Uncategorized

Boxed Candy Toss Quilt with Tips & Techniques

I finally did it—I made a quilt for my mom. After making several for other family members, non-relatives and donating a couple, I felt it was about time. (I think she might have been waiting for one for quite some time, too).

When asked what she wanted, I got a few easy requests: the quilt be made from my own pattern, Boxed Candy Toss Quilt (tutorial here); that I use pastel-colored fabrics; and that I do my own quilting, design included. Done, done and done.

At first I thought I’d work on it with no time frame, then I resolved to have it done by Christmas. Since I started early enough, I decided to document the process and share some of the tips and techniques I used when making it.

First, the fabric. The quilt top fabric collection is Colette by Chez Moi for Moda (an older collection that I had to have, luckily found on Etsy). The background fabric is Kona Cotton Snow.

The backing (left) is Fleur by Brenda Riddle Designs for Moda and the binding is also Chez Moi from the Nanette collection. I used Aurifil 50wt 2026 for piecing and quilting.

IMGP6631

I have to admit it was a bit weird following my own tutorial, but soon the blocks were done and my quilt top was finished and sandwiched. Before I began quilting, I sewed a basting stitch along the top edge, approximately 1/8″ down, to help to keep everything from shifting and pulling. This is the first time I ever did this and I highly recommend it; it worked great.

IMGP6665

I often think it would be interesting to know how much time we actually spend making a quilt, especially if we do the quilting ourselves. I spent several hours quilting this one, mainly because I used a hera marker for marking the lines (I had to go over them a few times) and the rounded quilting design is more of a challenge than just a straight line—but still fun!

For the wavy lines, I created a quilting template by drawing the design I wanted then tested it to make sure I’d be able to maneuver it through my machine with fluidity. Once I determined it was manageable, I transferred the pattern onto poster board. Something sturdier would have been better, but it worked out OK.

IMGP6659

I always make my binding 2 ½” wide and sew it on using my ¼” foot. Once attached, I secure it with wonder clips and run a basting stitch by hand before sewing it down. In the past, I’ve tried removing the clips while machine sewing, but I ended up with crooked binding on the back. The basting stitch keeps everything secure when sewing, especially if machine sewing the binding. Sure, it’s another step but it’s well worth the extra time and effort.

IMGP6668

I chose to machine bind this quilt using my stitch-in-the-ditch foot (as I always do when machine binding). In this case, I put my needle setting on 7mm instead of ¼” when I attached the binding to the front.

IMGP6680

I only use the 7mm setting if there is a border or if cutting off points on blocks is not an issue (as 7mm is a bit wider than ¼”).  And here’s why I chose to do this…

IMGP6692

the stitching on the back ends up nice and close to the binding edge. That extra width makes quite a bit of difference!

At last, the finished quilt!

IMGP6709

IMGP6702

IMGP6706.jpg

IMGP6710.jpg

I hope you’ll try out some of these methods if you haven’t used them in the past.  Feel free to leave me comment if you do try something; I’d like to know how it works for you.

 

Uncategorized

Inspired by Fabric

IMG_3362

I was recently asked if fabric has ever inspired me and my immediate answer was ‘Yes!’ The best example I can give is my Dash into Spring Placemat.

The story behind the idea is pretty simple. As a gift, I was given two charm packs of Moda’s Dot, Dot, Dash! by Me and My Sister Designs. For some reason, I never put them with my stash; I found myself thumbing through the brightly colored fabrics…green, pink, purple, yellow, and blue. And then it came to me—a placemat depicting an outside scene complete with grass, butterflies, flowers, sky and sun! The colors were perfect for it, and all I’d need is one charm pack. I can’t explain where the idea came from other than by just looking at the fabric and thinking about what I could do with it.

So there it was, I had my idea. To get started, I looked up the average placemat size and then I sketched it. Once the design was determined, I made a sample with scraps. Admittedly, the sample process always takes a few tries. Once I finally got it scaled correctly, I took a photo and sent it to a few family members asking them to tell me what they saw (due to the abstract design I felt this was a necessary step). Everyone recognized it for what it was supposed to be so I was good to go!

Next, I began writing the pattern. While doing so, I decided to make it a tutorial instead. Then I decided to submit the tutorial to the Moda Bake Shop. It was my first time submitting any of my work, so you can imagine how excited I was when it was accepted.

In March 2016, my Dash into Spring Placemat was featured on the Moda Bake Shop. It’s also available on Craftsy and right here: dash into spring placemat tutorial PDF.

IMGP5252c

So, sure, fabric can inspire us. I hope a gift of fabric has inspired you too as a fellow quilter!
quilting

Fun Project Storage / #3

I think it’s safe to say that most quilters work on more than one project at a time. Often times I do, especially when I feel the need to make something with a quick finish while working on a time-consuming quilt. Whether you work on one project at at time or many, good organization is essential. I’ve found that having an efficient storage system in place can also help when other things in life interrupt a project and it has to be put on hold. It can come in handy too, when you work ahead, e.g. cut fabric for an upcoming quilt, etc.

To keep organized, I use plastic bins with a fun labeling system. I found these reusable mini chalkboard labels at Target (four for $3).

IMGP6365

Cute, right? Also easy to attach and fun to use!

Onto my plastic bins…they’re great in a lot of ways—they’re affordable, stackable, washable and nicely sized (10″ W x 13″ L). I’ve found this ‘medium’ size is perfect for both large and small projects. I purchased mine at Target for about $5 each.

IMGP6391

Lastly, fabric storage for everyday use. While I use a plastic cart with only four drawers for my fabric (I don’t have a large stash), I found I didn’t have room or easy access to my leftover layer cake squares. To solve that problem, I purchased this sturdy bin to keep all my pieces in one place. It fits nicely on my closet shelf and I can get to it easily as needed, and who doesn’t love storage with polka dots?!?

IMGP6387

Because I don’t intend to use it for anything else, I applied permanent scrapbooking letters instead of chalk for labeling.

I hope this post helps you with your storage needs and/or gives you some organization inspiration!

Note: I am not endorsed by any product I have mentioned in this post; they are just items I like, use and wanted to share information on.

Uncategorized

Stars & Four Patches Quilt

IMGP6462

While vacationing out west last summer, I visited a beautiful quilt store in Garden City, Idaho (Quilt Expressions). Upon entering, I instantly fell in love with a gorgeous red, white and blue quilt I knew I’d have to make for myself. Before leaving, I purchased the red and blue fat quarter bundle, and because I wanted mine to have an Americana look, I chose Bella Solids Natural as a background fabric.

I didn’t start this quilt until December—figuring it was about time since I bought the fabric in July. Once the top was finished, I decided to have it professionally quilted because it was on the larger side and I didn’t feel I could do it justice. And wow, am I glad I did!

My longarmer, Laurie, suggested a block-by-block pattern and I agreed it would look great…and when I saw it I was floored. She even added an additional scalloped allover edge because the design didn’t go far enough into the borders. Needless to say, I absolutely love it!

IMGP6525

IMGP6541.JPG

IMGP6539

As of today, I have two holiday-themed quilts, this one and a Christmassy one. I plan to continue on, but which one do I do next?

The pattern is Stars & Four Patches by Moda (free online here:)

http://www.unitednotions.com/fp_BSPK1301.pdf

IMGP6483.jpg

Quilt top is a variety of fabric manufacturers. Quilt backing is Moda Sundance Trail/Light Blue Flags by Sara Khammash. Binding is Benartex Moose on the Loose/Stars Cranberry. Finished size is approximately 71″ x 88″.

IMGP6449

Uncategorized

Small Items Storage Tips / #2

I think storing things by stacking is always a good idea. Not only does it help with keeping like things together, it also saves space—mainly because shelves are usually far enough apart that a stack can easily be accommodated. I also like to use containers that are the same; it helps me quickly identify what’s inside at a glance.

For example, I put all my pins in plastic boxes called ‘Really Useful Box.’ I purchased mine at Staples for approximately $1 each. They’re available in different colors and sizes so you can probably find a box to fit your needs. Selling features include: stacking nicely, hinges that insure securely attached lids, transparent plastic, durability and affordability.

IMGP6377

I also like to use storage units that are unique and fun. I received this wooden box as a gift and the first thing I thought was how it would be great for storing thread!

IMGP6385.JPG

By luck, the compartments are the perfect size for both sizes of Aurifil spools as well as other brands, and additional odds and ends too.

IMGP6382.jpg

I hope this post helps with your storage needs, or at least helps spark some ideas!

Note: I am not endorsed by any product I have mentioned in this post; they are just items I like, use and wanted to share information on.

Uncategorized

Mini Quilt Storage Tip / #1

As quilters, or any type of crafter, we’re always looking for ways to get and stay  organized. We all know that if we don’t have an effective system in place, fabric, rulers, notions, tools, etc. can start to pile up around us. Since keeping organized is essential, I’ve decided to blog a mini-series offering organizational tips, ideas and solutions that work for me and ones that you might want to try yourself.

The first tip I’d like to share is my solution for storing mini quilts. A lot of us love mini quilts because they’re cute and fun to make, but if you’re like me and don’t hang them on your walls, they start to accumulate. Since I only hang one at a time on my sewing room door, the others were starting to pile up.

PROBLEM: Space was limited; some would fit in my quilt cabinet and others were too big and kept getting shuffled around ending up with bent corners. I definitely needed one place for all of them.

SOLUTION: Hang them up with regular clothes hangers! It works great. You’ll notice in the photo that the width of the mini determines how far down on the hanger it hangs. The largest one I have is 19″ wide and the hanger still fits, but it probably won’t work for minis much larger.

IMGP6361

I should note that I make my mini quilts by adding sleeves and a dowel rod as demonstrated in this video from The Fat Quarter Shop https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EsCkY6LK2os

If you don’t already use this method, give it a try!
Uncategorized

Large Granny Square Quilts

I finally finished and gifted the second of two large granny square quilts, and what a long time coming! I made most of the blocks in September 2016 and had a great vision for a quilt, but for some reason I put them aside as a UFO (first time I ever did that). In the mean time, I was sidetracked with several holiday-themed projects…all the while my large granny square blocks sat untouched.

In January 2017, my local guild asked for quilt donations to support the Hopes and Dreams Quilt Challenge for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), and I immediately remembered my UFO. Because the size requirements were pretty small, I used only twelve squares of the blues, tans and oranges, and in no time my quilt was complete and donated.

FullSizeRender

The remaining blocks were put aside until March when I heard a niece was getting married. Of course, the first thing I thought was how they would make a perfect wedding gift! Luckily, I was able to get two more charm packs of Moda’s Miss Kate fabric as I was a few blocks shy. I had already purchased backing and binding fabric so I was set to go. Overall, I finished the quilt relatively quick having quilted it on my Janome in straight-lined crosshatching with machined binding.

IMGP6299

IMGP6274

IMGP6292.JPG

I’m happy that I can finally share these photos as I didn’t want to post them until the quilt was gifted at the wedding shower in August.

IMGP6242.jpg

Here it is photographed on a ladder my husband and I made for hanging and displaying quilts.  And lastly, below is a close up of the fun fabric I used on the back.

IMGP6285.JPG