Monday, July 25, 2011

Vacation time and a quilty license plate

I'm off to Washington, D.C. for a few days, so I won't be blogging - or making anything (sad face). I also cut myself with my rotary cutter (for the third time this month, might I add) pretty badly on Friday, and my finger is still on the mend - even though all I want to do is sew :(. I really hope it heals soon - I'll spare you the picture.

However, I WILL leave you with this fantastic license plate I spotted the other day:

I'm hoping this is a quilter/sewer and not a doctor =P Either way, it's awesome.
I'll be back next week!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Tutorial: Printing Photos on Fabric, Using Bubble Jet Set 2000

When I decided to make a photo quilt, "Windows into Europe," I was faced with a dilemma. How... do I do this? I'm a crafter who tends to jump into things without looking back (which can be a bad thing sometimes!), so I found myself I searching the internet to see what the best course of action would be. I only found a couple tutorials, and a few scant suggestions on forums.

After completing the quilt, I decided that a resource was very necessary for any sewers and quilters who might want to try printing photos on fabrics. There are several different ways to do this, but I've calculated this to be the cheapest (overall) and easiest option. It's very simple if you follow all the steps :) Below is a compilation of all I read and experienced. Ready?

1. Bottle of Bubble Jet Set 2000. I got it from Create for Less after much comparing ($14.25 plus shipping)- and considering it was a 32 ounce bottle (you can get either 16 or 32), I thought it would be the cheapest way in case I decided to make more photo quilts (which I very well may do in the near future).This stuff is precious though, so don't waste a bit. I would hesitate to buy the photo sheets that you can get at the nearest craft store - I saw some that cost about 5 dollars for 3 sheets - and that adds up quick. Even if you print two photos a sheet. With 20 photos, I used 1/3 of the bottle of Bubble Jet Set (32 oz) - so it's a good value.

2. A flat pan. I should have use this the first time around, but since I couldn't find one, I got out a big bowl. When I got to later steps, I was able to find a flat pan. So, get a flat pan :) You'll see why later.

3. Kona or Bella solids - white. This is probably the most clear fabric for your pictures to appear on. I ordered about 6 yards of this stuff from Hancock's of Paducah a few months ago for an AWESOME price (thanks to a commenter's suggestion!) - and I've been using it for several projects. It's hard to tell how much you'll need - it depends on how many photos you are printing, and if you want to do two per sheet (which I recommend to save fabric and freezer paper). If you're printing 20 photos like me, I would go with about 3 yards, though you will have extra. This is just to be safe, in case you mess up.

4. Freezer paper. You can get this for $2-3 US from your local supermarket - it'll be next to the aluminum foil. :) Look! It even mentions quilting! It's a great tool to have around. I've used it for applique also.

5. Iron and ironing board. Hopefully if you are sewing you have this all ready for action anyway!

6. Inkjet printer - NOT laser. If you're not sure what kind of printer you have, I would type it into Amazon and look in the description. Do not use a laser printer for this project. This is advice I've seen in multiple sources, including the bottle of Bubble Jet Set. I believe most or all HP printers are inkjet - this is what I used.

7. The pictures. On the computer or scanned in - all ready to be printed!

8. Rotary cutter and mat. For accuracy, no marks, and no headaches!

9. Scissors. Snippety-snip-snip (something just needed to be said here :) ).

10. Hangers and a place to hang your fabric while drying. (Got nothing this time!).

The Process
1. Cut your solid white fabric into sheets 9 x 11 1/2 in. - a little bigger than it will be to put through the printer. This is to allow for an possible distortions the Bubble Jet Set 2000 might cause, though I didn't notice any.

2. Shake the bottle of Bubble Jet Set and pour some into the flat pan. It will help you soak everything more thoroughly than a bowl would, and you won't get as many wrinkles. Let your sheets soak in the solution for five minutes. Depending how many you have and how large the pan is, you can put them all in at once. Make sure both sides of the fabric are being soaked.

The bottle mentions that you should use gloves, but I didn't - and my hands are still in tact, haha. You can definitely do this without gloves - just wash your hands really well when you are done. And the solution is a little smelly - heads up. A well-ventilated area would be helpful.

3. Wring the sheets out VERY carefully to keep as much of the solution as possible! You can pour all of that extra solution in the pan back into the bottle. I say "VERY carefully" because I didn't - and I didn't realize what that would do. I had a lot of wrinkles the next day. You don't want that - you'll iron your sheets out later, but you don't want them to be, essentially, wrinkly forever.

4. Hang up the sheets to dry. I would suggest using hangers - you can do two sheets per hanger. Make sure they don't touch or overlap because they could dry and stick to each other. I let them dry overnight just to be sure, though a few hours should be fine. Also, put a pan or garbage can underneath to catch the drips.

5. *a few hours pass* Now, go back to your sheets! They should be a little stiff. Go iron them, but still, carefully. Get all the wrinkles out (this was impossible for me, but I know better next time). Also, cut off all the string that will invariably be hanging from the edges now.

6. Cut your sheets down to 8 1/2 by 11 inches.

7. Now, you'll iron your fabric again, this time to the sticky side of freezer paper. The freezer paper gives the fabric body to move through the printer. Make sure *especially* the ends/side are ironed on well to the freezer paper - or else it can all come apart in the printer and you'll have paper jams. Been there, done that. Just trust me on this one - ironing the fabric to the freezer paper, well, and taking the time to do so, is worth it! Cut the freezer paper out to fit the fabric it's now ironed to.

8. You're ready to print! I would suggest putting the photos into a Microsoft Word document or the like, and printing one page at a time when you click print. When you put the fabric in the printer DON"T FORGET to put it face down (freezer paper on top) so that the photo prints on the fabric - or, if your printer works in another way - ALWAYS check to make sure it will print on the fabric (been there, done that, again!!). Then, you can hit "print" :)

(see the little wrinkles? I did not attach my fabric to the freezer paper well enough :( Luckily, this photo wasn't too badly affected).

9. Once you've printed all of your photos, lay them out separated from each other so they can dry for at least 30 minutes. After thirty minutes, mine were dry. (Photography credits to Julie!)

10. Peel off the freezer paper and cut the pictures out of the fabric - don't forget seam allowance - at least 1/4 in! Depends how you want to sew them. I would recommend throwing the scraps of white fabric away since they have been treated with chemical (my heart sighed sadly. I save so many scraps though, so I guess this isn't too much of a loss).

11. Rub the photos lightly with mild detergent and under warm water. This gets the excess ink out - a very important step that you should NOT skip - or else, your quilt might get ruined later. :( I did not use gloves for this part either and the ink did not get on my hands.

The bottle says "for best results, wash with Bubble Jet Rinse," which you can buy, but to save money, I just used Woolite. It still came out fine - no stains later on the quilt (and the pictures smelled flowery, too!) So that's another choice up to you. I expect that any mild detergent would work. When you are done with this step, you should hang the pictures up to dry again.

And that's it! You have pictures on fabric! Woohoo! Go you! They are COMPLETELY washable and really add character (and memories) to any quilt. It might sound like a lot, but this process was simple, with a little bit of patience!

If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to ask! And I'd love to know if this tutorial worked for you, if you try it!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

WIP Wednesday

I have lots of projects in the works right now and I need a summary - for my own sanity. :)

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced


Ongoing Projects:
Warm/Cool QAL baby quilt - need to be quilted and bound (binded?)!

New Projects:
Say hello to my little friends... or little apples... I'm in love. How can you not love those selvages?

-Pay it forwards (PIFs)! My goal is to get two of these done before I leave for school.
-Patchwork wall decorations for my mom
-A surprise wall-hanging for someone special that probably won't be done until next year - it's not on my priority list right now, but don' t you love working on new projects??

On hold:
Rainbow Dresden Wedding Quilt
2 T-shirt quilts (this is next on my list, when the excitement of new projects wears off)
Baby Quilt
Summery dress (not too much summer left - might not actually make this for a while. ONE DAY!)

Completed projects: 3
New projects: 6 (bad news bears)
Currently in progress: 10

I also read the novel "One Day" by David Nicholls in 24 hours
in the past week. Does that count as a completed project? It comes out as a movie here in the US in August. Fantastic read! It's so nice to read FICTION and SEW all the time - but alas, good things do not last forever.

What are you working on??

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

And the winner is...

Thanks for everyone who entered my giveaway! I really enjoyed reading about your plans for the weekend. I tried to reply to everyone (I think I succeeded!) - and I'll tell you a little bit about my weekends. Last weekend, I went to see Harry Potter at midnight, as you might know from reading this post :), and I spent the weekend babysitting, binding and hand sewing "Windows into Europe," and giving that away as a gift to my best friend on Sunday (sniffle - I hate giving quilts away)! This coming weekend, the parents are throwing us an engagement party, and one of my best friends from school is staying for the whole weekend! It's going to be fantastic!

ANYWAY - the winner of the 3 fat quarters, according to, is...

Congrats! I'm sending you an email after posting this :) It's kind of funny, Our Busy Little Bunch is one of the first blogs I started following a year ago!

Thanks again everyone, and I hope to keep posting with this regular frequency for the next month before I go back to college for the last time :)

P.S. There's a great giveaway going on at 1 Choice 4 Quilting - Amelia and Hometown!

Monday, July 18, 2011

"Windows into Europe" - A Finished Quilt

-My giveaway ends tomorrow night (Tuesday)! Did you enter yet?-

This is the quilt I've been slaving over for the past three weeks, and it has quite a story behind it! I'm so ready to share with you all!

Julie is my best friend from high school and soon-to-be maid of honor. Julie and I both went to Europe this summer on separate trips - a dream we both had.

Julie is an amazing photographer. She also blogs like nobody's business. I knew she was going to come back from her trip with FANTASTIC pictures, so I concocted a plan to make her a quilt for her birthday/college graduation gift (usually I don' t like to combine gifts but you all know how expensive quilts get - and I'm still a relatively poor college student). And this was a very special quilt.

I ordered a bunch of Echino fabric from various etsy shops - trains, cameras, buses, the London print - as well fabric with a map of Paris, and Michael Miller Bicycles in Haze (she loves biking). London and Paris were her favorite cities. I also recently won two Lecien FQs from Kate - which was PERFECT - candy shop fabric (Julie went on a Harry Potter tour in London), and the other fabric said "Paris" all over it. How's that for timing??

So I ordered, like, 60 dollars worth of fabric :) And planned to use part of my stash of Soul Blossoms, Kona and Bella solids, and various purple/greens/blues from my stash (this was the hard part - those are my favorite colors, and I wanted to keep this quilt like you wouldn't believe).

Julie returns. I get very impatient for her to post her photos on Facebook so I could get started. Julie posts them in little bouts and wait for me to start commenting on them. I didn't realize that and started to get restless - she went to so many places - besides London and Paris: Innsbruck, Austria, Venice, Amsterdam, Switzerland, and Munich and Heidelberg, Germany.

I added all the pictures that were her favorites into a folder - which became 70 photos! I narrowed it down to less than 20. That was really difficult.

Last part of the story: As soon as the fabric I ordered arrived, Julie asked me to make her a T-shirt quilt! Gulp. She gave me her box of shirts, and we even went out and picked backing and binding fabric. I worked on the Europe quilt under the ruse of working on her other quilt... :) So yesterday I told her that her quilt was done...

This is when she's thinking "...I don't see my t-shirts!"
And the question everyone asks me: "How did you get the pictures on there!?!?" - I have a tutorial with how to use Bubble Jet Set coming up soon! - and my experience using it.

We had a lot of fun with this quilty photo shoot - can't you tell? :)

I LOVE these little Michael Miller travel gnomes. Travelocity much?

These are my favorite blocks. The Paris block was the first one I made, and it has the Paris map fabric. I love how the Soul Blossom flowers go so well with the Eiffel Tower arch that Julie so beautifully shot!

Then, the London block. Julie took a great picture of the London Eye, so I surrounded it with everything that made me think of London, including that beautiful Echino London print and umbrellas from Rainy Days and Mondays. And the guitars are there because she didn't know London was "punk-y" :)

This is the "girly" block, because she took a picture of a girl with her pink sandals highlighted against the black and white (sorry that it's hard to see her photography! It didn't come out as well in the sunlight as I'd have liked, but it looks great on the quilt).

This is a wedding shot from Germany (I think), and a bike ride through the Dutch countryside.

This is another Paris block - she took a lot of pictures from the top of the Eiffel Tower, so I put a print of the tower in the middle of two of said pictures.

Quilt stats:
57 x 62 in
Binding - Dumb Dot Charcoal

I chose log cabins in order to showcase the pictures as much as possible. Some of the log cabins were made wonky/differently - in order to put two pictures on one block. Each block took about 45 minutes to make.

Quilted: On my Brother machine. I quilted in random squares and I LOVE how it came out!! It was hard though - quilts that are bigger than baby quilts are always... more difficult =P But I made it. The title, "Windows into Europe" was also inspired by the squares - as well as the fact that Julie loves taking pictures of windows =P I also hand quilted many of the solid strips.

Basting: I tried spray basting. It was good at first, but it didn't stay long - I ended up having to do it twice and include some safety pins as well. Does anyone have any suggestions? Do you have a specific brand you like to use? Please let me know!

This is why I quilt! :)

Linking up to the following linky parties:

Sew Happy Geek

{Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creationsa

Fresh Poppy Design

Creative Itch


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