Monday, 9 January 2017

Winding up the old year

Let's see how I did with my Unfinished Object (UFO) list from 2016!
  1. House Row by Row - still unfinished (sent out for machine quilting)
  2. Spring Wall Hanging - still unfinished (sent out for machine quilting)
  3. Fisherman Wall Hanging - still unfinished, ready for quilting
  4. Christmas Plaid - FINISHED!
  5. Feathers, Star, Aboriginal Gray and Burgundy - still unfinished.
  6. Christmas Bargello Table Runner - still unfinished.
  7. Red & Gray Strip Table Runner - FINISHED!
  8. Kim Diehl Applique Table Runner - FINISHED!
  9. Quilt Canada 2010 Lady Slipper Applique & Sashiko - still unfinished.
  10. Hexagon Tea Cozy - still unfinished.
  11. Chickadee Wool Circle - FINISHED!
  12. Pastel Pink & Green Gathered Tea Cozy - FINISHED!
So that's 5/12 finished! Sorry for the awful photos - one of my ongoing resolutions is to up my photography game and get better photos here on my blog and on Facebook and Instagram. My problem is that my phone is so convenient for picture taking that I don't take photos with my camera as often as I should.

How did you do with your unfinished creations from last year? Are you ready to share your list for 2017?? I'll be going through my sewing room today and making that list, starting with the 7 that were left from 2016!

--Ann

Friday, 9 December 2016

Sudoku Mini Quilt Tutorial

Here's a quick and easy project when you have an hour or two and want to finish in one sewing session. I'm assuming you have basic knowledge of sewing and piecing a quilt top. Pressing as you do each step is expected but not mentioned! Have fun!
Sudoku Mini Quilt
Fabric Requirements:

You will need nine different fabrics, minimum 4.5" x 4.5" (I used nine 5" charm squares from the same fabric line)
Plus 1" wide strips for sashing. You will need six pieces 1" x 3.5", and two pieces 1" x 10.5". I usually do NOT cut them until I am ready to sew them on and use the actual measurements of the blocks I am sewing them to as sometimes my 1/4" seams are not as accurate as they could be.

And 1.25" wide strips for borders. If you are really accurate, you will need two at 10.5" long and two at 12" long. Again, I don't cut these until I've measured - it makes the difference between a quilt that has wavy, uneven borders or a quilt that lays flat, with no bubbling fabric.

Before you begin, find a completed Sudoku puzzle or solve one. You can probably do this just with your fabric pieces, but I found it easier to arrange the fabrics with a completed puzzle for a guide.

How to Make a Sudoku Mini Quilt

Cut your nine fabrics into nine 1.5" squares.
Nine fabrics 4.5"x4.5"

Cut into nine 1.5" squares

Can't resist the photo of a pile of little fabric squares!

Give each of your fabrics a number from 1-9.
Number your fabrics from 1 to 9
 Using your completed Sudoku puzzle, arrange your fabrics in nine groups of nine fabrics. My fabrics are pretty similar in color and value, but if you have more contrast, the Sudoku will show up better.
Arrange in the pattern of a completed Sudoku (yours will be different!)
Sew each group of nine together. Here's where things can get messed up, so no shortcuts here. Use a method that works for you. For me it was working on one group at a time, leaving the rest where they were placed. When you are done this step, you will have nine squares pieced from nine different fabrics. (Sorry, no photo of this step!)

Because miniature quilts tend to have a lot of seams in a small area, a small variation on a 1/4" seam allowance adds up quickly. Measure your little nine patches across the centres in both directions. If your seam allowance is an accurate 1/4", they should measure 3.5". (Mine were 3.25")

Cut six pieces of your 1" strip to the length you've measured. Sew your little 9-patch blocks into rows with your sashing pieces in between.

Measure each of these rows through the centre and cut two pieces of 1" strip to that length (10.5" if your seam allowance is accurate.)
Completed Sudoku mini quilt top
 Measure your piece across the centre in both directions. With accurate piecing, this should measure 10.5". Cut two pieces from your 1.25" wide fabric this measured length. Sew to two opposite sides of your quilt.

Measure the width of the quilt (including the borders you just added) and cut two more pieces from your 1.25" wide fabric this length. (With accurate piecing, this should be 12")
Add borders and quilt and finish as desired
Quilt and finish as desired.

Feel free to share & use this tutorial and be sure to tag #magpiequilts and #Sudokuquilt on your social media if you make your own version!

--Ann

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Homemade Christmas Ornaments

Many of the ornaments on my tree have been handmade by me over the years. In 2015, I added two more to my collection. The first is made from layered strips with a piece of cardstock sandwiched between two contrasting pieces of fabrics. I chose a red print for the one side and a gold print for the other. I may make these again, but maybe with some of the great decorative paper available on either side rather than the fabric.
Snowflake Ornament from Fabric & cardstock
 The second handmade ornament was this wreath from tiny (3/4") hexagons. I had originally thought to leave it just plain, but I just needed to add some embellishment.
Wreath ornament from little hexagons
 So I looked through my button box and found some little red buttons. It looked better, but was still missing something!
Hexagon Wreath with buttons added
And I dug into my embroidery floss bin for some red floss and outlined each hexagon with a running stitch.
Hexagon Wreath with buttons & embroidery floss detail
I love the way it turned out & it looked great on our tree!

What about you? Do you make your own Christmas decorations?

--Ann

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Scrappy Irish Chain

I love Irish Chain quilts - they come in all sorts of colours and the diagonal chains can be single, double or triple.
Simple single Irish Chain baby quilt

Triple Irish Chain Quilt Top


A year or so ago, I started sewing small 1.5" squares together into these blocks for a double Irish Chain quilt. The main diagonal chain here are scraps of yellow. I didn't have enough in my scraps already cut, so I happily cut into some fat quarters and larger scraps to get what I needed.
Block A
 The first block is all background (white in this case) with four scrappy corners. You will need four 1.5" scrappy squares, one 3.5" square white, and four 1.5"x3.5" rectangles.
Block B
The second block is made up of twenty five 1.5" squares. Four white squares, Nine yellow (or other dominate colour to make the main chain) and twelve assorted scrappy squares.

Building a quilt
There are just two simple blocks to this quilt - keep making blocks until you have the size of quilt you want or you run out of scraps. I did this project as a leader & ender project (inspired by Bonnie K. Hunter of Quiltville.com)

Complete with borders
 The border is a piece I received from a friend and it is a great match for the scrappy blocks. This one finishes up at about 53"x63", just perfect for a summer lap quilt!
And finished with beautiful sunflower quilting
 My long arm quilter Marie from Blueberry Hill Quilts found the perfect sunflower quilting pattern to finish it off.
Close up of the quilting
 Doesn't it look cozy?
Completely finished!
And it's even great as a piece of wall art (as most quilts are!)

--Ann


Sunday, 13 November 2016

Easy Peasy Charm Square Quilt

I love collecting charm square packets and often will pick them up at quilt shows or quilt shops when I don't have a shopping list of fabric I actually need!
Charm Square quilt top & backing
These little 5" pre-cut squares are a real time saver if you need a quilt done quickly. Here's a quick little pattern for you that uses these charm squares.

I started with 2 packs of charm squares of the same fabric line, but you can use coordinating fabric lines, squares cut from your own fabric scraps or from yardage of your favourite fabrics.
Using a design wall to lay out the pieces
The white strips between the charm squares are cut 2.5" x 5". Lay out your squares in a pleasing arrangement - on a design wall where you can step back and look at it overall, or on the floor or bed if you don't have a design wall.
Sewing the rows together
Each charm square pack had 42 squares in it, so I did my layout with 7 square per row and a total of 12 rows. The final quilt measures 43" x 52" - a great size for a lap quilt on the sofa!
The finished Charm Square Quilt
Sew your rows together - odd numbered rows will have a charm square on the left and end with a white strip on the right. Even numbered rows will start with a white strip on the left and end with a charm square on the right.

Next, sew your rows together. You will want to line up the center of the white strips with the center of the charm squares in the row below. I just usually eye-ball it and sew without pinning, but if you are particular about things lining up perfectly, you will want to measure and pin those centers together. Other than that, there is no matching up of seams, making this a great quilt for a beginning quilter. The outside edges of the quilt will NOT line up - you will trim them after your rows are all pieced together.

When your rows are sewn together, you will have trim the bits of the charm squares that are sticking out on the edges of the quilt. You can add a border at this point or just leave the quilt top as is like I've done.
Click on picture & zoom in to see quilting details
Quilt as desired - this quilt lends itself to quilting in straight lines as I've done on this one I did for my grand-daughter or in an all-over pattern as I had my long-arm quilter do for me on this Christmas charm quilt.
All over quilting pattern

Equally nice from the back!
Make this quilt as large as you like! It's definitely a quick and easy one and the abundance of choices for charm square packs make the choosing of colors for your quilt equally easy!

--Ann

(This quilt is FOR SALE here!)