Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Burp Cloths - Burpee Pattern

Need a cute Baby Shower Gift?  Having a new baby?  Make these cute Burp Cloths!  They are so nice and soft for burping baby and easy to make!

Supplies to make 2 Rag Burp Cloths:
Fabric #1 - ¼ Yard of a cute patterned flannel fabric
Fabric #2 - ¼ Yard of Minky or a coordinating flannel fabric
Fabric #3 - ¼ Yard of White Flannel (for the middle layer) You can use a colored flannel for the middle layer if you wish.
Rotary Cutter
Fabric Ruler
Cutting Mat
Sharp Scissors or Quilt Snips

Begin:
Cut 4, 9” squares of Fabric #1
Cut 4, 9” squares of Fabric #2
Cut 4, 9” squares of Fabric #3


To make your first Burp Cloth, make a sandwich with 2 pieces of patterned fabric (#1) and one piece of Flannel (fabric #3). Put the white flannel square in the middle of the two patterned pieces. Make sure the good sides are showing on each side. Then do the same with fabric #2. The picture below shows the layering. Pin in place.

Sew diagonally from the top point to the bottom point on each side of the fabric squares. So you will have a big X across each square.




Next take ONE of the squares and cut it exactly in half. This will give you two rectangles.


Now take the rectangles and place them on top of you uncut square, and pin in place. Sew the right edge with a ½” seam line. Then turn and sew the left edge. With a 1/2” seam line. (do not sew the top and bottom edges)



Open the cloth it will be flat on the back side and will show both seams on the front side. Sew a ¾” around the outside edge, this will lock the seams. Don't worry if your edges are not perfect, you can even them out later.



Next take your sharp scissors or quilt snips and snip next to the area where the seam is sewn down, snip on each side to free up the seams, then snip the seams 1/8” to ¼” apart all the way across being careful not to cut through your sewing, this creates the ragging effect. Next snip the entire outside edge. If you accidentally cut through your seam line just sew back over it.



Complete the other burp cloth in the same manner. Before you use your cloths wash them in warm soapy water with some fabric softener, this makes the fraying, ragging effect. Tumble Dry.

When you remove your burp cloths from the dryer they may have lots of loose and tangled threads. Just trim the loose threads away and trim any uneven edges. Your burp cloths are now ready to use.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

I Spy Quilt

I saw the cutest idea for a quilt online, called an "I Spy Quilt".  It is so fun!  A great idea for a young child who is just learning words! 

You need a lot of fabric scraps with interesting pictures on them in order to make this quilt.  I happen to have a bucket full of scraps leftover from all my rag quilt cutting.  So here is my version of the "I Spy Quilt".  I think it is better to make a smaller quilt for this project as it is more of a plaything than an actual "keep me warm" quilt. This quilt measures 36" x 22".

Materials you will need:
1 1/2  yards of solid fabric (for squares)
1 1/2 yards of fabric for backing
1/2 yard of  fabric for binding
1 small bag of batting
Lots of fabric scraps with interesting, fun things on them.

First I cut my rectangles 8 x 12


Then organize your scraps into 9 piles (one pile for each square) of complimentary fabrics.

I picked one fabric from each pile that I wanted to build the rectangle around.  Cut that piece a little bigger and place it on the rectangle.  Cut your other fabrics to fit into the rest of the rectangle.  Leave a 1 inch border around each rectangle.  This is my first Square!
Pin everything and sew it in place with a zig zag stitch along the raw edge.    I used a pink thread for this square. For a more finished look you can fold under the raw edges and iron in place then sew with the zig zag stitch.  Some of the fabrics look cute with a square placed on top of them.
Make 9 Rectangles this way then lay them out.
Sew the blocks together in rows of three using a 1/4" seam.  Then sew the rows together.
Add batting and binding.  For this quilt I did a simple zig zag in the ditch to hold everything together.  Your I Spy quilt is done!
This was a fun project and only took 1 day to make.  I think my granddaughter will like it.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Puppy Dog Problems

I have a Dog, his name is Bruiser.  Bruiser likes to mark on all my nice things. Anything carpeted is a big draw. I tried letting him out of the house more often, scolding him and even neutering him.  Nothing worked.  I decided I had to confine him in the kitchen area where we have no carpet for him to pee on.  But its sad for him to be separated from us and so, I began my search for a device, spray or alarm, anything to stop him from marking.  I searched the Internet for anything that might help.  I found a site selling a ace bandage type thing that you wrap around your dog to keep him from marking.  I thought that might work for us so I bought a couple.  And they did kinda work.  The problem was I was forced to wrap a long piece of material around and around and around my wiggly dog and then try to secure the thing.  I figured there must be a better way.  I experimented with a few materials and came up with my WeeWrap.  The WeeWrap is made with absorbent fleece on the inside and cute cotton material on the outside. I use Velcro to secure the ends and suggest the use of a feminine pad for dogs who still try to pee with the wrap on.  I also embroider the wrap with the dogs name. I make them in several sizes to fit almost any dog.  Everyone really likes them.  Here is little Bruiser wearing his WeeWrap.  Now he can join us in the living room and I don't have to worry about a mess to clean up.
Bruiser doesn't like to model very well so I bought Porkchop to help out!  He truly is the perfect dog.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Setting up My Etsy Shop++

Overloaded with quilts, I finally took the plunge and signed up for an Etsy shop.  I found the Etsy site very easy to use and it was really easy to set up my shop.  I did, however make a couple of  mistakes.  I didn't realize that my user name would be my shop name. I thought there would be a user name and then a separate shop name.  So, I put in my user name as beffie48 intending to think up a cute name after I got the shop set up.  I don't know if I just didn't read the instructions very well or if Etsy isn't very clear on this point, but anyway once you choose your user name you are stuck with it.  You can open a new shop with a different name, but once you have gotten some business and have some people who are giving your shop hearts you don't really want to set up a new shop from scratch. 
My second mistake was to put a different name for my shop on my banner.  My user name was beffie48 but I wanted my shop to be called Keiki Baby.  So I put Keiki Baby on the banner.  I didn't realize for several months that this is confusing to shoppers.  First of all it makes it hard for them to find you by your shop name.  Etsy stores your user name as your shop name so if a customer searched for my shop name as Keiki Baby nothing would show up on Etsy.  They would only be able to find my shop name by searching for beffie48.  I also found out the its is helpful to put your shop name in the tag area of some of your items. That way if someone does a search for your shop and they haven't selected "shop" in the drop down search box at Etsy, your shop will still come up. 
I opened my shop put my quilts up for sale and waited.  While I waited I started reading the "help" newsletters that Etsy sends out to you.  They are very helpful and I learned many important things from them.  The first I already shared with you, your user name and your shop name need to be the same.  I went into my shop and changed my shop name to match my user name.  I found a free banner for my shop and put that up until I could figure out how to make one myself.  I also started looking around Etsy to see exactly what types of items were selling well.  You can use Etsy's  "pounce" search to see recently sold items.
In those first couple of months I only sold a couple of quilts.  I felt a little frustrated,  was the price too high?  Did people not like them? Were they able to find my quilts in the vast ocean of Etsy shops?  Was my postage charge too high?  Was there a better, less expensive way to ship my items?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Too Many Quilts

After I got started making quilts I found it hard to stop.  I was on the internet looking a fabrics all the time.  I became familiar with some of the the names of the most popular fabric designers.  Amy Butler, Heather Bailey, Michael Miller, Heather Ross and Riley Blake are some of my favorites.  I made several rag quilts with their fabrics and some rag style burp cloths. The burp cloths were great, so much nicer than a ratty old diaper.  My daughter really liked them too.  I'll post instructions in a later blog.
But how many quilts can you make and give to one grandchild?   I realized that I had made more quilts then my new grandchild would ever be able to use.  I still gave her 5 or 6 then started giving them away to friends with babies.  Still I wanted to make more quilts!  I went back to Etsy and found allot of people selling quilts.  I wondered if maybe someone might want to buy my quilts, well it was worth a try.  Etsy doesn't change anything to set up an account, there is a small .20 cent listing fee for each item.  And a fee if the item sells. It was easy to set up.  I added a PayPal account to make collecting money simple and I was off!  I put listings up for several quilts and waited.......I experimented with lowering my prices, raising my prices and taking different photos.  By the way quilts are quite challenging to photograph.  I think I only had 5 or 6 items for sale at the start.  I kept waiting and still no sales. Finally after about a month I sold a quilt.  Hum, I don't think selling one quilt a month is going to make me much money.  So, I decided to make some burp cloths and try to sell them, not much success with that idea either.  I thought maybe a larger selection of quilts and other items would help, but that didn't seem to do the trick. I experimented with several hand sewn items, still no increase in sales.  Then one day I saw an article about selling on Etsy.  I think it was a Etsy Success article.  The woman wrote that she had very little success selling her pillow case dresses but lots of success selling a diy pillow case dress kit.  I thought that might work for me. I know many of the people who are interested in Etsy shopping are interested in making things themselves.   I decided to make a Rag Quilt Kit to sell online. It took me some time to figure out how much fabric, what size squares and what to charge in order to make a small profit, but I immediately started selling several kits a month.  And I love reading the comments that I get from people who buy my kits.  I still make and sell quilts on my site but the majority of what I sell now is quilt kits.  After a few months of selling kits I decided to buy an embroidery machine.  I thought it might increase my sale if I could personalize the quilt kit for my customers.  I offer free embroidery with each kit.  Everyone really likes the embroidery and it makes such a nice personal gift.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Lets Make a Rag Quilt

I started googling quilt photos and found some really cute quilts called Rag Quilts.  I decided for my next project that I would try that style. I had a lot of the Heather Bailey fabric left over from the first quilt.  I found some instructions and began.  Rag Quilts are really easy to make and they come out so cute!   If you have never made a quilt before and want to start with something simple then I really encourage you to try a rag quilt.  Here is a picture of the first one that I made.

This particular quilt is cotton fabric on both sides and flannel fabric in the middle.  I have changed the way I make my rag quilts now and just use the cotton patterned fabric on the top of the quilt and flannel fabric on the back and in the middle.  Here is the pattern for a rag quilt.  If you don't want to cut the pieces yourself visit my etsy site.  I sell Rag Quilt kits.  All the cutting is done for you, all you have to do is sew them together.


Rag Quilt Instructions from http://www.etsy.com/shop/beffie48

These are instructions to make a rag quilt. Finished size is 36”x 32'. If you wish to make a larger size just add additional squares of material.
Supplies:
1 pair of sharp Scissors or Spring loaded Scissors
1 Rotary Cutter (45 mm works fine)
1 Cutting Mat
1 Cutting Ruler
Rag Quilt Snippers (optional)

My favorite rag quilt scissors are Tonic Studios 404 6-1/2-Inch Spring Cut Scissors. They are around $12-$14.00 and well worth it. You can keep them nice and sharp with a cheap scissor sharpener. I have tried a lot of scissors and haven't found a pair that works better.
5 different fabrics that compliment each other. You will need 1/2 Yard of each fabric. For the backing and the batting I use flannel you can use any color, but make sure it goes with your material because it will show at the ragged area of the quilt. I usually use white. You will need 1 1/4 yards of flannel.
Thread (I use white, but you can use any color that goes with your fabric)

Iron your material before cutting. Cut all material into 9” squares using your rotary cutter. You will need 40 squares of fabric and 20 squares of flannel.

First make a sandwich:
**
Take two matching pieces of your patterned fabric and put a flannel square between the two squares. Make sure the
“good” side of the patterned material is showing on both sides of the square. Line up the material evenly on all sides. Pin in place.   Sew diagonally across the square from the top point of each corner to the bottom point of each corner, so you have a big X across the entire square of fabric. (use any color thread you like, I use white).  Do this with all your squares.  You will end up with 20, 3 layer squares of fabric. Don't worry if your squares are not perfectly straight on each edge. This quilt pattern is very forgiving.

Lay out the squares in rows of 5 so they look nice to you. You will have 4 rows of 5 squares.

Next you are going to sew a row of 5 squares together. Match the good sides together so the seams show, pin, sew
using a 1/2 seam allowance.  The quilt will be flat on the back side and show all the unfinished seam allowances on the front side. Make sure that all your seam allowances are showing on one side and flat on the other. Sew your first two squares together, add the third, then fourth etc till have a row of 5 squares completed. Sew your next row, continue till you have made all 4 rows. Try to keep your rows in the order you originally placed them.

Now start sewing your rows of squares together. Line up two rows at the intersection of each square, pin, then sew the rows together, use a ½ seam allowance. Add another row and repeat the process till you have all your rows sewn together with the unfinished seam allowances showing on the front side of the quilt. 

Once you have the rows all sewn together sew a 1/2 stitch all the way around the outside of the quilt. This will lock the seams. Your quilt should look flat on the back and all unfinished seams will be showing on the front.

Now you are ready to snip your quilt.  I use spring loaded scissors as they are easier on my hands. But any really sharp scissors are fine.
Snip your seam allowances to the stitching (not past) about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch apart (the smaller the snipping the more ragged your quilt will be).  Do all the seams and then snip all the way around the outside.  I also cut the corners out. This process will take you quit a while, I usually do my snipping while watching T.V.   When you are finished you are ready to wash the quilt, washing & drying is what makes the nice frayed look.

Machine wash the quilt in cold or warm soapy water, use fabric softener if you have it.   Tumble Dry, Med heat, in the dryer. (make sure to check your lint trap several times) Remove your quilt from the dryer and look over the quilt, it will be a mess with lots of loose threads and knots everywhere. Don't worry this is normal. Use your scissors to snip the messy knotted threads away and fix any uneven areas. Look for any seams you missed snipping the first time.  You can then wash and dry one more time.  Check for loose threads one more time and your done!  Your quilt will fray with each wash and just get better and better!

If you accidentally snip through a seam just go back over that area with your sewing machine.
If you have any problems or questions please feel free to convo me at my etsy website.

Have Fun!
Beth

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Framed Block Quilt Pattern from beffie48 shop at ETSY

Here is the pattern for the Framed Block Quilt.  I have included photos to help make it easier for you to make.  This is a pattern for a smaller square size than the original one pictured on my first blog.Enjoy!

Baby Size Easy Framed One Patch Quilt Instructions

This quilt will be approximately 37” x 45”
You will need:
6 coordinating fabrics ½ yard of each (the pictured quilt is made with Penny Lane Fabrics by Riley Blake.
Backing, approx 40” x 48”
Batting, approx 40” x 48”
Binding (I usually make my own with the leftover fabric) or you can purchase ready made.
1 Rotary Cutter
1 Cutting Mat
1 Cutting Ruler

Cut
30 5” squares (6 of each fabric)
60 2”x5” strips (10 of each fabric)
60 2”x 8” strips (10 of each fabric)







 
When you have finished all your cutting take each square and pick one of
the coordinating fabrics framing strips. Put each square with 2 short
framing strips and 2 long framing strips in a pile. Continue till you have
used all your squares and strips.
When you have matched all the squares to the strips you are ready to
begin sewing. Take one square and with right sides together pin the short
framing strips to each side and sew a 1/4” seam. Press Open.





Next take your your long framing strips and pin them right sides together to
your squares sides. Sew a 1/4” seam. Then Press Open.



Continue sewing all your squares in this manner. Once you have
completed all 48 Squares you are ready to sew your squares into rows.

Lay out your squares into rows that are pleasing to your eye. Use 6
squares for each row. You will end up with 8 rows of 6 squares. Sew your
squares together with a 1/4” seam. Press.




 
Now line up your completed rows matching the seams together and sew
with a 1/4” seam.
Once all your rows are sewn together your quilt top is finished, you can
add your batting, backing, then quilt and bind. I used free motion quilting
but you can use any technique you like.




Here is the completed quilt!


 



Sunday, May 22, 2011

Framed Block Quilt - Part 4 Binding

I finished my quilt top and realized that I didn't one big enough piece of material for the backing on the quilt.  Yikes!  I had lots of extra fabric but nothing big enough.  I ended up deciding to sew several strips together to make a large piece.  Here is a photo of the completed back side of my quilt.

Since I was making this quilt for my 1st,  soon to be born grand daughter I wanted it to be extra special.  I had saved the lace fabric from the original bassinet that my mother-in-law had made for me when I gave birth to my first child.  Since she was now having her first child and my mother-in-law had passed away I thought it would be nice to incorporate some of that fabric into this quilt.  If you look at the front side of the quilt you will see how I used that white lace fabric to frame the quilt.
Finally I used my newly acquired free motion quilting technique fairly well.  Then I was ready to sew on the binding.  I had never binded a quilt before so I turned to another Google search and accidentally found a website called "Missouri Star Quilt Shop" Here is a link to their  tutorials http://tutorials.missouriquiltco.com/.  They have a tutorial called "Binding your Quilt - Tips and Tricks Series.  I used their technique on that quilt and have used on all my quilts that require binding.  They have lots of great tutorials on their website.  I highly recommend it! 
And then I was done, Wow!  I looked at the finished quilt and thought it looked pretty good. I was happy to be finished. I thought I would be happy to put my sewing machine away and move on to other things.  But, I found that I still had a desire to make another quilt.  Maybe a different kind of quilt.  I had allot of leftover fabric and I had discovered so many wonderful fabrics available on the Internet that were not available from the fabric store in my area.  I found myself searching the Internet for photos of quilts and quilt patterns searching out the ones that I thought might be easy enough for me to try to make. 
I finally decided on trying out a rag quilt pattern.  More on the rag quilt on a later blog.
In the many months since I made this quilt I have made many many more quilts, different kinds, some are really pretty and turned out quite well, others just ok.  But I have made several more quilts in this Framed Block pattern and it still remains one of my favorite patterns.  So much so that I have put together a pattern with photos showing how to make this pattern.  On my next blog I will post that pattern with the photos.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Framed Block Quilt Part 3 - Free Motion Quilting

In my attempt to figure out exactly how to make my Heather Bailey Framed Block quilt, I noticed it was quilted with a pretty swirly pattern called Free Motion Quilting.  Hum, what was free motion quilting, how was it done, could I learn to do it?  I started doing searches on the Internet and found several videos on YouTube that showed how free motion quilting was done and what equipment you needed in order to do it (the free motion quilting foot) There was even a video of a child free motion quilting!  I watch several "how to"  videos over and over and finally decided to give it a try.

I think most people can learn basic free motion quilting.  It does require some practice, so I used some old quilt pieces and spent some time experimenting. There is a level of expertise in the free motion quilting world that I will never achieve. Yes, I can and will improve with practice, but I wasn't born with true artistic ability, so I imitate.   I watch videos of these talented ladies and am amazed at what they can do  If you have a chance watch some of the free motion quilting videos posted on YouTube. So, while I can't say that I became an expert at free motion quilting,  I became good enough at the basic swirly design to use the technique on my quilt. I posted the close up photo above to give you a better look.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Framed Block Quilt Part 2 Quilt Making Tools

I think some of the greatest tools for quilt making these days are the cutting mat, quilting ruler and rotary cutter.  How did anyone manage before they became available? 
If you are a new to sewing,  interested in quilting and need some help, this is where you start.  Purchase a cutting mat (at least 24" x 36) and a 45mm or 60mm rotary cutter.  You will also need a quilting ruler to make nice straight cuts. I also purchased a free motion quilting foot (more on free motion quilting in a future blog) and a 1/4" piecing foot with blade.  The 1/4" piecing foot is wonderful.  It has a blade on the side that guides your material and keeps your seems at 1/4".  I love it and would be lost without it.  Of course you need a sewing machine! 

I had such a driving need to make this quilt, but at the time I wasn't really sure that I would end up with a completed quilt that looked anything like the original quilt that I coveted.
A hundred steps loomed ahead, steps that required some kind of order, steps that were just kind of floating around in my head. So, I took the first step of gathering the required tools.
Of course my current sewing machine had been purchased in the 80's and had only been out of the closet for a few minutes in the last few years.  I took a good look at it and decided that an upgrade was in order.

I spent hours and hours pouring over sewing machines and reviews before picking my new machine.  I have to add  I had a very small budget at the time and I didn't know if I would be interested in sewing with the new machine, once my obsession with the Heather Bailey quilt had been quenched.  I wish I had known that the first quilt would only be the beginning of a love of fabrics, quilts and quilting. 

So with my budget in mind  I ordered the new sewing machine on the amazon.com website, a Brother CS6000i.  At the time it was only $179.  I read all the reviews, they were pretty good, I ignored the bad reviews (my mistake) but it seems every item has some bad reviews.  Let me just say that the machine ended up in the trash 6 months later.  I purchased it and used it for that first framed block quilt. As you can see from the photo I posted (part 1) the quit looks pretty good.  My problems came later with extended use and rag quilting projects.  It jamed constantly especially on thicker fabrics.  I became very frustrated,  after all I just wanted to sew a straight line!  How hard could it be?  Into the trash it went.
I replaced it with a new Janome Magnolia 7330.   If I were doing a sewing machine review at this point I would say that I love my new Janome sewing machine.  Yes at $349 it was twice the price of the Brother, not bad considering you could easily spend thousands on a good sewing machine.  The great thing about the Janome is that I don't have to fight with it to get it to sew.  It sews thick fabrics just as easily as thin fabrics. It rarely jams, The stitches are nice and even. What more could I ask for?  It has lots of stitches that I never bother using, but who knows what projects will come my way in the future? 

Next I purchased that wonderful Heather Bailey Fabric. I'm not very good at deciding which fabrics go with what but I just returned to that original quilt that I had seen on Etsy and ordered the same fabric designs.  Since I don't seem to have a talent for picking out quilt fabrics I have found that just choosing several fabrics from a designers line works pretty well. I also do searches on Etsy for "Fabric Bundles"  people who have more color sense than I offer fabric bundles for sale on several Etsy sites.  Here is a link to one of them  http://www.etsy.com/shop/fabricworm .  Seeing 5 or 6 fabrics that are already bundled together really helps me decide what fabrics I want to use for a new quilt. 

When I ordered the Heather Bailey fabrics I had no idea how much I would actually need and accidently ordered enough for several quilts.  But oh how pretty it all was, I couldn't wait to get started!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Heather Bailey Fabric Quilt Using a Framed Block Pattern - Part One

So here is the first real quilt I made. After that first view of the quilt I saw on Etsy made with Heather Bailey fabric I couldn't get it out of my head. I should say thank you to the person who actually made the quilt as she was kind enough to list the actual designer of the fabric she used.  Without that information I don't think I could have gotten very far.
So in the following days  I returned to the Etsy page showing photos of that particular quilt again and again.  I added that page to my favorites and started planning how I might be able to actually make a similar quilt.  I managed to find and order the material at Heather Bailey's website.  Here is the link for those who are interested in looking at her wonderful fabrics. http://www.heatherbaileystore.com/
Next I started looking for "framed block patterns" on the internet and found some that I could modify to make the quilt I wanted.  I was most worried about cutting the pieces correctly and sewing them together in a consistant manner so that everything look right and even.  Thats when I discovered cutting mats & rulers, rotary cutters and a 1/4" sewing foot.  Suddenly making this quilt seemed so much easier.

The quilting world has advanced and there are so many cool tools to help you find your way!
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On The Way to Opening an Etsy Shop

So, here I am writing a blog about my Etsy shop.  Everywhere I look for help on running my shop I see "start a blog", "bring more people to your Etsy shop with a blog".  The problem is what exactly to blog about.  Does anybody really care to know about my day to day Etsy life? 
So, here goes.  I opened this Etsy shop about 11 months ago,  The news that I had a grand daughter on the way sent me into overdrive making quilts for her.  I hadn't really ever been much of a sewer but once I started looking around the internet at all the beautiful new fabrics that were available I was hooked.
I remember the day I found a lovely quilt on Etsy, it was made with Heather Baily Fabrics and I thought it was the cutest thing I had ever seen.  I just had to have it!  But, yikes it was over $100.  I looked at it carefully and thought maybe I could make it myself and in that instant my obsession with quilt making was born.
Even to this day I wouldn't call myself an advanced or even intermediate quilter.  I make simple quilts with fabrics that make me happy to look at.  Thats really what it is all about,  just looking at the fabrics, how they look next to each other, how the final act of quilting the materials makes a plain piece of fabric come alive. It just makes me happy.
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