Friday, December 22, 2017

Winter Feed

Introducing my latest quilt creation, Winter Feed.

Winter Feed, a cardinal and winter quilt scene

This one has quickly become another of my favorites for the year!

Why's that? Because it's a bright, cheerful celebration of winter, with food bringing everyone together, including birds. I love everything about it - the simplicity of the bird feeders, the fresh snow, and the beauty of the red cardinals. 

Plus, I get to view it for at least two months, because this celebrates winter, not a holiday. That's my kind of decoration!

Some closeups:
the birds on the feeders,
Winter Feed closeup 1

and the bird in the snow.

Winter Feed closeup 2

These two are busy on this feeder, with one looking like he just landed, and the other busy eating.

Winter Feed closeup 3

While this guy looks like he's full, and just checking out the scene.

Winter Feed closeup 4

This one is pecking away, while his buddy takes it all in - he's considering eating what's dropped from the feeder.

Winter Feed closeup 5

One way or another, they're happy to be together, and grateful to have seed to eat. Isn't the company of friends and good food during the holidays what it's all about?

Update: the pattern release for Winter Feed, which includes full instructions, and applique bird templates is now available in my Etsy shop.

Happy Holidays!

Follow on Bloglovin

Monday, December 18, 2017

New Favorite Applique Tool

Applique: love it or hate it. Most quilters have strong feelings one way or another, and I think most love how it looks, but don't like the process of making it.

I like applique, though I'm choosy about what I'm willing to do. I've tried hand applique, and dealt with small pieces, but I'm not willing to spend the time on that anymore.

My favorite applique technique uses fusible interfacing. I love the smooth edges that are possible after sewing, then turning the interfacing/applique piece. Seed Mix and Unlimited used this technique.

But when pieces are too small, I have the choice of turned-edge applique, or fusible. The decision of which to choose is ultimately decided by what the purpose of the final quilt is. Wall quilt, not much handling - fusible is great. Kids quilt, lots of handling - turned edge probably better. Would definitely be a bummer if those edges peeled up after a few washes.

Personally, I opt for turned-edge if possible. It's that smooth edge that I like! And how to obtain that smooth edge? Well, it requires turning and pressing the edge over a template, usually with the aid of starch.

I used to apply starch via painstakingly brushing it on. And then I discovered these: thin needle dispensers.- what a time saver!

fine needle applicator bottle

This little needle dispenses just the right amount of starch quickly and easily, saving time and not drenching the edge.

So much easier than using a brush! It certainly helped speed up the applique prep for Santa's Helper, and - hint hint, the new project. Plus these can also be used to make a fine line of glue, to hold pieces in place.

If you do a lot of applique, give these thin needle applicators a try - check out the link I gave above (no affiliation), and also search 'thin needle applicator' for several other brands. 

Oh! Now that's there's a red clue above, any more guesses on the new project?

Happy Quilting!

Follow on Bloglovin

Friday, December 15, 2017

New Project in the Works

Another quilt idea is bouncing around in my head, and is slowly coming into reality.

block sneak peek

This is just a little bit, 'cause I'm still not sure if it will be what I envision. Though the Electric Quilt software is fantastic for designing quilts, it's one thing to see the quilts on the computer, and quite another when they're in fabric.

That's because design, fabric choices, size, and placement all go into the making of a quilt, sometimes with great success, and other times, not.

So far, this quilt has challenged me with the main block. Attempting to get the point out of the seam allowance took four scrap fabric practice blocks. 

The points are either too close, or too far from the edge.

point at edge
Too Close

       point too far away from the seam allowance in attempt 1
Too Far - attempt 1


point too far away from the seam allowance in attempt 2
Too Far - attempt 2

Like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, this one is just right!

point one-fourth inch from seam allowance
Just Right!
To get 'Just Right', I tried marking the center of the strip,

marking strip center point

then lined it up with the edge I was stitching it to.

matching center point with edge

And amazingly, it worked, giving me that 1/4" seam allowance from the point. Is that luck or what???

quarter inch seam allowance from point

Now that I have the magical placement technique, making this block is simple and the rest of the quilt can proceed - I'm back to sewing and creating this vision!

Happy Quilting!

Follow on Bloglovin

Monday, December 11, 2017


Gotta love quick and easy projects! That's certainly the case with Adorn,
Adorn, in holiday fabrics, from the Make Wall Quilts

a pattern from the December Book of the Month Selection, Make Wall Quilts. (affiliate link)

Make Wall Quilts book

Created by Camille Roskelley, Adorn makes for a really nice wall decoration, or even a table topper.

Adorn pattern

I also liked how this was quilted simply, and kept with that theme on mine.

Adorn holiday wall quilt

With pale green Glide thread, the quilting echoes the diamond and triangle shapes, with a 3/4" space, followed by an inner 1/2" space, leaving the centers open.

Adorn wall quilt closeup

All of the background triangles have the same spacing, as do the upper and lower borders.

Adorn background and border quilting

Overall, a fun project, not only for the holidays but for any time. Though I cut strips from fat quarters, this is a perfect project to use up strip scraps. I'm sure we could all use lots of ideas for that - consider this one!

Happy Quilting!

Follow on Bloglovin

Friday, December 8, 2017

Pine Needle Quilting

It's December, which means Christmas, and therefore pine trees, like this one in Santa's Helper.

Santa's Helper Christmas Tree

There's a lot of quilts that have pine trees in them, usually as some sort of triangular shape, like my Holiday Forest table runner. 

Holiday Forest table runner

For these trees, the quilting is pretty simple, since the trees are far away. If they were closer, like the portion of the tree in Santa's Helper, then the quilting should make the tree look like a tree.

Santa's Helper Christmas tree closeup

So, how to quilt pine needles such that they're not a mess of spikes, or so dense one can't tell they're pine needles?

Here's my approach.

How to quilt pine needles: 

first, consider scale.

The closer the view is of the tree, the bigger the needles need to be. In Santa's Helper, the tree 'branches' are around 6" tall, which means the needles should be 1" - 2" in length. If the view is further out, with 'branches' 2" tall, then the needles would be around 1/2" long. 

second, think branching.

Pine trees, especially those used for Christmas trees, are full of multi-branching branches. Think about quilting lots of branches, then needles, off of one main branch.

third, mix up the length of the branches and needles.

To give the tree dimension, it's important to vary branch/needle length within the scale. Pine needles and branches go in all different directions, so by varying the length, a 3-D illusion is created on a 2-dimensional plane.

lastly, nest the branches.

Nesting - made by quilting the design above and below a horizontal plane, helps to blend the rows of needle and branch quilting together. If you've ever quilted pantographs, those that have wavy designs result in nested rows, to give the design an all-over look and hiding the individual rows.

For this quilt, I marked a wavy line on the fabric, which helps with the branch/needle spacing and placement within the area. It's not crucial to follow the line, but it does help with nesting. 

Ready to see those pine needles quilted?

And here's the finished tree area featured in the video.

Santa's Helper finished pine needle quilting from video

And now the tree looks like a pine tree, perfect finish!

Happy Holidays

Follow on Bloglovin

Monday, December 4, 2017

Santa's Helper

Post updated December 24, 2020.

Santa has left an early Christmas present! No, not just the inspirational backing fabric, but....

Santa's Helper with backing fabric inspiration

Oh my! Could it be a PUPPY? 

Santa's Helper puppy quilt

Oh! This little guy is adorable! And so ready play!

Santa's Helper out of the box

All wiggly and full of excitement - that tail just won't stop wagging!

Santa's Helper - my wiggly tail

Isn't he cute? Such an adorable little fellow - he came with the name 'Cooper', but for today, I'll
name him Santa's Helper!

I still can't believe Santa placed him under the tree.

Santa's Helper peeking out of the box

With so much joy, he's certainly wiggled his way into my heart! Careful - he's coming in for a lick!
Santa's Helper ready for a lick

Has Santa's Helper wiggled into your heart too? Contact me via email for adoption (that is, for the full Christmas wall hanging pattern!). As Santa's Helper, he does require an experienced owner, someone who has had puppies before, and able to deal with applique, paper piecing, and mitered corners. But once that tail starts wagging, he'll be all yours!

What's that Santa? His siblings are up for adoption too? For a set of puppy appliques, Puppy Tales comes with 3 different puppies - Cooper (seen above), Patch, and Bailey (in both golden and black), wearing a Santa hat or bandana.
black, white, and golden puppies with a santa hat or bandana
Each of these little guys measure 8" tall, and comes with complete fusing instructions, a handy resizing chart, and quilting suggestions - they sure would love to come home with you! Find Puppies Tales for adoption in the QuiltFabrication Etsy shop.

And for fun, check out the Pine Needle Quilting video to see how to quilt a pine tree!

Thank you Santa!

Follow on Bloglovin

My Favorite Patterns

Friday, December 1, 2017

December 2017 Book of the Month

It's a new month, which means a new book to explore. For the December 2017 Book of the Month, I'm choosing Make Wall Quilts, (affiliate link) full of projects from various quilters.

Make Wall Quilts book

Since December is a notoriously busy month, I'm choosing this new book to complete a quick project, just in time for gift giving.

At the moment, I have my eye on this little quilt, called Adorn by Camille Roskelley.

Adorn wall quilt

And I have fabrics in mind. Two months ago, I picked up this Classic Christmas by Michael Miller fat quarter bundle at my guild meeting, for a steal. 

Classic Christmas by Michael Miller for Fat Quarter Shop

Wouldn't it work perfectly??? I need to get started - Christmas is coming!

Happy Quilting!

Follow on Bloglovin