Monday, June 10, 2019

Fig Tree Chantilly - What To Make?

A couple of weeks ago, my local quilt shop, Pennington Quilt Works, had a grand re-opening celebration to show off their expanded store (they are in a shopping center and annexed the empty storefront next door).  They showed off their new space and class samples and I was the lucky winner of one of the door prizes - a fat quarter stack of Chantilly by Fig Tree, a pattern on a postcard, and a Moda zipper pouch (will be handy to hold binding clips).  Thank you, PQW!

I like the Chantilly fabric line - it is the typical Fig Tree florals but the colors are paler shades than usual.  I am  considering using it to make Hexie Garden by Atkinson Designs but I need to identify a solid color to use in place of the dark triangles around the flower centers.  I've seen this pattern made up in bright colors with black which was really stunning but I think black would be too harsh with the pale shades in the Chantilly line.

My alternative is to go with either the Odile Stars pattern by Planted Seed Designs or the new Fig Tree pattern called Twinkle.  The pattern for Twinkle calls for 1/3 yard cuts but each makes two blocks so I think I could get a block of out each fat quarter. 

Decisions, decisions...

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Friday, June 7, 2019

My Log Cabin Big Bag by AnnaStudiokr

You may remember from my last post that I was making tiny courthouse steps blocks.  I finished them and they have become the Log Cabin Big Bag by AnnaStudioskr. 

It is a B-I-G bag, the base is 19 by 7.5 inches and the sides are 13 inches high so it will hold a lot!

The courthouse steps blocks are sewn together to make a panel, along with a strip of framed square blocks for each side of the bag. 

The pieces are small, the logs are only 1/2 inch wide finished.

With scant 1/4" seams, the wrong side looks like this, with the seam allowances nearly butting up against each other.  I pressed the seams open to reduce the bulk and avoid ridges; it lies very flat. 

Here's a side view.  I used a jelly roll from Island Batiks in a colorway called Ocean Mist.  When combined with the solid black trim, it has all the colors found in my wardrobe so should coordinate with just about any outfit I wear. 

I lined it with a light blue batik print. 

Here's another beauty shot (I took a lot of pictures!).  I don't recall how I became aware of Anna Studios but I began following her Instagram where she posts photos of the bags she makes (and her photography is much better than mine).   A short time ago, she began selling her patterns, kits, and bag straps on Etsy so I bought the pattern and a set of black leather bag handles so I could make my own version.

The pattern has a lot of pictures but you need to know the basics of piecing and bag making as she does not explain those techniques.  The pattern also does not indicate how much fabric you need.  I used a jelly roll to piece the outer part of the bag, but used only about 3/4 of the strips.  You could piece this from fat quarters, fat eighths, or scraps.  I bought a yard of fabric for the lining, which was just right, and 3/4 yard of solid black fabric for the bag bottom, center square in each block, and binding at the top edge of the bag.  I have some left over but this length allowed me to cut the binding on the bias.  If you use straight cut binding, a 1/2 yard of fabric will suffice.  I used Soft & Stable in place of batting and added Peltex (heavy interfacing) to the bottom in place of the plastic mat the pattern calls for.  The bottom of the bag is pretty rigid. 

The pattern directions have you hand sew the sides and bottom of the bag together but I was afraid my hand sewing wouldn't be sturdy enough so I changed the construction so I could sew the top and bottom on the sewing machine.  I used used solid black fabric for the outer bottom, quilted to Soft & Stable, then I put a layer of Peltex between that and the light blue lining fabric. 

I'm very happy with how my Big Bag came out and I would make another of her patterns except I don't need another tote bag.  Well, maybe next year...

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Monday, May 20, 2019

Making Courthouse Steps Blocks

For several days, I've been occupied with making tiny Courthouse Steps blocks.  These blocks finish at 4.5" square, with each "step" a half inch wide. There are 17 pieces in each block, so lots of opportunities for things to go wonky.  I'm taking my time in an effort to piece accurately.  So far, so good, and I've only had to "un-sew" a couple of times. 

The fabric is from a jelly roll I've had in my stash for a few years.  It is batik fabric is shades of blue, green, and turquoise, with a little purple thrown in.  The center of each block is solid black (Kona black).

More on my plan for these little blocks in my next post.

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Thursday, May 16, 2019

Pillow Shams Inspired By A Table Runner

About 10 years ago, I made pillow shams for our bed out of some floral fabric that pretty much coordinated with all of the quilts I've made for the bed.  But after 10 years of washing and sun exposure, they were worn out.  The fabric had weakened in some areas so much that it was torn and disintegrating.  So new shams were in order. 

I set about making them, with my design inspired by this table runner pattern by "Quilted Cuties" called Hopscotch. The table runner is 16" by 36" and made out of mini charm squares and some background fabric.  I made some modifications to get pillow shams that measure 20" by 26" and used fabric from stash, cut into 2.5" squares.

Here's the end result...

...and the pair of shams on the bed with the quilt I was trying to coordinate with.  I made this quilt about 15 years ago and it's the post-Christmas quilt in the rotation so usually in use roughly January-March. 

This quilt is a "blended" design that used a lot of different fabrics, all in shades of muted pink, rose, green, and pale yellow.  I found two of the prints (the green floral in the center and pink next to it) still in my stash (I must have purchased them at least 15 years ago!) and added a couple of yellow florals that are newer but mix with those in the original quilt very well.  The background is a tiny yellow floral on ivory.

I did the quilting myself, on my domestic machine with the walking foot, quilting in the ditch for a  cross-hatch effect.  It was not difficult as there wasn't the bulk of a regular quilt to wrestle with, and I am pleased with the result.  If you look closely, you can see where my stitching leaped out of the ditch in a few places but I think it turned out quite well. 

These shams don't coordinate well with the other quilts I use on this bed so I will have to come up with at least one more set.  I have some ideas but nothing that has "jelled" yet.  While I mull that over, I'm turning to another small project. 

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Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Quilted, Bound, and Delivered!

If you have a very good memory, you will recall that my last post was about making lots of 4" blue stars for a quilt designed by Edyta Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts, called Aurora.

It's a finish, quilted, bound, and delivered to my mom!

Karen Thompson did the quilting, using a pantograph design that fills in the open spaces nicely.

I don't have a lot of blue in my fabric stash so bought some fat quarters and half yards for the stars.  But I did have both background fabrics, the blue backing fabric, and the beige and cream check for the binding on hand.  That made this quilt a pretty good stash buster. 

Making the small stars is the hardest part (and they are easy enough if you can handle small pieces and repetitive sewing), then it goes together very quickly with the large background pieces (8" squares).

Here's the quilt in its new home.  My mother moved last summer, downsizing to an apartment in a senior living development.  She kept her living room furniture, mostly blue plus this floral couch.  But the  throw quilts I'd made her before were for the family room, shades of green.  So it was time for a new quilt for the new home.  We're both pleased with how it looks.

Needless to say, I already have a new quilt project in the works!

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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Seeing Stars - Finished Top

Early in January, I showed you the 3" stars I was making for Aurora, a quilt pattern  from Laundry Basket Quilts.   A few 3-day holiday weekends later and I have the quilt top finished. 

I used a tiny beige dot on ivory fabric for the background and approximately 10 different blue prints for the stars.  I took the first photo when I was laying out the pieces on the design bed. 

Coming together...

I've seen this quilt made two ways.  One uses the background fabric for the setting triangles and the other uses a different fabric for the setting triangles, usually something a little darker in color and larger in scale.  I decided to go with a second fabric and chose this paisley print I had in my stash.  

The star blocks form sashing that frames the solid squares.  This is all set on point with the setting triangles framing it all ; no border, though you could add one if you want a larger size. 

This top is off to the quilter and I'm off to cut out my next project.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Let's Talk About Hand Lotion

I experience two downsides to quilting. Loose threads all over my clothes and rugs.  And dry hands because fondling handling fabric frequently strips the skin of natural oils. 

To compensate, I've become a frequent user of hand lotion.  Pictured below are my current favorites.

My absolute favorite is on the left, Nuxe Reve de Miel (dream of honey).  It is very effective without feeling greasy and the honey scent is wonderfully uplifting.  I also like the size, small enough to carry around but big enough to last (it is not a sample size).  Nuxe is a European company that unfortunately stopped selling in the US about two years ago.  I still find some of their products on Amazon but at high prices.  I'm left with one of two tubes I bought in Germany last summer.

The product in the middle is the one I find most effective when my hands are very dry, Aveeno Skin Relief Hand Cream.  It is deeply moisturizing without feeling at all greasy, and lasts a long time.  But it is unscented/fragrance free and I prefer the little sensorial boost I get from a nicely scented product. 

The product on the right, Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hand Gel Cream, has a different feel from most hand lotions.  It is more of a gel and absorbs very fast, without any residue feeling at all but leaves skin with a very smooth feel.  If you don't like the feel of hand lotion, you might enjoy this product.  It contains hyaluronic acid, which attracts then holds in moisture, so it really hydrates dry skin.  (Don't be scared by the word "acid;"  hyaluronic acid is kind to skin.)  It has a light, barely perceptible scent. 

(Full disclosure:  I am employed by Johnson & Johnson, the company that markets the Aveeno and Neutrogena brands.  But nobody asked me to write this.  I don't think my co-workers are even aware I have this blog.) 

How do you take care of dry hands?  Oh, and to cope with loose threads, I have lint brushes stashed around the house.  Mine are old and nameless but I've heard this one is very good, as are the adhesive rollers. 

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Tuesday, January 1, 2019

My Stars, the Creative Grids Flying Geese Ruler

Wow, I see it has been five months since my last post.  Having a full time job, quilting, and blogging about it are really not compatible.  I think the job might have to go.

New Year, New Project!   I'm making Aurora by Laundry Basket Quilts, and I need about a bajillion 4" sawtooth stars (well, okay, I need 127).  I have 75 made.

Edyta Sitar demonstrates how to make this quilt in a YouTube video.

But I used a new-to-me method to make the flying geese units.  This method starts with two squares so is very handy if you are using charm squares, it is a little odd, but the units get trimmed to the correct size and this helps a lot with accuracy so I gave it a try.  It has worked well for me; the directions are here.

I wanted a 1" by 2" Bloc Loc ruler but couldn't find one, even online (they may have been out of stock on this size at the time because I think they do make it).  Instead, I got the Creative Grids Ultimate Flying Geese Template and Quilt Ruler.  I like it, it the best ruler for flying geese blocks in multiple sizes that I've found yet.  And Creative Grids has a video to explain how to use it.

So I'm in business, just 52 more stars to make!

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