quilting, quilts, Uncategorized

Making a Scrappy On Point Nine Patch Quilt

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’d like to make your own version, download the PDF queen size layout.

quilting

A Quilting Hack (or Two)

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. 🙂

Looks like I have a few quilts to bind…

quilting, sewing, Uncategorized

Quilting with a Tailor’s Clapper

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.

monday morning designs quilt pattern, patterns, PDF pattern, quilting, quilts

Triangle Twizzle Quilt Pattern

My first quilt pattern of the year is here! Triangle Twizzle is available for purchase in my Etsy shop. This quilt is easy, fun and a quick sew for quilters of all skill levels.

Because it’s made with classic half square triangles, Triangle Twizzle lends itself to a huge variety of color choices. To celebrate spring, I chose Pastel Confetti Cotton solids by Riley Blake.

But the choices are endless, making it such a versatile quilt. Can you imagine one in various shades of a single color, Christmas colors, Halloween colors or rich fall hues? Anything goes!

In keeping with the modern vibe, I quilted mine with a vertical straight line every 1 1/2″ then I quilted straight lines on a 45° angle going the opposite direction of the HST seams. I love the parallelograms.

While I had to run the quilt through my machine over and over (and over) which took a huge amount of time, I’m really happy with the results.

With three sizes to choose from and color options galore, I hope there’s a Triangle Twizzle quilt in your future!

modern quilts, quilting, quilts, Uncategorized

A Striped Picnic Quilt

A few weeks ago my daughter requested a quilt specifically for outdoor use. Even though she has a few others I’ve made her, she doesn’t want to use them outside so of course I agreed to make another one. 🙂 We both decided that a scrappy, use-whatever-I-have quilt about the size of an extra large beach towel would work just fine; an approximate size of 36″ x 60″.

Since ‘beach towel’ was mentioned in our conversation, I got to thinking along those lines and decided to go with a strippy theme by using WOF 2 1/2″ strips leftover from other projects. Having recently reorganized all my fabric, I had a good idea of what was what in my stash, so I pulled a variety of print strips that would coordinate, along with all the solid 2 1/2″ strips I had.

To start, I trimmed the print strips to 37 – 38″ so I wouldn’t have to be overly concerned about lining up edges perfectly when sewing, and it would also allow for some wiggle room when trimming the top to its final size. Some of the solids were 2 1/4″ strips and needed pieced to get to the required length. But since this was an improvised project, I figured anything goes!

My layout consisted of alternating light and dark colored stripes, varying the placement of prints and solids. I had enough strips of solid navy blue and gold to make one 4 1/2″ wide strip of each. To add a bit of interest to the design, I placed one wide strip about 1/3 of the way down and the second wide strip about 1/4 of a way down from that.

I pressed all my seams to the dark fabrics, and trimmed the top to 36 1/2″ wide once all the strips were sewn. The length ended up at 60 1/2″.

Here’s the finished quilt top…

For the backing, we decided dark colors would be best since the quilt will be used on the ground. I pieced together various gray fabrics along with a colorful blue/gray diagonal print.

Did you ever have a quilt that you considered an ‘I always wanted to do that’ quilt? This was one for me. I’ve always wanted to make a strippy quilt, improvise a quilt, and quilt using a zigzag stitch. I figured this was the perfect time to do them all.

For the quilting, I set my machine on the zigzag setting with three stitches per zig. Or zag? 🙂 I tested out a few different sizes before I began, deciding on a rather petite stitch that was fun to sew. As always, I pin basted and used a hera marker for marking lines (every 2″). I really like how it turned out.

To finish, I used a blue and tan flag print for the binding, mainly because I wanted to use the last of this fabric and I thought the stripes would show up nicely. Plus, everyone loves striped binding, right?

Here’s the finished quilt! And I’m happy to say I bought nothing to make this one. I even pieced the batting and used thread that I’d had for a few years now.

If you want to make a small, striped quilt for indoor use or out, here’s a layout of the one I made. Overall, there are twenty-seven (approximately) 2 1/2″ strips and two 4 1/2″ strips. This is just a guideline, you certainly can add or take away as needed.

finished size 36″ x 60″

Now it’s time to send it off for the new owner to enjoy!

baby quilts, color gallery, monday morning designs quilt pattern, quilting, quilts, sewing, tutorials, Uncategorized

2020 Project Recap

It seems that staying in more than usual made for a productive year. In 2019 I’d completed 11 quilts and thought that was a lot, but in 2020 I surpassed that and made 14! Of the 14, I gave 4 as gifts and I have a few on hand should a gift-giving occasion arise.

Other than having a queen sized quilt ready for longarming, I’d quilted the other 13 myself. That’s quite a bit as I typically have one or two done professionally every year. My goal for 2020 was to use what I had on hand, so I didn’t purchase fabric to make several of these quilts.

Here’s a look at the past year: These two quilts were gifted along with two others that I can’t show—one is to be published in the Quilts & More fall edition, and the other is a pattern currently in the works. The photo on the left is a free pattern, Lucky 13, and the other is an easy tutorial for a beginner, Checkered Baby Quilt.

This is the only two-colored quilt I’ve ever made, for me red and white were the obvious choice. 😉 It’s a free Moda pattern called Illusions.

My Twinkly Stars quilts are one of my favorite makes, shown in both throw and crib size. It’s available as a PDF download in my Etsy shop. And those cute sashing strips are made from cut-away corners so there’s no waste!

This Scrappy Four Patch Charm is the second quilt I’d made from this free pattern from Robert Kaufman. I just love this design and I wouldn’t be surprised if I make yet another one. For this, I literally took every 5″ square I had, cut a few more and threw it together. It was so fun and it used a lot of what I had on hand.

Both patterns, Westerly Winds and Radiant, were released last year.

My Holiday Hemlock quilt was a challenge and a joy to design, not to mention how fun it is to watch it come together. While working on this, I decided on a second, scrappy version for all the scrap lovers out there!

Sweet Stripes is the last of my pattern releases for the year. This cheerful pattern is designed with the beginner quilter in mind. It’s fat quarter friendly and there are 7 different sizes with two layouts versions to choose from. It’s quick AND easy!

I made this baby size Sweet Stripes quilt but I have no baby to give it to, so it’s currently for sale in my Etsy shop. 🙂

The last quilt finish of the year is my Christmassy Triangle Peaks. I had to make this red and green version for my annual holiday quilt. Even though I finished it mid-December, I’m already planning for this year!

I was surprised that I made only one mini; a section of my Holiday Hemlocks. I put together a center tree and star along with a shorter ribbon and it made a lovely wall hanging. It’s a great way to display part of the quilt if you don’t have time to make a whole one.

I also added another page to my website, color gallery. It showcases several photos with color tiles to help with your color inspiration. Thankfully my family members allowed me use their beautiful images for this project. I think it’s an excellent resource.

Other projects include pillows for my mom, a pillow case for my bird-loving husband, utensil wraps, colorful rope bowls and microwave bowl cozies.

I also added several tips, tutorials, charts and plenty of other quilty posts to my website. And lastly, I updated my logo and I love it.

Coming soon in 2021…a tutorial for the utensil wrap, a new quilt pattern and more tips and sewing inspiration. I’m looking forward to a great year of creating!

Christmas, modern quilts, quilting, quilts, Uncategorized

Christmassy Triangle Peaks Quilt

Two years ago I made a blue and orange Triangle Peaks quilt for my daughter and had since planned to make myself one with red and green fabric—I guess all those triangles got me thinking about Christmas trees. So here it is, my last quilt for 2020 (of 14 total).

Last year I ordered this lovely bundle of red happiness specifically for this quilt. I used only half of the fat quarters by excluding the richest reds and replacing them with reds that were more in line with the lighter ones in the bundle.

For the background, I used Art Gallery’s Loved to Pieces Frost Topiary. This fabric isn’t completely white, it actually has a frosty hue and the tiny topiary trees are so cute! I thought a different type of tree would give this year’s Christmas quilt a different twist. The accent triangles are Kona Cotton Sage green, which BTW took around nine MONTHS to get! Pandemic online fabric ordering has been quite the experience. Lastly, the backing is Andover Fabric’s Teal Yuletide Holly accented with pretty gold metallic.

Triangle Peaks, by Emily Dennis, is one of the fastest makes out there. While it takes a while to cut the fabric (doesn’t it always?) there’s very little to do to make blocks. The large cut triangles are the main ‘block’ and the smaller triangles are simply sewn to the background. There are biased edges, but with so little to sew handling them sparsely is a given.

And chain piecing is always fast…

As always, choosing a layout is time consuming for me, I think I might tend to overthink it. Once the layout was determined, sewing the rows went quickly. Sewing the rows together to finish the top took quite some time, mainly due to pinning.

My absolute most dreaded part of quilting is cutting threads off the back. I will find every other non-related chore to do to avoid doing it. But, since this quilt has mostly biased edges that don’t fray, trimming was a cinch.

I decided to straight line quilt so pin basting was pretty intense. After my Quilting Disaster! I’m diligent about using plenty of pins. Lines were quilted 2″ apart giving it a clean, simple finish.

I used the remaining yard of the sage green for the binding to match the accent triangles.

After attaching my binding to the quilt and before sewing it down completely, I always give it a press. I find this helps it lie flat and makes it a bit easier to stitch down. 🙂

The holiday themed backing makes it complete.

And here it is!

Yet another festive quilt for the holidays. Merry Christmas!

modern quilts, monday morning designs quilt pattern, patterns, PDF download, PDF pattern, quilting, quilts, Uncategorized

Sweet Stripes Quilt Pattern

My Sweet Stripes quilt pattern is now available for sale in my Etsy shop! I’m excited about this one for so many reasons. First of all, it’s fat quarter friendly and designed with the beginner quilter in mind. It’s unique too, because the pattern has various size options in two different layouts. One option is a straight layout with four sizes: baby, small throw, large throw and full. The other option is an offset layout with three sizes: baby, small throw and full. Altogether there’s 7 different quilts you can make from one pattern—that’s a lot of choices!

And of course the pattern is all the better thanks to testers. As quilters, we know a lot of work, time and money goes into making one single quilt so asking someone to test a pattern is a big ask. I don’t know how I got so lucky to end up with such a wonderful group of ladies, but I sure hit the jackpot! I value their input beyond measure.

So, here are the testers’ quilts…

I literally gasped when I saw this photo. The black background with the vibrant colors are just WOW. It truly is a gem. Quilt by Amanda @quiltingadventures (on Instagram).

Amanda’s Sweet Stripes – Small throw size in offset layout

I don’t think I’ve seen a prettier quilt than this. It’s so fresh and clean…just one of those quilts you can’t stop looking at. Quilt by Vanessa @_vanessa.griffin_ (on Instagram).

Vanessa’s Sweet Stripes – Full size in straight layout

Dani made this for a baby boy and she nailed her color choices. The gray, blues and yellows are a perfect blend. Did you see that adorable giraffe fabric? Quilt by Dani @missdanismiles (on Instagram).

Dani’s Sweet Stripes – Baby size in offset layout

It’s gorgeous, right? I love how striking the rich toned one-color blocks pop against the white. And the longarming pattern is the perfect choice. Quilt by Janine @ lilbeanquilting (on Instagram).

Janine’s Sweet Stripes – Baby size in offset layout

So lovely and colorful…everything about this quilt makes me smile. It’s just delightful. Quilt by Carol @cjpunday (on Instagram).

Carol’s Sweet Stripes – Small throw in straight layout

Check out this festive beauty! The gray background compliments every color and gives such a cozy feel. And the scrappy layout adds to the loveliness all the more. Quilt by Barbara @thequiltedb (on Instagram).

Barbara’s Sweet Stripes – Small throw in offset layout

Here’s my finished quilt. I made the small throw in the offset design with Kona Cotton Solids for a cheerful look. And how about that bias striped binding?

If you’re looking for a fun and easy quilt pattern this may be your next one! 🙂

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!

monday morning designs quilt pattern, quilting, Uncategorized

Stashed Stacked Backing

Is stashing and stacking backing a thing? Meaning buying and stashing yards of fabric for unplanned quilt backs. OK, maybe it’s not properly named, but I’m pretty sure there are quilters out there who do this along with me, right? I’m not a quilter who has a lot of stash, for either the front OR the back, but it makes sense to me to have a few backings on hand because you never know when you’re going to make a quilt. 😉

While it may not seem so, there is a method to my madness! Since I don’t plan all (most) of my quilts and I can’t afford the latest print to be put on the back, I look for sales. I usually look for something that would work with a type of quilt that I’m likely to make. A good example is that each year chances are I’ll be making a Christmassy quilt, so I’m always scouting for something in traditional Christmas colors.

I found this vibrant red RJR fabric for 40% off (around $6/yard and my usual price limit) and at the time I had no idea what I’d use it for. Along came my Holiday Hemlocks quilt and it’s a perfect match! I’d stored this fabric for a couple of years and was happy that I had it on hand when needed.

As far as other backings are concerned, I like to buy fabric that will go with anything for anybody. Some of the time it means a neutral color, or something geometric if I’m gifting a quilt to a man. Sometimes I just get cute prints that I like in case the quilt’s for me. 😉

For my years of doing this, I found the best resource is Hancock’s of Paducah. They have a giant selection of fabric overall and they have a great selection of sale fabric, too. Sales run from $3.99 – $6.99/yard and because they have such a vast inventory, they have a lot of yardage which is useful when purchasing backings. The Fat Quarter Shop also has a big inventory and a nice selection. I love the FQS and get a lot of my fabric there, but sales typically aren’t as inexpensive as Hancock’s. For the most part these are my main two go-to places, but there are others I’ve bought from on occasion.

When I find something I like, I tend to buy 5 yards. That way I have enough in case I make a larger quilt and if I make a smaller quilt there will be some leftover that can be used for mini backings, etc.

Here’s my latest purchase: a print from Moda’s Harper’s Garden by Sherri and Chelsi for $5.99/yard. It’s 10 yards of loveliness that’ll be put on the back of my On Point Irish Chain quilt for my bed.

If you don’t stack backing fabric for future quilts, it might be something worth considering. If nothing else, looking at pretty fabric is a great way to pass the time.

Note: I am not endorsed by any business I have mentioned in this post; they are stores and fabrics I like, use, and wanted to share information on.