Monday, 18 August 2014

Make a Mini Cross Wall Hanging!

Some of our Quilting Bees are new to quilting & patchwork, so I decided to throw together a lovely mini wall hanging (very simple!) for them to make to allay their fears.

I love making minis - if you want to test a block for a quilt, this is a great way to then use it for sonething pretty for your wall.

This lovely mini is inspired by a block in Tula Pink's 100 Modern Quilt Blocks (no. 5)

To make this lovely, you will need:

4 or 5 different pieces of fabric
 A - centre cross
 B - squares to make the cross into a square
 C - sashing (around the edge of the square)
 D - binding
 E - backing fabric

Rotary Cutter (or scissors)
Cutting mat
Safety 0r Quilting Pins

From Fabric A cut:
2 x 2.5" squares
1 x 2.5x6.5" rectangle

From Fabric B cut:
4 x 2.5" squares

From Fabric C (or use the same fabric as Fabric B) cut:
2 x 2.5x6.5" rectangles
2 x 2.5x10.5" rectangles

From Fabric D you will need a strip of 2.5 wide fabric that will reach around your square with a little extra (6") to make the binding.  You will probably need to join strips to make the binding long enough to go around.  I am not specifying what will EXACTLY fit as you will need to measure your finished block, but here is what I used for my mini:
I don't mind making too much, as I always save what it left over either to make 2.5" squares to to add to a stash for scrappy binding for future projects.

There is some maths* that you can use when estimating binding.
Add together the lengths of your finished mini (here, 10.5"x4).
Add 4" for each corner turn (16")
Add 6" for extra fabric to join the beginning of your binding to the end.
That gives your total length of binding, here 64".

*If you are cutting from a width of fabric (WOF), you can then calculate how many 2.5" strips that you will need to cut by dividing the total length needed by the length of the WOF (work on 42").  You can also do the same for a fat quarter, and divide the total length needed by 20" instead.

To cut your fabric, I recommend using a rotary cutter and ruler on a cutting mat.  The next blog post will cover cutting, so hold out for that one if you're not sure of the best way to cut!

Backing fabric will need to be approximately 14" square.

Finally, you will need some wadding, which should measure around the same as your backing fabric.

Seam Allowances
Generally, seam allowances in quilting are 1/4".  If you don't have a machine that has a specific 1/4" foot DO NOT PANIC!  There's a simple of of making sure that your seams are accurate....

Snip a 2" length of masking or washi tape.
drop your needle down & measure 1/4" from your needle.
Place the tape towards the front of the feed dogs on the machine (the little teeth that pull the fabric through)
This is your 1/4" quide!

How To Make Your Mini
Once your fabric is cut, layout your pieces for the cross & 4 corner squares:

The best way to sew pieces together (if possible) is to work in rows from top to bottom.  So here, firstly sew the middle square on the top row to the top left square.  Right sides of the fabric should be together.

Line the squares up and then the right side of the squares along the edge of your marker.  Sew!
Once you have done this, you need to press.  Sorry!  for the top row, you will press seams to the LEFT.  Lay the fabric as shown below and then move your iron the the left without pulling the fabric

Repeat with the other square on the top row, pressing seams to the LEFT again.

Your top row is not sewn together, so you will need to attach this to the rectangle in the middle of the square.  The best way is to lay out the square as it will look finished, and the lay the top row you just made on top of the rectangle.  Check that it's the right way before you sew!

Once you've done this, you guessed it, you need to press again!  This time, press your seams DOWN, as shown below.

Sew together the squares along the bottom row in the same way as the top row, and again press your seams to the LEFT.  Usually, if you had three rows of the same (i.e. 3 rows of 3 squares) you would press the middle row to the RIGHT so that you can nest your seams.  I purposely picked a pattern where you don't need to worry about nesting seams, but I just wanted to include that info if you're wondering why I'm going on about directions of pressing (boring...!)

 Once you've sewn the bottom row, attach to the top & middle as before.

And press your seams UP!

Check the back of your work to make sure the seams are in the right directions & press again on the reverse to "set your seams".  It should look like this:

Don't rub the iron over the reverse, just hold it down for a few second & move until you've covered the whole square. 

And here's the front!  Quick huh?!

Next, you need to attach your sashing strips that go around the outside your centre square.  Grab your two shorter strips and place them at the top & bottom of the square

Attach these as before, pressing your seams towards the sashing strips (up for the top & down for the bottom)

 Finally, attach the left and right strips in the same way and press towards the sashing strips again.


Now you need to make your mini a mini wall hanging. 

Making a "Quilt Sandwich"
Firstly, you will need to take your backing fabric, which should be a good 2 inches bigger on each side than you front piece.  This is because as you quilt, your fabric will move around.  If you cut them perfectly to size, they probably won't match up at the end and you'll have to cut a lot off to "square" up your finished quilt. Press it well, and stick it PRINT SIDE DOWN (I always do this wrong for some reason!) to a table, making sure there are no wrinkles.  You can use masking tape or washi tape for this.

Next, place your wadding on top & tape down as before.  It doesn't have to make the size perfectly.  You'll be trimming the edges off later...

Finally, place your front piece on top, in the centre and smooth out well, making sure there are no creases in the fabric.

Making sure to go through each of the layer, pin your sandwich together, leaving a hand-width gap between each pin.

To ensure that you do get each layer, I would recommend investing in curved quilter's safety pins.  As they are curved, its much easier to pass them through each layer without moving the fabric around.

As an alternative to pins, you can buy cans of adhesive in your haberdashery.  They aren't cheap & I only use them for small projects!

Once all your pins are in, remove the tape.  You're ready to quilt!!!

I'm not going to tell you how to quilt, because its a pretty personal decision.  As this is a small & quick project you can use it as a tester for different types of quilting.  I decided to "quilt in the ditch" around the cross for mine - this is where you sew along the stitching line, as it hide the stitches that you make.  Its one of my favourites, as it makes a design stand more proud.  It can be tricky keeping it straight & the stitches hidden.

What I would recommend you do is research some quilting options on YouTube.  If you haven't quilted at all before, stick to straight lines, and work from the middle outwards to prevent the fabric bunching up.  You can mark them with some tailors chalk if you have any, and then stitch along the lines.  If you don't have any, then you can use your ruler and a regular "school" ruler and run the latter along the fabric to make a small impression line & sew along that.  You can buy special things called Hera markers (About £3 off Amazon) to do this too.

Generally it is best to quilt using a walking foot as it pulls the fabric through the machine from the top and the bottom, making it easier work for you and the machine.  If you don't have one then that's fine. just

Once you have quilted, you will need to "square up" your quilt.  Using your ruler, place it to the right side of the quilt, with the front piece facing you.  you will find that the edges AREN'T straight.  That's fine & perfectly normal!  It's just the fabric moving as you quilt.

Go around each side, lining your ruler up along the true edge that you have just cut.  Measure as you go to make sure the sides are of a similar length too.  You might have to go back round for a little extra trimming!  If you are using scissors instead of a rotary cutter, mark your lines with a pencil and cut carefully!

Once your mini is squared off, it's time to bind!

People are scared of binding, and to be honest I love it.  That is until I have to join the ends together!

Anyway, to start you need to press your binding strips in half lengthways (I'm assuming here that your strip is in one continuous length,  If you do have to join strips to make it long enough, then it's a little trickier.  I will be doing a separate post on this).  Once you have done this, attach the binding with a pin, with the cut edge of the binding lined up with the edge of your mini.  You will need to leave a tail of about 4" before you start to sew, so place a pin where you are going to start stitching.

I always start my binding in the bottom centre of all my quilts.  You will be stitching again with a 1/4" seam.  Start stitching and stop about 1/4" from the end and cut your threads.

Now you will have to mitre your corner.  To do thishold the just sewn edge away from you and fold the binding UP as shown below... needs to then be folded to match the corner of your quilt, as shown.  Now you need to fold it back down again.  The top fold should line up with the edge of the quilt thats facing away from you and the binding should lie downwards along the next edge of the quilt....

This time, sew from the edge, downwards, until you get to 1/4" from the end & repeat until you are approximately 5" from where you started.  You should now have tails of binding to play with...!

Now the next bit I have really figured out for myself.  My method might not work for you, that's fine.  Have a look on YouTube for other tutorials if its a bit confusing!

Firstly I unfold the tail on the left and fold it upwards as I did for the mitred corners, lining up the fold created at the bottom with the fold of the binding...

I then unfold the tail to the right and lay it over the top of the left one, lining up the top of the right tail with the binding stitched to the left...

Once I have done this, I place pins at the top & bottom of the right strip & through the left one too, making sure that the binding isn't pulled too tightly across or left too loose.

Then I sew diagonally from the top to bottom as shown below:

Once this is sewn, you have a little triangular ear left.  Snip this off about 1/4" from the stitching line & press your seam OPEN.  Then fold the binding back again and press (Your join will leve a diagonal line).  Line this up along the edge of the quilt and stitch closed the gap.

Hurrah! Your binding is on!  

Now all you need to do is turn the binding round to the back of the quilt and stitch it to the reverse.  When you get to the corners, you will need to fold the corner in to create a mitred corner on the back too.  You do this by temporarily folding out the binding on the side to the left of what you are stitching (if you stitch right to left like I do!) and stitch right up to the edge.  Then fold the binding back again to give a finished corner.  If that doesn't make any sense, you go it, YouTube it!  I will be doing a video later this month if you want to wait for that!

As you go around, hand stitch 2 small pieces of hanging ribbon to the top of the quilt, approximately 2" from each edge to hang your quilt from when you are finished.

And that's it!  A lovely little mini.

If you have any queries, if I've messed up or you have any better ideas then PLEASE share!

Happy Quilting!


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