Friday, 12 April 2013

New Hottie and quick chain piecing tutorial

It's still Easter school holidays and we are down by the seaside - this is where we come during holidays and many weekends. It's a place to chill out from the hectic life in town and there seem to be more time for sewing - the light here is inspiring. And I love my sewing room! 
One of my recent resolutions was to relocate and reduce my substantial fabric stash to one location to make creative life easier - that place is now at home and not here (I still have a fabric stash at work, but that doesn't count!).  Now a new problem has presented itself . I have to be super organised to pack and bring a stash with me to work on when I am here - it's surprisingly difficult to decide in advance what one might need, so maybe I could allow myself a "small" permanent stash over here after all...
 So, this is the bag full I brought with me this time - lovely but I miss my scarps and some other additions spring to mind...that phrase "the cobbler's children don't have shoes" rings true here.

* * * 
When we arrived the house was freezing, only 10 degrees celcius inside.  The central heating kicks in immediately when turned on, but it takes a long while to heat the whole house.  All hot water bottles were much needed during that first night, but *gasp* one of the covers was dreadful, I am so ashamed to admit!  A new hottie cover was definitely the first thing on my to-do-list, even if it now may only be needed next winter.
A few cuts into the fabric in that bag...but will these colours work?

This is one way of quickly laying out fabric to figure out if they work.
Looks ok, but I am not so fond of the yellows...

There - that's better. Yellow out and aqua in!

Some moments later the fabric is cut into random squares and laid out.

Here's a quick and easy way to keep those squares organised.
Imagine the project as a grid with letters A B C and so on at the top
 and numbers 1 2 3 and so on down the left side - like playing battle ship...
Pin A1 to B1, A2 to B2, A3 to B3 as shown in the picture and continue all the way down.

The lovely Elnora recently posted a link to a similar tutorial here.
I was lucky to learn this method from a quilting friend now some 15 years ago when we lived in Stockholm -  it has served me so well, I can warmly recommend it.
Stack the pairs in the same order with the A1+B1 pair at the top.
 Put a pin or even better a safety pin in the first square (A1) as a reminder where the top is.

Then stack all the squares in column C with #1 at the top.

 
Stack all the columns and keep them in the same order with #1 at the top.

Take all the stacks to the machine - remember to keep the order.
Chain piece the pinned ones. Cut only the last thread after the last piece
 and then take to the ironing board. 
Press seam allowances to alternate sides.
DO NOT CUT THE THREADS (other than the last ones) during this whole process.
It's important and the whole point of this method.
The threads keep the fabric pieces organised. 
Take the next stack and start stitching the squares to the "chain".


Take the chain to the ironing board and press the seam allowances to alternate sides.
Repeat with all the pieces in the same manner.

Here they are - all pieced together into rows - the threads keep it together!


When all the columns are stitched to rows, stitch the rows together.
Yes, the threads are still un-cut and hold the project together.
One side pieced.

It's destined as a hottie cover, so there is no backing, just the wadding, as I want to use a lining.
Both sides of the hottie ready and spray basted ready for quilting.
 
Well, the other thing in addition to my fabric stash and scraps, I miss is the Janome Horizon 7700 sitting at home!  Here is an old work horse called back to quilting duty and she did beautifully.
This machine (sorry it doesn't show much here) has been much loved and even more used - it was bought for me by my late mother exactly 30 years ago! Yikes, that makes me sound old - I got it when I was quite young. 

Quilted and stitched to a bag shape.

Binding and tie added and voila, it's ready.
I love it - and I can say with some certainty that it would have looked different, if I had had a chance to dip into my fabric scraps - for the better or worse, who knows...

The pretty lining.

And whilst I was sewing, my 10 year old daughter conducted some science experiments in her corner of my studio.  That little bottle there contains methylene spirits and it is burning! Nothing exploded today - I'm so not into science lab stuff.  My daughter likes to think she likes sewing, but I think maybe not so much...Murphy's law!

Tiina x