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!
To celebrate summer, and just in time, I’m releasing my latest quilt pattern Floriography. This pattern is a tribute to one of my favorite things—flowers. The name ‘floriography’ means ‘the language of flowers’, and I give thanks to my dearest friend for suggesting the perfect title. 🙂
Since I’m a big fan of petaled beauties, I designed the blocks to represent them and the layout of the rows are intended to depict a flower bed or garden.
Some general information about the pattern…it’s suitable for a confident beginner, but of course it’s fun for all quilters! Also, if you’re relatively new to quilting and would like to expand your abilities, this pattern is a great skill builder. It’s written for a precut layer cake, but you can also use fat quarters. There are two sizes to choose from, throw and queen.
Right now I’m currently making my second version of this quilt using beautiful fabrics designed by one of my favorites, Pat Bravo of Art Gallery Fabrics.
Here are two blocks and the finished quilt top (now I need to just get motivated to quilt it).
Floriography is now available for purchase in my Etsy shop. If you’d like to make your own version, why not start now—if you make one block a day you’ll be finished before summer ends and you’ll be able to enjoy some summer inside when it’s over, too.
Most of the time I have only one quilt in the works as I’m better focused and organized when I stick to a single project. But that’s most of the time. 😉 There are occasions when I work a few projects at a time, mainly if I know a specific quilt is going to be a long process. My most recent example is my scrappy on point nine patch quilt.
For Christmas 2018 and 2019 I’d given my kids queen size quilts, so 2020 was the year to make one for myself. I decided on a scrappy nine patch so I could use a big share of the 2 1/2″ squares I always seem to be accumulating. And to give it a bit more style, I decided to make it on point using various white tone on tone background fabrics instead of plain white.
To get started, I determined the size I wanted then designed the layout in EQ8. Using 2 1/2″ squares resulted in relatively small blocks (6″ square finished) so the pattern required a lot more blocks than I’d imagined…a total of 242! Of those, 132 nine patch were needed and 110 white squares. Additional background squares were required for the blocks around the edge that were cut larger and in half. I also added a 2 1/2″ border.
The next step was choosing colors. Because 11 color blocks were needed in each row, I figured I’d need 11 different colors for a balanced look. The colors I used were: coral, pink, orange, green, gray, mint green, teal, yellow, neutral, aqua and red. I averaged 12 blocks per color, but I had more of some colors than others. For example, I had a lot more yellow and pink than mint green and gray.
Here’s a look at my stash before I started.
It doesn’t look like I had much, but I got most of what I needed from what was already cut. How many squares did I need? 660! A lot. This was a really fun step, but it was kind of perpetual…as an example…I would be one square short of orange, so I’d have to cut a strip from a fat quarter for it then I’d end up with more orange in my box. That said, the next picture doesn’t look like I made much of a dent, but I really did.
Once I chose enough colors for a fair amount of blocks, it was time to get sewing.
While I had a several white tone on tone fabrics cut into 2 1/2″ squares, I had larger pieces I needed to cut as I went long. EQ determined the quilt needed about 9 yards of background fabric altogether. Again, a lot! I knew I didn’t have enough on hand, so towards the end I’d pick up or order random fat quarters, 1/2 yard and 1 yard cuts to keep a wide variety of fabrics throughout the quilt.
In mid-November, all my nine patch blocks were finished. I barely had room to lay them out, but I managed alright. Next, I labeled rows accordingly then tackled the task of sewing this huge beauty together.
Here’s a look at the quilt top, pressed and ready for longarming.
Because of the scrappiness, I’ve no way of knowing how many different fabrics went into this, but I’m sure there’s Moda, Art Gallery, Andover, Kona Solids, Bella Solids, Michael Miller, Windham, Dear Stella, Kimberbell, Northcott and Riley Blake fabrics.
EQ calculated the finished size of this quilt approximately 97″ x 106″. Mine always come up a bit short, so my finished top measured 96″ x 104 1/2″. Since I’d wrestled with roughly 9 yards of fabric when piecing the backs of my kid’s quilts, I wanted to avoid that this time so I purchased Windham Fabrics Multi-colored Dots by Whistler Studio in 108″ wide. I think this fun fabric corresponds nicely with the colors on the front. And I’d never purchased wide backing fabric before, so this was a first.
For binding, I used what I had on hand. I have only one quilt top that I never finished (but made binding for) so I used that along with other binding I made for another project but changed my mind on. Might as well go scrappy with the binding too, right?
So finally, here’s my finished quilt!
For quilting, I chose a baptist fan motif with 1 3/8″ wide sweeps. I think the round design compliments the angular composition of the layout.
And that polka dot backing is just right…
From start to finish, there was a huge amount of time involved in making this quilt. I started in March 2020 and finished early July 2021. Even though I had it ready for longarming in January, like so many things the pandemic caused me to put the quilting on hold. I was finally able to drop it off in May and it was quilted in June, making it my latest finish.
Even though this project seemed to take forever, it was worth waiting for.
If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know I like to be as environmentally friendly as possible. While I do the best I can, there is one thing I do and feel bad about—using a sticky roller brush for quilting. Even though I hate the thought of all those plastic sheets going into a landfill, I haven’t found a more effective way to clean up threads. On the bright side, I never throw away the handles saving on one-time plastic waste and I only buy sheet refills.
Which brings me to my first hack—using the handle for wrapping long strips of fabric. I purchased a twin pack of brushes and kept one for its intended use and kept the other (once empty) for wrapping purposes. It’s a great size; it fits strips up to 4″ wide which is ideal for border strips sewn together. And it’s pretty hard to misplace. 😉
Once wound, I can store it until I’m ready to cut. The handle makes lengthy strips manageable; rolling and unrolling is a breeze, too.
Above shows ten 2 1/2″ sewn together strips totaling about 400″! It’s funny because I’ve done this with white strips too, and I admit I grabbed it a few times thinking it was my sticky brush. 🙂
A couple of years ago I discovered another hack when I needed to store binding. I’d made some before I was ready for it and I needed an object to keep it rolled on. I headed out to the garage to see if there was something I could use. On a peg board I found a 3/4″ x 1 1/2″ PVC pipe for irrigation purposes. It was sturdy and the right size so I thought, why not? I cleaned it up (after making sure my husband didn’t need it) and it worked great!
It’s easy to use as well. When I start to wrap my binding, I use a small piece of washi tape to hold it down, then just wrap to the end.
These little gems are a perfect size for binding at just 1 1/2″ high, and since they’re petite I can conveniently store the PVC pieces in a compartmentalized box when not in use.
Since I thought this was such a great discovery, I purchased a few more at Home Depot for about 45 cents each. It was a while ago, so I’m not sure about the price today but I doubt they’d be too expensive.
I know many quilters use Binding Buddies that are actually made for binding, but quite frankly, those doll heads frighten me so I think I’ll stick to my nonconventional ways. 🙂
It wasn’t until recently that I learned what a tailor’s clapper is, let alone find out it’s a great tool for quilting. Who knew?
If you’re not familiar with this funny little thing, here’s some general information. A tailor’s clapper is an elongated, rounded piece of hardwood (average size: approximately 9″ long x 2″ wide) with a routered groove down each side. Some are straight and some are a bit wider on one end, but no matter the design they can be used in either direction.
What’s the purpose of a tailor’s clapper and how is using one beneficial to quilting? This handy tool helps to achieve wonderfully flat, crisp seams which is exactly what quilters want! And in the end the results will give you a beautifully flat quilt top. 🙂
After reading quilters rave about them and doing a bit of research myself, I thought I’d give one a try. I decided to purchase this one from Amazon. I like that it’s made in the USA and it had a lot of good reviews. This one offers 2 sizes, I chose the standard size.
How does a tailor’s clapper work? Well, they’re pretty basic and very easy to use; here’s how. Once you press your seam with a hot, steamy iron, remove the iron and immediately place the clapper on the seam then hold it down for a few seconds. The clapper will trap the heat and steam leaving an amazingly flat seam.
Here’s a look at fabric I sewed and tested with and without the clapper. It’s easy to tell which one I used the clapper on and which one I didn’t…it really works!
I’m definitely seeing a better outcome in my quilting now that I use a tailor’s clapper when pressing, and I most definitely recommend using one. And what I find so interesting is that this simple garment-making tool that originated in England well over 100 years ago is still useful in today’s complex world!
Note: I am not endorsed by the product mentioned in this post; it is just an item I like, use, and wanted to share information on.
With the summer season upon us and picnics in the forecast, I thought it would be a great time to offer my Fabric Utensil Wrap Tutorial as a downloadable PDF. I’d had some inquiries about making this a PDF and since I, too, enjoy having tutorials on my computer, I went ahead and created one to share.