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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Learn to Quilt--Project 1--Day 4 (Finish the candle mat)

Guess what?! By the end of this tutorial, your little candle mat will be finished and you can boast that you are now a quilter!
(It's a long tutorial tonight. But sew worth it!)

BEFORE we begin, you need to note a couple of things. 

  1. Forget everything you have ever heard about finishing a quilt. We are NOT finishing these two quilts the traditional way. There will be no binding. To remove all binding fear from you for this first quilt, we will be finishing it 'pillow style'. 
  2. Please read the whole tutorial before beginning tonight. There are also some extra hints at the bottom
Let's start!!

Grab your piece of backing fabric. (Do not make the mistake I did. I grabbed my border fabric accidentally, and cut it up!! I originally included plans to add a border for this little quilt, but thought better of it. We will learn that on the big quilt.) 
I like to starch my backing fabric. Turn it to the back side, spray it, and let the bubbles soak in until they are gone before you iron.
After you are finished, fold in half lengthwise and iron on the crease. This is a very important step. If you don't iron the crease, then you will have a little 'hill' when you cut on the fold.
Now, take it to the cutting board, line it up, and cut off the selvage end.

Move your ruler and cut the fabric at 8 1/4". Take your cut piece, iron out the crease and cut again at 12". Your backing piece should be the same size as your front.

Now cut your batting the same size. (I used fleece for my batting. It is nice a thin). 
Stack your 3 pieces in this order: batting on the bottom, backing piece right side up, then front piece right side down. 

Pin through all three layers. I like to pin the corners first and work out from there. 
Do you see the non-pieced square in the middle top? (mine is green) We will begin sewing just to the right of this square. You HAVE to reverse several stitches to make sure your sewing holds. Sew 1/4" from the edge, and stop 1/4" from the end of the row. 

At the end of the row, you are going to stop with the needle down and pivot the quilt away from you. Align your edge at 1/4" and sew again. Repeat this all the way around. 

Stop sewing and reverse before you get to the middle square. This square should not be sewn along the edge at all, but the rest of the quilt should.

Clip the corners, being careful not to clip your sewing lines.

Carefully turn your quilt right side out. Push the corners out with your pinky finger. You can use a blunt object, such as a pencil eraser to do this if you would like. 

Iron your entire mat. Make sure to make a nice edge of your two seam allowances on the unfinished square.
Pin again.

Now, just as before, sew 1/4" all the way around the entire mat. Reverse at the beginning and end of your stitching, and pivot at the corners as before. 
Sew one more time, all the way around, just on the edge of the mat. 
Your edge is now triple sewn (once inside, two outside). It isn't going anywhere!
Be sure you use matching thread. I actually used a very light color I wouldn't normally use, but I wanted you to see the result. Especially in a minute when we quilt it. For this quilt, I probably would have chosen a dark earth tone. 

Now we are going to quilt it. On this little teeny tiny quilt, it won't take but a few minutes. We are going to do a method called "Stitch in the Ditch". That means you just sew along the valley between two pieced sections.

Do this on the entire top. Start on your middle sections that go from edge to edge. Then do your checkerboard sections. Here is the back of mine all finished (without the thread ends trimmed). You can see where I quilted.

All done!! Wasn't that easy?

Just a couple of hints. My machine has a stitch that puts a knot at the beginning of your sewing. It's easier than reversing. Not necessary, but if you have it, use it. Here is what it looks like (I-30):

Most professional long-arm quilters refuse to quilt 'in the ditch'. It's too hard to get it in that straight line all the time. If your machine has a control to slow the speed, do so for the quilting! It will help. 

Next week we begin our larger runner. It is just like this...but bigger! It will also have 3 borders...that is something totally new that we didn't do on the little mat. 


Heather said...

Very nice! I can't wait until I have the time to make this! Great tutorial-- keep them coming!

Julie-Ann said...

Tonya, I just found your blog today and am thrilled. Great pictures and instructions. I'm fairly new to quilting and have a question about something I read here. You said that you use fleece for batting on the candle mat. Remember I'm "new". So fleece, you mean fleece like one might use to "tie a quilt, with the cut edges and then tie in a knot? That kind of fleece? I've been using batting and sometimes it does seem to thick, even with the different thicknesses. Let me know. Thanks!

Hillbilly Handiworks said...

Hi Julie-Ann, and welcome!
Yes, I mean that same kind of fleece! It is easily obtained, and I have heard that if you hand quilt, the needle just glides right through! I like to use it or even a layer or two of flannel when I want a thinner quilt.
I am working on a new tutorial which I hope to start Monday, with maybe a sneak peak tomorrow.
Glad that you like them! I will try to see if I can contact you directly in case you don't see this.