Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Blue Jean Quilt

Pinterest is a great place for inspiration and I saw this quilt and quickly pinned it, knowing I would be back to make it. The pattern is found in Fons and Porter's Easy Quilts, Spring 2014 edition. Last week, I checked the magazines when I bought my groceries and bought the magazine. I think I could have figured it out on my own, but it's always nice to have a new magazine or two to browse through!

I traced the circle template onto some template plastic that I've had for a very long time and dug my stack of old jeans out of the back of the closet. I found a video to play in the background while I traced and cut and in a few hours, I had 168 circles cut from my stack of blue jeans. 

The thing that caught my eye about this particular jean quilt was the bright colored fabrics that were peeking out from between the blue jean circles. I have a lot of fat quarters and fabric scraps, but I also had 4 packs of charm squares from Moda's Basic Grey collections - two from "Kissing Booth" and two from "Hello Luscious". A great way to save time as cutting 168 squares takes a lot of time!
I did go into my batting scraps to finish prepping for this quilt. I save bits and pieces of batting as small as 3" and found enough batting to cut 168 squares, each 4.5". The pieces are not all the same, some are 100% cotton, some are cotton/poly blend, some are white, some are a natural color. Because of the way this quilt goes together, I don't think it will be noticeable in the final quilt.

So now that I have all the pieces prepped, it's just a matter of sewing it all together! Doesn't it look like a lot of fun?
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Monday, 27 January 2014

Finishing the Snowball and 9-patch Little Quilt

Finished Snowball and 9-patch little quilt - For Sale here!
 I've had a lot of fun making this little quilt. Sometimes, bigger is not always better and these small quilts let me get something done relatively quickly and practice some of the techniques that I'm slowly learning!
Marking the quilting pattern
Free motion along marked lines
And removing the lines with water
I took a class in machine quilting feathers back in May of 2013 and although the practice piece from that class is still not finished, I did learn how to mark a quilting pattern on a quilt top. The blue marker is from Clover (available here on Amazon) and disappears with water. This little quilt had some great open white areas that are great for a medallion motif. This motif was from an old issue of Miniature Quilts magazine and I traced it onto the snowballs and free-motion quilted it.
And the back looks pretty cool too!
There will be more of these kinds of quilting motifs in my future - the more I do free-motion quilting, the more confidence I get!

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Thursday, 23 January 2014

9 patch and Snowball Doll Quilt Tutorial

Sometimes I have ideas in my head and they just scream for me to get out the fabric and create them. This month has been all about two quilt blocks, the 9-patch and the Snowball block. (There will be a longer post on that later!) And this is the idea that's been percolating in my imagination and the quilt I really wanted to make from those two basic building blocks.
This little quilt will finish at about 15" x 21", perfect for a doll quilt, or if you like to collect miniature quilts, this one will look great hanging on your wall or peeking out of a basket.

You will need the following fabrics to make this quilt:
  • Assorted scraps (or a pack of 5" charm squares)
  • Light colored fabric (one fat quarter or use assorted light scraps)
  • Binding (coordinating color - one fat quarter)
I keep almost all my scraps and occasionally I will cut them up into various sizes, the smallest of which are my 1.5" squares. I pulled out an assortment of the duller fabric squares and left the bright colors for another time. The light fabric I used is just a plain white cotton - again, from my scrap bag.

Cut 212 dark scrappy 1.5" squares for both the 9-patches and the snowball blocks
Cut 18 white or light 1.5" squares for the centers of the 9-patch blocks
Cut 17 white or light 3.5" squares for the centers of the snowball blocks
9-patch blocks from scraps
Using an assortment of eight (8) dark 1.5" squares and one (1) light 1.5" square, make eighteen (18) nine patch blocks. Press.
Arranging the 9-patch and snowball blocks
Use your remaining dark squares and the seventeen (17) light 3.5" squares, make 17 snowball blocks. You'll have four small dark squares and a large light square per block. Lay them together as shown and sew across the diagonal as shown by the ruler below. Trim the corners a quarter of an inch past the seam you just sewed and press your small pieces out to the corners.
Making a snowball block
Lay out your blocks, alternating 9-patch and Snowball blocks, five blocks across and seven blocks down. Rearrange until you are happy with where the colors end up. Sew blocks into rows and press towards 9-patch blocks. Sew rows together and voila! You are done! Easy peasy! 
Final block arrangement
Quilt as desired - little quilts like this are great for learning or practicing hand quilting or free motion machine quilting. Trim the quilt to prep for binding.

Cut 4 binding strips along the longest length of the fat quarter for the binding. (I use 2.25", but you can use 2.5" if you like that width better for binding.) Join these diagonally to make one long strip. Here's a great binding tutorial from Missouri Quilt Company
What do you do with your scraps?
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Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Antiique Butterfly Quilt

Antique Butterfly Quilt
I have a treasure that was given to me by my mother-in-law. It is a beautiful antique quilt top that was made by her mother. It was never quilted, instead, it was finished as a summer coverlet and not used very often as it is in perfect condition. The butterflies on it are all made from different fabrics, and like many quilts made in the 1930's and 1940's, the fabrics were likely from feed sacks or sugar sacks. The applique butterflies must have been an original design as I haven't seen any others with the same black bodies and rounded wings. Looking closely at the embroidery, you can see that she machine stitched the outside of the appliques to baste them to the background and then finished with tiny, meticulous blanket stitching with black embroidery cotton. (The stitches are less than 1/8" long and very close together!)
Antique Butterflies
The story is that Nana Adams was told to take it easy during her pregnancy with what was to be her youngest child, a full 16 years behind the previous youngest boy child. And to pass the time, she worked on this quilt. I never got to meet Nana, but evidence of her creativity in the form of numerous heirlooms tells me that we would have had a few things in common!

Recently, I purchase another antique butterfly quilt top from Kathy in Kentucky (A String or Two). It is very similar to the one I already have, with the butterflies from feed sack fabrics, wonderfully done blanket stitch around the appliques and a warm, unbleached muslin background. This one I will be sending to be quilted and it will become the quilt for our guest bedroom.

Do you have any heirlooms that were passed down to you? Have you shared their story with others in your family?

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Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Radiant Ochid - A Small Collection

In celebration of the colour purple and especially the Pantone colour of the year, Radiant Orchid, I searched my house high and low for some purple treasures. And found. .
Collection of purple items
that I didn't have much of anything that was purple! I have a few more fabrics than the gingham one shown. And from the collection of pencil crayons left over from 3 boys, I found more than one of each of the shades shown here! Buttons - I have plenty in pink and red and blue, but only a few that I could really say were purple (and the flower ones are borderline - more pink than purple in my eyes!)

Do you have any colours that are noticeably absent from your home? your quilting supplies?

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Friday, 3 January 2014

Radiant Orchid - Pantone Color of the Year 2014

Every year, Pantone picks a color for the year. This year it's a lovely shade of purple. Unlike the past few years, this is a color I have in my fabric stash and there is hope that I can complete a few quilts featuring this beautiful color.

Here's my 9-patch baby quilt in shades of purple! From pale lilac to deep plum and bordered with "Radiant Orchid" purple!
9-patch Baby Quilt - FOR SALE here
What's your favorite color?

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