Thursday, May 28, 2009

Amy Butler-flies

Oh yes, since I came up with that ridiculous, but very apt pun I cannot escape it. This is the name of the quilt in my head now and forever, even though I have a feeling that Amy would not so much approve of my use of her name! My apologies, Amy, I hope you don't mind - I promise it will go no farther than this post!

I was asked to create a custom quilt using Amy Butler fabrics to make this old classic pieced butterfly block. I knew in a heartbeat that it would be an absolute knockout of a quilt before I even started it. My client said that she liked the lotus line, especially the reds and greens, so it was easy to choose the Cherry Wallflower pattern for the sashing and border. Especially because that fabric was available at Threads That Bind (where I work). I bought some fat quarters of the rest of the fabric available here, then had to turn to the internet to accumulate some more. I ended up with a great assortment of lovely fabrics and had a wonderful time making the blocks - thanks to EQ5!

Using the quilt program I was easily able to draft the block, then print up rotary cutting measurements and templates for the odd shaped pieces. They sewed together like a dream! I used Kona Snow for the background, it was the perfect almost white and goes with the Amy Butler fabrics perfectly.

For the back I chose a fabric by M'liss Rae Hawley that has red dot spirals. It doesn't match exactly, but it really looks perfect with the top of the quilt.

I quilted this in the same design I used for Papillon Jardin, and I think it looks great. I just used off white aurifil and it looks terrific. I love this picture, for some reason the light in it just makes me smile, I love my sewing room in the early morning!

Pictures absolutely do not do this quilt justice. The colors are so lively and happy and I can't get it to look as wonderful as it is in person. This is one that I really wish I could keep for myself - not that I need another quilt for my bed, but I have fallen in love with this one. My plan is to make myself a wall hanging with smaller blocks to keep for myself. I may publish this as a pattern, it's an old block, but it's awesome in modern fabrics, and is easily paper pieced.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Three Ways to Make a 4-patch block.

I have found 3 different ways to make a 4-patch block using charm squares. I found each way to be equally accurate, and they are all easy to do.

Method 1:

The first method is the one I generally use. I cut each 5 inch square in half each direction, giving me 4 2.5 inch squares.

For this project we are using black for the background and a brown metallic check for the colored squares. You will need 10 squares of each to make your block. I chain sew mine, alternating the background on the top for the first, on the bottom for the second, and so on until all pairs are sewn.

I then clip them into sets of two, open them up and sew the pairs together.

Fingerpress the seams toward the darker side and nestle them together to match the seams in the center of the block.

After sewing, press.

Method 2:

The second method is to layer the two squares right sides together. Stitch a 1/4 seam on two opposite sides of the square.

Cut the square down the center between the two seams, open up and press.

Layer the two squares right sides together with the different colors being together. Sew a 1/4 inch seam perpendicular to the previously sewn seam (the seams in your square will look like a letter H).

Cut in half through the center seam, open up and press.

Method 3:

This is similar to the method for making 1/2 square triangles. Mark a pencil line down the center of the light colored square.

Sew a seam 1/4 inch from each side of the line.

Cut on the line, press seam to the dark side. Layer the two squares with the different colors being layered on each other. Mark a line down the center, sew 1/4 inch from each side, then cut on the line.

Open and press seam to one side.

Make sure to measure your squares to make sure they are an accurate 4 1/2 inches. I found that all of mine measured up and it didn't matter which method I'd used. I just thought it was fun to do things different ways and end up with the same results. Have fun making your patches, next time we'll put the block together. I have a tip for piecing blocks that helps make it go faster and will help you avoid getting the different patches turned the wrong way.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Jelly Roll Challenge Finalist!

I've been holding back from making a general announcement, but thought this might be a good time to share the good news - my quilt is one of the 12 chosen to be published in the new Jelly Roll Challenge book! I was super excited to get an e-mail last month informing me of this great news and I have hardly been able to contain myself. I want to blurt it out to everyone, but at the same time don't want to be overly boastful either.

It all started out with making a sample for the quilt shop using a jelly roll. Sharan always encourages me to make original quilts so that I can write up a pattern and make a little extra money. (always a good thing, right?) So I came up with a cute little quilt using my favorite new roll, and a couple days later at the quilt guild meeting I was presented with a flyer advertising the Jelly Roll Challenge. I went online and discovered that the deadline was a little more than a week away, but since I had my directions written up already decided to go for it! After re-reading the instructions I discovered that I needed a quilt top, not a completed quilt, so I had to remake my design. At that point I may as well tweak it to better fit the quidelines and have a better chance at success - well I guess it worked!

As usual in the course of trying to make my quilt better, I also had a problem and ended up making a third top, but as they say - the third time's the charm.

Here is a teaser of the quilt I made:

I used Nature's Chorus by April Cornell and it is a lovely line of fabrics. The colors are so yummy! In fact they make me think of candy, which is part of the name of the quilt.

Here is the blog post that announces me as one of the winners - they have not yet announced the grand prize winner or the two runner ups, they are waiting until publication, which is not for a few months yet. The top prize is a nice cash award plus an awesome new sewing machine. I keep fantasizing about it, but I hardly dare hope to be the top winner. At the least I'll get two copies of the book and fabric - so that is absolutely fabulous in itself! But I can hardly stand waiting, it's driving me up the wall!

My quilt top got to be sent to England to be professionally quilted - so now I have two quilts that have made trips to England without me! (The other one was the Bear's Paw quilt my daughter took with her when she did a summer project in London.) I would be more glad to fly there to claim it if they'll buy my plane tickets!

Anyway, I am now totally and completely in love with Jelly Rolls and am busy thinking of some new ways to use them. Who knows what I will come up with next - whatever it is I know I will have fun playing, and that is the best part about quilting for me!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Do you like puzzles and prizes?

If you like playing word games and winning prized hop on over to the Quiltsy team blog and check our out May Daze promotion starting on Sunday. It should be lots of fun, and there are lots of great prizes up for grabs. Get out your pen and pencil and play along, plus have fun going through all the participating shops! This is a great bunch of quilters so you should have a great time checking out what they have made. If you click on the button on my sidebar it will take you to our team page with the list of participants.

I have been busy sewing all day today, I have finally started making the blocks for the custom quilt I am making from Amy Butler fabrics. First I sewed all the blocks from the charm swap together and put them away, then I started putting up the butterflies. Are they ever gorgeous! Sewed some cornerstones and sashing on a few and WOW! I am so excited to get this going, and I'm sure it will be a hit with my customer. Here is a sneak peek at the first four blocks:

And here is my design from EQ5:

At the rate I'm going I should be ready to quilt by next weekend! What should I quilt on it? More loops and butterflies? I'm having a hard time deciding, and the thread color is a good question, too. I may have to do something than an overall design for this beauty! We'll see what inspiration hits me over the next week, I'll keep my eyes open for good ideas.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Charm Swap - Jacob's Ladder

I thought I would share this great block and talk about how I made it with charm squares. I am participating in a charm swap/challenge with batiks. Each participant ended up with about 115 five inch batik charm squares. We may add two fabrics and have to use every fabric we received. The finished quilt can be any size we like. I knew right away that black would be one of my added fabrics. It took some thinking to come up with a design, because I was limited due to the size of the charm squares. One day this block came to mind because it makes good use of the squares I had.

To make Jacob's Ladder, also known as the Road to California, you need to make two different units. Each block requires four half square triangle blocks and five 4-patch blocks. Each are easy to cut out of charm squares and waste very little fabric. Today I will tell you how to make the half square triangle squares, next week we will make the 4-patches and the following week, make the block and talk about design ideas using these.

For each block you will need two 5 inch squares of background and two 5 inch squares of fabric for the design. Make sure you have good contrast so your design will show up well.

You will want to mark the lighter of your two fabrics with a pencil from corner to corner diagonally.

Sew 1/4 inch to each side of your marked line.

Cut your square in half on the marked line.

Press seam toward the darker half of your square.

Trim square to 4 1/2 inches. If you are using pre-cut charm squares you may still have some pinked edge on the side of your block, but that's ok, it will be in the seam allowance.

My quilt is 4 blocks by 6 blocks so I sewed 48 of these, making 96 finished half square units. I mixed them all up in the blocks so no block has two of the same. If you just want to make a sample block for future reference you can use all the same color like I am doing for my sample block.

Next week I have two ways to make the four patch blocks, see which one you like the best!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Papillon Jardin

One of the perks of doing custom orders is that you get to work with fabrics you would not ordinarily have around. This quilt was done from a kit - I had not seen these fabrics before and simple fell in love with them! There are lots of different fabrics in this quilt, but they all are put together so well, and I give a big thumbs up to the pattern! Very well laid out and easy to follow - and I love it when that happens. If you like this quilt you can download the pattern yourself and make it, it's free! And the fabrics are so pretty - well worth seeking out.

No tricky parts to making this quilt, just squares and rectangles, and follow the diagram. All the time I was sewing I was thinking of what I wanted to quilt on it. I like loops on quilts with bugs for some reason, but thought I might try to quilt in some butterflies, too. The very week I was working on this I was checking out what Sharan was quilting on in the shop and it was a pantogram with loops and butterflies! So I took notice of it, then did my own freehand version of it.

I really love how it came out, and so did my customer! My quilting is a little more primitive, and my butterflies come out a little blobby sometimes, but I really love the look and had a wonderful time trying out this pattern. All in all a happy experience all the way around. I used warm and natural batting in this quilt, teal aurifil thread on the front and tan aurifil on the bottom. I find this thread is wonderful on my machine with a size 14 needle, rarely breaks and very little linting.

And here is why you need to make sure your sewing table is all the way cleared off before you start machine quilting. Somehow this little piece of ribbon made it onto the back of the quilt! Not exactly a chosen design element. I removed it by cutting through the ribbon nest to the stitching lines and pulling it out of the stitching on the back. The little threads left removed easily with a piece of masking tape. Lesson learned - if you are going to save a piece of ribbon, make sure you put it in the ribbon bin, don't leave it sitting on the table!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Audrey's Garden Quilt

This is the current shop sample that I just completed - I really think it's pretty! The instructions were so-so, they were a little complicated because the original pattern calls for more fabrics, and I just used a few. My blocks are all the same and the original pattern had three different colors of blocks. I thought the technique for making the tulip side sections of the blocks was great, though! I must remember this for future use! You start with a square in a square block and sew squares to it, cut apart, sew another square, and voila - a very slick technique for sure. Still need to label it, I've been trying to make sure to label them as I finish them so I remember the details. This quilt has Quilter's Dream Poly in it

I also worked on some new items for my Etsy Shop. I am almost out of checkbook covers, so plan to spend this week working on some of those. I made 4 checkbook covers and 2 wallets out of Arabella from P&B fabrics today. I had fun quilting it with viney swirls to match the design in the fabric. I was using orange on the back, but when my bobbin ran out just switched to the green I had used for the Audrey quilt. It looked really neat on the red backing! I did stick with the orange on the front, though. This was a fun quilting design to do and makes a nice overall design.
Here is one of the checkbook covers:

All in all a nice afternoon of sewing!

Friday, May 01, 2009


One of the reasons I started this blog was to document my quilting journey and have a way to keep up with the different quilts I have made. I am not much on keeping track of paper or photographs, so this seemed like a way that I could write about my creations and not have to search all over for my journal every time I wanted to add to it! I have fallen a bit (lot) behind lately, so I am going to try to catch up here and there. I finished this quilt in April as a shop sample. This is a smaller version of the Squares on Point quilt from the book Big Blocks, Big Quilts.

I really liked how the blocks floated on point and the way the backgrounds and blocks varied in their contrast with some blocks being light on dark, and some being dark on light. It was fun working with a layer cake and I was really surprised at how versatile they can be. There wasn't much fabric waste, which is important to me because at the cost of fabric now I don't like to have to throw away any at all!

The only problem I had with making this quilt at all was that the measurements for the setting triangles were incorrect. I informed the publisher of the error, but haven't checked back to see if they've posted a correction yet.

Because the name of the fabric line is Twiggy, it made me think of wind blowing through trees, so that inspired my quilting design. The border is a different line, but the colors were perfect for the border, and I had the perfect blue and green thread to match the colors of the fabrics. I found a great wood-grain fabric in the clearance section for the back, and used warm and natural for the batting.

So now I have found that not only do I love jelly rolls, but I love layer cakes, too. Is there no end to the pre-cut madness? Good thing we don't have the sweet rolls at our shop, but I have been eying some eye-catching log cabin quilts that would be great using the smaller strips. Well, that may be something I can buy using the gift certicate I won from the Fat Quarter Shop because I participated in the Blogger's Quilt Festival! How exciting - I am not known for my good luck, so this was a great surprise to me, and I have spent the last few days trying to decide what to get. I am absolutely in love with Patisserie, but there are some really good deals in the sale section, too! Decisions, decisions! My friend told me don't get the sale fabric, get what you really love because it's like a gift, but I can't decide what I want the most - yardage, pre-cuts? and what will I make with what I buy? Yikes, this is a hard choice, but I'm sure I will be thrilled with whatever it is I decide. When the goodies arrive, I'll show it all off - and the project I make!