Monday, February 1, 2016

4 Things You Need to Know to Make a Bias Tape Quilt

My goal this weekend was to finish my bias tape quilt. And here it is!

I'd like to introduce you to Lucky Arches, named after the Might Lucky Quilting Club that gave me a reason to explore working with bias tape in my quilt making.

Related: 3 Quilts that Will Actually Make You Want Bias Tape

In making this quilt, I learned 4 things.

1. Temporary adhesive is a must.

I can't imagine working with bias tape without Wonder Tape. It really is a wonder - no sticky residue and great hold power, but yet easy to remove if you need to reposition the bias tape. I highly recommend it!

2. Narrow bias tape is easier to work with than wide bias tape.

In my quilt, I experimented with using two widths of bias tape - the 1" and the 1/2". I had a much easier time getting the narrower tape to bend into curves.

3. Use something to help guide placement of the bias tape. 

To help guide the shape and placement of my arches, I turned a bowl upside down on the background fabric and used it a mold to shape the curves. Another strategy is to use an erasable fabric marker to draw lines as guides on the background fabric.

4. Make sure the background fabric is laying flat when applying the bias tape. 

After I adhered the bias tape to the background, I noticed that there was a bit of a puff to the background fabric. Somehow the background fabric had bubbled while I was applying the bias tape. Thankfully, the puff disappeared with quilting. Next time, I'll try to avoid the puff by taping the background fabric to my table with painter's tape to make sure the fabric doesn't shift as I apply the bias tape.

I know these tips will help me the next time I tackle bias tape in quilt making. I hope they are helpful to you too!

Monday, January 25, 2016

3 quilts that will make you actually want bias tape

This weekend's snow gave me an opportunity to hunker down at my sewing machine and work on my bias tape quilt.

As I worked on the quilt, I started to wonder about what other quilters have made using bias tape. Most of the time bias tape is used in binding a quilt or for the stems of appliqued flowers. But there are modern quilts that feature bias tape as the main design. 

Here are three modern bias tape quilts that make my heart flutter!

1. Big-O by Latifah Saafir

Photo courtesy of Latifah Saafir

In this quilt, the bias tape is placed in overlapping circles that form a big "O". I love everything about this quilt: the minimal design, the randomness of the overlapping circles, the texture of the background stitching, the bright yellow contrasting against the tan background, and of course, the perfect name. 

2. Rocket 88 by Latifah Saafir

Photo courtesy of Latifah Saafir

With Rocket 88, I love the different fabrics, the balance of the figure eight shapes in a staggered design, the 8's that extend off the edge. In this quilt, the bias tape serves as an outline of the figure 8 shapes. Simply brilliant!  

3. Bias Tape Hand quilt by Jennifer Johnston

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Johnston

This photo is of a quilt in progress that I first saw on Instagram. The artist, Jennifer Johnston, projected a shadow of her hand onto the fabric and used the bias tape to outline the shadow. In doing so, she creates an image that appears three-dimensional. It's as if the hand is coming out of the quilt. Again, simply brilliant! I'll be staying tuned to Jennifer's IG feed to see the finished quilt.

These quilts inspire me to see what else I can do with bias tape. Clearly, bias tape is not just for garments or quilt binding! 

What will you make with bias tape? 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Mighty Lucky

Have you heard of the Mighty Lucky Quilting Club? It's a monthly subscription to a set of quilting challenges designed to help you try new techniques and improve your design skills.

By chance, I won a giveaway on Instagram hosted by Krista of Spotted Stone. The giveaway included a subscription to the club and a bundle of goodies. My goodies included fabric, bias tape makers, and a signed copy of Krista's new book, Beyond Cotton (which is fabulous, by the way!). As soon as they arrived, I got to work!

The Mighty Lucky January challenge is to create using bias tape. But before making the bias tape, I wanted to create a background using my scraps - anything to whittle down my scraps!

I dumped out the scrap bin of white, cream and beige solids. I chose pieces that would contrast nicely with the fabrics Krista sent. I pieced them together improv style and cut them into 6.5" squares for the background.

I started working with the bias tape makers, making bias tape in 1" and .5" widths. I'm alternating the widths in arches over the  background. Here's the first set.

I place the tape down slowly and iron it into a curve using the Wonder Tape that Krista sent. The Wonder Tape is amazing - it holds the bias tape in place without any stickiness. I'm flying through the roll that Krista sent and have just ordered three more rolls!

I'm looking forward to seeing how this quilt shapes up. It is one big experiment. Fingers crossed!

Linking up to Scraptastic Tuesday!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Finishing Along Goals

One of the things that I vow to do at the beginning of each new year is to get my works in progress finished.

Thankfully, there's the 2016 Finish Along to help me stick to my goals.

2016 FAL

I dug deep into my w.i.p. bin and pulled out some oldies. I, hereby, do vow to finish the following three projects over the course of the next three months.

1. An improv quilt: I started this quilt almost two years ago at a workshop led by Sherri Lynn Wood of Daintytime. I got halfway through the quilting and got stuck for ideas on what to do next. All I need to do is finish quilting and bind it.

2. A modern log cabin quilt: There's a lot to do with this one: finish 40 blocks, piece the top, quilt and bind it.

3. Jagged stars: This top is done and I just need to quilt it and bind it.

This list feels a bit ambitious to me - given all the other stuff I need and want to get done, but these projects are long overdue for a finish so I'm going to aim high!

Linking up to 2016 Finish Along!

Friday, January 8, 2016

What do you make when you need a quick gift for a dear friend?

Why a pencil case, of course! 

Who doesn't need a pencil case to corral pens and pencils?!?

I made it by adapting a pattern in Anna Graham's Handmade Style book.

The sample in the book is made from one main fabric.

But I wanted to have some patchwork fun! 

I started with a few prints and solids, along with linen for the background. 

I stitched them together to make two panels...

 ...and added some quilting for texture.

The bias binding around the edges was the most challenging part of this project for me. I had a hard time making the top stitching look neat. I ended up hand stitching it down first so that I could position the binding in place. Then I machine stitched the binding. It was a little more time consuming that way, but I'm pleased with how neat the binding turned out.

To finish off the pouch, I added a little ribbon to the zipper for a pull.

I'm thrilled with how the pencil case turned out. Now I need to make one for myself!

Linking up to TGIFFFinish It Up Friday, and Confessions of a Fabric Addict!

Friday, January 1, 2016

2015 Favorites

In looking back on 2015, I see that I did more stitching than I thought.

Here is a mosaic of my makes.

My 2015 Makes

1. Ascend_details, 2. Balanced triangles quilt, 3. Silver firs table runner, 4. Sliced quilt, 5. Quilted pillow, 6. Modern Cross Quilt_front, 7. Oliver and S sleepover pajamas, 8. Hello Kitty_Modern Log Cabin Quilt_Finished, 9. Deluxe pincushion_3, 10. Cotton and Steel Tiger Pincushion, 11. Triangle MQG Charity Quilt3, 12. Mama Love Quilts_Patchwork Pouch, 13. Storytelling drawstring bag, 14. Cotton and Steel Japanese X and + mini quilt, 15. Sewing Circle Tote_Back, 16. Stacked Quilt, 17. Social Tote_handles, 18. Adapted Palimpsest Quilt (Modern Quilt Perspectives by Thomas Knauer), 19. Motley Wheel Pattern Cover, 20. Kaleidoscope Quilt, 21. Modern Petals, 22. Red X Modern Quilt, 23. Motley Wheel_RJR, 24. The Motley Wheel

I also made several garments for myself (5 skirts, 2 dresses, 2 tops) and my girls (4 skirts, 3 tops and 2 dresses). I first started sewing by making garments and it felt like I came full circle by getting back into garment sewing again this year.

Of these makes, I have my favorites:

Ascend: I almost didn't make this quilt because I didn't think I had enough time to get it done, but imagine if I didn't, I wouldn't have won an award at QuiltCon 2015!


Red X: This quilt taught me that you can do a lot in a little bit of time. A late night moment to make a quick improv block inspired a whole new quilt.

Red X Modern Quilt

The Motley Wheel: My first independent pattern.

Motley Wheel Pattern Cover

My Japanese X and + mini quilt: This quilt was among one of the finalists in the Cotton & Steel IG mini quilt swap.

Cotton and Steel Japanese X and + mini quilt

Sewing Circle Tote: This pattern has more than 80 steps, and I added some extra steps by sewing in a zipper. When I finished it, I felt a major sense of accomplishment.

Sewing Circle Tote

I'm hoping that 2016 will be an even better year: more stitching time, more finishes, fewer scraps, and a smaller w.i.p.s pile!

What are you hoping for in 2016?

Linking up to Meadow Mist Designs's Best of 2015 linky party!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Unblogged

This year moved at lightening speed for me, so fast that sometimes I couldn't keep up with blogging and quilt making, along with parenting and working a full-time job.

Today, I'd like to share with you a few of the projects from this past year that I did not blog. Each project deserves its own post, but in the interest of time, I'm compiling the major ones into this one post.

I'll start off with Ascend. I made this one at the end of 2014, but it didn't get its debut until QuiltCon 2015, where I'm happy to say that it took home second place in the Minimalist Design category.

Ascend_me and my quilt


On the back of Ascend, I did a little improv play with some scraps.


Another project is Balanced Triangles. This one was featured in the summer edition of Modern Patchwork.

Balanced triangles quilt_modern patchwork

It has a soft pastel color palette and an asymmetric design of triangles. I went a bit crazy with the dense diagonal grid quilting, but oh, the texture!

Balanced triangles_quilting

It now lives on my dining room wall.

Balanced triangles quilt

I also had a project featured in the Quilting Arts Holiday magazine.

Silver firs table runner_quilting arts

Silver firs is a table runner designed with trees of low volume fabrics and lots of straight line quilting.

Silver firs table runner

The last unblogged project is Sliced. It will be one of three of my quilts headed to QuiltCon 2016 (the other two are Red X and Stacked).

Sliced quilt

With Sliced, I was experimenting with large-scale piecing. It was quite a challenge, but something that I look forward to trying again soon. Sliced is quilted in straight lines with some minimal matchstick quilting in some of the slices.

Sliced quilt_detail

I'll be back to share a full review of my 2015 makes soon.

Happy New Year!