Like me, do you need a place to put all those punch cards, restaurant discount cards, gift cards, etc.? So you can take them out of your wallet, but still have them in your purse when you need them?
Or maybe you’d like to give your next gift card in style!
I’ve got a simple tutorial for sewing up a quick and easy fabric card holder for yourself, or to give as a gift, that takes only minutes. And it’s a great scrap-buster.
To make a this simple holder you’ll need to CUT:
One 4-1/2” x 5-1/2” rectangle of outer fabric
One 4-1/2” square of lining fabric
Two 4-1/2” x 3-3/4” rectangles of pocket fabrics
It’s nice to have contrasting fabrics, especially for the pockets & lining, but you can use all the same fabric if you want. I like using scraps or leftover layer cakes.
Fold pocket fabrics in half so they’re 1-1/2” x 4-1/2”
Place outer fabric right side up on your surface and place the pockets on either 4-1/2” end, lining up the raw edges. Sew each side seam ¼” from the raw edges.
Next place the lining fabric (centered) right side down over the top of the pockets & outer fabric. (Note: you’ll notice that the lining fabric doesn’t reach all the way to the ends of the pockets—so just center it.)
And sew just the top and bottom seams ¼” from the raw edges. Then clip each corner to reduce bulk
First turn just the lining fabric right side out & press.
Then turn each pocket right side out (over the lining) and use a blunt instrument to poke out the corners. Press.
To finish it off, topstitch about 1/8 to 1/4 inch from the edge all the way around the parameter.
And you’re done! Just press in half and add your gift card or cards.
Optional: Add an elastic & button closure. Simply sew an elastic hair band between the layers before sewing up the side seams/pockets, and sew a button on the front. Take care to sew the button only on the outer fabric and not through all the layers or the cards won’t fit in the pocket.
Have fun. I’d love to see what you create. Wouldn’t it be fun to send your graduate a gift card in a holder made out of their school or university colors? Or a baby shower gift card in baby fabric? So many ideas!
Hope you enjoyed the tutorial. Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING! …and gift giving!
You’ll see in my recent posts that I’m obsessed with learning how much mileage I can get with my Accuquilt GO!Cutter and the dies I already own.
I love the simplicity of the Sawtooth Star block and so I decided to see if I could design some pieced items with it using the dies I have.
Although I don’t own the 8” Go!Cube, I have almost all the shapes (see those in bold print on the list below). The only one shape I was missing was for the “flying geese” part of the star: the #4 GO! Quarter Square Triangle — so I ordered it. Yay!
To make the SAWTOOTH STAR BLOCK, you need four die shapes: GO! Shapes 1, 2, 4, & 5 (I’ve listed all the shapes that come in the GO! Cube below, and highlighted in bold the four you need),
GO! Quarter Square Triangle-4″ Finished Square (55711) —ORDERED IT
GO! Half Square Triangle-2″ Finished Square (55712) —GOT IT
GO! Square on Point-3 1/4″ (2 3/4″ Finished) (55713)
GO! Parallelogram 45°-2 3/4″ x 3 1/2″ Sides (2 1/16” x 2 13/16″ Finished) (55714)
Next I fired up EQ8 on my laptop and started designing. Here are just a few of the ideas.
I decided start with the table runner using some beautiful spring fabrics I had in my stash by Robin Pickens for Moda. I seem to love every fabric line she designs!
After making two more stars, I changed the original design a bit by surrounding each star with a black inner border and the whole runner with red outer border.
I think it looks good as a wall hanging too.
It was so much fun to make, I couldn’t stop there…so next I tried piecing a simple table topper with only one star surrounded with an inner and outer border for myself.
That’s how easy it is to figure out how to get the most “mileage” out of dies you already own (or like me buy one more die) to create dozens of new blocks. I hope you’ll fire up your EQ8 software or get out your graph paper and give it a try!
If you like the table-runner, it’s now on sale in my Etsy shop. The table topper has a found a new home in my diningroom 😉.
I hope you’ll give the Sawtooth Star a try! Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!
Since I last talked about my new obsession with my AccuquiltGo cutter (see last post) I’ve been busy trying out the dies I already own to make as many different blocks as I can. It’s fun to take apart a block and find the die shapes to make them. While playing, I discovered a new use for my Chisel Die.
Well, I didn’t really discover it—lots of other quilters discovered this… But I discovered their discovery (thank you Pinterest). So of course I couldn’t wait to give it a try!
Did you know you can use the Accuquilt Chisel Die to sew a braided strip? I didn’t.
It’s so easy! And a great “scrapbuster”. Just cut out a bunch of chisels (remember you can cut 6 at a time). It’s a one way (directional) die, so be sure to cut half with you fabric right side up, and half with your fabric right side down. Then place them using the photo above as a guide.
Sew them together, starting at the top, lining up the 90 degree ends. Keep sewing on chisels in that same manner until they’re a little bit longer than what you need and cut straight across the bottom and top with your ruler & rotary cutter to trim off the ends.
Voila! The braided strips are ready to use in your quilt. I made mine into a mug rug (snack mat). But wouldn’t they also make great borders? Or maybe a strip quilt? Or the side of a bag?
I purchased an Accuquilt Go die cutter awhile ago and have made so many great projects with it, including tumbler block baby quilts and Dresden Plate table toppers. But I wanted to use a combination of dies to create some other basic, well-known quilting blocks.
My original purchase of my AccuquiltGo! included a combination die (above). It has on it a 2” finished square, a couple 2” finished half square triangles (HST), and a 4” finished square.
Hey, that’s all I need to make the basic Bear’s Claw block! Perfect.
I haven’t yet purchased any of the the Accuquilt GoCubes. Mostly because I can’t decide which one to get! They have 6”, 8”, 9”, 12”, and have recently added a 4” GoCube. After doing a little research on the Accuquilt website I realized that each of these GoCube Sets cuts the exact same 8 basic shapes. The only difference is their finished size. The shapes are:
GO! Half Square Triangle-large
GO! Quarter Square Triangle
GO! Half Square Triangle-small
GO! Square on Point
GO! Parallelogram 45°
That means if you figure out the shapes you need for a block, the shape numbers are always the same, no matter which CubeGo you have—only the finished size changes.
The light went on in my brain! Ah-hah! I get it. I discovered I already owned shapes 1, 2, & 5. So all I need are a few more (shapes 3, 4, 6, 7, 8) and I’ll have all the dies in the 8” GoCube.
Normally I bind my quilts (baby quilts, lap quilts, bed quilts) using double folded straight-of-grain binding cut between 2-1/4 to 2-1/2 inches wide, folded in half (wrong sides together) and sewn on the quilt. For more info on that process, go to my blog post: How to Bind a Quilt—The Secret to Perfect Corners. Double fold is great for projects that will take need to stand up to a lot of wear and tear.
But I’ve found that single fold binding is perfect for most of my smaller projects, like wall hangings, table toppers, etc. I think it has a better look…not as thick and bulky, but nice and crisp. Plus you save on fabric. Here’s how to do it.
Whether I’m making double fold or single fold binding, I always cut on the straight of grain (from selvedge to selvedge). The only exception to this rule are projects that have curved edges…something with rounded corners, scallops, or completely round. That’s the only time I bother to cut on the bias. For most of my art quilts, wall hangings, or runners (which all have straight edges) cutting 1-1/2 inch strips on the straight-of-grain is fine.
First, figure out how many strips to cut. Take the measurement of the parameter of your project by adding up the length of the sides, top, and bottom and cut the number of 1-1/2 inch wide strips you need to equal that number plus a few extra inches. It never hurts to have too much.
Sew the strips ends right sides together at a 90 degree angle and sew from one corner (where they meet) to the other corner (I’m pointing to it with my tweezers).
Trim the seams to about 1/4 inch and press each open.
Starting in the center of one side of the project and leaving a long tail (about 6 inches or more) start sewing one side of the binding to the right side of the project. When you’re 1/4 inch from the corner, stop with the needle down, pivot, and sew off the corner edge at a 45 degree angle.
Take it out from under the presser foot and turn to the next unsewn edge. Flip the binding up so it’s parallel to this next edge.
When I get junk mail, I save those laminated cards they often send. They’re perfect for this technique. Any thin plastic card or index card will work. This technique will help you get the feel for how to get perfect mitered corners on your binding. Just place the card across top raw edge of the quilt/binding (top) and bring the binding down across the top of the card and flush with the raw edge of the next edge to sew.
I put a pin just below the card to keep it in place and then slip the card out.
Then continue sewing from the edge to the next corner and repeat the process until you come to where you started. Stop sewing several inches from the beginning and take it to your cutting table.
You’ll have a “tail” on each end and several inches (about 8-10”) between where you started & stopped sewing in the middle of one side.
To join these two tail ends, trim the right side tail of your binding so it ends half way between the beginning & the end of your sewing.
Lay that trimmed binding piece over the end you just trimmed.
Place your left tail over the right & fold it back until it’s in line with the right edge of that extra piece of binding and cut it at that fold. Perfect! (The ends of the binding tails will overlap by the width of that extra binding, which in this case is 1-1/2 inches, but this trick works with any size binding and NO MATH or special tools needed! So I always do it. Yay.
To make it really nice, use your ruler & a fabric marker to draw a 45 degree line as a guide to sew on.
Then overlap the binding ends as shown above & sew right sides together on that drawn line.
Double-check to be sure it’s sewn the right way (ask me how I know), and then trim the seam to 1/4 inch and press open. Line up the raw edges and finish sewing the binding to the quilt.
Tada! All sewn. All that’s left it to fold it to the back & hand sew.
First iron the binding out from the right side, all the way around.
Turn the quilt over and from the back turn the raw edge of the binding in half so it meets the raw edge of the quilt (at the corners too)…
Then fold in again, bringing the folded edge over so it covers the stitching and pin. Stop at the corner, pinning as close as you can to a 1/4” from the edge.
To make a crisp mitered corner lay a pin or stiletto across the corner edge of the binding just to hold it in place (see photo) …
…while folding the next edge & pin. See how nicely the corner miters? Continue folding/pinning around the quilt.
Then sew the folded/pinned edge to the back by hand.
Don’t the corners look great? …From the back…
…as well as the front!
All Done! I’m in the process of creating a pdf pattern for my newest quilted wall hanging/table topper called “Double Star Barn”. I’m thrilled to be able to share it with you in my Etsy Shop and it should be available in just a day or two, so be sure to check Mulberry Patch Quilts if you’re interested.
It’s easy to make a triangle on the corner of a block, no math involved. I first heard of this technique from an amazing quilt teacher, Mary Ellen Hopkins, who wrote groundbreaking quilting books like “It’s OK if You Sit on My Quilt”, and “Connecting Triangles” among others. Mary Ellen was probably best known for creating the connector and perfect piecing triangles concepts. I was so lucky to have the opportunity to see her at her lecture in Milwaukee just a few years before she passed away (in 2013). Not only did she make quilting fun, her sense of humor and showmanship shined during what I would call her “performance” instead of her lecture.
Here’s how to do this technique. In this example, I’ll add a triangle to the top of a rectangle. I cut a square the same width as the rectangle. On the wrong side of the square, I drew a line from one corner to the opposite corner. Since I’ll be sewing on this line, I like to use a very fine point sharpie or a mechanical pencil with a light hand—just dark enough to see.
Place the rectangle right side up and the marked square right side down on top of it (right sides together) paying attention to the orientation of the angle.
Then sew on the drawn line.
If I’m making more than one I like to sew one after the other (chain piecing) without having to cut the threads in-between until I’m finished.
Then I take it to the ironing board (love my wool pressing surface by the way) and I give it a good press as is to set the seam.
Then I gently open the seam by folding the edge of the square to meet the opposite corner.
This video might make it easier to understand…just hit the play button below.
These corner triangles (made with marked squares) are sometimes referred to as “snowball” corners, or “snowballed”. You can use them to make all sorts of blocks: snowball, flying geese, or star points. Let me show you a few examples.
By adding a second triangle (same angle orientation) to the bottom, I’ve made a simple parallelogram.
Or by adding them to four corners of a square, I can make a snowball block. Here’s one of my baby quilts featuring the snowball. I’ve added color triangles to the white squares & white triangles to the color blocks.
But look what happens when
So give this technique a try. And play with different sizes and shapes. The sky’s the limit! Have fun.
I have found an easy way to hang smaller quilted wall hangings or art quilts on your wall…hanging corner triangles. They’re so easy to incorporate into your binding. Here’s how.
After you’ve finished quilting your wall hanging and have trimmed the edges to prepare it for binding, you can add these corner hanging triangles to the back.
Cut two 5” squares. I like to use the same fabric as the backing, but if you don’t have enough, any fabric scraps will work. I like to try to match the background so they will blend in and you don’t notice them when you look at the back. This is especially nice if you’ve made a wall hanging that you might want to use as a table topper too. It looks nice and won’t interfere. But if your item will only be hung on a wall, matching the fabric really doesn’t matter. You can even use leftover charm squares, or muslin.
Fold each of the squares wrong sides together corner to corner and give them a good press with a hot iron.
Pin each triangle to the top corners of the back of your wall hanging, with the raw edges of the triangle matching the raw edges of your quilt.
With your sewing machine baste the triangle edges to the quilt using a walking foot and a scant quarter inch seam.
Bind your wall hanging in the usual manner, incorporating the basted triangle edges with the edges of the quilt. Once bound, all you need is a thin wooden dowel cut slightly shorter than the quilt. The thickness depends on how heavy the wall hanging is. This particular wall hanging is 20 x 20 inches square. I used a quarter-inch dowel, but even a thinner one would have been substantial enough to carry the weight.
Just slip both ends of the wooden dowel inside both triangle corners and you’re ready to hang it on your wall with a nail, or hook.
For smaller art quilts or wall hangings I start with smaller squares (4”) and use thinner wooden dowels. I’ve even found wooden skewers to be long and thick enough for small projects. Experiment to see what size works best for your quilt.
Keep in mind, this technique won’t work for large or heavy quilts/wall hangings. They might need more support in the center. It will all depend on the width and weight of the wall hanging.
For larger items, I use sew in a “hanging sleeve” that goes all the way across the top of the quilt back, so the quilt’s weight is more evenly distributed.
So after making so many, many face masks to donate to clinics, friends, and family, you quickly realize that one size does NOT fit all. Not only are there different size heads, but even the distance from the mask to the ears is different from one person to another.
After doing some experimenting, I’ve come up with a way to make a face mask adjustable by adding 3 easy steps.
START WITH MY INSTRUCTIONS for making a rectangular, pleated style mask HERE, from my previous blog post.
To make this pattern adjustable, you’ll need two lengths of 1/4 inch elastic cut 12 inches long each, and two 6x9mm pony beads.
Step 1: Using the instructions at the above link, use the two 12 inch elastic ear loops and finish the mask the same way.
Step 2: After the mask is finished, fold the end of each elastic ear loop and thread each of them through a pony bead*.
Step 3: Tie a slip knot at the very end of the elastic loop.
DONE. To adjust the mask, simply pull the bead closer to the mask, or further away from the mask, toward the slip knot. Ta-da!
*HINT: if you have trouble inserting the folded 1/4 inch elastic through your bead, cut a length of thin wire or strong thread and thread one end through the bead, then through the elastic loop, and back through the bead and (grasping both ends of the wire/thread) pull the elastic through the bead. Easy-peasy!
Hope this is helpful. It’s great to be able to adjust the mask, and this makes the mask so much more comfortable.
Now that masks are readily available for everyone, I’ve cut back on making them. But I will sew just a few more for my family. Since it’s nice to keep a few extras in the car, or by our back door. And wouldn’t you love to have a few that actually coordinate with outfits as we venture out more and more, and actually begin to wear “real” clothes again.
Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING (and mask making),
Wow! 2020. This has been one crazy year so far, hasn’t it? And I just realized I haven’t posted a thing since it all started.
One reason I haven’t posted is that I‘ve been busy making face masks. I started making them back in March when there was a shortage masks. I got a few requests from family…and then the requests rolled in from all over—our local EMTs, my family doctor’s clinic, friends who are medical techs, nurses, and of course family and friends. It was my pleasure and a labor of love…a way (however small) of helping.
After fulfilling requests for 250 plus masks, I finally think I’ve perfected a pattern that I really like. It’s an accordion pleat style mask that includes a pocket in the lining (for those who want to add an additional filter), a nose wire (to help conform it to the bridge of your nose), different fabric on the front & back (so you can remember at a glance which side goes towards your face) and ear loops.
Now that face masks are more plentiful and easy to find and buy everywhere, I’m not making many masks anymore. But because many cities, counties, and even states in the US are requiring people wear masks inside public buildings—and with this pandemic staying around much longer than we had hoped—I thought I’d share my pattern step-by-step with you in case you’d like to try making some for your family.
There are a lot of face mask patterns & how-to’s out there to choose from. What I like about this pattern is that it includes all the features I want and it’s comfortable to wear. I can use scrap cotton fabrics I have on hand from my quilting stash, and it only takes about 15 minutes to make. Here’s how…
Materials: You’ll need a rectangle of cotton lining fabric cut 9×6”, and some pretty cotton fabric for the front cut 9×7-1/4”. You’ll also need either 1/8 inch or 1/4 inch elastic (white or black), each cut approximately 7”, and a 4-5” length of nose wire.*
Place the lining & front fabrics right sides together & make a mark 1/2” down & 2” from each edge the top (see photo below).
This is the only time you’ll use a 1/2” seam, …sew from one edge to the 2 inch mark & stop/backstitch. sew the other edge to the 2 inch mark & stop/backstitch. (This will leave a 5 inch opening in the middle. Take it to your ironing board & press the seam open.
Open it up & topstitch across the lining seam allowance only, about 1/4” from the seam/hole, which will finish that seam allowance. (Do NOT topstitch the fashion fabric front seam allowance.)
Next place the opposite ends right sides together & sew 1/4 inch seam across the bottom. Then press from that stitched edge (bottom) to the top. As you do this, you’ll notice the seam you just topstitched will automatically “roll” to the back/lining.— see photo below.
Elastic Ear Loops. Take the one of the pieces elastic and place one end inside the top edge of the side seam and begin sewing 1/4” seam, backstitching over the elastic, and continue sewing about half way down the side…
Then reach inside and (being sure the elastic doesn’t twist & that it lays flat) grab the other end of the elastic and place it in the bottom of the seam. And finish sewing the edge backstitching over the elastic. It’s ok to let a bit of end of the elastic hang out.)
This diagram (below) might make that step clearer…note the elastic is inside (between) the two fabrics.
Do the same with the second piece of elastic on the opposite side.
Turn the mask right side out through the hole (pocket) at the top and use your favorite tool to “poke” the edges out and give it a nice press with your iron.
*The nose wire. I’m using coated speaker wire a friend gave me. It keeps it’s shape and the plastic coating keeps it from rusting in the wash. But you can use floral wire, twisty ties, or pipecleaners.
I like to create the casement for the wire first, leave one end open to insert the wire & then sew it shut. Start sewing from the top edge about 2” in from one side, going down about 1/2”, pivot & continue topstitching parallel to the top edge. This will create a casing. Stop & backstitch when you’re a few threads from the end of the pocket so you have enough room to insert the wire.
Insert the wire into the casing and finish by topstitching starting at the top edge, pivot and topstitch until you’ve closed the opening of the casing.
Pleating. Now it’s time to make the pleats. I like to put three pleats on each side of the mask. Be sure your pleats face down when folded. If you’re making just a few masks it’s easy to make equal folds (pinches about 1/4” each) and either pin or clamp them downward and topstitch about a quarter inch from each side.
However, if you’re making a bunch of masks, I have a much better way of making consistent pleats that I learned from a YouTube video, and no pinning required! You can create a pleater to do the hard work for you. Here’s the link on YouTube created by Hilary Mark Nelson…genius! https://youtu.be/iUgZWfko_d8https://youtu.be/iUgZWfko_d8
His gadget is made from lightweight cardboard (like cereal boxes) and then is taped together with packaging tape. I was lucky enough to have a friend‘s husband make one for me…thanks Rodger!
Topstitch about 1/4” from each edge.
At this point I also topstitch across the bottom of the mask. It’s not necessary but I think it helps the mask keep it’s shape after washing.
A little press with a hot iron and you’re done!
I hope this tutorial encourages you to try making a mask or two for your family and friends.
Until next time,
PS: Please note that these are not medical grade masks.
I’m participating again this year in Project Quilting, and this week’s Season 11.5 challenge is “Give It Away”. TRISH we must be on the same wavelength (LOL)!! Just the week before the challenge I made ten baby quilts for one of my favorite charities, Mikayla’s Grace! What are the chances?See that blog post here.
BUT those quilts won’t count for entry into this week’s challenge. The rules clearly state the quilt has to be made–beginning to end–during the challenge week. That’s not a problem… I see by their website that Mikayla’s Grace is still in need of baby quilts in their “large preemie” size. So I made two more quilts during the challenge this week.
Last time I used leftover blocks to make the quilts. This week I thought I’d change it up by using leftover jelly roll strips from a recent quilting project. I gathered up all the 30s reproduction strips I could find in my stash and started sewing them together.
If each strip has been 42″ (WOF), this would have gone faster–but most of the strips I had left were only 10″ …but it still worked just fine.
My “plan” (and I use the term loosely) was to make two similar baby quilts, each about 22″ square. Why two quilts? Because Mikayla’s Grace requests that donated items be made in sets of two. I also knew I wanted them to look “scrappy”, so I grabbed strips randomly and sewing them together until I had strip sets 11 strips wide (my simple math plan was 2″ finished x 11 =22″)… at least it sounds like a plan.
Once several strip sets were made (and I’d exhausted my pile of strips), I sub-cut them into 2-1/2″ strips and joined the edges together to make four identical really, really long strips.
I laid the subcut strips side by side and offset them by one square–“un-sewing” the last square from the bottom (see photo above) & re-sewing it to the top (see photo below).
I did the same thing with the third long strip, only offsetting it by taking two squares off the bottom & resewing them at the top… etc etc.
You get the idea!
If I had begun with full size (WOF) strips, or if I had more strips left to plan it all out perfectly, I could have figured out the exact size I needed to make the two quilts…but of course I didn’t have quite enough strips, so once I sewed all four long strips together, I simply un-sewed them into four sections and then combined two sections into each quilt…make sense? You can see in the photos how the diagonal stripes change color at their centers. But I don’t think it matters. It makes them more interesting.
I didn’t have quite enough subcut strips to make them square, so I added a strip to each side.
Both quilts are backed with the softest cotton flannel, sewn right sides together, then turned right side out, with just enough quilting in the ditch to hold the layers together nicely.
Off these go in the mail to Mikayla’s Grace in McFarland, WI. I hope they’ll bring comfort to a little one in the NICU of one of our area’s hospital, and that these quilts will offer love, hope, and comfort to their families as well.
Do you have some jelly roll strips left over? Why not consider making a baby quilt for Mikayla’s Grace, or a charity near and dear to your heart? I hope this blog has inspired you to give it a try!
Need more ideas? Check my blog on using your leftover blocks here. Or click “Charity Quilting” under “Categories” on the right side of this blog to see even more ideas.
Enjoy! I’d love to see what YOU create.
And I’m excited to see all the charities supported and ideas by the wonderfully generous and talented quilters make for Project Quilting this week.
So this week’s challenge for Project Quilting is “Put a Heart on It”. I’ve been wanting to do another Lil’ Twister tool quilt AND break into a beautiful Moda charm pack I just got by American Jane called “Merry Go Round”. I love the bright & pastel spring flower-like colors.
So here goes! How do you make a Twister heart? First position all the 5 inch squares into a large patchwork quilt top, kind of in the shape of a heart. This one is 7 x 7 squares.
Sew it altogether, then add a border out of the same background fabric and start cutting with the Lil’ Twister tool, lining the marks on the tool up with the seam lines.
This is the fun part! … it’s fun to see it change.
The hardest part is that first cut… then you line them up into a whole new “twisted” design and sew up the rows and columns again. So cute.
I was able to square up the fabric left between the cuts to use as a 2-1/2 inch square scrap border. There were just enough.
I decided to do a faux piping binding in green and red for a quick finish.
And did simple straight stitch quilting around the pinwheel shape, the border, and a zig zag through the scrappy border. I may go back at a later date to add free motion quilted “petals” in each pinwheel shape and more quilting in the background–either straight stitching or free motion meandering.
So here’s this week’s entry in Project Quilting Season 11 (2020). There’s no voting this year, but come see the entries here.
So as you’ve heard me talk about before, Project Quilting is similar to Project Runway–you’re given a challenge & a limited period of time to make it, start to finish…but no one is voted off! It’s the creation of Kim Lapicek with her friend, Trish (AKA Quilt Chicken), and helps take the “cabin fever” out of the middle of winter here…although they have quilters from all over the world entering!
This is Season 11, Challenge 2: And the phrase is “Team Colors”. Well, I’m from Wisconsin, so of course (being football season) it’s either the Green Bay Packers or UW Badgers. I happened to have green & “gold” fabric in my stash & a technique I wanted to try…a perfect combination.
So info my stash I dove & cut strips of varying widths…even some with curves.
I layed them on a square of fusible interfacing (slightly overlapping) & just ironed them in place. Then I turned it upside down (photo above & below), and re-trimmed to size.
Then comes the fun part! I added yarns, ripped twisted thin strips of fabric, and zigzagged it all down.
Here’s a close up…
Then I simply put four squares together, and added the border on top of tge batting/backing and bound it.
I love the texture it creates. Fun!
It’s posted for this week’s challenge. There’s no voting, but check the Project Quilting website to see how other quilters have interpreted it. And give this fun technique a try.
Everything I need is in the box (except for the batting & backing).
I loved this fabric and pattern, but every year around Christmas I never seemed to get around to it. Well, now’s my chance! …even if the holidays have come and gone, I don’t mind. At least it’ll be done before NEXT Christmas. Yay!
The only problem…can I get it cut, stitched, quilted & bound (beginning to end) by the PQ deadline, in only one week? We’ll see.
It comes with this pre-printed panel (see above) to make the cute numbered pockets. And inside each pocket is a tag. The idea is to take out a tag each day in December and do a kind act that’s written on it… Don’t you love that idea?
Here the labels are… all fused & ready to put in the pockets. Or you could make up your own labels with your own ideas written on them to put in the pockets.
It’s so much fun sewing on all the cute little pockets.
Here’s the layout. After making the pockets & topstitching them to the center of the quilt, she has you surround it with borders of her cute fabrics. It has a Glad Tidings banner at the top, and pieced pinwheels at the corners.
I did simple straight stitch quilting with my walking foot so I can get it done in time to upload for the challenge. But I can always go back and embellish more later if I want. But I don’t think it needs much.
And Beagle approved!
I love the concept of doing an act of kindness each day.
I was so happy to get to actually meet the designer, Leanne Anderson, at the Quilt Expo in Madison. Her fabrics (Henry Glass & Co) and patterns are all so cute. She’s an amazing artist. She looks great (that’s her on the right). I, on the other hand, look a bit exhausted by all the shopping at the Quilt Expo…lol.
So I’m done in time to enter it in Project Quilting. There’s no voting this year, but if you’d like, follow the link above, you can see what everyone created for the first week’s challenge: Notably Numeric.
It’s so nice to be able to place your fabric pieces on the wall when you’re piecing or designing your quilt. I had a small design wall in my tiny quilt studio at our old house. But after gaining a little square footage at our new location (and more wall space), I decided that a larger design wall was in order.
It’s easy to do-it-yourself! Here’s how I did it.
Insulation board— I headed off to my local home improvement store to pick up some insulation board. Since I have a small car, we can’t fit the standard six feet sheets into it, But I was able to find some the perfect size … 2 x 2 foot.
Measuring the space available on my largest wall, I found making my design wall 6 feet x 6 feet would use the 2×2 boards most efficiently, and still be enough space for most of the quilts I do. So I bought 9. If you’ve got the space in your car, it’s a little cheaper to buy the 6 foot boards. But this was ideal for me.
Next I taped the boards together using heavy duty strapping tape. I did both the fronts and the backs of each seam. Duct tape will work, but it’ll show more easily through the flannel covering. The hardest part was finding an area on our floor large enough to lay them all out. A carpeted surface isn’t ideal, it’s best to do this step on a hard surface.
I found it easiest to tape my insulation board pieces in columns & then tape the columns together by rows. Hmmm…kind of like putting together a quilt.
Here it is (above) all taped together on both the front and the back sides.
FLANNEL– You’ll need a soft material (like cotton flannel) that fabric pieces will cling to to cover your insulation board. White or a soft light neutral are the best choices of color. I headed off to my local big box fabric store thinking I could find some inexpensive white wide flannel by the yard. Nope! Any other color or pattern BUT not white! Ugh!
So instead I found these white flannel sheets at a nearby Kohl’s…on sale!…perfect! This one was full size & I only used the flat sheet so the fitted sheet can be cut up and used in another project(s), like my charity baby quilts.
Sorry, I forgot to take a photo–but I laid the flannel sheet on the floor, placed the best looking (& smoothest) side of the taped insulation board on top of it, and worked folded the flannel over, trimming it as needed, and taping it to the back with duct tape. I worked the wrinkles out (taught but not too tight) as I went. You could also use a staple gun, but be sure your staples are short enough that they don’t go all the way through the board.
All that’s left to do is to mount it on your wall. How? There are a few options. You could try heavy duty sticky-back Velcro. Or picture hangers. But I chose to use drywall screws with washers. The insulation board is light weight, so I only needed about ten. They’re not pretty, but I hardly notice them. And it’s very sturdy.
You’ll notice in the photo above that I used a couple of boxes to hold it up so I could stand back and judge the placement on the wall before I committed to it and screwed it to the wall.
Here’s a closeup of the washer & screw. The washer needs a hole large enough for the screw to fit through, but small enough to keep the screw head from going through. I imagine you could camouflage it with a dab of white paint.
I can’t tell you how helpful having a larger design wall is. I love it. Most fabric pieces stay put without assistance, but I have the option to stick pins in the fabric to insure they don’t fall off before I get the chance to sew them all together. And it only took an afternoon to do make it.
So get going and give it a try. I’m sure you’ll love yours too.
You can make yours as small or as large as you like. You’re only limited by the size of your wall and your flannel covering.
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.
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 squaresin 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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 guideandfound 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.
So I’ve been debating whether or not to buy one of the new fabric die cutters available out there…I wondered… Was it really worth the price? Would it really save me time?
After watching a b’zillion videos on the Accuquilt website, and an in-person demo at one of my fabulous local quilt stores, Mill House Quilts, I was “hooked”. It wasn’t the time saved or even the “rotary cutting wrist relief” that sold me on them… It was the consistent accuracy of the pieces the Accuquilt dies cut.
There are several sizes of Accuquilt Die Cutters (ranging in price) for me to chose from. I felt a little like Goldi-locks–this one’s too big, this one’s too small, this one is just right! I felt for me the Go!Baby was a bit too small. I wanted to use the larger strip cutting dies, and the Baby only accepts the small dies. On the other end of the spectrum the Go!Big Electric was too much for my small sewing space. It would be a great choice for people with hand issues that can’t handle the manual crank. And the Studio (the top of the line and most expensive) was way over my needs, space, and budget. So I settled on the Go!. It can handle the larger dies, but is light-weight and easy to fold up and put on the floor under my cutting table when not in use. Very easy to bring up and use anytime. Of course I waited until it was on sale, and it came with a “Value Die” (55018) a 6×12″ cutting mat, die pick, and pattern booklet. I also bought the 1-1/2 inch strip cutter–thinking ahead to log cabins in my future (yes!).
I absolutely love it!
There’s one tip I learned along the way that I’d like to share with you about preparing the fabric. I found it helpful. I create a simple cardboard template for the die to help. Here’s a sample of the one I made for my 2″ finished half square triangle die…
I’m in the process of making a baby quilt for a friend (soon-to-be grandma again) that has 4″ finished Signature Blocks. To create the two corners of the block, I need 2″ finished half square triangles, and I happen to have this die (yay! It’s part of the “value die”). To make the cardboard template, I measure and add about a quarter inch or so on each side all around that particular die and cut it out (with paper scissors). Then whenever I use that die, I can use this template to help me visually prepare the fabric so it’s not too large or small and I can make the most of the fabric strip or scrap from my stash.
I can place it on my ruler when I’m cutting a strip to judge the correct width…
and then place the carboard template at the end of a strip and roll the fabric around it…
…until I’ve got 6 layers of fabric (the most my Go! will cut at one time)…then I cut off the excess fabric on the strip (if any)…
And give it a quick press with my iron…
**IMPORTANT**: Don’t forget to slip the cardboard template OUT of the fabric before you take it to the die cutter! –you do NOT want to run the cardboard template through the die cutter with the cardboard inside!!
Place the fabric over the template, being sure it hangs over all the edges of the marked die, cover with the plastic cutting mat, and run it through your die cutter…
Here’s a quick video of the cutting process…(forgive my amateur video taking!)… it’s difficult trying to do this with only one hand! LOL
It actually didn’t take long at all! From beginning to end I cut 24 perfect half square triangles in about 2 minutes.
The best part (and the real reason I was hooked on a die cutter) is the accuracy. Each triangle is perfectly cut. And even better, all the “dog ears” are cut off…making piecing a breeze.
Between then and now (my birthday was in there and the family knows what I want–LOL), I’ve accumulated a few more dies. I plan to make templates for all of them except the very large strip cutters.
That’s all for today… I hope this was helpful. I’ll share the quilt I’m making with you next time.
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.
We’ve got mounds of snow outside, temps below zero, and covid all keeping us at home. So when Project Quilting announced it’s challenge theme of Virtual Vacation, I was on board! It was so nice to dream of a vacation while thinking about a quilt to make for the contest.
You’d think I’d be dreaming up a vacation to Florida, sunny Hawaii, or some other place warm. But I happened to see a photo on Pinterest of the Bayfield Wisconsin area in our beautiful northern Wisconsin winter, and it reminded me how much I miss our trips up to Lake Superior, and I wished we were there again. Of course I’d want to be warm and toasty inside a beautiful cozy log cabin with a roaring fire in the fireplace, a hot cup of coffee or cocoa, relaxing and looking at a gorgeous view (like this of Lake Superior) through a picture window (may as well dream big).
So I started digging into my stash to find just the right fabric for the snowy background, water, the islands, and trees…
I started with a rough sketch on paper the size I wanted. Then using my light box, I traced the basic shapes of the lake, hill, trees, and skyline in pencil. I got out my soft pastels and some fabric markers and my fusible web and powder.
I thought I might try my “Bo-Nash Fuse It” powder to help keep the fabrics in place. I sprinkled some powder between the fabrics and pressed to fuse them down. It’s the first time I’ve tried it, and I like it. It gives the fabric a lighter hand than the iron-on double sided fusible web and it keeps everything in place until I can stitch it down.
Does your studio get as messy as mine when you’re “in the zone” creating? I see some cleaning up in my future.
In the photo below, I’m adding the islands to the horizon, the water, and some birch trees. I used double sided fusible web on the trees, fusing it to the back of the tree fabric before cutting.
Now it’s time to use my soft pastels to shade and highlight to add some depth. Shading the trees, and under the trunks.
Oops, that pine tree needs redoing. And I think I’ll use a finer point marker for the additional twigs and branches. It’s a process…trial and error…to get it to where I like it.
Now the branches look better, and I like this pine tree better too. I think highlighting the upper water with a touch of white & pink helped and using a darker turquoise pastel helped to blend the two portions of water together.
I couldn’t resist making a mini art quilt using similar colors and scene. For the mini, I created the background on the batting/backing, and quilt that first.
And then I added the foreground and quilted that. Here I’m choosing different color thread for quilting the lake & snow.
Quilting (free motion & walking foot) is done. Here are a few closeups…
And here’s how the little mini turned out (only 5 x 7 inches)…
And here’s couple more photos (below) of the larger version again…
Since they were both done start to finish within the challenge dates, either one qualifies for the Project Quilting challenge. I think I’ll enter the larger one. Wish me luck!
And they’ll both be listed for sale in my Etsy shop soon.