October 24, 2016

Sunny Table Topper

Photograph by Annie's Publishing. Used by permission.
This is my latest pattern: Here Comes the Sun, published in Annie's Quilting "Precut Table Runners & Toppers" book. It is cheerful with bright colors, and the center is made using raw edge applique', so no need to sew circles.

Here Comes the Sun measures 31" x 31". The middle of the center block is perfect for a vase or simple table centerpiece to emphasize the table topper design. It was pieced and quilted using Aurifil 50wt white thread. Whatever fabrics you use, make sure they are happy and include lots of yellows in the prints.

Table toppers and place mats are cool quilt projects because they can be made rather quickly, are very practical, and complement any home decor. Precut Table Runners & Toppers has 13 patterns for table toppers in different colorways. I am loving these patterns as they will come in handy when I need to whip up gifts for the holidays.

Annie's Quilting series of books features all sorts of beginner and intermediary quilt projects which look complex but are easy to make. This particular issue also also has a great tutorial on raw-edge applique', making my project that much easier to complete.

One more thing: I just found on their site a terrific resource - guides with free tutorials for seven crafts including quilting, knitting, and crochet. And here is a link to their current catalog with amazing patterns and books. You must check these out!

Have a colorful Monday!

October 21, 2016

Scrappy Table Topper

This summer I showed you many projects I made with fabric scraps. This is my latest one and I am loving it!

I used leftover fabrics from this darling quilt...
... called Wash Day, which I have not quilted yet (ai, ai, ai...). I had been saving what I had left of all those fat quarters and realized that they would work well in a very scrappy quilt.

Here it is on my design wall, in a different orientation. I used leftover blocks, extra white fabric, and made small size flying geese so they would fit the design. Yes, sometimes you just have to 'make' the border blocks fit!

Check out the other scrappy projects I posted earlier, many using orphan blocks:

Mug Rugs here and here.

Wall hanging...

Another Wall hanging...

Table Topper...

I hope I gave you enough inspiration as you contemplate projects to work on this weekend. Maybe there are a few small ones lurking under that pile of scraps!

Have a great weekend,

October 18, 2016

Hello Darling!

New giveaway, this time on Instagram (@piecedbrain): Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt book plus almost 60 10" squares of Bonnie & Camille Hello Darling for Moda. There is a lot of fabric on that pile... and the book is to inspire your creativity. This giveaway is courtesy of my friend Deb (yep, she is so generous!).

All you have to do on Instagram is: follow me and tag 3 friends. If you want an extra entry, repost the giveaway notice.

I hope this brightens your day!

October 17, 2016

Embroidery Book Winner!

Happy Monday, everyone! We have a winner who will be stitching up a storm using the book Stitches from the Garden by Kathy Schmitz:

True Random Number Generator  56Powered by RANDOM.ORG
I do love embroidery! I have several projects that have both embroidery and piecing.I love doing both.
Congratulations, Jodi! I will be emailing you soon. A big Thanks to Martingale for providing the book, and to all of you who followed along.
For all of you who participated, guess what? The next giveaway will be announced tomorrow (Why not have another one???) and will happen at Instagram (@piecedbrain), so stay tuned. It involves paper + fabric, but it has nothing to do with paper piecing! Enjoy your day,

October 13, 2016

Embroidery Giveaway

I have been in the mood for embroidery lately. It is fun, soothing, and makes for awesome gifts. This is the little wall hanging I finished last weekend: it measures 12" x 13", with simple quilted lines, and a bit of fall colors to frame everything.

The green ric-rac adds whimsy and evokes the green of the flowers which I chose not to use on the embroidery. I wanted the center block to stand out and so I kept the borders (and quilting) simple.

I used DMC thread for the embroidery, and Aurifil to piece and quilt the wall hanging: I managed to use 4 different Aurifil thread weights in one tiny project! My choice of Osnaburg fabric for the background came back to haunt me because its open fibers made the stitches sink - when I doubled the thread the stitches looked chunky. Ai, ai, ai. Overall, I think it turned out fine, though.

I got the design from the book Stitches from the Garden by Kathy Schmitz. When I started going through its pages I was amazed at how dainty, how creative, and how easy-to-make the designs were. You can make them just as Kathy did or, like me, use her designs as inspiration for your own projects.

Here are some of my favorite projects:

 (All photographs by Brent Kane for Martingale. Published by permission.)

 These are magnetic needle keepers! We won't forget where we put them anymore!

I have already transferred this and another design to tea towels, which are my next embroidery project. They will make great gifts!

Kathy is a master at combining embroidery design and fabric. Pay attention to her choices and you can copy them while tailoring the elements (colors, textures) to your own taste. This book is a treasure trove of possibilities! If you are into embroidery, or would like to learn, this is a must-have.

Martingale is giving away a copy of the Stitches from the Garden book (print for US and Canada residents, eVersion - which is the one I have - for blog followers outside the US) to one lucky winner! 

All you need to do is:

1. Leave a comment telling me what type of embroidery designs you like;

2. For an extra chance to win, leave another comment letting me know how you follow this blog;

3. Make sure I have a way to contact you (if you are a no-reply blogger, leave your emails as "soandso at myemail dot com" so you don't get spammed).  

I will announce the winner on Monday, October 17.

I look forward to reading your comments. In the meantime, enjoy your day!

October 11, 2016

FMQ tutorial

One of the ways I mark projects for quilting is by tracing the image I want to quilt onto Golden Threads paper. It allows me to be a little bit more precise as I freemotion quilt, and the design possibilities are endless. Here is how I do it:

1. Choose the design you want. The design above is from the book Designs for Continuous Line Quilting by Shirley Thompson (page 55):

I looked everywhere but could not find a link for you to purchase it should you be interested. Maybe you can find it at your local library...

2. Place a piece of Golden Threads paper over the design, making sure it extends at least 1" beyond the design all around, to allow you to pin paper onto quilt far away from the outline that the presser foot won't touch it. Trace it using a black Sharpie.

3. Notice that your tracing work does not need to be perfect. To be sure, when you are quilting over it you will likely not follow the lines exactly, anyway. No one will know unless you show them the original design and your quilting lines...

4. Place template over quilt block, pin it, and freemotion quilt over it. I like to decrease the length of the stitches from 2.4 to 2.0 on my Bernina for FMQ. Also, I reduce the speed to half, just in case my hands or my foot decide to run faster than they should. It helps keep stitch length consistent.

5. After quilting, rip paper away from stitches (I do it fast but carefully so only paper comes off, not stitches!). If any paper is left under a stitch you will see it easily because of the black Sharpie you used to trace the design. Using tweezers, pull the tiny piece of paper out of the quilt. (For my favorite time to remove the paper, check out @piecedbrain on Instagram today...).

That is it. I suggest you do all the quilting in one sitting, or on the same day. For this project I did not. So, a week or so later when I returned to it, I forgot that I had added the circle on the middle of the flower and proceeded to quilt remaining 30 blocks without the center. You know what I will be doing as soon as I finish writing this post, right?

Go ahead and give it a try. You will be surprised with the results!

October 5, 2016

Wedding Rings Quilt

It is time to bring out my favorite table topper of the season... These warm colors brighten up my dining area and I don't put anything on top of the quilt as I like to see all of it! The solid rings against the print background emphasize the double wedding ring design.

Thousands of leaves make sure we don't forget which season we are in! It took forever to FMQ them but it was worth it.

For the rings I used the template and fusible web for the Double Wedding Ring by Quiltsmart. This product was the only reason why I ever attempted the wedding ring pattern! I cut the the ring pieces by using their template, stitched and fused them onto the background blocks. E-a-s-y!

The fabrics are from the Awesome collection by Sandy Gervais for Moda. Very appropriate name, if you ask me, because it has my favorite colors! I still have half yard of the main print left as I did make another fall quilt with it but it is in my To Be Quilted pile. It may be sort of difficult to find this fabric again, so I think I will save it. For now.

Enjoy this beautiful (at least in Utah) fall day!


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