Friday, July 15, 2016

Christmas in July - Part 2

I'm back with more Christmas quilts!

This is Christmas Stars, probably the most famous quilt on my blog.  I didn't use a pattern, it's just an Ohio Star variation block I'd seen somewhere and then figured out a way to construct it.  For my tutorial on how to make this block, click here.

This quilt became "famous" because it was beautifully quilted by Linda Hrcka of The Quilted Pineapple and people seeing the photos on her blog asked questions about the pattern, etc, and got directed here. The wide borders are perfect for fancy quilting!  Below is a close-up of one of the blocks.

I made Sparkle using the pattern Jelly Stars from Fig Tree Quilts and a jelly roll of a Moda collection called Blitzen from Basic Grey.  Their 2016 collection called Juniper Berry would work well for this quilt.  This quilt is much, much easier to make than it looks, all because of the clever techniques in the pattern.  It makes a great throw size quilt or large wall hanging, while one star could be made into a small wall hanging.

Here's one of the blocks.  The diagonal seams through the corners result from the easy construction.  No set in or Y seams!

Evergreen was my first two-color quilt (though I actually used three fabrics, the two greens being close to each other in color).  The original pattern is called Twilight Hopscotch and is in the book Simple Comforts by Kim Diehl.  The pattern results from alternating two different blocks. 

And here is Merry and Bright, from the pattern called Trellis Crossroads in the book Modern Bee.  It is a good quilt to make from stash and scraps but I will warn you that I found the directions lacked completeness and were hard to follow.  I tried to give some tips in my post here.

I'll leave you with this photo of the stockings hung by the chimney with care.  The red one belongs to Miss Main Street and is the first one I made.  The green ones are for our corgis, Reggie and Dillie (I'm not sure they are aware they are dogs).  I incorporated pieces from my stash of "cutter" vintage lace and linens when I made them.  They are just simple shapes, both front and back sandwiched with thin batting and backing (the backing ends up as the lining), with minimal quilting, then the two pieces are joined with bias binding just like a quilt.

I hope you've enjoyed this little bit of Christmas in July.  Maybe it has given you and idea for making your own 2016 Christmas quilt.

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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Christmas in July - Part 1

The new Christmas fabric collections are in the quilt shops now and that makes me think about making another Christmas quilt.  I've made quite a few over the course of my quilting career.  I'll show you some of them today and more tomorrow.

This sawtooth star was my first Christmas quilt.  I made a wall hanging size first, and enjoyed that so much, I followed it with a queen bed size version.  I used a lot of beautiful Hoffman prints in both and hand quilted both too.  Below is a close-up of the block and quilting.  The pattern was in an issue of American Patchwork & Quilting from long ago but I think they sell the individual pattern on their website.  

 A lot of the scraps and leftovers from the star quilt went into a traditional log cabin quilt.  This one was machine quilted in a holly leaf vine pattern.

Christmas Ribbons (below) as made from a pattern called Ruby's Ribbon Box; it featured the Ruby fabric collection by Bonnie and Camille.  I made my version in Christmas red and green prints from my stash.  It is throw size and usually resides on our window seat in the living room at Christmas time.

My only wool adventure so far was the making of this wreath in appliqued red and green circles.  I used black wool for the background and framed the finished result.  This goes on a wall in the living room, replacing a framed print just for the season.

I made Boughs of Holly from a Red Crinoline pattern called Crossroads.  The border is a from an April Cornell Christmas collection for Moda. I'd had it in my stash for a few years and this pattern was the perfect way to put it to use.

 Here are a few more Christmas quilts hanging on our second floor landing.  The quilts that hang here most of the year get swapped out for the Christmas season.  The quilts other than the log cabin are both from Miss Rosie patterns.  I made the quilt on the upper rod from a pattern called Brand New Day but I call my version Christmas Day.  The lower quilt is a good project for using lots of scraps and leftovers.  It alternates a sawtooth star block with a large nine-patch that contains smaller four-patch blocks.  I'm not sure what the original pattern was called and haven't been able to locate it.

 Come back tomorrow for Part 2.  Yes, I have even more Christmas quilts!

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Monday, July 11, 2016

Making A Sewiing Gear Bag for My English Paper Piecing Projects

I've finished the piecing of La Passacaglia but intend to do more English paper piecing in the future.  I want to make some sort of handy-dandy bag that will make it easy to take my hand piecing with me on the go.  I'm leaning towards the Zip It Up! bag from By Annie.  Has anyone made it?  If so, any tips?

I learned about this bag from the photos on Instagram.  I love the bright color zippers with the black and white prints but will probably do something else for my own bag.  

I stumbled on another cleverly designed bag on the internet. It is called the Bionic Gear Bag; there is a video demo of its features on the website and you can buy the pattern as a PDF file on Craftsy.  

This bag looks a little more challenging to make but wouldn't it be handy for a class or retreat?

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Friday, July 8, 2016

Next Up - Making A Quilt From My Stash

 After a quilting time out while I went to a convention in Atlanta (the nickname Hot-Lanta is well deserved), I have started a new project based on using fabric from my stash.  In fact, if things turn out as planned, the entire top and binding will be from my stash closet.  I may need to buy fabric for the back unless I make a very scrappy back.

I get such a sense of satisfaction from using this stash fabric, like it makes the practice of fabric hoarding buying fabric without a specific use in mind all worthwhile!

The four prints below will be the the main components.  The print on the far left is from the Chelsea Boutique line by Blackbird Designs for Moda.  I bought it years ago because the green background is the same color as the walls in our family room.  I bought the green-on-ecru and green tone-on-tone to coordinate while the ecru is from my extensive stash of neutral tone-on-tones for backgrounds.  

The first step it to make many 9-patch blocks.  These are small; they finish at 3".  I'm using small pieces from stash (fat quarters and smaller) that coordinate with the Chelsea Boutique print that will form the outer border of the quilt.  

Last December I received some books for my birthday, including Tributes and Treasures by Paula Barnes and Mary Ellen Robison.

I am making a design from the book called Plantation Road.  I knew when I saw it that I had just what I needed to make it in my stash.  The directions make a giant quilt (95" by 107") but I'm scaling down to throw size by making fewer blocks.  The design uses basic piecing and should go together pretty quickly considering the alternating blocks don't require any piecing.  What piecing there is can be done easily in short amounts of time here and there.

This is a more traditional look than I am drawn to now but Mr. Main Street will love it and it will look great in our family room come winter.

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Quilting Magazine Round-Up

I splurged on three quilt magazines in Barnes & Noble recently and thought I'd do short reviews.

First, the August 2016 (issue 141) of American Patchwork & Quilting.  I don't buy every issue, only those that have a project that I particularly like.  I was looking for this one because I had seen a couple of photos online that intrigued me.

One of the articles, by Joanna Figueroa (of Fig Tree & Co.), is about using your own photos as inspiration for a quilt project.  Her design contribution is this orange and gray quilt, inspired by a photo she took at Alhambra in Granada, Spain.  I like the design; the blocks are almost 13" square.

Another of Joanna's photos inspired Just Rosy, by Laurie Simpson.   A quilt with a floral applique border is on my lifetime quilts-to-make list and I like the simplicity of this design.  It reminds me a bit of Mary Engelbreit designs.

My supply of Fig Tree fabric is still robust but I will eventually be down to scraps and have been looking for a scrap quilt design to keep in mind for that day.  I like this one, called Stairsteps , by Jo Kramer.  The magazine version is in Civil War reproduction fabric but the design lends itself to other fabric genres and I think it could work well for Fig Tree.  I will need to select a color to use in place of the red, though the right red could work.

This issue of APQ also has an interesting article about Missouri Star Quilt Company, the result of a Type A woman getting a new hobby in retirement!  I can't let my husband read it or he will start to worry about what I might have planned for "his" retirement.

Modern Quilts Unlimited is a new-to-me magazine.  The cover design by Emily Herrick caught my eye.  It is supposed to be a rose rendered in cross stitch, much magnified, but I just like the X block and may have another use for it. 

A second project, Orbit Chain (by Lisa Burmann), also caught my eye.

I had resisted buying this other new-to-me publication, Our Quilting, because of the high price ($17.99), but having sighed over the cover quilt on several different trips through the store, I gave in.  This magazine is published in Germany and appears to cover all aesthetic bases - art, modern, traditional, and primitive.  The cover quilt, called Gloria's Flowers (by Evelyn Zuber), is similar to hexagon flowers but uses an octagon shape for the outer petals.  It was constructed using English paper piecing.

After finishing La Passacaglia, I'd like to make another EPP project, though probably not immediately.

This bag also caught my eye.  It sort of looks like it was made out of a table runner, but I like the look and think it could work for a laptop sleeve.  Because a quilter shouldn't be using a solid black neoprene laptop sleeve; too boring!

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Monday, June 20, 2016

Ocean View - A Finished Flimsy

My version of Simply Woven is finished and I think I will call it Ocean View.  The cool, breezy colors are almost like having a fan on this hot day.

Please excuse the poor quality of the photo - Mr. Main Street's wingspan isn't quite as wide as the quilt (72") nor is he as tall (96"), it was an overcast day, and Dillie insisted on being included.  I'll try for a better one after quilting.  

By the way, making this quilt made me a convert to heavy starch.  If you recall, I starched the jelly roll strips with spray starch (saturated them really) before cutting.  No stretching or pulling out of shape and the blocks went together so easily.  I'll be doing this now whenever appropriate.  To make it easier, our local supermarket, McCaffrey's, is stocking spray starch in the laundry section again.  Do you think the buyer reads my blog, lol?

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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Can you Hear The Waves?

I've been working on the blocks for my Simply Woven quilt and now have 48 finished blocks like the one above.  I've got the blocks laid out on the "design bed" and am tryiing not to obsess over block placement.  I am rotating the blocks 180 degrees in alternate rows.

The Moda Bakeshop instructions are quite detailed, with lots of helpful photos of the block construction process. But the instructions don't include pressing directions.  I quickly realized that if I pressed to the dark, I'd wind up with lots of bulk at the seams when it came time to join the blocks.  So I pressed my seams open instead.  That has worked out well as the blocks are nice and flat and the woven strips are lining up very nicely.  You can see the joining seam running horizontally in the middle of the photo below.

I'll be back with the finished flimsy soon.

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