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!

modern quilts, patterns, PDF pattern, quilting, quilts, Uncategorized

Diamond Jubilee Quilt Pattern (A Throw Size Quilt)

It’s Monday morning and it’s time for a pattern release! My Diamond Jubilee quilt is now available for purchase as a PDF download at my Etsy shop.

This modern quilt is throw size, measures 56″ x 72″ and it’s 2 ½” precut strip friendly. The pattern is made up of two distinct blocks, a scrappy star block and a diamond block, set in an alternate layout. And, it’s easy enough for a confident beginner quilter.

Fabric: Bright Blooms by Artisan Batiks for Robert Kaufman Fabrics
Quilting: Random Curved Squares

Looking to showcase some bright fabric? Download your copy of Diamond Jubilee, have some fun sewing and celebrate an explosion of color!

If you’re on Instagram, share your project #diamondjubileequilt—I’d love to see what you create.

home decor, mini quilts, modern quilts, quilting, quilts, Uncategorized

Tiny Crab Mini Quilt

Every year for Christmas I make my family members something handmade. Sometimes it’s a quilt, sometimes it’s something as simple as a pillowcase. I like to start my holiday sewing early after learning my lesson two years ago when I was finishing gifts at the last minute due to a late start.

Last year I made my daughter a quilt for her bed so this year I planned to make something quite a bit smaller. Since she loves whimsical crabs, I’d been looking for a cute pattern and recently found one by Ellis and Higgs. I bought it upon release and started immediately!

The pattern offers two sizes: 6″ square and 12″ square. She wanted the larger one but I thought I’d practice by making the smaller one. I decided on a blue crab and after searching through my scraps I chose two prints from Allison Glass’s Sun Print collection. To set off the vibrant blues, I used a white background.

I’ve got to say—this pattern was so fun! I enjoyed it so much that I made three more crabs and created a little mini quilt for my sewing room door.

A few things to mention about the process—first of all, the fabric pieces are really small, some as small as 1″ x 1″ square and some were as skinny as ¾” wide.

Working with pieces this tiny along with striving to get everything to line up challenged me and I enjoyed the challenge! 🙂

But in all that fun there were a few bumps along the way…for example, when working with such little pieces and keeping them labeled, things got a little heated…

I found my alphabittie melted to my iron! Dang. After that I was a lot more careful. If you make this or any project with small pieces, I have a few recommendations:

I also found that trimming units after sewing made assemby go easier. The pattern gives sizes each sewn unit should measure and having trimmed pieces helps when lining everything up. Plus it eliminates annoying threads along the edges.

I made three tiny crabs using primary colors and green for the fourth. I added a 1 ½” border and my finished mini measures 15 ½” square. I chose a horizontal serpentine stitch for quilting to represent ocean waves. Every time I walk past my sewing room door I smile at their cuteness!

This little project was a great scrap buster, too. While going through my fabric I decided I have too much so I’m now making a controlled scrappy quilt using 2 ½” squares in every variety of color I own. And as far as the Christmas crab mini goes, I can’t post it until after it’s gifted!

mini quilts, modern quilts, patterns, PDF pattern, quilting, quilts, Uncategorized

Sunrise Clock Mug Rugs Revisited

In the fall of 2017 I was fortunate enough to experience my first quilting publication. My project, Sunrise Clock Mug Rugs, was published in the September/October issue of Modern Patchwork. I designed a set of four mug rugs depicting a clock face reading approximately 7:25 a.m. For some reason I really clocks and watches, and years ago I had quite the watch collection so that’s more than likely where my inspiration came from. 🙂

Once I had the idea, I played around with it until the design resembled a clock face as close as possible, even down to the binding which represents a silver casing! Technically, the mug rug can read four different times, depending on how you orient it. 🙂 Unfortunately, Modern Patchwork is no longer published (I was sad to see it go) so I’ve decided to offer my Sunrise Clock Mug Rug pattern as a free PDF download.

I made the original four (in the above photo) with brightly colored hands and a white background but the next time around I experimented quite a bit with color. Since I liked how the quilting design looked, I kept it the same on the others as well.

These mug rugs are a quick and fun project that presents a clean, modern aesthetic. They make great gifts, too. I’d love to see other versions, if on Instagram hashtag #sunriseclockmugrug to share yours!

quilting, quilts, Uncategorized

The Making of a Hunter’s Star Quilt

In 2017 I told my daughter I would make her a bed size quilt, but to be honest I never got around to it that year. Enter 2018 and I knew I had to keep my word. That said, I had her choose both the fabric and the quilt pattern because if I was going to take a lot of time to make something so big (and expensive), I wanted her to be happy with it.

After searching around she decided on Robert Kaufman’s Artisan Batiks/Retro Metro by Lunn Studios. This would be my first time working with batiks and I was ready to try something new.

Her pattern choice was the Hunter’s Star quilt based on the video tutorial by Missouri Star Quilt Company. We all love Jenny Doan, don’t we? I know I’m a fan of her videos and patterns, and store too, for that matter. The video tutorial I followed is Hunter’s Star Made Easy. It’s a great tutorial but there were a couple of things I found challenging and I’d like to share them with anyone who decides to make this quilt from the video.

First, making the half square triangles (HSTs). By using the method in the tutorial you need to know that all the fabric edges will be on the bias! Meaning everything is going to be stretchy so handle with care. Personally, I don’t like making HSTs this way because of that, but in this case I just used extra caution. If you’re a beginner quilter be aware if and when you use this method.

I needed 720 HSTs for the entire quilt, that’s a lot! Here’s a stack of just 168, trimmed and ready for blocks.

How to press your seams is important, and I found it worked best pressing the HSTs seams open—but—if you’re using a Bloc-Loc ruler, trim them first, then press seams open. I pressed a few open first and they were off, so I didn’t end up with a ¼” seam once sewn. It wasn’t until afterwards that I realized why that happened, but thankfully I didn’t do too many.

After I got that right everything lined up nicely! The pressed open seams made for a nice, flat lying block.

Here are a few more tips from my experience that are really useful.

After laying out the blocks, take a photo. It’s easy to get blocks turned around and having a photo reference is a lifesaver.

Pin, pin, pin! Some quilters don’t like to pin because it slows them down. I like the accuracy of pinning so I’ll take the extra time. It’s definitely worth it.

Before I began sewing rows together I numbered the back of each block in the seam, in order per row using a Frixion pen (you can see my sideways #8 in the above photo). If you end up making a mistake, having had the blocks numbered will definitely help. I actually sewed one entire row upside down AND backwards! I was glad I had the blocks numbered as it helped me fix the problem and it helped me to realize I had done it wrong.

I also pinned at both side seams and the center seams within the top block before I sewed my rows together. This keeps everything aligned.

Lastly, when I sewed the blocks into rows, I pressed seams to the four patch. That way, blocks in every other row were pressed opposite and my seams nested perfectly. Also, when I sewed my rows together I pressed seams to the row that had the most four patch blocks because pressing the star block seam flat cooperated better.

Here are a few photos of my process as I went along.

I absolutely loved the batiks. They’re so nice and crisp and are just a dream to work with. This collection has such vibrant colors that even the scraps were gorgeous. 🙂

Because this quilt was so large I needed 9 yards of backing. So much fabric!

I also had my daughter choose what quiliting pattern she wanted. Here’s a close up of the mod squares motif she chose. I think it goes great with the fabric’s retro look.

And finally, the finished quilt! By far, it’s the largest one I’ve ever made. It’s queen size and measures 95 ½” x 104 ½” which is pretty massive for a quilt!

My daughter was so happy with it and it brings tons of color into her bedroom, just like she wanted. And I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out too. I do have to admit that this was a huge undertaking and I’m pretty sure I’d only work that hard for one of my kids!

I promised my son one this year…I guess I better get busy. 🙂

modern quilts, quilting, quilts, Uncategorized

A Gifted Quilt

Overall, a good portion of the quilts I’ve made I’ve given as gifts, and at this point I’ve given them to every family member that has expressed an interest in receiving one. It just happened that this particular niece ended up last, but for no particular reason!

As a surprise, I wanted to make her one for Christmas 2018, which I managed to pull off. If you’re one who makes quilts as gifts (and are on Instagram) you know how hard it can be to keep it a secret. No posting photos unless you block the recipient, but that leads to suspicion if you ask me! (I did sneak in one photo but she had no idea it was for her quilt).

In keeping with the plan to sew with what I have, I decided on using a jelly roll I purchased a few years ago. She loves the color yellow and this Moda collection Figures had plenty of it.

Once the fabric was decided, I needed a pattern. I thought she’d like something more modern verses traditional, so I headed to the Moda Bake Shop and found a great jelly roll pattern, Tropical Punch Quilt.

This pattern is very easy and beginner friendly. Thanks to precuts and my stripology ruler, cutting was a breeze and done in no time.

I used Kona Cotton White for the background to give it a bright, fresh look. I paired two coordinating strips together for the block pairs so they would have opposite middles and outer edges because I prefer controlled scrappy over all-out scrappy.

Piecing the top went fast as the blocks are simple and a larger size. The layout took a bit of time because I wanted the coordinating blocks distanced from one another.

I chose to make the binding scrappy. Need instruction on how to make scrappy binding? Here’s my How To tutorial.

Here’s a trick I used to make sure the same colors in the binding weren’t next to the same colors on the quilt top once I sewed it on. After the top was complete and on my design wall, I laid out the binding strips around it in preferred order. I marked where I needed to start sewing the binding on the actual quilt sandwich so the layout remained as planned. It worked great!

After sandwiching and before quilting, I sewed my basting stitch across the top to reduce pulling and shifting. This works wonders and I definitely recommend taking the time to do this step. Just set your machine on the widest stitch possible and sew within ¼” from the top. There’s no need to remove these stitches before sewing on your binding and it helps keep the sewn edge flat.

As usual, I used my hera marker to mark every line 1 ¾” apart and then used my guide for the lines in between.

I’ve never straight line quilted before but it came out pretty nice.

I also had this fun polka-dot backing on hand, I’m sure I bought it for something else that I never got around to making… 🙂

And the finished quilt!

I really enjoyed making this quilt, it was a lot of fun. I’m also very pleased that my niece absolutely loved it. And as always, I’m happy to spread around some quilting cheer. 😉