Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Small Quilts: New Techniques

If you've followed me for any length of time, you will know that I love to made small quilts in between my larger projects. I love small quilts for lots of reasons; they challenge my piecing ability, they don't take a lot of fabric, they are finished quickly, and they are great for trying out new techniques.
Magpie Quilts
Square Table Runner
 I purchased my Brother embroidery machine, not just for the ability to embroidery some of the fabulous designs out there, but also to try to add some more advanced quilting designs to my smaller projects. This little quilt is just over 18" square. I scaled down one of my favourite 12" blocks, a friendship star and I substituted some four-patch squares for some plain squares.
Magpie Quilts
Layout #1
Originally, I was going to make a longer skinny runner with the blocks, but after playing around with them on my design wall, I changed my mind and made it square.
Magpie Quilts
Layout #2
If you don't have a design wall, use the floor or the top of a bed. Somewhere you can stand back and look at the overall effect of your arrangements. And be open to changing your design mid way through construction. Another way to look at your quilt is through a photo - take a quick snap shot with your phone and you'll see your quilts in a whole new light!
Magpie Quilts
Quilting on the Embroidery Machine
After piecing the top and layering it with a backing and batting, it was time to quilt. I normally do free motion quilting on my Janome 8900 machine and don't leave a lot of extra batting or backing around the edges as it's not really needed. BUT if you are going to use your embroidery machine, you WILL need extra fabric to properly hoop your quilt. I missed this step and had to add some extra fabric all around, but it would have been much easier to have the extra fabric from the beginning.
Magpie Quilts
Quilting on the Embroidery Machine
I picked a design I really liked from Embroidery Online #80185 (Geometric Quilting Motifs) and expanded it to fit my hoop. My squares were 6" finished and the quilting design on my embroidery machine was around 5.5" to fit my hoop size. Take care when hooping your quilt that it stays square within your hoop, don't stretch it out of shape. There's no need for stabilizer when quilting on an embroidery machine. You may want to machine baste with a long stitch to hold all the layers together (I used pins and removed them in the area I was working) plus a basting stitch around the edges of the quilt. I did not do this and had some issues with the quilt top and batting getting caught on the embroidery foot and flipping over, getting stitched down and having to do some un-sewing to fix it.
Magpie Quilts
Quilting on the Embroidery Machine
Start with a new needle, preferrably an 80 or 90 embroidery needle. Put in a full bobbin and carefully thread your upper thread. My machine allows me to centre the design easily to the centre of the block and when it's all lined up and centred, I started stitching. I repeated the same design around the quilt, centred on each block and each four-patch in the sashing.
Magpie Quilts
Friendship Star Quilt with Machine Embroidery Quilting
The design I picked left more unquilted space than I would have liked - next time I'll find a design that is more square than round. But overall, the process was straightforward and I liked the finished project.
Magpie Quilts
Friendship Star Quilt with Machine Embroidery Quilting
All in all, this was a successful try at a new technique and the quilted table runner looks great!


Thursday, 7 March 2019

Selvedge Mug Rugs

I collect the selvedge from my bought fabrics so I can make these pretty mug rugs. Normally, this piece of the fabric ends up in the trash, but I will cut them off both sides of a piece of yardage. When fabric is pressed and squared and ready to be cut, I line up my ruler and cut about 1" off the edges. This gives me the white strip with the fabric details like designer, manufacturer and colors plus about 1/2" of the actual printed fabric. Some people prefer to sew and not see any of the fabric, but I like the pop of color that I get with this width.
magpie quilts
Selvedge Mug Rug
These are simple, quilt as you go pieces. Cut your backing and batting about 1/2" larger all around than your desired finished size. Lay a single piece of selvedge from one corner to the opposite corner. Line up a second piece over the raw edge (the colorful fabric edge), overlapping about 1/4". Sew close to the selvedge edge of the second piece, through both fabrics, the batting and the backing. I use a white or off-white thread for almost all my selvedge piecing. Continue adding strips in this method right through to the corner.
Magpie Quilts
Selvedge Mug Rug
On the other half, tuck the raw edge under the selvedge edge and stitch through all layers. Repeat until your batting is covered with strips of selvedge.
Magpie Quitls
Selvedge Mug Rug with scrap binding
Trim your quilted piece to your desired finished size. I make mine 7"x9" and I can bind with a single strip of fabric cut the width of fabric. Or I will look through the left over pieces of binding from other projects to see if there is a piece or a few pieces that can be pieced together to make a binding.
Magpie Quilts
Selvedge Mug Rugs
Super fun to make, these mug rugs make great gifts!


Monday, 4 March 2019

Moda Love Quilt

Search Moda Love Quilt anywhere you're online (Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.) and you'll find so many examples of this beautiful quilt. It's a free pattern found here https://www.unitednotions.com/Moda-Love-Layer-Cake-Quilt.pdf

Magpie Quilts
And sew easy! I started with a pack of 10" squares from the fabric line Grandale by Keera Job Design Studio from Riley Blake Designs that I already had, added a background and I was ready to sew.
Magpie Quilts
I have to say that I was amazed how quickly this quilt went together. It finished at 70" square, but I went a little larger by adding a border. If you want to do this, buy some yardage at the same time you purchase your 10" squares.
Magpie Quilts
This is now waiting to be quilted as soon as I get some backing!


Thursday, 28 February 2019

Pink Hearts!

Hearts like these have been popping up all over the place and I'm sure you can find tutorials and instructions for something similar if you look.
Magpie Quilts
I started with a bunch of pink 2.5" squares that I had already cut - they are the basis for the single Irish chain baby quilts I frequently make.

Sew 3 pink and 1 white/background 2.5" square together to make a 4-patch block as shown below. These little 4-patches should measure 4.5" unfinished. Don't worry if yours aren't exact, you'll just have to make some adjustments as you continue.
Magpie Quilts
 Add a 1.5" strip of white/background 4.5" long (or the actual measurement of your 4-patch) to one bottom edge of the 4-patch. Press toward the white! (I don't press to the dark side all the time!) Then add da 1.5" strip of white/background 5.5" long (or the actual measurement of your 4-patch plus the first white strip) to the other bottom edge of your heart. Again, press towards the white!
Magpie Quilts
Make a lot! 59 of these blocks for a baby quilt, more if you want something bigger. You will need to add set in and corner triangles to the edges to fill out the quilt and make it straight on the sides. I use an app called QuiltingCalc from Robert Kaufman. Just punch in the size of your finished heart square (Mine were 5.5" square, so less .25" seam allowances on 2 sides, finished size is 5")
Pink embossed heart Minky
Piece them all together row by row - you'll be working diagonally, so keep it laid out on a design wall or on the floor or on a bed, so you can keep everything in order. Press each row in opposite directions, one row toward the top, the next toward the bottom.

Magpie Quilts
 I found a sweet Minky backing that had embossed hearts. I took the remainder of the bolt that was here locally, but I also found it online at Missouri Quilt Co. here.
Magpie Quilts
 Then came quilting. An all-over meandering design of little loopy hearts in a pale pink variegated cotton thread. This is where you need to be relaxed and put on your fav tunes and get in the zone!
Magpie Quilts
And just add a label and it's finished! A triple heart quilt - hearts on the front, back, and quilting.
Magpie Quilts
Doesn't it look soft and ready for baby cuddles?


Monday, 25 February 2019

Progress update: Lady Slipper Applique

This piece began as a class from Renske Helmuth at Quilt Canada when it was held in Calgary, Alberta in 2010. It's my oldest unfinished project at the moment and my goal is to finish it this year!
magpie quilts
I took the class to learn to do needle turn applique and fell in love with the Sashiko stitiching used in the border. The Sashiko design was transferred to the fabric with a light box and a heat disappearing white marking pen. I don't remember the brand name, but if you want something that disappears after stitching, test first so you don't end up with permanent marks on your quilt.
Magpie Quilts
Renske was an awesome instructor, but I did eventually go back to doing the applique with a freezer paper backing that I'd remove when stitching was complete or nearly complete. I'm sure that if I had finished it soon after taking the class, I would have continued with her method of using the freezer paper on the front, but I left it too long!
Magpie Quilts
Normally, quilt borders are sewn on in four pieces, first the sides and then the top and bottom. With the sashiko stitching, this wasn't possible and the instructions I had for this piece didn't include the how-to to put the border on. I ended up cutting the centre out and reverse appliquéing it to the lady slipper piece.
Magpie Quilts
 I then added quilt batting and a backing and hand quilted around where I appliqued the border and around all the applique flowers and leaves. I'm still undecided if that is enough quilting or if I will do some more in the background. If I were machine quilting it (which I am not planning to do), I would fill the background with pebbles or some kind of texture that would make the flowers really stand out. Anyway, the jury is still out on that decision, for now, the hand quilting gives enough definition to the flowers.
Magpie Quilts
 Keeping the border straight was a lot more difficult with the reverse applique than it would have been if the border had been stitched by machine.
Magpie Quilts
The shading on these flowers was achieved by using a variegated fabric with gradients from light to darker. By placing the templated for the applique strategically, the lady's slippers look round and have depth they wouldn't have had with a plain fabric. But you could probably achieve the same effect by using a pencil crayon or Shiva paint sticks.

All in all, this was a huge learning project for me and it's not finished yet! I intend to finish it, not with binding, but with a facing, including a sleeve for hanging. I've picked out the perfect place for it in my house to hang it.


Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Friendship Star Variation Table Runner

I don't always follow a pattern when making my quilts. Usually I start with a few coordinating fabrics, in this case a beautiful rose print on a black background, a rose and a gold that coordinate with the rose print.
Deep rose table runner
First I make a few basic quilting units - some four patches and some half square triangles. Then I play with them on my design wall.

Long and Skinny?
My design wall is just a length of white flannel yardage that I pieced together and tacked to the wall near the ceiling. I love being able to put my fabric pieces on and being able to rearrange them until I'm happy with the layout.
Or square?
First I tried out a layout for a long skinny runner, then I tried a square layout. Although I liked them both, the square layout won and I finished the piecing.
Machine embroidered quilting
I decided that this would be a great project to try out quilting with my embroidery machine. There were a few bumps in this process, but in the end, it all turned out ok and I hope to do more quilting this way in the future.
Matching set: Table runner and Tea cozy
 The finished runner with the matching tea cozy. A lovely set for any table!


Monday, 4 February 2019

Tea Cozies

These tea cozies go pretty quickly, but I though I'd share the few I recently made.
Bee lovers tea cozy

I use batting left over from quilting projects and for these tea cozies, fabric from my stash collection. 
Blueberry tea cozy
The hardest part of these cozies is gathering the bottom of tea cozy onto the base. The first few times I've made these, I used my sewing machine to make the gathering stitches, but I found it was easier to gather when I used a 12 weight thread and did a running stitch by hand.
Rose tea cozy
I keep all kinds of ribbons and such from gifts and fabric bundles and try to use them for things like these cozies. I thought this black ribbon would look good on this tea cozy but I think I'll be changing it out to an ivory to match the lining.
Rose tea cozy and matching table topper
And what's a better than a tea cozy for your tea pot? A table topper to match! I'll post how I put this one together in my next post.
Card themed tea cozy
Before Christmas I made a couple with card fabric for a local bridge club - always love doing something custom for people! There may be a few more of these in the next little bit as I've been having a good time making them!


Saturday, 12 January 2019

WIP List for 2019

What is a WIP?? In my quilting world, a WIP is a work-in-progress. To get onto my WIP list, fabrics and maybe a pattern have been chosen and the fabric has begun to be cut into the pieces needed. If it's just a pile of uncut fabric and a pattern, it's not making the list! 
  1. Yellow Lady's Slipper and Sashiko border (2010)
  2. Hexagon tea cozy (2015)
  3. Rug Hooking Pansies (2017)
  4. Blue Sky Libby's Log Cabin (2017)
  5. Frog pond with Sashiko
  6. Pizza Box Blocks
  7. Rainbow 9-patch
  8. Good Fortune Mystery
  9. Tea Cozies
  10. Through the woods
I think I've made good progress at getting the older projects off my list. Some I actually finished, others were repurposed into other projects, and one or two I gave away. I've probably got at least double this many projects that are piles of fabric with a pattern or an idea and those I'll get to when I can. 

Ten is a manageable list for me and I love to make lists, just for the sake of being able to cross something off when it's completed. (And sometimes, I'll add something to a list just to be able to cross it off and say I've finished it! Shhh, don't tell!)

What's your oldest project?
Are you a list maker?
Inquiring minds want to know!


Friday, 11 January 2019

Clothing Memory Quilt

Fabrics from a tiny human are deconstructed and cut up and reconnected in a memory quilt. Adult clothing is much easier as the pieces can be larger and the patterns are generally a little more toned down than children's clothing.
 Auditioning possible layouts. I wanted to keep some of the pieces as big as possible, so the details wouldn't get lost in the busy quilt. I also added grey squares that formed paths through the quilt and gave the eye somewhere to rest, kind of like a path in the middle of a flower garden.
 Cutting, piecing, adjusting until the whole layout was complete.
 Still playing with the layout.
 Filling in the last spaces.
Adding a grey border to finish everything and contain the chaos!
 Quilting by Marie Lingwood of Blueberry Hill Quilts in Chestermere.
As you can see, there's everything from baby blue pastels to bright yellow and orange and even Christmas fabrics in this quilt.

And I'd love to show you the completely finished quilt, but I didn't take a photo before it was picked up. Hopefully, these in-progress photos are enough!


Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Granddaughter's quilt finished!

So excited to show the finished quilt! Zoom in for a close up! In progress post here!
 Love, love, love how beautiful this turned out. For those of you who have a fear of scrappy quilts, here's what can happen if you just go with the flow. All are fabrics chosen from my stash with no regard to matching other than we needed a stack of cool colors (blue, green) and a stack of warm colors (yellows, red, orange, pink)
Quilted by Marie Lingwood of Blueberry Hill Quilts in Chestermere, Alberta.