Some Holiday Sewing

I’ve been away from this blog for a while and really haven’t been doing much sewing lately.  Sometimes you need a break.

I have been hand quilting a quilt in the evenings and that’s coming along really quickly.  I’ll post some photos when I finish.

This week, the quilt guild I belong to hosts it’s holiday party and we have a stocking exchange.  We have to make a stocking a then fill it with some sewing goodies and then we have a crazy exchange.  It’s always a lot of fun and there’s stealing and lots of laughs.  We also donate small handmade items to the elementary school on base for a PTA “holiday store”.  The kids can buy these small things for their parents or family and the money goes to the PTA for special school programs.

I had put off making my stocking and school item until now, which is to say – the last minute.

I decided to make another heart pot holder to donate to the school and found some beautiful French General fabrics.

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I still had the pattern from the one I made several years ago.

It’s really an easy project and I finished it in no time.

Then it was on to the stocking.  I didn’t want just a regular stocking, which is what I’ve made in past years.  I wanted something a little different.

I found an idea online on this blog called DIY Home Sweet Home.  The directions for a colorful elf stocking were very clear and I just altered it a bit.

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I found some old packing paper and made a pattern for the size and shape of stocking I wanted.  I actually made 2 of these so I could sew fabric strips onto one.

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The directions from the blog just called for sewing fabric strips together but I thought it would be easier to actually sew the strips onto the paper to get them just how I wanted on the curves.  (Plus, you know how much I love paper piecing!)  Once I was finished, I just ripped the paper off!  I also put some batting on the back and “quilted” on the seam lines just to give the stocking some body.  This is actually part of the directions for our stocking exchange – that the stocking be quilted.

After I sewed the back to the front and turned it right sides out, I stuffed a little loose Poly-fil into the toe to make it stick out just right.  The blog directions called for this and it was a great idea.

Then I made a slightly smaller pattern for the lining.

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I cut out and sewed the lining together with right sides together and stuck it inside the stocking.

Apparently, I forgot to take photos of the making of the cuff section but it was a little complicated and it was getting to be the end of the day.

Some math was involved to figure how long the cuff needed to be and then how many pieces of fabric and what size they should be.  I guess I was a little off on this because I ended up taking one section of fabric off at the end.

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I sewed the colorful pieces of fabric together and laid it on top of the backing fabric, traced the lines to sew on and then sewed them up and down all together.

Then I trimmed the fabric, turned it and ironed it all flat.

I pinned the ribbon between the lining and cuff just so and sewed the cuff on.  Don’t ask me which way everything was facing – it’s a Christmas miracle that it all came out the right direction!

The last thing to do was fill it with fat quarters and chocolates and all the kinds of things quilters like!

The last bit of sewing I did before the meeting was a special quilt block that will go into a Comfort quilt for one of our members who is ill.

I had to share this Sunflower block since it’s so cheerful and sweet.

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I think it will be a pretty quilt and I hope it brings this lovely lady much comfort and joy.

 

My Mini Pinnie

This month’s American Quilter magazine landed in my mailbox last week with the cutest pin cushion pattern in it!  I’ve been wanting to make another pin cushion ever since we had our pin cushion exchange at my quilt guild a couple months ago.  (I’ve also had half a bag of crushed walnut shells left over and absolutely no idea what to do with them.)

Problem solved!

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The pattern is called “Mini Pinnie” by Kitty Wilkin and it’s a foundation pieced pattern that is super easy.

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I had nothing going on last Sunday afternoon so I pulled out some scraps and got to work.  I don’t recommend that you work on this while Skyping with family as that gets a little distracting.  My pin cushion came out a little wonky and I’m going to blame it on that but I still love it.

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I was able to finish this little project in only a couple of hours.  It would make a nice gift for someone or just something pretty for yourself.

Using up some Fabrics

I spent the past week cleaning out fabrics and organizing.  Sometimes you just want a clean work area.  But I also think it’s time I use up some of my fabrics in case we’ll be making another trans-Atlantic move sometime soon.

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  I was having a hard time trying to figure out what I want to do with all my scraps and fabric bits.  I honestly think that I’ll have enough to make several quilts but I picked out a pattern from Bonnie Hunter’s “Addicted To Scraps” book to start with.  I spent several days cutting out the pieces and I had almost everything the quilt called for.

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I love it when that happens!

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I don’t have enough of the brown that I need for the setting triangles so I’ll try to buy just enough.  I thought maybe I could cut them out a different way but I cut one and remembered making the 1930’s quilt earlier this summer and watching a video that stressed the importance of cutting your setting triangles in such a way that the outside of the triangles isn’t cut on the fabric bias.  If the outside of your quilt is all bias cut, you can have a lot of stretching and fabric distortion.

So, I’ll need to buy a bigger piece of brown fabric so that I can cut the setting triangles from a 9 3/4 inch square.  Those squares will be cut diagonally twice to make 4 triangles that are not stretchy.

I sewed a couple of the blocks together to see how well they work out.

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They went together beautifully.  I always love using Bonnie’s patterns because she even tells you which way to iron the seam allowance!

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So I’ll work on these easy blocks this fall and try to figure out what I want to do with the rest of my scraps.

I even have this bunch of selvedge scraps that would be fun to use in a project.

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I used the last bunch in my spider web quilt and I absolutely love it.

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I love the challenge to use up what I have to make something new and fun!

Beauteous Quilt

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I just finished the “Beauteous” quilt top!  It went together surprisingly fast, probably because the blocks are so big.  I spent about a month making the 42 blocks for the quilt and was able to put it all together this past week.

I had decided to order more fabric and add some borders to make it bed sized and the fabric came on the day I started putting it together.  I love when things flow nicely like that!  The original pattern made a 60″ X 70″ quilt but mine now measures 78″ X 88″ with the added borders.

As you can see, with all these curves, there’s a little waviness and some lumpy.   I think this quilt would be ideal for the big stitch quilting so if I quilt it myself by hand hopefully, I can gently smooth things as I go.  I want to try using a wool batting this time in hopes that it will be a little thicker and fluffier.  I just think these colors would make a nice fall or winter quilt and I want it to be warm.

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As usual, it’s hard for me to get the whole quilt in the photo and I don’t have a great place to lay them out but I hope you can see the type of border design I used.  It’s the same border that I used on my spiderweb quilt.  It’s just something simple but a little different.

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I decided to use the yellow from the quilt for the border because the person I made it for likes yellow and I had enough of the turquoise fabrics to add the thin stripe.  There are so many colors in this quilt that I could have used any of them and it would’ve looked nice.

I look forward to hand quilting this quilt made with such soft Indie Folk fabric.  I’ll be sure to share the finished quilt with you!

Some Hot Sewing

Well, we’re into our fourth day of temperatures in the low to upper 90’s here in Germany.  (That’s the upper 30’s if you’re into Celsius temps.)  Which ever way you measure it – it’s hot!  My husband is in Africa this week and tells me it’s a little cooler there.  That’s just not right!

Since we don’t have air conditioning, I am trying to move VERY slowly.  That’s why this new sewing project is really perfect.

I saw this quilt online and fell in love with the colors and fabrics.

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It’s called “Beauteous” and features the Indie Folk fabric collection by Pat Bravo.  The pattern was a free download online but it came out in 2015 (I’m a little behind).  It was a little hard to track down all the fabrics since they’ve been out a while but I did.  I found them all at Hawthorne Supply Company online and they shipped them to me super fast.

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These fabrics are Beauteous!  They say they’re 100% premium cotton on the selvage and “Feel the difference” and I will say they have a silky feel to them and a little stiffness.  Really different.

After I printed out the pattern, it took me a little bit to figure out that I needed to tape all the pages together for the pattern pieces.

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After cutting out the pattern pieces, I dove right in.

These blocks are basically ALL curves.  I haven’t done any of the paper pieced blocks and not sure how that’s going to work.  There are 15 of those blocks and this pattern spans 2 printed pages.  I don’t know if I want to make all those copies.  I’m saving those for last so I can cut out all the other block pieces first.

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For sewing all the curves, this means lots of pinning and slow sewing.  With the heat, I just aim a fan at myself and take the time to do all that pinning.

The pattern says that this quilt will measure 72″ X 72″ but I don’t think that’s correct.  The finished measurements of the blocks are 10″ and there are 7 rows of 6 blocks each so I think it should end up being more like 60 1/2″ X 70 1/2″.  I’m no mathematician though.  I was thinking about adding a couple borders to make it a little bigger and I need to decide which of the fabrics I really like and order more of it for a border.  That’s a tough decision to make.

Anyway, back to eating Popsicles and pinning curves.

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1930’s Farmer’s Wife Quilt finished!

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I put all my finished blocks into the layout I wanted.  Then I moved things around until I thought everything looked the best.

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These setting triangles required some math ( that didn’t quite work out because I added the sashing dimensions to each block).  They ended up larger than I needed and so it was easy to just cut a little off.

Then it was just the tedious task of sewing the rows all together.

You can see I laid out my border fabrics to see how all the different colors would look together.

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I had this sweet lavender fabric that I originally wanted to use for my smaller border but after laying everything out, I realized there was a lot of yellow in the quilt and a different yellow fabric seemed to pull the whole thing together.

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The quilt came out looking very feminine and summer-y with all the pastels.  It now measures at 72 inches x 91 inches.

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It was so much fun to make but now I have to decide if I’ll hand quilt it or have it machine quilted.

84 Blocks

The day has finally come when I’ve finished all the blocks that I need to make my Farmer’s Wife 1930’s Sampler quilt!

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I had decided (probably last year) that I wasn’t going to make my 1930’s Farmer’s Wife quilt like the one in the book.  I just hate when patterns call for you to cut blocks in half.  I mean, you made the whole block – you want to see the whole block!  That’s just my opinion.

So the quilt layout in the book called for making all 99 blocks included in the book.  My layout plan calls for making 83 blocks.  I plan to set them on point with sashing and setting triangles, a lot like the original Farmer’s Wife quilt.

I was more than ready to finish making these blocks since I started with the easiest and they were getting really hard by the end.  You might have noticed that I said I needed 83 blocks but I made 84.  Yes, one came out very badly so I don’t think I can use it.  After that block, I thought I would paper piece the last few but the paper pieced patterns were completely messed up.  I went on Laurie Hird’s website and found 19 pages of corrections for the book which explained my problems.  I went back to using templates after that.

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Using the templates was slow going but it worked.

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These are some of the last few blocks I made and you can see they’re very intricate.

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Today I’m cutting out white sashing pieces and hope to start laying everything out.  I can’t decide if I should make my sashing cornerstones all one color or a scrappy variety of these 1930’s prints that I’ve used.  I have a 1930’s green for my setting triangles.

I think I’ll just have to lay everything out and see how it looks.

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I’m so happy to finally be able to put this quilt together!

Indian Summer update

Remember these quilt blocks?

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It looks like I got everything cut and organized in April 2018.  Well, I finally made some progress with this!  I took my unfinished bits to a quilt retreat this past April and it was the perfect project to sew on while talking, eating and drinking wine.  I mean you just sew on the lines, press and trim – then repeat 83 times!

I got the triangles sewn together last week and that finished the middle part.

The next step was to cut out the outside pieces and then I crawled around on the floor to get the layout I wanted.

The directions for these patterns from Quiltworx are extremely detailed and if you just follow each step, things work out well.

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The strips are sewn onto pattern pieces that have 5 strips on each.  The directions have you stack them with #1 piece on top and #5 on the bottom to make sure you get everything in the right place.

I’m not sure if I got everything in the right place but I did refer back to these photos a few times to make sure my pieces were going the right way so I tried.

There are 22 paper pieced sections around the outside of the quilt and 2 corner pieces.  (The other 2 corners are sewn together with a mitered seam.)  This is definitely one of those quilts where you wonder if things are going to work out.  Have faith!

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I got all the strips sewn onto the papers.  These went together very fast.

Then I sewed the bottom and top borders on.  They went on very easily.  I only had to add the one extra strip that was suggested in the directions.  One of the side borders fit perfectly but one was a little too short.  I ended up taking off the last strip and making a bigger piece and sewing it back on.  (Luckily I had some extra fabric.)

The pattern called for taking the paper off the #1 and #5 parts before sewing the paper pieced sections together.  You leave the rest of the paper.  This helps to minimize stretching in the border and it seems to have worked great.

After getting all the sides on; I dove right into sewing the mitered borders together.

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Those seams take a little finessing.

Then I sewed on the 2 corner triangles.

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And this Indian Summer quilt top is done!!

I still need to sew a basting stitch around the outside before taking the rest of the papers out.  Hopefully, this will keep the quilt top from stretching while it’s being quilted.

A Big Bear

My husband asked me to make another baby quilt for a coworker who is expecting a baby this summer so I found this quilt that I thought would be fun for a new baby boy.

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This quilt pattern is called “Big Bear” by Annie Brady.  I found it online and I think at one time it was a free pattern using the Big Sky fabric line by Annie Brady for Moda.  I was able to buy the pattern download directly from Annie Brady’s website here.

I only saw the cute bear and thought – that would make an adorable baby blanket.  I didn’t look too closely at the pattern or the size of the quilt.  I also thought I would have enough fabrics in my stash for a little bear quilt until I started cutting.  Most of the blocks are 4 inch or 7 1/2 inches.  This is a big bear!

I had to do some scrap matching and swapping as I ran out of fabrics.

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Once I got all the pieces cut out, I put them up on my design wall so that I could sew them together correctly.  It felt a little like a puzzle!  Really, this quilt was quick and easy and a lot of fun to put together.

These eyeballs reminded me of all my flower circle appliques from last summer.  I’m a pro at them now!

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So the quilt from the pattern measures 59 1/2 inches X 70 inches but I wanted it to be more of a baby quilt so I didn’t add the last border which measures 7 inches.  My quilt came out to 46 inches X 55 1/2 inches.  It’s a little bigger than I would normally make a baby quilt but maybe this one will take the baby through the toddler years too.

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Another option would have been to cut the block measurements in half but that sounds like too much math for me.

I wanted to quilt an all over design on this that would be quick and easy for me to do on my sewing machine so I went with horizontal lines a little over an inch apart.

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I marked the lines and used my walking foot.  I’ll need to wash out the marking lines when I finish the quilt.

I thought I might go back and outline the bear after I finished the horizontal lines but I decided that might be too much.  I don’t like to have too much quilting so that the quilt is a little softer.

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I found this blue polka dot fabric at a fabric sale downtown so I used it as backing and I have plenty left over for the binding.

My binding is finished and ready to be sewn on and after a quick wash, this baby gift is ready to go!

 

Pin Cushion Sewing

The quilt guild I belong to is having a pin cushion swap this month and I’ve had fun browsing through Pinterest looking for pin cushion ideas.  I finally found one I really liked and bought the pattern from the Heather Bailey webpage .

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She has some adorable pin cushions and other sewing patterns and kits.

I ordered the Seymour Spyhop pattern and kit so all I had to do was sew it.

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First, I cut out the pattern pieces.  These are small!

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Included with the pattern was some fusible interfacing that you iron onto the fabric pieces and then cut out all the whale parts.

The first thing to sew were the flippers and optional fin.  I wanted to do the WHOLE thing so I included the fin.  There was a lot of clipping the curves for this project.

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Then I sewed the bottom together and added my Orca parts.  So far, not too hard except for a lot of hand stitching.

Then I had to baste the fin to the top, sew the darts in the head and put the top part together.

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Sewing the top to the bottom was the trickiest part.  I pinned a lot and went very slow.

After stitching the whole thing together, you  have to turn it right sides out.  I hate this part because it takes a little finessing.   Trying to get the whole thing turned through the little hole takes some patience.

Then it’s time to stuff him!  I used ground walnut shells to give it weight and make it a sturdy pin cushion.

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I performed some delicate surgery to close him up.

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How cute is this!

But wait … there’s more!

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The pattern and kit came with a little bonus crab friend for our pin cushion whale.

He’s cut from red felt and stitched together by hand very quickly.

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I spent a few hours on this project and I would definitely make another one.  Of course, this one will no longer be mine after the swap so I may need to make another one.

According to my pattern, you can get a little sailor cap pattern online so I think the whale without the fin but with a sailor cap would be a cute gift for my daughter-in-law in the Navy.