Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Oh blogger, where art thou?

August? How can we be halfway through August already? Time sure doesn't seem to slow down - ever - does it? This summer has been so beautiful and I've been checking off my summer must/wanna-do list:

  • spent time at the lake
  • picked berries - made jam
  • visited Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show
  • hosted family friends for a visit
  • #1 son turned 16!!!!
  • and in between.....there has even been a little bit of quilting :)
Sherry's "Time to Sew!" project
This pic came in recently - Sherry T. was the winner of the Quilters World Winter 2013 magazine I gave away on the blog last fall and she actually made my clock project that was featured inside! Hers turned out great, don't you think? I love what she did for the center and she used a fun selection of fabrics for her blades.

***Super important correction notice - if you make this, there is a size correction on the fan blade template that was printed in the magazine. The fan blades need to be cut to 3 1/2" , not 5" as shown on the template. You can still use the template, you just need to trim the blade to 3 1/2", cutting the extra off the top wide end of the blade or your Dresden plate will be too big for your frame!

Last month, I was lucky enough to join a fun group of ladies at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. So fun. So hot. So many quilts. Definitely put it on your to-do list if you haven't been there before for the show. It's a real treat to see so many bright, beautiful quilts hanging outside. I just snapped pics with my phone so they're not the greatest but here are a few....No shortage of beautiful inspiration everywhere.
June Jaeger
The Stitchin' Post



From the teacher's tent...
Sue Spargo
Scott Hansen
Jackie Erickson
Anyway, that's a bit of a catch-up from me. This week is fair week and I can't wait to see the quilt exhibit. I didn't get anything in myself this year due to other deadlines but lots of my quilty friends I'm sure will not fail to please and inspire. Maybe my next post will even be sooner than a month from now - yikes!

Happy summer stitching,

Tonya

Friday, July 4, 2014

Red white and blue revisited...

This holiday time of year just begs me to pull out the RWB scraps and make something, anything! Unfortunately for me, the projects I have on the front burner at the moment are anything but RWB, so I'll just have to enjoy some blasts from the past...Here's a look at some past projects to fuel your Independence Day spirit...


Tumbler made for one of my awesome aunts...

Scrappy stars (mine on the left) made for Quilts of Valor project...

This one is from Sandy Klop's book Quilts for All Seasons, made for my dad.
This is a Minnick & Simpson pattern called "Chippewa Nine Patch". It was strip piecing therapy for me and I loved every minute of making it.
No wonder I have so many RWB scraps! So whether you're out enjoying a parade, the fireworks, a BBQ, time with family and friends or just some pleasantly "pieceful" stitching time - Happy Birthday America!

Tonya

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Shirts to sleep under

Here's a project I finished up recently - a t-shirt quilt for my friend's son. I was waiting until it was gifted to them to share the pics. She sent me a box of baseball team shirts and gave me free rein (or maybe I should say, free reign) to do anything I wanted with them. Fortunately, they were happy with the result!


I have now made a grand total of TWO  t-shirt quilts in my life so I wouldn't necessarily consider myself an expert, but I do have a few hints I can share. They can be fun to make, but there are a few things that make them different - most importantly, the fabric you are working with.
The first step is to determine what you have to work with and then what you are going to do with them. The ten shirts I had were the mostly the same, differing by # and sponsor name for each year. The shirts also varied a little by size since they covered many years of kids' baseball. I also figured I could use the Mets name logo and there were some small patches on the sleeves that I worked into the corners and the nine-patches. From the pic above you can see my 12 1/2" square ruler fit nicely over the number so I knew I would most likely be working with 12 1/2" blocks. The height on the Mets logo was about 6-7" so that would work well into the border. Here's a look at my game plan going in:
Very high tech design process, I know. The only fabric purchases I needed to make this work was for the sashing, backing and binding. The cornerstones and nine-patch fabrics were from my stash.

Before you actually cut your squares out from your t-shirts, you need to stabilize them - this is a must. T-shirt material is kind of dicey to work with anyway and I can't even imagine trying to make one of these without stabilizer. I used a lightweight iron-on fusible stabilizer from Pellon but there are many available.
I cut my fusible squares about and inch or so bigger than my final block size to give myself some wiggle room for centering.

Here's a square of fusible on the wrong side of the fabric, centered over the # logo.
Follow the manufacturer's directions for ironing on your fusible for whichever one you choose, but I highly recommend using a pressing sheet or a scrap piece of muslin over it while pressing to keep your iron clean. Also, be sure your iron isn't too hot. If it is, the fusible will shrink right up, distort and just about melt (ask me how I know.) I also skip the steam. Wet fusible isn't a good idea either. Once the fusible is ironed in place, trim down your block to the final size, in this case 12 1/2".
Voila! This block is ready to go!
I repeated the same process with different sized pieces of fusible on the Mets logos and the sleeve logos. O.k., now to the design wall. Here's how it looked in process...
At this point, I was trying out fabric for the sashing and figuring out the borders. Striped fabric works really well for sashing, especially if you are working with plainer t-shirts. Other hints for piecing these: I still used a 1/4" seam allowance throughout and I pressed my seems to one side as opposed to open. If you use a light enough fusible, you won't have any trouble with extra bulk.

From the beginning, I thought the backing for this quilt would be baseballs but on multiple trips to the shops, nothing was jumping out at me. (I almost always buy fabric for my backs after I've finished the top - mainly because I don't always know what the finished size will be. My plans often change midway through :) But in this case, I went with this fun sneaker print that I found at my LQS, Fabric-Etc.:
I used the same striped fabric for the binding and the sashing (also from Fabric-Etc.) Stripes are also a favorite of mine for bindings. The water motif quilting was done by my awesome LAQ - Tracey. She did a great job, as always. :) The finished quilt ended up being about 52"x65".

Maybe the best thing about a t-shirt quilt, is that they are instantly user-friendly. The t-shirts have usually gone through many washings before making their way into the quilt and the t-shirts are personal and special to the person who wore them. So it makes an especially nice way to give them back to that special person in your life, the memories they capture and the future good naps they ensure.

Happy stitching,

Tonya





Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Time to set the table



My scrappy summer table runner project continues. Here's the layout option I chose:

Original option #7

quilted, bound and ready for the table.

I quilted it free motion using Leah Day's pattern called "Paisley". If you haven't checked out her website - DO! It's awesome. She does great demo videos, tons of designs and she shares all of her knowledge for FREE! It's a great resource.
Half-way there...

The Paisley design I chose was very fun and pretty easy. Of course, the longer you do it, the better you get. I had some speed issues on the widest curve but overall, I was happy with my FM effort this time around.

After quilting, I decided to round off the edges. This is super easy to do using an everyday dinner plate. I just lined up the edges at each corner and chopped them off! The only other thing you have to do differently is to use binding cut on the bias so that you can bend around the edges.
No measuring necessary - just make sure the plate touches both edges.

the bits...

the finished project in its new home

Cost for this project:
scrap 1 1/2" strips: 0
scrap batting leftover from a bigger project: 0
1/2 yard backing taken from stash: I'm counting this as 0 since it was at least 5+ years old!
fat quarter from my stash for the binding: 0

= a totally free project!

(The most expensive thing on this table now is the awesome, hand-painted wooden platter I scored at a garage sale a couple of weeks ago for $1! Got to love that!)

Happy summer stitching,

Tonya

Friday, May 30, 2014

A garden of options

My garden inspired scrap project continues.

Have I mentioned yet today how much I love the log cabin block? One of the things that make it such a great block is that it works on it's own and in a big setting. I think it's very interesting how the effect of having only two rows has on a block. The overall design affect is very different than a big quilt that can carry a secondary pattern. Sometimes I look at a block design and think it's nice on it's own - or nice when there are a bunch of them and you get the overall effect. But the log cabin really works both ways for me.

O.K. My eight blocks are made. Decisions, decisions. Here are some possibilities for the layout of my table runner:

Option #1
Option #2

Option #3
Option #4


Option #5

Option #6

Option #7

What do you think? Hard to pick just one, I know!

And how are we doing in the Christmas category? When I pulled out the scraps for this project I was pondering whether I could do a red/white/green project and not have it scream Christmas. I think the jury is still out on this project but the tipping point may come with the quilting and the binding. Stay tuned...

Happy scrap stitching,

Tonya

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Garden inspiration

Man, oh, man. The weather in my corner of the world has been beautiful lately. There has even been reported sightings of the S-U-N!!! (Well, o.k., not this last weekend - but before that!) It's also been time to get my veggie garden going. So I've been out weeding, and tilling, and weeding, and raking, and weeding, and planting....know what I mean?

All of this outdoor stuff cuts into my sewing time a little bit but that's o.k. It's also a great time to get some inspiration from the garden and use it on some smaller, more manageable projects. Especially scrappy ones!

I had a simple log cabin table runner in mind. What's not to love about the log cabin block? It's the queen bee of scrap thriftiness. Here are some of the scraps I pulled out - all 1-1/2" strips:

Can green and red be your main colors and not look like a Christmas project? I think so, but I think the key is the ratio of each. If you have equal amount of red and green, you might as well put a ribbon on it and put it under the tree. My plan is to use about 90% greens and white/lights with about a 10% accent of reds. Just about as much as you see in the picture. We'll see how it turns out!

Next, I'm adding some fussy cut 4" squares from a fabric featuring seed packets I had leftover from a different project:
(This fabric was so cool. It's an older fabric from a line called Annie's Farm House by Holly Holderman of Lakehouse Dry Goods. I bought and used it for some placemats I made for my mom a couple of years ago. The seed packets in the print feature the Card Seed Co. that was located in Fredonia, N.Y. - very near the little town my mom grew up in. If you click on the picture above, it should enlarge so you can see the print better.) Just for fun, check this out...

Anyway, back to the blocks! I'm using the fussy cut 4" squares as the center of my log cabin blocks and using the strips on light and dark sides, ending with white so it seems a bit more "summery". (Is that really a word?) I went out 3 logs on each side so I finished with a 10" block.



My plan is to make 8 blocks and try some different layouts but I should end up with a 20"x 40" runner for my oval kitchen table. I'll be back soon with some layout options!

Happy summer stitching,

Tonya


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Tickled Pink Take 2

Here's a little sew and share for you today. I had an email question a while back from Cindy about a border fabric I used in my Tickled Pink quilt that appeared in McCall's Quilting last July. She also shared a great idea for how she planned to make her version even more special for her little girl. She writes...

"...My daughter had a cat for 15 years and Tippy had an old pink quilt that she slept on. Tippy passed away last year and my daughter won't part with the old quilt that Tip slept on. It is very faded and threadbare. I work with a lady at Mayo Clinic who makes beautiful quilts as a hobby so I asked her if we could make a quilt and use Tippy's quilt for the inside material. That way my daughter would always have Tippy's quilt with her but inside a new quilt. When I suggested this to my daughter she was thrilled with the idea..."

I think that's such a great way to bring together the old and the new memories - all through a humble quilt. And look at the smile on this little cutie's face! (The little fur-baby in the corner looks like a keeper too!)
Cindy's friend and co-worker Rita made the quilt for her (nice friend! - hope you'll catch the quilting bug too Cindy!) I love the selection of fabrics chosen for your blocks. Thanks for sharing such a sweet idea for honoring memories through our quilting.

Happy stitching,

Tonya

p.s. If you were curious about the border fabrics on this one too, the inner border is a Brandon Mably fabric from Westminster called Shingles and the outer border is Magenta Miami by Philip Jacobs.