Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Latest Quilt Crush

Oh, the dangers of Pinterest!

I was wasting time amusing myself, letting one pin lead to another, then another, when I stumbled upon this image and then this one. Oh my, instant quilt crush!  I had to know more.  Several hours of internet research later, I found out the answer:  Millefiori Quilts by Willyne Hammerstein.  

I bought the book.

It arrived in the mail.  Wowza, it takes about a gazillion teensy pieces and is English paper-pieced.  I had serious doubts but the design kept calling my name.  I could not get it out of my head.  I searched online for more images and started following the Instagram feeds of quilters working on their own versions.  Falling more deeply in love....

I gave in and ordered the supplies:  almost 3000 little pieces of paper, acrylic templates for cutting fabric, and some glue pens.  

Desperately wanting to get started but afraid of embarking on an UFO.  I pulled fabric from my stash, let it sit in a pile for frequent contemplation.  Liking the idea even more....

It's time to start.  Wish me luck!  The quilt is called La Passacaglia. Google La Passacaglia quilt for lots of eye candy or check out my Pinterest board.  But don't say I didn't warn you.  

Thursday, March 5, 2015

3 Sisters Aster Manor Destash Sale

Something more to destash from my collection; this one is almost like a kit.  I am a big fan of 3 Sisters fabric for Moda and have bought heavily from many of their collections.  When Aster Manor came out, I bought everything to make a Carolina Patchworks pattern called Cottage Maze, using a layer cake of Aster Manor, with yardage from the line for background, backing, and binding. It has sat in its sack ever since.  It needs a new home.

Included is a layer cake of Aster Manor by  3 Sisters for Moda (prints in shades of brown,
 coral, pink, and ecru), 4 3/4 yards of solid for the contrast and sashing, 
1/3 yard brown tone-on-tone for the sashing corner stones, 
5/8 yard brown leaf print for the binding, and 
4 3/4 yard large floral print for the backing.

Price is $125, which includes domestic postage.  SOLD

I'll throw in the pattern and the thread if you want them.

If you would like to purchase this, leave a comment telling me and I will send you an invoice via Paypal.  Just be sure you are not "no reply" in Blogger/Google so I can respond to your comment via email.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Fourth Time is the Charm

Thank you for all the advice you left in the comments on my applique post of last week.  Clear thread - that's the answer!  I even had some on hand, bought several years ago at a quilt show.  So now I'm using Superior Thread Mono Poly and am very happy with the results.  It is a very fine, clear polyester monofilament thread.

I put the thread on my machine then played around with some different stitches, stitch lengths and widths, and thread tension, until I found the combination I like best.  I'm using the hem stitch (#7 on Bernina 440Q) with stitch width of 2 and length of 1 and I loosened the thread tension so the bobbin thread doesn't get pulled up to the front.  I have ecru Aurifil thread in the bobbin.  

So far, so good, and I'm well on my way with the blocks.  I'm on the lookout for some dark brown batik fabric for the body section and may use matching thread for that work.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Applique, Three Ways

Last fall, I bought a pattern called Little Butterflies, from Laundry Basket Quilts, along with a Bali Pop to make it with.  The pattern calls for fusible applique, but I planned to convert it to needle turn and make it my portable hand project for however long it would take to finish.

Here is my first block, hand appliqued using the needle turn method.  

Two issues:  the butterfly's body was hard to do (very small - the entire butterfly fits on a 5" square) and looks a bit wonky, and it took a long time.  Also, I have another hand project in mind and so don't need this to be my hand project of the year.  So I thought I'd give fusible a try and see how it turned out.  

Block 2, fused using Steam A Seam 2 then stitched with a small zigzag stitch on my sewing machine.

Not terrible but the stitches are visible.  Of course, with practice I could probably improve my technique.  What else can I try?

Block 3, fused, then stitched with what I call a hem stitch; #7 on my Bernina using a width of 2 and a length of 1 (very tiny).  I experimented with a variety of stitch sizes and this worked best.  A narrower stitch did not seem secure.  

The stitches are still visible but could be less so with better matching thread and improved technique.  I don't think anyone will notice the stitches after quilting and when hung on the wall, unless they are really looking for them.  I think I'll go with this one.  

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Go Four It

Do you have four-patch fever?  Are you joining American Patchwork & Quilting's Go Four It quilt along?  I was very tempted to join in, only held back by the feeling I have too many projects going on at once.  Then I realized, been there, done that!

I have a bunch of quilts hanging on these re-purposed curtain rods on my upstairs landing, right outside the bedrooms.  See that quilt on the lower left, the one hiding behind the hot pink and aqua quilt?  I made it about 15 years ago, while in my 30's repro phase.

The block is called Arkansas Crossroads.  My four patch blocks were pieced to finish at 4 inches (2 inch squares/2.5 inches cut), so the individual block is 8 inches.  The "look" comes about as you sew the individual blocks together.  

This border effect is made by inserting 2" strips (cut 2.5") of solid blue (or use any coordinating color) between the outer most blocks.  It makes a nice finish without having to use a single fabric for the border, and works well for a scrap quilt.  

I made my quilt single bed size but this block works for any size quilt - just add more blocks to fit a larger bed.  The April issue of American Patchwork & Quilting magazine has directions and several different layouts using four patch blocks.  And so many quilt bloggers have joined in that a quick Google search will take you to more alternative settings.  

I'm still tempted to join in.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

iCases, Patterns by Annie - Pattern Review

I had a productive weekend.  Not only did I finish the baby quilt (previous post), I also am up-to-date on my stars for the sew along, having finished four more.

And I made a case for my iPad.  Last fall I saw examples of the iCases pattern from Patterns by Annie made up by one of the vendors at a quilt show and decided on the spot that I needed one.  It took a few months to get to it but once I started, it went pretty fast.  

And here is the finished result.  I used fabric I had in my stash (left from a quilt I made my mother a few years ago) and substituted a piece of vintage crocheted lace for the contrast fabric on the flap.  

It is lined with the same fabric I used for the binding.  Those black strips are velcro, used to hold the case closed.  I have one of those thin magnetic covers on my iPad (they're sold by Apple) and did not need to adjust the size of the case to accommodate it.  The pattern directions say you may need to enlarge the case size if you use a cover with a keyboard.  

The back has a zippered pocket to hold ear buds and the charger. And my Kindle will fit in the pocket for travel.  

I think you could make the pattern using batting and maybe a light interfacing too, but I used the Soft and Stable product recommended on the pattern and am very happy with the results.  It was great to work with and give professional looking results.  I did not quilt the fabric to the Soft and Stable, just ironed the pieces together which helped them stick enough for sewing.  This product is not a fusible.  The pattern directions were great, easy to follow.  I found the Clover Wonder Clips worked better than pins to hold the pieces together for sewing the binding on by machine because you need to sew through three layers around the bottom half of the case. The only problem I had was sewing over the teeth of the zipper (broke three sewing machine needles trying to make it happen).  If/when I make this again, I'll use a shorter zipper so the binding is sewn over the ends of the zipper tape rather than the across the zipper teeth.  

The pattern has directions for two sizes:  the larger size for an iPad and the smaller for an iPad mini or Kindle.  You could easily adjust the size to fit any electronic gadget.  This is a great pattern for using up pretty fabric from your stash too.  And it would make a great present for the right person.  

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Finished Baby Quilt

I finished the first of a couple of baby quilts I mentioned making this year.  This one also counts as a Fig Tree Harvest!  I used some of the light aqua green floral prints in my stash, along with some "low volume" in  a disappearing four patch design.  Here it is, quilted and bound.

I followed Missouri Star Quilt Co.'s video on YouTube for the construction.  It is super easy and gives a nice result that looks like much more work than just sewing charm squares together.  Give it a try if you need a small quilt fast.  

I quilted this myself, using the walking foot on my machine. first I quilted in the ditch along the seams of the narrowest pieces.  I should say "mostly in the ditch" as my stitching wanders a bit now and then.  Then I stitched about 3/8" away from the seams between the blocks.  

The quilting grid pattern is especially evident on the back of the quilt.  I had just enough of this fabric left from backing an earlier quilt.  And I used some pink and white tiny gingham (also Fig Tree) for the binding.  

Here's the quilt after washing.  It shrunk about an inch in each direction to 30" by 36" but that's okay because the little "wobblies" in my quilting are less noticeable now that the quilt is crinkly.  

I hope great-niece Abby likes it!


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