Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Sure Sign of Spring

Yesterday, I spent the day with my friends at Material Girls Quilt Boutique in La Plata, Maryland. Our workshop project was a 'secret' new quilt project. While the workshop participants were busy bees sewing scraps together, I took advantage of some cute Easter fabric and the Taste of Nectar Pin Pack to make a Spring holiday treat.

This might be a bit reminiscent of a recent post featuring quilty heart-shaped pins.

Quilted Easter Egg Pins


First, I needed some 1" half-square triangles. So I paired two 2-inch squares, drew a diagonal line on one, and sewed a 1/4" seam on both sides of the line. Cut and trim. And repeat, repeatedly.

Quilted Easter Egg Pins


To make four pins, I needed 24 half-square triangles. I ended up with quite a pile of trimmings.

Quilted Easter Egg Pins


Instead of 9-patches, I'm making 2x3 rectangles, so I trimmed the Mini Scrap Grid interfacing to have just enough to make four. The Nectar Pin Pack has enough goodies to make 9 pins.

Quilted Easter Egg Pins


Next, I fused the HSTs to make a chevron pattern on the grid. Then it was time to sew. Pretty much, I followed the process to use the Mini Scrap Grid, as usual.

Quilted Easter Egg Pins


Fold. Sew. . . .

Quilted Easter Egg Pins


. . . cut apart, and press. (And you KNOW, how much I like to furl those seam allowances!)

Quilted Easter Egg Pins


Add a 1x2" border on the bottom and a 1-1/2x2" border on the top. The Nectar Pin pack has fusible foam 3" square batting. To make an egg, just trim an inch-wide strip from one side. Then cut a 2x3" backing rectangle from the cut Easter fabric.

Quilted Easter Egg Pins


Layer the backing, foam, batting, and top. Fuse with an iron and quilt lightly.

Quilted Easter Egg Pins


Cut with pinking shears to form the shape of an egg and sew or glue the pin to the back. All set for Easter breakfast!

Quilted Easter Egg Pins


Happy Stitching!

Joan

Thursday, March 19, 2015

A "Little" Quilting

A couple of years ago, I purchased one of Kate Flynn Nichols' Miniature Storm at Sea quilt kits at a quilt show The samples on display were absolutely beautiful and the pieces are laser cut, ready to sew.

Piece 'o cake, right?

My first hint that this may not be a complete cake-walk should have been the size of the packaging. The parts needed to assemble the entire quilt top comes in a box that is about 4" wide and 6 or 7" long, and not even an inch thick! Since I've had this kit for a while, I decided to throw it in my bag of stuff for my retreat this past weekend at the Upstairs Inn. I wanted to treat myself to a personal project--when you design quilt patterns and books for a living, it's fun to go completely offline with a non-work sewing project from time to time.

The pieces are really small. Nothing bigger than about 2" long for the largest pieces.

Storm at sea quilt


Since they are precision cut, the pieces assemble into blocks beautifully! (But not quickly!)

Storm at sea miniature quilt


After a full day of sewing, the blocks were good. By the second day, I started sewing the rows together. And that's when the pattern really started to emerge--stars and straight lines that look curvy.

Storm at sea miniature quilt


And all of the sudden (okay, not so much 'all of the sudden') the quilt top is done! All 14x18" of quilt top.

Storm at sea miniature quilt


To make sure all the points connect beautifully, the kit instructions suggest that the all the seam intersections are furled including all the pointy-points (I love to furl, as you know, if you've been following me for any length of time!)

Making for a really flat quilt top and a really interesting 'wrong side' of the quilt.

Storm at sea miniature quilt


Kinda makes me wonder why I brought all this other stuff to work on!

quilt supplies


Some old friends were spotted at the retreat, too! Here's Sue's Petit Fours quilt sample on display at the shop.

Petit Fours Quilt display

Melonie spent some retreat time working on her Bloomin' Steps quilt.

Bloomin' Steps quilt


The Common Sense pillow looks cozy tossed on the sofa in the Inn.

Common Sense quilt pattern, pillow


And Sue always does a beautiful job of displays in her store. All the projects from When Bad Things Happen to Good Quilters were on display ready for the book signing on Saturday morning.


When Bad things happen to good quilters book projects


Certainly, it was fun to get away from the normal routine and spend dedicated time at the sewing machine. But the VERY best part of any quilt retreat is the camaraderie of good friends. Don't you agree?

Happy Stitching!

joan

Thursday, March 12, 2015

In a Bind

I'll be vending at a bunch of events this summer, and Quilt Market is just around the corner, so I've been attempting to get ahead of the game, working on a few samples.

In particular, I'm making a few Up One Side Runners for my display and to kit up for the shows. The fabrics I'm using for this sample are from Hoffman California Fabrics. The line is called Ridge Rock. It will start showing up in quilt shops in early summer, so be sure to ask for it at your favorite local quilt shop!

This fabric line reminds me of a walk in the woods on a summer day. It's a small group with only a few prints. To create a nice contrast with the print background fabric, the runner features some beautifully matching 1895 Bali hand-paints (these colors happen to be called Seacliff and October) also from Hoffman. I just love the colors!

Up One Side quilted table runner


This runner practically puts itself together. It looks more complicated that it is to make! After a few hours of sewing and some dedicated quilting time, I'm ready to get the binding on.

Up One Side quilted table runner


Like so many quilting techniques, binding has lots of options. Bias/width-of-grain/length-of-grain--seems like everyone has a preference. Bias binding is said to wear better than binding cut along the straight of grain. It's also better when curves are involved due to the stretch-factor of the bias cut strips.

I usually use binding cut from width-of-grain strips, for no other reason than it's fast and easy. Not that bias binding is difficult to make, but takes a bit more planning.

Typically, I trim the batting and backing even with the quilt top first so I have a perfectly straight quilt edge. I save those leftover bits of batting for pin cushions. Wool batting is a favorite, and those scraps make great stuffing.

Up One Side quilted table runner


I connect my strips with a 45˚seam . . .

Up One Side quilted table runner


Press the seam open, then press the entire strip in half, lengthwise, wrong sides together.

Up One Side quilted table runner


Strips should be cut between 2 to 2-1/2" for a double fold binding that finishes to 1/4"; for quilts, I like to cut 2-1/4" wide strips for a little extra leeway. Of course, if I want a wider binding, my strips need to be wider too.

If you want a different width double-fold binding--something other than the standard 1/4", but you don't know what width strip you'll need, as a rule of thumb, take the finished width you want to show on the front of your quilt, multiply it by 6--2 layers from the raw edge to the seam, 2 layers from the seam to the edge and 2 layers from the edge to the back side of the seam--then add 1/2" for all the folds in there. Therefore, to make a 1/2" binding: 1/2 x 6 = 3 + 1/2" =  3-1/2" strips. Pretty neat, huh? Don't forget to sew the wider binding onto the quilt using the new finish measurement, 1/2" in the example.

Up One Side quilted table runner


I'm a pin-freak when it comes to binding. I've put too much work into the quilt top and the quilting to have a binding that's either too loose or too tight. The raw edge of the binding is aligned with the raw edge of the quilt. I use a dual feed 1/4" foot or the walking foot as I attach the binding

Up One Side quilted table runner


With the binding sewn to the front, I'm ready for some quiet time to hand sew the fold to the back of the quilt, covering the binding seam lines.

In the summer, I take the project out onto the porch to enjoy the nice weather. This time of year, a movie or an audible book are my pick for binding sewing entertainment.

Up One Side quilted table runner


I can't help sneaking a peek for a preview.

Up One Side quilted table runner


Two Up One Side runners are 'on deck' for hand sewing time!

Up One Side quilted table runner


 . . .And one more project that is ready to bind. The winter weather finally subsided enough for me to retrieve my log cabin quilt. The Snobelt Quilters did a beautiful job quilting my quilt, now it's my turn to bind it! 

Up One Side quilted table runner


Some people find sewing the binding on the quilt to be boring. I don't. It's my last chance to add a personal, finishing touch to the quilt. And it's quiet time that always adds calm to a crazy schedule. And it's the home stretch, except for the label, the quilt's done!

And the very BEST part of making a quilt is being able to USE it!

Happy Stitching!



PS: For a few more tips on binding around weird corners, continuous closure, and hand stitching, check out this page on my site for lots of nifty details.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Insta-Mug-Mat

When it comes to social media icons on my website, I guess I like to be a little different from the rest. I've used little out-croppings of quilt elements I've created, in very loose interpretations of the standard social media icons you see all over the place. I've been advised by many a web-guru, that I should use the standard recognizable symbols, but eh, I like to be different.

In these past few weeks, I decided to re-energize my activity on Instagram. Naturally, it made sense that I have an icon on my website to link to my instagram account. But I didn't really have anything from a quilt that made sense.

So I made one.

Instagram quilted mug mat tutorial


First, I selected a few scraps. I know, the Instagram logo is usually brown, but I like purple!

Instagram quilted mug mat, scrap fabrics


Sewed the 2" scraps in a row, then sewed the row of scraps to a trimmed 5" scrap.

Instagram quilted mug mat, sewing


To make the applique circle center, I used some Quiltsmart Zig Zapps circle interfacing. I only needed one circle.

using quiltsmart circle interfacing


Place the intefacing and 3-1/2" scrap square so the fusible side of the interfacing faces the right side of the fabric. Sew on the 2-1/2" diameter line.

using quiltsmart circle interfacing


Cut on the dotted line.
using quiltsmart circle interfacing



Pull everything inside out through the snip in the interfacing.

using quitlsmart circle interfacing


Then fuse the circle to the background . . .



 . . . . with a hot iron.

making the quilted mug mat


I fused a quilt sandwich together with one 5" pre cut batting square--the same stuff I use in the Mini Mug Mats--the quilt top, and a 5" scrap for backing. I've now got the batting packaged all by itself, just the batting.

making the quilted mug mat


Secure the applique through all layers, and add a little more quilting.

quilt around the circle applique


These two 'angry birds' keep watch over my bin full of binding leftovers.

stuffed bird toys


This purple dotty binding will do . . .

quilt batting leftovers


Sew the binding in place, just like making a Mini Mug Mat.

binding on the instagram mug mat


Turn the folded edge to the back and stitch.

finishing the instagram mug mat


Ta-done!

Quilted instagram mug mat


Wouldn't this be cute in a college dorm room? Not that college students drink coffee very much . . *ahem!*

Follow me on Instagram, if you like!

Happy Stitching!
joan

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Spring Thinking

Let me introduce you to a new pattern, Up One Side Table Runner.

Up One Side Quilted Table Runner pattern


Well, actually, it's not a *new* pattern, but it has received a bit of a facelift. Up One Side was originally published by Cut Loose Press, but I decided to re-work the pattern a bit and reproduce it in a new format. It's still amazingly simple to make, and the making is even easier using the Marti Michell Corner trimmer.

What does this have to do with Spring Thinking? The Up One Side pattern lends nicely to kits. Since, I'm vending at a handful of quilt shows this spring and summer, I'm beginning to think how I might put some fun fabrics together for kits to make the table runner.

This sample is almost done. It just has to be quilted and bound. How about a purple binding for a Spring table setting?

green and purple fabrics for table runner kits


Blues have always been a favorite of mine, any time of year.

blue fabric for table runner kits


It wouldn't be Spring without a little pink!

Pink fabric for table runner kits



I'm only starting the process, and making samples, but it struck me that the fabrics I'm putting together look awfully Spring-like. And since the snow is piled high out my front window, and I'm more than ready to move on to the next season, I thought I'd share a few of the fabric combinations. I don't know about you, but I feel much better, now!

You can ask for the Up One Side Table Runner pattern at your favorite quilt shop. Or find it here. If you want a kit, then you'll have to come visit my booth at one of the shows I'll be attending this summer--if you don't already subscribe to my weekly newsletter, Good Migrations, the block at the top of the sidebar will get you there (along with a free patter for subscribing!). My calendar is posted in the newsletter. Who knows I might even throw some kits into my shopping cart once they are ready.

Like Spring, these things seem to take so long to get here, but they are so worthwhile when they finally arrive!

Ooh, and speaking of warmer weather. Did you go Row by Rowing last summer? The summertime shop hop is returning again in June. All 50 states and six Canadian provinces have shops in the hop. The snow may still be piled high everywhere I look, but inside, I'm thinking Rows. I feel very fortunate to have been asked by several shops to create their free row patterns for the Row by Row Experience 2015. Sorry, nothing to reveal for you just yet. But you know I'll be offering some sneaky peaks right here on this blog to help you rev up your engines for Summer travel season. And the rows I'm creating are really, REALLY fun! So stay tuned!

I'd better get back to creating! Stay warm, think *Spring* and . . .

Happy Stitching!