Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Not What I Should be Working On!

There are so many things I should be doing--I have more Christmas presents to make, more cleaning to do, and lots more decorating to finish, but I just had to set my "Sugar Twist" blocks together (Pattern by Margot of The Pattern Basket).  Now to decide on a border!

And I just had to take one more picture of my Flea Market Fancy hexies--thanks once again to a blogging friend I now have a hexagon from all 45 fabrics in the collection (the lighter of the two green bubble dots was the hardest print to find).  I can't wait to start setting these together. For now, though, they'll have to wait--tomorrow's December 1st, and there is a lot to do!

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Simple Gifts Part 3 and...

 One of my favorite gifts to give is a holiday table runner.  A couple of years ago I made over a dozen from this pattern to give as gifts.  I didn't keep a Christmas one for myself and have been planning to make one using The 12 Days of Christmas since I first saw this fabric.

I made my runner just a bit longer than the pattern--adding in another section to the middle of the runner. It was hard to get a picture of the entire runner!  I can't wait to get it quilted and bound and on the table for this Christmas season!

The pattern is from Heather Mulder Peterson's Charmed and Dangerous and is called the "Crossroads Table Runner."  I love this pattern because it's super simple to make and also because it showcases the fabrics so well. For my version I used just one fabric for the lights (the pattern calls for you to use several of the light charm squares here).  I'll be binding it with the tonal red that I used for the posts. One final reason that I love to give table runners is that I can often quilt them myself, and this is a great pattern to practice on--since the runner isn't too wide it's a great beginning project for machine quilting.

  We were able to spend a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with family in northern Utah. We were lucky that our travels were between two snowstorms and that we had clear roads; however, high temperatures never were above 12 degrees Fahrenheit--and I don't even want to know how cold it was at night!  The cold weather gave us a perfect reason to stay in, and so I got quite a bit of handwork finished.  My sister-in-law had two new projects I hadn't seen before.  The first one is her current project--the Lincoln Quilt.  It's really going to be a spectacular quilt when she is finished!

 The second quilt I had to share is one I just fell in love with. The colors and fabric choices were just perfect--and the quilt just brightens the whole room!

I love this quilt...when I asked to see the pattern I realized it was designed by Pat Sloan! The title of the pattern is "Ma-Ma's Garden"--truly a gorgeous quilt! Hope you have a wonderful day!

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Friday, November 26, 2010

Time to Decorate!

I love Thanksgiving...it's one of my favorite holidays--but starting the day after, it's time to get out the Christmas quilts.  Christmas quilts are some of my favorites, and I always try to make one or two new ones each year.  Someday I hope to be able to give a Christmas quilt to every member of our family.

I love Christmas quilts of all styles--traditional...

and I love more modern quilts with a touch of whimsy!  Hope you're having a wonderful day...I'll be back to share more Christmas quilts soon!

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

More Sewing With 12 Days

I just couldn't wait to make block 6 of FatQuarterShop's Designer Mystery Block of the Month.  This months block was designed by Me and My Sister Designs. Every single block has been wonderful--this is going to be one fun quilt!

I've also been working on next week's simple gift projects...I just love The 12 Days of Christmas--every time I think I have a favorite print from this collection a new one catches my eye, and it becomes my new "favorite"--for a while!

 A couple more hexagons.  The little ones are so much fun!

And one more book review...Bloom Creek Quilts (That Patchwork Place)...I was going to wait until next week to talk about this book, but decided to share it now since there is a giveaway going on right now over at Kim's blog (she has lots of photos to share from the book...hurry...the giveaway will be announced Wednesday night...so enter before then)!  This is a great book with projects of all sizes and kinds--I love the variety and also love the fact that these designs work well with so many fabric styles. Well...that's all for now...have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Simple Gifts--Part 2

  Some of my favorite simple gifts to give are small pillows. To see a couple of the pillows I made last Christmas go here. This year I have plans to make a few fun pillows using 12 Days of Christmas. I thought you might like a tutorial on how to make this pillow...so here goes!

 I used one background layer cake square trimmed to 9" square along with 4 charm squares trimmed to 4" square.  I made my hexagon flower using 1" paper pieces and scraps.

You will also need two other layer cake squares for the backing.  Trim them one to 8" by 9" and trim the other to 7" by 9." I also used one strip of 2 1/4" by width of fabric for the binding (not pictured).

Press the four inch squares wrong sides together to make triangles like this.

Then sew each square, right sides together, to the background square. If you enlarge the photo you should be able to see that I used the pressed line for my guide, sewing just a thread inside the pressed line.

Press the squares out to the corners and you'll have a triangle on each corner.  I trimmed the extra fabric 1/4" away from my seam.  At this time I pinned my hexagon flower to the background fabric, centered it and stitched it to my pillow top. If you want to do some handquilting you can do that now...but you don't have to.  I added a layer of batting and did a simple outline stitch around my hexagon flower and along the edges of the corner triangles.

 On the larger backing piece press under 1 1/2" on one side.  I also did a narrow hem (you can use a zig zag stitch or serge this edge also) on the edge of the side that was folded in (the hem doesn't show in this photo).

Next pin your backing pieces to the front of your pillow--wrong sides together.  Make sure the backing piece with the folded under edge is on top. You will be able to insert your pillow form through the opening between the two backing pieces.

Stitch around all edges using a scant 1/4" seam.

Attach your binding to the front of your pillow. I'd actually never seen a pillow constructed using binding until very recently when I saw pillows with binding on this blog and absolutely loved the idea. I think I'll be adding binding to many of my pillows now!

Hand stitch the binding to the back...

 You're just about done.  Actually, this little pattern would make a really cute potholder too...I  made my own pillow form to stuff inside.  The good thing about using this method is you can swap out pillow covers according to the holiday!

And there it is...a fun pillow perfect for gift giving! Instead of a hexagon flower a bit of stitchery in the center of this pillow would be really fun as well. Even easier would be to just make your favorite 6" block using Christams fabrics and add a 2" border all around...there are so many ways to make and embellish pillows...and you might need to make two so you can keep one for yourself!  Have a wonderful day!

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

This and That

While working with my scrappy blocks last week for this post I realized some of my newer scraps hadn't yet been included in any of my blocks...so my first project this week was to make a few more blocks.  It's great to now have some Verna, Central Park, Meadowsweet, Katie Jump Rope, and Flea Market Fancy added into the mix. 

 All of my "Sugar Twist" blocks (pattern from The Pattern Basket) are assembled...it's time to set together this quilt top...and pick a border...yay!

And I've been doing a little hand-quilting with some of my Flea Market Fancy!

I really was trying to keep from buying any fabric until after the end of the year...but some amazing lines have come out. I love Innocent Crush by Anna Maria Horner...might have to pick up a few more from this line (in January, of course).

 Parisville by Tula Pink is also amazing--the "Mist" colorway is my favorite!

And Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks, Volume 2 arrived in my mailbox today...I was so happy to have won a copy--this is an amazing magazine.  See the tabs at the top...those are all of the blocks I like! I think I'm going to do a scrappy quilt with these after the holidays.

Weekend reading here...Interweave had a buy one get one free special on their Gifts issues--I haven't had a chance to look at these yet but will this weekend!

The latest issue of Where Women Create arrived too...how am I going to sew this weekend...I have so much reading to do!!!

And finally...I'm not sure what took me so long to order this book Simple Graces: Charming Quilts and Companion Projects (That Patchwork Place) --everything Kim Diehl does is amazing.  This is probably my favorite book of hers, ever.  I really like it because each quilt has smaller conmpanion projects that are perfect for gift giving or for just making something to accent your own home.  I've read it cover to cover twice already.  Kim's tips are wonderful as always, and I'm imagining lots of these projects in my home! I tend not to use so many dark colors anymore, but her designs are classic and will "play well" with even the most modern fabrics!

I'm working on my project for Monday...be back then with another simple gift idea!  Have a wonderful day!

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Simple Gifts--Part 1

Can you believe it's the middle of November?  This year has just flown by for me, so it's definitely time to get going on gift making.  I love to give homemade Christmas gifts and thought it might be fun to post each Monday about my simple gift ideas for this year--so six weeks of ideas!  I'll make sure to save something really, really simple for the final week which will be the week of December 19th.

My first simple gift idea is potholders--I made seven this weekend in just a few hours.   I used the pinwheel hotpad pattern from Camille's pattern "My Simple Kitchen." 

 I followed her pattern except that along with one layer of "Insul-Brite" I added one layer of batting for the filler. Using layer cake squares for the backs really makes this pattern go together quickly.  For the fronts I actually used scraps from my FatQuartershop 2010 Designer Mystery Block of the Month.

The fabric is 12 Days of Christmas by Kate Spain for Moda...I absolutely adore this line which has whimsical prints along with more sophisticated designs--every piece is gorgeous! There are some other fun bloggy Christmas ideas going on...be sure to check out SewCalGal's Christmas Quilt Show and the Mistletoe Make and Bake 2010!  Have a wonderful day!

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Saturday, November 13, 2010

I Heart Patchwork--and Patchwork Books

(I'm posting over at Stash Manicure today, too! That post and this one begin the same, but both posts also have unique features). 

I heart scraps.  You might have seen some of these on my blog before, but it's been a long, long time (over a year)! I've been collecting 2 1/2" squares for a scrappy quilt for a couple of years now.  It's really okay if this quilt takes a long time to complete...I want it to have lots and lots of variety!

When I first started this project I didn't have enough of the colors I wanted.  So I've been patient (sort of). I've been saving my squares.  Every now and then I go through and make a few more blocks.

I'm making blocks in six different color ways--pinks/purples, reds, oranges, blues, yellows, and greens.  Actually, just the other day I figured out how I want to set them all together.  I just need to save a few more scraps.

The two books above are books that will definitely help you use your scraps. You've probably seen  The Practical Guide to Patchwork: New Basics for the Modern Quiltmaker (Stash Books) all over blogland.  I just had to get a copy after reading all of the interviews and seeing all of the sneek peaks of the book. It's a great book for the beginner and intermediate quilter with terrific easy-to-understand instructions on all the basics.  It's also a great book if you just want "photo inspiration" for modern quilts.  One of my favorite things about the book is that it contains piecing instructions for the backs of all 12 quilts.  I heart pieced backs, and there are some great layouts given.  Also, if you're making a quilt of a similar size, you could just use the layout from one of the quilts in this book for your quilt back.  Link to the 30's: Making the Quilts We Didn't Inherit (That Patchwork Place) is another great book for scrappy projects.  Even though every quilt in the book is made with 30's/reproduction fabrics--the designs just say "modern fabrics" to me. The book includes some projects that require use of templates; however, there are several that require no templates at all.  I love how the authors give the historical background of the blocks and designs, and quilting designs are even included. There is great variety in the difficulty level of these quilts with quilts suitable for the beginner to advanced quilter.  Another book that will really help you utilize your scraps will be coming out early next year...be on the lookout for Scrap-Basket Sensations: More Great Quilts from 2 1/2" Strips--I can't wait to see this one!

I've been busy working on something really fun to share next week...have a great weekend!

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