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September 30, 2011

One more thing...


Keep your eyes peeled, because I'm going to be posting a free pattern sometime next week to keep you busy while I'm gone to the Sewing Summit ;)

What could it be? Will there be more? All in good time....

 Baby Punkin'


Big Mama Punkin'

Scottie Watch


Scottie Watch

1) I found an awesome new fabric shop called Form & Fabric. They offer $2.99 shipping on all orders, and have a nice selection of out-of-print Echino and Anna Maria Horner prints.

2) I know my friend Angela will be all over this sale because she loooves Sweetwater! Quilt Home is offering 25% off all in-stock Sweetwater prints with the coupon QHSWQC.



3) This looks like a fantastic book! It's called Sewing with Oilcloth, and I keep flipping through the copy at my local Barnes & Noble, debating over whether I should order it on Amazon or not. Anyone tried her patterns yet?


Mug Rug Swap - Finished!!!

4) Never done embroidery before? Want to try something simple for a project like a few embroidered words? Then you should check out the tutorial I used from Jenny the Artist when I was making my mug rug for the 1st round of that swap. It's really easy, and the choices are virtually endless when you consider all the different fonts floating around out there! It would be really easy to make handmade, personalized Christmas stockings this way :)

5) Haven't registered for the Sewing Summit yet? Well, you should! The last day for registration is this Sunday, Oct. 2 (closes at midnight). *chants* Do it! DO it! DO IT!

September 28, 2011

DWR Quilt Along: Layering, Quilting & Binding the Curved Edges


This post will be short and sweet, because there's really only one part of this process that might be foreign to you (sorting out the binding at the curved corners). 

To prepare the backing, you'll cut your yardage into two 1 1/2 yard pieces. Sew together down the length to make one large panel. Baste, quilt (I did free motion) and trim off the excess batting and backing.



Prepare your bias binding using your preferred method. Personally, I love these instructions from The Dread Pirate Rodgers. Her method looks a little scary at first, but her instructions are amazingly detailed, informative, and there's virtually no fabric waste, which I love.


Start pinning your binding on one of the end rings, making sure to leave a tail. It's best to start at an end because you'll have plenty of room (without any pesky corners) to attach your tail ends once you've worked your way around the quilt top.


Pin until you reach a corner. Now there may be a better way to do this, but this method is what's worked well for me in the past. Make a baby miter, finger press, and pin in place. You don't want to do a full-on miter with all the folding (like you would with a regular square corner) because it gathers up way too much fabric at the corner, and it's nearly impossible to miter the back side.


You may have to work your binding a little bit to get everything in place before you pin. 


Once you've finished pinning the entire top and begin sewing your binding down, this is how you'll need to navigate the corner. I made 1/2" binding, so I sewed until I was 1/2" above the corner and pivoted to go down the next curve.


Once you've finished sewing down the top of the binding and start flipping it toward the back, here's how you'll situate the fabric at the corners. At your first corner, go ahead and clip down the binding that's on either side of the corner into it's rightful place, so there's not a bunch of excess fabric floating around. Grab the fabric bunched at the corner...


...and following the natural inclination of the fabric from the miter you made earlier, tuck the right side under the left using your finger until there's no excess and the binding wants to lay flat with no puckering.  Once you have the front in place, the binding should naturally fall into place on the back as you fold it over.



 If you machine sew the back of your binding (like me), you'll sew down one side and pivot at the corner, just like you did for the top.



And voila! You're finished! I immediately wash and dry my quilts after binding because it crinkles up nicely and hides most of my flaws - there's nothing like a good run through the machine to hide your quilting sins ;)

And here's a crapload of pictures. I document every last inch of my Double Wedding Ring quilts because they're so difficult to make!









Hercules! Hercules!

New Fall Bag!

Remember this bag? Well I stopped by Rachel's blog today, and saw that it had been chosen as a finalist in the Wearables category! I spent the next 5 minutes being giddy and doing the Nutty Professor "Hercules!" clap to myself in my cubicle.

Please go vote for me if you think my bag is worthy! And maybe do the clap....changing the chant from "Her-cu-les!" to "Vote-for-me!"...LOL!

September 26, 2011

Almost there...


Quilt-Along Checklist
Sandwich and baste
Free-motion
Make bias binding
     Bind and snap photos on how to navigate the curved edges

September 25, 2011

Updates.

Quilting Widow(er) Appreciation Day!


1)  How did everyone's gift presentations go for the Quilting Widow(er) Appreciation Day this past Saturday (the 24th?). My hubby loved his new quilted Marvel pillowcase...so much so that I didn't get a chance to take pretty staged pictures of it before it was in use (see below)

Aren't my sleeping boys precious? I'm gonna get an earful about this picture later. He caught me trying to take a photo once before this (I thought he was asleep, but he was still partially conscious), and I got a groggy verbal warning, LOL! I pounced again 30 minutes later once the snoring started. Snoring = definite sleep.


2) I hope to have the last post for the DWR Quilt Along ready by the end of this week. Not that I don't love you all, but we had 3 family birthdays last week, and some things are just more important than quilting :) Thanks for being so patient with me this summer. I've had a lot of unexpected speed bumps in my personal and professional life, and it's been a real challenge to keep the Quilt Along going. I have my DWR quilted, so all I need to do is bind that beast, snap a few photos, and the post will be ready!



3) I'm sick of owning too much stuff. And that means another DESTASH. Between myself, my family and my friends, we've participated in FIVE moves this summer, and there's nothing like moving to make you realize how much stuff Americans own. Ever since we moved in April, I've just been feeling sick about the amount of fabric I have. I've been destashing a few things here and there the past couple weeks, but I really needed to get control of myself and do a major overhaul. I finished the first wave tonight, and hope to do a second one this weekend. I love fabric, and there's nothing wrong with buying it, but you know there's a major problem when you can't even remember what you own. Recently, I can't tell you how many times I've bought fabric online/in a LQS/swapped on Flickr, only to find out I already have a cut of that exact print in my stash. That's bad.

It's been weighing on my conscience, and then I read this post, and it's so true - you can't take it with you, so what's the point of my ridiculous hoarding? And that's what it is - hoarding - really! I know we all joke about hoarding fabric - but I honestly do! I keep fabrics for years because I'm terrified to use it...or if I do actually cut into it, I feel this compulsion to buy more to replace it in case I ever need it again. I'm crazy, what can I say?

I already own enough fabric to last me a lifetime of quilting...so I'm killing two birds with one stone. I get rid of my guilt and clutter, and you lovely readers gain some really nice fabric for a steal. I've listed some yardage of Ann Kelle and Laurie Wisbrun prints for $6/each, and also some FQ bundles for $5 to $6 each. I will refund any shipping overages, and as always, readers can use the coupon code PLAIDSCOTTIE10 in my shop for 10% off.

(The coupon is always active, so you can use it any time you buy anything in my shop - not just when I announce new fabric/patterns/goods on here :) ).

September 22, 2011

Button, button, who's got the button?


My cousin Michelle loves animated movies, and after we watched Coraline together a few weeks ago, she made me these precious polymer buttons! You should check out her Etsy shop - she has some really cute stuff in there, and I can vouch for the quality *wink*. If you'd like a custom button(s), or see something you like but want in a different color, try messaging her and I'm sure she'd be willing to work with you :)

This is angelic "Coraline" Sir Whiskers...


And this is "Sherlock" Whiskers. He's no hail-fellow-well-met, but the perfect gentleman on the street...

 


And check out the sweet little goodies I picked up this week! Stitch Steals was offering all 60+ of these buttons for $9.99...I was on that deal like a monkey on a cupcake. The fabric is from a quilt shop I stumbled across earlier this week while on a work trip - they had almost an entire bolt of the Aviary Lime Woodgrain, and I bought almost all of it! Woot!


September 21, 2011

German Chocolate Cake.

German Chocolate Cake 

Need I say more?

There are only two things in life I do better than most people: 1) parallel parking, and 2) making a German Chocolate Cake. Believe me when I tell you it's even more delicious than it looks. And yes, you should torte the cake because the icing soaks into all the thin layers and makes the cake extra moist and delicious. Don't chicken out and attempt to make it into a sheet cake! Torting is easy...and honestly, I don't bother with trying to make it level unless it's for a public function or charity event like a cake auction. I just cut and stack, and if it ends up a little wonky, I stick a wooden skewer (the kind you use for grilling) right through the center to keep it from sliding around until we devour it :)

Case and point...since this is for a family birthday party, you can see I didn't bother with making it straight and pretty *wink*

CAKE
  • 1/2 c boiling water
  • 6 oz. German baking chocolate (in the baking aisle – the kind I buy is Baker’s brand and it comes in a 4 oz. brown and green package)
  • 2 c sugar
  • 1 c butter, softened
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 c cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 c buttermilk (I know it can be hard to find in a regular grocery outside of the South, but usually you can find powdered buttermilk in the Baking aisle). 
  • 4 egg whites, stiffly beaten

ICING
  • 2 c sugar 
  • 1 c butter
  • 2 c evaporated milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla  
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2 ½ c flaked coconut
  • 2 c chopped pecans


CAKE DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 8-inch round pans.
  2. Pour boiling water on chocolate, stirring until chocolate is melted; cool.
  3. Combine sugar and butter in large mixing bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Add in eggs yolk, one at a time. Beat in chocolate and vanilla on low speed.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, and salt)
  5. Add the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the buttermilk, and beating after each addition until batter is smooth (you'll begin and end with the flour mixture). Fold in egg whites.
  6. Divide batter among pans. Bake 35-40 minutes until cake has pulled away slightly from the sides of the pan and cake springs back to the touch. Let cool completely before assembling the cake.  


ICING DIRECTIONS 
  1. While cake is baking, mix sugar, butter, milk, vanilla and egg yolks in saucepan.
  2. Whisk together over medium heat (stirring often) until thick (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in coconut and pecans. Let cool completely before assembling the cake.


ASSEMBLY 
With a long serrated knife, torte all three cakes, spreading icing in between them as you stack (you’ll have 6 layers when finished). And make sure you save a little icing to pour over the top when finished. Eat and ENJOY :)

September 20, 2011

Birthday Bag


This week is a week of birthdays...my mom's, my husband's, and my cousin's...which means I've had to put together three handmade birthday presents. No easy feat, considering I'm also frantically trying to finish quilting my DWR in time for the grand finale this weekend.

This bag is for my cousin Michelle, who loves simple bags and soft florals. I used Simplicity pattern 2617 and it was easy to follow, but I'm not entirely happy with the way the bag turned out. Even though the directions clearly said "1/2 inch seams unless otherwise specified", my brain went into default quilting mode and I used 1/4" seams for the piecing on the front (which means my two side pieces got lopped off and you can barely see them). Normally I wouldn't care, but it was the print that pulled all the colors together, so now I feel like the bag has a random purple strip and a random pink strip that don't really go together *sigh*. Normally I'd redo it, but I don't have time. Hopefully she doesn't notice or care :(


The neutral is natural linen, the bag & strap lining is Modern Meadow Handpicked Daisies in Pink, and the exterior prints are Riley Blake Wishing Flowers in Fuchsia, Modern Meadow Dogwood Bloom in Pink, and Central Park Hernshead in Plaza (that's the one that got chopped off, for the most part).


NEWS FLASH: I got to thinking after I posted this yesterday, and I decided to make one more small item to make up for me screwing the pooch on the exterior of the bag. So I threw together a wee matching coin purse. Aren't they cute together? They look like a Mama Purse and Baby Pouch (yes, apparently bags can procreate...who knew? *wink*)





September 19, 2011

Shakin' and Bakin'


As you can see, there's been a whole lotta shakin' going on behind the scenes. After I posted about wanting to move to my own domain and redesign my site a few weeks ago, Jennie over at Clover & Violet contacted me. Remember Jennie? She's the one that sent me the lovely Scottie themed package in the first round of the Mug Rug Swap!

Well we've been emailing back and forth the past few weeks, and she’s been kind enough to help do everything for me in terms of getting the code together. I know it took up a lot of her personal time to help with my site, so I just wanna say a big THANK YOU to Jennie for being so generous with her time and knowledge! And everyone should go buy one of her adorable bag patterns – she has impeccable taste because, as you can see, she is a fellow Scottie lover *wink*

As you explore the new site, you'll probably notice there are a few dead end links or wonky photos. Please bear with me as I work out the kinks....I'm learning all this stuff as I go, plus the next few weeks will be very busy for me and I don't know how much time I'll have to dedicate to fixing the site (I'm sorry!)

Oh! And one more thing! If you hadn't already noticed, I purchased my own domain a few days ago and you can now reach my blog via the address http://www.theplaidscottie.com/.

Have fun playing on the new site, and I hope you like it!

September 16, 2011

DWR Quilt Along: Assembling the Quilt Top


Grab your first two rows, and flip the 2nd row over so that they're right sides together. Line up the centers of the first rings in each row and pin. Line up the outside edges (to the left of the center) and pin.

(NOTE: You might have noticed, but I wasn't paying attention and sewed melons along the bottom of the 2nd row when I wasn't supposed to. Since it won't technically hurt anything, I left them on. Just pretend they aren't there because it doesn't change anything about the assembly.)


 Work your way over to the right side and pin.


 Pin until you reach the end where your 2.5" x 2.5" intersection square is.


The top square should be 1/4" longer than the one on the bottom, so make sure you leave that part hanging off the end.

Once you're finished pinning, flip the rows over and start sewing your 1/4" seam. You'll start sewing from what will be the (left) outside edge of the quilt.


Stop sewing when you reach the seam at the end. You don't want to sew all the way to the end because you need those pieces hanging loose.


Pivot the fabric a little bit so that the four corners of your intersection squares meet up like this...


 Once you have them lined up, start pinning the second rings together.


 Once you have that end pinned, line up the centers of the second rings and pin. Now start pinning the rings together in the area in between the end and center.


When you reach the point where the intersection square is sewn to the end of the arc, make sure you fold back the tip of the center medallion so that it lines up properly (I have it pinned in one spot so that it won't move, but in the photo you can see I still need to line up the very tip of it by moving it down a little bit)


 Finish pinning the rest of that section.


Remove sleeping dog from fabric, then proceed to next step...


Now pin the other half of the rings, remembering to work from the outside in (pin the outside edge and center first, then the in-between area) It should look like this when you're done pinning the 2nd rings together.


Flip the rows over, and before you start sewing, make sure the seam allowances are lying in opposite directions (to make the fabric lie as flat as possible).



When you're ready to start sewing the 2nd rings together, you want to start the seam a little bit ahead of where the 1st and 2nd rings meet. This is to make sure all four intersection squares are nice and secured together at the center.

 

When you're done sewing the 2nd rings together, it's a good idea to open the rows up and take a peek at the "right" side. That way you can see if everything lines up properly before you move on to the 3rd rings. Don't worry if the intersection looks a little bunched up, because the paper causes this. Once you finish the top and rip the paper off, the whole thing will lay a lot flatter.


 Plus, it looks a lot better once it gets a good ironing. See?


Flip the rows back over the wrong side, and start working on the 3rd rings. Find the point where you stopped, and pivot the fabric at the intersection so you can start pinning the 3rd rings together.


 You're going to pin and sew the 3rd and 4th rings together just like you did the first two.

And just in case you're wondering at this point, "is it normal for my fabric to be all twisted, bunched, and crazy while I sew?" Yes, it is normal. Embrace the madness!


When you're done sewing the rows together, you'll notice that the ends don't line up. That's okay - you should have 1/4" hanging out from two of your squares (my pink square is completely finished off and measures 2" x 2", while the blue squares are finished on only 3 sides and have 1/4" of extra fabric on the raw edge). The excess fabric will be hidden when you bind the quilt.


To finish your quilt top, you'll attach the remaining rows exactly the same way. It's easy once you get the first one under your belt, because the assembly is virtually the same for the rest. The 1st and 2nd rows correspond to the 3rd and 4th rows (1 and 3 are exactly the same, and 2 and 4 are very similar - the only difference is the melons on the bottom of row 4)

Here are some photos of my rows once they've been completely attached. Sorry I don't have any pictures of the finished top - I've been working a lot this week and haven't had a chance to snap photos while it's still light outside!




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