September 8, 2014

Christmas Heads Up!

Martingale - Celebrate Christmas with That Patchwork Place (Print version + eBoo
I really enjoy hand making gifts for Christmas and am always looking for cool, different projects to surprise my family and friends. That is why I love this book I've just received for review: Celebrate Christmas with That Patchwork Place - 22 Festive Projects to Quilt and Sew.

The projects are beautiful and creative, using traditional colors in innovative, modern, and fun designs. Whether you have plenty of time to work on a quilt, or can only handle a pillow or tree ornaments, you will find just what you are looking for in this book. Purses, table runners (there is one for Hanukkah, too), tree skirts, mantel covers, wall hangings, an apron... a great collection of ideas by very inspired designers.

Here are four examples to get your fingers tingling to sew:

(All photographs by Brent Kane for Martingale)
How about this Tulle Tree Skirt? What a great way to use our favorite Christmas fabrics... and the tulle softens the look, adding at once body and lightness to the skirt. 

 Martingale - Celebrate Christmas with That Patchwork Place (Print version + eBoo 
The Christmas Cracker Table Runner is a fresh take on a traditional project. I love the bits and pieces scattered around, as if the whole family had opened many of them.

Martingale - Celebrate Christmas with That Patchwork Place (Print version + eBoo
Look at the Forest Friends Holiday Ornaments - whimsical and perfect for ornament exchanges, grandchildren, and co-workers. I will make a few sets of them.

Martingale - Celebrate Christmas with That Patchwork Place (Print version + eBoo
The O Tannenbaum Pillow's design is so charming! It speaks of winter and Christmas (notice the star) with delicate simplicity.

In my library a have quite a few books by That Patchwork Place. Celebrate Christmas with That Patchwork Place - 22 Festive Projects to Quilt and Sew is now my favorite Christmas book. Check out the book's page to see more photographs - I am sure you will agree with me.

I did not tell you but I am back at school, working on my master's in Educational Psychology. I will make these projects if I have to sew between midnight and six am!!!

September 4, 2014

"I Love Quilting and Sewing" Blog Tour

Happy National Sewing and Quilting Month! Fat Quarter Shop is  hosting the “I Love Quilting and Sewing” Blog Tour all month long to celebrate the art of sewing and quilting. They have challenged us to make something we haven’t made before, and to answer four questions.  Let's start with my brief answers so you can understand my choice of project:
FQS: How did you start quilting/sewing?
DR: I learned how to sew many years ago from a seamstress in Brazil. However, sewing clothes was never my thing. As for quilting, I decided to give it a try in 2005. I bought one of Eleanor Burns's books, read it cover to cover, and made about 12 log cabin quilts from the book!

FQS: When was the first time you knew that you were a quilter/sewer?
DR: I knew I was a quilter when I could not travel anywhere without visiting the local quilt shop. I had the measurement of the fabrics I needed for the log cabin quilts in my wallet, and whenever I stopped at a quilt store, I pulled out the paper and started looking for fabrics.

FQS: Do you have any sewing/quilting horror stories or faux pas?
DR: I think all of us have a few of those stories... As I was quilting one of my first log cabin quilts, my father decided to help me by standing in front of my machine and pulling the quilt towards him so I would go faster!!! All the other faux pas are safely hidden under applique designs... :-)

FQS: What advice would you give to someone who’s just starting out in sewing/quilting?
DR: (1) Try every technique you find interesting. It may be that you will use a few specific ones over and over, but do not let that prevent you from finding out what else is out there. (2) Take classes - other quilters/sewists will provide motivation, encouragement, laughter... (3) Finally, buy the best supplies you can afford. For me, it means having a Bernina; using Aurifil thread to piece, quilt and embroider; and purchasing fabrics at quilt stores (Who says you can't shop for fabric in the middle of the night? Fat Quarter Shop is always open!!!)

Now, for my project. I decided to make a garment. A dress or a shirt would be too presumptuous, so I opted for making this skirt:

Simple, I know, but waaayyy out of my comfort zone! I stand in awe of seamstresses and their beautiful work. I admire those of you who make clothes for your children... Quilts don't have to fit anything other than a bed, a lap, a table, a wall!

I put my best effort into sewing the back slit so the seam would not get undone as I wore it, and into hand sewing the hem so stitches would not show on the front of the skirt. Phew! I will wear a slip under it because I wasn't brave enough to add lining to the skirt. :-).

What do you think? The fabric adds pizzaz to the simple pattern, and I will use the pattern again with other fabrics I found.

To be sure, I sew other things besides quilts (click on pictures for tutorials or more details):

Thank you, Fat Quarter Shop, for such fun initiative and thank YOU for stopping by (snoop around the blog before you leave!). Have fun touring the other participating blogs, and celebrate with us by stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new!

Enjoy your day,

August 29, 2014

Flour sack kitchen towel Tutorial

I made this kitchen towel this afternoon and thought I would share the tutorial with you. In my mother's kitchen, we always used flour sack kitchen towels, and the same is true in my kitchen. They are perfect for drying dishes and hands. Also, they add a cozy touch to any kitchen.

You will need:

Flour sack
2-1/2" (by width of flour sack) strip of fabric
4" (by width of flour sack) strip of same or matching fabric
sewing supplies (Aurifil thread is my choice for piecing and topstitching)

My flour sack was square and had all four sides hemmed. I removed the hem from two opposing sides (if yours is rectangular and is hemmed, cut hem off the two shorter sides). If your flour sack is not hemmed, do so leaving two opposing sides with raw edges.

Align 2-1/2" strip of fabric with its right side down, on top of the WRONG side of the flour sack. Fold short edges of strip about 1/4" in and pin. Sew strip with a 1/4" seam allowance. Press with seam open.
This is what the towel should look like. This picture shows the right side of the flour sack, and the wrong side of the strip. Turn in about 1/4" of the strip's long edge and press.

Turn strip down over right side of flour sack, and press again. Then, pin and topstitch all around.

Follow same steps above, this time with the 4" strip aligned to the opposite raw edge.

Be sure to place right side of strip onto WRONG side of flour sack. Sew, press with seams open, flip and topstitch to the right side of flour sack.
This is what the wrong side should look like. No other seams except for the side ones. The only stitches showing are the topstitches.

Here it is! This towel will be part of a 'tea basket' I am putting together as a bridal shower gift. Cool and easy, right? You can customize towels for different seasons, too. It is super quick to make for when you want to add a personal touch to a house gift. I hope you liked it.

Enjoy the long weekend!

August 18, 2014

New fabric, lots of possibilities

Just got these Moda fabrics at American Quilting in Orem, Utah. As if I needed more Christmas-themed fabric but, as usual, I cannot resist these my favorite colors.

I am working on a fall quilt which is only missing a little bit more of applique - the pieces are all there except for the matching threads. Will have to order more Aurifil 28 wt and 12 wt via Follow that Thread.

In the meantime, I got a book for review filled with projects for the Winter. I am placing my fabrics next to its copy, as the wall hanging with reindeer is soooo cute, and the matching table topper, too! I will add a few more fabrics to make the center, and add the border using the patterned fabric above. Check it out:
Martingale - Here Comes Winter (Print version + eBook bundle)

Gorgeous set or what? The book is called Here Comes Winter - Quilted Projects to Warm your Home by Jeanne Large and Shelley Wicks. What wonderful designs they have come up with! Both authors learned to sew early in life with their grandmothers and aunts, their experience reflected in each project.

The book features bed-size quilts, lap quilts, wall hangings large and small, pillows... great ideas for Christmas gifts. The applique pieces are whimsical and add charm to these warm-colored projects.

I love their instructions for framing projects. They will come in handy when I make smaller quilts, such as the "Lost Mittens" shown below.

(Photographs by Brent Kane for Martingale)
Martingale - Here Comes Winter (Print version + eBook bundle)
Martingale - Here Comes Winter (Print version + eBook bundle)

Yes, I know, we are still in the Summer and, like you, I do not want to rush the cool weather in. However, I do like to 'enjoy' the Holidays, as opposed to rush to get gifts ready. So, here is my contribution to your getting ahead of the game...

Enjoy your week!

August 7, 2014

Landscape quilting

Whenever I need a mental break, I think of this quilt I made a few years ago. Far from perfect, it provides the clues I need to transport me to that location. Closing my eyes, I pretend I am sitting on one of those rockers and can almost feel the mountain breeze. Visualization does help calm one's mind very quickly.

I have the itch to work on another landscape quilt. I just need to hang the background fabric on the design wall. All the fabrics I might use will be piled next to it and, as days go by, inspiration will move me and I will add a piece, unless I already have a design in mind or paper. This quilt is heavily freemotion quilted and, due to many layers, I could only use the walking foot (the backwards sewing with the walking foot was, huh, interesting).

So, that is my plan for next week, as today I am getting ready for my grandson's weekend visit - he is arriving on Friday. Speaking of Friday, Fat Quarter Shop is having a sale on all Riley Blake fabrics starting tomorrow:

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That will be the only quilt-related thing I will be doing this weekend!

Enjoy your day,

August 1, 2014

Fast placemats

Look what I found while checking out Moda Bake Shop. The tutorial is very easy to follow, by Emily Herrick at Crazy Old Ladies, who comes up with wonderful, creative patterns. It makes a perfect gift when you know the recipient's favorite color.

This is on my list of Christmas gifts to make for this year. It would also look very nice with beige to brown gradient, with black strips instead of white. If you wanted to try a modern project, here you go!

Happy weekend,

July 22, 2014

Applique respite

I am probably the only person crazy enough to stop mid-packing for our upcoming move to another house, lock herself in the quilt room and, to the relaxing tunes of instrumental music, start machine appliqueing flowers with many curves...

I left enough stuff in my quilt room, not knowing if I would have time to do anything. I am glad I did. Machine appliqueing slowly due to the curves has allowed me to breathe, pace myself, re-energize.

Yesterday, I searched high and low for matching threads for this project. I did not want to order them via the Internet as there was no time (in my mind only) to wait for shipping. I finally found the threads I wanted albeit of a different brand (Sulky, when I was looking for Aurifil). Again, I am glad I went on that wild goose chase, even as I know I won't be able to finish all the applique today.

It is all right. It has already worked its magic and I am ready to continue packing. Thus it is with crafts in general: they provide respite from tribulations. People like to say they are cheaper than therapy. Well, check out all my supplies and you will immediately know it isn't true. However, it is a much more pleasant alternative...

What craft or project do you work on when you need relaxation? Drop me a line...


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