Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Tool Tuesday: Irons for Quilters

Irons...quilters seem to constantly be searching for the perfect iron. I've definitely had my share of negative iron experiences over the past few years. For a while it seemed that no matter how much I spent on an iron it would invariably break within a year or so--always after the warranty had expired.

My previous iron (actually it still works and is now officially the "back-up" iron) was a Rowenta. Although it didn't leak too much...the steam has been hit or miss for over a year. I also have received some pretty bad burns from irons over the past couple of years...mostly due to just hitting the sole plate of the iron with my arm when I'm in a hurry. So when I found out about the Oliso Pro that stays in a horizontal position I was sure it would solve my problems.


It's only been a week since she arrived, but so far, so good. The steam is wonderful. The up/down mechanism that I've heard some people complain about works wonderfully. I feel like my ironing is going more quickly and that my sewing this week has benefited from the new iron. I am emptying the water from the reservoir every night per the instructions. So I'm hopeful...

I'll come back with an update on this in a month or so! 

 In other news...I'm going to start carrying some of my favorite notions and fabrics in my Etsy shop. Right now I just have a couple of my favorite fabrics available by the yard...My favorite Aloha Girl print...

 And my favorite Sweetwater Feed Company print. I'll be adding more of my favorite items in the coming weeks and months.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Grandmother's Flower Garden: Paper Pieced

It's been some time since I've posted about my scrappy grandmother's flower garden project. This is one of those "life-time" quilts. Except I hope to have it finished in a few years.

 I have just over 30 finished blocks, and I'm still undecided what I'm going to do with them...


A couple of years ago I started making sure most of them had yellow centers and a variety of scrappy outer petals in coordinating color ways. As you can see I'm low on the navy and purple flowers and also need to make a few more orange.

 I can't decide if I'm going to applique' each flower to a background square or if I want to make a true Grandmother's Flower Garden and make a lot of white hexagons to separate the flowers. Making hundreds of white hexagons isn't something I can ever get too excited about though...

I did applique one of my flowers on a 7" square and do think I'd like a quilt like this...but if I took the time to make the white separator hexagons it could be spectacular. Does anyone have any tips for getting through all of the white hexagons? Maybe I should make myself make a certain number after each flower I put together.

For now I just keep making hexagons and storing them by color in this plastic bin. Since we will be taking a short trip this week to attend my Grandmother's funeral (she passed away last week at the age of 94 after a brief illness), I thought I'd take these with me to have something to work on in the evenings. Maybe I will come home with a few more flowers!

My flowers are all made using the 1" hexagon papers from Paper Pieces dot com

I know a lot of people just use squares of fabric for these, but I really do prefer to use hexagon shapes. The small hexagon on my Go! Cutter by Accuquilt works perfectly, but I also use the small hexagon template pictured above when I just want to cut a couple of hexagons quickly. I also take it with me when I travel in case I have time to cut hexies from scraps.

 For more information on how I prepare my hexagons, you can read this post from a couple of years ago: "I Heart Hexagons."

I'll be back later this week to share my progress.  Thanks so much for stopping by!

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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Spring Table Topper

 My Bucket List quilt pattern is one of my favorites, and for a little while I've been wanting to make it in a smaller version for a table topper.

 Five star blocks (make them scrappy like the original pattern or use solid centers) and for alternate blocks make a fun design. I finally got a chance to put this together last week. It was my last quick project before starting some spring quilt market sewing this weekend.

 I used Fresh Cut by Basic Grey for Moda and mixed it with Moda Dottie in the small dots on aqua. I used some Miss Kate by Bonnie & Camille for Moda for a spring-green binding.

I have the pdf download in my Craftsy shop. If you'd like to make one, this will be the Simply Small project for April 15th (I'll be emailing the pattern to those who participated in the last Simply Small parade).

I can't wait to see some fun versions of this table topper. It would look cute in patriotic fabrics and Christmas fabrics also.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

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Friday, March 27, 2015

Charm Pack Charm Box Quilt

Today I get to share a fun quilt I made a little while ago for the Fat Quarter Shop Charm Box Quilt blog hop. I had so much fun making this baby quilt. It's always good to have some simple patterns on hand when you need a quick gift.

 I had been wanting to sew with Pam's Pam Kitty Garden and thought this would be the perfect project for her sweet fabrics!

My quilter did an all over floral with swirls pattern which was perfect for the fabric.

 I used Moda Snuggles in cream for the backing (my favorite go-to backing for baby quilts).

 This is a fast quilt, too. I cut it out one evening and then put it together in just a few hours the next day.

Fat Quarter Shop has provided the downloadable pattern for free and has also included an instructional video.

Download the Charm Box Shortcut Quilt Pattern.

Watch the Charm Box Shortcut Quilt Video.

Get a Charm Box quilt kit in Aloha Girl.

 Happy Friday, and thanks so much for stopping by!
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Monday, March 23, 2015

Scraps Monday

Happy Monday! It's been a little while since I did a Scraps Monday post, so I thought today would be a good day for that...especially since I've basically been sewing everything with scraps lately!

 I'm still working on my "Go Four It" American Patchwork and Quilting quilt along blocks. I now have 142 of the 9 patch blocks finished with just 100 more blocks to go. They really do go together quickly now since I have all of the four-patches finished.

 I also started another project with scraps...using left-overs and favorites from lots of Moda Candy packs. I have a bin with left over 2 1/2" squares and used those along with opening a few new packs!

I can't wait to try some of the scrappy projects in these two books: Retro Mama Scrap Happy Sewing: 18 Easy Sewing Projects for DIY Gifts and Toys from Fabric Remnants and Sweetly Stitched Handmades: 18 Projects to Sew for You and Your Loved Ones.

Both of these books are full of fun scrappy projects. Just a few projects included in Scrap Happy Sewing are: pillow, potholder, quilt, sewing kit, pincushion, totebag, baby bib, jewelry wallet, business card holder, tote bag, and cross body bag patterns. Lots of these projects would be great for gifts.

Sweetly Stitched Handmades includes: baby and child's projects (including an adorable bib), trivet, mug rug and coaster patterns, fabric boxes, pin cushion, embroidery, eyeglass case, simple tote, patchwork pouch and pillow pattern.  

I'm also including a link up this week...I'd love to see what scrappy projects you're working on right now!

Thanks so much for stopping by! 


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Saturday, March 21, 2015

AccuQuilt 2015 Block Design Contest

Have you heard about the 2015 AccuQuilt Quilt Block Design Contest?

Entries must be designed with AccuQuilt shapes. As always, it must be an original design, which means no copyrighted designs may be used. The contest kicks off Friday, March 20th (yesterday) and runs through April 19th

The Grand Prize Winner gets an all-expenses paid trip to AccuQuilt + a $1,000 shopping spree and 2 tickets to the Let’s GO! Quiltling Retreat in Fremont, NE. They will be featured in the Jan/Feb 2016 of Quiltmaker, plus your block will be prominently displayed on a 17 ft. sign outside of AccuQuilt. There are also more fabulous prizes from Aurifil, The Quilt Show, Mountain Mist, P & B Textiles and more.

- Enter & Vote for your favorite quilt block March 20th – April 19th
-        At the end of voting, the field will be narrowed down to the top 30 designs, 15 will be selected by popular vote and 15 will be selected by the AccuQuilt team. A panel of guest judges will then select the Top 10. AccuQuilt management makes the final decision on the selection of the grand prize winner and runner up prize winner.

For more details go here.

Since this contest has so many great prizes, I thought I should definitely share! Thanks so much for stopping by...see you Monday with a Scraps Monday post!

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Behind the Scenes

I know things have been a little quiet here on the blog...I've been organizing and doing a lot of spring cleaning over the last ten days. I normally do this at about this time every year, but this year was a little different.

 I had to make a new ironing board cover for the occasion...my old one was getting pretty beat up. This Miss Kate floral on navy was the perfect "pick me up" choice!

 And my red magnetic pin bowl is perfect with the new cover (buy the magnetic pin bowls here...her shop is sold out now, but check back as she adds new items regularly).

I didn't really use a pattern for the ironing board cover. I just traced the outline of my ironing board on the wrong side of my fabric, cutting it out with about 4" extra on all sides. I turned in 1/4" then folded it again 3/4". I stitched a casing leaving an opening and used almost 2 yards of 1/2" elastic in the casing. That was it (I used a medium sized safety pin to thread the elastic through the casing).

 I really haven't done any sewing this week aside from the ironing board cover. But...I've spent a lot of time rearranging and making sure my quilts were displayed just so...

 I have quilts and quilted accessories in every room...

 and on lots of walls... I do decorate and use my quilts all of the time, but there was a special occasion involved this week...

It was a great honor to have professional photography done in my home for an upcoming magazine article! Publication won't be for quite a while, so I'll have more on this later.

Today I'll be sewing for sure...thanks so much for stopping by!

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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Snapshots: Tea Kettle Quilt Block

Hello! It's time for block 3 in the Snapshots quilt along from Fat Quarter Shop--it seems like the days have flown by this month. Today's block is an adorable tea kettle block--a nostalgic block for me since I always remember a tea kettle on the stove at our house and at my grandmother's house.

Actually, every block in the Snapshots quilt has been a little nostalgic for me--I am absolutely loving these blocks!

All of the information for the quilt along can be found on the Snapshots quilt along main page here... and you can download the "Put the Kettle On" Snapshots block here!

Have a great rest of the weekend, and thanks so much for stopping by!

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Friday, March 13, 2015

Decorating with Quilts

Spring is definitely in the air, and I've been doing a bit of spring cleaning and re-decorating this week. I truly love using and decorating with my quilts and have had a few thoughts about that topic as I've been re-arranging.

 I have a guest room which I decorate primarily with Fig Tree fabric quilts. As I did some changing up in this room this week it was fun to see how the collections really work together. I have scrappy quilts in this room as well as projects like the basket quilt (Avalon) and the pillow (Aloha Girl) made with just one collection.

 I finished up the binding on my scrappy Honey Braids quilt, and it's now hanging on the wall opposite the quilt in the photo above.

I also changed up a few of the quilts on my front entry quilt ladder. I like to change these up fairly frequently as I've seen first hand the damage light can do to textiles.

 Part of my spring decorating has also included finishing up some works in progress. Just a week ago these three orphan blocks weren't even finished.

 And now they are finished up into a simple table runner! Much better than blocks sitting in a drawer!

Moving things around also gives you a chance to evaluate what types of projects you might want to work on. I've been able to see where I might need  a pillow, runner or small quilt...projects that can be completed quickly and make a fun impact such as my table runner did. I've got a few more ideas for decorating with quilts in the following list.

Tips for Decorating with Quilts

  • First, take an inventory of the quilts you have. Group together in categories: color, season, or fabric style so you know what you have to work with.
  • Pay particular attention to places where there is a lot of light--change quilts in these areas frequently to prevent damage.
  •  Make a list of things you notice as you are working: write down the measurements for that perfect sized wall-hanging or table runner you need to make.
  • Quilts that have been on display for awhile might benefit from washing...or at least a visit to the fluff cycle in the dryer to remove dust.
  • Look for ways to use items you already have for your quilt display. The bassinet in the photo above had been in my storage closet for quite a few years. I also recently added rolled up quilts to an antique crock that belonged to my great great grandmother!
Hope you are working on something fun this weekend. Thanks so much for stopping by!

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Tuesday Tip: Binding Quilts

Yesterday I was able to pick up a quilt from the quilter--it was one of those quilts that melts your heart, and of course I had to bind it right away!

 The quilt is from the Fig Tree pattern "Jumping Jacks," and I made it with Fig Tree scraps I've saved over the past few years. As I sat binding it last evening I thought about how much I love the binding process--it's such a wonderful ending to the finishing of a quilt. I love being able to remember the fabrics and the piecing "close up" as I sew those final stitches.

 My bindings usually act as a frame for the quilt, and I often have a pretty big contrast between the binding fabric and the outer border fabric. This isn't always the case though--sometimes I use a light-colored binding because it sets off the quilt best, and sometimes I really don't want the binding to make a statement, so I will choose a binding that blends with or is just slightly different from the outer border.

For my "Jumping Jacks" quilt I wanted the flag blocks to be the "star of the show" and chose a green binding just a bit darker than the green in the border.

 Sorry for the photo over-load, but I really love this quilt!

 I'm binding another quilt this evening--March is going to be a month of finishes! I've actually been pondering the binding on this one for awhile. At first I was going to wait for yardage to be available from the Aloha Girl collection to bind it (pattern is another Fig Tree design--"Mahalo"). But while looking for something else in my sewing room I found an extra bit of binding from another project and realized the polka dot from "Avalon" would set off this quilt beautifully.

The polka dots add a touch of whimsy, the navy makes a great contrast with the coral outer border, ties in with the aqua/coral border, and even is fun with the lime green backing from Somerset. I love when I'm able to finally decide on the perfect binding!

I always machine sew my binding to the front of the quilt and hand stitch it to the back. A couple of tips:

  • After your binding is machine stitched, use your iron to press the binding away from the border (on the front of the quilt). This makes it much easier to fold the binding back to the other side and makes it turn nicely (I don't do this when using bias binding, though).
  • I hand-stitch the mitered corners together along the diagonal edge--I think this makes for a sturdier binding...things are less likely to get caught in the fold of the fabric if you do this.

For more thoughts on binding, you can find links to both of my You Tube binding tutorial videos here.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

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