Monday, April 22, 2013

My First Ribbons!

My guild held their biennial quilt show this weekend, which is a non-judged show.  But the Oh My Stars Challenge Quilts were awarded ribbons based on votes received from the Guild members.  Here's my entry:

Ribbon catagories were:
*Best use of Theme
*Best use of Fabric 
*Best use of Embellishment
*Best Quilting
*Viewer Favorite

And I'm happy to announce that I won for Best use of Embellishment and Best use of Theme!  My first ribbons!

We were given the following four fabrics
and the following Challenge rules:
*Any shape not to exceed 80" of perimeter
*Must include 6 square inches each of the teal and white dot fabrics 
*Must include 4 square inches each of the black and green fabrics
*Can add up to 5 additional fabrics
*Must include a pieced star, and a minimum of 4 other stars either in the fabric, piecing, quilting, applique or other embellishment but not a charm
*Have a least one embellishment (no star charm)
*Can paint, stamp, dye etc any of the fabrics 

When I first saw the teal fabric, I immediately thought of the sea and starfish.  To satisfy the pieced star requirement, I put in a can of Rockstar, which unfortunately can be found at the bottom of the sea.  But white for sand was too harsh, so I painted it to better represent sand.

Then I had fun finding different yarns, one for the seaweed stems, and another for the purple coral.  The seaweed leaves have one edge turned over a flexible wire so that they would maintain their shape, then they were tacked onto the yarn.
The fish were cut from this small piece
 and appliqued on.

Finally, beads were stitched to the starfish, and several small shells were painstakingly sewn on with monofilament thread.  It wasn't until after the project was turned in that I learned I could have hot glued them to a shank button, then sewn that on.  Live and learn!
 This was really a lot of fun to do and I'm in for the next challenge!

Happy Quilting!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Starbright progress

Finally got the time to work on the Book of the Month project, which I'm calling StarbrightThe block is called Carolyn's block from Carol Doak's 40 Bright and Bold Paper Pieced Blocks, and boy, is it bright!  But I think it's going to look awesome, even before the quilting!

So, here's the start, with all the pieces ready to go, and some pieces sewn on the paper.  
I have to admit that I used the freezer paper technique on this one, just so I could compare it to the traditional sew-through-the-paper technique.  If your not familiar with freezer paper piecing, here's a quick tutorial.

A big roll of freezer paper is found in places such as Target, Walmart, the grocery store etc.  When taking it off the roll, I iron it lightly, because it does shrink.  Doing this helps the blocks from ending up a bit too small.  

I cut the paper into 8 1/2" x 11" pieces to print foundation patterns from EQ7.  I use an inkjet printer to print on the dull side and have had no problems putting freezer paper through.
Before starting any project, I always print a test block to check the measurements of the block.  I know that my printer makes the length short, but I compensate for that by adding .05 to my block height measurement when setting up the block size to print in EQ7.
Once your blocks are the correct size, print away!  Remember to check the 'mirror' button because the sewing happens on the other side of the printout, which is the mirror image of the block.  Sometimes that matters, and other times it doesn't--just double check that mirror button!

Now for the fun part--sewing!  Set the iron to a temperature that is warm enough for the fabric to stick to the freezer paper, but not extremely hot.  Starting with the first piece and the freezer paper shiny side up, lightly tack down the fabric with the iron tip, avoiding contact between the iron and the shiny paper.  Be sure to leave a seam allowance on all sides.
Turn the unit over and fully iron down the piece.  Hold it up to the light to double check the area is covered and there is ample seam allowance.  (And yes, I know I didn't follow the number sequence here!)

Using a cardstock or a postcard as a straight edge, fold on the line for the next piece.
Keeping the paper folded, place a 1/4" ruler on the fold edge and trim the seam allowance to 1/4".
Line up the seam allowance edge with the next piece of fabric.
At the sewing machine, with the freezer paper side up, place the needle just to the right of the fold.
If you find the foot is dragging on the folded back (shiny side) piece of freezer paper, place a plain piece of paper over it for the foot to ride on.
Using a 2.0-2.2mm stitch length, stitch beside the fold.
Open up the fold, and from the fabric side, press the seam and lightly press the new piece into place.  Flip the unit over and press the paper completely onto the fabric.
To finish the block, continue folding on the seamline, trimming the seam allowance, sewing the next piece, and pressing the new piece into place on the freezer paper.

And the result is a pretty block!
Hope you have enjoyed this lesson and give paper piecing a try, either with the freezer paper method, or the sew through method.  Either way, I highly recommend Carol Doak's books, and especially her Mastering Foundation Paper Piecing at  Carol does an awesome job with hints and tricks to make the whole process easy!

Happy Quilting!   

Friday, April 12, 2013


This is my latest creation, Daisies, from Carol Doak's Craftsy class,  Mastering Foundation Paper Piecing.

Isn't it pretty?

I started the quilting last week, and blogged about stitching the rotating, repeated border with the use of a paper block template to keep track of the orientation.  You can read about that here.

And then life got in the way of my quilting!  But hey, the good news is that I've finished all the petal/leaf units that I was chain hand applique-ing!  Yeah!

Then finally got back to this one yesterday and finished up today.
Here's some detail shots:
 There was a lot of ruler work in this one but I wanted contrast with the freehand leaves in the diamonds, and the curves in the daisies.
 The combination of straight lines and curves provides interest, and helps define what it is that should stand out in the piecing.  Think of it as foreground and background.
And even though the border design was time consuming because there was no piecing to follow, it adds unity to the quilt.  Just a few things to think about when designing the quilting--it really does make the quilt!

Happy Quilting!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Stitching a Rotated, Repeated Border with Minimal Marking

I've got another quilt on the frame, but can't show the whole thing yet. The quilting was designed in the center working out.  I wanted simple lines in the central star shape, then repeated in the corners.  Sounds very cohesive, right?  Well, when doing those corners there are no patches or seam lines in the border to help with stitching orientation!
So this is a how-to on stitching a rotated, repeated ruler design in a border with only reference point marking.

Here's the finished design:
                                          Quilt Corner

And this is the quilt center:

It's made from the four corners of the blocks, with each block rotated 90 degreesIn my quilt corner, the stitching needs to rotate to match this star, but there are no piecing seam lines to help.  And I don't want to mark lines on the quilt, but I'm okay with small reference dots.

So, the solution?  A copy of the block, exactly as it is pieced, placed on the quilt border as if it were a real block.  This helps to keep track of the orientation of those pieces, and provides the angles for stitching.
The paper block does not need to be the same size as the sewn block.  The angle is the same no matter the block size. 

I mark reference points, which is the width and length of the triangle pieces.  My triangle piece at the square area was measured at 2 1/4", then marked the same distance from the center of rotation.
The length of the triangle was also measured and marked accordingly.
The long triangle was easy to stitch, because it's point to point. But the cut off one next to it was tricky.  That's where the paper block comes in handy.
Place the paper block in the proper orientation, using a ruler to line up the horizontal seam lines.  Line up a longarm ruler on the angled seam.
Stitch and use the markings on the ruler to line up the next stitching line.  Once that triangle is done, rotate the paper block 90 degrees, and repeat.

Hopefully this makes some sense!  If you find that you've designed quilting that rotates, and you want to make sure you're stitching correctly, a paper template is a lifesaver!  Sure beats ripping out stitches!!!

Happy Quilting!


Friday, April 5, 2013

Craftsy Sale and App

By now you probably know that I am a huge fan of the classes offered by  They are excellent classes put out by top teachers and I just LOVE them!

Two things got me really excited today:  Craftsy is having a Spring Sale of 75% off a different selection of classes each day from today through Monday at midnight!
Check out today's sale, and if the class you want isn't on sale, check again tomorrow!  A different set offered each day.  Oh, totally awesome!  Time to get those classes that are on my wishlist!

The second thing that got me REALLY excited is that they now have an app for iPad and iPhone!  I grabbed my phone so fast it would make your head spin!
Now I can watch anytime, anywhere!!  Double awesome!

So I'm off to check out to see what's on sale!

Happy Quilting!



Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Ripple Effect

Announcing my newest creation, Ripple Effect!
Some quilts inspire others, and some create leftovers for another, creating a chain reaction or ripple. Remember those leftover curved pieces from the Glorified 9-Patch, Oh, Baby Baby?
Couldn't let them go to waste!  So I designed Ripple Effect with a bit of a modern flair, not only in it's design, but also it's quilting.

I'd been itching for a few months to do modern style quilting after taking Angela Walter's 'Machine Quilting Negative Space' class on      
negative space online quilting class at
I used to be terrified of negative space--I would avoid Snowball blocks at all costs!  I just had no idea what to do with all that empty area.  But after taking that class, and a couple others from Craftsy, I've become more courageous.  And I designed this quilt specifically to quilt some negative space!

I love designing quilts, and have written up the pattern for Ripple Effect.  It is available through the Craftsy pattern page.  Click here to check it out!  Instructions do not require you to make the Glorified 9-Patch but if you do, you can skip a lot of steps in the instructions!

And since I'm still testing out pattern writing, I'd appreciate your feedback about the pattern.

Happy Quilting!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Freehand Fills

I wanted to learn freehand fills, and made this Blue Heart quilt just for that purpose.  They aren't perfect, but it was all about the learning!
Click on the fill Titles to go to the specific tutorial page.




 Curved Spikes

 Double Circles

Feather Whatever





 Swirls and Circles