Last holiday season I was invited to a Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner party where I wanted to bring a bottle of wine for the host and hostesses for each occasion. While it’s perfectly fine to bring wine itself, I wanted to dress it up a bit so I decided to make fabric bottle bags.
After finding several how-tos, I made the first one using a combination of what I’d found; taking notes and photos along the way so I could create an easy, downloadable PDF to share.
For my first project, I chose fall-like colored fabric and a shimmery orange ribbon and the duo made a lovely bottle bag, perfect for Thanksgiving!
For the second project, I used holiday inspired fabric and natural twill tape for a rustic look and together they were just right for a Christmas party.
These festive bags are not only for wine bottles, they’re also great for sparkling grape juice. And best of all, this project is SO EASY—it only takes about 25 minutes, from pressing the fabric to tying the bow! Choose one fat quarter, add some ribbon and a bit of time and you’ve got a classy gift to give. 🙂
Every year I like to take a look back at the projects I completed. While there were plenty of quilts and small projects, there was also a significant pause where I made absolutely nothing. Just needed a break I guess. 😉
I started the year off with a new pattern, Floriography. I designed it for a layer cake and tested it with one I’d had since 2015. The original pattern had square-in-a-square blocks in the sashing but once I made it I thought it might be too much fuss and if I thought so, other quilters would too. I still may offer it as Floriography II if there’s enough interest. The original quilt is for sale in my Etsy shop.
After completion, I ended up altering the pattern and offsetting the blocks so this is Floriography as it is today. The pattern is still layer cake friendly and is available for purchase in my Etsy shop. So far it’s been pretty popular and it’s so versatile with fabric cuts and colors, I used fat quarters!
Next, I played around with my Triangle Twizzle pattern by making a baby quilt first. Doing so helped me get the design where I wanted it. I really liked this one, especially the lovely pastels.
After tweaking the pattern, I ended up with my final version of Triangle Twizzle which is available in my Etsy shop with three size options: baby, small throw and large throw. It’s very easy and great for the beginner quilter.
For this quick finish I used various 2 1/2″ strips for an outdoor quilt as per my daughter’s request. She wanted it just big enough to sit on or cover up with and nothing fancy. All I did was gather a bunch of strips and put them together for a super scrappy look. The backing was a mix of gray pieces in random sizes which didn’t matter since it would be used primarily on the ground.
For the quilting, I experimented with a short zigzag stitch and really liked the results.
By early March I finished my Playful Pastels baby quilt for the Fall 2021 issue of Quilts and more. This pattern will be available when I have my copyrights back, making it the end of February 2022. I’m excited to release this pattern, renamed Pinwheels Galore; it’ll be available in four sizes: baby, throw, twin and queen.
I made The Ghost Quilt by Pen + Paper Patterns and along with it I made a few minis. It was a fun one, but it was also a ‘one and done’ one!
This was an ongoing quilt that I made using 2 1/2″ squares I cut as leftovers, although I did have to buy some yardage for the background. I absolutely love this quilt…except for the quilting…it just isn’t what I’d hoped for but it was a fun make and will someday be used on my queen size bed.
Other projects included reusable grocery bags, wine bottle bags, a pillowcase, fall leaf minis, Christmas stockings and table napkins. (A PDF wine bottle bag tutorial will be posted soon!)
I also have two other patterns nearing completion. Here’s a peek at one entitled Christmastime. It’s wall hanging size and will be available in July! The other quilt will be available in several sizes and features the ever-popular sawtooth star.
That wraps up last year and here’s looking forward to a quilty 2022! 🙂
After making a Triangle Peaks Christmas quilt last winter, I had several whimsical fabrics left over from a Moda fat quarter bundle.
I figured the leftovers would be best showcased in smaller, festive projects instead of a quilt so I decided to make handmade stockings for my family and a wine bottle bag for a host/hostess gift for an upcoming holiday party.
As a side note, I’ve written a tutorial for making this wine bottle gift bag. It’s a really quick make and requires a small amount of materials. I’ll post the tutorial sometime soon!
To get started on the stockings, I did a bit of searching to find a tutorial that best suited my needs. I wanted to make them with a one-piece front and I wanted to quilt them. I found a pattern called ‘Stocking Up’ on the All People Quilt website that was exactly what I had in mind.
I was hopeful to get two fronts out of one fat quarter, but because all fat quarters are not cut equally, I was only able to get two out of one of them. Since I was making six stockings and one wine bottle bag, and I needed fabric for cuffs, I ended up going to my LQS for an additional fat quarter.
I don’t have much of a stash but I was able to put together nice combinations of stocking fronts and cuffs with what I had on hand (one fat quarter shown ended up getting swapped out).
Having used fat quarters instead of yardage, I opted to sew a solid matching color for the backs omitting both the lining and quilting.
There were a few steps in the making process that threw me—I got confused trying to think inside out and backwards but I managed alright in the end. 😉
I chose to quilt all six the same. The front piece is a rectangle so I drew a diagonal line from corner to corner using a hera marker then quilted every 1 1/4″ with white thread.
I love the diamond pattern.
I also made my cuffs a 1/2″ longer than the pattern, just a personal preference.
I really like the variety of colors and fabrics, and overall this was a fun project to make this time of year. I’m very happy with them and I hope my recipients will be as well!
Ever since I started quilting I’ve been saving selvages. Even though I have plenty, I can’t seem to stop saving ones that have fun sayings and cute drawings printed on them.
Since I like to keep things to a minimum, I’ve found a great way to use some of those selvages—wrap them on gifts instead of ribbon—and this is the perfect time of year to do so.
Each Christmas I like to give my family members something handmade, and because everyone has received at least two quilts from me, I’ve had to think of other things to make. For the last few every years I’ve gifted my husband a bird-themed pillow case wrapped with colorful selvage.
Other gifts I’ve dressed up by using selvage is table napkins made for my kids. When I completed this set I wrapped it with selvage and tied a pretty bow. I think it classes up the bundle and makes a nice presentation.
(If you’d like to make table napkins for yourself or as gifts, I have a PDF Table Napkin Tutorial available).
Of course another good way to use selvage is wrapping and gifting a quilt. When I gift a quilt I always find a selvage that compliments the fabrics. By doing this there’s nothing to buy and I’m ready to gift or ship without doing any shopping. Nothing like saving time and money!
Another bonus to saving and using selvages is that they’re really easy to store. I just bundle a few together, place them in a large zip-lock bag and keep it in my scrap bin. It doesn’t matter that they’re creased and wrinkled, just press and trim when needed.
Not only does this put pretty selvages to good use (that may otherwise be tossed out), it’s convenient and environmentally friendly! 🙂
A couple of years ago I made a Maple Charm throw quilt by Coriander Quilts. It’s a definite all-time favorite and I bring it out every autumn (for display only). 🙂
But lately, for some reason, I’ve really slowed down on making larger size quilts and I’ve been focusing on making minis or other small sewing projects instead. Hopefully I’ve just misplaced my quilt-making motivation for a while and it’ll show up soon. 😉
In the meantime, I wanted something more than just the quilt to decorate with so I decided to make minis using just one block. I chose three traditional autumn colors for the leaves: orange, yellow and red. Some fabrics were used in the quilt, others I’ve accumulated recently.
Picking out the fabric is half the fun, isn’t it? So, once my fabric choices were decided, I made one block out of each color. For the background I used Moda’s Cream Solid, the same fabric as in the full size quilt.
Since I wanted the minis a bit bigger than the block, I added a finished 1/2″ inner border using dark brown fabric to frame the leaf in. I then added a finished 1″ outer background fabric border to make it complete. The minis finish at 15″ x 15″.
I quilted the orange and yellow minis with a diagonal serpentine stitch to give a falling/windy effect which I thought worked out rather nicely.
I quilted the red mini in a 1″ square grid, just for something different than the other two.
I also added a corner hanging sleeve in all four corners—that way I can orient the mini any way I want. This hanging method is so easy! If you’re not familiar with it, I have a Corner Hanging Sleeve Tutorial on my website if you want to give it a try.
Overall, these were a really fun project and added great color and variety to my autumn décor. They also would make nice table setting minis for your holiday displays…another reason to make a few.
For most quilters, managing stash is an ongoing process—as long you keep sewing, you keep ending up with left over fabric, especially with precuts.
Early this spring I finished a quilt using a layer cake I’d had since 2015. (Wow!) When the quilt was complete, several 10″ squares were left. I knew I’d never use them in a quilt and I didn’t want to store them, but what could I do with a dozen precut squares?
After considering a few options, I decided to make reusable table napkins for everyday use. And because I like all things environmental, it was a fun and practical choice.
These napkins finish around 8 1/2″ square and they’re so easy to make. If you’ve got any 10″ squares lying around, download this detailed Table Napkin PDF tutorial and start stashing down!
When this quilt pattern came out 4 years ago (The Ghost Quilt by Pen + Paper Patterns) I knew my daughter would ask me to make her one. What I didn’t anticipate was that it’d take that long for me to actually do it. 🙂
Once fabrics were decided upon, ordered and received, from start to finish it took me a couple of months, mainly because I worked on other things in between and those cute little ghosts could be a challenge to line up!
The quilt itself requires 25 ghost blocks, but I decided to go through my gray fabric and having enough, I made 4 extra blocks, added a small border and made them into minis to give as gifts.
…I did keep one for myself though. 😉
For the throw size quilt fabrics, I used Kona Solid Gotham Gray for the background and Kona Solid Crocus for the binding which looks great paired together and they’re definitely in the spirit of Halloween. For the minis, I used Kona’s Gotham Gray, Coal and Metal for the backgrounds and School Bus for bindings.
For quilting, I ran a vertical serpentine stitch about 1 1/2″ apart. You can see how it gives the quilt movement and a bit of a spooky vibe.
The backing is a fun black and white asterisk print that worked perfectly because the asterisks kind of look like mini spider webs.
I think this pattern is one of the cutest ones out there. And it’s a fun make too. I’m glad I finally got around to seeing this project through even if it was on my list for a really, really long time.
Even though summer has just left us, now’s the time to get started on our holiday sewing projects. It’s definitely not too early especially if you plan to make a quilt and would like to have it finished in plenty of time.
I’ve noticed a lot a quilt patterns out there are so close to being the same as one another, and well, it’s getting kind of old. In order to make what change I could, I decided to design something completely different, and what better subject is there than the holidays? So last year I set to work and came up with my Holiday Hemlocks throw quilt in two versions, Scrappy Holiday Hemlocks PDF pattern…
There’s no denying this quilt design is definitely different than any other holiday quilt, right? Well, that’s exactly what I was going for. But different doesn’t mean difficult. 😉
Here are a few things I’d like to note about these quilts…they’re traditionally pieced with no tricky blocks involved, and the patterns are suitable for anyone who has made only a couple of quilts! In fact, one of my testers was an absolute beginner and hers turned out great.
My patterns are always clearly written with step-by-step instructions, there are also plenty of detailed, colorful diagrams throughout.
Don’t have time to make an entire quilt? Try this festive little mini instead—Wee Three Trees.
This pattern is by far the best seller in my Etsy shop. I made the one photographed here for myself, but I’ve made several of them for gifts, too. Wee Three Trees is a relatively quick make, you could easily whip one up in a weekend.
Last week I received an inquiry from a customer regarding the purchase of my Stars and Four Patches quilt listed in my Etsy shop.
A woman from Wisconsin was interested in gifting this quilt to someone before they were scheduled to take an Honor Flight at the end of the month. She needed it in a few days to have it in time; could I send it ASAP?
Ends up, of course I could (and did) but what, after all, is an Honor Flight?
One quick internet search turned up this: The mission of Honor Flight is to transport America’s veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorials dedicated to honoring those who have served and sacrificed for our country.
This service shows an unmeasureable expression of respect for veterans, I can only imagine how important taking this trip would be for them.
As for myself, I have to admit I was really touched…I felt it was an honor for me knowing a quilt I made was chosen to be given to someone special to help signify a momentous life event. I never thought a quilt would have that sort of impact.
Even though I’ll never meet the buyer or the recipient, and I’ll probably never know what war this veteran fought in, I do feel like I was a part of this celebration in a quiet way.
As for the gifted quilt, I made it in 2017 with every intention of keeping it but time passed and I had to pare down on my quilts. I thought this one in particular could be enjoyed by someone else so I decided to part with it. I’m glad for those decisions because more than likely this red, white and blue quilt has more of a profound meaning to the new owner. And what an intersting story I now have to tell about a patriotic quilt I once made…
By now the Honor Flight has come and gone; hopefully it went well. This occasion has reminded me of the thanks we owe our veterans for their invaluable service.
I’m happy to say that my baby quilt Playful Pastels is finally published!
I say ‘finally’ because it was quite a long process. To start, it was early June 2020 when I submitted my project for publication consideration to Better Homes & Gardens’ quilting magazine, Quilts & more. Whenever I do so, I know it’ll take a while to hear back, but when I did it wasn’t until the Fall 2021 issue that there was a spot for it. The timeframe was perfectly fine, but wow, that seems like forever ago!
After accepting the terms and working out the details, I had to make the quilt. Since it was a baby quilt, I wanted to use pastel colors so I chose the Blossom collection by Christopher Thompson. I usually lean toward small prints and this line is just background color with a small white design that looks like tiny flowers. As for the timeline, it was early February 2021 when I requested fabric from Riley Blake Designs.
The fabric arrived quickly but because I had a deadline of March 10, 2021, I started on it right away.
Playful Pastels is a really quick make so I was able to finish by the end of February. Here’s what makes it go so fast…there are only 9 main blocks, the pinwheels. The sashing around them is strip-pieced, meaning you sew the pieces together when they’re long, then cut them down to the size you need. That way you’re not sewing small pieces together.
For the quilting, I did a 1 1/4″ crosshatch design. I learned (the hard way) that you need to use a lot of pins when quilting, so I made sure I did when basting. Constantly moving the pins was pretty time consuming, but the results made it worth the effort.
I was able to ship my quilt out early March; then I could finally relax. 😉
Months previously I’d submitted instructions along with diagrams. Once everything was ready to go to print in June, I was given an electronic copy for proofing. It all looked good, so the rest was just waiting until publication in August.
Last week I received the photos I was permitted to use. Here’s a look…
Cute, right? I really like this set up! 🙂
The Fall 2021 issue of Quilts & more is available for purchase August 6th. There are a lot of nice projects included so be sure to get a copy!