quilting, quilts, tutorials, Uncategorized

Quilting on a Whim (A Granny Square Quilt)

I admit, this is the first time I’ve ever made a quilt on impulse. It happened while scrolling Instagram and granny square posts kept showing up from the Moda Bake Shop. Almost instantly it clicked—I knew I wanted to make a granny square quilt and I had the perfect fabric for it. And since I recently finished a rather challenging and labor intensive queen size quilt, I needed something easy!

A while back I ordered a fat quarter bundle of Moda’s Chestnut Street for a fall quilt. While I cut what was needed for the pattern, I never made the quilt because I couldn’t decide on a background fabric. Since I had plenty of Chestnut Street left over, along with additional fabrics from other Fig Tree collections, I knew I had enough fabric and variety (plus I added two Dear Stella Mini Dots). I’d also been intent on stashing down, so it was definitely a go! I stopped what I was working on and started pulling fabric. And let me tell you, it was FUN. 🙂

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There were so many things about making this quilt that made it fun…for example, I had no plan, it was literally on a whim. I randomly mixed and matched fabric, whatever I felt went together got put together. I was using what I had, and of all cuts – an older charm pack, scraps, fat quarters, yardage…including the background fabric, Kona Cotton Snow. I truly enjoyed the entire process.

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Once I finished 28 squares, I figured it was time for a plan. I decided on a throw quilt with six blocks per row, seven rows (42 squares total), 2″ sashing and a background border.

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Because it came out so lovely, I had it professionally quilted with the digital pattern Daisy Delight.

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I did have to purchase binding fabric, luckily I found what I wanted from the Chestnut Street line. I also had to purchase the backing. Since the quilt has a lot of orange in it, I wanted to incorporate it onto the back as well. I decided on Tule Quietude in Sunset by Leah Duncan for Art Gallery Fabrics. I loved how this print blended nicely with the colors on the front.

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My Granny Square quilt finished at 64 ½” x 74 ½”. And I just love it!

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I mentioned that the granny squares popped up on IG from the Moda Bake Shop, so I visited their site for block instructions. Because I wanted to use scraps that I had already cut into 2 ½” squares, I had to do some recalculating for a more petite block. Also, this size block is great because it can be easily made with precuts, including 2 ½” strips, 5″ squares and 10″ squares.

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Here’s a quick tutorial on how to make a granny square block with the dimensions I used. My blocks finished at roughly 8 3/8″ square.

FROM COLOR/PRINT FABRIC, CUT:
(1) 2 ½” x 2 ½” square (center square)
(4) 2 ½” x 2 ½” squares (inner squares)
(8) 2 ½” x 2 ½” squares (outer squares)

FROM BACKGROUND FABRIC, CUT:
(2) 2 ½” x 2 ½” squares
*subcut diagonal once
(2) 4 ÂĽ” x 4 ÂĽ” squares
*subcut diagonal twice

Lay out fabric as illustrated below:

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Sew pieces together into rows using ¼” seam allowance. I recommend pinning! Be sure to trim away dog ears. Pressed rows will look like this:

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Because sewn pieces are relatively small, I pressed all my seams open to reduce bulk. It definitely helps the blocks to lay nice and flat.

Next, turn the block sideways, as shown. Place the remaining triangle pieces in the four corners. Sew and press.

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The final step, trimming your block (and the remaining dog ears). Line up your ruler with the ÂĽ” mark placed at the corners of the outer squares, as shown. Trim.

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Give your block one last press and you have a beautiful granny square!

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I know it’s common for quilters to finish a quilt and say it’s their new favorite, but this one really is for me. It’s different from most of the quilts I’ve made, mainly because of the fabrics, many were soft and feminine floral prints.

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I think every quilter needs to make a granny square quilt, well, just because…don’t you agree?

quilting, quilts, Uncategorized

Scrappy Nine Patch Quilt

It seems as though a lot of quilters plan out their projects; I see plenty of Instagram posts with lovely planners available for purchase along with planner images of scrawled notes and ideas. While I’m an organized person to a fault, I just couldn’t see myself planning out my quilts. I’m not exactly sure why, I suppose it’s because I just like to wing it from time to time. Enter my Scrappy Nine Patch quilt.

A while back I had been thinking about making something scrappy, mainly because I rarely do and I was tired of looking at fabric left over from so many past projects. One day while working on something else, I completely switched gears and began pulling fabric and putting together scraps in color combinations. Now I know why scrappy projects are so much fun; you don’t need an exact plan (other than a pattern), anything goes and nothing is considered wrong.

I set to work making a variety of nine patches—if a fabric looked good, it went in. It’s funny how I still can remember what projects I used those fabrics for, what collection they’re from, why I bought them, etc. I guess that’s why scrappy quilts are also called ‘memory quilts.’

Here are a few of my block groups.

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Had a little fun putting this together…

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Upon completion, I was surprised that I ended up using 144 different fabrics! I wouldn’t have guessed I even had that much variety in my stash at the time. In all, I made 48 blocks, added sashing, and ended up with a throw quilt measuring roughly 49″ W x 57″ L. And it definitely helped with my stash down.

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I’ve since gifted this quilt, but because it was so fun to make I’m thinking about making another one, with an entirely different selection of fabrics, of course. And I won’t be planning it either! 🙂

quilting, Uncategorized

Fireworks Quilt Finish

Finally, my Fireworks quilt is done! Last year I saw one posted on Instagram and I knew I had to make one for myself. As usual, I like to use my stash and my Moda Rustic Weave fat quarters came to mind immediately. I bought this bundle two years ago for my Circus Trio patterns. It’s bright and colorful with a woven pattern that gives it texture, just a bit more than a solid.

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Another neat thing about this collection is the light and dark coordinating colors that allowed me to make light colored blocks with dark centers and vice versa. It isn’t widely available anymore, but I did find enough online for the binding.

The quilt pattern (by Thimble Blossoms) wasn’t difficult, there’s just a lot of precision involved. The blocks go together pretty fast despite the fact it took me several months from start to finish. I guess it was all the Christmas sewing in between, given I started this quilt last August.

Sometimes I think of the whole quilt making process and the time involved—going from just fabric, to cutting, to sewing, to a completed quilt. I posted this photo on Instagram after a few hours of cutting fabric.

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Not to mention the time spent trimming threads off the back before quilting…

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before eight+ hours of trimming…
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after eight+ hours of trimming…

What a difference and well worth the effort!

Because of the white front, I chose mellow backing. This fabric is Tic Tac Go by Sarah J. Maxwell for Studio 37 Marcus Fabrics. It has some of the same colors as the front, and I love how it’s so fun.

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I hand-sewed the binding, which I do most of the time; I love how it looks.

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Here’s the finished quilt…

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It’s definitely bold and bright!

It measures 68″ square. I opted for professional long arm quilting with up and down loops to compliment all the angles.

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That wraps up my first lap sized quilt finish in 2018. What to do next…?

quilting, Uncategorized

Boxed Candy Toss Quilt with Tips & Techniques

I finally did it—I made a quilt for my mom. After making several for other family members, non-relatives and donating a couple, I felt it was about time. (I think she might have been waiting for one for quite some time, too).

When asked what she wanted, I got a few easy requests: the quilt be made from my own pattern, Boxed Candy Toss Quilt (tutorial here); that I use pastel-colored fabrics; and that I do my own quilting, design included. Done, done and done.

At first I thought I’d work on it with no time frame, then I resolved to have it done by Christmas. Since I started early enough, I decided to document the process and share some of the tips and techniques I used when making it.

First, the fabric. The quilt top fabric collection is Colette by Chez Moi for Moda (an older collection that I had to have, luckily found on Etsy). The background fabric is Kona Cotton Snow.

The backing (left) is Fleur by Brenda Riddle Designs for Moda and the binding is also Chez Moi from the Nanette collection. I used Aurifil 50wt 2026 for piecing and quilting.

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I have to admit it was a bit weird following my own tutorial, but soon the blocks were done and my quilt top was finished and sandwiched. Before I began quilting, I sewed a basting stitch along the top edge, approximately 1/8″ down, to help to keep everything from shifting and pulling. This is the first time I ever did this and I highly recommend it; it worked great.

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I often think it would be interesting to know how much time we actually spend making a quilt, especially if we do the quilting ourselves. I spent several hours quilting this one, mainly because I used a hera marker for marking the lines (I had to go over them a few times) and the rounded quilting design is more of a challenge than just a straight line—but still fun!

For the wavy lines, I created a quilting template by drawing the design I wanted then tested it to make sure I’d be able to maneuver it through my machine with fluidity. Once I determined it was manageable, I transferred the pattern onto poster board. Something sturdier would have been better, but it worked out OK.

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I always make my binding 2 ½” wide and sew it on using my ÂĽ” foot. Once attached, I secure it with wonder clips and run a basting stitch by hand before sewing it down. In the past, I’ve tried removing the clips while machine sewing, but I ended up with crooked binding on the back. The basting stitch keeps everything secure when sewing, especially if machine sewing the binding. Sure, it’s another step but it’s well worth the extra time and effort.

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I chose to machine bind this quilt using my stitch-in-the-ditch foot (as I always do when machine binding). In this case, I put my needle setting on 7mm instead of ¼” when I attached the binding to the front.

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I only use the 7mm setting if there is a border or if cutting off points on blocks is not an issue (as 7mm is a bit wider than ÂĽ”).  And here’s why I chose to do this…

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the stitching on the back ends up nice and close to the binding edge. That extra width makes quite a bit of difference!

At last, the finished quilt!

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I hope you’ll try out some of these methods if you haven’t used them in the past.  Feel free to leave me comment if you do try something; I’d like to know how it works for you.

 

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Stars & Four Patches Quilt

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While vacationing out west last summer, I visited a beautiful quilt store in Garden City, Idaho (Quilt Expressions). Upon entering, I instantly fell in love with a gorgeous red, white and blue quilt I knew I’d have to make for myself. Before leaving, I purchased the red and blue fat quarter bundle, and because I wanted mine to have an Americana look, I chose Bella Solids Natural as a background fabric.

I didn’t start this quilt until December—figuring it was about time since I bought the fabric in July. Once the top was finished, I decided to have it professionally quilted because it was on the larger side and I didn’t feel I could do it justice. And wow, am I glad I did!

My longarmer, Laurie, suggested a block-by-block pattern and I agreed it would look great…and when I saw it I was floored. She even added an additional scalloped allover edge because the design didn’t go far enough into the borders. Needless to say, I absolutely love it!

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As of today, I have two holiday-themed quilts, this one and a Christmassy one. I plan to continue on, but which one do I do next?

The pattern is Stars & Four Patches by Moda (free online here:)

http://www.unitednotions.com/fp_BSPK1301.pdf

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Quilt top is a variety of fabric manufacturers. Quilt backing is Moda Sundance Trail/Light Blue Flags by Sara Khammash. Binding is Benartex Moose on the Loose/Stars Cranberry. Finished size is approximately 71″ x 88″.

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Large Granny Square Quilts

I finally finished and gifted the second of two large granny square quilts, and what a long time coming! I made most of the blocks in September 2016 and had a great vision for a quilt, but for some reason I put them aside as a UFO (first time I ever did that). In the mean time, I was sidetracked with several holiday-themed projects…all the while my large granny square blocks sat untouched.

In January 2017, my local guild asked for quilt donations to support the Hopes and Dreams Quilt Challenge for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), and I immediately remembered my UFO. Because the size requirements were pretty small, I used only twelve squares of the blues, tans and oranges, and in no time my quilt was complete and donated.

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The remaining blocks were put aside until March when I heard a niece was getting married. Of course, the first thing I thought was how they would make a perfect wedding gift! Luckily, I was able to get two more charm packs of Moda’s Miss Kate fabric as I was a few blocks shy. I had already purchased backing and binding fabric so I was set to go. Overall, I finished the quilt relatively quick having quilted it on my Janome in straight-lined crosshatching with machined binding.

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I’m happy that I can finally share these photos as I didn’t want to post them until the quilt was gifted at the wedding shower in August.

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Here it is photographed on a ladder my husband and I made for hanging and displaying quilts.  And lastly, below is a close up of the fun fabric I used on the back.

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