Monday, January 24, 2011

Double Pinwheel String Quilt Journals

The imagination exercises a powerful influence over every act of sense, thought, reason — over every idea. –Latin Proverb

A long time ago, I decided to do the Free-Motion Quilt Along {which I'll eventually get started on, but that's another post for another day}. Part of the getting ready process was to get a notebook for jotting down ideas and drawing out designs. Well, I had this brilliant idea to make a notebook cover using the gorgeous Double Pinwheel String Quilt tutorial by P. over at The Way I Sew It. I'm a teesny bit obsessively creative and believe that if making one is good, then making two {or a hundred} is even better, right? Right. I decided that if I was going to go to the trouble of making one quilt journal for myself, while I was at it I probably ought to make one for the genius mastermind behind the beautiful design and then for good measure, I probably ought to make one to give away {which I did already}.

I set to work drawing out a design. I used P.'s template for the narrow pinwheels at full-size and cut it down so that it would come out at 2" finished for the entire block, but still use the angle that she used. I rummaged through my stash and pulled out all the bright, pretty fabrics I could find and started cutting strips. And then some other project had to be finished and this projected sat, completely neglected for a good four months. When I realized that I'd planned out a week-long blog anniversary/birthday giveaway in my head, but didn't actually have anything ready to give away, I decided it was time to dust this project off. About the same time I was getting ready to make the three journals, I found out who my buddy would be for this year's gift exchange for an on-line quilting group I'm in, and decided that a quilt journal would be the perfect gift for her. And so my plans for three quilt journals turned into four. Hooray for more January finishes!

My quilting is wonky {I obviously need to get back to that Free-Motion Quilt Along}, none of my centers match and I pieced the black pinwheels wrong and ended up cutting off all the points on them. I only realized that after I had all 12 pinwheels completely sewn together and there was no way I was going to unpick that many little bitty pinwheels and remake the 48 individual squares it took to make them. So I'm going with, I meant to do that. Other than that, I think they turned out pretty OK.

I used the same fabrics throughout, but each journal is a little different than the others because that's just how scrappy works out. I used some A.H. Arvika that I won during P.'s birthday giveaway for the inside cover and back and put in colored, tabbed pages to divide the book up for putting ideas into different categories. Each divider page has a little quilting quote on it.

There are 50 pages total in each notebook, 10 of which are double-sided graph paper, because I like to draw quilt designs out on graph paper.

I put bright red polka-dots on the back cover because that just seemed like the perfect finishing touch.

I really loved P's response to my journal giveaway, because what she didn't know was that one was already in the mail on the way to her house. When she received it, a little e-mail conversation ensued between us and she said she wanted to know the details of how I made it and wondered if I'd guest blog for her. I told her I was already planning a post on it. And here it is, simul-cast on her blog and mine.

Let's get to the nitty gritty. For a downloadable, printable version of this tutorial, click here. Here's what you'll need to make your own Double Pinwheel String Quilt Journal:
• 20 – 1" strings, at least 5" in length
• 45 – ¾" strings, at least 3½" in length
• 3 – 6¼" x 8½" rectangles of fabric for the inside covers and back of the journal
• A fat eighth each of solid black and solid white fabrics {or your choice of a light and a dark solid fabric}
• ¼ yard Pellon Peltex 72F II double-sided fusible stabilizer {I got mine at JoAnn's, but couldn't find it on their web-site}
Heat n' Bond Lite
• Chipboard Art Journal {Stampin' Up!® item #107065}
• Spiral Border Punch {Stampin' Up!® item #119872}
• Extra-Large Rounded Tab Punch {Stampin' Up!® item #119684}
• Crop-A-Dile {Stampin' Up!® item #108632}
• Craft knife with a sharp blade
• Pinking shears

If you're interested in making a journal with my pattern {which is sized for the Art Journal because I had them already on hand}, I just happen to know the cutest Stampin' Up!® demonstrator you can order your supplies from. Her name is Jenna and she would be more than happy to help you out. If you live in the US, you can place an order through her web-site or you can contact her directly via e-mail. If you live outside the US, visit Stampin' Up!®'s website to find a demonstrator in your own country.

Here is my design layout and the templates for the journal. When you print it out, make sure your printer is set to print at 100%.
Double Pinwheel String Quilt Journal

Use the templates to cut out the double pinwheels. Start with six white {or your choice of light solid} squares cut at 1⅞". Cut them in half on the diagonal and then use the template on the left to cut away the portion that will be the dark double pinwheel. If you need clarification, check out P.'s illustrated instructions. You'll be following the same steps, only on a smaller scale. The template eliminates the need for measuring the angle at which you cut away the excess fabric. Use a ¼" seam throughout.

To make the pinwheels, use the smaller template on the right to cut out 12 pieces from your black fabric {or your choice of light solid}. Make sure that you cut them all with the template right-side up. Use the line on the pattern as the grain line and cut your pieces on the grain.

Assemble the double pinwheel following P.'s illustrated instructions. Make sure you read the part about how to line up the smaller black piece on the white piece {hers are red and blue}, otherwise you'll end up cutting off all your points.

To get started piecing your strings, you'll need a foundation. P. used phone book pages and then tore them away when she was finished. I used foundation sheets, with the intention of leaving them in for extra stablity because of the small scale we're working with here. It did help with that, but even though the sheets are thin, they do add a bit of bulk and when you're working with small pieces, that makes things a little tough. So, it's your call if you want more stability with the foundation sheet or less bulk with old phone book pages {or newsprint} that you will remove later. Whatever your choice, you'll need one 3¼" x 8½" rectangle and six 2" squares.

Mark each foundation piece with a line on the 45˚ angle and begin piecing your string blocks, using the 1" strings on the 3¼" x 8½" rectangle and the ¾" strings on the 2" squares. If you need instructions on piecing your strings, refer to P.'s illustrated tutorial.

When you've finished piecing the string blocks, trim around the edges of all of the pieces and square up the squares to 1⅞" before cutting them in half on the diagonal. When you're finished, you will have 12 string triangles and 12 black and white triangles. Piece them together and then square them up to 1½".

Assemble the pinwheels, again referring to P.'s awesome illustrated instructions if needed. You will have three pinwheels when you finish, which should be squared up 2½".

From your white solid, cut six 1" x 2½" strips and four 1" x 3½" strips. Sew a 2½" strip to the left and right sides of each pinwheel. Then lay the blocks out in a column and sew a 3½" strip in between the blocks and on the top and bottom of the column.

The pinwheel section will be 3½" wide x 8½" tall. Sew this to the 3¼" x 8½" rectangle string block that you pieced earlier. Your patchwork piece will now be 6¼" x 8½", which gives you some wiggle room. Cut a piece of Pellon Peltex 72F II double-sided fusible stabilizer to match your patchwork piece. Use a rotary cutter and ruler so that it is nice and square. Make sure that the protective cellophane is on the back, facing the ironing board {otherwise you'll fuse the whole thing to your ironing board} and iron the patchwork onto the exposed fusible side of the stabilizer. Allow the journal-cover-in-progress to cool completely and then peel away the cellophane. Do all the decorative quilting you'd like on the journal cover, except for the outer edges and along the binder rings.

Turn the journal cover over and fuse the inside cover fabric to the back of the journal cover. Use pinking shears on the top, right and bottom edges and a rotary cutter on the left edge, to trim the cover to the finished size of 5¾" x 8¼".

Remove the chipboard covers from the Art Journal by opening the back cover and pulling the rings apart. Place the chipboard cover over the Double Pinwheel String Quilt Journal and mark the center of each hole along the left side of the journal cover. Use the ¼" punch on the outside handle of the Crop-A-Dile {you know, the one that punches through metal} to punch holes that the binder will go through. Then stitch all the way around the edges of the journal cover.

To make the back cover, fuse a piece of Heat 'n Bond lite to the back of the remaining two 6¼" x 8½" rectangles of fabric. Trim the pieces down to 5¾" x 8¼". Peel the backing off the fabric you chose for the inside and fuse it to the chipboard, making sure to put it on the inside of the back cover. Before you fuse the fabric to the other side, use the craft knife to cut away the fabric covering the holes where the journal binder goes through. Cut two parallel sides from the back and then flip the journal over and cut the remaining two parallel sides to open up the holes. Then fuse the outside fabric to the back cover and cut away the fabric that {again} covers the holes.

Using colored card stock, cut five divider pages at 5½" x 7¾". If you want, add a cute saying or quote to each divider page. I used the following:
In the crazy quilt of life, I'm glad you're on my block of friends.
Our lives are like quilts – bits and pieces, joy and sorrow, stitched together with love. –Unknown
When life gives you scraps, make a quilt. –Unknown
I cannot count my day complete 'til needle, thread and fabric meet.
The only place where housework comes before needlework is in the dictionary. –Mary Kurtz

Use the rounded tab punch to make tabs for the pages. To help with even spacing, do the top and bottom tabs first, then center the middle tab directly between the two. Center the second tab between the top and the middle tabs and the fourth tab between the middle and bottom tabs. Use the Spiral Punch to make holes for the binder to go through. Insert the divider pages at intervals through the journal {I did 10 pages to a section}.

If you would like to add graph paper pages, right click on the image to the right and then choose Save Image As from the menu that pops up. Name and save the image to your hard drive. Open a new Word document and set the paper size to 5½" x 7¾", with top, bottom and right margins at .25" and right margin at .55". While you are in the Margins settings, go to the drop-down menu under the Pages heading and choose Mirror Margins. This will allow you to print the graph paper on both sides of the page and avoid printing in the area were the binder goes through the holes. Insert the graph paper image file into the document, setting the size at 7.26" x 4.77". Use the Position selector on the Picture Tools tab, to center the image on the printable area of the paper. I suggest printing a test page before you print on the Art Journal pages to make sure everything lines up right, based on how your printer feeds the paper through.

To reassemble the journal, place the pages onto the binder, right side up. Thread the journal cover through the binder, right side up. Put the back cover on top of the, with the inside back cover facing up. Push the binder back together and then turn the back cover around to the back. Voila. Your Double Pinwheel String Quilt Journal is finished. Now have lots of fun filling it up with beautiful quilt ideas!

Today's post brought to you by:

My 2011 Finishes


Shay said...

I saw a pattern -I dont do patterns...I'm pattern challenged. However this is so cute - I may have to force myself to try it out!

Lee said...

This is so very nice of you to post a tutorial for the journal - I really loved it when I saw it in your giveaway. Plus I was excited to see I have those stampn up items! lol thanks again.

Angie said...

All I can say is hope it's me that is your swap buddy! Then I won't have to try this myself, cause if I'm not then this will be one more thing to accomplish very soon! ;)

whimsyfox said...

holy crow woman, you even made the journal?!!!!

Lovely! Thanks for sharing and being so thorough on the tutorial. This will be going on my to do list for sure....probably the 5 year plan.... :)