Mellow Yellow Organizer

Mellow Yellow Organizer

So I’m enjoying a few days on a quilting retreat at the lovely Jones Mansion Retreat Center. I always enjoy a few days away to relax, refresh, regenerate with a few quilting friends (new and old). I always get a lot of projects done (or at least started) and I always get inspired by my friends and their projects. So much creativity and talent!

This week I was in a room I’ve never had before — the Ivy Room. Isn’t it beautiful?

I’ve been able to enter small art quilts in the first two challenges of Project Quilting Season 9, and made woven fabric into a cell phone bag for the third challenge. But between all that was going on this week, plus packing and organizing for the retreat, I didn’t seem to have time for this challenge.

Then, today, the wonderful owner of the mansion gave us her own pattern and her tutoring skills (she’s an expert quilter and seamstress) to make an organizing mat to go under our sewing machines. I ran down to the local fabric store and found the perfect fabric … one with yellow measuring tape, and the other with spools of thread–many of them yellow.

Isn’t it the cutest?

After sewing it together, I added some YELLOW rick-rack and pink binding with a serpentine stitch.

Here it is…ta-da!

It’ll keep all my needed gadgets right by me and help keep things organized… Hmmmm…it has lots of YELLOW, and finding all my sewing gadgets and goodies at the ready makes me MELLOW! So … I know it’s a bit of a stretch, but I entered it in the “Mellow Yellow” challenge for Project Quilting Season 9 this week!❤️. I hope you’ll click on the link and vote for your favorite quilted entries. Voting begins Sunday (Feb 25) through Friday (Mar 2, 2018).

The mat will be great to bring along to retreats and classes, and it can do double-duty as a dust cover when I’m away from my machine… (which is never for long)!

Super cool. Thanks so much Lori!

For more info on other fabulous quilting (and sewing) retreats at the Jones Mansion In Historic Mineral Point, Wisconsin, see my earlier blog here Or visit their website here. You can even rent out the space for your very own retreat with friends.

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

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Project Quilting 9.3: Bold & Brave, Fabric Weaving Technique

Project Quilting 9.3: Bold & Brave, Fabric Weaving Technique

So for challenge #3 of this ninth season of Project Quilting we got the words “bold & brave”.

It was interesting to me that Kim had mentioned the new wefty needle process for weaving strips of fabric together. I’ve been wanting to try that technique, and now would be the perfect week to do it.

It’s something new, so I’ll be BRAVE by getting out of my comfort zone. And I’ll use some of my BOLD hand dyed fabrics in bright red, pink, with a bit of yellow throw in. And for the background, I’ll add some of my hand dyed teal greens. All the strips will go beautifully with a fat quarter of Tula Pink’s BOLD kitty fabric That I simply love.

The first challenge I had was that I don’t own that cool wefty needle…which, btw, I DO intend to purchase in the very near future. But because we’re expecting a snow storm today, I didn’t feel like trecking out to find it and online isn’t fast enough (I want it now!), So I found a tool from my old clothing sewing days that might work. It’s intended to help you insert elastic in your waistband. For today, it will just have to do.

The next challenge was finding my Clover 1/2″ bias tape maker. I knew I had an entire set of them somewhere. But where? A-hah, I found them…in every size imaginable, EXCEPT the 1/2 inch size. So, again not wanting to venture out, I decided to go with smaller strips and use my 1/4 inch bias tape make instead. I may as well be bold AND brave (or is that “stupid”)?

I decided on a modern box weaving pattern that I can use with the Tula Pink fabric to make some kind of a bag. I liked the fresh, modern look. Of course it’s one of the more difficult weaves … and right off the bat I wove the first 5 rows wrong and had to take them out and start over…but I CAN DO this (be bold, be brave, be courageous!!)…be persistent!

Here I’m beginning my first try…no, no, no

And here I’m re-weaving them on my second and more successful try…

Ahhhh!  Much better…at least I hope so. You know the old saying…”measure twice, cut once”? Well in this case it’s “count twice before weaving in the next strip”!

…notice the cute little “boxes” that are formed in the weave? …love it!

Isn’t it cute with my Tula Pink kitty fabric?

Now to decide what to make…hmmmmm.

I looked through every pattern and book I own, and decided on the “snack sack” from Atkinson Designs, “Big Bags, Little Bags”. I’m had to make some changes (not quite big enough) and I wanted to adapt it as a small bag to carry my cell phone & keys (cross body  strap) so I can grab my phone & keys when I take Snicks for a walk. …perfect!

Oops…forgot to insert the rings BEFORE sewing the loops onto the bag! Yikies! Good thing I could open up the rings and slide each through their fabric loop…

Here’s the inside (lining side) of the cell phone bag … it’s quilted to the woven front, French side seams done, & bottom sewn & zigzagged…no batting needed, and it’s ready to turn right side out. and bind the top edge.

Snicks approves, but was not happy to be woken up from her nap in the sunshine to see it.  She’s not overly enthusiastic.

TulaBag2

I’m happy with it.

My phone fits perfectly inside the little bag, and I can attach a ring to add my keys.

TulaBag3

Found the perfect button in my stash!

 

TulaBag1

This is the photo I think I’ll use for PR

I’m done early!  Voting for Project Quilting Season 9, Challenge #3 starts SUNDAY AFTERNOON, FEB 11 through FRIDAY, FEB 16.  I hope you’ll come vote for your ten favorite quilted objects (and of course I hope one of your votes is for mine).

Oh, BTW, I DID order the Wefty Needle from Tara’s ETSY SHOP: WEFTYneedle.  I’m sure her tool will make my next project easier and faster.  Can’t wait to get it and try weaving a different pattern–only next time I’ll do it with 1/2 inch or 1 inch folded strips instead of 1/4 inch.  …that reminds me…where IS that 1/2 inch bias tape maker of mine??

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

(Madison WI)

Project Quilting 9.2 Entry: Mosaic Falling Leave

Project Quilting 9.2 Entry: Mosaic Falling Leave

I’m still intrigued by the idea of fabric mosaics, so I thought I’d carry that idea a step further into this week’sProject Quilting 9.2 “Triangulation“. It’s risky… because I’m not sure this will work–it could be a huge failure, but I think it’s worth a try.

Instead of cutting the square fabric tiles,like I did in my last post, this time I’m thinking of stepping it up a notch by cutting the tiny squares into even tinier triangles and placing them onto an overall gridded pattern to replicate leaves or vines cascading down in shades of green and brown … very organic, very arts & crafts (which I love). I happened upon a beautiful tiled wall and that was the inspiration for this idea.  Plus, it gave me a good reason to use up some of the lovely fabrics I hand dyed.

I’ll start by drawing a grid on paper to use as a guide for placement, and cover that with the Steam-a-Seam 2–with one uncovered sticky side up. I can use my 3/8″ slotted template to cut the squares & then cut them in half corner-to-corner to make lots and lots (and lots) of triangles. I don’t want the triangles too large, since my Steam-a-Seam 2 sheet that I happen to have on hand is only 9×11 inches or so…and I only have a few days to get it done–the challenge deadline is fast approaching (hope I make it).

I wonder if the idea will translate well as I progress filling in the grid one by one with different values of green…and then brown…? Hmmmmm.

Little by little, one triangle at a time, it’s beginning to take shape…

It almost looks like a forest to me at this point.

I’m thinking a charcoal gray Kona cotton fabric will work best for the background “grout”. Black might be too dark and get lost in the top half of the quilt, and white might be too much of a contrast. I’ll have to audition a few grays to get the right one.

After ironing the quilt sandwich together with batting and backing fabric, I’m off to my sewing machine to stitch between the “tiles” with matching gray cotton thread.

That’s done!  And I’ve added the border (simple gray).  So I’m on the home stretch! Time to do a little hand sewing on the binding…I always save the last bit of my assortment of Aurifil threads in a special place for my hand sewing…

I love my little doll pincushion that my friend brought me back from her trip to Liberty of London…(I almost hate to stick her with pins!)

What do you think about it Snicks? … too tired to comment?

Done, done, done…with a few hours to spare…whew!  Time to get a square photo uploaded for the contest.  Since it’s not square, I hope this one will be the best choice…

Please stop by at the website for Project Quilting Season 9: Triangulation to vote for your 10 favorite quilts”!

Voting starts Sunday afternoon (January 28, 2018) and ends on Saturday (February 3, 2018).

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Mad City Mini Mosaic Quilt For the Project Quilting Challenge: Hometown Proud

Mad City Mini Mosaic Quilt For the Project Quilting Challenge: Hometown Proud

It’s the middle of winter up here in Wisconsin, and cabin fever makes us do some wacky things. Waaaay back in the freezing February of 1979, the victorious Pail & Shovel party leaders fulfilled their student campaign promise to bring wackiness back to the UW-Madison campus. They built the head, crown, and torch of Lady Liberty and assembled it on top of the frozen ice on Lake Mendota. What a site! It created the illusion that the Statue of Liberty was rising out of (or sinking into) our frozen lake. It was a pretty amazing.

Since then, our Lady Liberty has suffered a fire, vandalism, and the effects of aging, only showing up (with a lot of reconstruction) a few winters over the years. So to get a glimpse of her on the frozen lake is pretty awesome. And really lifts your spirits in the dreaded cold post-holiday winter up here.

I think it was around February 2009, when the Hoofers (a UW student organization) took on the task of re-assembling it, that our Lady Liberty gloriously appeared again, not far from where I worked on the UW campus. So, during one of our lunch breaks on a beautiful cold but sunny day, , my co-worker and I just had to hike down to the lake, walk out onto the ice, and see it up close. Awesome!

Day One: When I heard this week’s Project Quilting challenge was “Hometown Proud”, I knew just what I was going to create! I brought up my Google file of photos of that day and found one to use as my inspiration!

Nothing says “Mad-Town Madison” and hometown pride better (except maybe the 1,000 pink flamingos on Bascom Hill in the springtime…LOL!)

I’ve been experimenting with a fabric mosaic technique (see my earlier blog post), so got out my stash of batiks in as many shades of blues and grays that I could find, and cut them up into 3/8th inch squares to fill in my sketch of our Lady Liberty.

To add a bit more realism to the scene, I cut silhouettes of a photographer and friend out of the darkest blue batik I could find, and decided to create the crown of the statue with fabrics cut to shape too, rather than using just squares.

Day Two: in the photos above all the bits of fabric have been fused down onto a white background (note the parchment paper to save my iron from a sticky mess). Then I added a layer of tulle over the top of all the fabric pieces to help keep them in place while machine quilting.

Next up…layering it on top of the batting & backing, and adding a border or two. I think I may get this project done in time to link it up for the contest! Yay!

Day Three: It took a lot of fabric auditioning time to find the right borders from my fabric stash, but I finally found something I liked.

Next came machine quilting. I wanted to emphasize the tiles by quilting between them, but also quilt in the sculpted face of the statue with Aurifil 50 wt grey thread.

In the photo above I’m going back and forth over the facial features with grey thread and free motion quilting,

Day Four: After adding the binding and hanging corners and hand sewing the binding to the back, I felt it still needed a bit more definition between the statue and the background.  So I went over some of the stitches with black Aurifil thread, giving it a bit more depth…

LadyL10

I think the black really made the statute’s features show up from a distance…

LadyL9

And the black helped define the statue against the ice and sky backgrounds…

Here’s some photos of the finished fabric mosaic…

LadyL7

A closeup of the “ice”

LadyL8

And last but not least, the photo I’m going to uplink to the First Challenge of the Project Quilting Season 9…

MadCity Lady Liberty Lake Mendota

MadCity Lady Liberty Lake Mendota

Voting begins Sunday, January 15, 2018 and ends the following Saturday.  I hope you’ll stop by and vote for your favorites (of course, I’m hoping one of your favorites will be mine).  🙂

UPDATE: VOTING IS CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who voted for my quilt–I really appreciate it. I came in 3rd — no prize, but I’m very pleased to be third out of 113 entries!❤️. And my name will be entered with the other quilters into the final drawing at the end of the season. Yay!

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Knitting Baby Hats for Charity—Tiny Hearts Pattern

Knitting Baby Hats for Charity—Tiny Hearts Pattern

When the winter months bring subzero winds chills and the snow is blowing outside, I love to have a knitting project next to my easy chair to work on while staying cozy warm watching a movie or catching up on a series. A wonderful quick and easy project to knit is a baby hat for charity.

I heard on our local news that the American Heart Association was sending out a call to all knitters and crocheters to join with them to celebrate National Heart Month by making red baby hats for them to deliver to newborns and preemies in our local hospitals this February. It touched my heart and I knew I needed to find some red yarn, knitting needles, and get to work.

I found lots of baby hat patterns online. I knew I loved the soft feel of the light yarns (#3). But they called for red hats, and it’s not easy to find light weight yarns in red! They’re mostly pastels for infants. But I was lucky in my search and found some red light weight yarn at my local Hobby Lobby (called “I Love This Yarn” Sport Weight), and was able to use their 40%off coupon (score)! Let the fun begin…

Next I found a basic pattern online. It wasn’t quite what I wanted (a little too plain), so I changed the pattern here and there…adding stripes of varying sizes. I made some of them in sizes for preemies and some for small newborns.

AVERAGE BABY HEAD MEASURMENTS BY SIZE

• Preemie head size: 9-inch circumference and 4 inches tall

• Newborn size: 11-inch circumference and 5 inches tall

• 0-3 month size: 13-inch circumference and 6 inches tall

Each time I made one, I changed the pattern a bit more. And finally, my favorite hat emerged…it was the one with the tiny hearts stripe. They’re cute, but they’re also oh so very easy to knit!

After all this experimentation, I came up with this basic knit pattern (shown below) that’s easy to make and features that sweet little stripe of tiny red hearts using “light” yarn (#3). The size was perfect for a preemie or small newborn (about 10 – 10-1/2 inch brim).

This second variation adds a stripe to the top and bottom of the hearts row.

By using knitting worsted, medium weight yarn (#4), this same pattern turned out to be newborn size (12-13 inch brim).

Heres a comparison photo below (left knitting worsted #4; right light yarn #3).

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Tiny Hearts Knit Baby Hat Pattern for Charity

Size: 10-1/2 inches around & 5-1/2 to 6 inches high (small newborn/large preemie)

Supplies 1 skein #3 Light yarn in main color red (A)

Several yds of yarn in contrasting color for hearts white (B)

Sz 5 needles (I like to start with round needles), but you could use dpn

Sz 7 dpn (then I switch to double point needles)

Basic Pattern With main color A & size 5 needles, CO 56 sts & join into a round

Rnds 1-8: k1, p1 (about 2”) ribbing

Switch to size 7 needles and continue

Rnds 9-10: k main color (A)

Rnds 11-12 k contrasting color (B)

Rnd 13: k1 (A), k1 (B), etc. around.

Rnd 14-15: k contrasting color (B)

Rnd 16-27: k each round (12 rows) about 4-1/2” from beginning

Decreasing Rnd 28:(k5, k2tog) around (48 st remain)

Rnd 29 (& all odd rows through end): k around Rnd 30:(k4, k2tog) around (40 st remain)

Rnd 32:(k3, k2tog) around (32 st remain)

Rnd 34:(k2, k2tog) around (24 st remain)

Rnd 36:(k1, k2tog) around (16 st remain)

Rnd 38:(k2tog) around (8 st remain)

Break yarn & weave in ends.

Try different variations: add a white stripe above and below the row of hearts.

Use the pattern above through row 8, then

Rnd 9-10: k A

Rnd 11-12: k B

Rnd 13-14: k A

Rnd 15-16: k B

Rnd 17: (k1 A, k1 B) repeat

Rnd 18-19: k B

Rnd 20-21: k A

Rnd 22-23: k B

Rnd 24-38: Continue same as above pattern in main color A

You’re done!

Experiment with different sizes of yarns and needles to make the size you want (according to the head size chart). Try adding more stripes, or several different colors.

All my little knitted red hats have been sent off to AHA. I hope some newborn little boys and girls and their families will be very happy with them and will enjoy getting them.

And I hope you’ll use this pattern to make baby hats for your favorite charity. Or maybe make one extra to give to your friend who’s a new mom or dad, or to a new grandma or grandpa.

Until next time.

Happy Quilting … and Happy Knitting!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Making a Mosaic With Fabric

Making a Mosaic With Fabric

I was looking through my Quilting Arts magazines and found an article by Cheryl Lynch where she shared her technique to make mini mosaic quilts.

I’ve always been drawn to mosaics, whether they’re made in glass, tile, paint, or fabric. It’s something about their detail I guess…so I was intrigued with the idea of making a mosaic pattern out of fabric.

After a little searching, I found her Etsy shop online and decided the best way to learn her technique was to purchase one of her kits, and the cutting template.

Photo of mosaic quilting kit

It arrived fast, and I was so excited to get started. Her kit included the instructions, lots and lots of batik fabric squares (to cut up for the “tiles”), a sheet of Steam a Seam II, tulle, a light batik for the “grout”, and full size pattern. It was hard choosing which of her darling patterns to try, but I decided on the bicycle pattern (I love bicycling). The plastic slotted template I bought in addition to her kit helps in cutting the 3/8″ square “tiles” with your rotary cutter. I tried doing it with a regular rotary ruler, and you can do it–but believe me, the slotted specialized template makes it so much easier.

The first step is to cut the variety of batik fabrics (by color) into tiny tiles, and organize them by color. Variety is the key. Batiks really help…not only do they provide the variation, the color permeates through to the back of the fabric so there’s no “wrong side”…so you never have to worry which side is up!

After sliding her master pattern under a sheet of Steam a Seam II (with one sticky exposed and facing side up) I secured them with thumbtacks to a foam core base. Using the pattern underneath as my guide, I placed each individual fabric square with a tweezers on top of the base following the outline of the pattern and then filled each section in…being sure to leave a little space in between each “tile” to let the fabric “grout” show through (the light batik fabric is added later and will show through these spaces).

It was a bit time-consuming, BUT I actually found the process relaxing and almost therapeutic and satisfying …kind of like putting a puzzle together or coloring in a coloring book. I also enjoyed the fact that it was an easy project to work on for a while, step away to do other things, and then come back and continue.

Isn’t it amazing how much progress you can make on a project (whether it’s sewing, quilting, or even cleaning a closet)… if you can carve out 20 minutes here and there throughout your day?

The next step was covering it with parchment (to protect the iron) and fusing it to the light batik “grout” fabric. Then layering it on top of a quilt sandwich (batting & backing) and adding a piece of light-colored tulle before adding the 2 narrow borders and machine quilting.

It’s hard deciding on the borders (see photos above)! But you know, I don’t think you can make a bad choice when you’re auditioning fabrics for your borders. You intuitively know when something really isn’t working. And when I came down to the last few choices…I think any of them would have worked. It’s just a matter of going with your gut, …so I finally decided on a grey batik and a medium brown batik–both from my stash.

Next up was machine quilting through all the layers. You could free motion quilt, but for this piece I was able to follow the grout lines pretty easily using my walking foot. I found a cotton Aurafil thread in a matching color and outlined the main bicycle, then continued along the horizontal lines of the background.

To finish up, I added a couple of folded squares (triangles) to the top corners of the back of the mini quilt for easy hanging with a thin wooden dowel. For more info on how to do that, see my earlier blog here. And finished it off with matching binding.

MosaicBike3IMG_6996MosaicBike6MosaicBike1

I hope you’ll give mini mosaic quilting a try.  (Or if you’d rather purchase this finished art quilt, it’s now for sale in my Etsy Shop.)

For more information on Cheryl Lynch and her technique, click on the link to her website below. She has some marvelous “how to” videos!

http://www.cheryllynchquilts.com/mini-mosaic-quilts.html

I can’ wait to start a new mini mosaic art quilt–using my own design. 

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Tuesday Tips: Accuquilt Die Cutting

Tuesday Tips: Accuquilt Die Cutting

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.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all my friends in the U.S.

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts