December 15, 2014

All about Fat Quarters

Martingale - Take 5 Fat Quarters (Print version + eBook bundle)I love buying fat quarters when I go to quilt shops. I buy a few, bring them home, then wait for inspiration to strike. Take 5 Fat Quarters by Kathy Brown by That Patchwork Place, the newest book I got for review, will ensure I continue buying fat quarters for quite a while!

Take 5 Fat Quarters features 15 beautiful and easy to make projects in which we can use our favorite fat quarters - 5 at a time - along with additional background fabric to create quilts of many sizes, from table runners to bed quilts. One of the reasons I really like this book is that every pattern contains a diagram showing you the most efficient way to cut pieces from each (precious!) fat quarter.

Martingale - Take 5 Fat Quarters (Print version + eBook bundle)Martingale - Take 5 Fat Quarters (Print version + eBook bundle)

(Photographs by Brent Kane for Martingale)

Martingale - Take 5 Fat Quarters (Print version + eBook bundle)Martingale - Take 5 Fat Quarters (Print version + eBook bundle)

The patterns lend themselves well to every type of fabric: modern, novelty, civil war... and that is another reason why I like the book so much. As you can see from the photos above, you can create these designs with jelly rolls or yardage, too.

The Quiltmaking Basics section of the book will answer any general questions you may have about putting quilts together, so Kathy Brown's book is perfect for beginners and more accomplished quilters. This book is definitely a great addition to our quilting library. The projects are quick, easy, and fat quarter friendly - the winning trifecta!

I hope you can add some sewing to your busy Monday...

December 8, 2014

Quilting motifs with paper

Last night I was preparing to quilt a project using a quilting pattern from a book. Here is my favorite method to do it and if you have never tried it, here is your chance to experiment.

After choosing the quilting motif, I get my roll of Golden Threads quilting paper and trace the design on it with a pencil or fine tipped Sharpie marker. If I only wanted that motif in one block, I would pin the paper onto the block and free motion quilt it. However, I wanted it in four blocks.
So, I cut three more pieces of Golden Threads paper, pinned them under the traced design...
... and took the papers to my machine. I removed the top and bobbin threads (leave empty bobbin in machine) and free motion quilted the entire design. The needle punches wholes through the layers of papers, 'copying' design onto the other pieces of paper.
Easy! Next step is to separate sheets and pin them to blocks. I do pin them all at once, quilt the blocks and remove the paper after every block. This way, if I need to redo something I can do it before I move on to the next block.

Do you see the mistake I made when I 'stitched' the design, on the top right corner (bottom of leaf)? No problem. When I actually quilted the block I smoothed that line out. Golden Threads paper is super easy to pull out. If any stubborn pieces remain, just use tweezers to 'pluck' it out.

See the tiny pieces of paper at the corners of the design? My trusted tweezers 'operated' on them and they are gone now. I am quilting with a variegated polyester Signature thread (please remind me to NEVER quilt with anything but cotton threads!$%#!!!) which is not as strong as cotton, forcing me to be extra careful when removing the paper - no ripped stitches.

What is your favorite way to mark large motifs on quilts?

December 2, 2014

Softies make the best gift!

I made this softie for my grandson Nicholas and almost kept it because it turned out sooo cute! Minky on the outside, cotton on the belly and inside of legs and arms... It took me a whole afternoon to make it because I am not that good with those tissue paper patterns...

However, I think it was worth the time. I was supposed to make a knot on each leg but I did not like the stubby feel of the knot, so I left the legs straight.

As usual, I made a few changes as I went along: I only used one layer of batting instead of two on the body. Also, using my trusted Aurifil thread, I sewed all the parts together and then topstitched everything twice to ensure limbs, ears, tongue, and 'claws' cannot be pulled apart no matter how much they are tugged at.

Of course I did not plan ahead so I did not have ribbons of different colors for the claws, so I used the only one I had (yellow, satin), which matched the other fabrics, too.

How do you like the little heart? It was fused and machine appliqued using blanket stitch.

Here is softie sprawled on my bed, tired after all the hours it took 'me' to put him together. Notice the tail! I stitched it many times onto the back - it will withstand years of pulling...

The pattern is McCall's, M6525. I already have the minky for the lion, which will be my next softie, but will await and make it for his birthday in April.

As with many handmade gifts, it takes a while to make it but handmade gifts have so much love in every stitch, every drop of glue, every stroke of paint... They are good for the soul of those who make them and for the soul of those who receive them. Good energy flowing from our hands to theirs.

That is my reason for making gifts... besides the fact that I have got to put all that fabric in my stash to good use!

If you need another idea for Christmas gifts, this would be a great one, according to my grandson's reaction when he got it (I was so excited to see his happy face that I forgot to take pictures! Ai, ai, ai...).

Enjoy your [sewing] day!

PS: I am linking to Linky Tuesday at Freemotion by the River, Fabric Tuesday at Quilt StoryNot Just a HousewifeFreshly Pieced ... 

December 1, 2014

Giveaway winner!

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration! I have yet another reason to be thankful - everyone who stops by my blog and leaves a comment. And...

... thank you for stopping by during the Jolly Bars blog hop hosted by Fat Quarter Shop. There were so many great ideas of ways to use the Jolly Bars in the comments you left!
Quilting Fabric at the Fat Quarter Shop
Here is the winner of a Jolly Bar, courtesy of Fat Quarter Shop:

I would just sew all of the pieces together to make a table runner. Thanks!

Delaine, I will be sending you an email shortly, but go ahead and do the happy dance now. :-)

 For the rest of us, here is a cool offer from Fat Quarter Shop, so if you need Jolly Bars or other precuts to help you make those gifts faster, check it out:
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Happy Monday to all of you,

November 26, 2014

Quick projects...

I was looking for a quick project to make for a gift when I remembered I had received the book Table Toppers - Quilted Projects by Fons & Porter for review. Bingo! Just in case you are also looking for a project that will come together fast and look gorgeous, look at what I found:

Martingale - Table Toppers (Print version + eBook bundle)Martingale - Table Toppers (Print version + eBook bundle)Martingale - Table Toppers (Print version + eBook bundle)Martingale - Table Toppers (Print version + eBook bundle)
(All photos by Brent Kane for Martingale)

The projects featured entail different methods (wool applique, paper piecing, machine applique) so there are lots of choices depending on your time and inclination. The patterns are very well written, and the SewEasy section of the book has plenty of photographs illustrating all the steps for every technique. Below is the project I am going to make:

Martingale - Table Toppers (Print version + eBook bundle)
Isn't this table topper cute? It will be fast to make, too, which is just what I needed!

Each project was made by a different designer - a host of creative quilters, as you can see... This book is also available as an eBook, so if you are in a hurry you can choose to download it from Martingale. (They are having a promotion with 40% off some eBooks until November 30th...).

In the meantime, have a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration!

November 24, 2014

Jolly Bars and Giveaway!

When I learned Fat Quarter Shop was getting ready to launch their second round of Jolly Bars, a 5” x 10” precut that is exclusive to them, I jumped at the opportunity to design a quilt using the rectangles. At last, here is Country Road, with pieced houses, machine appliqued details, and lots of quilting!

The Jolly Bars are now available in four different Moda Fabrics collections: Petite Prints by French General, Lakeside Gatherings by Primitive Gatherings, The Boat House by Sweetwater, and Red, White and Free by Sandy Gervais.  Each Jolly Bar comes with an exclusive, super easy pattern. I chose Petite Prints by French General and, as soon as I received it, I decided to take full advantage of the size of the precut.

I selected rectangles which had a duplicate for the front of the houses. Then, a contrasting rectangle for each roof. Instead of a beige or creamy background, I opted for white. The houses came together very quickly as I bypassed a lot of fabric cutting by using the precuts. Each finished block measures 13-3/4" x 8-3/4" and the entire quilt measures 38-3/4" x 59-3/4".

I searched my stash for fabrics for the windows, doors, and architectural details on the eaves. I finished them by adding a button on each door. Next I cut the unused rectangles in half lengthwise to make the four-patches.

The quilting is simple as you can see from the picture on the right. It took me about 10 hours to quilt it (in the ditch, the roofs, straight line on sashings, very small meandering everywhere else). This project was pieced and quilted with Aurifil 50wt. Most of the applique was done with Aurifil, too (Sulky, if I did not have the color I needed in Aurifil).

Fat Quarter Shop is hosting a blog hop today for the launch of the new Jolly Bars.  Each participating blogger is showcasing an original design. Here is the lineup for the blog hop:
                                         Andy of A Bright Corner 
Allison of Quilting Mumma
Stephanie of The Modern Sewciety

Quilting Fabric at the Fat Quarter ShopNow, for the giveaway: Fat Quarter Shop is giving away a Jolly Bar of your choice! Just leave me a comment letting me know how you would use a nice package of precut rectangles in your quilt. If you follow me, leave me an extra comment for another chance to win. This giveaway is open to all of you, regardless of where you live. Make sure I have a way to contact you, should you be the lucky recipient. This giveaway is open until Friday, November 28, and the winner will be announced on Monday, December 1st.

One more thing: Fat Quarter Shop has another surprise for you! For every Jolly Bar collection, they have sneaked in four Golden Tickets, and each is a $50 gift certificate to Fat Quarter Shop! That means, there are sixteen total Golden Tickets that are up for grabs, but they are only in the first batch of Jolly Bars, so you must pre-order for a chance to get one. Click here for more information.

Fun way to start the week, right? Check out the other blogs and have an awesome day!

November 21, 2014

Handmade Christmas Decorations Blog Hop

[Another blog hop and giveaway info at end of this post!]
Handmade Christmas Decorations Blog Hop!

I was invited by the folks at Stitch Craft Create to participate in the Handmade Christmas Decorations Blog Hop, and I am so glad I said Yes! They publish such wonderful craft books, and have a page with craft eBook downloads, very convenient for when you want to make a last minute gift and need fresh ideas immediately.

I chose to crochet a Christmas decoration, so they sent me Crochet your Christmas Baubles eBook (oh, the photographs! the ideas!):

There were many tempting projects as you can see from the cover. I chose to make the White Christmas Tree:
This photo is from the book. Doesn't it look delicate? Here is my version:

Instead of the yarn suggested in the pattern, I used one that had strands of shiny white. My tree turned out taller (7" as opposed to 4"), so instead of hanging it, I will place it on the mantel. I did not crochet the star; I looked everywhere to find a silver star and could not (yeah, hard to believe, huh?). So, I looked through my scrapbook papers and found one with a shiny silver star. I cut it, glued it to a pin, and stuck it on top of the tree. How do you like it? The tree decorations are beads I found at JoAnn stores. Perfect...

Stitch Craft Create has a competition going on, too (click here to sign up your project). Show them a picture of your own handmade Christmas decoration, and you could win one of these prizes: 1st Prize: £100 SCC voucher, 2nd Prize: £50 SCC voucher, 3rd Prize: £25 SCC voucher to spend at their site.

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Below is the schedule for the blog hop, which has been happening since the beginning of November. I have looked at all the projects and am inspired - find some time and check them out, as well as Stitch Craft Create's Handmade Christmas page. I will definitely get the Handmade Scandinavian Christmas book after I saw all the fun projects the bloggers made!

Sat 1st – Crafts from the Cwtch (knitted candle holders)
Sun 2nd – Patchwork Posse (ribbon baubles)
Mon 3rd – Moogsmum (paper bird garland)
Tue 4th – Yarn Demon (crochet snowflakes)
Wed 5th – From the Blue Chair (Washi tape cards & baubles)
Thur 6th Straight Grain (fabric Washi treat bags)
Fri 7th A Quilt Is Nice (wooden stars & paper baubles)
Sat 8th Haak & Smaak (crochet gingerbread men)
Mon 10th – Knits and Crosses (Scandinavian bakes)
Tue 11th A Bright Corner (Washi tape tea lights & gift tag)
Wed 12th Imagine Gnats (fabric gift tags)
Thu 13th – Thimbleanna (knitted hot pad)
Fri 14th – The Creations of Crazy Dazy (knitted bobble hat baubles)
Sat 15th – Ric Rac (pine cone birds)
Sun 16th – Chickpea Sewing Studio (Handmade Scandinavian Christmas review)
Mon 17th – Ellison Lane (Washi tape candles)
Tue 18th Olivia Jane Handcrafted (red berry & pine cone wreath)
Wed 19th Boolah Baguette (personalised family wreath)
Thu 20th Made Peachy
Fri 21st – Pieced Brain
Sat 22nd Rose Hip
Sun 23rd Sewing Is for Girls
Mon 24th – Miss Print
Tue 25th Feather’s Flights
Wed 26th Follow the White Bunny
Thu 27th – Dotty Doily
Fri 28th – Guthrie & Ghani
Sat 29th – Cut to Pieces
Sun 30th – Molly Flanders Makerie

Then, come back on Monday, the 24th, for another blog hop and a Fat Quarter Shop awesome giveaway!

Enjoy all the eye candy, and have a fun weekend...


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