Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Quilters Planner December Block

And now there are twelve!   (Not the best photo, sorry.)


The last block went together quickly.


A post holiday project will be to turn this into a pillow - 9 blocks on the front and 3 on the back.  Making couch pillows is a lot of fun!

I already have my Quilter's Planner for 2019 from Fat Quarter Shop.  The new year will be here before we know it!  

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Monday, December 10, 2018

Perfectly Imperfect

I consider myself a confident quilter.  Patterns and techniques never tried before are simply a challenge that I'm happy to take on.  I live for quilt math and often down-size blocks simply because it is fun.

When I experimented with hand-piecing for the first time earlier this year, I couldn't stop at one block and kept going until I had a quilt top.  And then, of course, I had to hand-quilt because I'd never done that before.

The result - Perfectly Imperfect - is by far my favorite quilt that I have ever made.  It is a celebration of the imperfection of handwork.  Every stitch is not the same length.  Every stitch is not straight.  But every stitch comes from the heart.  It is the best I can do and I'm proud of every imperfection.

Perfectly Imperfect Elm Street Quilts

There is a lot of hand quilting - stitches cover the surface - and the resulting texture is just amazing.

I've submitted the quilt for consideration for Quilt Con 2019 and really hope that I'll get to see my quilt hanging at the show.

The quilt design is my own.  The block pattern is from Tara Faughnan.  The fabric is Alison Glass Sunprint 2018 plus a gray Painters Palette solid.

I'll be linking up at Brag about Your Beauties Freemotion by the River,   WIP Wednesday's,  Let's Bee SocialMidweek Makers.  Needle and Thread Thursdays, Finish it Up Friday and Finished or Not Friday.


Have a wonderful day! Patty

Friday, December 7, 2018

Product Review: Wool Pressing Mat

Confession time. 

My absolute least favorite part of the entire quilt making process is pressing.  Pressing fabric before cutting, pressing blocks, pressing seams, pressing quilt tops - every one of those steps is not enjoyable.  But every one of those steps is important in the process of creating beautiful quilts.


So when the chance came to try out a wool pressing mat, I didn't hesitate for a moment to see how the Precision Quilting Tools Wool Ironing Mat (affiliate link) could make my least favorite task a bit better.

Please note this post contains affiliate links which means I will earn a small commission if you purchase an item.  This does not increase your costs in any way.  Precision Quilting Tools provided product for my use and evaluation.  All opinions expressed are my own.

The mat is 17 x 17'' and about 3/4 ''thick.  There is no wool smell associated with the mat, something I had been worried about.

The pressing surface is large and portable.  I loved that I could move it right next to my machine or next to my cutting table.


To test out the mat, I decided to try it on three different things - pressing pinwheel blocks where there is always bulk in the center, pressing fabric with creases and folds from being on a bolt too long, and on fusing fusible fleece.   I compared my results to my typical pressing habits - regular ironing board, no steam - and using a spray bottle of water as needed.  (Spoiler alert - I won't be using my regular ironing board and spray bottle anymore!)

The wool pressing mat did a wonderful job on my pinwheel blocks.  They pressed nice and flat and quickly.  (No water or steam was used.)  Everything ended up nice and flat and it all happened quickly!  The wool mat retains the heat from the iron and helps to press it from both sides.  The fabric didn't move on the mat so there is less chance of inadvertently stretching the block while pressing.


Fabric creases and fold can be hard to deal with - I typically drench the fabric with water to get rid of the most stubborn fabric creases. I was very pleased how it dealt with the fold and creases in this fabric.


I had less success with a crisper fold (before and after photo below) and a 'ghost' fold remained behind.  It did go away with a quick spritz of water and a pressing to deal with the ft.  (No photos of the final pressing.)


The mat did a fabulous job on the fusible fleece.  Typically, I need to press the piece from the top (fabric facing up) and then flip to press from the back (fleece side up) using a silicone pressing cloth.  Using the wool mat, the fleece adhered fine by only pressing from the top.  This was not what I was expecting and I was quite pleased!


Things I love:
  • large pressing surface (17 x 17 '') means I can press a whole block
  • very portable - I moved it to my cutting table and can bring it along to my next quilting class
  • speeds up the pressing process
  • did a great job on fusible fleece
  • handled many of the creases and folds in fabric without water
The wool pressing mats are a bit pricey but I do think it is worth the expense, especially if you aren't a fan of the pressing process.  The pressing job goes faster and is easier.

Please check out the Precision Quilting Tools Wool Ironing Mat (affiliate link) - you won't be disappointed.

Precision Quilting Tools is going to be a sponsor for One Monthly Goal 2019 (more on that coming soon) and one randomly chosen participant will have a chance to win a mat of their very own.)







Have a wonderful day! Patty


Wednesday, December 5, 2018

November Temperatures


I love sharing my temperature quilt each month.  November has brought quite the range of temperatures each day!  The high temperature one day was 75 and the 'lowest' high temperature was  42.  Quite the temperature spread!


 I'll be making another one with different shapes for 2019.  Want to make one too?  Check out my tutorial post.

The first column (of color) on the left is January 1 through 15, next column January 16 through 31 etc which means the last column on the right is November 16-30.  I'm using a low volume fabric to fill in months that don't have 31 days plus surrounding the overall temperature quilt

The quilt measures roughly 32'' x 36''.   Here is the mapping of color to temperature range - 



I'll be linking my quilt up to a temperature quilt link-up Brag about Your Beauties Freemotion by the River,   WIP Wednesday's,  Let's Bee SocialMidweek Makers.  Needle and Thread Thursdays, Finish it Up Friday and Finished or Not Friday.


Have a wonderful day! Patty

Monday, December 3, 2018

Hand Pieced QAL: Fabric Requirements


Have you been enjoying all of hand piecing basic tutorials?  You can find a link to all of them plus everything you need to know about the QAL here.

A bit less then a month to go until the kick-off for the Hand Pieced QAL - mark your calendars for Monday, January 7.  In the kick-off post, we will reveal the quilt, the prizes (!!!) and details about the schedule.  We are excited to share our quilt tops.

Today, we want to share a bit more about the quilt we'll be hand piecing and give you a sneak peak on fabric requirements.

We will be making a sampler quilt made up of 9 blocks.  The first four blocks are basic skill builders designed to help everyone tackle the skill of hand piecing.  The blocks finish at 6'' and are perfectly sized for scraps.


While we won't be able to give you precise yardage for the primary fabrics, we can give you some idea of  the range of fabric yardage by looking at several options:

  • Two color quilt (i.e. primary color plus background): Requires 1/2 yard of the primary color
  • Four colors plus background: Requires a fat-quarter (18 x 22'') of each of the four fabrics.  (A 1/4 yard cut WOF would also work.)
  • Each block in a different color: Requires fat-eighth (9 x 22'') for each of the nine fabrics  

The yardage for the background fabric will depend on the setting you choose for your blocks.  We'll have two options for this too, namely:

  • Traditional set, finishes ~23 x 23":  Requires 3/4 yard of background fabric
  • Set on-point, finishes ~35 x 35": Requires 1 ¼  yards of background fabric
I've chosen the on-point setting and will be using those awesome rainbow fabrics (pictured above) for my blocks.

Moda generously provided this beautiful bundle of Zen Chic Spotted for me to use for our QAL.  I will be making a second quilt in a different colorway - can't wait to get started!  Now go visit Kristin from Simple Handmade Everyday to see the fabric she has been sewing with!


Fat Quarter Shop has some great fat-eighth bundles to choose from.  Look for the smaller sets - about 10 fabrics - for your quilt!



For more information on the QAL including catching up with any tutorials you've missed, please visit the main event page - Hand Pieced QAL.   

You can also join our Hand Pieced Quilt Along Facebook Group and / or subscribe to our newsletter so you'll be among the first to know about new block tutorials.


Have a wonderful day! Patty

Saturday, December 1, 2018

One Monthly Goal - December Goal Link-up

Welcome to December!  We had 98 projects linked up in November - let's see what this month brings!



New to One Monthly Goal?  Welcome!  To join, share a photo of your project, some words about what you want to accomplish in a blog post, an Instagram post (tutorial) or a post on Flickr and add that photo to the link-up.  Return at the end of the month and share your results.  You can read about the event and the rules on the main event page.

We have wonderful sponsors this month - three (3) winners will be randomly chosen from those that link up in both the goal and the finish event.  Plus anyone linking up will earn an entry for the bonus prize.  (Bonus prize to be awarded in January - you can earn up to 3 entries by joining the link-ups October through December.) 


Fat Quarter Shop offers a tremendous selection of fabric, notions, books and just about anything you will need for your project. Consider their Sew Sampler box to receive a monthly surprise delivery of fabric and fun.  Fat Quarter Shop is offering a $25 gift certificate to one lucky participant.

Make Modern is a digital magazine launched by a collaboration of quilters based in Australia. Their magazine is filled with modern quilt designs and a wonderful source of inspiration. Make Modern is offering a 6 month subscription to one lucky participant.


Aurifil is home to a beautiful rainbow of thread in all weights, perfect for any of your sewing and quilting needs.  My favorite product is the designer collection boxes which coordinate with various fabric lines.  Aurifil is offering a thread set for the fourth quarter bonus prize.

I'm very excited to introduce our featured designer Amy Bradley from Amy Bradley Designs.  

Amy started quilting 30 years ago.  Her very first quilt featured dogs and was made for her husband's  veterinary clinic.  Amy started her business in 2002 and partners with her daughter Ashley and her mom Dorothy to bring us these wonderful designs. 

Amy's signature design is her whimsical representation of animals, objects and quilters!  Her fun designs are created with fusible applique.  There are patterns for the every holiday.  I love the newly released Elves pattern (photo below) and Hairy Christmas.

Her comical representations of quilters are my favorites - recognize yourself in Proud to Be a Quilter (below) or maybe Quilt Diva?  I certainly see myself in  Rippity-Doo-Dah.

Credit: Photos and quilts designs by Amy Bradley 


You can find Amy on Instagram, on Facebook, and in her Pattern store.  Amy is offering one lucky winner a $50 gift certificate to her website.  How awesome is that!

My goal for December is to get Christmas gifts made for family and friends.  Here is some of the fabric I've pulled!



Now it is your turn to link up - what is your goal for December?  (A goal could be to finish a quilt but it could also be to attach a binding.  Whatever it takes to help you move forward and make progress on your projects!  And as long as the project involves making something with a needle and/or fabric, you can link up!)

Make sure you visit the One Monthly Goal event page for the specific requirements for links and social tags. 
 Your blog post (or Flickr post) must contain a photo of your project, a clearly stated goal and a link back to Elm Street Quilts.  Your Instagram post must include a photo of your project, a clearly stated goal and the tag #onemonthlygoal.  (Entries which don't contain the required information may be disqualified.)

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.   (The One Monthly Goal accomplishment linkup will be available on December 26.)

Make sure you add a link to this OMG post so others can find the OMG link-up from your blog.  Let's make that easy -  just paste this into your post: 
 










Thanks for linking up!

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Friday, November 30, 2018

Scrappy Celebration


Elm Street Quilts HRT

My HRT (half-rectangle triangle) scrappy celebration quilt is done!  The quilt measures 72 x 80'' and is composed of 720 HRT blocks all made from Moda Sweetwater fabric scraps and charm packs.


The whole process of assembling the quilt and the FMQing was made more enjoyable when I would rediscover favorite prints.  I love those polka dots!


The quilt was quilted on my domestic machine in a simple meander.  I had 4 yards of the blue fabric in my stash for the backing.


Want to make one of your own?  Check out my tutorial for the half-rectangle triangle block!


I'll be linking up at Brag about Your Beauties Freemotion by the River,   WIP Wednesday's,  Let's Bee SocialMidweek Makers.  Needle and Thread Thursdays, Finish it Up Friday and Finished or Not Friday.



Have a wonderful day! Patty

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Crown of Thorns



Have you been following along with the Friendship Album 1933 podcast from Quilt Fiction?  

Friendship Album 1933 is a novel written by Frances O'Roark Dowell and shared each week - chapter by chapter - as a podcast read by the author.  The novel brings us into the lives of each of five women - Eula, Dorothy, Bess, Emmeline and Florence.  These women meet weekly in a quilting circle as they each work on a quilt to enter into the Sears National Quilt Contest as part of the World's Fair in 1933.

Each chapter of the novel is released as an podcast each Friday - if you are not already actively listening, you can get started here!  It is a perfect listening for your sewing.

In celebration of her novel, Frances and I have been collaborating on patterns for the quilts featured in the novel.  A few months ago Frances shared a free pattern for a Double-Windmill Quilt.

Today, we are sharing a collaboration for base instructions for a quilt made with the Crown of Thorns block. The Crown of Thorns block is constructed from half-square triangles (HST tutorial).


You can easily make your block bigger (or smaller) by changing the size of the HSTs you make.  2'' (finished) HST to make a 10'' (finished) block; 3" (finished) HST would make a 15'' (finished) block and so on.

Set with or without sashing in a traditional grid would make a beautiful quilt. I really love the secondary pattern in the quilt set without sashing.


Setting the blocks on point is the setting that Frances choose and added in a beautiful sawtooth border!


One of the trickiest parts of a on point setting is calculating the dimensions for your setting and end triangles.   I found a great resource that already figured out the math based on the block size you choose - find it here.

Frances has channeled her inner-Dorothy and made a beautiful quilt.  Jump over to Quilt Fiction to see her quilt and the base instructions to design one of your very own.  We haven't quite put together a pattern but if there is interest in one, let us know!


Have a wonderful day! Patty

Monday, November 26, 2018

Hand Pieced QAL : Dealing with Seam Allowances



Have you been practicing marking seams (tutorial) and doing the running stitch (tutorial) and now wondering what to do with your pile of 2-patch units?

Let's join them together into blocks and learn  how to deal with the seam allowances.



You will nest your seams exactly as you would if machine piecing.   But with hand piecing, you will sew through your seam allowances - not over them!

Sew right up to the seam allowance, do a backstitch and then push your needle through the seam allowance of the block on top.  Then, do another backstitch.


That's all there is to it!  Your seam allowances will be free (and happy).

Kristin has put together an awesome video that explains everything - check it out!

Any questions?  Leave me a comment - I'll be happy to help!





For more information on the QAL including catching up with any tutorials you've missed, please visit the main event page - Hand Pieced QAL.   

You can also join our Hand Pieced Quilt Along Facebook Group and / or subscribe to our newsletter so you'll be among the first to know about new block tutorials.


Have a wonderful day! Patty

Saturday, November 24, 2018

One Monthly Goal - November Finish Link-up

Ready to link up your November finishes?
Don't panic - this link-up is open until November 30 at 11:55 pm ET.


My goal for November was to quilt a challenge quilt.  I'm not quite ready for the reveal photo yet but the quilt is quilted and faced.  Here is a peak at a bit of the quilting and the faced edge.


There will be three winners this month - Fat Quarter Shop is offering a $25 gift certificate, Make Modern Magazine is offering a 6 month subscription to their digital magazine and Michelle Wilkie from Factotum of the Arts is offering a pdf version of her Phased Circles pattern.




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. (
November Goal Setting Link-up.)

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:  


Sign up to receive email notifications when the One Monthly Goal linkup is open.  Think of it as a helpful reminder!  Joining the link-up from Instagram -see the tutorial.

Congratulations to Tracie, Cynthia & Ioleen - our randomly chosen winners for November!  They have been notified by email - updated Dec 2.




Have a wonderful day! Patty

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Thank you!


Thank you so much for being such an awesome part of my quilting family.  I enjoy sharing my quilting adventures on the blog and am thankful for all the friends I have made in the quilting internet.  I truly appreciate your wonderful comments and encouragement and love seeing what you are making as part of One Monthly Goal.

For those in the US, have a wonderful Thanksgiving!  Enjoy time with family and friends (and tuck a bit of hand-stitching into your bag!)


Have a wonderful day! Patty

Friday, November 16, 2018

Quilters Planner November block update



I've been enjoying making one 6'' block each month from the Quilter's Planner QAL.  This November block is one of my favorites especially because all those ovals are going the same way!

Eleven done, one more to go!


I'm still thinking about making these into a pillow - 9 blocks on the front and 3 on the back.  Making couch pillows is a lot of fun!

I just received my Quilter's Planner for 2019 from Fat Quarter Shop.  The new year will be here before we know it!

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Eco-dyeing

In October, my guild had a workshop on dyeing fabric with natural items.


The fabric had been pre-treated with a mordant and we dipped each piece of fabric into iron water to lightly dampen before placing our leaves and flowers on the fabric.  The instructor - Erin Miller - brought all kinds of samples.

I didn't roll mine until I got home (I was too busy helping with the meeting) which I was able to add rose petals and geranium leaves to the mix.

The BEFORE shot
After putting the rolled up fabric into my vegetable steamer for 90 minutes, I kept it in a plastic bag for about 24 hours.

Probably what surprised me the most was the purple spots from the roses.  And the fact that those golden rod stems and flower added a lot of yellow.


Isn't this interesting?



I rinsed out the fabric, pressed it and hung it up on my design board for some inspiration.  I want to do something special!

It was so much fun to try something new, especially since it did not involve any harsh chemicals!

Have a wonderful day! Patty

Monday, November 12, 2018

Hand Pieced QAL - The Running Stitch Tutorial


We've covered the basics of marking stitching lines - see my post and Kristin's post.  The most important thing to remember is to mark your stitching line such that it starts and ends 1/4'' from each edge.

With stitching lines marked, let's cover the basics:  the knot, the running stitch, and the back-stitch.  My post will cover this in photos and Kristin has published a wonderful video.

The Knot

We will be stitching with double strand thread in this tutorial.  You could also work with a single strand of thread.  (Note - please use a neutral color for your thread.  I've chosen black for better photos.)

Thread your needle with thread (50 wt or 80 wt) which is the length of your arm from elbow to finger tips .  (Anything longer is just going to tangle.)

A simple knot is all you need - just make a loop at the end and pull through the thread tails.  There are several other types of knots you could use as Kristen demonstrates her video.


At the end of stitching, I typically pull my needle under the last stitch, make a loop and make a knot.



The Running Stitch

The basic running stitch is a line of small even stitches that run through your fabric without overlapping.  To make a running stitch, push your needle from the front of your work and right back up to catch just a small about of fabric.  Start right at the mark you made - 1/4'' from the edge. (See tutorial for marking stitching lines.)


Continue taking one stitch at a time, working to get your stitches even.  You can also pick up several stitches on your needle by rocking the needle in and out and using your left hand to push the fabric onto the needle.


You should try for 5 - 6 stitches per inch.  With practice, your stitches will become reasonably uniform in size.



The Back-Stitch

The Back-Stitch is a very important stitch for hand piecing.  A back-stitch should be added:

  • at the beginning and end of a line of stitches to help secure the thread
  • right before and right after sewing through a seam allowance (tutorial on this coming soon!)
  • every 5-6 stitches to help keep proper tension  

A running stitch moves forward across your stitching line.  A back-stitch goes backwards!  (I bet you figured that out!)

Start by making a single running stitch.  Then, bring your needle back down through that first initial hole (or something right next to it) and then back up again as if you are making another running stitch.


And remember, back-stitching every 5-6 stitches in key for maintaining proper tension.


If you've never done a running stitch before, give it a try.

Don't forget to take a look at the wonderful video Kristin from Simple Handmade Everyday made on the running stitch.




For more information on the QAL including catching up with any tutorials you've missed, please visit the main event page - Hand Pieced QAL.  

You can also join our Hand Pieced Quilt Along Facebook Group and / or subscribe to our newsletter so you'll be among the first to know about new block tutorials.


Have a wonderful day! Patty