Paper pieced leaves make great table runner

If you’ve never tried paper piecing, I urge you to give it a go. It’s a lot of fun. I wanted a challenge so I bought this leaf pattern from Quiltworx. It was expensive. When I opened it and saw the instruction booklet, I let it sit for a few months. It was so intimidating. When I finally urged myself to create it, I was thrilled with the result.IMG_0251

The pattern calls for enough fabric and paper to make the two leaves. I made both at once, knowing I wouldn’t want to go back and do all that cutting again. Take your time, read all the instructions first, and follow them thoroughly. You’ll learn to sew curves, and glue baste. I had never done either before and I was so pleased how these leaves turned out.

I had a few questions during the binding portion. I emailed Judy Niemeyer, who owns Quiltworx and created all the gorgeous, intricate patterns. She responded immediately and helped me stay on track.

I stitched in the ditch around the veins so it wouldn’t take away from the beauty of the finished product.

IMG_0253I love the way these leaves came out. Don’t you?

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Baby quilts and personalized wall hangings

Well, I finally finished my friends’ baby quilts, just in time to go see them next week.

IMG_2518My plan had been to buy one V and Co Color Me Happy Jelly Roll. I saw on her blog that she made two baby quilts in this free rail pattern and thought that would be perfect for them.

However, I quickly realized that they were really small. I guess I should have known from the finished measurements of the quilt, but what you read on paper, and what you see in reality, are two different things, as I’m sure you know.

Once I started creating the blocks, I realized I would have a lot of those pieced jelly rolls leftover, so I decided to make personalized pillows. I should have used smaller letters, because these were going to be waaayy too big for pillows. I created the letters in Word Art, and used double faced interfacing to place them. I also used a blue tailors chalk on this pale gray, and at first was very upset when I couldn’t get the blue line off You can’t see it anymore.

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I used really thick pellon interfacing to back them. I just hope my friends can hang them because I did not include any way to do so. I’ve been hanging my wall quilts with simple staples right in the seam. You can’t see the staples and they come out of the wall with minimal damage. This stuff is much thicker than regular batting however.IMG_2521

In any event, I think the quilts came out great. I used my walking foot to do straight line quilting on the blue and green one. I used my free motion quilting foot do do squiggles (It has a different name, but you know what I mean) on the pink one. I love the way it looks.

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N
ow they are wrapped and ready to be given to their new owners. I hope they like them!

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Quilted laptop sleeve tutorial

IMG_2396Is it a clutch? No, it’s a quilted sleeve for my cute little mac air laptop. I love carrying it to meetings, and slipping out my laptop. Here’s how I made it.

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First, get yourself a jelly roll. I used Moda Dreamcatcher batiks, which I purchased from my local quilt store. Any jelly roll will do.

Using a tape measure, measure the length of the front of your laptop, around, and up to the back, then halfway down the front again. Add two inches. This will be the full length of your project. Next, measure the width and depth of your laptop. Again, add two inches to be safe and allow for your seam allowances.

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I wanted to be fancy, so I cut some of my jelly roll strips in half. I also alternated their lengths. You can see what I mean here. I thought it would make the piece a little more interesting. You can choose to cut all your jelly roll strips the length of your project, or make them different widths and lengths as I did. The choice is yours.

Sew them together, and quilt as desired onto batting. I did a simple straight line along the vertical and horizontal lines of my jelly rolls. Test it around your laptop. Does it fit? Trim the top to make the curve, as I’ve done with the flap that will fold over the laptop.

IMG_2401Choose the fabric you will line the piece with and cut to fit your finished piece with curved top. With right sides facing each other, sew together, leaving about two inches open along the bottom or a side. Pull the fabric through so that right sides now face out.

Pin the opening closed using a 1/4-inch seam allowance. You will sew this together when you add the top stitching.

With your laptop inside to make sure it fits, bring the bottom up so that it just about covers your laptop. Remove the laptop, pin to hold in place, then top stitch around the entire sides, top and bottom to give it a nice finished look.

I purchased velcro fasteners and used fabric glue to hold them in place. What do you think?

IMG_2398Please share photos in the comments below if you decide to make one yourself!

 

 

Creating a quilted wall hanging of home

A while back my husband convinced me to create a quilted wall hanging of our home. This was no easy feat. It took months to create, but here it is.

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Our homestead quilted wall hanging

It all started when I quilted this simple folk art wall hanging for my sewing room. It was basic shapes sewn together from scraps. He said, hey, that looks like our house (not). Why not make one that really is our house.

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After much searching on the internet for a way to create my house quilt, I went to my local fabric store where I was surprised to see one of the salespeople had created one. It was beautiful. The secret, she told me, was applique. She created the house in layers, building each layer with more details as she went along. Fine, thought. I’ll give it a try.

To say this was a big endeavor is an understatement. I couldn’t have done it without my husband’s help. As an artist, he has an eye for perspective that I simply don’t have. I took a photograph of the house and taped it to the wall. He pulled out his light box, and we traced the house onto fusible material, which I painstaking cut out and ironed onto fabric. I wish I had given the fabrics I chose more thought. I just didn’t expect my house quilt to come out very good.

Over the months, I put the quilted wall hanging together, and Peter would stop by my sewing room, take a look and tell me lines weren’t straight, or my 3D perspective was off. Then he would fix it. He’s great that way.

When it came time to quilt the wall hanging, I signed up for Leah Day’s Free Motion Quilting class on Craftsy. I can’t say enough good things about that class. It gave me the confidence to start free motion quilting this piece on which I had worked so hard. I used a lot of her designs on my quilt. You can see them here.

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I know it’s not perfect, but it was my first real attempt at free motion quilting.

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Six months later, here’s the final result.

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What do you think? Have I inspired you to make one? If you do, let me know.

Baby quilts and personalized pillows

At my age, most of my friends are done having kids. But two of my very best friends recently announced that babies were joining their families. One is pregnant, and the other adopted a baby girl when she was just under one year of age. I don’t live near my friends anymore, and wasn’t invited to their showers, or first birthdays. But I knew I wanted to do something to celebrate their joy. I chose a free jelly roll pattern from the Fat Quarter shop, and was thrilled when they put up a new post on how to make the pattern bigger. I had been under the impression that one jelly roll could give me two baby quilts, but didn’t realize a baby quilt is, in fact, suitable for a baby and not  really a growing child. So I bought another jelly roll. I’m using V and Co.’s Color Me Happy line, which has a gorgeous collection of pinks, blues, greens, grays and whites, that are easily separate to make a boy and girl quilt. In fact, that’s how I originally came up with this idea. I saw her post on creating two baby quilts from her Simply Colors line, which I could not buy anywhere anymore.

appliqued letters for baby

When I started cutting, I quickly discovered a lot of leftover fabrics from my sewed up jelly roll strips. I used them to create letters that I will applique to create personalized pillows. I can’t wait to get home to sew each night. It’s great to have a fun project to work on that I know will bring joy to my friends.

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Tradewinds Twin Quilt

I love to quilt! I find it incredibly creative and relaxing to mix and match the various patterns. (I don’t always feel that way when I’m dealing with broken thread, or jammed machines, but overall, I enjoy it.)

The artistic piecing, meticulous measuring, careful cutting and simple sewing combine to create a hobby that fires all the senses. For this quilt, I’m following a free pattern that you can access here on Craftsy.com. So far I’ve splurged, spending about $80 (or a little more) on one jelly role and one layer cake which I’m combining to make the 24 squares. One of them you see on top here. This part of the project is taking me more than a month (it’s summer, after all, and I like being outside). This way I spread out the total price of the quilt and get to have fun at the same time.

What project are you making this summer? Share here.