Friday, January 17, 2020

Square In A Square

Hi everyone!  Today, I thought I'd share a really sweet table runner/topper I made for my mom for Christmas.  The best part was getting to give it to her in person - though a little early.  (We made the trip out to see her earlier in December!)  I used a new-to-me technique I've been wanting to try and it was totally fun!  I also used some fabric I've been saving for something special, so the whole thing gave me great joy!

I'm calling it "Square In A Square" - you can see the whole tutorial at this link.

Basically, you place a smaller square of fabric in a larger one, right sides up, and fold in the sides.  You stitch a quarter inch in from the fold, then press it open.  Now do the top and bottom.  This way, there is much less cutting AND no raw seams in the block.  (You will have raw seams as you join block to block, though.)


How cool is that? Fast and easy! Bulky as all get out along those folded seams, but I planned to work around them as I quilted.

My top was together in no time:


There are three major scenes in the featured fabric, so I cut each one four times.  I kept each "view" in a row, but turned it a quarter turn as I went down the length of the quilt.


Is that fabric cute or what?!?

I kept the quilting simple, just outlining my featured fabric squares; here are my three "scenes":


I did a "flip and turn" method, rather than adding a binding, to keep things simple. I also quilted about 1/8 of an inch in from the edge for detail, interest, and to sew up the "turning hole".


I was really happy with how it came out - and I think my mom really liked it!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, January 10, 2020

Hunter's Star Update #2

Hi, everyone!  I hope you're all doing well!  Another post here, trying to get you caught up on what's going on in my Studio!  Remember the Hunter's Star quilt I pieced this Summer?  I ended mailing it to the pros for the quilting back in October -- that baby is just WAY too big for me to quilt at this point in time.

I knew it would take probably a couple of months for it to work its way up the queue; on the website, they said they couldn't promise it by Christmas.  I expected that.  What I did NOT expect was to see this box arrive before Thanksgiving!!!


WOW, I was SO excited!

Here's a look at the quilting:


I chose an off-white/beige thread and a pattern called "Deb's Feathers".  I thought that would fit with the whole Civil War reproduction theme.


They did a fabulous job!  Check out the back:


I opted to sew the binding on myself, feeling extravagant enough having had someone else do the quilting for me!  I went with a nice brown:


OK, two nice browns.  I wanted to repeat the inner border and didn't quite have enough.  I did what any woman in the 19th century would have done and chose another that was close enough.


I used my system of winding the binding around an antique spool, then setting that in a magnetized tray.  It keeps everything neat and tidy!

I'm slowly but surely working on the hand sewing.  It will take me a while, but this is definitely worth doing by hand.

And may I add, "GO, PENS!!!"

I have it down in the Studio on my machine table; I go between hand sewing the Hunter's Star and piecing a new project.  Upstairs, I'm doing the hand sewing on the Kaleidoscope/Not Kira quilt.  Not that I have projects scattered all over the house.  LOL.

I am SO pleased with the job Missouri Star Quilt Company did!  I couldn't be happier!

I'll keep you posted on my binding progress!  Thanks for reading!

Monday, January 6, 2020

Because I Love The Fabric

Hi, everyone!  Before I get started, just to clarify yesterday's post - I hadn't quilted the placemats yet!  They were just pieced panels, which made them perfect to turn into anything!  Having said that, I have watched videos where someone took pre-made placemats and turned then into all sorts of cute bags ... but that's a different story altogether!

After I had that tote put together, I OF COURSE still had scraps.  Do you ever really use all of your scraps?  Anyway ... what to do, what to do.  I thought a Persimmon Dumpling Pouch would be in order!

I didn't have big scraps, but that was OK!  I just started piecing together what I did have:


You know, I do have an actual stiletto in a crock by my machine.  I usually use a tiny screwdriver, though -- and in a pinch, a golf tee works perfectly!

I was able to piece together panels just large enough for a small Dumpling Pouch.  Perfect!


I bought those scissors YEARS ago and wow, do I love them.  They have micro-serrated blades and a removable loop in the handles - it makes them spring open, thus making cutting much easier.  I can't remember where I got them, but Amazon has them.  Of course.

Once I had my panels cut, I sandwiched them to some batting and wanted to do a little quilting.  I had the perfect thread in my "stash":


King Tut Valley Of The Queens.  Isn't it gorgeous?!?  And I even had about 1/2 of a bobbin wound.  SCORE!


I just sort of stitched beside the ditch and carried everything over across the whole piece.  It was fun!

Before I knew it, I had my little Dumpling Pouch all set:


How can you not love it?

Here's a look inside:


Note the little "pulls" on each side of the pouch; the pattern doesn't call for them, but they make it so much easier to open and close the bag!


I actually bought some zips finally.  Don't get me wrong, I love using ones from discarded clothing, but it's also nice to have a wide array of colors to choose from!

That's it for now!  Thanks so much for reading!

Sunday, January 5, 2020

When Life Gives You Placemats ...

... turn them into a tote.  If you don't like them.  Or something like that!

So ... as many of you know, I have a slight addiction to watching video tutorials for quilts and bags while I'm on the treadmill.  I watched one by Donna Jordan for placemats and I thought, "Oh, I have JUST the charm square packs for those!"

I got the tops of the placemats together, more or less, and realized they were far, far from perfect.  I mean "FAR".  Not being one to waste fabric, I wondered what I could do with them.  I needed a really big tote and thought I could just wing one using the panels I came up with from the tutorial.  Right?

Here's the outside:


It has a zip top, webbing straps, and a little webbing/D-ring combo.


It's perfect for attaching your keys, a water bottle, travel dog dishes ... whatever!

Here's a look inside:


One side has a zip pocket (I've watched a lot of zipper tutorials and figured I could give it a go!) ...


... and the other side has a huge pocket, split down the middle forming two pockets:


I took it on our latest trip and was thrilled with how much stuff I can pack in it! (I'm not known for packing lightly!)

It was mighty fun "winging it", and turning the placemats I didn't care for into a cute, kicky bag!  I had to wash it after our trip and was pleased with how nicely it washed up!

Thanks so much for reading!

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Stack N Whack Scraps

Hi everyone!  Let's look around and see what else I've been up to!  I got out some old, unfinished projects, trying to decide what I could finish up.  Years ago, I took a Stack N Whack class.  (I used the book seen here.). I didn't finish all of my blocks, but have this much:


I'm pretty sure I couldn't decide what color to make the background, so I opted for a split.  Because why keep it simple - right?

The basic "trick" to Stack N Whack blocks is to pin the fabric together at the "repeats", cut it EXACTLY, then stitch the pattern together forming sort of a kaleidoscope. All blocks are from the same fabric, but are all different!  Very cool.  Very precise.  Very ... much like something I didn't want to tackle right now.  BUT ...

I had cut some squares while I had my fabric stacked back when I cut this baby out.  I played around with them and thought I could make cute, little 4-patch mini kaleidoscopes.  I gave one block a shot ...


... and thought it was mighty cute. I started sewing the rest together and was really pleased with how they came out. I thought it would set the blocks off nicely to pair them up with "plain" setting blocks. I auditioned several fabrics, ran them by my FaceBook friends, and came up with using this purple:


I love that fabric!

I also decided to set the blocks on point; it makes them "twirl" a little better!


I do want a border on the quilt, but am really still trying to decide.  The "focal fabric" I used for the blocks with either be a border or the binding - it will be out there somewhere!


I still like the grey newsprint on the left (it totally blends with my carpeting in the photo), but maybe after an inner border of the focal fabric.  Or the green.  Or ... yeah.  That's why this is as far as I've gotten with this one.  

I've got it out where I can see it, so in the back of my mind, I'm still mulling over what to use for the border!

Thanks for reading !

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Not Tea Cups

Hi, everyone!  I didn't mean to take so long between posts, but things have been mighty busy here - plus a trip out of town and Christmas!  Anyway ...

I love watching quilting videos on You Tube while I'm on the treadmill - especially ones by Missouri Star Quilt Company.  I watched one by Hillary (Jenny's daughter) called The Tea Cup Quilt and was fascinated by it.  It didn't look like tea cups to me, but I loved the sort of free-form squares and rectangles.  I knew I had to try it!

I cut into some batiks and before I knew it, I had a good number of blocks:


It was fun and they went together quickly!


And may I add, egads, I love these batiks!!!

I came up with the layout I wanted ...


... and had the top together before I knew it.  (The blue painters tape pieces were my row/column markers.). I auditioned a couple fabs for borders and came up with this:


I'm very pleased with the overall look and feel of it!


For the quilting, I did double wavy lines, running down the length of the quilt.


The whole thing reminds me of rain, so the wavy lines seemed to be a good fit.

For the binding, I used lighter prints at the top and darker at the bottom:


That was before I had done the hand work.  Yes, I sewed it on by hand!

About the same time I was making this, my husband mentioned the new door-less shower and how, now that it was cold out, it gets super drafty in there - and did I have any ideas about what we could do?  Well ... YES!


The colors are perfect in there, the size is right, and the whole "looking like rain" thing sort of fits the shower.  I found a nice-looking tension bar and clips, so installation was super easy - and we can take it down when the weather warms back up.

Because it all looks rainy to me, the boxes sort of look like curtains in windows - so I'm calling this the Curtains Quilt.  I'm not sure that's perfect, but it's good enough!

Fun tutorial, fun quilt to make, and it was awesome working with those batiks!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, December 13, 2019

Ferris Wheel

I'm blaming starting yet another project on some of my quilting friends.  Ha!  They had been discussing English Paper Piecing (EPP).  It's a technique I've used before and really enjoyed the process.  Basically, you have paper or cardboard shapes, secure your fabric around that, hand sew the fabric pieces together, then remove the papers.  Here's a much better explanation - click here, please!

My other projects were miniatures - hand pieced, hand quilted.  The first one was a Hexagon Quilt, made in August of 2000, using Civil War reproduction fabrics:


My finger is for size reference in these.

In December of that year, I pieced this one:


I called it "Voting Blocks", as I made it during the election period.

Next up, a combo of some EPP, a little appliqué, and a touch of embroidery:


I called that one Grandmother's Tiny Flower Garden - made in 2007.

ANYWAY, I remember enjoying the process, so I thought I'd start another! That would explain ...


What a mess.

I had a pattern pack of pre-made templates for a quilt called Ferris Wheel, so I thought I'd give that a whirl.

I've watched a lot of YouTube vids about EPP and the current trend is to use glue rather than stitching your fabric to the templates. That sounded a lot easier and faster!  My pieces are about half and half - some stitched, some glued. All I had to start was a glue stick, and I was a bit concerned about the template removal process.

The pattern I'm following calls for sewing your shapes into long strips ...


... two different kinds of strip sets ...


... then joining those strips together:


That's as far as I've gotten. (I even exhausted Maggie, as you can see!) The big difference between this one and the others is that there are three different shapes.  The hexagons are pleasant enough, and the squares are OK, but YIKES, those triangles are insane to deal with!  What was I thinking?!?

Anyway, I'll have time to get back to hand work coming up, so I will continue to march on it.

Oh!  And I found a "quilter's glue stick" that is recommended by some of the EPP experts.  I got mine from Amazon - you can see it here.  Very handy and much neater to work with than my old glue stick.

That's it for now!  Thanks for reading!