Success: Roasted Broccoli

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Roasted Broccoli

I'm living on this stuff. A giant pile of green vegetables tossed with a sprinkle of saffron salt and a drizzle of olive oil. Cooked at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. A bit of parmesan. Fantastic.

Roasted Broccoli

How To: Continuous Binding Bias Strips and Scrappy Bias Binding

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

0 - Making continuous bias cut binding
If you're putting your quilt on a bed, you need to make bias binding strips for the edges. This means the fabric needs to be cut on a 45" angle from the weft/weave. If your quilt is going on a wall, then you can use straight of grain binding, but making continuous bias binding is simple enough, so why not go with the sturdier, stretchier version? You've spent all this time piecing and quilting, why wimp out now?!

Alrighty, now that I've got you psyched about bias binding, you can find a difficult-to-navigate series of comprehensive tutorials at JaybirdQuilt's Quilt Binding Basics Part 2 (Method 2). I've redone them below with my own commentary/navigation, because there's a learning curve to figuring out JaybirdQuilts' navigation.

Tips and tricks:
  • If you tend to not be accurate with cutting and 1/4" seams, then by all means, cut your binding to be 3" wide. It'll save you tons of torture.
  • Always do continuous bias cut binding. It's not too tricky once you get the hang of it.
  • Spray starch.
  • Store the binding rolled up.

1. Determine How Much Binding You Need

First you need to determine how much binding you'll need to produce. To figure out how much binding you'll need, you essentially add 10" to the perimeter length of the quilt:
length of binding = 2*quiltLength + 2*quiltWidth + 10"

ex: My quilt is 98" x 101": 196" + 202" + 10" = 408" binding is needed

2. Determine How Large a Square is Necessary

To make continuous bias binding, you'll need a square of fabric (I've used a rectangle, but then I end up with the last part of my binding being too thin). To determine how large a square you'll need to make to produce enough binding, use the following formula:
square size necessary = roundup (sqrt ( bindingWidth * bindingLength) )

ex: I need 408" of binding that is 2.5" wide: sqrt ( 1020) = 31.9 = 32" square necessary for continuous bias binding

I made my binding with leftovers from the Triangle Quilt Back (freeform waves). With the scraps from trimming, I made a square and then also a light grey square, so I just had to punch in the numbers for two squares (one 22" and one 28") and ensure that the resulting amount of bias binding was enough by doing the math in reverse. I overshot by ~100" simply because I didn't do the math in advance. This meant I could cut out the bits of binding that were a bit wonky. I don't exactly recommend using the continuous bias binding method for a square of strips. Try the 'Making Scrappy Bias Binding' section down below.

3. Make Continuous Bias Binding

  1. Cut square of fabric
    1 - Fabric Square
  2. Cut 45 degree angle
    2 - Cut 45 degree angle
  3. Move top triangle to the left, and bottom to the right
    3 - Move top triangle to the left, and bottom to the right
  4. Sew triangles together
    4 - Sew triangles together
  5. Mark every 3 inches on horizontal sides (both), on wrong side
    5 - Mark every 3 inches on horizontal sides, on wrong side
  6. Connect marks on either horizontal edge (45 degree angle), using a marking pen
    6 - Connect marks on either horizontal edge (45 degree angle), using a marking pen
    6 - Close up of the 45 degree lines (these are cutting lines)
  7. Fold up one corner such that the cutting/pencil lines are horizontal
    8 - Fold up one corner such that the cutting/pencil lines are horiztonal
  8. Fold other corner over such that cutting/pencil lines match up
    9 - Fold other corner over such that cutting/pencil lines match up
  9. Shift top fabric left & up one lines, and bottom fabric right & down to match.
    10 - Shift top fabric left & up one lines, and bottom fabric right & down
  10. Pin lined up pencil/cutting lines and sew. Iron seams open.
    11 - Pin lined up pencil/cutting lines
    11 - Pin lined up pencil/cutting lines
  11. Starting at one end, cut along pencilled/cutting lines (these should spiral around all the way to the end)
    12 - Starting at one end, cut along pencilled/cutting lines (these should spiral around all the way to the end)
    12 - Starting at one end, cut along pencilled/cutting lines (these should spiral around all the way to the end)
  12. Iron binding in half
    13 - Iron binding in half
14 - Store ironed binding wound up

3a. Making Scrappy Bias Binding

(Optional) If you want to make scrappy binding, you could follow the continuous bias binding method above to make scrappy bias binding, as I did with a square of strips. But you'll notice there are plenty of bits that came out rather wonky! A more proper way to make scrappy bias binding is detailed at JaybirdQuilts' Quilt Binding Basics Part 3.
Doing continuous binding with scraps can be a bit funky...


3b. Joining Bias Strips

(Optional) If you're making your bias strips with just one continuous square, then you don't need to know how to join up the strips. That's already done for you! However, I made 2+ squares so that I could interleave scrappy binding with plain binding, so it was necessary to join the pieces at some point. More information on this process can be found at JaybirdQuilts' Quilt Binding Basics Part 1 ('How To Piece Straight of Grain Binding' and 'How to Piece Bias Cut Binding').
  1. Bottom binding horizontal & right side up, Top binding vertical & wrong side up
    1 - Bottom binding horizontal & right side up, Top binding vertical & wrong side up
  2. Sew 45 degree angle, trim
    2 - Sew 45 degree angle, trim
  3. Iron.
    3 - Iron and done!

One large roll of continuous bias cut binding

  1. How To: Cut Isosceles Triangles Without Templates 10/13/2013
  2. How To: Assemble an Isosceles Triangle Quilt Top 10/16/2013
  3. Step 1: Isosceles Triangle Quilt Top Completed 10/18/13
  4. TARDIS Applique 10/27/13
  5. Coordinating Pillowcases for the Isosceles Triangle Quilt 11/6/13
  6. Step 2: Isosceles Triangle Quilt Backing Assembly 3/18/15
  7. Step 3: Isosceles Triangle Quilt Sandwich-ing 4/1/15
  8. Attaching the TARDIS Applique 4/8/15
  9. Step 4: Machine Quilting the Isosceles Triangle Quilt 4/15/15
  10. How To: Continuous Double Bias Binding Strips 4/22/15
  11. Step 5: Binding the Isosceles Triangle Quilt
  12. A Review of the Isosceles Triangle Quilt

Two of my Favorite Teas

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Jasmine Chun Hao

Two of my favorite teas: above is a jasmine chun hao (a jasmine green tea), although I'm often consuming jasmine green tea in the form of jasmine pearls (from Margaret's). It's a super flowery tea. Below is a Quanzhou milk oolong which tasts like a bit of dairy has been added to it, even when there wasn't. A flavorful tea that cannot be found in tea bag form.

Quanzhou Milk Oolong

Step 4: Machine Quilting the Triangle Quilt

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Triangle Quilt: Quilting

I really liked the quilting design from Saroy's Triangle Quilt, with some triangles having the quilting inside all three edges, and others having no quilting within their edges at all. So I followed that basic design, giving me something slightly different from perfect isosceles triangles on the back. I think it came out well. I also decided to use some Coats Star Mercerized Cotton Thread Variegated (1200yds in Blue Clouds #845). It was a lot of thread and I still have about half the spool left over! The thread occasionally broke, and since it was variegated, doing color-matching made it difficult/impossible to fix errors completely seamlessly. The whole purpose of this quilt is to have something that can be used everyday without having a heart attack if that cat attacks it or it needs to be washed. I'm trying not to sweat the little stuff, especially not the wonkiness of the quilt lines caused by using a standard domestic sewing machine with not enough table space!

So a couple things you should know before/while machine quilting:
  • You really need a 'walking foot' for your sewing machine. It has feed dogs that pull the top of the fabric, working in conjunction with the feed dogs in the bobbin bed. You want all the fabric to be pulled along simultaneously. Installation of these suckers can be a bit tricky, here's a video tutorial for using a Janome quilting (walking) foot.
  • Go slowly or your stitches will go all over the place.
  • Start in the center and do ~3 lines of quilting in the same direction, before spinning the quilt around and working in the other direction for ~3 lines. This prevents the quilt from shifting in one direction only.
  • When starting in the middle of the quilt (i.e., not off edge), pull the bobbin thread up and secure your stitches by using a super tiny stitch length for the first quarter inch. No reverse sewing! There's a tutorial for this process, here: Kathwylie's Tutorial for beginning and ending machine quilting stitches
  • You need a really large working space just to hold the weight of the quilt. A lot of the errors in my quilting come from the quilt being pulled downwards off the edges of the table. Maybe a full table in front of you and another to the left.
  • Only stop to fix fabric with the needle in the down position, otherwise, your stitches will have a tendency to jump around as the fabric shifts.
  • Pull out your thread-basting as soon as it becomes redundant, so it can stop getting caught in your machine.
  • Iron the back of your quilt, especially where you plan to sew. You can't see the back as you sew, which makes it more likely to develop pintucks and puckers. For the last stage of my quilting, I ironed rather severe wrinkles into the backing, but nowhere near where my stitches will be, so they're not permanent.
  • Maybe make your quilt lines more than 1/4" away from top seams, so that if your lines do get wiggly they're not as noticeable.
  • If your quilt top is not pieced precisely, it will be very difficult to sew quilting lines that make sense. Give up on perfection. It'll look sloppy up close, but fine from afar.



  • Hold onto all hope that wrinkles caused by washing/drying in a machine will lessen the obviousness of all your errors. Oh please, make it so!
Triangle Quilt: Quilting Triangle Quilt: Quilting Triangle Quilt: Quilting My Quilting Set Up - tables to support the weight of the quilt, fabric rolled tightly in the machine's harp Coats Star Mercerized Cotton Thread Variegated (1200yds in Blue Clouds #845) Close Up of the Walking Foot A Pucker Not Worth Fixing Cat on a Quilt!

  1. How To: Cut Isosceles Triangles Without Templates 10/13/2013
  2. How To: Assemble an Isosceles Triangle Quilt Top 10/16/2013
  3. Step 1: Isosceles Triangle Quilt Top Completed 10/18/13
  4. TARDIS Applique 10/27/13
  5. Coordinating Pillowcases for the Isosceles Triangle Quilt 11/6/13
  6. Step 2: Isosceles Triangle Quilt Backing Assembly 3/18/15
  7. Step 3: Isosceles Triangle Quilt Sandwich-ing 4/1/15
  8. Attaching the TARDIS Applique 4/8/15
  9. Step 4: Machine Quilting the Isosceles Triangle Quilt 4/15/15
  10. How To: Continuous Double Bias Binding Strips 4/22/15
  11. Step 5: Binding the Isosceles Triangle Quilt
  12. A Review of the Isosceles Triangle Quilt

Success: Dutch Baby

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Dutch Baby

It's been awhile since I've attempted a Dutch baby. And now, armed with a cast iron pan and the Dutch Babies II Recipe from AllRecipes.com, I had immediate success. Sometimes, you've just gotta eat a giant fluffy pancake for dinner.

Dutch Baby
Dutch Baby

Triangle Quilt: Attaching the TARDIS Applique

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Step 10: TARDIS Applique is done

Awhile back I made a paper-pieced TARDIS applique from scraps leftover from making the triangle quilt top. This in turn inspired the wobbly quilt back. So what was left? Attaching this darn thing to the quilt sandwich. I suppose I could've attached it before the quilt sandwich, but the applique is rather thick, so it made sense to attach it to the thicker quilt sandwich.

  1. You'll need: Wonder Under, a fabric applique, needle, thread, scissors, pen/pencil, iron, damp cloth, and an embroidery hoop. You could do all this without the Wonder Under (and use pins instead), but I feel like that's introducing too much misery. The Wonder Under ensures that the applique lays completely flat.
  2. Place applique right side down on smooth side of Wonder Under.
  3. Trace around applique onto Wonder Under.
    Step 1: Trace applique right side down on smooth side of Wonder Under.
  4. Cut Wonder Under about 1/4" inside of tracing. You don't want any peaking outside of the applique.
    Step 2: Cut Wonder Under about 1/4" inside of tracing. You don't want <i>any</i> peaking outside of the applique
  5. Place rough side of Wonder Under onto wrong side of applique and iron, 5-8 seconds over each segment.
    • You can find the instructions that come with Wonder Under here.
    • I essentially followed the process from when I made my Don't Panic banner, here. I even used my leftover Wonder Under from that day!
    Step 3: Place rough side of Wonder Under onto wrong side of applique and iron, 5-8 seconds over each segment.
  6. Using an invisible marking pen or white fabric pencil, mark where on the quilt you want to place the applique.
    Step 4: Using an invisible marking pen or white fabric pencil, mark where on the quilt you want to place the applique.
  7. Peel off paper Wonder Under backing and place on quilt.
    Step 5: Peel off paper Wonder Under backing
  8. Place a damp cloth on top and iron each segment for 10-15 seconds, overlapping where iron was placed.
    Step 6: Place a damp cloth on top and iron each segment for 10-15 seconds, overlapping where iron was placed.
  9. Remove damp cloth and iron applique to remove excess moisture.
    Step 7: Remove damp cloth and iron applique to remove excess moisture.
  10. Place quilt/applique in a quilt hoop.
    Step 8: Place quilt/applique in a quilt hoop.
  11. Using a ladder stitch sew the applique to the quilt.
    • Start with a quilter's knot (easy peasy).
    • Pull your threaded needle through the back of the quilt, bringing up the needle in the exact spot you want to start (right underneath the applique, near the edge). Give a slight tug so the knot goes through the quilt fabric but doesn't pull all the way through the applique. This way the knot will be hidden in the interior of the quilt.
    Step 9: Using a ladder stitch, sew applique to your project
  12. Iron out any wrinkles caused by the hoop.
  13. Done!
    TARDIS Applique

Since the TARDIS applique was made with scraps from my quilt top, it coordinates the back with the top now. It's not a detail that will be seen often, but I think it's a nice little personal addition.
TARDIS Applique on Back of Quilt Complements Quilt Top Color Scheme

  1. How To: Cut Isosceles Triangles Without Templates 10/13/2013
  2. How To: Assemble an Isosceles Triangle Quilt Top 10/16/2013
  3. Step 1: Isosceles Triangle Quilt Top Completed 10/18/13
  4. TARDIS Applique 10/27/13
  5. Coordinating Pillowcases for the Isosceles Triangle Quilt 11/6/13
  6. Step 2: Isosceles Triangle Quilt Backing Assembly 3/18/15
  7. Step 3: Isosceles Triangle Quilt Sandwich-ing 4/1/15
  8. Attaching the TARDIS Applique 4/8/15
  9. Step 4: Machine Quilting the Isosceles Triangle Quilt 4/15/15
  10. Step 5: Binding the Isosceles Triangle Quilt
  11. A Review of the Isosceles Triangle Quilt

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