Thursday, February 28, 2013

A little Luck O' the Irish!

The St. Patrick's Day wall hanging is done, bringing some luck to my house with a touch of green!  Quilt size is 30"x 38"
The quilting features cross hatching around the Celtic knots (a tutorial for the knots can be found on the tutorial page);  heart shaped feathers in the white border;  a curlique fill around the shamrockand a filled in swirl on the shamrock since the two colors were so close in value.

Quilting was done with my new favorite thread, Glide.  I've had no breaks or shreds, and love the bit of sheen this thread has.  It's been a joy to work with!  You can find it at (the folks there are really nice), or contact your local quilt shop.

Happy Quilting!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Two for February Book of the Month

February's Book of the Month was Jane Hardy Miller's French Braid TransformationI enjoyed this book, as there were clear instructions for each quilt, and for each size.
I chose "Stacks", using up fabrics from my stash.

Here's a picture of the quilting Love the feathers!
I was in a bit of a hurry to get Stacks done, so I did a fold over binding, instructions for which can be found here 

And because I had leftover blocks, I made a second one, Stacks II, with a slight variation:  no side sashing, three columns of blocks, , and a top border piece.

And here's a closeup of the quilting (no feathers on this one!)

Hope to get another done from the book, but it is almost time for the March Book of the Month!

Happy Quilting!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Stitch Talk #7 McTavish

This week is the McTavish style of filler.
Start with a curved line, either a C or S shape.  Echo it, meeting either back at the point, or bumping into a previous line.  Echo out again, either from the point or backtracking over that previous line.
After echoing a few times, backtrack over the last one, and start a new C or S in a different direction.  Continue to echo and backtrack, filling in the space.
 I know that Karen uses a lot more swirls than I have, but for me, this fit the space.  And of course, I'm still learning!

Happy Quilting!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Quick Fold Over Binding

I have to admit I was in a bit of a hurry to get this quilt finished, so instead of the traditional binding strip, I did a quick fold over binding.  Of course, this technique requires that there be enough backing fabric (about an inch) to fold over to the front.  Fortunately, this quilt had plenty!

This technique also requires carefully trimming and squaring of the quilt, and I found it easiest to pin the backing upon itself to keep it from getting nicked.

After that step is complete, trim the excess backing to 3/4" from the edge of the quilt.
Fold over once, so that the edge meets the edge of the quilt.

Fold once more over the quilt edge, pinning in place.
Next, fold in the corner so that the top folded edge lines up with the cut edge of the quilt.

Fold the cut edge of the backing once to meet the cut edge of the quilt, pinning in place.

Fold that edge once more, over the edge of the quilt, pinning in place.
I now have a beautifully mitered corner!  I hand stitch my bindings just because I think it looks neater, but one could certainly stitch this by machine.

Here's the finished, stitched corner.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and will give this a try!  I know that I'll do it on the next set of placemats I make, as I always dislike the binding part!

Happy Quilting!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Stitch Talk #6 Leaves and Teardrops

Today features two related filler designs from the Blue Heart quilt, Leaves and Teardrops.



These two fills are virtually the same, it's just that Leaves come to a point.
For leaves, stitch a leaf shape, then echo it, either inside or outside.

Continue adding leaves, stitching over previous stitching if necessary to get to a place that needs filling.

Teardrops are made the same way, just without the pointy end.

Remember, backtracking helps to get where the design needs to go.  I hope you'll give this a try!
Happy Quilting!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Chain Hand-Applique?

This week was devoted to revisiting a hand applique project that I started last June and put aside in October when Stage One was done.  Then the holidays got in the way of any free time, and now I need a hand project to do during my son's swim meets, so back out it came.

Now, I have to admit, I've been dreading Stage 2 (and Stage 3 doesn't look so pretty either!).

A year ago, I saw this block, designed by Bonnie Sullivan, on the cover of Quiltmakers 100 Blocks issue.
Redrawing it in EQ7 so that I can print onto freezer paper for templates, I have this:
The pieces I have left are small petals parts (marked D,E,K,L) and the leaf (F,G,M,N) that goes on top of them (the main blossom, C, is already stitched to the block).  Since the petals are small, narrow pieces, I decided it would be easier to sew the leaf to the petal, then treat the whole thing as one unit to sew onto the blocks.  But I didn't want to deal with a lot of small, individual pieces.  By Chain Hand Applique-ing, I got a petal/leaf unit without all the little pieces to handle or get lost.  So what I'm going to go over is my method of Chain Hand Applique-ing those pieces.
First, cut a strip that is wide enough for each of the pieces plus SA, tracing the templates at an angle so that there is a bit of a bias edge to help with going around curves.  I traced the part of the petal template that I needed for stitching, and will trace the rest once the leaf is stitched down.  BE SURE TO LEAVE A SCANT 1/4" SEAM ALLOWANCE AROUND ALL EDGES OF EACH PIECE!

Now onto the sewing (and a hand applique lesson!)

Cutting with a SCANT 1/4" around the piece to be stitched down, in this case, the green leaf, finger press the edge that will be stitched to the petal.

I hand applique right to left, and the corner placement marks on the red fabric came in handy for determining where to start and stop.  After finding the start spot, and knotting a length of the thread that will easily go around the leaf, I begin by bringing the needle up through the fold of the leaf.

Then put the needle into the start spot on the red fabric then come up a scant 1/8" away, and put the needle INTO THE FOLD of the green fabric.  There are just a few threads that are picked up.
In this photo, it looks like a lot more threads than I usually pick up, but that's okay for this first stitch, as it can fold over a bit more due to not being held down before it.

Continue stitching into the red fabric, putting the needle almost directly into where it came out, then advancing 1/8", and coming up in the fold.  I've learned that the secret to beautiful hand applique is to come up in the fold.  Anything further out into the piece, and it starts to look like a blanket stitch.
And here's the finished piece, still attached to the long strip of appliqued and waiting pieces!

Ta Da! Chain Hand-Applique! Now I have one long strip of petal/leaf units, without a single piece getting lost!  And I have thread tales so that I can continue around the leaf on the block without have to start a new thread.
Now when I'm ready to applique the unit to the block, I use a new template that combines both the petal and leaf to finish the tracing around the petal.  So if I was off a bit in leaf placement, I can make adjustments now.
Cut out the unit, with a scant 1/4" seam allowance, including the backside under the leaf.

As you can see, by leaving the seam allowance spacing between the petals when marking, the whole strip is easily filled then cut apart.  And the resulting unit is ready to applique without getting lost or turned!
And in case your wondering, the quilt I designed using this block has 48 units going left, 48 going right, and 24 each in another color-way. That would be 144!  81 down, 63 to go!

Happy Quilting!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Stitch Talk #5 Feathers

Bonus Stitch Talk this week--the designs from two of the blocks from the Blue Heart quilt, Feather Whatever and Feathers.

These two are very similar in that they are feather designs.  I do my feathers in the bump-bump method, which means there is some backtracking involved.  I'll go over the steps below.

Start by drawing a feather or teardrop shape.
Add another feather by going up the on the inside (creates the vein), and coming around the top to meet the other feather.  Don't go down to the spine.
Backtrack over the top of that second feather, then curl out and up to create the top of the next one.  Come back to the second feather, creating the vein. 
 Backtrack over this vein, up and over to create the fourth feather.

Backtrack over the curve, then bump out to start creating the fifth feather.  Continue in this manner until one side is done.
At the top, there are two options:  the thread can be cut, and the thread picked up at the start to begin the other side, or stitch back down the vein to come back up the other side.  Some people can stitch feathers coming back down, so that is another option, though not for me!

Feather Whatever is a feather variation.  In it, I put curls and hearts in instead of a full feather.
I also did both sides at the same time, creating a more free form design.
 Have fun experimenting with feathers and its different variations on your quilts!