I’d seen so many Swoon quilts on Instagram that I finally had to join the crowd and make one for myself. The minute I saw Moda’s fabric line Le Pavot by Sandy Gervais I absolutely had to have it. I received a fat quarter bundle for Christmas 2018 and made the quilt in 2019, so I’ve actually have had it done for over a year now!
I dove right in after receiving the fabric, and as always, it takes a good chunk of time to cut pieces. With the use of my stripology ruler (below) I was able to get the background strips done fairly quick.
I think what drew me to the pattern (by Camille Roskelley) is the large blocks, and to date these are the largest blocks I’ve ever made. They measure 24″ and the entire quilt has only nine blocks altogether.
I’m a huge fan of peachy, coral colored fabrics so I chose this adorable tiny flowered print for the binding.
I also favor the color teal. These two fabrics made the most gorgeous flying geese…
For the quilting, I decided to go with a different motif than what I’d usually choose—bubbles or swirls or something on the petite side. To mix it up I chose a big design to compliment the big blocks, it’s called seaweed. I’m really happy with how it turned out.
Here it is finished.
The colors, pattern and quilting…all made for a lovely quilt. 🙂 And a new favorite.
When I bought my sewing machine a few years ago, the sales lady gave me very thorough instructions on machine use, even though I didn’t think it necessary…then one particular thing got my attention—how to ‘unthread’ the machine. I’m sure it’s not really known as that, but changing thread is something we do all the time.
Until then I always pulled the thread from the spool back through my machine, but thanks to Karen I now know that can cause tension issues as the machine is made for thread to go out in only one direction via the needle. That said, the proper way to remove thread is to cut it from the spool and pull it through the bottom. Am I the only person who didn’t know this? Probably. 😉 It makes perfect sense, and I’m glad for the tip because tension problems are the worst.
As time went by and after several thread changes, I realized it’s a lot of waste to throw those strands away. Since thread is expensive and I don’t like waste, I had to ask myself ‘what can I do with these strands?’ I didn’t know at first, I just started saving them on my pincushion.
My thread cutaways measure about 24″ long, so it doesn’t go all that far, but I’ve come up with a few tips on putting them to good use.
Keep a needle or two threaded, it’s a great way to save time when in a hurry.
Use threads for basting. I always baste my binding before machine sewing, I mainly use these strands for stitching them down.
Sew on buttons. A short thread length is plenty.
Clothing repairs. They’re just right for a minor fix.
If you hang on to your cutaway strands, you’ll be surprised how quickly they accumulate and in so many different colors, too. And mostly, you’ll see how much it’ll save on thread waste. 🙂
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!
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!
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! 🙂
To kick off the summer season, I have a newly published mini quilt pattern that gives off a summery vibe. It’s entitled Radiant because, well, the sun just radiates!
I sketched this idea a while back but didn’t get a chance to write the pattern and make it until early spring last year. Right after finishing it, Modern Patchwork put out a call for ‘small’ projects. The timing was perfect so I submitted it for publication consideration. After being accepted, Modern Patchwork was no longer going to be published (sadly) so my mini was moved to the July/August issue of Quiltmaker.
I received my magazine copies yesterday and I have to say I love their layout, it definitely says summer to me! I’m very happy with it. 🙂
There were two things that inspired this design: 1. the sheer heat of the sun 2. fabric. I had purchased a Kona Cotton Citrus Bundle with something else in mind, but it ended being up exactly what I needed for this pattern. I wanted to create an ombre effect using solids ranging from dark to light giving the feeling of warmth radiating from the sun, and it worked. I think any combination of reds, oranges and yellows would do just as well.
I wanted to quilt circles from the sun outward, but before starting I tested my idea. On paper, I drew a circle (from a coaster) in the corner where the sun was on the quilt. I knew that the further out I’d have to sew, the larger the circles would get, and I had to make sure they’d stay round. It looked like it was going to work so I continued on.
Testing showed I needed to start my lines off the quilt edge onto the excess batting area so I would have enough lead into the quilt top in order to keep my circles round. It was a bit of extra quilting but it was necessary to get the results I wanted. I used the edge of my walking foot for distancing apart lines, that way I didn’t have to make any markings.
For quilting, I used Aurifil 2135, giving a nice warm finish.
This little mini is a quick and easy make; consisting of mostly half square triangles. It measures 15″ W x 12″ H, and it would be a nice bright addition to anyone’s space! It’s also a great skill builder for a beginner quilter.
If you don’t subscribe to Quiltmaker, get your copy today and give it a try! If you like oranges and yellows you’re all set…or if you’re feeling adventurous try it out in your favorite color palette.
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. 🙂
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!
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!
Another quilt finished and one with an interesting story to go along with it. After finishing my Christmas quilt I thought, why not make one for Valentine’s Day? I love the color pink and tend to use it frequently so I had a lot of scraps on hand to choose from.
I wanted a heart quilt with a large array of pinks and reds, but I didn’t want to use the traditional heart shape so I opted for something more modern.
Once I had my idea I began designing the heart block and I started writing a pattern for it. Here’s what’s interesting…I thought I was onto something original, but when I went to name it I found it had been done before, published as a baby quilt in 2017, and had the exact same name! I admit I was a bit let down, but I still loved the design and it didn’t stop me from moving forward. I chose a different name because the quilts were different; mine was throw size, my blocks were bigger and I didn’t add borders.
Whenever I come up with a new design I always look to see if anyone else has already done it. For some reason when I checked for this heart quilt I didn’t see it anywhere, though I’m not really surprised it was done before because it is a pretty basic block.
Although I can’t claim it as my own design even though I’d never seen the other one (it isn’t worth getting blamed for copying) I do think it’s the cutest quilt I’ve ever made!
Here’s some general information on how I made my quilt. I wrote my pattern for using 10″ squares but it’s also scrap friendly. This illustration shows how I made my blocks from scraps. I used 29 different fabrics.
As an alternative, you can save time by strip piecing with precuts. Sew together and cut, as illustrated. One strip set will make 3 block halves.
I cut my background squares 5 ½” x 5 ½”, 99 total. I didn’t cut my edge pieces in half like most quilters would have done. Instead, I sewed them on as squares and trimmed them once the quilt top was complete. You might ask why would I do that? Well, I’m no fan of bias edges and by doing it this way I didn’t experience stretching and it ended up perfectly square. 🙂 And I know it’s certainly not the conventional way!
Here’s the layout of my Petite Hearts Quilt. Rows are sewn together on point (diagonally).
I used a variety of fabrics for this quilt including Riley Blake, Art Gallery, Andover, Michael Miller…just to name a few. The backing is Simply Colorful II in magenta by V & Co. for Moda. I sewed my binding on by hand using Aurifil 2530. I did the quilting myself on my Janome using the serpentine stitch using Aurifil 2026. Finished size is roughly 56″ x 70″.
Here’s the finished quilt. Original or not, I absolutely love it and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out!
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. 😉
If you’re in need of a quick project and love all things modern, I think you’re going to like my Modern Stripes Placemat. I designed this for my mom’s small kitchen table with the idea of using up some little scraps. It’s an easy make, and as a bonus you can finish it in just a few hours!
To put this together all you need is color fabric scraps as small as 1 ¼” wide by 2 ½” long, a fat quarter for the background, binding, backing and some quilt batting. It finishes at 14″ x 20″, the average size for a placemat. I used red to coordinate with my mom’s kitchen, but here are a few images to give you an idea of how other colors might look. I think a variety of colors would give it a whole new look!
For easy reference, I made the Modern Stripes Placemat pattern as a FREE PDF download so you can save it and have it ready whenever you are.
I think I need to get busy and make a few of these for myself, I just need to decide on a color…