Fun Little Project!

Merry Christmas, or Happy Hanukah or Seasons Greetings, take your pick. Personally I celebrate Christmas, so that’s always my first thought this time of year.

Well, I still have December’s monthly block quilt to create, but I do have it planned out. I didn’t bring it with me, so that will have to come together when I get back to my sewing machine!

But when I finally finished my customer quilts with a Christmas due date, I had a bit of time to do something FUN.

Blueberry Pie Hot Pad

Blueberry Pie Hot Pad

My friend at the quilt shop the weekend before had shown me a photo of a fruit pie potholder she was going to make for some gifts (sorry, I’m sharing this a little late for that, probably). I immediately fell in love with the idea and had to take it on as well. I bought the rick rack and berry fabric and when I had that bit of time I went to it.

The photo shared with me had a pie tin (silver fabric) along the outside, creating a circle edge. I didn’t love the look of that, so I did it my own way. I took a pie tin and cut out a circle of the berry fabric and cut a 9″ square of batting and Insulbright. I used a scrap piece of tan fabric for the back that was large enough to put up on my long arm machine (because that’s how I roll yo).

I had these scraps of marble fabric in a gold color, which matched the rick rack (too light and the pie would have looked unbaked). I trimmed them to as large as I could, and sewed them wrong sides together to make a long tube. I ironed the seam open so it was on the bottom side and then cut the tube and made lattice on the top of the pie. I then wove the lattice and set it in positions I thought it looked tasty.

And then I pinned it. I hate pinning. I put it on the long arm and did a little wavy line within each piece of crust on the lattice on each side of the lattice to keep it down.

Then I trimmed my pie and (ugh) pinned again so the binding was folded over from back to front, twice so the raw edge was hidden completely. Sewed that down.

Then I had to pin (GRRRRRR) the rick rack on top and I zig zag stitched that down, and then straight stitched the inner edge of it down too. I stitched over the raw edge of it where the rick rack came together and BOOM done.

That’s it!

I’m so addicted to this cuteness that I bought THREE yards of this plum fabric to make more!

Plum fabric

Plum fabric

I can get my hands on cranberries, raspberries and I found mixed berry fabric online. It’s harder than you’d think to find fruit fabric without stems, peels or background print! I’ll be making more of these for some craft shows and you will DEFINITELY see them in my Etsy store sometime soon!

Advertisements

It’s been a while

I haven’t posted to this blog in a while, but I have been blessed this year with a request I spoke late last year, whether I really meant it or not. I prayed that my business would prosper, but that this year I might have time to be creative and do my OWN projects as well.

Actually, I did mean it, because I was SO busy last year I truly did not have time to do anything ANYTHING but quilt for others. Don’t get me wrong = I LOVE quilting work that others bring me! But sometimes, just sometimes, I want to be able to make something. Create something from scratch.

I believe I have been given that very opportunity. Funny enough, I finished up my holiday deadline projects right before we left for Christmas celebration with family in Memphis. I had time to put together a scrap quilt, and then had no business. To clarify, no business due. I did have a few quilts brought to me for the coming year, nothing in a hurry though.

So I quilted a charity quilt for the guild, and finished two O L D projects TO COMPLETION (yay me!), which is unheard of in this house. Then I started another project with scraps.

This week I decided to get all my quilting-for-other-people work done. I have one task I don’t want to do – I have to tell a client I can’t do her quilts. She asked me to follow a pantograph. I don’t do pantographs. I found her someone that could and she said she wanted me to try to freehand a design like it. I tried (on that charity quilt), and it was AWFUL. Which means I not only have a limitation, but I have to admit it to someone else. sigh.

Anyway, the next post you will see from me will be soon, and it will be regarding this last project using scraps. I found a block pattern in a magazine and sort of modified it to make a top, which I finished the center of today. I still need to decide what to do for the border.

But I’m thinking I can take the concept of this block and play with it with different color combinations, different shades and batiks vs. conventional prints. What I’d like to do is showcase this each month, to show how DIFFERENT the same exact pattern can become with very small changes.

I don’t want to spoil all the fun with pictures and everything, but this first time around I took the block and used different colors than suggested and put in sashing and cornerstones. That’s one of my favorite ways to make quilts – it really separates the blocks and relieves the potential for muddled confusion of too much altogether by giving your eyes a break.

So, thanks for hanging with me. I’ll get busy with these pix and write up and plans so we’ve got some good info to circulate. 🙂

Happy quilting!

Man down!!! Man down!!!

Woman, in this case. Actually machine but she’s female so there.

I can attest for all of you that this is the saddest moment of my quilting career. My machine bearings need to be fixed. So I can’t quilt on her until she’s sent out and come back to me. 😦

Technically I can quilt because of a very good friend that has offered use of her machine for me to finish my clients quilts, but this feels like losing a friend. I know that ultimately she’ll be ok, even better than she was. But considering that she is vital to my business and my sanity, I think this is a moment to bow our heads.

So to keep myself entertained whilst she sits quietly aside, I have made the conscious decision to finish some UFO’s (un-finished objects). I finished my rag quilt (yes, the one I started 6 months ago).

I finished the 9 patch variation top I was working on at retreat last summer. I don’t like how the middle border looks, but I’m not so dissatisfied that I’ll take it out.

A few months ago I had some time and inclination, so I cut strips and squares and matched fabrics to patterns or photos I saw in magazines. I had just spent more than a few Franklins at the quilt shop, so I figured I’d better get to using all that beautiful, colorful eye candy. Then I got busy quilting and my piles have been awaiting me since. So I started working on those again yesterday as well. I really like how this one is turning out. The border will make it, with some really cool cornerstones.

Not sure what will be next after that… maybe the cats in boxes…

maybe the Halloween quilts (I cut fabric for probably 3 of these):

or the black and red skulls that seem to be so popular…

Maybe more flowers

or this cat fabric

maybe I’ll get to Amy’s cupcake applique pattern (probably not),

or the Tree pattern I got from my mom (with precut strips, you’d think I’d go for the easy first).

Then there is this thing… I really like it because of what it represents. It’s the earth – water and land in a squarish spiral. It includes oil swirling in the water, flames roaring through the forest, flowers and waves. Still needs to be finished.

I started to cut 1″ squares and strips for this Scraps of Life quilt, from work shirt material..

and these are 1.25″ strips of scraps I was going to just sew together in rainbow fashion to see what I ended up with.

These are spare squares for another random patchwork quilt:

oh and then the quilt I was going to make for Amy from this photo… haven’t gotten very far.

Ooooh forgot about these! Dots and hearts:

and these little turquoise blue birds!

I also picked out these fabrics because they looked so good together. Haven’t decided the patterns yet…

shucks, here’s the fairy frost I cut squares and strips for!

ooh, and the fabric and pattern I set aside to make this bag:

so I guess I should just stop panicking and get to work on these. I feel a little overwhelmed now with so many projects to choose from! I think I’ll start with finishing the diamond quilts borders. Happy quilting (or quilt making!) my friends!

the fun of baby quilts

Let me start by saying that my baby is 10, and my other baby is 14. I’m still working off the baby fat, but I’m ok with that. We all have our own timelines for these things. Regardless of the absolute concrete rock-solid plan to have no more diapers grace this loving household (unless Kaela is babysitting…), baby quilts are one of my FAVORITE projects to complete!

First of all, the fabrics are always adorable! Tougher to find boy-oriented cutesy tootsie fabrics, but oh well. 🙂

Secondly, THEY ARE SMALL. This means the amount of work to complete one is exponentially less than completing a large bed quilt. Trust me on this one.

Third, they usually come as a result of celebrating a special event = an addition to the clan.

Now there are drawbacks. Minky, ultra-soft, fleece, whatever soft cuddly fabric you choose, it is A ROYAL pain to work with. That stuff shifts, stretches, waffles… I swear I could do without the fallout from cutting minky for eternity. And trying to get it out of your cutting mat is like trying to get the spaghetti sauce stain out of a tupperware dish after it’s microwaved to the boiling point. I call it: permaminky.

Despite the nasty nuances that tag along with working these fabrics, they really are soft and cuddly. In fact, the quilt below was made with all fleecy softy fabric for a friend of mine that just graced the family with a boy:

I quilted it with a triangular meander, which is pretty boyish and went along with the angles in some of the fabric. I found this fabric as a sample pack from a vendor and matched the back, which all worked out to be in his room colors! No pattern used, which made it pretty exciting; I just figured I would use the panels as a start and make squares and rectangles to fit around them. I added borders to enlarge it a bit and voila!

Unfortunately not all quilts are destined to grace a new baby’s crib. The one below was made in memorial to the mother, for this Mother’s Day. It is a gift from her wonderful circle of family and friends, as are the materials included in the quilt. A special onesie is embroidered on the front with her name and birthdate and a label on the back in homage to her support group. It is sad to share, but it will always serve as a beautiful reminder to her of a member of her family awaiting her in heaven.

I felt very special to be included in this project. I quilted it with all over hearts, and I think it couldn’t have turned out better.

Felt like quite an honor. OK I have to move on to something a little lighter…

This one was more fun – I found out my cousin brought home a new girl so I matched fabrics to the ladybugs and copied a pattern from a magazine. I put it together at a retreat one weekend. The loopy quilting matches the round shape of the ladybugs and the white on white fabric. So cute:

I made this cutie just cuz… the center fabric was on clearance at the shop, so I used it as the main focus and matched all those border blocks to make a simple but sweet little quilt! I quilted it in rainbow fans because they are in the fabric and, it just looks cute.

These two I made at the same retreat mentioned above. I had left over Peter Rabbit fabric, so tried two different patterns to use it up. I like the 9 patch best, but they both went to good homes. The blue bordered quilt was quilted in feathers and curls, and the nine patch (yellow border) has hearts all over it (which is the pattern of the yellow fabric).

I have actually made MANY quilts like these, but the ones below are made from CHILDREN’S CLOTHING. They have more of a purpose, because the child has outgrown these clothes, sometimes 16 years ago (seriously). But I like to be involved in preserving someone’s memories in such a special fashion.



Each quilt has it’s own unique purpose, for a different person, for a special reason. Each quilt is one of a kind, beautiful in it’s own right, no matter to whom it belongs. 🙂

Happy quilting my friends!

THE CUTEST QUILT EVER!

Seriously, this is SO cute!!!!! So here’s the story:

I was working at the shop (Quilt Country) and as always, shopping as I was cutting. What I mean is, customers bring their fabric up to the counter for us to cut. When I unroll the bolt I see what nearly always seems like a new fabric, and 99% of the time I love it! So I buy some of that fabric when we have a lull in activity.

A lady brought up this cute Noah’s Ark fabric, and I knew I had to have some. It was on the sale rack, so I knew it wouldn’t be around long. I cut one yard, and then decided I needed another one. 🙂 Later in the day another woman brought up this greenish fabric with fishes on it. I bought some of that as well, thinking it had to go with the other yardage.

I do make quilts for sale, but when I saw this fabric, I knew it needed to be for baby quilts that would be donated. I decided to use the EZ Breezy Pattern concept, to keep the cute animals on the whole panel intact.

So I found fabrics in my stash that matched the other colors in the quilt and cut them into 2.5″ strips and sewed them together randomly. Based on the panel measurements (I cut each yard in half, then cut off a 5.5″ strip for cornerstones) I cut those sewn-together strips to 5″ lengths. I pinned them to the center panel on the sides and sewed them on. Because I didn’t trim my center panel to an even width and length, I had to trim my bottom strip on each side before sewing on the cornerstones. Then I attached that to the center and VOILA!!!!

The beauty is that I have all my borders (the strips) already made for the other three quilts. I may put an outer border on it; currently it measures 31″ x 39″. Good baby size.

So right now my remaining question is this: Once I finish these quilts, should I give them to the local church? Or should I send one to four different people and ask them to give the quilts away to someone they think is in need? Then I get to share this warm feeling I have inside. What do you think?

How to make a quilt top

Sewing machine – check. Thread – check. Material – check. OK you’re ready!

Seriously that is all it takes. This example is for a random patchwork quilt. If you want to get complicated and paper piece to have precise 24 point stars, go for it. If you want to make a quilt from some pretty pre-cut squares, it is really easy. Really. Easy.

OK, back to easy. If you purchase a sampler pack of squares, or a charm pack, you will be given some number of squares that all match somehow, already cut to one size.

pre-cut pack of squares

To calculate the size of the quilt you will end up with from that bundle, measure one square (let’s say it’s 4.5 inches square), minus .5 inches for seam allowance (each seam requires .25 inch material for seam allowance). Ok so 4″ is your finished square size.

How many squares are there? Let’s say there are 50 squares. So you could make a quilt 7 squares across by 7 long, or 6 across by 8 long. Those options would bring you a 28″ square quilt (# squares times inches per finished square), or a 24″ x 32″ quilt. Might work if you know someone having a baby, but if you want it to cover your lap, you may want to buy 2 of those packs or more (in our example case here). You can always add a border at the end to stretch out your length.

Next step. Take two squares, put the right sides together and match them up so the edges are straight. Sew them together in as straight a line as you are able, with .25 inches seam allowance. There’s a little line on your hopper foot on the sewing machine where you can line that up. Again, keeping it easy. No need to backstitch, the seams will interlock as you go. Now before you go pulling your stitched squares out of the machine and cutting off the thread tail, STOP. Let it sit there, because you’re going to chain sew. Huh?

OK so you sewed a seam. Well, match up another two squares and give your machine pedal a tap to let it have a few ’empty’ stitches and then stick your next set of squares under the foot and sew them together!  You’ll just have a little thread connector between your square sets. As long as your number of squares across is an even number, you can continue to do this step until you run out of squares. When you are done, snip the threads between your square sets and get over to the ironing board.

Yes, you really do have to press the seams. Open, to one side or the other, doesn’t matter. Generally I do it towards the darker material, but just make the seams flat. Once you get through all of your square sets, it’s time to make some more seams!

.25" seam allowance, pressed to one side

Go back to your machine and sew! If you want to sew long rows of squares that match your final length, do it! If you want to sew square blocks of 4 squares and then sew them together, do that instead! Everyone has a method, and everyone has an opinion as to how it SHOULD be done. Do it how YOU want to do it, and you will find the method that works best for you.

Just know that you need to iron your seams flat prior to moving on, and if you have a seam that went wrong and is obviously crooked, pull out the stitches and resew it. You’ll be happy you did. Note in the photo below that the corners of the squares match up. May take you a little practice to get there, but ironing, and watching your seam allowances will most definitely help!

block of squares sewn together

This is really all it takes to make a quilt top. You can add a border of any size or not.