Thursday, April 19, 2018

Making an Easy Fabric Ball with the Cricut Maker

This post is sponsored by Cricut.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.  Post may also contain affiliate links.

This week I've been playing and experimenting with an electric cutting machine called the Cricut Maker and it's been so fun!  I've done just a couple of small projects on it so far but already I have a long list of things to try.  Today I wanted to share a little of what I know about it, and what it can do!

Making an easy fabric ball with the Cricut Maker

First of all, the packaging is beautiful!  I love that as soon as you open the box you're greeted with the supplies and instructions stepping you through your first project.  I felt like someone was sitting right next to me holding my hand through the whole process- and I was so grateful!  

One big bonus for me with this machine was that no extra cutting dies are needed - everything is digital.  

Within just a few minutes I had the Cricut Maker connected by USB to my desktop computer and the Cricut Design Space software was up and running.  You can also connect it to a phone or tablet by bluetooth - now THAT will be handy!
Exploring the new Cricut Maker machine
As you make the first little greeting card project, you're taught the basics of using the software, opening a project, loading the mat and cutting blades, and cutting a couple of mats of paper & fabric.  

By the time I finished that first project, I felt confident enough to try anything! I browsed through the other free project ideas and thought I'd try making this fabric ball. 

Making an easy fabric ball with the Cricut Maker

I could use the instructions right from my screen, or print it out to be able to refer to it that way.  It told me exactly what I needed - including what Cricut supplies I'd use. 

With the Cricut Maker you get access to a whole library of hundreds of patterns from companies like Riley Blake and Simplicity.  Some are free and some may cost a few dollars.  So many projects to choose from- or you can create your own!

Making an easy fabric ball with the Cricut Maker

For the ball I only needed three fabrics, 9" x 12".  I placed the first fabric right side down onto the FabricGrip cutting mat.  It's just slightly sticky so that the fabric doesn't shift - but it's still easy to remove once the cutting is done, and doesn't leave any residue on the fabric. 

Making an easy fabric ball with the Cricut Maker

The machine uses a small rotary cutter blade that does a fantastic job cutting the fabric.  That innovative tool is the reason why the Cricut Maker can cut regular cotton fabric without needing a stabilizer or interfacing (such as Heat n Bond).  You can also cut different weights of fabric such as denim and silk.  

This photo below is from the Cricut Design Space.  You can see on the left side that I needed to cut three mats.  In the center screen it shows me the different fabrics I can choose from.  Depending on what I choose, the machine will automatically adjust the height and pressure of the blade!  

Cricut Maker Design Space

For this project, the Cricut first marked blue lines with the washable fabric marking pen, and then (without me doing anything!) it went back over the same fabric and cut the pieces using the rotary cutter.  

Making an easy fabric ball with the Cricut Maker

You can see in the image above that there are spots for two different tools - on the right is the small rotary cutter and on the left is a washable fabric marking pen.  Both of these tools can be swapped out for other ones - such as a variety of pens, a knife blade and a scoring stylus - all depending on the project!

Making an easy fabric ball with the Cricut Maker

Once the cutting is complete, simply peel up the fabric and it comes right off the mat.  That was the funnest part for me-  and to be honest, it felt a little magical. 

Making an easy fabric ball with the Cricut Maker

It took only maybe 4-5 minutes for the machine to cut all of the pieces out, and once they were cut it was time for sewing!

Making an easy fabric ball with the Cricut Maker

Now this is where the blue marked lines come in really handy!  I pinned my pieces together and then just stitched right on the blue lines.  I knew exactly where to start and stop stitching, and that helped the ends of the ball turn out beautifully! 

Making an easy fabric ball with the Cricut Maker

Within about 90 minutes I had a finished ball!

To be honest, I never would have attempted a project like this before because it would have been a challenge to accurately cut the curved pieces needed.  Plus if the seam allowance is off at all then the points won't match up so nicely at the top and bottom of the ball.  I just imagined it to be one big frustrating mess.  Using the Cricut Maker to cut and mark everything though, removed the frustrations. 

Making an easy fabric ball with the Cricut Maker

My kids are drooling over this machine and have already made a list of projects they want to make with it - most involving balsa wood, cardstock and vinyl.  It will be fun to put the Cricut Maker to the test on something other than my usual quilting cotton fabrics.   

You can read more information about the Cricut Maker here, and  find inspiration here on the Cricut Blog to see what else you can do with a Cricut Maker

I'm already working on my next project... and here's a sneak peek! 

Making a six pointed star quilt with the Cricut Maker

I've made a couple of test blocks and now I just need to choose my fabrics.  Once I have more to share, you'll be seeing more of this project here on my blog. 

Happy sewing!
--Andy


Making an easy fabric ball with the Cricut Maker:  A Bright Corner

Making an easy fabric ball with the Cricut Maker:  A Bright Corner

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Second Look Sunday: Churn Dash Free Quilt Pattern

Happy Sunday everyone!  This month's Second Look Sunday quilt is from the not too distant past (2016)-- but it's one of my favorite spring quilts! 


Churn Dash free quilt pattern from Andy of A Bright Corner - fat quarter friendly!

Every month on the 2nd Sunday I share a pattern or tutorial for an old favorite quilt - one that you may have missed the first time around!  

I know, I know.  It's not the second Sunday of the month.  Ooops!  Chalk it up to a scheduling mistake and Spring Break throwing me off my game.    


Churn Dash free quilt pattern from Andy of A Bright Corner - fat quarter friendly!

Waaay back in 2016 ;) I created this free churn dash quilt pattern as a part of a blog tour.  The churn dash block is a classic!

The pattern calls for either fat quarters or 1/4 yard cuts, and makes a large throw size quilt (59" x 68").


Churn Dash free quilt pattern from Andy of A Bright Corner - fat quarter friendly!

You can find the original blog post here and download the free PDF pattern here - for personal use only please!  


Quilt Details:
59" x 68"
Pattern:  Churn Dash free quilt pattern
Fabric:  Backyard Roses designed by Nadra Ridgeway for Riley Blake Designs
Quilting:  free motion medium sized loops
Backing:  Riley Blake designs Confetti Cotton 



Churn Dash free quilt pattern from Andy of A Bright Corner - fat quarter friendly!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Leather Handle Tote Bag

Happy Thursday everyone!  The kids are back in school after last week's spring break, and I'm looking forward to celebrating my birthday tomorrow with my family.  I'm turning the big four-five this year -yikes!

Last week I took a small step outside of my comfort zone and tried something new-- this leather handle tote bag!  



I got everything for the bag from Crosscut Sewing Co.  They sell a handy kit that has the straps, hardware, Peltex bag bottom and even the pattern! 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Sunnyside Ave Fabrics + Playground Quilt Tutorial

**This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you) when purchases are made through links found in this post.  


Over this past week I've been sewing with some fun new fabrics!  Amy Smart's latest fabric line, Sunnyside Ave has is now available in stores and it's been so fun to dream up a quilt to go along with it!


Playground Quilt Tutorial by Andy of A Bright Corner

This fabric line is filled with Amy's signature bright and cheery primary colors - paired with daisies, plaids, and my favorite... apples!  And these new prints go hand in hand with the prints from her first line, Gingham Girls.  I just love when designers make lines that coordinate with one another, don't you?


Playground Quilt Tutorial by Andy of A Bright Corner

I named this quilt pattern Playground because the colors and the shape of the blocks reminded me of the old school merry-go-rounds that used to be a playground staple.  Remember those?  It's a little sad that they've all but disappeared from schools and parks.  


Playground Quilt Tutorial by Andy of A Bright Corner

The finished quilt measures 56" x 68"

Ready for the quilt tutorial?  Here's what you'll need:  

At least 1/4 yard each of 8 various prints
3-1/4 yards background fabric
5/8 yard binding fabric
3-3/4 yards backing fabric

You'll also need:
a ruler with a 60 degree marking on it
glue stick
coordinating thread 


Cutting Instructions: 
From the background fabric cut 7 @ 12.5" x WOF.  Subcut into 12.5" squares.  You'll need 20.  From the background fabric also cut 7 @ 2.5" x WOF and set aside to use for the border.

Cut each of the prints into 1 @ 2.5" x WOF and 1 @ 6" x WOF.


Playground Quilt Tutorial by Andy of A Bright Corner

Then cut the 2.5" x WOF strip into 2.5" squares, and cut the 6" wide strip into 2.5" x 6" sections.


Playground Quilt Tutorial by Andy of A Bright Corner

Now it's time to get all fancy with our rulers.  Find a ruler with a 60 degree marking on it.  


Playground Quilt Tutorial by Andy of A Bright Corner

Line up the 60 degree line on your ruler with the bottom edge of a strip.  Move the ruler over so that it intersects the bottom right corner of the strip.  Then use your rotary cutter to cut along the edge of the ruler as shown in the photo above.  You just made your first 60 degree cut!  See...not so hard, right?

Now let's cut the other end of the strip --


Playground Quilt Tutorial by Andy of A Bright Corner

Line up the 60 degree marking on the ruler with the bottom edge of the strip of fabric.  Move the ruler over to the left so that it intersects the bottom left point of the strip.  Then cut along the edge of the ruler.  

Your strip should look like this now:


Playground Quilt Tutorial by Andy of A Bright Corner

Repeat to cut all of the 2.5" x 6" strips the same way.  You'll need 120 total.  If you have a nice sharp blade in your rotary cutter, you can stack and cut 4 strips at a time.  

Time to make the block!

Choose 6 strips from different prints and arrange them like this:


Playground Quilt Tutorial by Andy of A Bright Corner

Grab two of the strips, place them right sides together and using a 1/4" seam, sew along the 60 degree cut edge.


Playground Quilt Tutorial by Andy of A Bright Corner

When you open them up, they will look like this:


Playground Quilt Tutorial by Andy of A Bright Corner

Continue sewing the strips together until you have made the entire hexagon ring.  

Press seams in one direction (it doesn't matter which direction.)  


Playground Quilt Tutorial by Andy of A Bright Corner

And if your block doesn't lay flat at first don't worry!  Some of mine did, and some didn't.  See the little bit of wave in the green strip below?  That will work itself out in the next couple of steps.  

Playground Quilt Tutorial by Andy of A Bright Corner

After pressing the seams in one direction, flip the block over and press on the right side of the fabric to help flatten out any problem areas in the block.  Trim off the little dog ears that stick out from the edges of your block.


Playground Quilt Tutorial by Andy of A Bright Corner


Next, take a 12.5" background square and fold it in half twice to find the center of the block.  Place the hexagon unit onto the background square, centering it.  


Playground Quilt Tutorial by Andy of A Bright Corner

Taking care not to move the hexagon unit, flip up one corner to expose the seam allowance.  Run the glue stick along the seam allowance and press in place.  Repeat for all six seam allowances.  This will help to hold the block in place while you stitch it.  You can also add a few pins around the outside to secure it, although I found the glue did a good enough job!


Playground Quilt Tutorial by Andy of A Bright Corner

Using a coordinating thread and a thin zigzag or blanket stitch, stitch around the outside of the hexagon.  


Playground Quilt Tutorial by Andy of A Bright Corner

Repeat to stitch around the inside of the hexagon.


Playground Quilt Tutorial by Andy of A Bright Corner

Give the block a good final press, and it's done!  Repeat to make all 20 blocks.  


Playground Quilt Tutorial by Andy of A Bright Corner

When you're centering your blocks on the background squares, don't be afraid to spin your hexagon units at different angles!  Just make sure it's centered on the block and you'll be fine.  In the block below, I measured the distance from the edge of the block to the outer points of the hexagon to help center it.  


Playground Quilt Tutorial by Andy of A Bright Corner

Once you get all 20 blocks made, sew your blocks together into five rows of four blocks each.  Press the seams of each row and then sew the rows together.  


Playground Quilt Tutorial by Andy of A Bright Corner

Next up is a fun pieced border using the 2.5" print squares.  

Sew the 2.5" squares together into 4 long strips - two of the strips need to have 30 squares each, and two of the strips need 26 squares each.  Press the seams of the strips in one direction.  

Sew the strips with 30 squares to the sides of the quilt top.  To help line up the strips, know that every 6th block will line up with a seam on the quilt top.  Press seams.

Then sew the two strips with 26 squares to the top and bottom of the quilt top.  Press.



Time for the last border - you're almost done!  Remove the selvages from the 2.5" x WOF long background strips.  Sew these strips together end to end to make one long 2.5" wide strip.  

Measure the length of your quilt top through the center of the quilt.  Cut two border strips to that length.  Sew to each side of the quilt top & press.

Now measure the width of the quilt top through the center (including the two side borders you just added) and cut two border strips to that length.  Sew these to the top and bottom of the quilt.  

Your Playground quilt top is all done!  Time to baste it, quilt it, and bind it. The navy plaid print from the Sunnyside Ave line makes a fantastic binding!


Playground Quilt Tutorial by Andy of A Bright Corner

If you make a Playground quilt, please share - I'd love to see it!  Tag me on Instagram (@abrightcorner) or Facebook and use the hashtag #playgroundquiltpattern and #abrightcornerpatterns so we can all see what you create!

Thanks for stopping by!
--Andy



Playground Quilt Tutorial by Andy of A Bright Corner

Quilt details:
56" x 68"
Pattern:  Playground Quilt Tutorial
Fabric:  Sunnyside Ave (Amy Smart, Penny Rose Fabrics)
Quilting:  Pinwheel #1 60 Degrees from Urban Elementz
Backing:  Navy Swiss Dot from Riley Blake Designs




Looking for more quilt tutorials?  You may enjoy these!  Feel free to pin them to your favorite quilting Pinterest boards so you can find them later.  


Charming Lucy free baby quilt pattern

Strip Tube quilt tutorial

Stairway baby quilt pattern










Thursday, March 29, 2018

Scrappy Apples Mini Quilt + Spelling Bee Book

I did a little just-for-fun sewing this week.  After working on some larger and more time consuming projects, it was really nice to work on a quicker project.  It feels good to start and finish a project within a day or two!


Scrappy Apples mini quilt by Andy of A Bright Corner

This is Scrappy Apples - a little mini quilt that I made for my wall (15" x 15").    I spotted a little apple block in the Spelling Bee book by Lori Holt and I thought it would make a great mini quilt.  


Spelling Bee book by Lori Holt

I decided to make four little 6" blocks - and I wanted to make them scrappy (I'll take any opportunity to add scraps into a project!)


Cute red scraps found at A Bright Corner blog.  You have to see what she did with them!




Scrappy Apples mini quilt by Andy of A Bright Corner

I usually struggle deciding how to quilt a mini quilt and this was the case again with the mini apples.  I didn't want the quilting to overpower the apples, but I wanted it to "go" with the look of the mini.  

I ended up doing some small scalloped quilting (a.k.a. clam shell quilting).  I found a small circle template that was the perfect size!  It was one of the Sew Simple Shapes from Lori Holt.  The lines on the template helped me to keep my lines of scallops straight as I went.  I used my water soluble marking pen to draw one row of scallops, then I would quilt that one row.  Then I'd trace a second row and quilt that, and so on.   


Tips for doing clam shell quilting on a mini quilt from A Bright Corner

It worked great!  And was less time consuming than I expected it to be.  Another bonus was that I didn't even have to switch out my presser foot to a walking foot.  My regular foot worked just fine. 

And when the quilting was done, I sprayed the top with water to make the blue lines disappear!


Scrappy Apples mini quilt by Andy of A Bright Corner

Here's a view of the quilting from the back - I love how it turned out!


Tips for doing clam shell quilting on a mini quilt from A Bright Corner

My finished mini is already up on the wall, brightening my sewing space with it's cheery scrappiness.  (Spell checker is telling me that "scrappiness" isn't a real word, but I beg to differ.)  Oh - and I get asked about how I hang my mini quilts - the secret is clear thumbtacks!



Wall of mini quilts from A Bright Corner

Have you heard about the Spelling Bee book?  It's another fantastic book by Lori Holt, jam packed with creativity.  It starts with the block patterns for the entire alphabet - both upper case and lower case, all with options for small (4" x 6") blocks and large (8" x 12") blocks. 


Spelling Bee book by Lori Holt

Then there are also picture blocks like the apples I made-- this quilt below shows a few more of them.  The picture blocks also have the option for either 6" or 12" blocks. 


Spelling Bee book by Lori Holt

There are also number blocks (0-9), and punctuation blocks, and in the back are pages and pages of quilt ideas! 


Spelling Bee book by Lori Holt

I've got my eye on the "Jack" quilt in the photo above, and the globe quilt below.  There are so many great quilt ideas in this book.  And it's a great resource if you ever want to add a name, or other text to a quilt.  How cute would it be to add a child's name to the back of a quilt you've made for them?  


Spelling Bee book by Lori Holt

You can find the Spelling Bee book here at the Fat Quarter Shop.  

And right now the Fat Quarter Shop is hosting a Spelling Bee sew along.  On Saturday each week a different blogger is sharing their version of one or two of the blocks in the book.  My week to share is not for quite awhile but I couldn't help myself - I HAD to make those cute little apples!  

You can find the blocks they've already completed here.  

Scrappy Apples mini quilt by Andy of A Bright Corner block found in Spelling Bee book from Lori Holt

**This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you) when purchases are made through links found in this post.  

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