Monday, February 25, 2013

SoChick Quilt Along {Anchors Away: Week 2}

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Welcome to Week 2 of the SoChick 1st Annual QAL!

If you're just joining in, be sure to visit the following posts to get up to speed:

Original QAL Post

Cut & Prep

Week 1: Rows 1 & 8

Don't forget to share your photos on Instagram (use hashtag #SoChickQAL) or in the SoChickQAL Group on Flickr.  Thanks to the gals who have already shared photos of their progress, Sheri and Rio, I hope more of you will share, I love seeing your work! Also, at the end of the QAL you can upload a photo of your completed Anchors Aweigh quilt top into the linky party (which will be in the final post) for a chance to win a Free Craftsy Lesson!  Thanks to Craftsy for sponsoring the SoChick QAL.

* * *
Week 2 {Anchors Aweigh Row 2 & Row 3}

I'm sure you know from the previous posts that I'm stressing organization for this QAL.  Only because it really will make it much smoother going if everything is organized, labeled, laid out, etc.

For this QAL I've laid out my sewing space to include my cutting mat (where I am cutting my solids and laying out the pieces to each row), Tula Pink's Anchors Aweigh quilt pattern, my sewing machine (of course *wink*) and my ironing board/iron/spray starch.\

Row 2

Start by cutting your solid prints:  I cut the two sections that are 12.5in in length from the yardage, then the smaller pieces from the leftovers I saved from Row 1.  Then, pull all of the squares needed for Row 2 from their baggies; lay it all out.

Here is the layout for Row 2 from Tula's Anchors Aweigh Pattern:
Anchors Aweigh Row 2

From here on out I will refer to the Row (R) and Section (S) that we are working on.  (i.e., set the solids from R2S1 and R2S5 to the side for now).

We are going to start sewing Row 2 Section 2 (R2S2).  Looking at the pattern, I laid out the section on my work surface.

Next, we will sew the pieces together end-to-end, working from top to bottom, to create four columns of squares.  Once all of the columns are sewn, press all of the seams open.

**Continue to use the same 1/4in seam allowance as previous rows!

To complete this section, you will place two columns on top of each other (referring to the pattern for placement), right sides together, being sure to line up the seams, and stitch.  Nesting the seams is a great way to do this: basically you will line the seams (which have been pressed open) on top of each other; lightly roll them between your fingertips to butt the two seams together... place a pin through the aligned seams, then stitch (watch that your seams are staying open as you stitch through them).  You can remove the pin right before stitching through the seam to ensure the seams stay aligned. 
"Roll" the seams with your fingertips to get them to "Nest"
Repeat this process with the two halves of R2S2 and press all seams open.  You will repeat this entire process for R2R4 also. 

R2S3 is assembled by joining the squares across, then aligning the rows to stitch.  When you lay out your pieces for S2R3, you will notice that the square prints extend beyond the solid piece, this is okay, the solid is cut to account for the seam allowance.  Once stitched,  the row of squares will match up with the solid piece.  Remember, press all seams open here, too.

Once the pieced sections (S2, S3, and S4) of Row 2 are completed, it's time to join them.
R2S2 will join to R2S3 by placing right side down on S3, nesting seams, and sewing.  Press this seam open and repeat on the opposite side of S3, with S4.  Refer to the Anchors Aweigh Quilt Pattern to ensure your sections and placement are correct.  Once completed, press all seams open and complete Row 2 by joining Sections 1 & 2 and Sections 4 & 5.

Pieced center of Row 2
Yay! Row 2 is complete, now it's time to tackle Row 3 with more piecing and more sections...

Row 3 is broken down into Nine sections.  Begin by cutting your solid pieces and laying out all of the square prints needed for this Row.

*Pattern Correction* Fabric "K" is not used in Row 3 Section 4, this is an error in the pattern... Fabric "K" is not used at all in Row 3.

Piecing Sections 2 and 8 is similar to R2S3...

Sew squares across in rows, then nest seams and connect the rows... pressing all seams open.

Repeat with Sections 3 and 7.

When you get to Sections 4 and 6, you can save time by finger pressing the seams open.  I saved the finger pressing method for sections with fewer seams because I can move quickly through them.  Finger pressed seams don't tend to have staying power, so I don't recommend the method when working with several seams.

Finally, piece R3S5 stitching squares across into rows, then nesting seams and joining the rows...

Note: As you sew, keep checking to ensure that you are stitching all of your seams open... open seams will reduce bulk in your quilt top.

Trim any long threads as you go... this saves time at the end, too.

Finally, sew all of the Row 3 sections together, checking the pattern layout to ensure the Sections are in order. 

I thought it'd be neat to see the real-life version next to the pattern image:

Once all of your sections are sewn together, press those seams open and starch!  You've completed Row 2 and Row 3 of Tula Pink's Anchors Aweigh Quilt!  

Isn't it a blast seeing the Rows come together!?  

Share your progress, chat with me on Twitter, Instagram or Flickr, and if you have a question, I'm here to help!

Happy Sewing!

XxOo~ Melissa

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Random Sewing Inspirations via Pinterest {The Crafty Tattoo}

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There is so much to be found on Pinterest...

This morning I did a search for "Sewing Inspiration" which led me to wonder about "Sewing Tattoos"... what I found is that crafty folks are quite crafty with their skin decorations as well...

Here is one of the several very cool sewing/craft tattoos that I happened upon...

Since I don't embed images that won't link directly to the original, I'm going to suggest you just have a peek for yourself!

Happy Wednesday!

XxOo~ Melissa

Monday, February 18, 2013

SoChick! Quilt Along {Anchors Aweigh: Week1}

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Welcome to the first week of SoChick's 1st Annual Quilt Along! 

Are you ready to start piecing the top for your epic Anchors Aweigh Quilt?!

We'll be doing approximately two rows per week of Tula Pink's Anchors Aweigh quilt top.  At the end of the QAL you'll have the opportunity to submit a photo of your completed Quilt Top, via a link party in the final post, for a chance to win a Free Lesson from, which will help you to complete your quilt on your home sewing machine!

You can read more about the Quilt Along, here.
Read about cutting & prepping your fabric, here.

Here we go! 

* * *
Week 1 {Anchors Aweigh Row 1 & Row 8}

Remember, as I mentioned when we were cutting and prepping our fabric... Organization is key!  This quilt top will go together much more smoothly if you stay organized and on top of all of your pieces.  Also, you will want the quilt pattern in front of you as you prep and sew each section/row, and I will reference the pattern throughout the Quilt Along.

Let's begin!

We've cut our squares ahead of time and labeled them:

Now we can cut the solids for Row 1 and Row 8... keep in mind that when cutting long Width of Fabric (WOF) strips, you can save time and ensure a straighter cut by keeping the fabric folded as it was on the bolt, in half, selvage to selvage, to make one single WOF cut.

Each Row is broken down into sections.  This is Row 1, Sections 1, 2 &3.

I started by cutting my larger 12.5in strips (sections 1 & 3), then cut the 11in strip for each row.  Once you cut the smaller pieces you need from the 11in section of fabric you can set the extra fabric aside for later rows.

Next, I pull out all of the squares called for in the given row and lay them with the corresponding solids, below.

Now that our first two Rows are prepped, it's time to sew them!

Row 1:

Align squares right sides together and stitch with a consistent 1/4" seam allowance, continue this way to stitch each square end-to-end.

Press all seams open...

Align squares with bottom of white solid section and stitch, pressing that seam open also.

Once the pieced sections of the row are stitched, give them a good shot of starch to keep the seams crisp...

Finish each row by joining all of the sections, using 1/4 in seam allowances and pressing seams open.  I starched these as well... for good measure.  Continue with Row 8. 

My finished rows... of course I took the photos after I had folded them away, and yes, i pinned them to the back of my sofa... this quilt is going to be huge!  *yay*

Well, two Rows down and six to go, not so bad, right?!

I'm excited to see your progress, please add your photo to the SoChickQAL {Anchors Aweigh} Flickr page or leave a comment on this post with a link to your photo on Instagram or other photo-sharing site!  

Have questions? Ask away!

XxOo~ Melissa

Thursday, February 14, 2013

♥ Happy Valentines Day ♥ {A Coupon For You!}

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Treat yourself to some yummy fabric for Valentines day!  Visit the SoChick Fabric Shoppe on Etsy and use this coupon code to save 20%:

Simply enter the coupon code "LOVE2SEW" at checkout to save 20% on your total purchase.  And, because I heart each and every one of you, this coupon doesn't expire until 7:00am EST on Monday, Feb 18th! *Happy Dance*  Enjoy!

Happy Valentine's Day!

XxOo~ Melissa

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

SoChick! Quilt Along... Get Ready! {Prep & Cut}

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Are you ready?!

If not, it's okay... this post will help you prep for the SoChick Anchors Aweigh Quilt Along so you'll be set to jump in when it officially starts on Monday, Feb 18th!

First things first, download the Free Pattern on Tula Pink's site, HERE.

You will need:

For Cutting
- Your SoChick Salt Water Quilt kit, or Salt Water Prints and Free Spirit Solids as listed in the pattern
- Rotary Cutter
- Rotary Cutting Mat
- Clear Width of Fabric (WOF) Ruler (this will make life easier, any clear ruler will work)
- 8 small plastic baggies (for organizing all of those squares!) and a way to mark them, i.e. permanent marker, etc.
- Small Tray to hold your bagged Squares

For Sewing
- Sewing Machine
- Thread, I'm using white polyester thread, you may choose cotton thread or whichever you prefer.
- Small Scissors for trimming those threads
- Iron & Ironing Board or Mat
- Spray Starch, optional

Let's Prep:

To pre-wash or not to pre-wash... most every quilt pattern, book, or magazine, that I've read tells you to pre-wash your quilting cottons.  Then, you come across some sewing related survey on facebook, or elsewhere, and most everyone admits that they don't always pre-wash their fabrics.  So, I will leave this up to you.  

If you do choose to pre-wash your fabric, do so now and be sure to remove your fabrics promptly from the dryer and press them.  Read about pre-washing, pressing and ironing, here.  Knowing the difference between pressing and ironing your fabric will make life much easier during this QAL.

I have not pre-washed my fabric.  I don't care for the fraying, and I prefer to work with nice, crisp, fabric.  I also like the look that the shrinkage lends to the finished quilt... all wrinkly and cuddly, and whatnot.

Once your fabric is ready, it's time to cut:

Start out by labeling the plastic baggies with the letters on the pattern, A-I.  You'll want to put your squares into the corresponding baggie as you cut them.

To speed up the cutting process, I kept all of my prints folded in half.  I then aligned the fold with a line on my cutting mat and, with my clear ruler on top and rotary cutter in hand, I cut the fabric into two-inch strips.  Being careful not to move the strips, I then positioned my ruler across the strips, and cut these into two-inch sections.  This allows you to cut your 2in squares... by two.

I spread the square out after cutting so you can see them.
Put your squares in their bag before moving onto the next print:

Once you have all of your squares cut and bagged, you are ready for the next step... piecing your first strips!  We will cut our solid fabrics as we go, so don't worry about those right now.

Don't let all of these little squares intimidate you, I will stress organization throughout the QAL... this is only to save your sanity, keep things running smoothly and will allow the Quilt top to be pieced easily!  We will do everything together, one step at a time... you are going to love seeing your hard work pay off in this gorgeous quilt!

I will see you here on Monday, Feb 18th, to piece our first two strips, Row 1 & Row 8! Yippie!  The SoChick Anchors Aweigh QAL group will be set up on Flickr starting Monday as well.  I invite you to upload photos of your progress, as well as any questions you have, over there.  Of course, I will answer questions here on the blog, too.

A super special thanks to for sponsoring my 1st Annual SoChick QAL... visit here to learn about how you can win a FREE Lesson from Craftsy, and visit Craftsy to check out how awesome they are!   Also, thanks to Tula Pink for designing gorgeous fabric and an awesome Quilt Pattern!

Don't forget to grab a button to tell everyone "You're In!"

<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" alt="" width="150" height="150" /></a>

See you Monday!
XxOo~ Melissa
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