July 22, 2016

Beanie Friday

Guys, check out the beanie I knitted this week. My youngest son, Ryan, is loving it! Never mind it is 97 F outside... This pattern is so fun to make, very simple, and fits teens and adults very well.

It calls for two contrasting yarns which I happened to have in my [yarn] stash. Nothing too fancy, just a handful of cable twists to add charm to the beanie.

I used Deborah Norville's Collection "Everyday" for Premier - soft with cool colors. I have no idea what the gray yarn is called but it was a good match. It was such a relaxing and fun experience that I have another one in the works...

Same yarn, different colors. Oh, yes, I found this Alphie beanie pattern by Violette Lovelace in the book Knit Beanies - Easy to Make, Fun to Wear:

(This and photographs below by Brent Kane for Martingale. Used by permission.)
I mailed this first beanie this morning to my brother-in-law in Brazil (Shhh... don't tell Ryan), but will be making a few more of this same pattern as Christmas gifts. Then, I will move on to different ones such as these: 

Aren't they gorgeous? Yes, the beanies, too!

The other patterns in Knit Beanies are beautiful as well, so this book is a keeper. The instructions are easy to follow and if I wasn't sure about something I just had to look at the end of the book in the Techniques and Abbreviations Glossary. Great reference for future projects!

I am so glad to be knitting again! Have a great weekend,

July 18, 2016

Doodle to quilt

Martingale - 180 Doodle Quilting Designs (Print version + eBook bundle)

This new book by Martingale, 180 Doodle Quilting Designs, is just what we, free-motion quilters (and aspiring ones as well), needed. Sure, we could all use new ideas for quilting motifs, but this book is about more than just extra designs.

The best way to get over the 'must-be-perfect' state of mind and start free-motion quilting is to doodle or practice the design you want to use first. I learned a long time ago to 'draw' in the air the design with my index finger prior to putting needle to quilt. However, tracing over the quilting design is a much more effective technique. It helps the design to become imprinted on our muscle memory, tames free-motion anxiety, and allows for a smoother transition from paper to fabric. Expertly compiled by Karen Burns, 180 Doodle Quilting Designs presents a collection of motifs which we can trace easily including squiggles, swirls, lines, feathers, flowers, and other fun designs.

The number ONE reason why I like this book: many of the designs remind me that free-motion quilting is an 'art' and, thus, the results will always be 'perfect' regardless of how smooth the curves, how straight the lines, or how shapely the feathers! Here are two examples from the book:

All designs reprinted by permission from Martingale.
It is wonderful to be able to quilt your own projects, even if you choose to tackle only the smaller ones. I like being able to work on my quilts from beginning to end. I began stitching on the ditch and it was how I quilted my first 20 or so lap quilts. Then I ventured into meandering - oh my goodness, it was scary but so fun! My next many projects were finished with meandering, and the rest is history only because I decided I liked free-motion quilting, imperfect lines and all. And so I quilt...

I say "Hurray for doodling"! Angela Walters, Melissa Corry, and the other talented contributors to this book seem to agree with me.
To be sure, there are many cool designs in this book with wonderfully done lines, which is where we will get to some day with practice.

Speaking of practice: I have on my desk a pad of tracing paper, a sketch book, and a smooth marker. Excuse me, it is doodle time!

See ya,

July 15, 2016

Christmas Quilt

Photograph by Matthew Owen for Quilter's World. Published with permission.
Quilter's World magazine has just published their Autumn issue featuring my 'Formal Attire' Christmas quilt. I love working with reds and greens and this quilt was so fun and easy to make.

I used Square-in-a-Square blocks with different color combinations. The green corners of the cream blocks form a bow tie, my whole idea for this quilt and thus its name. Formal Attire was quilted by Quilts in the Corner in Sandy, Utah - they did a great job with the Christmas motif.

The fabrics are from the Midnight Clear collection by 3 Sisters for Moda Fabrics, and the cream is a Bella Solid.

The backing is dreamy... The quilt measures 61" x 80" and comes together really fast. So, if you are looking for a cool Christmas project, here is the magazine:

As you can see from the quilt on the cover, this issue has 15 Fall projects - lots of great options for gifts (check out Oklahoma on page 23 and Lotza Boxes on page 68). The magazine can also be downloaded from their catalog.

I love getting ahead on Christmas projects!

Happy Quilting,

July 13, 2016

Iris Orphan Block

I made this center Iris flower block many moons ago during a class in Draper, Utah, with my friend Cathie. My original post is from June 2012 (see it here). It was so much fun and so much work! It uses Ruth McDowell's straight line method of piecing and the Iris pattern can be found in her book "Pieced Flowers". I pulled this block out of my orphan block stash a few times in hopes I would turn it into something special, but I could not come up with any ideas that would do it justice.

Perhaps inspired by these beautiful flowers I found walking through my neighborhood, I chose to just add simple borders around the block. I picked scraps from my batik drawer (I found the perfect colors on a leftover, long strip of batik I had used as border on another quilt - yes!) and stitched them around the center block. The narrower borders were added 'log-cabin style'.

This 17-1/2" x 19-1/2" wall hanging was pieced with Aurifil 50 wt and quilted entirely with Aurifil monofilament as I did not want to detract from the colors used. To add more texture and to bring out the Iris I quilted tiny flowers on the brown background. Then, I stitched in the ditch around the flower and borders. Nothing else. It hangs flat, do not fear, because the heavy quilting was done far away enough from the edges of the quilt.

Batiks have amazing colors and I had the perfect fabrics for this project. The Iris seems to stand out in the middle of the garden (represented by the flowers and other textures of the batiks on the borders). I will treasure this little quilt forever with its bright colors and floral motifs.

This has been a very busy summer: graduation, my mom was here from Brazil for two months, vacation at the beach, designing and writing patterns for Timeless Treasures Fabrics, working on a quilt due at Quilter's World magazine offices by the second week of August... However, I have some cool quilt book reviews to share with you, as well as other projects, so stay tuned!

I will link this post to Crazy Mom Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict on Friday. Check out their blogs!

Have a fun day,

June 21, 2016

Perfect Half Square Triangles

I have been making many Half Square Triangles lately as I test patterns I designed. Of all the methods I have tried I liked one the most, and this is what I will demonstrate today. It involves using a ruler which I have had for a very long time but never used before (I am the only one who does that, right?).

The ruler is called Strip Tube Ruler and it is super super easy to use. I could not find any directions with it (I told you, I purchased it eons ago) so I went to their website and printed out the two-page instruction sheet. OMGoodness - I don't think I will stop making HSTs any time soon.

Here is how you use the ruler:

With RST, stitch together two strips of fabric on both long sides. The width of the strips will depend on the finished size of your HSTs. I press the strips after stitching to set the stitches.

If you want, say, 3" HSTs , place the line on the ruler which corresponds to 3" on the bottom seam line and cut on both sides using the rotary cutter.

Then, flip the ruler and this time place the 3" line of the ruler against the top seam of the strip (or tube).

Cut it and flip the ruler again, placing its 3" line on the bottom seam of the strip set. Repeat these steps until you have cut all the HSTs you need. Then, press them open and trim the ears.

This is the block I was making. This ruler has been placed on the very front of my ruler rack now. The best part of it is that you can make HSTs from 1-1/2" all the way up to 9" with no fabric waste. However, you can actually make them smaller by making the 1-1/2" size and then trimming it down to your desired [mini] size.

Which method do you prefer for making HSTs? Have you tried this one using a strip set (or tube)? This is such a breeze now... No more cutting patches with weird measurements. It works for me...

Have fun today,

June 15, 2016

Orphan Block Central

Hey, have you dug all your orphan blocks out yet? Here is another project using them. This table topper measures 23" x 23" with fabrics that I absolutely love and have had in my stash for quite a while.

It all started when I found this leftover border. I had 3 pieced just like this one. Using a triangle ruler I cut six triangles and I made this:

Now what? Well, I ironed fusible web on the back of the block, fused it to a white background and machine appliqued using blanket stitch and heavy weight thread (Aurifil 12 wt).

The design came about as I went along adding a piece of this and a piece of that. The ricrac, my go-to vine material, was stitched down with Aurifil monofilament in a zigzag pattern, from edge to edge, to keep those little scallops from bending. It works like a charm. I used a zigzag stitch to applique' the corner hearts, and tiny tiny meandering to quilt it all and and make the [unquilted] borders pop.

The binding, this time, was applied by machine. After the quilting, I trimmed the excess batting along the edges of the quilt, trimmed the backing down to 3/4", folded the backing towards the quilt and folded it again over the quilt, pinned and stitched. Easy and fast.

It looks like I have another Christmas gift ready ahead of time. I am really enjoying working with orphan blocks (or orphan borders!) to turn them into quilted beauties. What have you made lately with those blocks and borders pieces I know you have in your stash? Send me a picture.

I will link this post to Crazy Mom Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict on Friday. I hope your day is filled with happy colors!

June 9, 2016

Butterfly Wall Hanging

Quite a while back I reviewed the book Cute Quilts for Kids by Kristin Roylance for Martingale. In it, Kristin had a very fun butterfly quilt called "Butterfly Kisses" which featured a different way to make a butterfly block. I made one block and saved it. Last weekend I turned that block into this wall hanging (funky lighting on this photograph).

I used scraps from my stash for everything. The fabrics look so good together and their prints add whimsy to the project. Butterflies without flowers look out of place so I added corner flowers and leaves. Loving it!

This one block quilt comes together fast and would look very pretty in the nursery or in a girl's bedroom. I backed and bound it with American Jane Bread n' Butter Red.

This project measures 19" x 19" and has three hanging loops which I attached when I was stitching the binding. The flowers were machine appliqued with straight stitch and the leaves with blanket stitch. I quilted around all shapes with monofilament by Aurifil, and quilted loops with white thread to finish it all off.

I hope this post will inspire you to create your own one [orphan] block quilt. When you do, send me a photograph and I will show it off here. I will link this post to Crazy Mom Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict on Friday. Until then, happy sewing!


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