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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Third Time's the Charm (and NTT)

Happy Needle and Thread Thursday, y'all!  I hope everyone had a magical Christmas last weekend.  Ours was lots of fun, but so busy!  I squeezed in some time to quilt and bind my latest quilt, and as the title of my post suggests, this one is called Third Time's the Charm.  This is the third of three identical quilts I've made with these fabrics and pattern, but this one is all for me!


This is made with my Baubles pattern, available in my Craftsy and Etsy shops, and though it looks curvy and complicated, it uses all straight piecing, and goes together in a snap!


It's hard to tell, but I stippled this one with the perfect shade of Aurifil coral thread (#5002).  In person, it adds a fun, unexpected little pop.  I kept the stippling a little wider so that the coral thread didn't add too much busy pattern to the prints.


The Baubles pattern only requires 16 fat quarters for a generous lap size quilt, but since the Joel Dewberry Flora collection contains 24 prints, I used all of them and just put the leftovers to good use on the backing.  I widened out the backing with a couple of stripes of Kona Navy, which I also used to bind.

Though I am busy with plenty of secret sewing for my book, I'm glad I got a chance to fit this quilt into my schedule!

Alrighty, friends!  I'm super excited to share the features from last week's party.  There were so many fantastic things linked up!  Like this scrappy strip quilt from Susan at Quilt Fabrication.  What an amazing use of leftover strips!


Cynthia at Quilting is More Fun Than Housework linked up this Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilt.  The blocks are beautifully jumbled up, and it makes the quilt so interesting!


and finally, HeARTs Creations shared this unique red, black, and white finish, called Planetary.  Super cool!


Can I just tell you how much fun it is for me to browse all of these amazing quilts, week after week?  Particularly when I'm traveling and I can't get to my machine, it is so wonderful to be able to satisfy my need for quilty eye-candy via internet.  This is my last post of 2016, and I can't wait to see what 2017 has in store.

You can link finished projects or WIP's , but just keep it about quilting and sewing!
2. Link to your specific post (not to your home page!) to make it easier for others.
3. Please remember to spread the word and post my button or a text link.  
4. Spread the comment love far and wide!
5. Following me is not a requirement to link, but is so very appreciated!

*If you're new to the party, here's a helpful tip for linking up- select "Auto Crop"  when selecting your thumbnail photo.  For some reason, trying to crop your own image results in the dreaded "white question mark box," and we definitely want to see your awesome work!  :)




Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Needle and Thread Thursday!

Merry almost Christmas, friends!  This past week has been filled with last minute shopping, wrapping, and baking, and not too much sewing.  I have managed to put together this quilt top using my Baubles pattern though.  It goes together so quickly!


If you're a regular reader of my blog, this quilt looks awfully familiar.  In fact, I have made two others exactly like it, and really hated to part with them.  The third time's the charm though, because this one is for keeps!  I saw this Joel Dewberry Flora fabric bundle for a ridiculously low price on Black Friday, and snagged it!  I'll sneak some sewing time in and finish this one up soon!

Last week's party was full of fabulousness as usual!  Check out this fun table runner from Sew Brainy!


Ariane Quilts shared her progress on this awesome medallion quilt-


and this fun little girl's quilt is from Lori at Crossquilt!


I can't wait to see what you share this week!  I hope you all have a wonderful holiday with family and friends!  Let's party!

.  You can link finished projects or WIP's , but just keep it about quilting and sewing!
2. Link to your specific post (not to your home page!) to make it easier for others.
3. Please remember to spread the word and post my button or a text link.  
4. Spread the comment love far and wide!
5. Following me is not a requirement to link, but is so very appreciated!

*If you're new to the party, here's a helpful tip for linking up- select "Auto Crop"  when selecting your thumbnail photo.  For some reason, trying to crop your own image results in the dreaded "white question mark box," and we definitely want to see your awesome work!  :)










Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Needle and Thread Thursday!

Happy NTT, friends!  Can you believe that Christmas is less than two weeks away?  When I think about how little is left of 2016, it just shocks me.  I finished another secret quilt, and I was brave enough to try another brand new free motion motif, and even more brave to quilt this brand new motif with contrasting thread.  It's hard to tell with the sunlight throwing it into relief, but the thread is navy against the lilac backing.


I've done swirls before, but these are nested together, which I found a little bit easier to control.  With this motif, I could easily avoid quilting myself into a corner by adding another ring on the spiral, making sure that I was heading in the right direction.  The one part that is a little trickier is the fact that it includes lots of little overlapping stitches, so that took a little bit of practice.  I like the result on this, but I will definitely be doing some practicing to make my spirals a little more uniform.


Last week's party was amazing!  Georgi at The Shy One Sews shared this fun quilt-


This bit of improv awesomeness is from Luna Lovequilts.


and check out this beauty from Sew Preeti Quilts-


Okay y'all!  Time to share what's going on in your sewing space this week!

1.  You can link finished projects or WIP's , but just keep it about quilting and sewing!
2. Link to your specific post (not to your home page!) to make it easier for others.
3. Please remember to spread the word and post my button or a text link.  
4. Spread the comment love far and wide!
5. Following me is not a requirement to link, but is so very appreciated!

*If you're new to the party, here's a helpful tip for linking up- select "Auto Crop"  when selecting your thumbnail photo.  For some reason, trying to crop your own image results in the dreaded "white question mark box," and we definitely want to see your awesome work!  :)










Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Christmas Adorned Quilt

Hey there, y'all!  This tutorial was originally posted last year on Benartex's blog, Sew in Love With Fabric, but I thought that is was the perfect time to revisit it here!

This is the time of year when Christmas trees are Adorned with beautiful ornaments of all shapes and sizes, and that's just what I'm calling this design.  'Tis the season for gift giving and house decorating, and the pretty Christmas fabrics and ornament blocks in this quilt are perfect for both.  This quilt is quick and easy to put together, which is also a big help as things get hectic!


I used the gorgeous Santa's Here fabric collection in this quilt.  These fabrics stick with traditional Christmas motifs without feeling cartoonish.  They feel fresh and modern, and were a joy to work with.  One of my favorite things about the collection is the color variation.  Sometimes when working with a fabric line that is centered around only two or three colors, the colors don't have enough depth, and even if you use several different prints, it is difficult to achieve enough contrast in the quilt.  Not so with this line.  The reds range from the deepest cranberry, to a lighter, more antique-ish red; and there are several distinct green hues to play with as well, from dark hunter to light sage.

Any of your favorite Christmas prints will work great for this quilt.  Just be sure to have plenty of variation in color and value for good contrast.


Fabric Requirements-

*9 fat quarters- I love lots of fabric variety in my quilts, so I used 17 fat quarters, and just used the leftovers in the binding and backing.  As long as you start with the correct number of strips (125) for the ornaments, you're good!

*2 1/4 yards white background fabric

*1/8 yard solid gray (ornament caps)

*1/2 yard binding fabric

*3 yards backing fabric

Cutting Instructions-

Press your fat quarters to be sure your cuts are accurate, and cut each fat quarter into 14 strips, measuring 2.5" x 10.5" each.  Please note that the cutting diagram below is not perfectly to scale, and all strips are cut the same size.  This yields 126 strips with virtually no waste.  You need a total of 125 strips for the Adorned blocks, so if you want to use a wider variety of prints as I did, go for it!  Just make sure you end up with 125 total strips.


From background fabric, cut

*(50) 5.5" squares- cut 8 strips, WOF (width of fabric) x 5.5," subcut to yield (50) 5.5" squares
*(50) 2.5" squares- cut 4 strips, WOF x 2.5," subcut (50) 2.5" squares
*(50) 2.5" x 4" strips- cut 5 strips, WOF x 2.5," subcut (50) 2.5" x 4" strips
*(25) 1.5" x 3.5"strips- cut 1 strip, WOF x 3.5," subcut (25) 1.5" x 3.5" strips
*(20) 1.5" x 12.5" strips- cut 7 strips, WOF x 1.5," subcut (20) 1.5" x 12.5" strips

From solid gray, cut

*(25) 1.5" x 3.5" strips, cut 1 strip, WOF x 3.5," subcut (25) 1.5" x 3.5" strips


Now, onto sewing the blocks!  Sew with a 1/4 inch seam, and either press your seams open or to one side as you prefer.  Start by mixing up your strips to create strip sets of five different strips in each set.  Take one strip set and sew the strips together to make a 10.5" block.


It's also important to note that I prefer to sew my blocks in stages.  That is, I like to sew and press all of my strip sets, then sew and press the corners for all blocks, etc.  I find that it is a little bit faster for me, but I know that some quilters make a single block from start to finish before moving to the next.  Either way works;  it just depends on your personal preference!

Sewing the corners is up next!  This block is really just a simple variation on a traditional snowball block.  By varying the corner square size, the ornament has an interesting shape that is rounded at the top and pointed at the bottom, like so many of the old fashioned ones I love.  A simple snowball block with uniform corner squares would yield more of a ball shaped ornament.

To create the ornament shape from your strip set, sewing corner to corner is required.  You can do this  with a couple of different methods.  Either-

*Draw a diagonal line on the back of each corner square and sew along that line OR

*Use a piece of painter's tape as a guide.  Align the edge of the tape with your needle and extend it several inches on your table.  Keep the corners of your squares lined up with that edge, and you'll have no trouble keeping your seam straight and accurate!


For the corners of each block, you will need two 2.5" squares, and two 5.5" squares.


Sew the 2.5 inch squares to the top two corners of your block, and sew one 5.5" square to a bottom corner.  Don't sew the second 5.5" square just yet!  Trim the 5.5" corner to 1/4" seam allowance.


Press it open, and then sew the remaining 5.5" square to the last corner.  Again, trim to 1/4" seam allowance.  While you're at it, you might as well go ahead and trim those top ones too!


Press all four corners open, and voila...a lovely ornament shape!  Trim this portion of your block to 10.5" square.


Doesn't that ornament look lost without it's little cap?  The next step is to remedy that.  The cap portion of the block requires (2) 2.5" x 4" white strips, (1) 1.5" x 3.5" white strip, and one gray strip.  Lay them out and sew them together like this-


And then sew your ornament cap piece to your block.  These blocks are rectangular, finishing at 10" x 12" in the quilt, so trim your block to 10.5" x 12.5" if needed.


You'll need 25 blocks for this quilt.  Of course, this tutorial is written for a throw sized quilt, but if you want to use this block for smaller projects, it would be just as cute.  I'm thinking a few of these would make an adorable table runner or table topper.



Just keep in mind that since the blocks are rectangular, you can't orient some of them horizontally and others vertically, and have them still fit together.  To do that, you would need to add additional sashing to the sides, making it square (and of course, if you wanted to do that, you probably wouldn't want the additional sashing listed).  **This is a break from the tutorial, and would require a little extra fabric math on your part, but I'm just trying to point out some options if you want to branch out a little bit.

I decided on a straight layout for my quilt though.  So, sticking with the tutorial as written, just lay out your blocks in a 5 x 5 arrangement (my design wall isn't quite big enough, so the last row of my blocks are laid out on the floor underneath).


Notice the gaps between the blocks?  That's where your sashing strips go.  Sew your blocks together with sashing strips between (do not sew sashing to the beginning or end of the row, only between the blocks).  Then sew your five rows together.  Because of the way the ornament caps are constructed, you don't need sashing running horizontally between the rows.


Then just baste, quilt, bind, and snuggle!  As I mentioned earlier, I used way more prints than necessary.  I love to do that, because I enjoy pieced backings in my quilts.  Since I use the leftovers in the backing and binding, I can use tons of variety, but without creating a hoard of scraps.

I rounded out the leftover fabric on the back with one of the darkest green fabrics in the collection, and I even made a scrappy binding.



This quilt was fun from start to finish.  It measures 54" x 60," so it is a very generous throw size for covering even an adult.  The traditional colors paired with more updated, modern prints in this fabric line look right at home in my living room with my other holiday decor.


Of course, it's not going to stay under the Christmas tree, but it looked so perfect, I couldn't resist taking the photos there.


If you need a quick gift, or a new quilt to brighten up your own holiday decor, I hope you give the Christmas Adorned quilt a try!



Wednesday, December 7, 2016

BIG News, Sugar Plum Fairy (and NTT)

Happy Needle and Thread Thursday, y'all!  I am so glad that I finally get to reveal a quilt finish that is not secret; but before I do, I want to let you know some HUGE news which explains all of my secret sewing lately.  I have signed a contract with Martingale Publishing to author my first book!  I am still in the beginning stages, and still working on the quilts, but the book will be released in Spring 2018!  eeek!  I have been about ready to jump out of my skin with excitement about it, and now that is totally official, I can finally share!  I'll have more specifics about the book's concept for you later, but for now, at least you know what all of the secrets are about.

 Whew!  Okie dokie, time to share my latest quilt.  My husband saw this one and let me know that if I was going for the "unicorns and cotton candy" look, I nailed it, haha!  Even though this one isn't Christmassy at all, I couldn't help giving a little nod to the season by naming it Sugar Plum Fairy.


I had a couple of quilty victories on this one, and the first is that I managed to use up so many pinks and purples that had just been sitting in my stash.  Between purchasing several on sale and having a few gifted to me, there was quite a chunk of them in my cabinet, and I really put a dent in them.


The best little victory on this quilt though, is the quilting motif.  I tried my hand a free motion flowers for the first time.  It took me a little while to get into the groove, and I really had to learn how to not quilt myself into a corner, but overall, I'm pleased with the result.  I'll be using this motif again for sure.


With all of the soft, sweet colors, I thought this one needed a binding with some pop.  The hot pink polkadots are the perfect frame for it.


I enjoyed making this pattern a lot, and I think I'll definitely be using it with other palettes.  For those of you that asked, I made a couple of block diagrams as a little tutorial so you can see the measurements I used.  It is a quick block that makes an easy and cute quilt !

(Diagrams are NOT to scale!)







Let me know if you decide to give it a try!

















Alright!  Check out some of my favorite projects from last weeks linkup!  There is so much movement in this awesome quilt by Dawn Chorus Studio!


Deb at New Creative State shared this lovely quilt, and at first glance on the thumbnail, I thought it was just a finished top.  The colors against the dark background almost look like they're lit from behind.  So cool!


and lastly, this oh so adorable pincushion is from Jayne at Twiggy and Opal.  Those are some teeny tiny pieces.  I can't even.


Keep bringing the awesomeness, my friends!  Let's party!

1.  You can link finished projects or WIP's , but just keep it about quilting and sewing!
2. Link to your specific post (not to your home page!) to make it easier for others.
3. Please remember to spread the word and post my button or a text link.  
4. Spread the comment love far and wide!
5. Following me is not a requirement to link, but is so very appreciated!

*If you're new to the party, here's a helpful tip for linking up- select "Auto Crop"  when selecting your thumbnail photo.  For some reason, trying to crop your own image results in the dreaded "white question mark box," and we definitely want to see your awesome work!  :)


Saturday, December 3, 2016

Pink and Periwinkle

I have never really been a pink and purple person; not even as a young girl.  Okay, let me rephrase;  I love bold, vibrant hot pink and coral, and rich shades of eggplant, plum, berry, and grape.  Somehow though, over the years, I have amassed quite a stash softer shades of pink, orchid, and periwinkle.  So many prints just sitting in my cabinet, taunting me with their lack of use.


I have friends with daughters who just looooove pink and purple, and from my time as a teacher, I know that lots and lots of girls seek out this combo.  So, in the name of stash busting,  I decided to go ahead and use several of these languishing fabrics to create one sugary-sweet quilt.

I've been practicing a brand new free motion motif that will match the sweetness of the colors, and I'm excited about putting it on the quilt for real!


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