Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Tutorial For Sewing Partial Seams

I used a partial seam technique to sew the center square in the star block below.  This is a handy technique to know when you want the strips on all sides of the center square to be the same length. 
(When this is not a concern, of course you can sew strips to two opposite sides of the square then longer strips to the other two sides.)

The center of the star is 6" finished.  I wanted my center square to be framed by 1" strips so I cut the center square 4.5" and cut my framing strips 1.5" wide and 5.5" long.  You start by sewing the first strip to one side, sewing only part way along - at least 1" but not more than halfway.  As you can see, the strip extends past the square. 

Fold the first strip back into place and fingerpress about one inch along the seam. I normally press with an iron but find fingerpressing works best for this step. Line up your second strip along the edge of the square and the first framing strip across the partically sewn seam.  Sew in place and press. 

Add the third and then the fourth strip in the same manner.  After the fourth strip is added, you will sew the remaining part of the first seam.

This is when it helps to have finger pressed rather than ironed as you need to fold the piece back down so right sides are together.  Sew in place, overlapping the end of the first stitches. 

Now you can press in place and the center of your block is done.

Then go make some more!

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Start Of A New Quilt

I started a new project.  The piece of fabric below is my inspiration for the color palette; this piece is from my stash and I don't have any identification for it.

I used it to pull from my stash.

I'm using a pattern called Peppermint Float by Cindy Lammon.  It is in her book Simply Modern Christmas and also the December quilt in That Patchwork Place Quilt Calendar 2015.  But I'm making the variation that Cindy showed on her blog.
Test block done!

Time to make more blocks.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Brownstone - Last Finish of 2014

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas.  We had a quiet one here on Main Street because part of our extended family was in Florida and part in Puerto Rico for the holiday.  We decided to stay at home and had a lovely day, just the three of us plus dogs. 

I'm unveiling Brownstone, sure to be my last finished quilt of 2014. 

Mr. Main Street is my quilt holder while Dillie the Corgi photo bombs.

I finished piecing this curved log cabin quilt back in March but the quilting part was delayed while my long-armer moved south.  I finished the binding and labeling last weekend but needed a day without clouds and rain to take a good photo. 

Brownstone is 72" square (the blocks are 9").  The curved effect is achieved by making the pieces on the light side narrower than the pieces on the dark side.  Despite being all straight line piecing, you get this curved look to the blocks.  I blogged the how-to in February, here.

I used my stash of Fig Tree fabrics from Moda.  I like the look of the light side so much I am thinking of making a whole quilt from the light neutrals that remain in my Fig Tree stash.  I just need to come up with a design. 

Karen Thompson quilted Brownstone using a panto design of swirls.  I think the quilting design works well with this block. 
I have a few days off work over the holiday and have already started my next project!  Of course!

Monday, December 15, 2014

One Item Checked Off The Bucket List

My double wedding ring quilt is finished and on the bed.  That's one item checked off my quilting bucket list (but plenty remaining to be tackled).

I'm calling this one Love Actually Kari Ruedisale did a fantastic job for me with custom quilting.  It is exactly what I envisioned. 

She quilted a motif to fill the center portion of the interlocking ring and a series of loops on each arch of the ring.

And the border is absolutely fantastic, with vertical lines and a wonderful feather making its way around the outer edge.  

Love Actually took a while to finish; let's call it slow quilting.  Made mostly from prints from the Paris Flea Market line by 3 Sisters, with a background from a newer 3 Sisters line (Printemps?).  I used a set of acrylic templates from Marti Michell and highly recommend them.  They made the cutting easier and the piecing more accurate than trying to cut with cardboard forms.   And I'm thinking of re-using the template set to make another quilt on my bucket list, the orange peel.
In the first photo, you can see the pillow cases I made from the background fabric.  I'm planning to make some pillow shams from my remaining Paris Flea Market hoard.  But in the meantime, there's a big check mark on my list.  What's on your list?

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Need A Gift For Someone Quilty?

To celebrate my birthday last week, my husband gave me the books on my wishlist, including 500 Traditional Quilts, from Karey Patterson Bresenhan (director of the Quilt Market trade shows).

Wow, what inspiration.  Photo after photo of stunning quilts!  There is a lot of variety represented, including applique and both simple and complex pieceing.  Each is a marvelous example of the art of quilt making.  There are plenty of quilts included that I wish I could make, and plenty more that give me real ideas for something I could actually complete.

This book does not include any instructions; it is inspiration only.  But I think it is something every quiltmaker would enjoy looking at and like having in her library.  If you need a gift for a quilting friend, or even for yourself, 500 Traditional Quilts could be just the thing.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Love Patchwork & Quilting Magazine

While browsing at Barnes & Noble the other day, I came across a new-to-me quilting magazine, Love Patchwork & Quilting.  It is published in the UK and a bit pricey by my standards ($11.99, though about $9 after various B&N member and coupon discounts) but I could not resist buying this issue, labeled "Festive Issue Fourteen."

The project that especially caught my attention is this clamshell pattern called Super Scallops.  I've seen clamshell quilts made using English paper piecing but that technique does not hold great appeal for me.  This project uses more of an applique method where the sewing can be done by machine or hand.  By the way, the individual clamshells are quite large; that is a bed size quilt pictured below.

But there is also a mini version that uses a smaller size clamshell.  The only question is, should I go big or small?  I'm leaning towards the wall hanging because we really don't need more bed-size quilts here on Main Street.

The cover quilt also got my attention.  It is another bed size quilt, 80 inches square, called Chevron Snowflake.  Given the way it is pieced, I think it would go together quickly. 
There a several other projects in this issue, including a duffle bag.  All in all, an impressive publication.  I'll be on the lookout for future issues of Love Patchwork & Quilting!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Merry and Bright - A Finished Quilt

I finished a Christmas quilt, just in time for the Christmas season.  Here is Merry and Bright!

I made Merry and Bright using a pattern called Trellis Crossroads from the book Modern Bee.  I like the clean lines of this design, so modern, and have seen it made up in other fabrics on the internet.  The design lends itself to just about any fabric collection, plus stash, which is what I used for my Christmasy version. 

This is what a finished block looks like.  The blocks get trimmed down and then sewn together to create the look seen in the finished quilt.  And this is where I had a problem with the pattern.

The directions for trimming the blocks are too cryptic. It is important that you measure from the center of the block out to edge and trim, to ensure the trimmed blocks will be uniform and the seams will match when you start sewing together.  If you don't do this, you will have mess of mismatched seams. 
Karen Thompson quilted Merry and Bright for me, using this loopy design.  I think the seams in the large white spaces will be less noticeable after a washing. 

My finished version is 62" by 74" which is a good size for a throw quilt.  It is our first Christmas decoration of this season.

I did a lot of labeling over the weekend.  When I cleaned up my sewing room for the house tour, I found a stash of labels I had made for various quilts but never sewn on.  That oversight was rectified this weekend and I am now caught up. 

Occasional Piece Quilt has a tutorial on how to make this kind of quilt label using your computer printer. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Impulse Purchase - Regent Street Lawns

I've long admired Liberty of London fabrics but resisted using them in my quilting because they are quite expensive.  Last week, a new (to me, anyway) collection from Moda called Regent Street Lawns caught my eye and I poked the necessary computer buttons.  I now own a 22-piece fat quarter collection.

Lawn is slightly thinner and silkier than the usual cotton fabric for quilting.  This particular collection from Moda is very similar in look and feel to Liberty fabrics but comes at the price of regular quilting fabric from the quilt shop.  Shabby Fabrics and Bear County Cottons have some in stock if you want to see more.

I'm not sure yet what I'm going to do with it, but am thinking of using navy solid for the background, whatever it turns out to be. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Quilt Market Inspiration

Just a few weeks ago, those fortunate quilters attending Quilt Market in Houston posted pictures so those of us stuck at home could see what's coming in the quilt world.  I look forward to the blog posts and Instagram photos from the trade show and use them to pick out things I want to check out when the merchandise hits the quilt shops.  I usually have a mental list of five or six fabric lines and a few patterns that have especially sparked my interest. 

This year I became close to obsessed by one particular pattern I saw, Little Butterflies by Laundry Basket Quilts.  I kept going back to pictures of it and, desperate to have the patern, visited the designer's website where the pattern was availabe already.  Both the pattern and a handy companion stencil are now mine!

As soon as I received the pattern in the mail, I had to make a visit to my LQS (though really, any excuse will do) to look for some suitable fabric.  I'd already combed my stash but did not find anything really suitable.  I like the batiks Edyta used in the original but they won't be out until the spring.
At my LQS, I found this Hoffman Bali Pops (like a jelly roll).  The colors are perfect.  I'm planning this project as a wall hanging for my kitchen, which is predominately green, white, and beige; it will be a nice bit of added color.    

The pattern actually calls for a charm pack but I want to make my version a little bigger.  The pattern directions are for fusible applique but I'm going to try needle turn.  This will be my portable project for traveling and the occasional winter evening by the fireplace.  It will not be finished any time soon.  I still need to pull a assortment of background fabrics from my stash. 

Next, I need the perfect pen or pencil for marking.  I am thinking of this Frixion Eraseable Gel Pen.  Have you had any experience with this pen?  Or have another to recommend? 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The First of Some Little Projects - Pillowcases

Before I start my next big quilting project, I'm going to work on some little things.  First up, some pillowcases:

I made a set to match my Double Wedding Ring quilt (currently at the longarm quilter's place).  I use the tube method of construction, then finish with French seams.  Missouri Quilt Co has a video tutorial on YouTube.

These pillow cases are very easy and fast.  You can whip up a few sets in no time!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Modern Herringbone Reveal

I finished piecing the top on Sunday.  It took a few months to turn this:

into this:

The colors are a little brighter than they appear in the photo (I took the picture inside late yesterday afternoon).  This top is pieced from all solid color fabric.  My inspiration for the colors was this photo of the Kona Sunset precut in the book Color Essentials by Amanda Murphy.

This quilt definitely has a more modern vibe than my usual look but that was what I was going for.  I just loved the original (Pattern Play in APQ magazine) and thought it would be a good choice for Miss Main Street's bed, in the room she uses when she is home from college.  The top is 81" square so good for a full size bed.  I need backing fabric then it will be ready for quilting.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Mimosa Fabric, from Windham Fabrics

I gave in to temptation and ordered some new fabric.  I saw this fabric online and just loved the retro look in updated colors.  The line is called Mimosa, from Windham Fabrics. 

I ordered fat quarter sets in "blueberry" and "apple."  Both came with some grey prints as well.  The line also comes in grapefruit (yellow to orange) and pomegranate (red).  I plan to use it to make one of the projects on my Pinterest board.  I'm leaning towards Flowering Snowball but haven't decided for sure.

Monday, November 3, 2014


65 herringbone blocks finished, finally!  Next step is to agonize over the layout then sew them together.  This quilt won't have borders.

To refresh your memory (it's been a while since I started this project), I am making a quilt called Pattern Play, from the June 2104 issue of American Patchwork and Quilting magazine.  It will look like the quilt below, except I used a different color palette for my version.

I found the directions in the magazine to be exceptionally clear and complete.  The blocks are made out of rectangles, then trimmed down to size.  There is a fair amount of waste but they go together pretty easily.  Importantly, there are very clear trimming instructions for the blocks, with photos.  Trimming was a breeze.  Regulars here have been treated in the past to my rants on vague trimming instructions!  But quite the opposite case this time.

Thank you, APQ!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Tour My Sewing Room

Thank you for coming on the house tour.  Would you like to see my sewing room?  Yes, this is where all the quilts you see were made. 

When we agreed to be on the house tour, I thought the historical society was interested only in the first floor of the house.  But then two ladies from the committee came to see the house (to be sure it is not a house of horrors, we joked), saw all the quilts, and thought people would enjoy seeing the bedrooms and sewing room.  "Of course, you'll have to clean up," said one, looking at all the stuff on the sewing room floor (aka my organization system). 

View from the doorway.  Sewing room doubles as a guest room.
There is a trundle bed under the day bed.
It took some work to get it all cleaned up.  Still, some tubs of fabric and works in progress were stashed in Miss Main Street's off-limits bedroom.

Bookshelf storage unit behind me as I sew, holds my quilt book collection, patterns in one drawer, rulers and templates in another.  The lower cabinet on the left holds part of my Christmas fabric stash.
Wall to my left while I sew with All Dressed Up on display.  I can put a piece of flannel over the rod and call it a design wall.  To the left of the quilt is the small closet (a downside of old houses is the small closets); it holds more fabric stash. 


My sewing machine, Bernina Q440.

Tools at hand while I sew.  The onyx bowl holds pins.  A small basket, out of picture to the right, holds scraps for leaders and enders.  The Shaker work tray is handy for carrying hand sewing supplies to another room.
Thanks for coming.  Now, I need to get back to work on this quilt!

Monday, October 27, 2014

House of Quilts

My house here on Main Street was built in 1911-1917 in a style known as American Foursquare.  (Our's is a modified version.)  We've lived here 17 years and have done lots of work on the house, modernizing essentials like heating and plumbing and making it more comfortable for us as a family home.

About a year ago, we got a call from the local historical society, asking if we would allow our house to be on their biannual house tour.  We agreed, because we have enjoyed touring the other houses in past years and because we thought it would give us a deadline to work towards for the projects we'd been meaning to get to.  It did serve that purpose and that's the major reason I have not been quilting as much the last few months. 

Come on it!  You've just entered the front door.

The tour was Sunday and it was really fun. Of course, we spent most of Saturday cleaning and de-cluttering - my home has never been so clean and tidy! On Sunday afternoon, we had about 350 people through the house. Fortunately, the traffic was pretty evenly spread out over the four hours of the tour so it was never too crowded.

West end of living room; notice quilts on back of both chairs.
People were so complimentary about the house and gushed over all my quilts on display.  Two ladies came up to me and one said, "Oh, you're the owner?  We already decided we hate you, you are too talented!"  (She said this with a laugh, the real life equivalent of LOL.)

West end of sunroom, with another quilt on a chair. 
The weather was perfect, no rain or wet to be tracked in the house (my nightmare).  I vacuumed the house Saturday night.  After the tour, I noticed a few bits of leaf here and there so vacuumed again.  It is amazing what 350 will track in, all unseen.  I have a bagless vacuum and the dirt cannister was completely full!  That was the only yuck factor is the whole process. 

Quilts on chair and couch in sunroom, the TV end of the room.
Dillie the Corgi wondering what is going on.
Miss Main Street did not like the idea of her bedroom being "on display" so we kept the door closed and used the room as a stash spot for a few items, plus the dogs in their crates.  They were very good and mostly quiet.  Of course, they were incensed that they had not been allowed to attend the party!

Quilt hanging in kitchen in my seasonal rotation quilt holder.
Flower arrangement courtesy of local garden club.

The biggest job in getting ready was the redecoration of our dining room.  Fortunately, everything came together in plenty of time. 

East end of dining room; you can see me reflected in the mirror.
Our kitchen is not an "eat in" except for breakfast or when I am home alone for lunch; we eat in our dining room every evening so it gets a lot of wear.  I was ready for a design upgrade and am happy with the result (I bought most of the furniture at Ethan Allen). 

This cabinet could be holding quilts!  But for now it displays china and crystal.

The dining room is the only room without any quilts, at least, so far!  Instead, it has boat pictures.  Mr. Main Street's father and grandfather were both professional yachtsmen; we have lots of inherited boat pictures and model ships.  They are significant to Mr. Main Street so I worked them into the decor. 

We added a couple of upholstered chairs to the dining room, to use as host and hostess chairs when we entertain and are seating more than six at the table.  This does not happen often because we have a small family and tend to entertain more informally than a seated dinner. 

Barrister bookcase from 1911 belonged to my grandfather. It holds cookbooks now.
The tour included my sewing room.  Come back tomorrow for a once-in-a-lifetime view of it clean!