Christmas, quilting, quilts, Uncategorized

Christmas Irish Chain Quilt

I’ve always wanted to make an Irish Chain quilt, so I finally did. I just love their simplicity. Earlier this year I purchased fabric for a Christmas tree mini quilt pattern I designed and made (but haven’t released) and since it didn’t require a lot of fabric, I luckily had enough left for an entire quilt, scrappy binding included!

Greetings by Kaye England for Wilmington Prints

I definitely prefer traditional red and green Christmas colors and this fabric was a perfect choice as it offered peppermints, poinsettias, old-fashioned toy tops and letters to Santa for some old style fun.

I started piecing this in May and finished in August which seems like it took me a long time, but I made a couple of other quilts in between, and overall, it went together relatively quick. I used precut 2 ½” strips so I was able to strip piece and chain piece the nine patch blocks.

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The background fabric is Kona Cotton Snow, which blended nicely with the light colors in the printed fabric. For quilting, I went with my ever-so-popular (and quite possibly ‘overdone’) crosshatch. I made my marks using a hera marker and as usual, it took a lot of time from start to finish.

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I thought the crosshatch would give the plain blocks some texture and I quilted my lines 1 ½” apart. I’m pretty happy with the results! It’s also a generous size, finishing at 64 ½” x 76 ½”.

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It’s hard to discern, but the backing is white with a faint gray/silver snowflake print. And for some reason that fabric is so soft!

Well, now I’ve got my traditional Irish Chain quilt that I can finally enjoy this holiday season.

IMGP9093.jpgMerry Christmas!

modern quilts, quilting, quilts, Uncategorized

A Triangle Peaks Quilt

When I saw the Triangle Peaks quilt made by Emily Dennis I knew I needed to make one for myself. Lately I’ve been using fabric I have on hand, which isn’t a whole lot and is probably considered a relatively small stash for a quilter, but I was determined to make this pattern using what I had.

A couple of years ago, with another project in mind, I purchased a 12-piece Kona Cotton fat quarter bundle entitled Pool Party. This lovely collection offered a range of blues and aquas from light to dark with a few deep blue-greens mixed in.

While I don’t consider myself a ‘blue’ person, I really took a liking to this combination. And since that particular project never came to fruition, I pulled my fabric and set out to make my version of a Triangle Peaks quilt. To compliment the blues, I decided on Kona Cotton Mango for my ‘accent’ color (the small triangles) which I did have to purchase, along with backing fabric.

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This was my first time working with triangles, which I enjoyed, but bear in mind if you make anything with triangles every one has two bias edges that are prone to stretching if you’re not careful.

I completed the accent triangles first then everything else was ready to sew together. For me, deciding on the layout was the most difficult part. I used only nine of the twelve colors of blue which was enough to spread them out evenly, but it still took some time to make sure the like-colors were far enough away from one another.

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Once the top was finished it was time for quilting. If you’ve read my blog posts in the past you know I don’t exactly love the quilting aspect. If I could afford it I would have just about everything longarmed! But since I can’t, I end up doing quite a bit myself.

Since this quilt is so modern and angular, I felt the quilting needed to softened it up. That said, I decided on vertical lines using my serpentine stitch. Maybe subconsciously I thought it would give it a wavy, watery feel. 🙂

After sewing my basting stitches across the top (to help reduce shifting and pulling) I started quilting from the middle then to the right, marking lines every 1 ¾” with a hera marker. This process took forever! But I admit, I’m pretty slow.

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Once all the 1 ¾” lines were finished, I used my guide to quilt the lines in between. This saves time from marking rows, and it works well, my lines were fairly accurately spaced.

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Quilting with Aurifil thread 2026/Chalk

I think the serpentine stitch was a great choice.

It ended up that I didn’t mind quilting this one at all. I kind of went into auto pilot mode, just plugging away row after row. It took me more hours than I could count but I love the results.

I used Kona Cotton Mango for the binding.

Here’s my finished throw size quilt.

I’m really happy with this one and plan to get some good use out of it!

quilting, quilts, Uncategorized

My ‘Half Quilt’ Invention

Does this scenario sound familiar to you? The weather is cooling down so you get out all the necessary blankets and quilts. You have them nicely made into the bed only to hear your partner exclaim it’s too many covers. My husband and I simply cannot agree when it comes to this topic, he’s usually too hot and I’m usually too cold. This has been going on forever and it was time the problem ended!

After doing some thinking, I came up with an easy solution—the ‘half quilt.’ The half quilt is basically a quilt half the size of a bed quilt width-wise, made wide enough to cover just one person. Each person gets one so they can use it at their own discretion. Personal choices won’t affect anyone else; you can’t beat that!

I recently made one for my husband by strip piecing just two fabrics. Because he’s an avid bird watcher, I chose Blue Moon Owl fabric by Dear Stella and Kona Cotton Navy.

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It’s a simple 5″ patchwork design, nothing flashy or complicated, made mainly for functionality. I quilted it in simple squares and machine sewed the binding figuring it would hold up better to frequent laundering.

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There’s not a lot of math involved, just figure out how wide and long it needs to be to cover the person comfortably. This quick quilt finished at 40 ½” x 71″.

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My half quilt idea is not entirely new, I made one for myself two years ago. I chose a classic herringbone pattern made with Moda’s Paradiso charm packs and Kona Cotton Snow. It measures 40 ½” x 63 ½”.

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Just to illustrate differences, I’ve had mine out for a couple of weeks now and my husband hasn’t even used his yet.

The weather is getting chilly and it’s time for warmth. I highly recommend making a couple of these half quilts, they’re the perfect solution for the ‘too hot, too cold’ sleeping issue! And of course it’s a great excuse to make another quilt. 😉

quilting, Uncategorized

Should You Cut Up Your Kona Color Card?

Instagram images of cut up Kona Color Cards got me wondering if that was something I wanted to do with mine. Was it better to leave it as is or cut it up? I needed some time to think about it, weighing two things—ease of use and storage.

While I love how the card looks in its fold-out format with all the colors in perfect order (referring to the New 340 Kona Cotton Solids Color Card), but it is cumbersome to use when trying to chose a color. However, if colors were available in individual swatches, choosing would be much easier.

The book-type card is awkward for me to store as I don’t have anywhere to stand it up in my closet due to wire shelving. That said, I have to lay it flat and I always end up putting something on top of it making it difficult to find. For me, there are only two options for storage once cut into swatches, either a divided box allowing for organization or just a plain box with everything thrown in; either way I have room to store a box and with easy access.

Overall, cutting it up would make it easier to use and store, so one afternoon while in between projects I decided it was time to take the plunge. I grabbed my ruler and rotary cutter and got down to business.

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The first thing to do is to cut it into strips. I left a bit of cardboard on top so the pieces would be easier to hold since there won’t be any cardboard along the sides. Also, if I need to clip the swatches onto anything, I’ll have that little edge.

Next, cut into individual colors. This took some time! And I should mention, take breaks in between cutting. Cutting through all that cardboard does put a bit of strain on your wrist and arm (at least it did on mine).

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Here’s a lovely sampling of what you get. Oh so colorful!

Lastly, what to store everything in. I am using this cute little bin temporarily. This shows just the bottom row but I cut a piece of the excess cardboard and made a divider. Eventually I’ll get something with a lid, but I’m not sure whether I’ll go with a divided box or not. I was thinking maybe an embroidery floss box might work so I’ll check that out at my local craft store next visit.

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So, there you have it, 340 Kona Solid Color swatches. You may be asking yourself, should I cut up my Kona Color Card? I say yes, definitely recommended!

fall decor, halloween, mini quilts, quilting, quilts, tutorials, Uncategorized

Pumpkin & Stars Mini Quilt Tutorial

It’s not too late to make a Halloween themed project! This one came to be because I wanted to combine a cute pumpkin with colorful friendship stars (making it the third project this year where I’ve incorporated these stars)…anyway, my latest mini quilt, Pumpkin & Stars, goes together relatively quick and will definitely show off your festive spirit! The pumpkin in this project is pretty basic, made with scrappy strips; I’m sure you’ve seen it used in several other projects. For mine, all I did was make the easy strippy pumpkin and add stars all the way around, in the traditional black and orange Halloween colors.

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After finishing, I thought another variation could be to give it a general autumnal look, leaning away from Halloween by replacing the black with gold, green, tan or taupe…any fall-like colors would work well. It also finishes to a toss pillow size.

This was a really fun project, I recommend it! If you’d like to give it a try, here’s what to do:

PUMPKIN & STARS MINI QUILT

MATERIALS
Variety of 2″ strips of orange and black fabric
(1) 1 ½” x 1 ½” square of brown fabric
(1) 1 ½” x 3″ rectangle of green fabric
(1) Fat quarter for background
(1) Fat quarter for backing
(1) Fat quarter for binding
20″ x 20″ quilt batting

GENERAL GUIDELINES
RST = Right Sides Together
HST = Half Square Triangle
WOF = Width Of Fabric
Use ¼” seam allowance throughout.
Press seams open unless otherwise indicated.

To make PUMPKIN:
Cut print fabric:
(1) 1 ½” x 1 ½” brown square
(1) 1 ½” x 3″ green rectangle
(6) 1 ½” x 5 ½” orange strips

Cut background fabric:
(6) 1 ½” x 1 ½” squares
(1) 1 ½” x 3″ rectangle
(2) 1 ½” x 6 ½” rectangles
(2) 1 ½” x 8 ½” rectangles

RST, sew (6) orange strips together lengthwise. Press.

Place (1) background square on each corner of the strip unit. Sew on diagonal line. Trim ¼” from sewn line. Press toward corner. Finished unit illustrated below.

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RST, place (2) background squares on the green strip so that the diagonal lines start on the lower left and end on the upper right. Sew on diagonal lines. Trim ¼” from sewn lines. Press toward corners. Finished unit illustrated below.

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To make STEM/LEAF UNIT:

Place the 1 ½” x 3″ background strip on the left, the brown square in the middle and the green leaf unit on the right. Sew the background strip onto the left edge of the brown square and the leaf unit onto the right edge. Press.

Sew the stem/leaf unit to the top of the pumpkin strip set. Press.

Your finished pumpkin block will look like this:

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To attach BORDERS:
Sew (1) 1 ½” x 6 ½” background strip to each edge of the pumpkin block. Press toward the border strips.

Sew (1) 1 ½” x 8 ½” background strip to the top and bottom edge of the pumpkin block. Press.

Unfinished size: 8 ½” x 8 ½”

To make FRIENDSHIP STAR:

Cut print fabric:
(1) 1 ½” x 1 ½” square
(2) 2″ x 2″ squares

Cut background fabric:
(4) 1 ½” x 1 ½” squares
(2) 2″ x 2″ squares

To make HSTs:
Draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of (2) background 2″ x 2″ squares. Place a marked square on a 2″ x 2″ print square. Sew ¼” from the drawn line on both sides. Cut on the drawn line, press open. Trim HSTs to 1 ½” square. One sewn unit makes 2 HSTs.

Place 1 ½” HSTs and 1 ½” background squares in order as shown below. Sew into rows. Press. Sew rows together, as illustrated.

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Make (4) orange friendship stars and (4) black friendship stars.

Unfinished block size: 3 ½” x 3 ½”

To make the SIDES:
Cut background fabric:
(4) 3″ x 3 ½” squares

RST, sew (1) 3″ x 3 ½” square to the top and bottom edge of a black friendship star, as illustrated below. Make 2.

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To attach SIDES:
Fold the pumpkin unit in half lengthwise and place a mark in the center along both edges. Repeat for both friendship star side unit inside edges. Match up a pumpkin center/side unit mark and pin on a side unit, RST. Sew. Press sides toward the pumpkin unit border. Repeat for opposite side. Trim if necessary.

To make TOP/BOTTOM ROWS:
Cut background fabric:
(4) 3″ x 3 ½” squares**

**NOTE: The background fabric cut at 3″ in width may vary due to differences in ¼” seam allowances. For example, mine needed to be a bit less than 3″ wide—more like 2 ⅞”—as my seam allowances always measure slightly larger than ¼”. You may have to adjust accordingly.

RST, sew (1) 3″ x 3 ½” square to each side edge of (1) black friendship star. Sew (1) orange friendship star to each edge of the black friendship star/background square unit. Make 2.

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To attach TOP/BOTTOM ROWS:

Use the same method as ‘To attach SIDES’ above.

To make BINDING:
Cut (4) 2 ½” x WOF from fat quarter. Sew strips end-to-end, press in half. Attach binding using preferred method.

Lastly, sandwich backing sized 20″ x 20″, batting and quilt top, baste. Quilt as desired.

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Finished size: 14 ½” x 14 ½”, although mine measured 14 ¼” square!

I quilted mine with fun, wavy lines using Aurifil thread 2000, and I love it.

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I always make my mini quilts with sewn in corners on the back so I can hang them on my sewing room door, but I think this one would look great on a table, too. And I definitely will be quilting those wavy lines on an upcoming quilt…

I hope you enjoy making this project and Happy Halloween!

baby quilts, mini quilts, quilting, Uncategorized

With Love Mini Quilt

Isn’t it funny how quilters automatically go into the ‘I’ve got to make something’ mode when they hear someone is having a baby? That’s exactly what happened to me over the summer when I learned my hair stylist was expecting. I had only one appointment before she’d be taking time off, so that limited me making her something small. I knew some sort of wall hanging was in order, so I searched and searched online, but to no avail. Since I couldn’t find what I wanted, I created my own.

I didn’t know what her decorating would include, colors or otherwise, so I designed something cute, but plain and simple and baby-themed enough that it would go with any decor. Interestingly enough, I wrote the pattern when I was working on my granny square quilt, so it was definitely granny square inspired.

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I named the pattern With Love Mini Quilt and it’s available for purchase as a PDF download here. This pattern is easy-to-follow with step-by-step illustrations, and it’s a quick project to make. The design is comprised of two small granny squares (just the centers), a two-piece heart and a snowballed O. It’s also beginner-friendly and lends itself for versatility in fabric choices.

For mine, I used Dear Stella mini dots in pastels and Kona Cotton Solid White for the background. I quilted it in a 1 ¼” crosshatch using Aurifil thread 2021.

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And since I’ve been enjoying the look of scrappy binding lately, I chose it for this project as well. The finished mini is 14 ½” square so it could also be made into a pillow as a fun alternative.

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And of course, when giving any handmade gift—add your label!

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My hair stylist was happy with this little mini, and I was happy to have created it and to have made one for her. If you’ve know anyone that’s expecting, it makes a wonderful gift. And if you do make one, I’d love to see your version! Share on Instagram #withloveminiquilt.

quilting, quilts, tutorials, Uncategorized

Quilting on a Whim (A Granny Square Quilt)

I admit, this is the first time I’ve ever made a quilt on impulse. It happened while scrolling Instagram and granny square posts kept showing up from the Moda Bake Shop. Almost instantly it clicked—I knew I wanted to make a granny square quilt and I had the perfect fabric for it. And since I recently finished a rather challenging and labor intensive queen size quilt, I needed something easy!

A while back I ordered a fat quarter bundle of Moda’s Chestnut Street for a fall quilt. While I cut what was needed for the pattern, I never made the quilt because I couldn’t decide on a background fabric. Since I had plenty of Chestnut Street left over, along with additional fabrics from other Fig Tree collections, I knew I had enough fabric and variety (plus I added two Dear Stella Mini Dots). I’d also been intent on stashing down, so it was definitely a go! I stopped what I was working on and started pulling fabric. And let me tell you, it was FUN. 🙂

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There were so many things about making this quilt that made it fun…for example, I had no plan, it was literally on a whim. I randomly mixed and matched fabric, whatever I felt went together got put together. I was using what I had, and of all cuts – an older charm pack, scraps, fat quarters, yardage…including the background fabric, Kona Cotton Snow. I truly enjoyed the entire process.

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Once I finished 28 squares, I figured it was time for a plan. I decided on a throw quilt with six blocks per row, seven rows (42 squares total), 2″ sashing and a background border.

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Because it came out so lovely, I had it professionally quilted with the digital pattern Daisy Delight.

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I did have to purchase binding fabric, luckily I found what I wanted from the Chestnut Street line. I also had to purchase the backing. Since the quilt has a lot of orange in it, I wanted to incorporate it onto the back as well. I decided on Tule Quietude in Sunset by Leah Duncan for Art Gallery Fabrics. I loved how this print blended nicely with the colors on the front.

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My Granny Square quilt finished at 64 ½” x 74 ½”. And I just love it!

 

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I mentioned that the granny squares popped up on IG from the Moda Bake Shop, so I visited their site for block instructions. Because I wanted to use scraps that I had already cut into 2 ½” squares, I had to do some recalculating for a more petite block. Also, this size block is great because it can be easily made with precuts, including 2 ½” strips, 5″ squares and 10″ squares.

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Here’s a quick tutorial on how to make a granny square block with the dimensions I used. My blocks finished at roughly 8 3/8″ square.

FROM COLOR/PRINT FABRIC, CUT:
(1) 2 ½” x 2 ½” square (center square)
(4) 2 ½” x 2 ½” squares (inner squares)
(8) 2 ½” x 2 ½” squares (outer squares)

FROM BACKGROUND FABRIC, CUT:
(2) 2 ½” x 2 ½” squares
*subcut diagonal once
(2) 4 ¼” x 4 ¼” squares
*subcut diagonal twice

Lay out fabric as illustrated below:

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Sew pieces together into rows using ¼” seam allowance. I recommend pinning! Be sure to trim away dog ears. Pressed rows will look like this:

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Because sewn pieces are relatively small, I pressed all my seams open to reduce bulk. It definitely helps the blocks to lay nice and flat.

Next, turn the block sideways, as shown. Place the remaining triangle pieces in the four corners. Sew and press.

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The final step, trimming your block (and the remaining dog ears). Line up your ruler with the ¼” mark placed at the corners of the outer squares, as shown. Trim.

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Give your block one last press and you have a beautiful granny square!

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I know it’s common for quilters to finish a quilt and say it’s their new favorite, but this one really is for me. It’s different from most of the quilts I’ve made, mainly because of the fabrics, many were soft and feminine floral prints.

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I think every quilter needs to make a granny square quilt, well, just because…don’t you agree?