Saturday, April 29, 2017

Adventurous Applique - Bloom Table Runner

Whew, another busy month, but I got my Island Batik Ambassador Challenge done this month!  As usual, I used the fabrics supplied to me as an Ambassador, as well as a spool of Superior Threads that I received.  In addition, I was provided a sample of Marti's Choice Fusible Tape by Marty Michell.  I love trying new things, and I like sharing them with my readers as well - my opinions are my honest assessment of these products.

I don't do a lot of applique, so this challenge definitely was out of my box.  It's not that applique is difficult or that I don't feel comfortable doing it, I just like piecing best.  I had a hard time coming up with a plan, mostly because this month was so very busy, but once I got my fabric out and started playing, low and behold, the perfect idea came up!  I felt very adventurous and it was really fun to do something different than the usual pieced project.

I thought I would make something with the Stamps (Dotalicious Wind), so started out by sewing them together to make the base of my table runner.  After that, I thought about what I would like to applique.  Flowers, of course came to mind, and I found this pretty floral in EQ7.  At this point I decided that a word would be a fun touch, and what better word for this time of year than Bloom?
A little work in EQ7 and I had templates ready and started to get to work creating my table runner.  I reversed my letters and traced them on the fusible web, then picked out the fabrics for the applique.
The blue was absolutely perfect - bright enough to stand out and my favorite sky blue color!  This is from the Island Batik blender collection.  The pinks were left from my Galentine's day project - just right for my flowers!

After getting the letters fused down, I added the flowers and finished getting my top ready.  I decided to be even more adventurous and try out Marti's Fabulous Edge Finish.  I did try this out first on a couple of smaller projects, and really liked it, so felt ready to try it on a larger project.  I really do like how the Fusible tape holds the batting in place, and the idea of turning the project through a seam in the backing is super clever!  It really makes for a crisp and even finish all the way around the edge of the quilt.  I had to be very careful because this quilt is a bit bigger than my cutting table, so I could only do one section at a time, but with careful pinning and sewing I got the edges all sewn - then was ready to turn it right side out!

Finally ready for some quilting!  I pulled some pink Sew Fine thread out of my stash (from my local quilt shop).  I decided to use a size 11 needle and happily stitched until the next to last flower section.  Suddenly my machine started making some really strange noises in the bobbin area!  Somehow the thread caught up and snagged somewhere down there and caused a mess.  I cleaned up the excess thread and started stitching again, but was having a horrible time with it skipping stitches.  
I managed to finish up the flowers, and changed my thread to a pretty blue Masterpiece by Superior Threads - this one was part of my Ambassador Box goodies.  My machine was not sewing right at all!  I cleaned out the bobbin area, finding a long piece of black thread lurking in the bobbin, but still was having problems.  I took off the throat plate and did some more cleaning out, and oiled everything.  Still no help.  It occurred to me that maybe there was a problem with the needle because I felt like the fabric was pulling to the right with every stitch.  I took out the needle and compared it to a new one:

If you look at the shadow, you can see that the needle in the back is just ever so slightly bent!  After putting in the new needle I was back in the groove and finished the quilting without a hitch - whew.  This adventure was one I really didn't want to go on and I was so glad that the solution was so simple!
And look at the cute measuring cups I won at Bunco - don't they go perfectly with the runner?  So cute!
I liked the runner so much that I decided to write it up into a pattern - it's available in my Etsy Shop:

Bloom Table Runner

Have you done anything out of your "box" lately?  Maybe it's time to be a little adventurous!  Here are the other Ambassador's blogs - see what they came up with as well!

Purrfect Spots 
Den Syende Himmel
Quilt'n Party
Pamela Quilts (Me!)
Ark Angel Creations
Kathy's Kwilts and More
Desert Bloom Quilting
Freemotion by the River
Seams Like a Dream
Yellow Cat Quilt Designs
Quilting Affection Designs
Inquiring Quilter
Bejeweled Quilts
Sally's Quilting Corner
Inch Worm Fabrics
Kauffman Designs
Moosestash Quilting
Needle & Foot
Cheryl Lynch Quilts
MaryMack's Blog
heARTs Creations
Kissed Quilts
The Quilt Rambler
Seams To Be Sew
Inspired Layers
Vicki's Crafts and Quilting
Masterpiece Quilting
Fun Threads
Meanderings Along Lizard Creek
Little Bunny Quilts
Webster Quilt
Sophie Junction

Monday, April 24, 2017

Quilter's Recipe Box, Nine Patch alternate block 3

 Welcome to another post on the Quilter's Recipe Box!  For today I have a fun block - I think this one is cute as a Button!  (because it looks like a button!)

For this block you will only need to make one nine-patch unit, so we won't be using strips.  You will need five 1 1/2 inch squares, four 3 1/2 inch squares, and two 3 7/8 inch squares cut in half for half square triangles using a colored fabric.  Then cut four 1 1/2 inch squares, and two 3 7/8 inch squares (cut in half diagonally also) of your background fabric.
 To make the nine patch block, lay out a nine patch block using your 1 1/2 inch squares.  Sew into a nine patch unit, which will finish at 3 1/2 inches.
 I like to sew them just like I sew a full size quilt block.  Sew the first two columns together, keeping them in a chain, then add the third column.
 Finish by sewing the columns together to make your unit.  Then sew four half square triangle units.  Lay out like below:
 And sew together into a finished block!  Cute as a button, right?

That's it for this month, next Monday I'll be back with a new unit and more blocks to sew.  We are now 1/3 of the way through making blocks.  If you have made all of the blocks, you will have 16 finished already!  Here is what they look like all together:

I'm loving all the color in this quilt!  I'm starting to think about what I will need for sashing these blocks.  I haven't really decided yet, but I have my eye on a couple of fabrics that I think will work.  I'm using the Dotalicious line that I received from Island Batik for being an Ambassador.  The block designs are my own, based off of traditional quilt blocks.  Thanks for following along!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Making Lemonade

Oh, it's been one of those busy weeks again.  I was very much occupied with making sure that all of the sewing work I had done the week before was delivered, working at the quilt shop and preparing for our Ladies Retreat this weekend.  The theme for our ladies retreat was "When Life Gives You Lemons..."  We had three lovely ladies from our congregation step up to take a turn at the speaking and we ended up having a very fun and enjoyable time.

I was surprised when I went through the pictures I took, that I didn't have any of the cute valances I made for the small windows on the sides and back of the chapel!  There were just simple straight valances out of the same lemon fabric on the front tables.  We had lots of pretty lemons and yellow accessories - here is our stage set up:

We like to add something fun to this area so that the ladies can come and take pictures - it's fun to see them gather friends for group photo-ops!

For table decorations we put cut lemons and daisies in canning jars with ribbon.  Each table had a different lemon dessert name so we could dismiss them for meals in random order!  We had a super time and hopefully everyone will arrive home refreshed and ready for their week ahead.  I'm a bit tired, but a good night's sleep in my own bed will fix that.  It was a great time with wonderful women and I am content that we were able to spoil everyone for a few days and be encouraged in our faith!

I love that I am starting this week with a fairly clean slate and will be able to work on some quilting projects!  I'll have our last Quilter's Recipe Box block for the month tomorrow, and it is my favorite - make sure you stop by and check it out!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Quilter's Recipe Box - Alternate block for nine Patch unit - Nine Patch Chain

Ready for another block using Nine Patch units?  This one is another chain variation - as you can tell I'm a little fond of this type of unit, I love the way they create a secondary design on a quilt top.  This is a quick one to make, you just need to make three nine patch units, and the rest of the block is regular squares.

You will need 5 strips of a dark color and 4 strips of your background (1 1/2 x 6 inches)  Cut four squares of your background fabric (3 1/2 inches) and two of a contrasting color (3 1/2 inches).

Sew three nine patch units using the strips.  Lay out with your solid squares as I show below:
Sew units together into your complete block and you are done!  

I like to use an odd number of blocks in most of my quilts, but this block works best in even numbered configurations.  Here's a setting I liked - 
I think this would be fun with something appliqued on those corner squares...hmmm.  The Island Batik Ambassador challenge this month is Adventurous Applique - maybe this might be a start to a great idea!  One more nine patch unit block coming up next monday - and it's my favorite of the bunch.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter!

As I awake to a quiet house this morning, I feel a little nostalgic about former Easter mornings.  Even though it was always hectic, it was such fun to wake up to little girls excited about the Easter baskets and wearing their new spring dresses.  After church there would be some Easter Egg hunting, usually in the house as it tends to rain this time of year - we always kept good count of the eggs, afraid there would be an undiscovered one that would go bad!

I loved making the girls Easter dresses, and would generally encourage them shopping in the cotton section so I could use the scraps in quilts later!  I still have some of the scraps from those dresses and always smile when I find them.  At some point, handmade dresses didn't have quite the attraction they once had and the easter outfits were store-bought instead.  Sad, but little girls do grow up into young ladies and I remember myself being happier with dresses from the store as well.

I'm a little sad that I didn't even hang my Easter bunny quilt this year! )there are some dress scraps in this one for sure!) I've had the new Big Surf quilt hanging above the fireplace all year because I love it so much.  But it's not very "Easter" looking, is it?  I think I might have to think about finding a new place to hang my seasonal wall hangings.
I suppose the quieter holiday is better suited for contemplation and reflection on the meaning of this day that we celebrate.  I am so grateful, for all that I've been given, and most of all for the faith I have.  I am glad that God loves me so much, and that He calls me to love others with the kind of love He has shown me.  I hope that you have a wonderful day, and that you know that YOU are loved!  He is Risen!

Friday, April 14, 2017

April UFO - Eiffel Tower quilt in Spring Colors

This Month's number the APQ's UFO Challenge is number 11 on my list, which is quite appropriate because it is an Eiffel Tower panel in lovely spring colors!

Of course, I probably won't have much time to work on this until after the 21st, but at least I can look at it and pet it while I think of what I want to do!  I thought I had some border fabric, but I haven't unearthed it yet.

My alteration pile is dwindling at a good rate, so I am excited to get to work on a quilting project!  I have a special person waiting for a lap quilt made from embroidery blocks salvaged from her dad's baby quilt!  I have fabric and blocks and just need to start sewing.  It's going to be a very special quilt and she has been patiently waiting!
I did some hand stitching on some of the blocks that had the thread loved right off of them!  Luckily most of the blocks are in good shape, though.  I'm a little nervous about sewing them, but once I get started I know it will be fine!

Those are my plans for next week, what are yours?  I'm linking up with BusyHandsQuilts for Finished or Not Fridays, why don't you join in as well!  It's fun to see what everyone is working on!

Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Monkey Around Sample in Hello World by Abi Hall for Moda

I finished up another shop sample this week, this one is really cute!

I love those cute little animals, they were just right for fussy cutting into the center of the little blocks.

I had fun with the bright colors!

At first I had planned to use the blue check for the binding, but the quilt said, NO!  It said it wanted a bright orange binding...well, if the quilt tells you something, you just have to go along with it.

And I think it's just perfect!
Here is the finished quilt:

It measures 48 x 48 and is made with my Monkey Around pattern.  The cute animal prints and blue check are Hello World by Abi Hall for Moda fabrics, and the other prints are various colors that I chose to go with it.  I put a cute navy dog bone print on the back, but don't have any pictures of that.  I machine quilted this overall with a swirl pattern in a variegated blue thread.

I'm super happy with how it came out and will be dropping it off at Threads That Bind tomorrow, we'll be making kits and taking it to shows over the summer.  Ha - my quilt will be traveling more than me this year!

Now I'm busy finishing up a pile of alterations that has built up on me.  It's prom season and the dresses are starting to filter in!

I'm linking up for Linky Party Tuesday, come take a look!

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Quilter's Recipe Box Alternate Block for Nine Patch - Jacob's Ladder Variation

Today's block is a Jacob's Ladder Variation that uses Nine-Patch units.  You will need four half square triangles from one color, five 6 x 1 1/2 strips from a second color, and from the background you will need four half square triangles, four 6 x 1 1/2 inch strips and two background squares.

Sew three Nine-Patch units and four half square triangles.  Arrange as below to make block.

 Sew the units together, pressing away from the triangles when possible.

I hope you enjoy this block!  Remember to check back in next week to see another one!

New Pattern Release - Tidepools

I try hard not to make my entire blog an advertisement, but I am very excited to have finally gotten over the hurdle of writing a pattern for my Tidepools quilt that I made last year!  It was a tricky thing with the illustrations that had me hung up, but I finally got an urge pushed myself into figuring it out and got it finished.  I also had to decide whether to include both color variations or just concentrate on one.  In the end I decided to write it up with the more colorful version.
I'm glad that I finally got it finished, and I'm really pleased with the results.  I'm working on finishing up the instructions for two more patterns, so it's good that I learned some new tricks to make doing the illustrations a little easier.  Plus they will be more consistent from pattern to pattern so that will help as well.  You can see more about this quilt on this blog post.

This is the original quilt I made using the same design:

It's a little harder to explain color placement on this one because it's all blue and relies on value for the plan.  Plus that the other one is nicer as a cover quilt because of the color.  There are always so many decisions involved in writing a pattern!

I loved making this quilt both times, though.  There are a lot of triangles and flying geese, but it really is not hard to make, you just have watch your points.  Definitely worth the effort to see the end result!

If you would be interested in purchasing this pattern, it is available on Etsy - here.

I also offer my patterns wholesale. If you are interested, contact me at and I can send you my catalog.

Thanks for reading - I'm excited to show some new projects I'm working on, so stay tuned :)  And don't forget - tomorrow is a new Quilter's Recipe Box block using the nine-patch unit!

Friday, April 07, 2017

Lovin' some Lewis & Irene!

My finish for this week is a shop sample for Threads That Bind.  It's a new version of my CityScape pattern using the fun prints we have been getting from Lewis & Irene LTD.  The two lines I used in this quilt are Down by the River and Enchanted Forest.  I think they mix and match beautifully!

I love all the cute animal prints.  The small scale made them perfect for cutting up into the small pieces in this quilt. And I saved a larger print for the back of it!
You have to get in closer to see the cuteness:
This little quilt measures 38 x 48 and takes 7 fat quarters, plus a bit of yardage for the sashing and cornerstones.  It's a great crib quilt size!

The blocks are really fun with all the different little animals - the otters are my favorite and I picked that one for the binding.
Feels good to get a quilt finished this week - my list of projects is getting long and I have a lot of catching up to do!  If you would like to try my CityScapes pattern you can find it here in my Etsy shop or on Craftsy.  If you are an international buyer, make sure to buy from my Etsy shop so we can take care of the proper taxes.  Thank you!

Linking up with BusyHandsQuilts for Finished or Not Friday - it's always fun to see what other quilters are working on!

Finished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts

Monday, April 03, 2017

Quilter's Recipe Box - Unit Four - Nine Patch

I can't believe it's April already!  Since it's the first Monday of the Month it's time for a new Unit and Block for the Quilter's Recipe Box.  This month we'll be making Nine patch units.  Then we'll be using five small units to make a Double Nine Patch block.  This block is one that my guild used as the basis for a lovely quilt with applique.  The background was a trellis of these Double Nine Patch blocks.

You can download the recipe cards for the block here.

Lets get started on a block!

Start out by cutting 5 strips 9 inches by 1 1/2 inches from your background and from a colored fabric. Cut one strip 9 x 1 1/2 from your focus fabric.  You will also need four 3 1/2 squares of your background fabric.

Sew a colored strip to a background strip.  Since these strips will finish at one inch each, now is a good time to check your seam allowance - two strips sewn together will measure 2 1/2 inches across.  If yours don't measure up, you need to adjust your seam allowance so it does, or you will have problems with your block finishing at the correct size.  
Add another colored strip on the other side of the background strip (press seam allowances toward the outside strips)  You will need two of these strip sets for the edges of the unit.

Sew a background strip on either side of your focus fabric strip.  Press the seams toward the center.  This will be the center of the unit.
These three strip sets should all measure 3 1/2 inches across.  

Lay the center strip set right sides together with one of the edge strip sets, nesting the seam allowances.  Cut five 1 1/2 strips from these, keeping the pairs together for easy sewing.

Sew these  pairs together, then cut the remaining outer strip set into 5 more 1 1/2 inch strips.  Add to other side of center strip to complete your Nine Patch Unit
Lay your nine patch units out with the background squares to create a complete block

Sew together and press seams toward center of block:
Here it is - looking good!

Here's how the block looks in a quilt, alternating with plain blocks:  

Lots of negative space in this quilt for quilting!  I wish I had a picture of the raffle quilt to show you, but that quilt was made long before I had a digital camera - but picture this with lots of beautiful applique over the top and you can get the idea.  

I hope you enjoy making this block - and I am looking forward to sharing three more blocks using the nine patch units - I think it's a great way to add a spark to a block!