Bright Poppy Table Topper for Vibrant & Vivacious

Bright Poppy Table Topper for Vibrant & Vivacious

It’s the very last challenge week for Project Quilting Season 11 (2020). A big shout out to Kim Lapecek (Persimmons Dreams);and her cohort Trisha Franklin (AKA Quilt Chicken) for making this challenge possible, and for cheering us up during a very unusual and difficult time.

They couldn’t have chosen a better challenge theme “Vibrant and Vivacious”. Working with bright colors was just what we all need to distract us from all that’s going on and to help cheer us on.

I chose a border print of red poppies from my stash. So bright and cheerful, the red and orange really pop against the black background. I used a 60 degree triangle ruler to make this pieced table topper.

Loved making it so much, I plan to make a table runner as well.

So what are you doing during this unprecedented time at home to keep your spirits up? A walk in the park? Cooking up a new recipe? Reading a new book? Why not get some colorful fabrics out of your stash and create something fun and cheerful.

Until next time, Happy Quilting!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Easy Preemie Baby Quilt from Jelly Roll Strips

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.

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Charity Quilts from Leftover Blocks

Charity Quilts from Leftover Blocks

Every year I like to make little quilts or knit tiny hats for Mikayla’s Grace. So when they put out an urgent request for specific needs, I signed up to fill the need for 10 medium size baby quilts to support families with small infants in the NICU (Neonatal ICU).

I had some leftover quilt blocks that worked perfectly for the center of each quilt. The “Fantasy Folk Art” fabrics by Contempo (Bernatex) are so beautiful, and I had enough coordinating fabric for the extra borders..

It’s a snap to figure out the math using EQ8 (Electric Quilt)…make a one-block layout and add borders until you reach the desired size. So easy.

Each center square finished about 8 inches, so by adding a 2 inch (2-1/2″ cut) white border around it, and then a 4 inch (4-1/2″ cut) border from a coordinating print, they turned out just the right size…about 20 inches square.

For some I made the second smaller border of a coordinating print and added a third white border, slightly larger than the first one.

Each baby quilt was finished with a soft cotton flannel backing, attached by sewing the edges right sides together and leaving an opening large enough to turn it right side out. I hand-stitched the opening closed.

A simple “stitch in the ditch” with my walking food and Aurifil cotton thread near each border was all the quilting necessary.

My hope is that these quilts will encourage and comfort those families going through the emotional stress and heartache of having their tiny baby in the NICU.

Do you have any extra blocks from your projects? Why not consider using them in a baby quilt for Mikayla’s Grace, or for a charity close to your heart?

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Twister Heart Wallhanging—Put a Heart on It

Twister Heart Wallhanging—Put a Heart on It

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.

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Janr

Mulberry Patch Quilts

PS: Since it’s snowing like crazy here this morning in Wisconsin, I decided to hunker down at home and added some more free motion quilting to it.

Project Quilting -Team Colors

Project Quilting -Team Colors

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.

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Project Quilting…Advent Calendar

Project Quilting…Advent Calendar

When I found out the theme of this week’s Project Quilting challenge: NOTABLY NUMERIC, absolutely nothing came to mind. Then I remembered a kit I bought at the Madison Quilt Expo a couple years ago. It’s for an advent calendar wallhanging designed by Leanne & Kaytlyn Anderson of Whole Country Caboodle.

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.

All done.

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.

Until next time, Happy Quilting!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Quilt Studio Makeover: Design Wall

Quilt Studio Makeover: Design Wall

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.

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

PS: I’ve been asked about the project on the design wall in the photos. It’s a pattern by The Pattern Basket called “Star Drops” and it’s alot of fun to make. It’s made of layer cake (10″ squares) and mine is a Moda fabric by Robin Pickens called “Dandi-Annie”. Love it!💕

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

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