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!💕

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

Project Quilting Challenge 10.5 Words

Project Quilting Challenge 10.5 Words

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trees6

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

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

Trees5a

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

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

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Fear-less — Pixel Play Project Quilting 10.4 Challenge

Fear-less — Pixel Play Project Quilting 10.4 Challenge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The printed pattern sheets taped together

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

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

Half-inch squares of batiks sorted by value

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

Original print out helps keep me on track

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

Strips of paper help keep me in the right place

Superior & Aurifil threads for quilting

Closeup of free motion quilting

Closeup of the owl eye

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

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

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

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

My Favorite Iron for Quilting

My Favorite Iron for Quilting

One New Year resolution for 2019 is to organize leftover scraps, so I decided to spend a little time this morning ironing the mess. It just makes it so much easier to find what I need. That made me think about how much I love my iron…and about sharing that with you.

You may remember the earlier blog about the problems I had with the Rowenta Pro Steam Iron. I desperately needed a new iron. There are so many irons out there, I had no idea where to start.

Then I remembered the iron I used while I was at the quilting retreat at The Jones Mansion …a gravity fed iron. It was by far the BEST iron I’d ever used.

The model I decided to purchase was the Hot Steam Gravity Fed Iron, and I ordered it through Wawak.com sewing supplies (right around $100, including the iron, hot plate, hose, & water tank).

It was easy to hang the water tank from a plant hanger I attached to the wall above my window. And it uses tap water with a demineralizer (resin) that only needs replacing a couple times a year. It heats up fast, creates nice flat seams, and the on-demand steam by pressing the thumb switch is wonderful.

The only downside is that it’s not very portable. Because of the water tank, it is easiest to keep it in one spot.

Here’s the water tank…

And my lovely iron…I’ve had it for almost 5 years now and still love it! ❤️

Paired with my homemade large ironing board surface and my new Wooly ironing mat, I’m a very happy camper (or I should say happy quilter)!

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING,

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Project Quilting 10.3: EQ8 and French Inspiration

Project Quilting 10.3: EQ8 and French Inspiration

This is the third challenge in Season 10 of Project Quilting, and the only rule is that it’s “Bigger than a breadbox” Wikipedia says they’re usually 16″ x 8″ or so, and that’s the MINIMUM size for the completed piece to meet this week’s challenge” … OK, I can do that.

I’ve been wanting to challenge myself by:

  1. Using a small French linen printed panel I bought at the Madison Quilt Expo
  2. Improving my piecing ability
  3. Designing it completely on EQ8 (Electric Quilt software)

First I got out every red & beige fabric I could find from my stash. I love the fat quarter pack I recently found at the Craftsy site (which is now Bluprint), called Boundless Ruby Rue. Isn’t it beautiful fabric?

Next I opened up my EQ8 software and created a quilt the size of my center panel (finished 6×6 inches) and experimented by adding one border after another until I reached the required size. EQ8 lets you import pdf images from fabric companies (I found my Ruby Rhu online & downloaded) so I could “paint” the blocks on my pattern draft with my actual fabric! And could scan the panel so it shows ad well. So cool.

I printed out a first draft the quilt (full color & one just outline), and rotary cutting instructions (see above & below).

After adding the first two borders (above), I did a little tweaking on the pattern to get the next borders right.

Piecing 4-patches this tiny isn’t easy. There are so many seams, even a slight error on piecing really adds up to a disaster! I found it helpful to “square up” each tiny 4-patch before continuing to piece the row.

It helped enormously to do some checking every step along the way! You wouldn’t think it, but even a sliver makes a difference (and I can use all the help I can get).

Almost there! All I need is one more border. I had just enough of the light rose stripe to finish the last row of 4 patches…so I’ll need to choose a different fabric for the last border.

Here’s the final draft of the pattern for my wall hanging done on my EQ8 software…

And here’s the actual wall hanging…it ended up to be 20 inches square.

I couldn’t bare to part with it, and I think I found the perfect spot for it on my kitchen wall…next to my Cappuccino maker.

But first…coffee! LOL. (My sister brought me this sign the last time she visited…my morning for sure!)

I’m entering this wall hanging in this week’s Project Quilting Challenge Season 10, challenge #3. Stop by their website to see this week’s entries and to vote for you favorites (hope one of them is mine, #25 hint, hint).

Voting starts Sunday afternoon, Feb. 10 -& runs through Friday, Feb. 15, 2019.

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

UPDATE: Voting has closed. Thanks so much for your votes!

I didn’t win, but a very talented quilter, fellow Etsy Quiltsy Team member, and good friend Sally Manke did! Very well deserved. congrats Sally! Mine came in at #29 of 136 entries

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts