Machine Quilting: Free-Motion & More »
InstructionsThis is constructed Courthouse Steps style - start with the central square, add strips top and bottom, then left and right, then top and bottom, etc, until it is 24" square.
Type of item: Functional
Style: Classic, Traditional, Casual, Funky, Retro / Vintage
Strips of cotton fabric between 2" and 4" wide; 1 square of fabric 9" (but could be any size); batting 26" square; backing fabric 28" square; 2 strips of cotton webbing tape 46" long each; sewing thread, sewing machine, walking foot, free-motion quilting foot
What was your inspiration?
Free-motion Quilting Sampler #2. I really enjoyed quilting in the long rectangles - I think it's a more manageable shape on my sewing machine than the 4" squares I used last time. I did some rectangles side-to-side (difficult!) and most back-to-front, which meant I only had to be able to move the quilt 3 1/2" to either side to fill each strip - I have a Janome Decor Excel, so no wide quilting space or anything special.
Tip for the space-challenged quilter... My sewing space is a piece of thick MDF balanced on two short steel shelves (about 2m wide and 1m deep total, but covered in stuff, so really more like 1m wide and 75cm deep). Since the machine cannot be recessed into the table, I built up the area to the left and behind the machine with 2 plastic tubs I have to keep zips and bias binding in - a little shorter than the machine, but high enough to help and smooth enough to let the quilt slide freely. The space is so cramped the tubs were wedged in between the sewing machine and overlocker and couldn't move at all. It probably won't work for really big projects, but it helped a lot for this one. I contemplated using encyclopaedias since they are heavy enough to not move.
What are you most proud of?
I really like the chain of leaves. I'm also pleased to have a casserole cosy that fits all the different sizes and shapes of dish that I typically want to take out visiting - I don't want a cupboard full of things I rarely use, but it is handy to have one. I've seen lovely round cosies, but they only fit the specific dish they were made for, and I have 3 sizes of round dishes, 1 square and 2 rectangular. This simple design will fit all of them.
Here are some of the tutorials I looked at before choosing my design:
Loop Handle: http://www.vivelyonline.com/2009/01/basic-casserole-carrier-tutorial.html
Three styles including traditional round: http://thesewingdivas.wordpress.com/2008/11/30/the-dish/
What advice would you give someone starting this project?
I am thinking of making more of these for gifts. My plan for the next one is:
1. Piece the back as well as the front, since both sides get seen. Possibly a half-square triangle or slashed-asterisk block for the side that has straps, so the design is not spoiled too much.
2. Attach the straps to the back before sandwiching. It will be a pain keeping the loose ends out of the way, but I didn't like having the strap-attaching show through to the front of the quilt, and having the straps quilted on will make them really secure.
3. Personalise this to fit your casserole dishes. Find your 2 largest rectangular and round casserole dishes, and the 2 smallest ones you take out.
a) Use a tape measure to measure around the top, sides and bottom of each (with lids on) to find the biggest size your casserole cosy needs to fit - this number is the diagonal of your square.
b) To find the side length, you need to calculate the square root of "your number multiplied by itself then divided by two". It's ok to round this to the nearest whole number. Here's a square root calculator: http://www.math.com/students/calculators/source/square-root.htm
c) To find how much of the strap to sew down (leaving the ends loose means you can fit the cosy to your smaller dishes), measure around the narrow part of the small rectangular and circular dishes and write down the smallest number. Divide the number by 2. When you sew the straps, fold them in half to find the centre, pin the centre of the straps to the centre of the back, and sew along each strap for the number you measured.