Thursday, March 30, 2017

Tulips


My hands down favorite spring flower is the tulip.  (Sorry daffodil - you are a close second!)   I've had zero luck with them growing in my yard - something keeps eating the bulbs.

Making a tulip quilt is the next best way to enjoy my favorite flower! 


I just love this pattern!  The pattern is called Dutch Tulips and can be found at Fat Quarter Shop.  I used American Made Brand solids sourced from Fat Quarter Shop to make my wall hanging.

Before hanging the quilt on the kitchen wall, we took a road trip to a park for some fun photos!


 It was a beautiful day - a picnic or a canoe ride on the lake would have been a perfect park activity!


It was fun to do needle-turned applique process for the leaves.  

I enjoyed the pattern so much that I down-sized it just a bit to make a table runner which finished 12 x 32''.  For this runner, I kept the leaves the same size and made the flowers smaller.



The table runner users scraps of an older Kate Spain line.  This one is off in the mail as a gift.

Each of these were quilted the same way - first stitched around each flower to outline and then used some matching thread to stitch in the some areas on the tulip and the leaves.  For the background, I just did a basic large stipple.


Find more information about Dutch Tulips on today's Jolly Jabber blog.  There are other bloggers making tulip quilts as well - check it out!


Photo sourced from Fat Quarter Shop

Pretty, huh?  Still feel like making another one!



My two tulip quilts will be linked up with  Freemotion by the River,   WIP Wednesday's,  Let's Bee SocialMidweek Makers.  Finish it Up Friday and Finished or Not Friday.   My tulip quilts are finish #15 and 16 for 2017 - many of these (but not all) are minis.

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Sponsor Love

I had lunch with a friend recently and was telling her about Green Fairy Quilts, one of the sponsors of my blog.

Since you and I can't share lunch (sadly), I thought I'd use a blog post to tell you about them!

See what just arrived in the mail from my latest order?  Mini-charms and thread for my applique and my piecing.


Green Fairy Quilts is a family owned on-line quilt store and is my go-to shop for thread, pre-cuts and notions.  Their selection and prices are just wonderful.

Make sure you sign up for their newsletter (upper left corner of page) to be among the first to know about a sale.

Also, check out their blog  where you can follow Judi and enjoy her amazing quilting.  I hope to be lucky enough to see her work in person some day!



Have a wonderful day! Patty

Monday, March 27, 2017

improv QAL - Strips and Curves


For overall information on play, the improv QAL, please see the QAL kickoff as well the main event page.  

The improv QAL has a set of basic rules - 

  • you are in charge
  • make what you want
  • don't follow a pattern
  • play with fabric
  • experiment

Anything goes here. 

This is your project, your creativity. 

There will be weekly prompts each Monday, through April 3.  The prompts so far have been wonky log cabin , the half triangle blockstack, cut & sewwonky geesewonky stars & crumbs.

Strips.  

My guess you've got a bunch of them lying around.  Leftover from trimming other blocks.  Bits of leftover binding.  You can sew them together randomly (or with some intent) to create some fun new designs.

Mixing up widths of strips, throwing in some curves, piecing together shorter strips before adding them to the overall piece can add lots of interest.

Prompt (March 27) -
Strips and curves
 Produce a mini or create blocks to be assembled together with other blocks from the QAL.

Remember, this prompt is just the start of this week's assignment.  Embrace it or ignore it.



This mini is not as colorful as the other minis created for this QAL.  But, I did have great fun with the quilting - especially my little pebbles/bubbles!

This is actually the second mini I made in support of this week's clue.  I lost the first one - it is still missing somewhere in my sewing studio, likely swept up in a box of scraps.  The lost mini was colorful and curvy as you can see in the tip photo below!


Some tips for sewing curves - 

  1. Overlap fabrics, right side up for BOTH fabrics
  2. Cut your curve with your rotary cutter
  3. Swap your two fabric pieces and pair as I've done - see the orange with the blue and the blue with the orange
  4. Make a small mark or fold where the centers of each piece line up
  5. Sew!  I always put the concave piece on top but either way works
  6. Ta-da!  A press with make everything lie flat
  7. Repeat and enjoy!

    Remember - anything goes here.  It is your project, your creativity coming through.  Don't be afraid to experiment.  This might feel uncomfortable but don't give up - keep working through to the end product.




    • Use #playimprovqal to earn entries towards one of the QAL prizes.  





      Next prompt (our last one) is on Monday, April 3.    Here's a sneak peak.



      Have a wonderful day! Patty

      Saturday, March 25, 2017

      One Monthly Goal - March Finish Link Up


      There were 106 projects shared in the March Goal Setting Link-Up!  I very much enjoy visiting everyone and seeing your projects and now it is time to see those finished goals.

      New to One Monthly Goal?  Welcome!  You can read about the event and the rules on the main event page.
      Sign up to receive email notifications when the One Monthly Goal linkup is open.  Think of it as a helpful reminder!

      The April One Monthly Goal link up will open on April 1.   (And as you start to think about April, remember a goal could be to finish a quilt but it could also be to attach a binding or make three blocks.  Whatever it takes to help you move forward and make progress on your projects!  And as long as the project involves a needle and/or fabric, you can link up!)

      My goal for March was to finish my quilt from the Meadow Mist Designs mystery QAL.  I call my quilt Galaxy and just love my new wall-hanging.  (See more photos here.)



      Now it is your turn to link up - share your goal finish for March.  

      Please only link up if you finished your goal and if you also participated in the March Goal Setting Link-up.  



      There will be three winners this month - Fat Quarter Shop is offering a $25 gift certificate, Bagmaker Supply is offering a $20 gift certificate.  Leah Day from Leah Day.com is offering one lucky winner an Online Quilting Workshop called Quilting a King on Your Home Machine. 


      Congratulations to Mary, Jen & AndrĂ©e - our lucky winners of the lovely prizes from our sponsors!  (updated 4/1)




      Visit the One Monthly Goal event page for the specific requirements for links and social tags. 

      And remember, to be eligible for the prize(s) by random drawing you must linkup at both the goal setting and the accomplishment linkup in a given month.  (March Goal Setting Linkup)


      Make sure you add a link to this OMG post so others can follow where you are linking.   Let's make that easy -  just paste this into your post:  











      Thanks for linking up!
      Have a wonderful day! Patty

      Friday, March 24, 2017

      Don't forget to link up your improv projects!

      Have you been stretching those creative juices by trying improv?

      It not too late to join in and try one of the prompts from play, the improv QAL!  There have been great prompts so far - wonky log cabin - triangles - stack, cut, sew wonky geese -  wonky stars - crumbs.

      There will two more prompts (3/27 and 4/3).



      There have been many fun photos on Instagram and Elm Street Quilts QAL Facebook Group of  amazing improv underway as quilters all over are playing with fabric!

      This play in-process link up is open for just a few more days (through March 27.)  Please take some time to visit others and encourage their creativity.

      Any in-process photo goes here.  You could have just one wonky geese (goose?) done, link it up.  You could be ignoring the prompts altogether and doing your own improv - link it up!

      Really only one rule - besides being improv (!!) - is that for an entry in the random participant giveaway to be considered valid, it must be shared from a blog or from Instagram and contain the links / tags are listed below. 


      • Instagram posts must contain #playimprovqal and @elmstreetquilts. 


      What have you been making in your improv studio?




      Read more about prizes, sponsors and ways to win on the main event page.

      Thanks to our wonderful sponsors - American Made Brand and Aurifil !  They have provided prizes for five (5) participants who will be randomly chosen.




      Thanks for linking up!

      Wednesday, March 22, 2017

      Piecing Batting Tutorial

      I've a bin filled with batting scraps that I want to put to good use for a backing for my next quilt top.

      In this post, I am sharing how I tackle piecing batting and I'd love to hear in the comments any tips you might have as well.


      Here are the steps I use to piece my batting (reference numbered photos below):


      1. Find two pieces of batting that are roughly the same size where you want to join them
      2. Overlap them about 1 to 1 1/2''
      3. With your rotary cutter, cut a wavy line 
      4. Pull away the extra bit of batting and discard.  The two pieces will fit nicely together.
      5. Using an open zig-zag stitch on your machine, slowly sew the two pieces together.  They are not overlapped but just butted against each other
      6. Enjoy your new piece of larger batting and use it as it were one piece.


      piecing quilt batting

      You can use the same zig-zag technique on batting with a straight edge but I find that a little easier to find in the finished product.

      I'll be linking up with Tips & Tutorials Tuesday.

      Have a wonderful day! Patty

      Monday, March 20, 2017

      improv QAL - crumbs


      For overall information on play, the improv QAL, please see the QAL kickoff as well the main event page.  

      The improv QAL has a set of basic rules - 

      • you are in charge
      • make what you want
      • don't follow a pattern
      • play with fabric
      • experiment

      Anything goes here. 

      This is your project, your creativity. 

      There will be weekly prompts each Monday, through April 3.  The prompts so far have been wonky log cabin , the half triangle blockstack, cut & sew, wonky geese & wonky stars.

      As you've been working on your improv blocks so far, you've likely generated really small, odd shape bits of fabric scraps.  This week's prompt makes good use of those castaways.  If you can't find any on your work space, take a look in the trash can or on the floor.  That is where I collected the crumbs for my mini.

      Today's prompt is -

        Crumbs - those odd shaped, tiny bits of leftover fabric
       Produce a mini or create blocks to be assembled together with other blocks from the QAL.


      Remember, this prompt is just the start of this week's assignment.  Embrace it or ignore it.


      My mini is 4 1/2 x 5 ''.

      I used four (4) colors of Aurifil thread for my quilting.  I auditioned the final mini on several different colors before deciding to set it 'on point.'   The back is another improv mini block.

      See my mini progress in pictures - 



      This might just be my favorite mini that I created in support of the prompts.  (But I bet I've said that before!)  I used at least 4 different colors of Aurifil thread to quilt this.



      Some tips & ideas -


      • Sew together smaller bits of fabric to create a slightly larger small bits to join to your piece. (See photo in top right corner.)


      • Sew with a really tiny stitch length.  Mine was set to 1.2.


      • If you mess up, throw it out or cut it out.  Don't waste time on unpicking a seam.


      • The smallest strips which end up as only a sliver can add the most interest.

        Remember - anything goes here.  It is your project, your creativity coming through.  Don't be afraid to experiment.  This might feel uncomfortable but don't give up - keep working through to the end product.




        • Use #playimprovqal to earn entries towards one of the QAL prizes.  





          Next prompt Monday, March 27.  (One more prompt follows on April 3.)  Here's a sneak peak.



          My mini quilt top will be linked up with  Main Crush Monday's,   Freemotion by the River,   WIP Wednesday's,  Let's Bee SocialMidweek Makers.  Fabric Frenzy Friday,  Finish it Up Friday and Finished or Not Friday.   My improv quilt top is finish #13 for 2017 - most are minis.

          Have a wonderful day! Patty

          Friday, March 17, 2017

          Mini Blocks

          Aren't these cute?


          Each of my mini blocks measure between 2 and 2 1/2''.  The word 'between' is key here.  Some were supposed to be exactly 2'' and some were supposed to be exactly 2 1/2''.  None of them are exactly anything but cute!


          These are great fun to assemble and I know I'll be making more.

          Check out more mini blocks in the Precision Piece QAL link-up hosted by Quilt Shop Gal.

          Have a wonderful day! Patty

          Wednesday, March 15, 2017

          Sweet Bunny (and a single fold binding tutorial!)



          When I saw the pattern Woodland Animals by Juliet of Tartankiwi, I just couldn't resist.  (You may remember that Juliet was our featured designer in January for One Monthly Goal.)

          My little bunny mini finishes at 5''.  Isn't she cute?

          The pattern includes several sizes so I'm likely to make more, maybe a bigger one as a pillow. This one will be gifted.


          When I make small quilts, I always use a single fold binding.  I put together a quick tutorial on what I do.


          First cut the binding at 1 1/4''.  Place right side against the top of your quilt and attach at 1/4'' like you would a typical binding.


          Attach on all four sides, making sure to leave a tail at the beginning and end.  (left photo, below)

          To join each end of the binding strip, fold each binding edge so that the folds lay right up against the other and finger press each of the folds.  (center photo, below) 

          Align the binding strip edges, right sides together, so the fold lines you just created are aligned. Sew on this fold line.  Fold your quilt in half to help get things lined up. (right photo, below)


          Once you test to make sure binding fits, trim away excess and finish sewing down binding.

          Fold binding over to back and press.


          With right side of quilt facing down, fold over the edge of the binding to quilt edge and then fold again to tuck the raw edge underneath.

          Attach binding.  I sew by hand (and these small quilts go quick!) but you could also sew by machine.

          If all goes well, your folded over binding will cover the line of stitches that resulted from attaching it to the front.


          I'll be linking with Tips & Tutorials Tuesdays.  My quilt top will be linked up with  Main Crush Monday's,   Freemotion by the River,   WIP Wednesday's,  Let's Bee SocialMidweek Makers.  Fabric Frenzy Friday,  Finish it Up Friday and Finished or Not Friday.   My improv quilt top is finish #12 for 2017 - most are minis.



          Have a wonderful day! Patty

          Monday, March 13, 2017

          improv QAL - Wonky Star


          For overall information on play, the improv QAL, please see the QAL kickoff as well the main event page.  

          The improv QAL has a set of basic rules - 

          • you are in charge
          • make what you want
          • don't follow a pattern
          • play with fabric
          • experiment

          Anything goes here. 

          This is your project, your creativity. 

          There will be weekly prompts each Monday, through April 3.  The prompts so far have been wonky log cabin , the half triangle block. stack, cut & sew & (my favorite) wonky geese.

          Next to flying geese, stars are my favorite block.  Star blocks come in all shapes and sizes and with improv, you've the opportunity to create unique stars.  You could even use some of the wonky geese you made last week with this week's prompt.

          Today's prompt is -
          Combine rectangles and triangles to create wonky stars.
           Produce a mini or create blocks to be assembled together with other blocks from the QAL.

          Remember, this prompt is just the start of this week's assignment.  Embrace it or ignore it.


          I'm working on a larger improv piece to share at the end of the QAL - it will definitely have some stars!

          See my mini progress in pictures - 



          Some tips & ideas -


          • Use your ruler to stabilize the fabric when cutting through several layers at once instead of just cutting with your rotary cutter alone
          • Lay your triangles so they lay overlap the edge on two sides.  (See photo top row, center above).  Trim excess background fabric with scissor.
          • Periodically press and trim to get straight edge.
          • Use additional fabric of the background color to frame or further offset the blocks
          • Star centers is a great place to use a fussy cut fabric

          Remember - anything goes here.  It is your project, your creativity coming through.  Don't be afraid to experiment.  This might feel uncomfortable but don't give up - keep working through to the end product.


          • Use #playimprovqal to earn entries towards one of the QAL prizes.  




            Next prompt Monday, March 20.  Here's a sneak peak.




            Thanks for linking up!

            Have a wonderful day! Patty

            play - an improv QAL link up

            There have been many fun photos on Instagram and Elm Street Quilts QAL Facebook Group of  amazing improv underway as quilters all over are playing with fabric!

            Our wonderful sponsors - American Made Brand and Aurifil - have provided prizes for five (5) participants who will be randomly chosen.





            There are four ways to earn entries (see the overall play page for specifics on prizes and rules) and there will be five (5) winners overall.

            1. Share as often as you want (each share counts as an entry) via Instagram or the Elm Street Quilts QAL Facebook Group using the tag #playimprovqal .  (Anything shared through April 30 is considered valid.)
            2. Share an in-process photo in THIS link-up.  (read more below)
            3. Share a quilt-top (quilted or not) in the finish link-up from April 10 to April 30
            4. Submit a finished quilt (i.e. quilted) for the finish parade.  (More details on the parade in April.)


            The play in-process link up will be open through March 27.  Please take some time to visit others and encourage their creativity.

            Any in-process photo goes here.  You could have just one wonky geese done, link it up.  You could be ignoring the prompts altogether and doing your own improv - link it up!

            Really only one rule - besides being improv (!!) - is that for an entry to be considered valid, it must be shared from a blog or from Instagram.  


            • Instagram posts must contain #playimprovqal and @elmstreetquilts. 

            What have you been making in your improv studio?






            Thanks for linking up!


            Have a wonderful day! Patty

            Friday, March 10, 2017

            Galaxy

            Introducing Galaxy!


            I always name my quilts.  Sometimes the name incorporates a bit of the fabric line I used.  Sometimes the name of the quilt is a reflection of the pattern.

            For this quilt, I wanted a name with some bow to astronomy.  The design of the quilt and the spiral quilting suggested planets and stars to me so I choose the name Galaxy.



            The quilt was designed by Cheryl of MeadowMistDesigns.  I downsized her pattern by making blocks at half size.  I wanted a wall hanging for my sewing studio and used solids that map to my favorite colors.  (When given an opportunity to choose fabric, I always end up in this color family!)


            The spiral quilting was fun to do.  (See my tutorial.)  Often the inner spiral gives me a hard time but I switched from using my walking foot to the most basic foot on my machine and moved very slow as I stitched.  This might be very well be the best inner spiral I've ever done!  (The bulk of the spiral was done with my walking foot.)


            The quilt is 34" square - perfect for a wall hanging!  I used American Made Brand solids in three shades of aqua (colors 32, 33, 34) and lime (color 18).

            My quilt top will be linked up with  Fabric Frenzy Friday,  Finish it Up Friday and Finished or Not Friday.   Galaxy is finish #11 for 2017 - many of these finishes have been minis. 




            Have a wonderful day! Patty

            Wednesday, March 8, 2017

            Prepare your quilt for binding

            I am actually one of those people who likes the process of hand-stitching the binding to the quilt.  It is relaxing to sit in my comfy chair with the finished quilt top draped across my legs.

            For today's post, I thought I'd share a couple of things I do to prepare my larger quilts before attaching the binding to ensure great results.


            Finish the edges of the quilt

            I send many of my larger quilts to my LAQ and pay just a little bit more to have her square off the quilt and to serge the edges.  This nice neat finish provides a great foundation for the binding itself.



            Label

            Labeling your quilt is important.  My go to label is a triangle made by folding a square of fabric in half.  Before sewing on my binding, I attach two of the three sides to a corner of the quilt.  The third side (the fold) is sewn down by hand.  (See my post on labels.)


            Press then seam

            I cut my bindings at 2 1/4'' which gives me a narrow binding on the front and just enough to cover the serged edge on the back.  I always press my bindings in half before attaching and found it cumbersome to bring a long binding to the ironing board.  For one thing, the binding ended up on the ground and collected dust and threads from my floor.



            Now I press each WOF strip individually.  Once the strips are joined, I come back with a quick press just on the join points.


            How do you prep your quilts for binding?

            I'll be linking with Tips & Tutorials Tuesdays.


            Have a wonderful day! Patty