Monday, March 31, 2014

Black and White with a Touch of Red

My latest project, a commissioned quilt, is black and white, with a bit of red, of course!  Here's a few of the blocks
I really love the look of the small black on white prints, 

but turns out I didn't have enough in my stash.  So, off to my two LQS (local quilt store) where I found four more prints.
Here's the new prints in strip sets ready for subcutting.
 and here's one ready to be sewn into a block.
I've still got several blocks to go, and I'll post when the top is done.

And announcing the winner of the Craftsy class giveaway!  Craftsy had twenty nine entries, and randomly selected #20, Beth S.  Congratulations Beth!  Hopefully you have received a Craftsy email with the link to your free class.  Enjoy!

Happy Quilting!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Bit of Americana

As I'm still trying to restore some of my quilting mojo, I decided a quick project was in order.  I've had two red, white, and blue odd sized panels laying around forever, and decided it was time to quilt them up.  Let me introduce Americana.
This baby is big, for me at least!  Measuring in at 57" x 90", this quilt is destined for the VA hospital.

The center courthouse steps panel is 24" x 90".  I could have cut it in half, then pieced them side by side, but the length was already correct for the size requirement of the VA.  And because I didn't want to spend a lot of time piecing more blocks, I decided to just add multiple borders to the sides to increase the width.  And I found the perfect fabrics in my stash to continue the theme.  Yeah!

This quilt also served another purpose, testing out the new cable that hooks up my robot to the machine.  I've been without a working longarm for 3 weeks, which also didn't help the mojo.  But I'm happy to say the cable works, as I did a star panto on this one.
Hope everyone got a chance to enter the free Craftsy class giveaway.  The drawing is now over, and I've let Craftsy know it's time to pick a winner.  Watch your inbox for the notification from Craftsy!

Happy Quilting!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Quilting Mojo

I hear a lot of people say that their quilting 'mojo' is gone, and that they need something to restart it.  That 'something' could be as simple as a new fabric purchase, a new quilt magazine or book, or maybe something inspiring that we see in our everyday lives.  For me, all it took was today's guild meeting!

Over the past few weeks, for reasons out of my control, my mojo has been diminishing, reaching a low last week.  And it hasn't helped that my longarm quilting is at a standstill as I wait for a new cable.  Longarm quilting is one of my respites from everyday worries.

So, thank goodness for the guild meeting!  I picked up a few pieces of fabric, a few magazines, chatted with others, and got some good laughs from our speaker, Joe Cunningham (
And to top it off, I won another basket, this one full of landscape fabric, and a pretty panel to quilt up! 
Wonderful to win, as it certainly made my day!

It's amazing how one thing can help the mojo return.  So if you're feeling uninspired, don't give up!  Your mojo will return, it just needs a little spark to get it going.  And that spark could be anything.

Now, if that cable would just get here....

Happy Quilting!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Applique Update

The blocks are finished!

Originally from a Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks publication,
I tweaked them a bit for hand applique.

Now they just need trimming to size, and they are ready to go for assembly.  Can't believe I'm almost there!

Sorry I'm not showing the layout--it's a surprise!  And speaking of surprises, how would you like the surprise of being the winner of the free class Fun with Fusible Applique from Craftsy?!
Just click on the picture which takes you to Craftsy to enter!  And it's free!  Contest open until March 26 at midnight, then Craftsy will pick a winner and send the link for the free class.
Good luck!

Happy Quilting!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Freezer Paper Applique

Time for a freezer paper applique lesson!
My hand applique project I've worked on for almost two years is finally coming to an end!  I have all the petals and leaves stitched, but now it's time to add the 'button' to the center, to cover up some ugliness!
To make these 'buttons', I printed 1" circles on freezer paper, and ironed them to another piece of freezer paper, making two layers.  Two layers of freezer paper creates a nice firm surface to fold against
After cutting on the lines, the dots were pressed to the wrong side of the fabric, which is the black dot.
After cutting again, but leaving a scant 1/4" margin of fabric around each dot, they are ready for edge turning.

For this project, I sprayed sizing into a cup, then applied it with a brush around the edge of the dot.  The sizing helps the edge hold its shape.

And with a stiletto and the tip of an iron, the fabric was ironed over the freezer paper edge. 
Here's a trick to folding over which helps eliminate points.  While ironing in a counter clockwise direction, use the stiletto to fold the fabric over and pull it down toward the iron.  Iron just this little bit.  Going too far to the left with the iron causes the crease to extend too long.  Then when trying to fold over the next area, a point results because the fabric is already creased. 

Now my little 'buttons' are done!
When stitching these to the blocks, I chose to remove the freezer paper beforehand.  
They're so small, so I wasn't worried about them loosing their shape.  But it's okay to leave the freezer paper in and do the stitching, either by hand or machine.  To remove the paper, just trim out the back fabric, spritz the paper with water, let it absorb, then pull out the paper.

And now I have the finished 'buttons' to my blocks!
For previous posts regarding this project, check out 
Chain Hand Applique and Setting In Triangles.

Please don't forget to enter for the Craftsy class giveaway, Fun with Fusible Applique!!
Just click on the picture to go to Craftsy to enter!  Contest is open until March 26, when Craftsy will draw a winner and send the link for the free class.  Good luck!

Happy Quilting!


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Fusible Applique and Giveaway

I'm still working on which applique technique I like:  edge fused, fully fused, freezer paper turned edge, or needle turned.  That's a lot of choices!  But I'm coming to the conclusion that I'll do whatever the situation calls for.

Here's a quick overview:
Edge Fused
The reverse of the applique is traced onto fusible release paper, and roughly cut out.  The center of the fusible is also cut out, leaving a 1/4" margin of fusible around the edge.  Apply this to the backside of the fabric, then cut the fabric and fusible around the outside edge.

Fuse to the main fabric, stitch the edges (I always use a stabilizer on the back),
then carefully cut away the non-fused fabric in the middle, on the back.
The advantages to this technique is avoiding show through of a background fabric, and providing a soft hand to the applique.

Fully Fused Applique is just that--the whole applique piece is fused.
Again, trace the reverse of the image on fusible release paper, roughly cut out, and apply to the fabric.  Then cut the fabric and fusible around the outside edge.  Fuse to the background.
Stitch around the shape, again using a stabilizer.
The background remains, and that's okay because it won't show through.  This method is fast, but gives the applique a stiffer hand.

As for hand applique, please see my post Chain Hand Applique (click here) which is a bit slower, but gives beautiful results.  

And then there is Freezer Paper Applique, but I'll save that for another day!
With all this applique going on, I'm hosting a Giveaway for a FREE Craftsy class, Fun with Fusible Applique to one lucky winner!!
Just click on the picture to go to the Craftsy site to register.  Contest  is open until March 26, then Craftsy will pick a winner and send the link for the free class!

Good Luck!
Happy Quilting!


Monday, March 10, 2014

Sewing Diamonds

Today, there's more about diamonds, and also a giveaway!  I know everyone loves giveaways, but first, the diamonds. 
Sewing diamonds was a lot easier than I thought it would be! Using a technique of stitching just at the seam intersections, then checking the join, helped to relieve a lot of tearing out frustration.

Here's a tutorial on how to do this.
First, the diamonds are sewn together into rows.  Start by laying the second diamond in the row on top of the first,
leaving a scant 1/4" tall dog ear.
Stitch with a scant 1/4" seam.
Press gently to one side, keeping the edge in a straight line.  Do not distort the strip!
Repeat for all the rows.
When all rows in one direction are sewn, place a pin in each row at the first intersections to be joined.  Otherwise, it can get confusing as to which intersection gets sewn to which!  And yes, I speak from experience!

Match up the intersections, fold the seam allowance back a scant 1/4" to check alignment.
Stitch about 8-12 stitches (1/2") through this intersection.
Open the rows, and check the alignment.  Here my seams are not matched.
But no biggie, I just have to take out a few stitches and try again.
Perfect!  At least for me!

Continue this process for all seams.  When done, stitch the entire length of the rows.  Try to stitch over the previous stitching, because too far left, and a bigger bite gets taken, causing a mismatched seam.  

And when it's all done, press gently, and enjoy!
I'm really thrilled this went together so easily!  Makes me want to make another.  But as for this one, I'm thinking an ocean scene, which will require some applique.  

I don't do a lot of applique, mainly because I haven't found a method I really like.  But to help, I'm considering's new class, Fun with Fusible Applique.">Enter to win a Craftsy class!
Or one of their other applique classes--so hard to choose!

Happy Quilting!