Category Archives: Mini Quilt

Finished a Mini This Week

Like the really creative title says, I finished up the mini I shared with you earlier! It is so cute. When I was piecing the Mosaic Mystery Quilt (yet to be finished) I had loads of bonus HST’s – you know, the bits that are left over when you make a flying geese block? Luckily, I stitched them as I made the blocks so they were all ready for me to use.

Making this mini used only a small portion of the little 2 1/2″ HST’s. I saw the idea to incorporate a friendship star with the fussy cut center on a site and I cannot remember which it was. I think it was something like All People Quilt but I am not sure. If I figure it out, I will update the post accordingly.

At twelve inches square, it will be easy to find a little spot to hang this. I quilted all triangles except for the background (pale green) pieces. It looks cute and for the most part went well. There are a few wrinkles near the friendship star that could look a little better.

The fussy cut square in the center of the star is my favorite part. I have a stack of squares of this fabric depicting the very famous Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte painting by Georges Seurat. While on a trip to the Chicago, I saw this painting at the Art Institute of Chicago. It is so beautiful. When I saw a handmade shirt at a thrift store made with this fabric, I grabbed it, deconstructing it for the fabric.

There are only so many ways to take a photo of this little quilt. But here is a cute one. You probably noticed I decided to face the quilt, rather than bind it. I like the look of this but it caused me to lose some of the points on the top and right side of the mini. I didn’t lose them by stitching over them with the facing. Rather it was when I rolled the facing to the back, those points are rolled over just enough to make the points round off. Sigh. This was disappointing but I have managed to recover from the trauma. I didn’t have leftover strips of any of the fabrics used on the mini and when I looked at using other fabric for the binding, nothing appealed to me. I do like facing quilts; I just hadn’t considered the issue of those points.

In other projects, I decided what I would do for an RSC quilt this year. Since I skipped doing anything for Rainbow Scrap Challenge last year, the bins are loaded. I need to make some scrappy projects for sure. I saw these pretty diamond shaped blocks over at Bonjour Quilts and thought they would be fun to make each month. Not hard to piece and they will use up some fabric. The blocks will be 6″ x 12″. I suppose I should figure out how many I need to make but I have plenty of time for that. This month is pink and I have cut pieces to make three of them. Pink is probably the scrap bin with the least fabric in it so three will be plenty.

Not a whole lot more to report today! I have had an annoying cold this week. Where the heck I picked that up from, I have no idea. But it means I got no exercise this week and took lots of naps. Hoping to be a little more active this weekend! Hope all of you are well and staying healthy.

Post Update: Now that I am informed about the fussy cutting challenge for Project Quilting this week, this will be entered! Thanks to Wendy and Kathleen for commenting and letting me know. ūüôā

Linking with my favorites – check them out at the top of the page under Link Ups.

Project Updates

Somehow almost two weeks have passed since the last post. Not sure how that happened, but here we are. I have actually been in the sewing room quite a bit so I will do a quick update on what has been in the works.

First and foremost, I have been working on a cute baby quilt for my niece. It is just about done – I have a few more inches of binding to stitch down and then into the wash it goes. Once she receives it, I will share it here. I am 99% sure she doesn’t read the blog but since I haven’t taken photos of it anyway, it will have to wait.

Additionally, I decided to make a quilt for Mercy Hospital. If you are new here, I coordinate a program called Mercyful Quilts and you can read more about it here. It seemed like a good way to start off the new year by making a quilt for them. I have a panel (by Three Wishes) in the shop that is very pretty. It has four large sections and each has a quote. I thought, for people who are going through the process of saying goodbye to a loved one, this quilt would provide comfort. The prints are reminiscent of a water color painting.

Being a panel, this was a simple quilt top to create. I cut the panel into four sections and used some of the coordinates to create borders around the squares. (Looking at the squares, I think these would also be fun to use for a tote bag for bible study.)

Now that it is all put together, I am thinking it might be a tad small at 49 inches square. Just trying to decide if I add another border or go ahead and get it basted. Decisions, decisions. I am thinking of using a soft vintage sheet for the backing. I hope I have one in the right colors for this.

In the on-going saga of pretending to clean the sewing room, I started playing with a stack of leftover HST’s from the Mosaic Mystery Quilt I participated in last winter. (The top is still in the closet, patiently waiting for me to get it finished up.) As a result of piecing that top, I have a large stack of 2 1/2″ HST’s that I want to use for something. I poked around that wonderful rabbit hole, aka Pinterest, until I found some inspiration. I am working on a mini. I haven’t made a mini in quite a while. I remember making a bunch of them when I first started blogging but seems like it has been a while. So this will be finished up soon and I will share it with you then. I am thinking it may need to be hand quilted.

OK – that is it for now. Sorry to have been remiss in posting. I have been reading tons of posts and am loving the Stay at Home Round Robin that is going on. Have you seen the posts about this? It is being hosted by Quilting Gail and I am enjoying it. Check it out – maybe you have the perfect orphan block to build from.

Linking up to Stitch Show & Sew as well as a few others. Check out my Link Up tab at the top of the page.

Ticker Tape Holiday Tree

I have loved ‘ticker tape’ projects since I first saw them on Crazy Mom Quilts, some years back. They are so cute and a really fun way to use up bits and pieces of fabric. Fast forward to a couple of days ago when I saw the cutest ticker tape tree over at Devoted Quilter’s site. Leanne created this 12″ block for Quilt Mania. I thought, “ok, I am going to do this. ” I have loved these little scrappy projects for a long time and I decided to set aside the jillion other things I needed to do and make this fun mini. (Thank you Leanne!!)

I have to say, I am especially excited that this quilt turned out because I made it on a ‘post-migraine day’. Normally, I never make anything the day after a migraine. If you have never had one, a migraine leaves a person with scrambled eggs for brains. The day following one, I don’t think clearly, feel very foggy and definitely do not drive anywhere. So when I decided to make this, I figured it was low risk. Using scraps, it wasn’t a huge deal if it ended up in the trash. Fortunately Leanne’s instructions were really helpful. I did get all turned upside down when I was trying to stitch the tree shape (using two rectangles of the cream fabric and a square of dark green for the tree. I kept flipping the rectangles around and could not see my way through it. I finally texted my friend, Sophia, and she was going to talk me through it. But suddenly the lightbulb flipped on and I got it. Seriously, it is very frustrating to know I ‘should’ know how to do something and have this muddled brain that just can’t get there.

Anyhow….. I did get there. Once the little tree was constructed, I put the borders on. The red plaid was a scrap from a big bag of fabric scraps my sister gave me a while ago. It was perfect for framing the little tree.

Then came the fun part – cutting up scraps and decorating the tree. Leanne had made hers with various shades of green but I decided to make mine festive with various holiday fabrics. Once I had an arrangement I liked, I used a fabric glue stick to place the pieces.

I used a tight zig-zag to applique the pieces to the tree. This is more than adequate since it will hang on a wall during the holidays and shouldn’t require laundering.

I had fun using a micro stipple on the background. Nothing like a mini quilt to give that satisfying feeling of a finish, right?

See that little snowflake at the top of the tree? Love it! Also, the green heart in the center just adds a little sparkle to my tree.

The backing was a bit of a holiday print I had in my drawer full of Christmas fabrics.

Overall, this was just a very fun project that I enjoyed making. It has been such a long time since I played around like this. Be sure to give it a try. The directions are available here. I am looking forward to hanging this in the entryway during the holidays! Thanks again Leanne – writing tutorials takes a bit of time and I am so appreciative to you for putting this one together.

Linking to Whoop Whoop, Brag About Your Beauties, Finished or Not Fridays.

Back to the Real World

I don’t know if it is the same for you, but it is always with mixed feelings that I end a trip or vacation. Julia and I had such a wonderful time in Vermont. The week seemed to fly by and it was difficult to leave. Having my kids living so far from California isn’t the ideal situation but it is what it is, right? While I was a bit sad to leave them, and especially my sweet grand baby, I was happy to come home. I love my home and was more than happy to see my husband after ten days apart.

As for my grand baby, since I know you are all dying to hear, she is just adorable. I loved having the opportunity to spend a long stretch of time with her. She is full of all that newborn wonder that just melts a person’s heart. Her little cooing sounds when she is nursing, the happy smile she does when she is dreaming (what do newborn babies dream about anyway?) and the adorable cat-like stretches she does when she is waking up – the stuff newborn babies are made of. Ahh, I do love babies. She does have a touch of colick and can be quite fussy during the late afternoon and into the evening. Her parents handle these episodes with such patience. I am really proud of both of them.

When I got home, this was the first thing I saw as I drove up to the house. Isn’t it great? I ordered this banner a few weeks ago from Vistaprint. I will be a fabric vendor at our local quilt show in May and wanted to have something hanging at the back of the booth so shoppers would know the name of my shop. I am thrilled with how well it turned out. These pictures don’t do it justice. Ray hung this for me as a surprise but it was very gray and cloudy out and we took it down right away so it wouldn’t be rained on.

The size is 2 1/2 feet by 6 feet.  It seems big to me but I am a poor judge of these things. Ray thought it was perfect so I am going with his opinion. We will see when I get the booth set up.

I also came home to a lot of happy mail. There was a lovely thank you note from a reader that won some fabric. How sweet of her to send a real note.  It is a treat to receive a real card when email is usually the way we communicate these days. The card featured a very pretty crazy quilt picture.

After opening the card from Gloria, I opened a package sent to me by Jayne of Twiggy and Opal. ¬†I cannot even describe my surprise to see this gorgeous mini quilt. Jayne enclosed a note saying this was just a little gift for me. Really? For me? Just because??? ¬†I am beyond happy to have this quilt. I watched Jayne’s progress on this project on her Instagram feed. ¬†(Side note: do you follow Twiggy & Opal on IG? ¬†If not, hop over there and follow her. She is just a constant source of inspiration. I love her feed.) ¬†Anyway, I loved this project from the beginning.

I love the quilts Jayne designs. It seems like (and I may be totally wrong) she starts with an idea and it just organically evolves while she is sewing. ¬†From what I saw on her IG feed, ¬†Jayne made the bias strips she used to create the heart in the center. Then she started creating little (teeny, tiny) pieces to use in the border. ¬†The nine patch block on the left side of the photo above measures just under one inch. I have no words. It is adorable. ¬†The little HST’s to the right are also just under an inch. Yikes. My fingers are too clumsy for such miniature piecing.

She must have done some strip piecing for the nine patch and then also used it for the checkered border. ¬†That isn’t a striped piece, it is pieced! I just love her straight line quilting and also the quilting she did over the bias strips to emphasize the heart shape.

It is already hanging in my sewing room. I love having this treasure from Jayne and will think of her when I see it. It is such a special gift.

I have so many blog posts to catch up on this week. I didn’t read too many while I was away last week. There is so much going on right now. The New Quilt blogger Blog Hop is on going and there are lots of new bloggers to befriend. Check out the links at Quilting Jetgirl, Cooking Up Quilts and She Can Quilt. ¬†I will have a new Meet the Designer post up in a few days. This one will feature Kim Schaefer, a designer of cute, whimsical fabric lines for Andover. Hope you will come back Wednesday to get to know Kim. Until then, happy sewing to you!!

Island Batik Project Finish

 

As an ambassador for Island Batik, I have a schedule of challenges issued each month to create with their gorgeous fabrics. The theme for the month of March was March Mini Madness and the quilt was to be constructed with paper pieced blocks.

:ast week ¬†I shared the beginnings of the mini I was working on with Island Batik fabric. Using a paper pieced star pattern (free download from Craftsy) I made four blocks. Each one became a bit easier than the last which was nice. I feel like I made progress and have a better feel for paper piecing now. (These blocks were very simple which was helpful). I like the various themes designated by the coordinator at Island Batik as it forces me out of my comfort zone a bit. Isn’t it nice to have the oppportunity to learn something ¬†new?

The overall look of this little quilt is bright and cheerful. I love the purples and blues against the black batik. Bright green strips were used for the sashing.

After the top was assembled I quilted it by first adding some straight lines to the greeen sashing, using a bright green Mettler thread. Following that I free motion quilted small loops over the black background as well as an X through each star. With a dark batik, the quilting is not the star of the show. It is very hard to see.

I decided it needed a bit more detail to finish it off. First I decided to add buttons. I think it was about two weeks ago that I read a post written by Janine, over at Quilts from the Little House, where she used buttons to embellish a project of hers. I have a jar of buttons and thought it would be fun to take that bit of inspiration and apply it to this mini. Don’t they look cute? Makes it sort of whimsical.

After the buttons, I still wanted more detail. I decided to add a flange to the outer edge before I attached the binding. Doesn’t this make a nice polished finish? I am very happy with this. Hopefully I will put a hanging sleeve on it soon and it will join the other minis on the wall in my sewing room. Just in time for spring!

Linking to all the usuals – find the links at the top of the page, under Link Ups!

Happy Galentine’s Day!

If you are a fan of the TV show Parks & Rec, you are probably familiar with Galentine’s Day. The main character Leslie (played by Amy Poehler), holds a Galentine’s Party with her girlfriends each year on the night before Valentine’s Day. It made me smile to see this graphic sent to the Ambassadors by Island Batik.

Since I was in the spirit, last week I made a Valentine, to me from me. I have a number of little heart mini quilts that I have made over the last several years. I like them. Simple hearts of red, pink, cream and white. Remember how much fun Valentine’s Day was? We decorated brown paper bags, wrote the “to” and “from” on each card, and hoped there would be some candy involved.

This year Island Batik included some red and pink batik fat quarters in each of the Ambassador boxes. It just so happened that I recently purchased a pattern from Jayne of Twiggy and Opal called Rainbow Heart Trio. I made just one of the three minis included in the pattern. Don’t you love how the tiny heart is nestled into the center of the larger heart? Since I only made the one mini, I have hardly made a dent in the bundle of pinks and red fat quarters. No worries though, Island Batik has plenty of projects in store for us. I will put them to use soon enough.

This project was yet another lesson in value and color (when, oh when, will I learn these lessons!?) If you look at the tiny heart, you might notice a few pieces of a pale dotted batik. It is a very pale shade of lavender. On its own, it is very pretty. Included with this project and surrounded by the creamy background pieces, it is totally lost. I didn’t really get it until that smaller heart was surrounded by the larger heart. Looking at the photo above, this is the smaller heart when I was piecing it. I thought there was just enough difference between that pale dotted batik and the background. Once it was surrounded by the background it faded out. I also had some of that fabric used as blocks in the larger heart. I was able to unpick those stitches and swap the fabric out with something darker. I left the smaller heart alone. I will get this figured out one day. But for now, the shape of the smaller heart doesn’t show up as much as it would have if I had used darker fabric in those spots. I will get there though. It just takes practice.

The Rainbow Heart Trio pattern comes together quite easily. The longest task is definitely the cutting. The HST’s that make up the smaller heart finish out at 1 1/2″. ¬†Tiny little things. I quilted it with my walking foot. The quilting was inspired by the pattern. I liked how Jayne quilted the samples and I followed along with her. The only part that I free motioned was the little scallops around the outer edge of the smaller heart.

 

Wishing each of you¬†a Happy Galentine’s Day and an even sweeter Valentine’s Day!

Linking to all of my favorites. Check out the tab at the top of the page, Link Ups.

Autumn Abundance Blog Hop

Today I am celebrating Autumn! Our maple trees are filled with color. Fortunately, we have several different varieties which means the leaves all change at different times, enabling us to savor the season for a bit longer. It is gorgeous.

In preparation for this blog hop, I have been working with a line of autumnal fabrics provided to me by Paintbrush Studios. PB Studios has been a very generous sponsor. They provided me and four other bloggers with the fabrics of our choice in different fall lines and we have each made a project showcasing their beautiful fabrics.  The line that I selected for my project is called Golden Harvest.

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Here is the schedule for the Autumn Abundance Hop this week.

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When considering my options for what sort of project I wanted to make, I decided I wanted to have something to hang during the Thanksgiving season. Thanksgiving is my all time favorite holiday. It centers around family and food – what else does one need? I have been having a lot of fun doing some relief quilting (remember my THREAD and FABRIC pieces?) and thought it would be a good idea to do another one.

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I did a quick sketch but didn’t really plan too much beyond that. I began with the center piece. I had this gorgeous brown solid (PB Studios calls is Espresso) and I cut a rectangle and played around with the placement of the lettering. GIVE THANKS was my focus. With the stabilizer fused to the back, I quilted the letters. This goes quite quickly. Especially since Muv over at Lizzie Lenard Vintage Quilting encouraged me to free motion this instead of using a walking foot. She is absolutely right – it worked just fine! Much, much faster to get the lettering done.

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Once I had accomplished that, I thought about what sort of design should be placed below the words. ¬†At first I thought of doing some applique but the more I thought about it, I decided I wanted to quilt a design instead. I love playing with thread and here was an¬†open space to do with as I pleased. I decided on a pumpkin and took a look at Lori Kennedy’s site, The Inbox Jaunt, for some inspiration. She never fails me. Never! This pumpkin is taken directly from this¬†tutorial. It came together easily.

Using YLI variegated thread, I started by outlining the pumpkin, stem and leaves. Next I filled in the sections of the pumpkin. Following that I added to the outlining to give it some depth. The stem and leaves were also filled in and outlined a couple of times. So much fun!

The next step was to put a narrow border of the olive green solid. I had already decided to do a patchwork border to set off the center. I wanted to use a 2 1/2″¬†square because of the scale of the fabrics I was playing with.

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While I worked things out with the patchwork border, I was thinking about the corners. I made some pinwheel blocks but thought they looked too flat. Following that I made some churn dash blocks and liked these much better.

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As it always does, the quilt came together with the sum being so much greater than its parts. I really love this project. The sunflowers, pumpkins, leaves and turkeys are so cheerful. The fabric really is adorable. The green, orange and yellow blender prints worked well to tone down some of the color within the borders. The traditional colors and themes of this line are just right – they made me happy just playing with them. I used a brown print that was in my stash to back it and then used the olive green fabric to bind it. The quilt finished out at 23″¬†x 25″ inches.

As with most projects, there are a few things I learned. One is better planning equals better results. While it is fun to just sew and see how things come together, I should have done a bit of measuring and planned the patchwork border in more detail. I had to fuss with trimming borders and such to get everything to work together. Also, when I was trimming the piece, after quilting it, I somehow forgot that about the bits that the binding would consume. This is a little bit ridiculous considering the number of quilts I have bound. But I trimmed too deeply, forcing myself to cover points on the churn dash squares on each corner. I was going too fast without considering the details.

I will enjoy hanging it this season and bringing it out again with each Thanksgiving.  This simple message of gratitude will remind us of all that we have to be thankful for.

Something I am very thankful for is the generous support of Paintbrush Studios. They were a pleasure to work with and the fabrics they sent to me are just lovely. They are a nice weight and have a very nice feel to them.

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Photo courtesy of Academic Quilter

Paintbrush has also provided me with a fat quarter bundle of Into the Woods¬†to offer to one lucky winner. Enter the giveaway by telling me about your favorite¬†part of Thanksgiving Dinner. (Mine is definitely¬†stuffing followed closely by homemade cranberry sauce. Way back when,¬†I posted the recipe for the cranberry sauce I make at Thanksgiving…. just in case you want to try something new.) Leave me a comment and tell me about your favorite. If you are following the blog, leave a second comment and tell me how for an additional entry.

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Now for my giveaway. I wanted to make something to give as thanks for all of the friends, inspiration, and community that happens within our online group of amazing quilters. Using this tutorial from Buttons and Butterflies, I made a pair of potholders from some of the scraps. I will pick a name from the comments to win these two potholders as well.

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After finishing the potholders, I decided to cut the remaining scraps into charm squares. I was able to cut a set of 40 charms. So, let’s give those away as well!

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I added a small spool of coordinating Aurifil so you can make a fall inspired project of your own!

Good luck! Winners for all three giveaways will be drawn on Friday evening, October 28th. I will email winners and announce them the following day on the blog. Make sure I have an email address to contact you!

Be sure to check back each day this week with the others on the hop. They have been working on wonderful projects for fall and have used gorgeous Paintbrush Studios fabrics that are different from mine. You are sure to enjoy their work. There may just be some giveaways on their sites as well. Enjoy this season of brilliant colors, family and friends, and some darn good food.

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. Thanks everyone!

Linking this post to She Can Quilt as a part of the Q4-FAL event.

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If you are wanting to gain confidence in your free motion quilting skills, today might just be the day to purchase a Craftsy Class! Just today, all classes are $14.99. Can’t beat that. I know I learned a great deal with the classes I have taken. I have taken this one from Lori Kennedy and this one¬†with Angela Walters.

(Note:  I am a Craftsy affiliate)

Fall Mini Quilt Finish

Remember this little orphan block that I scored at a thrift store a couple of weeks ago?

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I spent a fun afternoon quilting it up. I used a rust colored thread for the main leaf portion and quilted it with a tiny stipple. These little stitches look so darn cute.

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For the white background, I pebbled away for about¬†one-half hour and filled it up. Sometimes it is so satisfying to work on a quick project. When I first started to pebble the white portion, I quickly remembered that I don’t really like to FMQ¬†pebble patterns and thought ¬†I would regret it. But with such a tiny project it didn’t really matter. I was done before I could even get annoyed with the tedium.

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For the border I quilted little leaves and berries but it is nearly impossible to see because the thread matches too well. It was good practice but really, I have to look very closely to see it. Kind of funny.

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The dusty green binding wraps it all up into a sweet little mini. Perfect for fall.

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Now that we are approaching fall, I need to start getting my Etsy shop stocked for the holidays. The Chemex cozies that I make are definitely my best seller around Christmas which means I need to get busy. Yesterday I cut fabric for five covers.

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Selecting the fabrics is fun but also a bit of a challenge. Looking back at what has sold well over the past two years, the favorites are definitely gray, blue, black, and red tones. Also, the two fabrics with the coffee theme text prints (in cream or black) are usually good sellers. These are the last two I could cut from that fabric so I need to purchase more of it.

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I love to make a few with novelty fabric. I have done some with bicycles for coffee drinking cyclists and another one with Marvel comics on it which made someone very happy. Last Christmas I had a custom order for a cozy made with Star Wars fabric. I am debating making a few fun ones like this but choosing a theme is hard, kind of a guess as to what will sell Р if you have any suggestions, please feel free. I truly love your input. For now, these will get me off to a good start.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! Remember, I am hosting Handmade Halloween on October 4th!! Link up any blog posts, new or old, that are related to Halloween – costumes, decorations, quilts, even fun recipes. Let’s make it a fun round up of all things Halloween! I will tell you that I have had some really nice prizes offered in support of this party. Go write a post and come back and link it up. This will throw your name in the draw – maybe for a win! ¬†See you then.

Linking up today with the best of the best. See the top of the page, under Link Ups.

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This is a good weekend to shop Craftsy! They have some great discounts on kits and supplies for their End of Summer Clearance. Take a look. This sale runs through Sunday night, 9/18/16.

(I am a Craftsy affiliate.)

Relief Quilting Tutorial – Thread

I really enjoyed playing with relief quilting when I made my FABRIC mini quilt a couple of weeks ago. So much so that I decided to make another one! I took plenty of pictures while making it so I could post a tutorial. I hope you will give it a try. The effect is wonderful and it is such an easy process.

This time I wanted to try stitching the word on a piece of fabric with fusible stabilizer and then building the quilt from there. It worked out wonderfully. Since I already had one mini that said FABRIC, I decided to make another that said THREAD. This idea was inspired by a comment left on the first post by Diana, of A Red Delicious Life.  She mentioned wanting to make one to hang above her thread. I decided to do the same. Now I have one to hang above the closet where I store fabric and another to hang above the thread collection hanging on the wall in my sewing room. Thanks Diana!!

Let’s get started.

I am going to provide the sizes that I used but this is so flexible. Increase or decrease as you like. My quilt finished at 11″ x 23″ so if you want a different size, adjust accordingly.

Materials List:

  • Background Fabric: one rectangle measuring 7″ x 19″
  • Heavyweight fusible interfacting: one rectangle measuring 7″ x 19″
  • Scraps for your border
  • Stencils for tracing the word THREAD. I used letters that were 3″ high.
  • Frixion pen or similar fabric marking pen
  • Binding fabric: ¬†Two strips that are 2 1/2″ by 42″ (Width of fabric)
  • Quilting thread. ¬†I used YLI thread in a variegated green and loved it!

IMG_7181Take your background fabric and fuse the stabilizer to the wrong side of the fabric. Follow manufacturer’s instructions if you are not familiar with this process.

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Trace the word on the fabric with the fabric safe marking pen of your choice. I didn’t leave very much room between the letters because I liked the way this looked. You could certainly adjust this to your taste. Also, I didn’t leave a ton of room on either side. Again, adjust as needed by cutting your background wider if you like.

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Using a walking foot, begin stitching long straight rows above, below and between the letters. I didn’t stitch the outline of the letters. This happens later on when you are quilting everything together. For now, just fill in every bit of space above, below and between each letter. You might choose to use a free motion foot for the little openings within a letter (e.g. the A and the D) so you don’t have to start and stop, twisting the fabric. I kept working with the walking foot because the block is small and easily rotates. Each time I came to the botton or top and needed to move to the next line, I very slowly stitched one stitch over, sometimes doing so by manually turning the wheel on the machine so I moved just one stitch. This kept my rows extremely close together. If you have a needle down function, this helps. Just go one stitch and let the needle stay down while you turn the piece. Now and then, the width looked to wide to me and I would back up and fill in with another line of stitching. Remember you will be viewing this from a distance and it looks much better that way. While stitching, you are looking at it from 6-8″ away and you’ll see every wobble. Not a problem. You are going for the overall effect.

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See how the word starts to come to life? I love that! Now keep on stitching!IMG_7206

Making good progress here.  The word is complete and it is time to begin working on your border.

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I made an improv border by taking squares and rectangles in my color scheme (basically greens, purples and blues) and built four pieces, two for the ends and two for the top and bottom. I didn’t worry about size too much. I made them a bit longer than the side I wanted to sew them to and since I wanted to have them trim out to 3 inches, I made sure the whole thing measured wider than 3 inches. ¬†Note: ¬†If you are not comfortable with this scrappy improv process, I recommend grabbing a copy of 15 Minutes of Play by Victoria Findlay Wolfe at your library. She does an excellent job of guiding you through. ¬†Alternatively, Amanda Jean Nyberg at Crazy Mom Quilts did a Quiltalong last summer called Scrap Vortex. In this post, she talks about building with scraps. It might be of help to you.

After playing with them on the design wall, I trimmed each to a width of 3″. I sewed the top and bottom borders on first and then added each side.

IMG_7277The next step is to make a quilt sandwich with your top, the batting and your backing fabric. I pieced the batting from scraps I had. Just pin it around the border tightly since you are going to quilt in the center first. My batting was just barely bigger than the top but since it was such a small piece I felt ok with that. Normally I use batting that is a good two inches larger than the top all the way around.

 

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Continue to use your walking foot and slowly stitch around each letter. It is a bit like connecting the dots as you want to trace over the place where you stitched over to the next line. Just move slowly and turn frequently (with your needle down while turning) when stitching over a curve.

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I love the way the letters come to life when quilted to the batting.  Next I moved on to the border. I love the little spools of thread that I quilted on the first piece and carried them through to this piece as well. Considering the thread theme of this project, it worked well.

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With each spool, I filled in the top and bottom so they would show up a bit better. If you like this idea, take a look at this tutorial of Lori Kennedy’s over at the Inbox Jaunt.

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The spools are whimsical and they add a bit of movement to the quilting as the ‘thread’ flows off each spool.

Once you complete the quilting, trim, square and bind. Finished!

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Isn’t this adorable?????

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And both of them together?? All kinds of cuteness. What fun (and easy) projects both of these were. I have the sleeve sewn on to FABRIC but still need to make a sleeve for THREAD. They will be on the wall soon. I’ll post a picture next week.

I hope my explanation is helpful. If you make one, let me know. I would love to see it!

I’ll be linking to the usuals which can be found at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

 

 

A Beginner’s Wool Applique Project

Remember my trip to Maine? The one where I found all sorts of awesome quilt shops? When I was at Attic Heirlooms in Damariscotta I took a long look at some traditional wool applique projects. Having never made anything like this, I decided to give it a try. When I saw the Row by Row project for Attic Heirlooms it looked like a row that could stand alone and be used as a wall hanging or table runner. (I wrote more about that shop here.)

Making this project was fun in that it was slightly unfamiliar to me. I have only done a bit of applique and haven’t hand stitched applique at all. I dug into the kit enthusiastically. Cutting the little pieces didn’t take long at all. I fused the pieces as far as I could go (without stacking pieces in areas that needed to be stitched first.) Then I took the kit and my assorted Perle cotton skeins over to the coast last week. We spent a long weekend over at Bodega Bay (about three hours drive from home) with lots of family to celebrate my husband’s birthday. What a perfect weekend for hand stitching.


While I was working on it there were a couple of mishaps. At one point I was stitching and not really paying attention and somehow I sewed the project to my pants. Ha. I felt so silly. Ian and Julia found it most amusing. ¬†Fortunately it didn’t take too long to pull the stitches out and free myself from the project. ūüėČ

After that, the little windows started popping off of the house. I am not sure what I did but the fusing clearly wasn’t working! The more I handled the piece, the more bits fell off. I didn’t have an iron and of course, wasn’t patient enough to wait and fix it when I got home. Instead I just held the windows in place and stitched. It worked out and I was able to continue stitching. The windows aren’t as precise as they might have been but that’s ok.

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The center block is surrounded by a log cabin block on each side. Once I got the three blocks assembled, I wasn’t sure how to quilt it. Wanting to stick with tradition, I really didn’t know how to treat the¬†area around the wool house and trees. It seemed like it should be quilted. I wanted to leave the wool pieces alone because I think the fabric is just gorgeous and I like the blanket stitch that I used to attach the pieces. (Except the tiny star and the tree trunks; I wasn’t sure what to do with those so I just stitched around the edges.) After consulting with one of my trusted quilting advisers, Janine, I decided on some wavy lines on the background. The color of the sky (background) fabric looks like a heavy sky to me. The wavy lines make it look just a bit stormy.

 

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I used an older calico fabric that I had for the backing and binding. I haven’t put a sleeve on it yet but I think I will. It would be fun to pull this out in the fall and hang it somewhere. I don’t really want to put it on the table because of spills. The wool isn’t really washable.

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This is my first try at wool applique and I absolutely enjoyed it. It is a sweet reminder of our vacation. I think I will give it another try. First I want to look at the process and learn more about it. Anyone have any recommendations for a book or a quilter who is into this sort of work? Please let me know. ūüôā

As always, I am linking this sweet finish with my favorite linky parties. Find the links at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

craftsy august sale

Want to know what is happening at Craftsy this weekend? A sale, that’s what! Craftsy has marked down their newest classes for the weekend. If you have had your eye on a class, now is the time! You can escape the brutal heat that August can bring and learn something new in the cool of your house.

As an affiliate, I will earn a bit of a commission for any sales made by clicking through links on my blog.