Scrapbuster of a Scrap Quilt

Scrapbuster of a Scrap Quilt

It’s the last challenge of the year (“Scraptastic”) for season 9 of Project Quilting, and if you’ve been following along you know I’ve entered every challenge this year so far. However, for this one I’m really in a time crunch. I think my real challenge will be to finish it in time! The entire quilted item must be started and completely finished (yup, quilted & bound) within one short week.

I’ve got bins and bins full of leftover fabric from years of sewing. Some are so old, I think they might be considered “vintage “…maybe you’ll recognize a few of these prints. I gathered my beiges, browns, threw in a few reds, greens, and blues, and made a plethora of half square triangles.

As I was pinning them up on my design wall, secondary stars began to appear in the pattern…so I purposely went back and placed light contrasting hst in white or beige in those areas to help the stars shine.

You really need to stand back to see them.

It’s a very simple pattern once you lay the hst and squares out to make one block at a time…

It’s a 16 block made up of hst and squares, and depending on where you place the lights and darks, it creates the stretched star.

Here I’ve done a little better job of alternating the beige and white stars. Each block measures 12-1/2 inches (12 inches finished). It’s a great stash buster, but as you can see on the table, half square triangles seem to multiply like bunnies when you’re not looking! The clock is ticking, so to get done in time, I’d better stop now and use those extras in another project.

I found a great backing in my stash, and here it is on my trusty Tin Lizzy ready to quilt. I’m planning to do straight lines around each of the stars and then fill in with meandering and loops between the stars with swirls inside the centers…leaving the star points unquilted so they pop.

I decided on a faux flange binding.

And here it is…finished just in time!

Hope you’ll stop by Project Quilting and vote for your favorites Mine is #50, hint-hint). Voting begins Sunday, March 25, 2018 (I think voting runs through Friday).

It’s now for sale in my shop here.

Until next time,

Happy Quilting!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

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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

Tuesday Tips: One Block Wonder

Tuesday Tips: One Block Wonder

Have you ever made a “One Block Wonder”?  To make one you place 6 layers of the same fabric on top of each other lining up the patterns exactly, and then cut them into triangles then sew each group of 6 triangles together into a hexagon.  It’s so much fun!

I’ve discovered a wonderful internet site with a free tool to help you in your design process:  You can find it here:

http://oneblockwonder.com/design-helper/#

Once you’re at the site, you’ll see this screen under the tab “design helper”.

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Just upload a photo of your fabric by pressing “Choose image” and finding it on your computer…

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Then press “MAKE HEXIES”, and this is what you’ll see!

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The software magically changes the fabric into what the OBW quilt might be!  It’s set at the usual 3.75 inch triangle size and 40” wide fabric, but you can change those parameters if you need to.

I gave it a try with a fabric I recently made into a OBW lap size quilt. Here’s the fabric:

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After uploading the jpeg, I pressed “make hexies” and this is what appeared…isn’t it fun?

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The first screen shot is random, but this second screen shot was made when I pressed “by color”.  Then press “snapshot” to get a jpeg that you can save to your computer (right click).

I realized that the photo I uploaded showed less than 40″ width of my fabric, so I tried changing the parameters tothe size of the fabric on the photograph.  Let’s see if it changed the outcome:

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To compare the program’s outcome to my actual fabric quilt, here’s a photo of my actual OBW quilt on my design wall in my sewing studio…

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And here’s the same OBW quilt after it was quilted and finished:

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Doesn’t look exactly as the program’s projection, but it’s not too far off.  I had an inkling that this fabric would work, but wouldn’t it be great to use the program to confirmed it?

In some ways the program spoils the surprise–which is half the fun.  But at the same time I think it helps you decide before you buy if the fabric will work.  …And when you need to buy several yards of fabric (quite an expense),it’s nice to be sure it will look good and work well..

Here are some more examples showing some fabrics I have and how they might look.  The original jpeg of the fabric is in the upper left-hand side (note they’ve shown where the cuts will be for triangles), and the lower section shows how they might look when sewn together…

KaffeFassettLotusLeaf  KonaBay LAV1-09  199STrendtexFabr

The first is a Kaffe Fassett Lotus Leaf, the second is a Kona Bay fabric, and the third is a fabric by TrendTex that I’ve had for ages and I’m surprised how well it works.

I’m not sure about the width of fabric in the photo I uploaded. For example, if the fabric is 40″wide, but the photo only shows 20″ of it, I should probably change the parameters to 20 inch width? I’m not sure, but one thing I do know –it’s a lot of fun to play with.  And it’s a great tool for getting some idea of how your fabric might work as a OBW.

For example, here’s a fabric I KNOW won’t work well –it’s too much of the same colors, doesn’t have enough movement, and the print is too small.  The photo I took was of 20”, so I changed the width of fabric in the website program to 20”.

Let’s see what the program does with it…

PhenFall

YUP, as you can see–although it’s pretty,  it doesn’t really work.  It’s too much the same.

So why not take a moment to give the new website tool a try?  Take a photo of your fabric, and play.  Or if you don’t have a photo, go to their “Menu” tab where they have some sample fabrics to try.  Have fun…

Until next time,

HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Project Quilting Challenge 5: Through the Eyes of a Child

Project Quilting Challenge 5: Through the Eyes of a Child

We’re in Challenge 5 of PROJECT QUILTING (Season 7)…”Through the Eyes of a Child”.

I remember when my boys were little and we’d go hunting for bugs.  Off we’d go with a butterfly net and a magnifying glass to find as many different bugs (and other critters) as we could.  It always amazed them to see the small world open up with the magnifying glass.  So I created this baby quilt “Under the Magnifying Glass” for the contest this week.

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First I found this wonderful turquoise fabric in my stash that features bugs, frogs, salamanders, dragonflies, and turtles and a lot more.  To make it look as if the magnifying glass was actually zooming in on one section of the fabric, I enlarged it on my copier by 300% and traced a pattern.

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I transferred the pieces of the master pattern onto Steam-a-Seam-2, making sure to turn the pattern backwards before I traced it onto the fusible so it would turn out the right way around in the end.

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The magnifying glass was black fabric cut with a circle template—the handle was eyeballed and cut out.  By  using a lighter background within the circle I thought it made it stand out more.  Everything was fused in place with the heat of my iron.

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Adding the batting & backing, I machine stitched the pieces in place.

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And added a few hand stitches to accent the bugs, butterfly, and put a happy face on the turtle.

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The 3D butterfly was made by fusing fabric to both sides of the Steam-a-Seam-2, pinking the edges, and stitching it in place with a little tuck.

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And here’s the finished quilt…with the polka dot borders it turned out 30 x 34 inches.

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It’s machine washable, or could be used as a wall hanging in a child’s room, and is for sale in my Etsy Shop.

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I tried the “flange binding” — it adds a very thin faux piping accent and is so easy to do—it’s super easy to machine stitch into place.

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I hope you’ll come by the Persimon Dreams blog by Kim Lapacek to vote for your favorites.  You get to vote for 5 items (hope mine’s one of them), starting this SUNDAY (MARCH 6) and runs through March 11, 2016).

UPDATE:  The voting is over, and my entry was #7 out of 38 entries.  Although I didn’t win, everyone was a “winner” since we all won a pdf of a new messenger bag pattern from StudioCherie!  Thank you so much Cherie!  AND on top of that, my name was picked for a prize from Persimon Dreams — a beautiful charm pack by MODA called Simply Colorful II.

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Thanks so much Kim!

  
Oh, did I mention I got to talk with Kim at last week’s Sun Prairie Quilt Show?

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

Project Quilting Challenge #2: Seasons

Project Quilting Challenge #2: Seasons

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So this week the Project Quilting Challenge is “Seasons”.  I immediately thought about a sweet little pattern I had purchased just a few weeks ago for a wreath made with pinwheels.

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First I found all the fall like fabrics I could find in my stash.  I chose to “torture” myself by using the teeny tiny “Itty Bitty” Primitive Pinwheel Template that’s only 1-1/2″ square.

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I cut a b’zillion little squares out of my fabrics and arranged them in a pattern.

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Sewed them into columns,…and then sewed the columns together.  Looks like it would be done, doesn’t it?

But no…

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I take a deep breath, and then cut out tiny squares with the template and my small rotary cutter…

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This is what it looked like in progress.

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And yes, all the pieces are teeny tiny.

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With a lot of seams!!

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Here I’m doing some quilting with my walking foot on my domestic sewing machine.

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And it’s done, along with a striped binding.

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I finished it just in time to upload for the contest!  Just in time 🙂

Voting begins Sunday, January 24, 2016, after 12:00 noon CDT.  I hope you’ll come and vote for your favorites!

UPDATE:  The voting is done, and my wall hanging came in #7 out of the 54 quilts entered–no prize, but I’m very happy.  Thanks so much if you voted for me!

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

 

Finishing the Border Collie Wall Quilt

Finishing the Border Collie Wall Quilt

Dog2So a few months back I posted how I tried paper piecing the Border Collie Dog Wall Quilt, and this month I finished quilting it.

First, decisions on which color of variegated threads to choose.

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Dog6Then deciding what to quilt–I decided to follow the contours of the dog’s face, and add texture to his fur.

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The background was free-hand, free-flowing feathers.  They were actually a lot of fun to do.

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And it’s all done!  …and listed in my Etsy Shop.

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My quilting goals for 2016 are:

  1. to finish all my unfinished projects that are almost done.
  2. to focus on creating artistic quilts
  3. to enter more of my quilts in shows, contests (for fun).

What are your quilting goals this year? …to take a new class? …learn a new technique?  …finish those unfinished projects?  I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Want to wish you all a Very MERRY CHRISTMAS!  And glorious, peaceful New Year!

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts

 

 

 

Using “Skitch” for Machine Quilting Ideas

Using “Skitch” for Machine Quilting Ideas

You’ve finished the beautiful pieced quilt top, have the backing all ready, and then it hits you—how am I going to machine quilt this?  There are so many options.

I’ve found a way to “play” with different ideas by using my iPad and an app called “Skitch”.

Skitch is an app that allows you to snap something (a photo, etc.) and mark it up, then save it.

It’s available for the following platforms:

  • iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
  • Mac OSX
  • Android
  • Windows Desktop
  • Skitch Touch for Windows

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For more information on the Skitch app, click here  for a tutorial.

So…I simply snapped a photo of my quilt top with my iPad (or you could just take a photo of one block).  Then I opened the Skitch app on my iPad and imported the photo into the program, like this:

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I chose the thinnest  “pen” and white–there are several colors to choose from.  I found black or white were easy to see on this quilt.  And then I grabbed my stylus and just PLAYED with designs until I came up with one that I think will work! I sketch out lots of ideas that didn’t work, and just “deleted” them.

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How about a continuous curved line?  I can “map” it out on each block and sketch until I figure out a good place to start and stop the needle.  Here’s the design I finally decided on:

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…and here it is (below) on my long arm.

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I’m using my “rulers” to help me with the curves…

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I’m able to continuously machine quilt around one entire block, only having to stop/start when I move on to the next one.

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I think it’s working pretty well

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It was a lot of fun to be able to “play” with several ideas for designs by drawing with my stylus on my iPad with Skitch before actually committing to the design on the long arm.

So here’s the finished quilt top—completely quilted and ready to be trimmed and bound.

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And here’s a close-up of one of the sections (don’t look too closely!)…

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I hope this information was helpful, and that you’ll give Skitch a try the next time you’re pondering how to quilt your finished top.

Until next time, HAPPY QUILTING!

Jane

Mulberry Patch Quilts