fall decor, home decor, mini quilts, quilt blocks, quilting

Maple Leaf Minis

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.

Happy Thanksgiving!

fall decor, halloween, modern quilts, quilt blocks, quilting, quilts

A Ghost Quilt

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.

Happy Halloween!

monday morning designs quilt pattern, quilt blocks, quilting, quilts, Uncategorized

Quilting Disaster!

I guess bloggers are guilty of showing (mostly) the pretty side of quilting, but there’s another side and it isn’t always good! When I designed my latest quilt pattern, Sweet Stripes, I designed it in two different layouts—offset and straight. Between the two there are four different sizes so I had plenty to choose from when testing the pattern myself. Of course there will be changes along the way, but everything went smoothly for the first time around.

Once the quilt top was finished and ready for quilting, I decided to use a horizontal serpentine stitch. OK, easy enough, I’ve done that plenty of times before.

As usual, my starting point was the middle of the quilt. Using my hera marker, I marked and sewed a line every 2 ½” until I reached the top. Looks great, right?

But then trouble hit when I sewed the lines in between…

See that ugly pull in the middle? That’s definitely not what you want. And the thing about it is I didn’t even notice until I finished the entire half! Let’s just say I had to walk away for a while… 😉

I obviously needed to fix this mess. I figured since it went so well when the first rows were sewn, it was the middle rows that were the problem and needed torn out. There was a lot of them and it was time consuming and frustrating work. But there’s an upside. I made sure to pick every five or so stitches on the front so I could pull away the back thread without breaking it and keeping it fairly long. By doing that I was able to salvage a lot of thread!

Luckily those strands won’t go to waste because I can use them when I baste down my binding. Or should I say several bindings to come…

In the end, this was a good learning moment for me. I’m pretty sure the problem happened because I didn’t use pins. I thought that once I had the marked lines sewn the layers would be secure enough to sew through the middle. Not so. I think the space was too wide to sew without it being pinned down and the drag of the quilt, the tension, etc. made the fabric shift. Note to self: use pins!

After all that, I decided to change my quilting design. Instead of sewing every line horizontal, I quilted the same distance apart vertically making squares. I wasn’t sure I would like it, but I do. I think the puffy little squares are cute and compliment the design.

It’s done now and time to move on to the next one. This beginner quilt pattern is currently out to testers but it’s coming soon!

Christmas, fall decor, home decor, how to, mini quilts, patterns, PDF pattern, quilt blocks, quilting, sewing, tutorials, Uncategorized

2019 Project Recap

Every year I like to write a blog post recapping all the projects I’ve made. I mainly do this to have a quick reference should I ever need to know when something in particular was made. And it’s fun to see how I’ve spent my time sewing. So here goes…

First up is my Petite Hearts quilt that I made on a whim. It has a funny story to go along with it…I thought I was onto an original pattern, but while looking for a name I found it had been published before as baby quilt. Still a top favorite.

I started making a Swoon quilt by Thimble Blossoms in the spring and got it back from longarming late September. I haven’t written a blog post on it yet because I haven’t gotten any good photos, so these two blocks will have to do for now. 🙂

I started my Maple Charm quilt before we moved in April and had it finished just in time for fall. I enjoyed it the entire season.

This Five Squared throw quilt is a Monday Morning Designs pattern (available for purchase in my Etsy shop; see sidebar). I made it out of fabrics I had on hand and I love that all the colors of the rainbow are included.

Also while trying to use what I had on hand, I made a Four Patch Charm quilt. I’m hoping somebody has a special event this year so I can gift it.

Lastly, I made my son a Picnic Play quilt designed by Michelle Bartholomew. While this quilt looks innocent, it was a tough one! It was a huge project, too. My son enjoys finally having a quilt large enough to use on his queen size bed.

I made quite a few mini quilts, too. This one was completed early 2019. I’ve also written a tutorial on how to make a Scrappy Heart mini. It’s a fun and quick one to make.

What can I say about this cute crab pattern by Ellis and Higgs? The big crab was a gift for my daughter, the other one is mine.

This Radiant mini is also a Monday Morning Designs. I was fortunate to have it featured in the July/August edition of Quiltmaker. It surely brightens up my space! I plan to release the pattern this summer.

I made quite a few Little Quilted Star ornaments for gifts for Christmas. Very festive.

My pattern Wee Three Trees became available for purchase in time for the holiday sewing rush. I made two, one for myself and one as a gift for my niece.

Here’s the last of my projects. I made the microwave bowl cozy for myself as a holiday bowl for pine cones. The little holders are for gift cards; gifted as party favors, and the bottom photo shows my process on a mini Christmas tree skirt.

These pillows were also gifts…

And a pillow case for my bird-loving husband.

Lastly, towels with cute toppers made for my mom. You can download my free PDF tutorial How to Make a Hanging Kitchen Towel. It’s easy-to-follow, complete with photos, a template and lots of tips!

Well, that sums up last year, and I’m well into making for 2020!

modern quilts, quilt blocks, quilting, quilts, Uncategorized

Picnic Play (A Queen Size Quilt)

It finally happened, I finished another queen size quilt. In 2018 I made one for my daughter so 2019 was the year to make one for my son.

Since this is more than likely a one-time thing, I wanted to make it for him as per his request. To start off, I had him choose a pattern. Probably not so much fun for a young man to sit and go through quilt pattern after quilt pattern, but ultimately it was his choice. 🙂 After much searching, he decided on a pattern by Michelle Bartholomew called Picnic Play.

It’s a very modern quilt and perfect for a guy, which isn’t always easy to find in the quilting world. The pattern requires seven solid fabrics; and while the original pattern colors were a good starting point, he swapped out a few and here’s what he chose:

As far as the block construction goes, they’re kind of like an extended hourglass block, and they were a lot harder than I thought they’d be! They were relatively big too, unfinished at 14″ square.

And since the pattern was written for a throw, we had to do some math to figure out how many additional blocks I’d need to add to get it queen size. Trimming for 56 large blocks took quite a while, but what colorful trimmings.

Yet somehow and somewhere along the way I miscounted the number of blocks and ended up with a few extra. No problem—I made toss pillows.

I should mention that making these pillows wasn’t so easy, I had to extend the blocks even further to get them to 18″ square. My process for doing this is explained on my Mitered Borders on Pillows blog post.

When it came time for purchasing backing fabric, I didn’t think my son would have much interest so he told me what color he wanted and I sent him a few choices. He decided on a warm, tone on tone vertical print by Windham Fabrics, Eliana Medallion in Sunshine.

The same process happened for the quilting. I sent him three patterns and he ended up going with Knitterly #2 by Urban Elementz. I think it was a great choice!

I really enjoyed working with bright solids and it was a lot of fun to make something this modern.

So…after many months in the making, a lot of decisions, waiting forever for longarming, sending it across the country and hoping it arrived safely, and in time for Christmas, here it is!

The quilt finished at 95″ x 108″. My son is really happy with it and is enjoying its warmth. And that’s exactly why we quilt…isn’t it?

home decor, how to, quilt blocks, tutorials, Uncategorized

How to Make an Envelope Pillow Cover

Sometimes when working on a quilt that’s taking a lot of time, I feel I need a break to make something with a fast finish. Over the summer I received a free sailboat pattern from Ellis and Higgs and I thought it would make a nice pillow as a gift for my sister since she lives on the bay and has a nautical theme throughout her house.

I’d been wanting to learn how to make an envelope pillow because I think they look better than a zipper, so what better time to try it out? I found a few tutorials and combined the best of them and came up with one to pass along. It’s really easy and can be made in less than an hour!

For mine, I pieced the front and used interfacing to keep everything in place, but you can make the front easily with a cut of fabric. Here’s how to make a cover for a pillow insert, and also what you’ll need:

MATERIALS: Either a pieced block with interfacing fused on OR fabric for the front, fabric for the back, pillow insert, hot ruler (optional), bluntly pointed stick, sewing machine, iron, general sewing supplies.

For the pillow FRONT: Make your block to measure the same size as your pillow form. If you choose to make a fabric front, the same measurement applies, cut your fabric to the pillow form size.

For the pillow BACK: You will need one piece of fabric to be cut into two (or two pieces). The width will be the same as your pillow form, but the length will be the size of the pillow form plus 6″.

Examples:

If you’re using a quilt block and it’s too small, just add borders. For example, I added 2″ borders to my sailboat block to get it to measure 16″ x 16″.

Once the pieces are cut to size, fold under one edge of each back piece 1/4″ and then again 1/4″ to form a small hem for the flaps. A hot ruler works great here.

Sew the hem for the flaps, stitching close to the edge. Press the seam.

Next; sewing everything together. Pin the front and back pieces right sides together with the two back pieces overlapping in the middle. It will look upside down and backwards, but it ends up as it should once you turn it right side out.

Sew around all four sides of the pillow cover using a 1/2″ seam allowance. If you want to keep the raw edges from fraying, add a zigzag stitch around all the edges.

Once sewn, trim away the corners and turn the cover right side out, making sure to push out the corners. Using a bluntly pointed object helps get the corners sharp.

Lastly, give it one final press and insert the pillow form. And you’re done!

Not only are these pillows easy and fun, they’re an inexpensive way to add a splash of color and style to your living space.

home decor, how to, mini quilts, quilt blocks, quilting, tutorials, Uncategorized

Classic Little Quilted Star Ornaments

Christmas is almost here but there’s still time to make these pretty ornaments! Whether you’re looking for last minute gifts or decor, they’re quick, fun and easy.

Last month I posted a tutorial on little quilted star ornaments I made using metallic fabrics.

After seeing these, my daughter wanted a few in traditional Christmas colors, red and white. I made her three using a rich red for the star in Moda’s Rustic Weave and a pure white background with wintry swirls from a Bee Sturgis Quilting Treasures holiday collection.

And I just love the contrast.

She wanted them quilted all the same, with straight line quilting in each corner section.

She also chose Kona Cotton White for the binding which really made the red stars pop.

Either traditional colors or modern, I think these ornaments are a great holiday addition.

Merry Christmas!

home decor, modern quilts, quilt blocks, Uncategorized

Mitered Borders on Pillows

This year for Christmas I made my son a queen size quilt for his bed. Somehow, while in the process of making blocks, I ended up with a few extra. So I had to ask myself, ‘what’s the best thing to do with extra blocks?’ Make pillows! What a perfect solution. 🙂

The quilt pattern, Picnic Play by Michelle Bartholomew, is made up of large blocks approximately 15″ square untrimmed, making it relatively easy to turn the blocks into 18″ pillows by adding borders. I say ‘relatively’ easy because I couldn’t just add the traditional squared borders due to the nature of the block construction.

Since the quadrants are triangles, I had to add mitered borders…and I’d never done that before, but I was up for the challenge.

To keep the triangles a consistent width, I cut off approximately 1″ all the way around and added 4 ½” mitered borders. Once attached and pressed (½” seam allowance), I trimmed about 3/8″ off each side to square the block. I ended up with a final measurement of 18″. They’re not bad for a first try. 😉

While adding mitered corners wasn’t particularly difficult, it was a bit tricky due to all the conjoining seams, but it got easier with each corner. I followed this informative video on how to make mitered borders from the Fat Quarter Shop.

Once the blocks were cut to size, I ironed on a light fusible fleece to help them hold shape and to secure the seams and threads.

And, instead of making a zippered pillow, I decided on an envelope back. I’ve wanted to try this method for quite some time, and not only did I learn a new and easy way to make a pillow back, I love the results. I used the same backing fabric as the quilt.

Eliana Medallion in Sunshine by Wilmington Fabrics

My son opted for a non-quilted front and we both agree that the crisp blocks look fresh and modern as is.

Here’s the finished pair.

I really enjoy learning and trying new methods, and I accomplished learning two in one project! I’m hoping my son will enjoy the toss pillow and quilt ensemble once he finally receives his gifts.

Christmas, home decor, mini quilts, quilt blocks, quilting, tutorials, Uncategorized

Little Quilted Star Ornament Tutorial

Lately I’ve been going through my fabric trying to find a good use for leftovers. So far I’ve made my colorful, controlled scrappy Five Squared Quilt and my Four Patch Charm quilt, made with a ray of lovely golden yellows.

Even with those two completed, I still have fabric left from other projects. Three years ago I made my son a tree skirt for Christmas using a mix of beautiful metallic fabrics by Marcus Brothers, RJR and Andover Fabrics. And…

while scrolling through Pinterest I found a great idea for using smaller scraps, little quilted star ornaments. Right away I knew these metallics would be a perfect choice for this project.

Since I only saw a photo and the dimensions weren’t given, I experimented until I had made one small enough without using exceptionally tiny pieces. I also decided to make a tutorial because other quilters may be looking for a fun way to use up little scraps, and just in time for the holidays. So here it is…

Materials needed to make one 4 ½” x 4 ½” star ornament:

For Star: Gold fabric – (1) 2 ½” x 14 ½” strip
Subcut (1) 2 ½” x 2 ½” square and (8) 1 ½” x 1 ½” squares


For Star: White fabric – (1) 2 ½” x 14″ strip
Subcut (4) 1 ¾” x 2 ½” rectangles and (4) 1 ¾” x 1 ¾” squares


For Backing: Gold fabric – (1) 5 ½” x 5 ½” square


For Interfacing: Pellon Fusible Fleece – (1) 4 ½” x 4 ½” square


For ¾” Bias tape binding: Gold fabric – (1) 1 ¼” x 20″ strip (approximate)


For Hanger: White ribbon – (1) 7″ piece (or material of your choice)


Once the fabric is cut, draw a diagonal line on the back of all the gold 1 ½” squares. As though making a flying geese unit, sew two 1 ½” x 1 ½” gold squares to the top corners of a 1 ¾” x 2 ½” white rectangle, attaching them to the 2 ½” side. Make 4.

Next, lay out squares and sewn units with the 2 ½” sides facing toward the center, as shown below. Sew together to make rows. Press the top and bottom row seams toward the outer squares. Press the middle row seam toward the center square.

Sew the rows together to complete the star; seams will nest. Press seams open. Trim block to 4 ½” x 4 ½” square making sure to leave a ¼” all the way around.

Trim any threads off the back to prevent them from showing through to the front. This is always a good rule to follow. 🙂 Next, adhering the interfacing. I used 987F Pellon fusible fleece because of the low loft, yet there’s enough to give some depth when quilted.

I always put a scrap piece of fabric over my projects to prevent any adhesive from getting on my iron.

Once the fusible fleece is adhered, sandwich the star unit to the backing. The backing square will be a bit bigger to allow for shifting when quilting.

With a hera marker, I marked the first two lines to be quilted then I used straight pins to hold the pieces together. After the first lines were finished, I removed the pins.

I chose a different quilting pattern for each one. I really like how they turned out!

Once your blocks are quilted, it’s time for binding. Since the ornaments are small, and to reduce bulk, I made bias tape using a ¾” bias tape maker. (If you don’t have one, they can be purchased at most sewing stores inexpensively or you can buy bias tape already made). You’ll need enough to go around all four sides including a few inches extra.

Once made, press the bias tape in half lengthwise before sewing it on; that’ll help to keep it even on each side. I sewed mine on by hand (each side, one at a time) which was easier than trying to line everything up and sew through all the layers at once.

One the binding is attached, the last thing to do is add a hanger. There are a lot of options here…you can use jute, ribbon, cording—whatever you like. I used a lovely white ribbon I had on hand. I looped it and tacked the ends together before stitching it on.

1/4″ double face satin ribbon

And done! Easy to make and fun, too, plus I think they’ll make great gifts!

Enjoy your holiday sewing!

fall decor, modern quilts, quilt blocks, quilting, quilts, Uncategorized

My Maple Charm Quilt

My Maple Charm quilt is finished just in time for fall, and it’s been a long time coming since I cut fabric in March 2018 and made blocks in February 2019. Shortly after that, we sold our house and moved 1,200 north where everything was nicely packed away for another time. In late summer I put the quilt top together hoping to have it done in October—mission accomplished!

Most of my quilt is made from Moda’s Chestnut Street collection by Fig Tree and Co., a bundle I purchased in October 2017!

There’s also some Farmhouse fabric included as I had a charm pack from a few years ago (back when fabric stores would sell them as a daily deal for $2, remember that?!?) I only used natural leaf colors from the bundle and I added some Dear Stella Mini Dot fabric as needed.

I chose Kona Cotton Cream for the background to give the quilt a nice, warm feeling. And of course I love to save on cutting time by using my Stripology ruler.

Since selling my house, I no longer have a design wall so I have to use the floor for laying out my quilt tops. 😦

Because I had all the blocks made and the sashing strips cut before moving, sewing together the quilt top went pretty fast.

But, it wasn’t without issues…when I set out to make this quilt I didn’t plan on a border. I don’t really like borders on quilts; I just don’t feel they’re necessary (even if they’re written in the pattern). As an exception, I thought this particular quilt would look better with one, so I decided to add it. Since I didn’t purchase border fabric in the beginning, and so much time had passed since the fabric line came out, finding something I liked and available was quite a challenge! I ended up going with a red polka dot border and a solid red binding, both from Fig Tree’s Farmhouse II collection.

For the back, I used a leaf print in mustard from Moda’s Valley collection by A Quilting Life. I bought yardage on sale ages ago when I planned to make this quilt. I think it’s a perfect fit, I just love that fabric!

And after many, many months—my finished quilt!

Pattern by Coriander Quilts – Quilted in Whirlpool

I’m really happy with this fall quilt and plan to display it on my quilt ladder through Thanksgiving. After all that time it is finally finished! 🙂