Friday, April 27, 2012

Tweet Tweet

I realize that many times over the past few years, I have had a lack of desire to quilt and/or blog, so if you have not seen me lately, it's because I was busy working on projects that were not quilt related.

Recently, my attention was redirected to working on a project for my sister. She wanted birdhouses, but I couldn't figure out what to do, so in the meantime, I dug out a book I've reviewed in 2010, "Nature's Elegance" by Jan Kornfeind. This was a design I really liked and am happy to have the opportunity to create it now.  This project is also the first quilt that I actually have completely finished, since doing my 2010 Quilt Challenge. 


Quilt chosen:  "From A Baltimore Garden Wall Hanging"

There are two quilts in this book that have birds on them, and so I was able to take elements from both projects. The first was the applique design and border choices, and the second from the other quilt was choosing to use a darker background fabric for the center block, instead of a cream print fabric.

I used a dark green thread to do the applique stitching around the applique pieces. Then, using a darker blue thread to do shadow quilting around the design; and some stitching in the ditch around the borders.  

Placing the Applique Pieces

Closeup of the Vase and Stems

Closeup of the Bird

Complete with Borders

The quilt design measures 28" x 30" in the book. Since I used fat quarters for the quilt top, not including the applique, I only needed to adjust the width of the outer border. This made the finished quilt size at 26" x 28". I also used two tiny square buttons for the bird's eyes. These I stitched on with orange thread to make them look more like real eyes.

 Finished Quilt

Happy Quilting

Monday, April 2, 2012

Hexagon Challenge

Love quilting; but feel like the techniques challenge your abilities more than your desire to give them a try? Well, that is why quilting has such diversity.

Here is one such situation...
At the beginning of this year, I joined a block of the month at Craftsy. I knew that as I looked at the list of techniques that were to be done, there were several that got this response: "Oh, no, not that one!"

April's Technique: "English Paper Piecing"

Okay, so this looks fun and I think I can give it a try; afterall, it's only one block. I have never done this technique and so why not do it as the video teaches. 

This is what usually happens when I encounter techniques that have a negative appeal, I have a mental battle with myself for a while until I decide it's time to follow my heart. As quilting for me--is a time to enjoy--and a place where I can create my own rules. This brings me either a "I do it another way" or a "don't do it at all" result. (I generally change something, to make it my own.)

So, instead of skipping this month's technique, I decide to do it my own way. So, if you love dislike paper piecing of any kind as much as I do, here is how my first block turned out.

Changing the Rules

Since I always choose machine stitching over hand-stitching, whenever I can, this is how my block emerged. I also like using double stick fusible web.

Here, I only need one template for my pattern. I place it underneath the fusible web and trace out the number of hexagons that I will need for my design.

Tracing the hexagons onto the fusible web

For all of my BOM blocks I am using fabrics from my stash. So each month, I decide on the colour scheme that best suits the technique's design. Since my background fabric had greens in it, I choose to use a variety of greens for my hexagon shapes. I already had these precut squares in my stash.

Hexagon Fabrics--Greens

Following the fusible web instructions, I proceed to attach the hexagons to each fabric. With a quick press of the iron, they are adhered to the fabric. And are ready to cut out. Leave a generous one-quarter inch seam allowance around each as you trim the extra fabric away.

Placing the fusible web hexagon on the fabric

Trimming the extra fabric around the hexagon

I left the top paper liner on as I pressed the seam allowance over the paper. Two reasons for this: the paper helps define where the edge of the hexagon shape is and the iron doesn't pick up any of the adhesive.

Pressing the edges over the hexagon shape

 Seam allowances marked

Then, I removed the second paper liner; and with the tip of the iron very carefully pressed the seam allowances in place. With the seams already pressed, this makes it easy to do this step. Continue to press down each side until you are all the way around.

 Very carefully press down the seam allowances

Hexies ready for block placement

Once I liked the colour arrangement, I carefully pressed each hexagon in place.  If one wishes, they could hand-stitch the hexies together before placing on the block. However, I decided I'd try this one without doing that so if anyone couldn't do hand-stitching it would still look great.

When stitching down each hexagon, begin at a centre point where the hexagons touch, this helps keep the hexies from wanting to split apart. Usually when doing fused applique, the complete shape is adhered to the background fabric. However, with these shapes, the fused edge is used in the seam allowance.

My machine has two applique stitches. They are both similiar to what we call the blanket stitch. I have used a dark green thread to simplify the process of not having to change thread colours. And I do like the contract it makes.

Arranging the hexagons

Using an applique stitch around each hexie

 Finished Hexagon Block
Size: 12.5" square

If you wish to see how this is different from the original method, check out the free block of the month at Craftsy. You can still join, if you wish to try out new or different techniques this year and end up with a finished project before Christmas.

And check out this great site for printing hexagon sizes that was shared on the Craftsy chat. I love when websites give these out for free. The instant download sure is handy for saving time and getting that project started.

So... now I have one more hexagon block to create; however, that will have to wait as I need time to figure out how I will redesign it, as there is a challenge to make it our own. One that I must take up!

Thanks for reading, and I hope you see that--your own method to suit YOU--is always the best way!!


Friday, March 23, 2012

Try an eBook!!

Happen to be home and look out the window to see it snowing again! And the temperature isn't that great, either! Well, then that seems like the perfect time to go shopping online, if you need more quilting ideas, that is...


Haven't got time to go shopping; much less, browsing through lots of books to find one that you want to purchase? Going online is very easy and it can be really fun to find that perfect book and have it on your desktop in mere minutes.


But you ask!! How can I actually look inside those books to see if there are any projects that really call attention to themselves? Well, here's a great site that allows you all that and more....

This is why I love to look at quilting books at Martingale. They provide a good look inside their books, making it really fun to see what projects are actually there to make. Almost as good as browsing through a book in a real bookstore or quilt shop. Except no tired feet!


This month I've opted to check out what it is like to buy a quilt eBook. Even though, you won't be able to touch it and turn its pages like a printed book, it still makes it possible to print it out yourself.

My reason for this.... the Weekly Wow! at Martingale. Who doesn't love a good bargain and save 40% off the regular price!! These were the titles available when I made my purchase. If none appeal, then wait and check back to see which new titles are discounted. Have fun!!

So I choose:
Skinny Quilts & Table Runners, edited by Eleanor Levie.

More about this book, coming next week..........

If you haven't yet checked out this website, go take a look! There is quilting, sewing, knitting, crochet, crafts, and much more. Or, want to subscribe to their new blog and get free gifts, enter here.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Dress

The Project: Sailing Away
(Boy: short-sleeved t-shirt, shortalls, cap; Girl: pleated dress with felt shoes)

These are shown on the front cover of the book. I have made the pleated dress with a slightly different color arrangement and embellishment. I did not have any felt to make the shoes; however, they look pretty easy to do.

Project: Sailing Away

The doll is 18" tall. I had given her to my granddaughter in 2010. As I did not have the doll's measurements, I just made it in the size to fit a 17-19" doll. I went back into my photo files and actually found the doll and it looked like this:

[designer girl--18"]

I have made the pleated dress in a green/brown pinstripe and embellished above the pleats with green buttons; and the collar and cuffs in a contrasting color. The back is closed with a strip of narrow velcro that reaches from the collar all the way to the hem.
The Dress

Closeup of Emily

On the Family Day (Feb. 20) long weekend, I had the opportunity to take some pictures of the dress on the doll. Her hair is messy, and the dress is rather wrinkled, but here it shows how the dress fits.

Front of Dress

Back of Dress

It was fun to make this dress; and afterwards I tried making some Barbie doll clothes. That seemed at first to be quite an adjustment; however, it actually did work out. After taking so much time looking for these photos, I think I'll wait until next week, to show you what else I made.

Thanks for taking a look. Have a creative week...


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Doll Clothes

Sometimes Small Is Better

Do you love sewing large quilts? Or is it time for something different, let's say, doll size? Doll quilts are really fun and make a quick project. How about making clothing for dolls!

For myself, I really do prefer smaller quilt  projects, but sometimes trying something really different is a welcome change. 

Book of the Month
February 2012

Sew Baby Doll Clothes by Joan Hinds

When deciding which book to feature next, I was reminded at Christmastime how much fun it was to sew doll clothes and thought this would be a great book to share with you. 
Joan Hinds has several great books and if you are able to buy or borrow them from a library they give lots more inspiration for creating doll items for those special little people in our lives.
If you want to try some different fabrics this book includes: cotton, flannel, fleece, denim, knit, velour, stretch terry, sweatshirt fleece, and a variety of embellishing materials.  The items in the projects list with an * beside them are knitted garments.
To take a look inside this book:
Instructions and Full-Size Patterns for 30+ Projects for 12" to 22" Dolls.
What Dolls Will These Patterns Fit?
        Sizes: Small--12-13", Medium--14-16", Large--17-19", X-Large--20-22"
Small-- includes Gotz Muffin, Corolle Cailin, Zapf Creation dolls
Medium-- includes Bitty Baby, Bitty Twins by Pleasant
Large-- includes Adora Doll, Corolle and Gotz Maxi-Muffin, Gotz baby dolls
X-Large-- includes Adora Doll, Zapf Creation, Berenguer dolls
The doll I sewed for is a My American Doll - 18" doll.
There is a great chart on page 7 to figure out which pattern size will best suit the dolls you have to work with. Joan says the most important measurements are: neck circumference, waist, and shoulder width. Choose the size category that is closest to these measurements.
Baby Doll Layette
     (diaper cover, diaper shirt, bonnet, booties, bib, bunting)
Sailing Away
     (short-sleeved t-shirt, shortalls, cap; pleated dress with felt shoes)
Under Construction
     (long-sleeved t-shirt, coveralls, cap; blouse, girl's coveralls, ruffled hat)
Bonjour Velour
     (top with ruffled hem, beret, pants)
Denim Play Date
     (short-sleeved t-shirt, denim pants with bib; knit shirt, denim jumper)
     (jacket, pants, cap)
Winter Wonderland
     (jacket, pants, hat)
Gone Fishin'
     (bib overalls, shirt, cap; jumper, long-sleeved t-shirt, wide-brimmed hat)
Tees for Two
     (t-shirt dress, jacket)
Summer Fruit
     (strawberry dress, panties, cap; watermelon dress, cap, panties)
Fresh as a Daisy
     (daisy dress, panties, headband)
     (nightshirt, cap, slippers; pajama top, cap, pajama pants)
Butterfly Kisses
     (cap*, booties*, sweater*, cuffed pants)
Warm and Cozy
     (cardigan*, pants, stocking cap*)
Party Favor
     (baby's first birthday dress, patternless pinafore)
Shining Star
     (baby's first christmas dress, patternless pinafore, headband)
Gingerbread Holiday
     (button-down shirt, bow tie, pants; gingerbread dress, headband)
Christening Gown
     (christening gown, bonnet)
Baby Doll Essentials--quilts and blankets
     (chenille hearts quilt; embroidered squares quilt)
     (knitted blanket; celebration blanket; fleece blankets; applique flannel blanket)
     (hooded bath blanket)
As we weren't able to visit family over the last several years, it became our custom to send our gifts to arriving in the new year, allowing our grandchildren something fun after all the excitment of Christmas was already past.
So in December 2011, I got busy creating some cute doll items for my granddaughters. And will share with you next week what I sent them. Some are not from this book but it was a special treat to revisit that genre of sewing.
Happy Quilting,

Monday, February 13, 2012

Colourful Spools

The Project: Runaway Thread

As one would normally create the blocks that make up the quilt top first, and then add the borders, this project allowed for a change in this process. This pattern works... no matter in which order you wish to do things....  So even though instructions still need to be followed, no one will know you changed things up.

I just happened to do it in reverse, as the blocks for the border are smaller and more of them. So you can see, that my wish was to finish this quilt top successfully, rather than getting tired and being stuck with an unfinished top.

Main Block Construction
These begin with 6.5" background fabric squares. Then adding scrappy squares to create the spool. When you look at the overall design, the spools in the border are created with the light fabric and the center spools with the scrappy fabrics.

To complete the blocks, they are created the same as the border blocks; however, the fabrics used are just done in reverse. The scrappy fabrics will create the spool, after assembly.

Adding Scrappy Blocks

Cutting Off Extra Fabric

Block Placement

Ooops... Fixing A Dilemma!

Only at this point, did I discover that I had three of these pieces...

 when I actually needed three of these pieces...

If I had not cut off the extra fabric on the blocks, all I would have needed to do was separate the larger scrappy piece and be done. However, since I had cut them, I had to adjust these blocks by thinking up a way to do that...

Not having enough leftover fabric to just cut three more blocks, I decided to add the same background fabric, creating a seam where there actually shouldn't have been one.

Replacing Corner

Now that I had make the adjustments, I could have stopped there. However, to make it look like less of an error, I did the same for all four corner blocks, and the two center blocks on the left and right sides of the quilt top.

Adding Balance at Side Center

Center Blocks Complete

Now, here one could have just added several plain borders until the size was what you wanted. However, the pattern is designed with a more creative touch... a unique block border creating a reverse effect from the center blocks.

Don't you agree, that simple borders would not have been as pretty as this one, here!

Fancy Border Added

I definitely enjoyed this project. There are lots of fun projects in this book. And, since I have more scrappy squares I'll need to revisit the list and see which one I'd want to make next time.

Now, if one wanted this quilt a bit larger, adding additional borders with fabric strips, would be simply easy. The image below shows how is fits on a queen size bed. It wouldn't take much to make it the proper size, if one desired. As I am leaving it as a quilt top, that could still be a possibility.... 

Finished Quilt Top

Runaway Thread -- (66" x 78")
Hope you enjoyed this project... until next time, have fun and do something creative!! For more on the book or the scrap therapy system, visit these links.
Happy Quilting,

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Empty Spools

The Project: Runaway Thread

I began with the 3" block sizes as they will be more time consuming. Then made the 6.5" blocks for the main part of the quilt. However, here I will cover only the border strips in Part Two, and then the main part of the quilt in Part Three.

Block Construction

To complete the blocks, first a diagonal line is drawn on the wrong side of the background fabric (light). Then placed right sizes together with a scrap fabric block. I stitched just to the right of this line, so when it was pressed it was the proper size.

Stitching the First Corner

The instructions leave both layers as is; however, I cut them off. It worked out prefectly because I was short on the yardage and was able to use this cut off piece to do the opposite corner. I just had to align it properly to complete the blocks.

Trimming the Block Layers

Because I was using the pieces that were cut off, I did not have a square piece to align with the corner of the scrap square (as above pieces with the drawn line). I first sewed one (orange/white below) and then measured it as shown. This edge was used to align the light triangle piece so it would turn out the proper size.

Stitching the Other One

Trimming To Create The Stitching Line

Attaching the Other Corner


Border Construction

This was the first time I've ever worked on completing the borders of the quilt before doing the main part. With this pattern, this is possible as it is all calculated out for you in the instructions.

All the blocks are complete!! Next step, was to arrange all the pieces as shown in the book. Then, sewing together three blocks in rows and continue until the border strip was done.

Arranging Borders

Sewing A Row

Sewing the Rows to Make the Borders

Now that I have the rows stitched together into the final border strips, I am ready to stitch together the larger blocks for the center of the quilt. Coming in Part Three...

Ready For the Center

Next week... I will show you the remaining part to complete this quilt top. And also, show you how I fixed a serious error I had made in my block construction. 

Happy Quilting,