Quilt Studio Makeover: Layout

Quilt Studio Makeover: Layout

Is it a sewing room? A quilt studio? What do you call your spot? Whatever you call it, it’s a space set aside to create something beautiful; a special spot to get those creative juices flowing and enjoy some time doing what you love.

We’ve just moved into a new home, so of course I immediately claimed one of the extra bedrooms for my sewing/quilting/creative space. What I love about this room (besides the fact that it’s larger than what I had before), is the view and wonderful lighting.

Where to begin?

So where to start? It was like a fresh canvas… Where will I put everything, and (hardest of all) where should I begin? I guess the layout comes first.

I’ve got an app on my iPad called “Floorplans” by Green Tea LLC Software. In this app, I can draw the floor-plan of my room and add furniture and move around on the screen to see how it looks. It’s a great way to rearrange everything without physically having to move it.

Here are some of the many layouts I tried. Note: there’s a large window at the top, and a closet and door at the bottom of the pictures. The app has alot of built in furniture to choose from, but not a sewing cabinet, cutting table or ironing board, so I improvised with their computer table and tables just changing their size to match my furniture.

Layout #1. Not bad, I can see out the window while I sew, but the light’s not coming in on my left side and I also want the left side of my sewing table away from the wall so I can fit larger projects under my needle.

Layout #2. No…this one’s not quite right either. I don’t want the ironing board jutting out over and blocking the window.

Layout #3. So this is it (above). I finally decided on this layout (although I switched the bookcases around). And after moving everything around to match the layout drawing, I’m pretty happy with it.

I like the proximity of everything to my ironing board… I can walk all the way around the cutting table, and easily have access to the design wall and storage closet.

I like to glance out the window every once in awhile as I’m sewing away…and the extra daylight on my sewing is very helpful.

Note about the view–It’s hard to believe we’ve had 3 snowstorms since October! Looking out the window now, you don’t see any snow…only bare trees and green grass (and some leaves that missed the last raking!). The temps are now up to 50 degrees, but they’ll dip back down with more snow in just a few days. It’s “anything-can-happen” weather in Wisconsin!

Most of the bookshelves from my old quilt studio fit inside the closet here, so when we moved in my sister and I took the doors off the closet for easier access. (BTW, I’m indebted to my wonderful sister, who drove over & spent a few weeks helping us purge, pack, clean, & get ready for the move. I don’t know what I would have done without her!…thanks again Judi!!)

In the next post, I’ll tell you about the design wall with a little DIY hints.

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Tuesdays Tips -Quilting: HST Tip Tool

Tuesdays Tips -Quilting: HST Tip Tool

Hi! Thought you might enjoy a quick tip when you need to join half square triangles (HST) the traditional way–by sewing two triangles together.

I’m working on a Christmas quilt, and the pattern calls for cutting squares in half (corner to corner) and sewing them together.

I usually make my HST by cutting squares a bit larger, stacking them right sides together, drawing a line from corner to corner, sewing 1/4″ on either side of the line, cutting between the lines, pressing and squaring them up to size. You know the drill.

Or (if I have the right size die) I’ll use my Accuquilt to cut perfect triangles with the dog ears pre-trimmed. But for this pattern, I didn’t have the right size die.

So…I happened to remember a sweet little tool I got at the Quilt Expo quite awhile back (and amazingly was able to find it)! It’s a Porter & Fons Triangle Trimmer. It made the job so much easier.

Just line it up with the corner and trim!

Why? Because it makes the triangles easier to line up, and easier to feed through the machine (easier to get the trimmed edge under to needle than that tiny point).

And because once they’re opened up and pressed, there are no dog ears to trim.

I was lucky…these HST finished up right on target, so there was no need to spend time squaring.

So if you’re into a project that calls for sewing HST the old fashioned way…take a look in your tool stash. You just might have forgot about this great little tool.

Hope this tip was helpful. Until next time,

HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Making Folded Fabric Pine Cone Ornaments

Making Folded Fabric Pine Cone Ornaments

A customer asked if I’d do a custom order for my folded fabric pine cone ornaments, and I was happy to make some for her.

I love using the Prairie Pointer by Susan K Cleveland. Along with the Woolie Felted Ironing Mat, & my Tailor’s Clapper, it’s the perfect trifecta for ironing crisp and perfect little prairie points.

First, I cut dozens of little squares and fold them in half and iron

Then I center the Perfect Pointer & use it to fold down the sides…slip it under the iron and use my new wooden Riley Blake Tailor’s Clapper to help them keep their crease while cooling.

One by one, I pin each one to the styrofoam egg base…

And they’re finished! Aren’t they cute…?

Four of these (in fall colors of brown, rust, & gold) are on their way to a wonderful customer in Virginia. But I made a few extra pine cones that are in my shop now, and plan to make more to add in the coming months.

If you’re interested in getting a pine cone ornament (or Christmas or Easter ornament), be sue to stop in my shop, Mulberry Patch Quilts and go to the “ornaments” section.

Hope you’ve enjoyed seeing what I’ve been up to.

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Fear-less — Pixel Play Project Quilting 10.4 Challenge

Fear-less — Pixel Play Project Quilting 10.4 Challenge

This week Trish (our challenge designer for Project Quilting) chose PIXEL PLAY for our 10.4 challenge.

This week, I’d like you to be inspired by these particles, whether you pixelize a picture, make use of low resolution like 8-bit graphics, or are merely inspired by these hard-working colored boxes.

Since I love to work with mosaics, the thought of working with pixels was inspiring. So I’m definitely IN this week. Thanks Trish!

I found a website (Pixel Stitch) that will convert a photo to an embroidery pattern made up of squares. Although it’s made for embroidery, it creates a grid of the pixels in the photo with colors, so it works for pixelated quilt patterns just as well. All I had to do was figure out how big each square would need be to make a reasonably-sized quilt that I might actually be able to finish during a busy week.

https://www.pixel-stitch.net/index.html

Another site (Pic2Pat) does the same thing: http://www.pic2pat.com/index.en.html

We had an juvenile owl, called a “jumper” (because it was just learning to fly), in our back yard a few years ago. You can read about it HERE. It was rescued and placed back in its nest. I’ll never forget the surprise I got when I saw the little guy several days later. He had learned how to fly and was sitting on our back yard fence staring at me with those big yellow owl eyes, almost as if to say “thank you…I’m fine now…and I’m fearless”. I knew that I had to capture the fierce look in those riveting, yet beautiful eyes in a future quilt.

I thought I needed to print the pattern to the full size, but later realized all I really needed was a copy large enough to follow alongside my gridded work surface.

The printed pattern sheets taped together

The next decision was what technique to use to get all those little squares (half inch) together on a quilt? The squares are far too small for me to piece. I’ll have to use a raw edge technique. Hmmmmm… how about placing squares on some sort of foundation and stitching over them to keep them in place. But what kind of foundation? I’ve used fusible woven interfacing before and ironed them into place. I’ve also used Steam-a-Seam II. Or I could use a temporary glue on muslin to keep them all in place until they’re stitched down. Or even pin tulle over them before stitching.

I decided to use a technique I used to do the quilt of my father in a previous post. It involves marking a quarter-inch grid on a fusible light weight interfacing and ironing each 1/4″ fabric square to the grid using the printed pattern as my guide.

Half-inch squares of batiks sorted by value

Placing squares side-by-side on the fusible interfacing grid

Original print out helps keep me on track

I placed a shear tulle over the squares before I started free motion quilting.

Strips of paper help keep me in the right place

Superior & Aurifil threads for quilting

Closeup of free motion quilting

Closeup of the owl eye

And the little guy is done! Doesn’t he/she look fearless? And I finished just in time to enter it in this week’s Project Quilting Challenge Season 10.4 (2019).

COME JOIN IN THE FUN…go to their website to see this week’s entries and to vote for you favorites (hope one of them is mine, #36 “Fear-less Owl”, hint, hint). Voting starts Sunday afternoon, Feb. 24th and runs through Friday, March 1st, 2019.

HOW TO VOTE: Just go to the link above, scroll down to the bottom until you see the thumbnail photos of the quilts. Then click on the heart in the upper right hand side of the photo of the entry you want to vote for ❤️ and it’ll fill the heart in & tell you how many votes you have left. If there are over a hundred entries, you’ll get 10 votes. Enjoy!

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Quilted Hearts and Twister

Quilted Hearts and Twister

I’ve been wanting to make something for Valentines Day, and when the theme of “Red, White, & Blue” for Project Quilting Challenge #2 (Season 10), I knew what I wanted to make.

The challenge states you can use reds, whites, and blues…any shades…no other colors, but you DON’T have to use all three colors.

  1. RULE#1…Your project should contain ONLY the colors RED, WHITE, and BLUE. It does not have to use all three, but it cannot include any additional colors.

So I decided, with Valentines Day coming up, I’d limit my colors to just the red and white. I went to work scrounging in my fabric stash for every shade of red and white (with no other colors in them) that I could find.

After going through my patterns, searching Pinterest, and having a desire to use my Lil’ Twister tool again, I found a tutorial by Connie Kresin on the cutest little Twister heart pattern and decided that was the one!

I made a quick sketch of the layout of the square colors on paper, and then cut the fabric stash into 5 inch squares. Here they are (below) pinned on my design wall. I realized quickly that it’s best to have contrast between each square (except for the background that’s all the same white with red print).

I sewed the squares together.

Question: do you press the seams to one side (each row in opposite directions) so the seams nest together making the columns easier to sew together? Or do you press the seams open so there’s less bulk at the intersections, making it easier to cut and piece the pinwheels later?

I decided to press the seams open. It takes longer, but it sure makes cutting & sewing the pinwheels easier later.

The next step involves the Lil’ Twister square template. Just line the black lines on the template with where the seams intersect and cut. I twisted them slightly and carefully placed them side by side in a row as I cut them.

Before going on to cut the next row, I like to sew the row together, and even sew the rows together too…less chance of getting them mixed up.

after cutting everything out, you’ll end up with lots of tiny pieces of leftover fabric… I like to trim them to 2-1/2 inch squares to use in another project. I ran out of the background fabric, but if I had more of it I might have used these squares in one of the borders.

This is the fun part! I love ❤️ seeing the pattern–in this case the heart–emerge as I piece it together. Magical!

To keep everything nice and flat, I used Best Press on each row.

All that was left was to add a couple borders, add the batting and backing, and quilt it on my domestic machine (my sweet Bernina 570QE).

Using various reds (Aurifil and Sulky threads), I free motion quilted petals in each pinwheel. And with a walking foot and white thread, did a straight stitch around the heart shape and around the border.

and here it is!

I’m entering this Twisted Heart wall hanging in this week’s Project Quilting.

UPDATE: The voting is now closed. No prizes this time, but it did rank #11 out if 118 entries. Thanks so much for your vote!

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Mosaic Quilts: My Infatuation Continues

Mosaic Quilts: My Infatuation Continues

So after seeing the gorgeous quilts by Heidi Proffetty (see my earlier post) and not having access to a digital fabric cutter (which is really a necessity for her technique), I thought I’d try creating another small mosaic art quilt using the simpler tiny squares recommended by Cheryl Lynch (see previous blog post).

I thought you might enjoy following along with the process.

The first step was to find a very simple, but inspiring photo that I could trace to make the pattern outline. I found a photo that I had taken last spring of a Trillium (my fav woodland wildflower).

I downloaded a tracing app for my iPad and used it to roughly trace the outline of the petals & leaves. Note: There are a lot of tracing apps out there (and I certainly haven’t tried them all), but this one (free) allowed me to upload my photo and trace over it with my finger or my computer stylus. It’s rough, but that’s okay…I can go over the lines again with a black Sharpie pen after it’s printed.

This particular app allows you to fade out the background (photo) so you can print only the lines, which saves printer ink. That’s a nice feature.

After saving the tracing as a jpeg file, I needed to enlarge it at 200% to get it to print to the size of a sheet of copy paper, which was the size I was looking for. Once my outline was printed, I used Cheryl Lynch’s technique of taping it to a piece of core board and then thumbtacking a sheet of Steam-a-Seam 2 over it, uncovering the top of the fusible to expose the sticky side up.

Next, it was time to go through my collection of cotton batik fabrics to see what colors might work for the tiles. I cut them into 3/4 inch squares, using Cheryl Lynch’s mini mosaic cutting guide and found that the more variation you have in the light/dark of each color, the better it looks.

Now for the fun part…placing each individual square fabric “tile” with a tweezers. It’s somewhat like putting a puzzle together…one area of color at a time, but you don’t have to make them all fit…you can trim pieces to fit as needed.

For a project this small it doesn’t take long to cut enough squares of fabric to get started. The variation in the value of each fabric color is the key. You don’t want them to look too flat by having each tile exactly the same color value. I added some bright yellow strips in the center of the flower.

It’s slowly progressing! It takes quite awhile to individually place each square with a tweezers, but it’s surprising how much is accomplished by working on it in 30 minute segments throughout a couple of days. Before you know it, it’s finished and ready to fuse to the “grout” fabric and add the tulle netting over the top …

…adding the borders, batting, & backing …

and do the machine quilting using white cotton thread and a walking foot. I stitched between the rows of mosaic squares in the “grout area”, and outlined the petals and leaves. I added a few quilted veins into the petals of the Trillium too.

Close up of the quilted veins & center of the Trillium

What do you think? Originally the background was all browns and green, but I decided it needed more contrast, so I took out some of the squares and re-did the top portion of the background in blue sky.

This one’s completed and for sale at my Etsy Shop.

I’m ready to try it again…how about you?

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

2 Minute No Sew Christmas Napkin Ring

2 Minute No Sew Christmas Napkin Ring

Want to add a festive touch to your holiday table but don’t have a lot of time?  Here’s an easy, no sew, way to make a colorful poinsettia napkin ring in 2 minutes flat.

It’s a technique my sister-in-law taught me over (well we won’t mention how many) years ago.  I’ve perfected the pattern, but the idea is the same.  There’s no sewing involved, and all you’ll need is some red and green felt squares (available at JoAnne Fabrics, and lots of other stores — be sure to use your coupon).

Click on the PDF pattern (below) and print it off.

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There are only three pieces. Cut them out of red & green felt as shown in the photo below.

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That’s all there is to it! Easy peasy.

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cut an X in the center of the green & red petals…simply fold in half & cut, refold in half the other way and cut.

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To assemble, fold the RED long strip in half..

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and pull the tips through the center hole of the GREEN felt petals.

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And then through the center hole of the RED FELT petals.

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and fluff by pulling the tips apart

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Roll up your napkin (or fold) and slip it through the “ring” and your table is instantly transformed.

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Now get creative—change the shapes of the outside leaves & petals…use different colors and you can make all sorts of flower napkin rings for every season of the year!

Wishing you all a Very Merry Christmas & Happy Holiday Season…And a very HAPPY and HEALTHY NEW YEAR!!

Until next time,

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Tuesday Tips Quilting: Straight Lines

Tuesday Tips Quilting: Straight Lines

Have you ever intended to quilt some beautiful straight lines on your quilted project with your domestic sewing machine and walking foot, thinking you can easily eyeball it from block to block, only to finish a few rows and find you wavered a bit? …that the lines aren’t quite as straight as you’d like?

I know I have. It’s not as easy to sew nice straight lines as you’d think, without a little guidance.

Sure, you can mark one straight line on your quilt and then use the edge of your walking foot to keep every consecutive line straight. But even so you might not keep the lines perfectly straight as you travel along. And maybe you don’t want your lines so close together.

Another option is marking the lines on your quilt using a long ruler & some kind of removable marker (like chalk, disappearing ink, water soluble ink, or pencil). But that’s time consuming and adds another step of getting rid of the marks after you’re done.

So, what’s the solution? My tip is to use good old blue painter’s tape (usually blue, sometimes green).

I just roll out a long piece and tape it onto the quilt, using the blocks (or a ruler) to make sure it’s straight and where I want the stitching.

Line your needle up to one side of the tape or the other and sew away!

Just be sure you sew close to, but not on top of, the tape! Remember, it’s not a race..you can sew slowly.

The strip is reusable…I was able to use the same strip of tape about 10 times or more, so I only needed a couple of long strips to “mark” the entire baby quilt.

And voila! Done in no time, with no marks to wash out.

Love it!❤️

That’s it for Tuesday Tips! Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Chocolate Coffee Quilted Mug Rug PQ 10.6

Chocolate Coffee Quilted Mug Rug PQ 10.6

I found this cute panel fabric ages ago, and the last Project Quilting challenge of this year is a great time for me to use it!

This week’s PQ challenge is “Craving Chocolate”. I don’t know about you, but when I crave a yummy piece of chocolate, a cup of coffee isn’t far behind. And the chocolaty browns in the panel make me think of a delicious mocha coffee. Mmmm! Chocolate AND coffee…my mouth is watering already.

To make this coffee & chocolate mug rug, I used my EQ8 computer program to design a simple flying geese paper piecing pattern and printed a bunch of them on a single piece of paper.  I like using a newsprint-weight paper.  Then I pulled some fabrics from my stash and got to work.

Here’s a photo (above) of sewing the very first seam on the paper piecing template…always the hardest part.  I find it takes a few seams before I get into my “paper-piecing rhythm” going.

A couple seams under my belt, and here (above photo) I’m folding back the paper on the seam line to trim the fabric to 1/4″ so I can add the next piece of fabric.

A quick press & it’s ready to “fold back paper, trim 1/4 inch, add next piece, sew on the line…and repeat”!  …the paper piecing mantra!
The tiny block is done & ready to flip over & trim on the outside line (above)…it’ll finish up to be a 2 inch square when it’s all said and done.

And here’s one of the final blocks (above)… very cute … time to get busy–more to make!

If I trim the panel just a bit across the top and bottom, the strip of flying geese (once they’re all sewn together) should fit perfectly on the side.

After trimming, sewing on the strip of flying geese and border, it’s ready to sandwich up for some machine quilting. I’ll outline the hearts, coffee cups, and do some additional straight stitching.

All that’s left to do is the binding. I like to sew a 1-1/2 inch strip of single binding to the front & fold and hand sew it to the back. It takes longer, but it just looks so much better than my attempts to finish the binding completely by machine.

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And here it is! Ready to enter for this week’s challenge.  And for sale in my ETSY SHOP:  Mulberry Patch Quilts! 🙂

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And a close-up of the little flying geese…

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I hope you’ll get the chance to join in on the fun and VOTE for your favorite entries this week on the LAST Project Quilting Challenge of this season.   Just follow the link, scroll down to the bottom, and click on the little heart in the upper right hand corner of each of the thumbnail photos that you like best.  You’ll probably get about ten votes.

Voting begins Sunday afternoon (3/23/19) and goes through sometime Friday (3/30/19).  Hope one of your votes is for me (hint-hint).

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

 

 

Project Quilting Challenge 10.5 Words

Project Quilting Challenge 10.5 Words

This week our PQ challenge designer, Trish, came up with a word about words that I’ve never heard before… abecedarius. …what? My spellchecker can’t even find it (lol).

The word “abecedarius” means “an alphabet primer.” Literally, the word itself is made up of a+b+c+d! It can refer to a form of poetry where the first letter of each line or verse is the next letter of the alphabet, or it can be a book where each letter is defined (A is for … B is for …).

Lucky for me I can interpret this challenge very loosely, and make it into an opportunity to make a paper pieced wallhanging with a background made up of fabric with words!

I found this in amazing Moda fabric in my stash. It features dozens and dozens of actual quilt store names. Do you recognize any of the shop names? I recognize a few. They’re from all over the US.

Trees8The pattern I’m using is paper pieced. Don’t you just love paper piecing? I think it’s relaxing…no stress, no seams to worry about matching. And somehow, by using the lines on the paper as sewing guides, it all comes out nicely in the end.

Here are some of the pattern pieces on the design wall. I think the hardest part was choosing which fabrics go where.

A light box really helps with the paper piecing process. My new Cutterpillar came with a translucent self-healing cutting mat so I can actually rotary cut the fabric right on top of it.

It doesn’t take long for the trees to magically emerge on the back side of all the papet piecing patterns.

And here the little trees are…ready to square up and quilt.

I chose to quilt straight lines with my walking foot…outlining the trees and then filling in the background with rows of horizontal stitching..

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And here’s the result: I’m calling it “Whispering Pines” because they seem to be whispering the names of all those quilt shops in the background … all calling my name to come shop (lol).

Trees4Very simple, but sweet.  The wall hanging has hanging triangles on the back top corners to make it easy to hang on the wall.  It’ll soon be in my Etsy Shop for sale.

Trees5a

COME JOIN IN THE FUN…go to the Project Quilting website to see this week’s entries and to vote for you favorites (hope one of them is mine, #14 “Whispering Pines” …hint, hint). Voting starts Sunday afternoon, March 10 and runs through Friday, March 15, 2019.

HOW TO VOTE: Just go to the link above, scroll down to the bottom until you see the thumbnail photos of the quilts. Then click on the heart in the upper right hand side of the photo of the entry you want to vote for ❤️ and it’ll fill the heart in & tell you how many votes you have left. If there are over a hundred entries, you’ll get 10 votes. Enjoy!

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Baby Knit Hats for “Hope 2 Others” Charity

Baby Knit Hats for “Hope 2 Others” Charity

March is National Quilt month! My Quiltsy Team on Etsy (a group of quilting artists who sell their work on the Etsy.com website) is celebrating by featuring a different member each day and the charities they support.

So today I’d like to share photos of donations I’ve just finished up to give to Hope 2 Others, a non-profit based in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, that operates with the mission of improving education and health care in developing countries.

I first heard about them through a “Hats 4 Hope” charity work day held at Mill House Quilts where we gathered to sew soft stretchy fleece baby hats.

One of the many ways “Hope 2 Others” helps is through their distribution of the Hats 4 Hope care kits that give at-risk babies a chance at life. 

For more info on the charity and their kits, watch the interview of Karen Klemp and Jane Krogstad on Sewing with Nancy: Nancy’s Corner.

It’s a brutal winter here in Wisconsin, so while I’m spending more time indoors, I like to do hand work in the evenings, and knitting a baby hat is an easy thing to make while catching up on a favorite TV show. This year I knit soft, stretchy hats in a variety of sizes, using up some beautiful yarns I already had on hand. There’s variegated blue & red, yellow & green, orange, and a variety of pink, white & baby blue.

I recently dropped all these off at Mill House Quilts (one of the many drop-off sites), and I hope they’ll be helpful and enjoyed.

They say that this simple gift can make a huge difference in the life of a child, where threat of death from infant hypothermia is a real concern. It takes just two minutes for a wet, newborn baby to lose a dangerous two degrees in body temperature. Most of this vital heat is lost through soft spots on a baby’s head.

From May-August, Tanzania experiences its rainy and winter seasons. Karen Klemp (founder) explained, “People don’t think countries along the equator are cool, but when you are in the mountains and at altitude and in the rainy season, it gets very chilly, and it does not take much for a baby to lose its heat.

If you’re interested in knitting a hat, I’ve developed a free pattern on my blog here. You can choose to add the striped hearts, or leave them plain.

Or if you prefer to sew hats instead of knitting, make the hats with fleece fabric. There’s a free pattern with a step-by-step tutorial at Nancy Zieman’s charity website.

If you live in south central Wisconsin, there are several drop off sites listed on their website, or you can mail your hats directly to their office address: Hope 2 Others, P.O. Box 1006, Sun Prairie, WI 53590.

Since there’s plenty of cold Wisconsin weather left, I’m going to keep those knitting needles clicking, and maybe add a few cuddly soft sewn 36 inch receiving blankets as well.

What charities do you support with your quilting, sewing, or knitting talents? I’d love if you’d share them in the comments section below!

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING (or knitting),

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts