Monday, March 31, 2014

You Had Me At Merlot

My DD is celebrating a birthday this week so I filled a box of goodies last week and mailed it out to her. Everything arrived safely in time for her big day, so I thought I would show you a couple of items I made for her. 

I had purchased a pack of wine-themed fat quarters awhile back. The fabric is called "You Had Me at Merlot" by Daphne B. at Wilmington Prints. I thought it was an awesome pack of FQs and I wanted to use it for someone special! 

Do you notice anything about the tote?  It's the same tote, but it has two different sides. Both sides are made using the wine themed fabrics featuring everything wine-related including pictures of glasses of wine, corkscrews, wine labels, and some wine text! 

I machine quilted the background fabrics with a cross hatch design...

and found a beautiful pale yellow toile for the lining.

I think every tote should have a zippered pocket because it is too easy to lose things, or is that just me? Anyway, I made a little zippered pocket, added a label, and sewed it to the lining.

I have two sets of set says "The Cuddle Quilter" and one set says "Love and Hugs from Lesley. " Looks like I need another set that says "Love from Mom!"

I reinforced the straps to make them extra sturdy. The tote has three outside pockets on each side and a reinforced bottom. A perfect size for DD to take with her when shopping or visiting!

Want to makeone yourself? The Shopper's Fancy Tote pattern, designed by Jo-Lydia's Attic, is available free at the Connecting Threads web site HERE.  Designer Jo-Lydia, has several more beautiful patterns that you can purchase as a PDF file HERE.

Keeping with the domestic diva approach, I decided to add a personalized apron for DD in the birthday goodie box. To find a pattern, I googled and found a video tutorial by Jenny Doan of the Missouri Star Quilt Company. She shows us how to make an apron using a pair of tea towels. Off I went to our local grocery store, arriving home with a pair of coordinated tea towels that definitely made me think of Spring. I probably should have washed them first, because you know how tea towels like to shrink, but I wanted them to look new and fresh when they became an apron. Wash that apron with care, DD! 

I think it turned out pretty cute, so I plan on making more aprons in my future. I didn't want the letters to overpower the apron front, so I used a polka-dot fabric I found in my stash.

If you want to make an apron, here are Jenny's videos in two parts.

I also picked up a journal at our local department store, made a fabric cover for it, appliqued it with the letter A, and added it to the goodie box. I forgot to take a picture, but it is something I'd like to make again so next time I'll keep a camera ready!

It's a great day for quilting!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Darlene's Mystery a Finish

Remember that wonderful mystery quilt I started last year? Using scraps from my stash, the quilt began with a snowball centre and grew and grew and grew.  Quilt designer Darlene at Quilts by Darlene created this project for "Darlene's Mystery QAL" that I adored making, each and every step. 

Well, the quilt arrived home last week from longarm quilter, Alice, a friend of Kaaren of The Painted Quilt. Kaaren has shown us many quilts that have been beautifully quilted by Alice, so I knew my quilt would be wonderfully quilted with her special touch. After consulting with Alice, I decided to choose an edge to edge design that I think is the perfect pattern for my quilt. She did such a great job. Thank you, Alice!

I decided to bind the quilt with the same fabric I used for the backing. I cut the strips 2.25", added them end to end as needed, pressed them in half lengthwise and attached the binding. Because the quilt is so large (about 90" x 95"), and my sewing corner is so small, I brought my sewing machine to the dining room and spread my quilt out on the table to make it a little easier. And off I went...

I attached the binding to the front of the quilt and then I folded the strip over to the back. I then sewed again on the front using the "stitch in the ditch" to sew the binding in place. In the past, I have usually sewn my binding down by hand, but am now using the sewing machine to do this in order to reduce stress on my wrist. I'm very pleased with the result. The quilt might not win any ribbons with machine sewn binding, but it sure works for me!

Too cold and windy today to hang the quilt on the line, so I took a few pics in the spare room.

A few closeups of Alice's quilting...

Thank you, Darlene, for your free QAL. I love this quilt so much and am having lots of fun peeking at all those fabrics I used from my stash, some kind of new, and a lot not so new. I think they all work well together. 

Darlene has started a new blog for her new quilt shop, "A Needle Pulling Thread". She also posts pictures of her fabric, wools, notions and pattern arrivals in her shop through her Facebook page. She is only a phone call or an email away if you want to place an order. Ask me how I know... 

If you want to read more about my making of Darlene's Mystery quilt and see more pics of the process, just enter the words "Darlene's Mystery"  in the search bar on my sidebar. 

It's a great day for quilting!

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Jewel Box From Start to Finish

With the kind of winter we've had, playing with bright and colorful fabrics gives me just the kind of boost I need in my sewing corner. "Jewel Box" was just the project I needed to get away from the winter blues, or should I say blahs! 

I was inspired by a pattern I found on the cover of the December issue of Fons and Porter's Easy Quilts. 

I adapted the pattern by removing the sashing between the "jewels" and made a total of twelve blocks resulting in a perfect cuddle quilt, about 45"x 60".

I had lots of fun playing with the blocks. I wanted this quilt to smile, so I used fabrics that were bright and bold, florals, tone on tones, and some fun novelty prints. The great thing about making these blocks was the creation of surplus HSTs.

I gathered them up in sets of four and made almost two dozen pinwheel blocks. These are now being sewn into a baby quilt which I'll show you down the road.

Another thing that I loved about making this quilt was how quick it was to sew together. My background in the blocks is a bright white solid, so I used the same fabric for the sashing and made some cornerstones using one of the pink fabrics. I bordered the quilt with a fine black and white stripe which toned it down just a tad.  

Then it was off to the LAQ. Ange from Quilting on the Mira did her magic and before I could turn around, the quilt was back home, the binding and label attached, and it was ready for its photo op.

I used a pale pink batik for the backing  which shows the quilting so well! 

And yet another wintry windy day in the Strait!

Thanks for coming by to visit. 

It's a great day for sewing!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Stillwater Creek is Home

It always feels like Christmas to me when a flimsy goes out the door and comes home as a quilt. "Stillwater Creek" arrived at my door recently. You can read all about this quilt HERE

My wonderful quilt friend and neighbour travels on a regular basis to Sydney, about an hour and a half from here, and offers to pick up and drop off any quilts I have ready to go to the longarmer. My friend is so generous, she even provides door to door service! She arrives at my door in the early morning to pick up any quilt top that is ready for quilting, and arrives back in the late afternoon if she has any deliveries. She is a sweetie!

I was thrilled when she delivered  "Stillwater Creek". Here are some closeups of the edge to edge feather quilting done by Ange at Quilting on the Mira. I love this pattern!

And the back...

I added a binding to match the outer border and machine attached it to save wear and tear on my wrist. This quilt was a joy to make with the big blocks and the flying geese units. My quilt finishes at 66" x 77", perfect for the twin bed in the spare bedroom. If you are interested in purchasing the pattern, it is available at designer Pam Buda's shop HERE. Pam has just announced her newest free sewalong on her blog, Heartspun Quilts. I love her designs and have participated in several of her Pocket Patchwork Sewalongs. This latest one is called "Market Day"...even the name is cute. She has listed all the fabric requirements on her blog and offers a kit in her shop if you want to make one just like hers. For me, it sounds like a perfect way to bust some of my stash! 

The hardest thing for me to do when the quilt arrived was to take some pictures. It was so cold the day I took the pics, I didn't even travel the extra steps to the clotheline. I took the pics but when I loaded them on the computer, the colour just wasn't right, so I took some more. I still wasn't happy, so then I took some pics of the quilt inside. Here is "Stillwater Creek" through the eyes of my camera, from afternoon, to late afternoon, to evening.

It's so nice to finish a quilt...I'm off to my sewing corner to search out another UFO...and there are many! It's a great day for quilting!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tips for Using the Hex N More Ruler

My last post initiated a lot of interest in the Hex N More ruler that I used to make my braided quilt, "A Breath of Fresh Air". Several of you asked for more information on using the ruler so I've put together a few steps that should take you from start to finish. If your ruler is sitting unused in your ruler stash, now is the time to unwrap it and try it out!

Here we go...

Cut strips 2 1/2 inches wide. I opted to use fabrics from my stash, cutting them in lengths that would accommodate the size of the half hexie. If the strip was long enough,  I folded it and cut several hexies at a time. 

Place the Hex N More ruler so that the solid line on the ruler (the line on the ruler that is 1/4" below seam allowance line) is lined up with the bottom edge of the fabric strip. I cut on the right side, following the shape of the ruler. 

Flip the fabric strip over so that the cut side is now on the left. 

Place the ruler on the shape with the edge of the ruler matching the solid line of the 6 1/2" hexagon marking. See the blue tape? I taped it to the back of the ruler on the edge of the black line so that it would be easier to for me to place the fabric aligned to the correct size. This is especially useful when cutting lots of half hexies at one time.

Once everything is lined up properly, cut the right side of the fabric, again following the shape of the ruler. 

You now have a perfect 6 1/2" half hexie, or maybe more if you cut in layers like I did.

To start a braid, place two hexies right sides together, so that the shortest side of the top hexie is lined up with the long side of the bottom hexie. Sew this short seam together, matching the shape as you see it in the picture.

Press away from the first hexie. This is what it will look like. 

Place the third half hexie on top of the second half hexie as you see it in the picture, right sides together. 

Sew this seam and press. I chose to fingerpress after each seam, using the iron every once in awhile after I had sewn several seams.

Add the next half hexie and sew it to the last one with the same placement as before. 

And so on, and so on...

I hope this helps, but if you still have questions, here are three more places to visit.

1) The creator of the ruler, Julie at Jaybird Quilts, has put together several tutorials on how to use the ruler. No need to reinvent the wheel, right? Click on the link HERE for information on cutting the half hexies. 

2) Heirloom Creations also has an excellent YouTube tutorial HERE that shows you how to use the ruler. 

3) The queen of YouTube quilting videos Jenny Doan, of the Missouri Star Quilt Company, has a short video called Friendship Braid Quilt Idea HERE that shows you how to start your braid. Look for it around the one minute mark of the video.

So there you have it. Are you going to make some braids?

It's a great day for quilting!