Sunday, December 29, 2013

Freehand Flowers and Leaves

This is another from my piecing marathon, Flowers.

The piecing on this is incredibly simple, as I wanted the quilting to bring out the flower shapes.  In retrospect, snowball blocks would have worked great for the flowers.

Each color has a different design, all done freehand.  
The pink ones are my favorite!

In the print fabric are some freehand leaves, and here's a tutorial on stitching those.

Starting at one edge, stitch a curved line for the stem and vein of the leaf.
Following the red arrows, stitch back along the vein, and form a half heart, creating one side of the leaf.
Stitch a half heart down on the other side, completing the leaf.  From there, stitch another stem and vein for another leaf.
Repeat the heart formation for one leaf side.  Notice here that I started the leaf on the left side this time, and finished on the right.
That way, after the whole leaf is stitched, I can easily continue into the open space, and haven't boxed myself in.  A lot of learning to freehand is to anticipate where the stitching is going.

Continue stitching stem, vein, and the two lobes of the leaf.
Vary the direction of the leaves to fill the space.

And the border is simple e's and l's.  This is definitely an easy, fun quilt!

Happy Quilting!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Nickel Three

Here's the last of the Nickel Trio, Nickel Three
The design on this quilt was perfect for playing with different fills.
From left to right, simple bars, circles within circles, bars that alternate from left/right to top/bottom, and swirls.

And here, left to right, a rope border trying to use the rope tool a different way (which didn't turn out so great!), alternating circles in circles, and overlapping figure eights.

Here are some backing pictures
 The above picture also shows back and forth wiggles that are in V formations, and a row of hearts.
The design of this quilt was a lot of fun to experiment on, and I highly recommend piecing bars as a great way to practice!  It's also a great way to use up fabric!

Happy Quilting!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Do You Block Your Quilts?

Today's question, "Do you block your quilts?", usually receives a 'no' answer from me, but it really depends on the ultimate use of the quilt.  Since I make a lot of quilts that are going to be hugged, no, I don't bother blocking them.  But those that are made to hang or enter shows, those get blocked.

Now, my recent Trio Two
was really a bit wavy for this picture, and I had to pin it to some piles of fabric on the floor behind the quilt to smooth it out.  I could have waited until the blocking was done to take pictures, but I was just too excited to show it!

And then my husband was eager to hang it.  Which we did, and it waved at us every time we walked by!

So, on Monday, down it came, and onto the rack!  Well, not really a rack, just some towels on the floor and some pins.
First order of business was to find a backing that would take pins.  For me that's carpet, but it might be a foam board for you. The towels are flat and smooth, so no bumps transfer to the quilt.  Using a spray bottle of water to dampen the quilt, I started pushing, pulling, and lining everything up, checking for square using a carpenter's square and a measuring tape.  Measuring from corner to corner as shown, in both directions confirms square.  Pins were pushed in at the corners and other spots to hold the quilt in place.

Now the fun part!  Heating up my iron to cotton, and filling it full of water, I hovered the iron over the quilt, hitting it with bursts of steam.  I repeated this process once more, moving slowly over the quilt, without touching it with the iron.  

And then I walked away.  For two days, it rested and dried, conforming to its new shape.  And here's the nice, FLAT result!
What a difference!  No bumps, bulges, or waves.

Hope you try this the next time you have a wall or show quilt that's waving at everyone!  That's certainly not the attention that the quilt desires!

Happy Quilting!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Trio Two--Lots of Eye Candy!

Many things delayed the finishing of this quilt, but it is now ready to show!  Introducing Trio Two, the second of the Nickel Trio.
When I pieced this, I was intending it as a baby quilt (39" x 39"), with some quilting in the white areas, and something different in the blue.  
But then I saw a quilt that had quilting in an on-point square, and thought, that would look awesome on this quilt! 
Originally, I had stars planned in the blue areas, but brought those into the white, and into the on-point square.
The stippling around the stars help them pop.  Here's a picture before I did all the backgound fills.
I could have stopped there, but the fills really help the design stand out.
The center and the corners repeat the line design, and the fills are repeated;  stippling, pebbles, and McTavish.  Thread color is a medium light blue, top and bottom.
The back is a plain blue flannel (remember, it was supposed to go to a baby!), and shows off the quilting!

This turned out so pretty, I'm keeping it for myself!  I may make another, but with different quilting, of course!

Happy Quilting!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

December Book of the Month and other miscellaneous

Another month has gone by, bringing us closer to the start of a new year, and my one year blogging anniversary.  How time flies!
For December, I thought I'd choose a book that had smaller projects, such as table runners and wall hangings.  So, Kim Schaefer's Skinny Quilts (affiliate link) gets the honor.
Maybe I'll do something seasonal, as I have a lot of holiday fabrics to use up.  Plus, I need some new placemats!

And how many of you took advantage of Black Friday sales?  Mine was spread over three days, and I have to confess I added to the stash, but it was a necessary infusion, really!  I took advantage of the sales at Joann, first with a lot of browns for a landscape quilt
then kids novelty prints and bolts of flannel, for all the baby quilts I make.  One of those prints was the pink monkeys to go with my pink/brown fat quarters--too cute!
And somehow I found room to store it all!

Happy Quilting Everyone!

Monday, November 25, 2013

One of the Nickel Trio

Here's another finish from my piecing marathon
I'm calling this 'One of the Nickel Trio' because I made two more blue nickel quilts at the same time.  Well, actually I made three more, but Nickel Quad just doesn't sound as nice!  And technically, one was from a pattern that already had a name.  So, Trio it is.

This one was really simple to put together.  Four twenty-five patch blocks, and a lot four patches on the edges and through the centers, all separated with sashing.  Really an easy way to use up nickels squares.

For the quilting, I used an all over star and swirl pantograph pattern.
'Two of the Nickel Trio' is currently on the frame, and here's a sneak peek of the quilting in progress
I was quite inspired with the quilt design on this one, so it's getting custom quilting.  Still have a long way to go!

Happy Quilting!


Friday, November 15, 2013

This Was Incredibly Fun!!

Created this awesome top yesterday afternoon--yes, just one afternoon!

Convergence quilt top

Based on Ricky Tims' Convergence Quilts book (affiliate link),

Convergence Quilts by Ricky Tims

this quilt was so easy and fun to put together - I want to do another! Just like going on an amusement ride for the first time, and running to get back in line to do it again.  Silly, I know, but it really was a lot of fun!

Here's a bit of the assembly.
My fabric choice was truly impulsive. 

fabric choices

It was a hey, I'll just use this and see what happens. 

Then the first step, cutting different width strips.

first step, cutting strips

Then sewing the strips together after shuffling them.

strips sewn together

The final convergence.

convergence top all together

And the convergence with borders.

Convergence top with added borders

How awesome is that??  

This measures approximately 37 inches square, perfect for another baby quilt. Added it to the tops that need quilting. Right now, I'm in line to get back on that ride!

Happy Quilting!
PS - for the finished quilt, see Pink Lattice

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Hanging Towels

I took a break from quilting yesterday to make some hanging towels.

I've made these in the past, and was due for some new ones, especially for the holidays.  If you'd like to make these, even as gifts, here's a tutorial.

Fabric requirements are minimal:  a 2 inch strip WOF, and a small piece approximately 12" x 4 1/2".  
A fat quarter would work just fine, but cut two strips 22" long
plus a small length approximately 4" long.  Also need a small piece of batting, 6" x 4 1/2".  And of course, a hand towel.

Cut the batting to 5 1/2" x 4 1/8".  On one 5 1/2" edge, measure over 1 1/8" from each corner, and cut a diagonal line from the bottom corner up to that measurement.
Place this batting piece on the fabric, which has been folded in half.  Cut the fabric using the batting as a template. 
I fussy cut these.
Cut the hand towel in half, then tri-fold the outer edges to the inside.
Pin in place, and stitch across the top edge with a scant 1/4" seam.

Place the back fabric right side down on the backside (the fold side), and stitch with 1/4" seam with the fabric on top.
Place the batting on the wrong side of the front fabric, and place it right side down on the front of the towel.  Stitch through all layers, with the top side up (so the batting doesn't catch on the feed dogs).
Bring both pieces together and pin.  To prepare the binding, press it in half lengthwise, then press each edge to the center.  Press again on the center fold.
Cut a 4" piece for the top edge, and stitch in place.  Trim to off the excess.
Cut the remaining binding in half, creating two pieces approximately 20" long.  Fold 1/2" of one end in

then apply to the edge of the hanger, matching the edge where hanger meets towel.  Pin in place.
Start stitching near the towel, tucking in any exposed edges.  Stitch to the end of the tie, turning the end back like before.  Repeat on the other side.  Tie and enjoy!

Happy Quilting!