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! 🙂

modern quilts, quilt blocks, quilting, quilts, Uncategorized

Breaking the Bias Edge Bias

I admit, I fear the bias edge. I’m not sure why really, I never had that terrible of an experience with bias edges. I guess I’m mostly afraid that something terrible is going to happen and because of that, I go out of my way to avoid them. Well, no more.

A recent quilt pattern I’ve been working on instructs you on the usual steps when making a HST—draw a diagonal line then sew ¼” from the line. Since the blocks in this quilt are multi-colored quarter square triangles, I was having a hard time getting my points aligned, so I figured I’d have better luck if I cut on the diagonal line, then sewed. I knew I’d be dealing with bias edges but I gave it a try and guess what? Not only did I have greater accuracy, it was actually easier. I fear the bias edge no longer! (I also had to remind myself that as an experienced quilter such avoidance/fear is kind of irrational). 🙂

Fast forward to my newest project that’s made up of half quarter square triangle units. It’s called Four Patch Charm and it’s similar to an Around the World quilt. I opted for this one because of the funky border and offset center and it’s forcing me to make bias edged units.

I’m continuing to make quilts with fabric I already have, and I chose a variety of golden yellows/oranges for this one. After cutting fabrics, I set to chain piecing (bias edges were present) and within 35 minutes I had 96 triangle pairs sewn.

The next step, pressing seams open…

then attaching the large half square to complete the unit. Lastly, press and trim.

No problem! Quilters know to handle bias edges gently, and to ensure that I handled them by the seams and put them on a ruler to move them from my pressing board to my sewing desk. I’m happy to say that no stretching or misshaping has occurred; I’m pretty confident everything will go together smoothly.

Now that I’ve tried a few different techniques, I won’t think twice about projects that require bias edges. If you’re like me and have avoided them, don’t! They’re not nearly as scary as you think.

modern quilts, patterns, PDF pattern, quilt binding, quilt blocks, quilting, quilts, Uncategorized

Five Squared Quilt

Looking for a colorful quilt that’s easy to make and designed to bust your stash? Give my Five Squared quilt a try! It’s a great way to use your scraps and it’s precut friendly. The PDF pattern is available for purchase at my Etsy shop.

Five Squared is geared for using what you’ve got on hand, and it’s an excellent choice for beginners. I realize a beginner quilter might not have that many scraps, but don’t worry, you can use 5 charm packs instead. And remember, with scrappy quilts, anything goes…

Because I like a controlled scrappy look, I decided to make mine using color-coordinated blocks with as many different colorways as my fabric would allow. I used only what I had, I bought nothing new (with the exception of the backing).

preliminary sorting of my precuts

That said, I went through all my fabric and ended up with 14 different colorways: red, pink, coral, taupe, gray, aqua, teal, orange, dark blue, purple, beige, yellow, green and low volume. Ideally, 2 of 15 different colored blocks would balance out the quilt equally, but I improvised and made 4 low volume blocks instead.

While I wish I could take all my quilts to be professionally quilted, it’s not in the budget so often times I do the quilting myself. It’s certainly not my favorite part of the quilting process but once I get going I don’t mind it all that much.

I quilted mine with serpentine stitched lines approximately 7/8″ apart, marked with a hera marker. I used Aurifil 50wt thread 2026, Chalk.

Here’s something interesting…while i was working on my quilt I did a story on Instagram asking quilters if they, at some point while quilting, unpin and repress their quilt. I was curious because I do when I’m nearing the right-hand side edge, and here’s why. At that point I’ve had the quilt rolled up pretty tight to fit through the throat of my machine, and it’s rather wrinkled. When I get to that section, I feel that taking extra time to press and repin gives me a smoother, flatter finish. Do other quilters do this I wondered? Here’s what they said…

Overwhelmingly no! I was surprised not many people did. Who knew? Guess I’m in the minority on that one.

Anyway…for the backing I purchased Dear Stella Fabrics Flockstar Blush because it had every color in it that I used on the front. I absolutely love this fabric!

And it blended lovely with Moda’s Rainy Day! Umbrella Pink that I used for the binding, which I also had on hand, left over from when my Boxed Candy Toss Quilt was featured on the Moda Bake Shop.

Here’s my finished Five Squared quilt.

Not that I’m wishing away summer by any stretch but I am looking forward to cooler weather so I can finally use this beauty!

quilt blocks, quilting, Quilting 101, tutorials, Uncategorized

How to Sew Accurate Flying Geese

There’s no doubt flying geese are essential to quilting and they’re fun to experiment with. They give quilts an interesting perspective and can be addicting to make once you get started.

If you’re new to quilting or having trouble with your flying geese blocks, here’s an easy tutorial on how to sew an accurate flying geese unit that won’t need squaring up.

To get started, cut fabric to the required sizes. You’ll need a rectangular piece for the background and two squares for the sides. The flying geese I made in this tutorial are based on the measurements below.

Once your fabric is cut, draw a diagonal line on the wrong side of both side squares. Place a marked square on the right hand side of the rectangle, as illustrated, lining up the outside edges. Pin together.

NOTE: You can choose to sew the first square on either the left or right hand side, there will be no difference in the outcome.

The next step is sewing the pinned pieces together. But before sewing, be sure to follow this important tip…instead of sewing directly on the drawn line, sew just along side of it.

And here’s why. By having sewn along side of the drawn line, it frees up about a thread’s width of space so when you press the fabric to the corner, the new piece will line up accurately. That small width might seem minor, but it can make all the difference in your finished unit.

Here’s how to set your foot and needle before sewing…

And this is what it looks like sewn just to the right of the line…

A rule of thumb to follow is to sew to the right of the drawn line for the right hand side of the flying geese unit and sew to the left of the line on the left hand side of the unit.

Once you’ve finished sewing, cut ¼” away from the sewn line. Press the square to the corner.

Your results will be a nicely aligned corner. 🙂

To finish your flying geese, repeat the same steps for the opposite side. Place the fabric with the drawn line as shown. Pin.

Sew just along side of the line.

Cut away the corner and press.

And done! A finished flying geese with no trimming required. 🙂

Simple, right?

I made my blocks for a Swoon quilt I have in the works. If you’re making several for a project, they can be chain pieced, one side at a time. It’s a great time-saver.

Now that you’ve added the traditional flying geese block to your quilting repertoire it’s time to experiment and have some fun!