Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Whipping Up a Quilt

Recently, I read a blog post by a quilter who received some fabric and just "whipped up a quilt." I envy her. My method could never be mistaken for "whipping up a quilt." Instead, I agonize over every step  - What fabrics should I use? What pattern should I use? Should it be scrappy? Should it be planned? Should it be modern? Should it be traditional? Should I use a pattern from a magazine or make my own? Ok, enough with the questions!

What prompted this post is moving the guinea pig from our son's bedroom to the living room. What does this have to do with a quilt? Well, I need to protect the antique cabinet we are setting it on. (I am not sure if guinea pig cage and antique cabinet belong in the same sentence, but in our house they do.) So I need to protect the top of the cabinet from scratches and water drips.

My first thought was to make it a scrappy quilt, so I looked at Pinterest, came up with an idea, graphed it out and started cutting. Then I realized it was too scrappy, and could I possibly eek out another table-top quilt from fabric leftover from the other two table-top quilts in that room?


Yes, I found I could by adding another color or two. After three designs, and realizing that if I changed the square size to 5.5" instead of 6", I had just enough fabric to make it work. That was definitely not "whipping up a quilt!" I think part of  my problem (yes, I am calling it a problem) is that I try to use up all the fabric pieces I have instead of buying something new for each project. I can't stand to see fabric just sitting there so that is always my first thought. Needless to say, I finished the top tonight, and now I just need to go buy some lightweight plastic to place on top of the batting so it is waterproof. You can see a little of the dining room table quilt fabric in it.

As I was looking for backing fabric, I came across another piece of fabric that gave me an idea for another table runner - thriftiness should be my middle name!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Color Options

Today I took an existing pattern of mine, and changed the color and design. I did it primarily to show another option for the pattern. Here is the original design:

Here it is after I added the evergreen trees: 

Here it is in with a different color combination and applique: 

I absolutely love this blue swirl fat quarter, but never had anything to make with it. Turns out it was just waiting for this project. After making the square as an example, I finished it off into a mug rug (love those mug rugs for using up odd pieces of fabric or UFO squares!) This was a happy project for a winter day!

Posted to Sew Fresh Quilts "Let's Bee Social".

Friday, January 24, 2014

Jeweled Runner

I am trying to use up fabric, and I had a stack of brightly colored batiks that kept calling my name. A few weeks ago, the idea to make a pinwheel runner came to mind, though at this moment I have no idea why. Anyway, I went with it!

When it came time to quilt it, I drew out many sketches, but in the end decided to just start echo quilting and see where I ended up.

This was a very huge challenge for me to do. I don't usually quilt this much and this is very geometric. I wrestled with quilting the colored pieces, but in the end decided to let them stand out unquilted.

Another challenge was doing machine binding. The time savings and durability for washing the runner were two main reasons, along with the fact that hand sewing has been bothering my arms lately. I sewed the binding to the front, and then stitched in the ditch, again on the front, so the loose edge was on the back. (yes, I preferred a clean front binding on this one). I used a 2.5" wide binding, and may try with a little narrower one next time, but overall I was thrilled to be finished so quickly! Thus I can link up to a Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Quilting Lines

Quilting scares me, or should I say it intimidates me. Rarely I am perfectly happy with how I quilted my project. This table runner was one exception, and maybe it was because I had no expectations when I started the project. 

I had a lot of of 2-3" strips of this fabric leftover from two other table runners, and some mug rugs. I really overbought the green swirl and holly fabric, so I still had a lot left. In the spirit of trying to modernize my projects, I decided to try my hand with diagonal strips sewn together in opposite directions. That actually worked out and I was ready to quilt it. 

This time, the quilt spoke to me and begged for some meandering, straight line quilting (if there is such a thing!) Off I went, quilting all the green stripes with green thread and the holly stripes with white thread, creating two lines of quilting per stripe. I added the binding, and as the "The Night Before Christmas" story goes "and much to my surprise" the table runner was so soft and pliable! I couldn't believe it! Never, have any of my projects turned out this way. My guess is because I usually quilt minimally, while this runner has way more quilting than I normally do. Finally a very successful "quilting" adventure for me!

Posted to Sew Fresh Quilts "Let's Bee Social". 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Snowflake Applique Template

Yeah! Snow Days! Or maybe I should say Cold Days. Whatever you call it, school was cancelled for two days this week due to the frigid temps. We teachers get just as excited as the students when we get that phone call from school. In the spirit of snow, I wanted to share my snowflake applique template.

First, how cold was it that schools cancelled Monday classes the Friday before, and Tuesday was cancelled at noon on Monday? Here is my son showing us how cold it is.

Back to quilting. As I have mentioned, I made a wall hanging for every month of the year. This wall hanging was for January using snowflake fabric.

However after a couple years of looking at it on the back of our front door, I decided it was too plain, so I went back and appliqued snowflakes to it. 

 I made the snowflakes using the old fashioned method of folding a piece of paper into squares, and cutting out small diamonds and triangles.

It is hard to see, but I used fusible applique and a very small zig zag stitch. By appliqueing it after the quilt was done, it self-quilted itself at the same time. 

Here is a PDF file of these snowflake appliques. The large center square is 6", with appropriate setting and corner triangles of approximately one half and one quarter that size. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Baby Blanket

We have a new nephew coming soon, so for Christmas I wanted to make him something. I have made many of these baby blankets before and had ribbon pieces already cut; therefore, all I needed to do was buy some flannel and sew!

I used a half yard of fabric and cut it into two 16" x 20" pieces. The ribbon is five inches in length, and then I fold it in half. I used 44 pieces of ribbon, spaced 1.5 inches apart. Note: the ribbon is only pinned to the right side of one piece of fabric. 

After pinning the ribbon,  I placed the other fabric piece, right sides together, on top of the ribboned piece and sewed a 1/4" seam, leaving about four to six inches for turning this inside out. After sewing, clip the corners, turn inside out and press, folding the opening closed. Sew the opening with a top stitch very close to the edge.  Finally, top stitch around the entire blanket with a 1/2" seam to help anchor the fabric. 

Now you have a "teething" blanket for your little one to enjoy!

Posted to Sew Fresh Quilts "Let's Bee Social".