mini quilts, quilting, tutorials

Scrappy Heart Block Tutorial

In the spirit of upcoming Valentine’s Day, I wanted to make a scrappy heart out of fabric I had on hand; then I took it one step further and decided it would be fun to make a tutorial.

Overall, this block is perfect for the beginner quilter because it’s super easy and quick, but that doesn’t mean an experienced can’t quilter can have fun making it! It makes a great gift or a nice mini for yourself…I hope you give it a try.

To get started, choose your fabric. The pattern requires 2 ½” and 3″ squares for the heart section, also for the heart background, so strips, squares or scraps will work. I chose ten different prints as to have plenty of variety.

Materials needed: Equivalent of one fat quarter of color/print fabric in at least 3” strips or scraps for heart; one fat quarter of background fabric. General sewing/quilting materials such as a ruler, cutting mat, rotary cutter, thread, scissors, pins, iron, sewing machine.

I used fabric left over from a quilt I made myself a few years ago, Riley Blake Designs Just Dreamy 2 by My Mind’s Eye. To this day I absolutely love that quilt because the fabrics are so cute and happy, also making them perfect for this project. And the colors are great for Valentine’s Day! For the background fabric, I chose Kona Cotton White .

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Riley Blake Designs Just Dreamy 2 by My Mind’s Eye

Here are some general guidelines:

  • Use 1/4″ seam allowance throughout
  • Press seams open (not borders)
  • RST = Right Sides Together

Once you’ve chosen your fabric, it’s time to cut.

From printed fabric, cut:

20 – 2 ½” squares

5 – 3″ squares

From background fabric, cut:

5 – 3″ squares

2 – 2 ½” squares

2 – 2 ½” x 4 ½” rectangles

2 – 2 ½” x 12 ½” rectangles (borders)

2 – 2 ½” x 16 ½” rectangles (borders)

Next step, draw a diagonal line on the back of all five 3″ background squares in preparation for making half square triangles (HSTs).

To make HSTs: Place a 3″ background square on a printed 3″ square, RST. Sew ¼” on both sides of the drawn line. Make five.

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Cut on the drawn line. Press. One sewn unit will give you two HSTs, you’ll have ten total. Trim to 2 ½” square. For superior accuracy, I used my Bloc-Loc ruler; however, a regular quilter’s ruler will work fine.

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Time to choose your layout. I spread out my colors fairly evenly, but anything goes!

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Tip: It’s a good idea to take a photo of your block once the layout is decided; it’s a helpful reference tool when sewing the block together.

To make rows, sew squares together keeping in layout order. I usually press seams in opposite directions per row for nesting purposes, but because the squares are rather small, open pressed seams will help reduce bulk. The block will lay flatter having done so.

Keeping your rows in correct order, sew together in pairs, and then sew pairs together. I used a pin at every seam so they’ll line up nicely.

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Results from all that pinning!

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With your block sewn and pressed (measuring 12 ½” square), the next and final step is attaching the borders. Pin one  2 ½” x 12 ½” rectangle to each side of the heart. Sew*, press toward border.

*Tip: When sewing on borders, place them on the underneath side of the block (feed dogs side) to avoid sewing pressed seams in the wrong direction. Also, if your border is a bit longer (as mine was), the feed dogs will help ease in the extra length.

Attach one 2 ½” x 16 ½” rectangle to both the top and bottom of the heart block. Press toward border.

And done!

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Block measures 16 ½” square.

I haven’t decided what I am going to do with mine, there are so many options! I could make it into a pillow, a quilted mini or add others to it and make it into a quilt. Also, be sure to trim all the threads off the back before doing anything; it’s a terrible task but makes all the difference.

Tip: Since I used 5″ squares, I had leftover pieces from cutting the 3″ squares. To reduce waste, I cut them into 1 ½” squares so I could use them in future projects.

Happy Valentine’s Day

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

baby quilts

Another Checkered Baby Quilt

Recently, a friend of mine asked me to make her a quilt as a gift for her friend who just had a baby boy. I don’t usually make commissioned quilts, but of course, for a friend! The baby’s dad is a huge fan of The Little Prince story so I set out to find themed fabric, and to my surprise, I found a Riley Blake collection.

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After mulling over pattern designs and how to best showcase all the fabrics, we decided on the easy, basic Checkered Baby Quilt. I like to use flannel backing on baby quilts, so we chose a cute star print that blended nicely with the others. And because I am one who certainly can’t turn down striped binding, we settled on the blue, with yellow stars and green stripes.

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Upon the arrival of new fabric, I immediately got to work (more like ‘play’). As in making any quilt, I used some helpful techniques. After pin basting and before any quilting, I ran a long basting stitch across the top edge of the quilt, about an 1/8″ down. This helps to eliminate any pull from quilting and it helps reduce shifting. Also, if the stitches are sewn less than 1/4″ from the edge, you won’t have to remove them before attaching the binding.

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Initially, I did the top only but I ended up adding a basting stitch along both sides because of slight puckering when sewing on the binding. It only took a few minutes and solved the problem.

And lastly, if you have labels, be sure to sew one on the backing before quilting!

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Here are a few photos of the finished quilt. My friend was pleased with the results, and I hope the new mom and dad are too.

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I’d also like to mention that if you’re a beginner quilter or know someone who is, I highly recommend this pattern. Not only is it easy, it’s fun! It’s straight-forward, there are no bias edges, no half square triangles, and no cutting if you use precuts!

Last spring I made a Checkered Baby Quilt as a gift, and at that time I made a tutorial. If you or a friend would like to give it a try, here’s the link to my easy-to-follow tutorial: Checkered Baby Quilt PDF

mini quilts, quilting, Uncategorized

Mini Mania

Doesn’t everyone pretty much love mini quilts? I’m a big fan because they’re cute, they’re not a huge commitment, they go together fast and they’re fun! I enjoy whipping one up in between bigger projects when I feel I need a break.  While I’m not one to hang them all over my sewing room walls, I do like to decorate my door with one at a time; as seasons and holidays change, I change my door decor. Since I’m ready to put up a Valentine’s Day mini, I thought it would be a good time to post ones I’ve made. I’ve given some away but I still have a small collection, and of course I intend to add more.

First up are my circus minis. I released the patterns for these nearly two years ago (my first patterns). They measure roughly a foot square each and for sure would brighten up anyone’s room! Patterns are available here: Monday Morning Designs Patterns

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Circus Lion Mini
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Circus Elephant Mini
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Circus Tent Mini

I blogged about these in my last entry (more information if you scroll to my last post). I made them as gifts, using a Moda Concrete mini charm pack for each.

I also mentioned this mini in my last entry; I kept it for myself because I absolutely love this Riley Blake collection, Floriography.

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I found this free pattern on Instagram and had to make one for myself. It’s available from The Family Hearth, found here: Full Bloom Mini Quilt Pattern. I used my absolute favorite, Art Gallery Fabrics, Etno by Pat Bravo—that’s why I couldn’t part with it!

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Full Bloom Mini Quilt

These butterfly minis were given to my mom as a gift. I made them out of scraps and free motion quilted them, which actually came out pretty decent since it’s not a strong suit of mine! The pattern is by Lella Boutique.

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Social Butterfly Mini Quilt

I mentioned these last time too…

My latest finish is this Friendship Star Mini Quilt, found on Pinterest. I couldn’t get the free pattern to download so I made it by looking at the photo. I am going to donate it to my local guild for the quilt show boutique, hopefully it’ll sell, but since I really like the way it came out I wouldn’t mind keeping it for myself…

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That’s it so far. I’m always looking for something cute and fun so if you’ve got any suggestions, please send them my way!

quilting, Uncategorized

2017 Project Recap

After posting my ‘best nine’ on Instagram, I thought it would be a nice idea to recap all the projects I completed throughout 2017. Since I didn’t start my blog until May, a few have not been posted here.  Along with photos, I am including links to patterns and tutorials in case anyone is interested in making their own.

My first finish of the year was my Boxed Candy Toss Quilt and tutorial. I designed the pattern and made the tutorial for the Moda Bake Shop. I used Me & My Sister Designs Rainy Day! Here’s a link to the free tutorial: Boxed Candy Toss Quilt Tutorial

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Next, I made this heart mini, mostly out of scraps. The fabrics used were Riley Blake, Dear Stella and Moda; all left from quilts I made or fat quarters from a bundle purchased for something else. I wanted a Valentine’s Day themed mini to hang on my sewing room door. I searched and found this tutorial Dear Stella Big Love Tutorial and sized down the piecing dimensions suitable for a mini (the pattern is for a larger size quilt). I love the results! And I was pleasantly surprised when it was featured on Instagram in a collage post #makemodern.

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Early in the year my local guild asked for quilt donations for patients with Lou Gehrig’s disease. Apparently Quilters Dream Batting donates to my guild and in thanks, several quilts were donated back to them. I donated this one.

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I also made the same quilt pattern, using the same fabrics, for a wedding gift for a niece.

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Fabric is Miss Kate by Bonnie & Camille for Moda. I found the tutorial on Craftsy, link here: Large Granny Square Quilt Tutorial

In March I submitted these Sunrise Clock Mug Rugs to Modern Patchwork magazine. Lucky for me they were accepted and published in the September/October 2017 edition. It was really fun to have one of my projects in a magazine!

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I finished another quilt top (I have yet to quilt it) but since I loved the jewel tones in this Basic Mixology collection, I made this mini out of leftover strips. No tutorial, just improvised as I went along.

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Sometimes I like to take a break from making a quilt, so I throw in a smaller project. I decided I needed a sleeve for my laptop. I found this lovely tutorial from Lella Boutique. Both fun and easy!  Lella Boutique Laptop Love Tutorial

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I made this baby quilt for my husband’s coworker. I used leftover Miss Kate fabric and put white flannel with pink polka dots on the back. I think the mom-to-be was happy with it! I made an easy-to-follow tutorial, especially for beginners; here’s the link: Checkered Baby Quilt Tutorial

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I made two of these star minis for very dear friends of mine. I used Moda’s Rustic Weave mini charm packs for both. The pattern is Summer Star, here’s the link for more pattern information: Summer Star Mini Quilt

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I designed this elephant baby quilt last year, but I didn’t want to release the pattern until I had it tested. Thanks to my testers, Ange and Kathy, it’s now for sale, available for a pdf download: Lovable Elephants Baby Quilt. I used Dear Stella Mini Dot fabrics and made my version suitable for either boy or girl.

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Somewhere on Instagram I saw a this block and just had to make it into a mini for myself. I used fabric from a half layer cake I had purchased way back. The block was hashtagged summersampler17 and it was the June block. I used Floriography by Riley Blake and wow, what a great collection! This was also the first time I ever did a fussy cut, it was pretty fun.

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This Stars & Four Patch quilt was a huge undertaking! When I looked back on 2017 projects, I surprised myself that I started it then, I thought for sure it was a 2016 start. I put it aside for several months, but I knew I’d have to have it longarmed for the best results. When I went to pick it up, I was so thrilled with the quilting—I just love it. The free pattern is available from Moda: Stars & Four Patches Quilt Pattern

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Lastly, another version of my Boxed Candy Toss Quilt. It was about time I made a quilt for my mom and she requested this pattern. I started it in October as a leisure go-to project, but soon decided to finish it for a Christmas gift. I was really happy with how the soft pastels rendered themselves in the design. Fabrics are Collette by Chez Moi for Moda and Kona Cotton Snow for the background. And I actually did the quilting myself! Here’s my free tutorial: Boxed Candy Toss Quilt Tutorial

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All in all, it was a pretty productive year! I finished a lot more than I thought I had. I also have to admit that I didn’t finish everything I started. I have a Belle Prairie quilt top that needs quilted. That’s next up, I won’t allow myself to start another thing until it’s done.  Also, my Fireworks quilt blocks are finished, but not sewn together. I’m not sure who will be quilting that one—me or my longarmer (probably the latter). So that wraps up 2017. On to 2018…

 

quilting, 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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!

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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.

 

quilting, Uncategorized

Inspired by Fabric

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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?!?

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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.