the long side pieces 20 and 21 next, so cut out two pieces of background fabric large enough to cover each area plus seam allowances all round.  Starting with piece 20, hold right sides together so that the fabric extends at least quarter inch over the seam line and the lies behind piece 19.  Pin through the paper and  along the seam line , flip over and check the fabric opens out to cover piece 20 plus the seam allowance.  Stitch along the line, you can start in the seam allowance at the top and stitch into the triangle 23, if you stitch a long way it is going to be hard to trim the seam so a quarter inch will do.  
 Flip over, press, trim the seam, open out and press again,  In this photo I have added pieces 20 and 21 and I have started to trim one of the seams. 
Cut and add pieces 22 and 23 just like you did with the corner triangles of the head of the spoon.  It should look like this untrimmed,
and like this one you have trimmed up to the seam allowances.
You now need to join the head and handle together, place the paper sides together, stitch right along the lines at the top of the handle and the bottom of the spoon head  
Open out, and carefully peel off the paper and give the spoon a good press.
Your pieced sections are finished.
Ready to put the whole thing together?  I'll be back soon...
Ready to win this mug rug?  Giveaway soon...
sib blog

Monday, 26 September 2011

Tutorial Part 1: How to Freezer Paper Piece A Mug Rug

This is the mug rug that we are going to make. It features a Cornishware mug and I have used red/white/blue fabrics as I am linking in with Laura's Mug Rug World Tour so has a little of Southwest Britain in its theme! (PS I will be giving it away too, but more of that another day)
In this tutorial we are going to piece the mug and saucer section using freezer paper piecing.  I think of it as a jigsaw technique, we will be joining lots of little pieces of fabric together into sections and then joining these sections together to make the mug rug front.  It is a versatile technique which gives you a lot of control but with all the small bits of fabric, it is fiddly.  The preparation of the pattern pieces takes a while but is worth it as it will make life easier when you sew.
You will need to print the Mug PDF- (section A), which is here.
You will also need:
Scraps of blue, cream, red, and grey cotton fabric-10 inch square pieces would be ample.
Background fabric- plain or a busy print- e.g ditsy floral, little dots- not a large print or stripes. A fat eighth will be plenty!
Backing fabric 7x9 inches
Batting/Wadding/Insulbright-7x9 inches.
Binding fabric- binding will be 1.25 inches x 40 inches.
Piecing thread.
Quilting Thread
Usual sewing notions, scissors, rotary cutter, pins etc.
Freezer paper
Fine line waterproof fade proof pigment marker
Your PDF print out is your reference map as you piece the mug.  You also need to trace this on to the papery side of the freezer paper.   I have traced on to the waxy side before but that is a technique for another day.  I wanted to start with something straight forward and intuitive. I use washi or masking tape to fix the freezer paper over the pattern, a quilting ruler and a fine line waterproof fade proof pigment marker 0.1 or 0.2 mm.  The numbers are the order in which you will cut and sew each piece so transfer them on to the freezer paper and it also helps to put an arrow on each piece.  I can see I forgot mine on piece 1 I added it in later!  This helps you to use the right grain of the fabric later on and to orientate your piecing.  You now need to add little tic lines where any sections join.  These only need to be small but they are essential- they help you match up your seams and points.  It should look like this
Now you can have a break and get your rotary cutter out.
Cut 2 blue strips 1.5 x 3.75 inches
Cut 1 blue strip 1.25 x 3.75 inches
Cut 2 cream strips 1.125 (one inch and one eighth) x 3.75 inches.
Join them together so that the widest blue strips are top and bottom and the narrower blue strip is in the middle.  Use a quarter inch seam and I am using a fine piecing thread throughout the mug piecing.

Press your seams away from the cream stripes.
From your freezer paper pattern cut out the mug section- piece 1 and pieces 2-10.  Never cut all the paper pieces out in one go- you will only lose them!  Have a plastic pocket or a CD plastic sleeve ready to put the pieces in that you will use later.  Keep only piece 1 out.
Place the waxy side of the pattern piece 1 onto the right side of your blue/cream stripes, spacing the stripes evenly and with the arrow following the grain of the fabric.  With a hot iron, press and fix the freezer paper to the fabric.  A small iron helps as some of the pattern pieces will be very small and can get lost with a large iron.  If your iron is not hot enough the paper will fall off, too hot and it will singe little!   Freezer paper can take a fair amount of heat.
Use your rotary cutter and quilting rule to add a generous quarter inch seam allowance  all around the pattern piece.   Not sure what a generous seam allowance looks like?  See below where the ruler lies before I rotary trim the fabric; see how the quarter inch line is just over the pattern piece rather than on it.  Cutting a generous seam like this allows for the space your machine seam stitches will take up and will give you more accurate piecing.
Put to one side somewhere safe.  Now take freezer paper pieces 2-7.  You will need to iron pieces 2,6, 7 onto your background fabric and pieces 3,4,5 onto your cream fabric. Space your pieces out on the fabrics; adding seam allowances, especially diagonals can take up more fabric than your would think.  You can rough cut your pieces out with scissors if you like but remember they will need to be trimmed down with the extra quarter inch all round so be generous if you haven't done this before.  It helps to lay your pieces out matching your reference diagram.  The pieces join in number sequence order so start with pieces 2 and 3.  
Hold right sides together, peep underneath to check your tic marks match, place a pin along the seam just to steady it whilst it goes under the machine foot.  You will be stitching with a small stitch-1.5 or 1.8mm so you will not need to secure each end- just sew straight across, quarter inch.   The generous seam allowance should mean that you stitches are next to the freezer paper pieces rather than through them.  You can slide the pin out as you are sewing.  Press the seam and then open the fabric out and press to one side.  Which direction the seams lie is up to you.  Different effects are created with the seams going one way or the other- pressing seams away will make the adjoinng piece recede and pressing towards will make it pop out  with a relief type effect.  Sometimes the bulk of the fabric means a seam can only lie comfortably in one direction.  There are no hard and fast rules here, apart from press after each you add each piece! 
Leave the freezer paper pieces stuck on the fabric; you will need to keep matching the tic marks and it will keep your work in shape and more accurate.  Now add piece 4 to the bottom of piece 2.  You have a mini section that you can now add piece 5 to and then piece 6. Add piece 7 along the top of the completed section so far.
 piece 8 joins at the diagonal seam at the bottom.
Next you will join the tiny piece 9 to the bottom left hand corner of the mug.   Here is a close up of how to match the tics up.  

I pinned at an angle for this seam as it was so tiny!
Now add piece 10 to the left hand edge of the mug.
You can see how mine looks on the reverse and how I have chosen to press my seams.
From the remainder of your freezer paper pattern cut out pieces 11, 12 and 13.  Iron piece 11 on to the red fabric for the saucer.  Iron pieces 12 and 13 onto your background fabric. Trim adding the quarter inch seam allowance as before.  Join pieces 12 and 13 to the left and right of piece 11.  You can now sew the saucer piece to the mug. Yay!  Time to celebrate, section A, the mug, is finished.  I didn't say it would be easy but I hope it is logical and that you are happy with the result so far.
The spoon is next and we will be using a different technique, foundation paper piecing.  Click here to go to part 2 spoon instructions. And here for part 3- finishing off instructions
If you have a question, please ask in a comment and I will answer there so others can read it.  
I hope it has been a helpful tutorial.  This method of freezer paper piecing is my favourite way of creating picture type blocks so I'd like others to try it too!  Should you make this mug block or mug rug I would love it if you added it to my Flickr group!
sib blog

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Freezer paper piecing: Essentials

Slightly out of context reference, but these are my essentials for paper piecing.  Tutorial and pattern to follow.  Its a mug rug- that's all I can say for now as it exists only in my head but meanwhile lets go through this one by one...
Rotary cutters.  You can't do this with scissors, rotary cutter precision is necessary.  The larger 45mm is great for general usage and you can get by with that alone but the 28mm will make life a whole lot easier on the little bits and is less effort on the hands and arms.
If you've got a rotary cutter then you are bound to have quilt rulers.  Not all quilt rulers are created equal and I have learnt my preference over time.  Both of these are by Creative Grids.  A little square is great for small bits, I have a 5.5 inches one that gets lots of use but it doesn't have the lovely quarter inch dotted border lines that you can see on the larger ruler on the left.   These are the biggest aid to adding your seam allowances.
Freezer paper, essential and available in the UK too, although not at supermarkets.  If you haven't used this stuff, it has a papery side and a plastic/way side.  You can iron it onto fabric and then peel it off and reuse it with and it leaves no residue.  Great for applique and templates and a roll lasts forever.  Cottonpatch stock it and on ebay you can buy smaller pieces or splash out on a whole roll and make a commitment.  If it doesn't work out you have lots of paper to wrap your sandwiches in.
You need a knife for cutting your freezer paper templates and a rotary cutter will not be fine enough.  I use an Olfa scalpel and you can buy cheap disposable scalpels in art suppliers.  I also use a propelling pencil, HB leads and a very fine permanent liner- 0.1mm.

Otherwise the usual kit applies.   It is helpful to have a small iron- I use a travel iron, and thin piecing thread is another bonus- Aurifil 50/2 is perfect or YLI soft touch, both are fine piecing threads.
Back soon, must draw the design or there will be nothing to piece.
sib blog

catch ups

Catch ups and thankyous.  Firstly a lovely texty fabric swap with Cindy of Live a Colorful Life.  A great little stack of wordy black white and cream prints.  Thankyou Cindy!
I won an Amy Butler giveaway at Sewmama sew recently and the good people at Amy Butler sent me a big stack of half yard cuts and a pile of patterns.  The top three are organic quilting cottons with a lovely smooth texture- my favourite is top far right.  The bottom three are a new Voile fabric, similar to Anna Maria Horner's Little Folks voiles, really silky.   They would make great dress fabric. These three (bottom of photo) are going into the pile of Little Folks voiles that will magic themselves into a quilt one day.  
And finally, a block- a great big block- around 19-20 inches square, I haven't measured exactly for Angela in a new bee, Stash Trad.  This is a bee where we use our own fabrics and create traditional style blocks, still a relatively new thing for me.  This is her own design too, Cracker Scraps  and lovely and straightforward to do, plus at this size you could swiftly assemble a very large quilt.
I am still catching up with my Ringo Pie blocks, a Christmas one is a-coming for Amber...
sib blog