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!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Not Your Grandmother's Patchwork Quilt

My Modern Herringbone quilt is finished.  Get ready for lots of pictures!

The pattern was in the June 2014 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting magazine, and the original had a different color scheme.  

But I went with a different combination of colors, all solids, with white and light gray.

I'm so happy with the way it came together.  My first "modern" quilt.

Karen Thompson did the longarm quilting, a series of overlapping circles.  This is a panto or edge-to-edge quilting design.

In keeping with the modern look, I used a text print on the back.  I think this fabric is from Riley Blake.  It looks like newspaper columns but the text is actually inspirational sayings.

I used a dark gray solid for the binding.  It fnishes it off without getting in the way of the other colors.

Another shot of the quilt on a full size bed.  The finished quilt is 80" square (I enlarged the pattern by making more blocks).

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Moda Collection for a Cause Legacy - Destash Sale

In 2010, I made a quilt I called Aging Gracefully, using a Moda fabric group called Collection for a Cause Legacy.  (Collection for a Cause is annual fabric collection from Moda, with a percentage of the proceeds going to a specific philanthropic cause.)  The Legacy collection is in shades of brown and blue with a little bit of deep pink.  It includes some gorgeous florals.  

I have a lot of fabric from this collection left and decided to de-stash it here.  It is mostly yardage with some leftover pieces from a layer cake.  

Starting from the left at the top:  a little over a yard of the khaki/beige solid fabric, a bit under a yard of the small floral print on dark brown (I used this for binding cut on the bias so the piece is a very large triangle), 2 yards of the floral on cream, 2 yards of the pink and blue floral in front.  On the right side, the large floral print on pale blue there are three pieces:  one is 90" by 18", one is 90" by 15", and one is 70" by 11" (good for borders); and 18 layer cake squares. Included but not pictured is 2/3 yard of aqua solid and some scraps from making the quilt above.

Price is $60 which includes domestic postage.  SOLD

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.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Buying Quilting Fabric Online

Saturday was a rare Saturday of no classes for Mr. Main Street so we went on an outing to Bucks County, PA, to have lunch at one of our favorite places, the Black Bass Hotel.  We had a lovely lunch (tomato bisque and clementine salad for me, cassoulet for him), seated at a table overlooking the Delaware River.  We watched big chunks of ice float downstream and a few cross country skiers came by on the canal path.  No outdoor activity for us though; we'll go back when the weather is warmer. 

My LQS, Pennington Quilts Works, is only a short detour off the route home.  Mr. Main Street said he could tolerate a stop if I "made it snappy."  Has any quilter ever "made it snappy" in a quilt shop?!  OK, I didn't linger and only bought three fat quarters.  Not sure what I'll do with them yet.  I love the store but it is a 40 minute drive from home so I don't run over on a whim.  I do go if I have a project in mind and usually stop by if I am in the area for another reason. 

This trip got me thinking about how I augment my brick and mortar store shopping with online shopping.  I like to visit quilt shops I come across while traveling.  You see a different design aesthetic in different shops, patterns made up in different kinds of fabrics, exposure to new tools and techniques, etc.  But sometimes, especially when I know exactly what I want, it is easiest to tap the keys and get online.  Here are my favorite online quilt shops.

Fat Quarter Shop - This is my go-to site for quilting fabric and patterns.  They have a wide selection of both fabric and patterns and the customer service is stellar.  They also feature a lot of kits and block of the month offers, but I have not participated in any yet.  The inventory turns over quickly here so if you see somethink you like, you better buy it because if could be gone in a short time.

EQuilter - EQuilter was the first online shop I discovered.  They've been in business basically since ecommerce started and began by stocking the kind of fabrics that many local shops did not carry, like Asian prints.  They now stock a very broad selection of quilting fabric.  If you sign up for their newsletter, you get an email on Saturday night or Sunday morning with what's new and links to their weekly sale fabrics. 

Old Country Store Fabrics - This is the online outlet of a bricks and mortar store in Intercourse, PA - Amish country.  They stock a more limited selection than the two above; they stock fewer lines and often don't take the full line.  For example, for a Moda line they may have all the precuts but only 25 or so of the 40 prints that make up a particular line.  But they usually price their fabric below $9 a yard so is worth checking out. - I've mentioned this site before but it is worth repeating as they have saved me many a time.  This site is a search engine for a large group of independent quilt shops.  When you type a term into the search box, it searches the inventory of all the quilt shops that particpate and gives you a set of thumbnails that link to the original store site. It works best when you have a good idea what you are looking for.  I've used it when I have needed more fabric from a specific collection.  And when I began my Fig Tree Harvest project, I used this site to locate Fig Tree fabric for quilt backs.  When you make a purchase, you are buying from the local store.  I've bought fabric this way from a number of different stores and always been very satisfied.

Just thinking about these places has put me in the mood to browse for fabric!