Monday, March 30, 2020

Positively Spring :: Modern by the Yard

It's that time of the year again!  Springtime!  I love this time of the year because it starts to warm up, flowers are growing and blooming and it's just feels fresh and new!  

Which brings me to the latest edition of Modern by the Yard Issue #13 E-Zine!  For those who aren't familiar with the magazine, it's published through Benartex.  Each issue offers several patterns from quilts to table runners and you know what the best part is?!!  It's free!  While many of us are staying home these days this might be the perfect solution to save your sanity!


I just happen to have a Spring inspired table runner inside these virtual pages!  

The fabric is from the 'Choose to Shine' collection by Cherry Guidry.  It's a lovely print that has a fresh mod vibe.

These are the three main prints I used.  Springy, modern and fun!
55" x 15"
The runner is 55" x 15".  Not only does it include 'Choose to Shine' prints, I also added yellow and white Superior Solids.  

The goal was to keep it fresh and modern and I think I accomplished that.  There's a hint of a Plus block (positive) along with a bit of a woven feel with the yellow.  

For the quilting I added 1/2" straight lines using a pale yellow thread.  I even attempted a flower-ish design in the remaining white spaces.   

The possibilities are endless with this design regarding color, fabric and quilting.  

When I design, and especially when it's for publication, I like to make an extra one using completely different fabric.  I'll share that very soon, for now I hope you go check out the latest issue of Modern by the Yard! 

Here is the E-Zine link again:  MODERN BY THE YARD ISSUE #13


Thursday, March 26, 2020

Crush :: The Devil's In The Details!

Before, during or after a quilt,  I'm always up to working in a mini, wall or runner!  When I'm stuck on what to do next I just have to look at my fabric or scraps for color inspiration.  

The fabric in this wall quilt were left over from my 'Walking on Sunshine' quilt I made last November.  I knew when the time was right and when inspiration hit me, I'd be able to use those scraps.  

17" X 20"
To me,  'Crush' is the best of so many worlds!  Scraps, color, trapunto, texture and quilting.  My last quilts, (Feedsack Circles) I used a lot of restraint when I quilted it, and my 'Inspire' quilt I used trapunto for texture.  I wasn't finished exploring trapunto and you know, when an idea hits you it's hard not to jump on it!

I made inset circles in three sizes using the Six Minute Circle video tutorial.  I've used this method many times and have had fantastic results.  With the circles finished, I arranged them and filled in with different colors to complete the color picture I had in my mind.

Once I got that under control I was able to move on to the next step.  This is the part I couldn't wait to try!  My 'Inspire' quilt used what I like to call my batting rope method of trapunto, but I really wanted to try shapes this time.  Circles were the obvious choice!

I lightly glued three layers of batting together and set it with a hot iron.  I traced circles, arches and a double circle on to the batting and cut them out.  On a large piece of batting I laid my top down and placed the cut circles under the top adjusting until I had them placed just right.  Carefully lifting off the quilt top so the circles stayed in place, I then traced around the pieces so I'd know exactly where they needed to be.   Unlike the batting rope where I glued the lettering down, this time I decided to try some Steam-a-Seam on the back of the circles.  It worked perfectly!  They were not going to move and I could make sure the top was aligned just right.  It was pinned and ready!

The effect of the shapes turned out to be amazing!  I love that they gave so much texture and depth to the quilt.  

Of course, it wasn't just about the trapunto!  It was the quilting.  When I have a small quilt like this I often get to go crazy with the quilting.  Walking foot, free motion, micro stitches, matchstick's all there...and the kitchen sink too!

I couldn't tell you how many different colors of Aurifil thread I used, but I was able to use several spools that were nearly empty.  It's a nice feeling when that happens!

As a rule, I like to fly by the seat of my pants when quilting, and this was no exception!  I take one idea, one section at a time.  Then move on to the next section hoping it all puzzles together in the end.  

I finished it off with a nice scrappy binding and added some hanging corners.  I have a tutorial for the corners here:  Hanging a Mini Quilt.  

Probably one of the best ways to see the quilting detail is on the back.  I don't often do intricate quilting like this.  

When it does happen I can't help but be proud of the accomplishment.  This was most certainly a labor of love.  I might not thought that while I was quilting it, but in the end I can say I love it!


Saturday, March 21, 2020

Stash Attack #3

I hope you all are doing well and this Covid-19 reality isn't putting too much of a strain on your everyday life.  It's tough hearing what's going on in the world, and even tougher when it starts getting closer to home or to loved ones.  At this point we need to be overly cautious.  I just wish there wasn't a toilet paper shortage!  How does that happen?!

As you know, and as many others are doing, I've been stash busting as much as possible this year.  I've worked through my Polka Dot fabric in these two quilts:  Wonky Baby and Wonky Lap quilt, and managed to bust my Kaffe Fassett stash in this quilt:  Brick by Brick.   

The more stash I work through the easier it is and the more I want to do!  I decided it was time to tackle the good old feedsack bin!

45 1/2" X 54"
 This time I decided it was time to make more circles!  I enjoy curves of any kind, and by using quarter circles (drunkard path) I am able to feed that craving and use a lot of fabric!

I used a variety of white to ivory fabric for the background.  Some more than others depending on what was on hand.  Prep time takes a little longer, but it's all worth it in the end.  

My favorite method with quarter circles is to glue baste and then sew.  By glue basting it makes the sewing process quick and I can chain piece.  That's a win!

I'll admit that not every single print is true feedsack replicas.  I wanted to make sure there was enough different prints for added interest.  It also made it easier to arrange by having a larger variety.

This wasn't going to be a large quilt (45 1/2" x 54"), so by adding a scrappy border of neutrals I was able to increase the size a bit more.

I adore the yellow print!  It reminds me of my Grama Opal!  Most of these prints I've had for at least 7 years!  Back in the day...I loved them and enjoyed picking fun prints with adorable little scenes.  I eventually came to love solids and modern more and well, these were left by the wayside!


I kept the quilting simple by making diagonal lines creating squares.  Sometimes I don't think it's enough though...okay, most of the time I don't think it's enough!  

I ended up adding circles in the center part of the quilt and that was just enough for me!

Truth be told, I used way more feedsack prints on the back than I did on the front!  It's one way to totally obliterate your stash!

Like the other scrap busting quilts before, I still have feedsack in my stash.  You can never get away from it!  But there is 90% less of it and if I ever feel the need to make something small with this fabric I still have that option.

I have a stack of neutral curves that I'll need to figure out what to do with after all these quarter circles, but I know I'll come up with some crazy idea!  There is rumbling in my brain happening even as we speak.

Next scrap busting project?!  I'm thinking I need to use my Kaffe Fassett woven stripes. 

What fabric do you wish you would bust through?  Would it be fabric you are no longer attached to or fabric you've hoarded and love?!


Sunday, March 15, 2020

INSPIRE :: Trapunto My Way

This isn't the first time I've done Trapunto and it won't be the last!  I'm pretty sure the way I do it isn't the proper way Trapunto is done, but my method works for me.  Which is why I like to call it Faux Trapunto!

12" X 20"
We all have people, things or places that inspire us on a daily basis.  One definition of Inspire is:  fill (someone) with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.  I think that pretty much sums it up for me.  Often I'll get that feeling and can't seem to shake it until I do something with it.  In my case it's almost always in the form of a quilt.

A few days ago I came across a batting panel I started many months ago.  Since I'm going through a 'use my stash' phase, this was the perfect opportunity to apply that in a slightly different way.  While I still used my stash, I also used a previous project that has languished by the wayside!

To make the panel I used 12 different shades of solids arranging them until I was pleased with the color placement.  Making improv curves is so satisfying!  We all say it, but it is liberating!  

This is the batting panel I found and used.  And this is where my method might be a bit different!  I use batting scraps that are cut in 1 1/2" strips.  Although I can't be certain of that it's been so long!  I take those strips, fold them in thirds and zig zag stitch down the center creating a 'batting rope'.

On the large piece of batting I draw my lettering/word, and then mold and form the letters cutting and puzzling until I'm satisfied.  I use washable school glue and a hot iron to set the rope.  

From there I lay my panel and pin in the usual quilt sandwich.  In order to see and know where the lettering is, I use a Hera Marker and carefully trace around each letter.


Here it is after I quilted around the letters.  The easiest way I've found to do that is by using my zipper foot.  It gets very little actual zipper action, but it works well for Faux Trapunto!  After attaching the foot, I adjust the needle position so that it is as close to the batting rope as possible.  

This is a slow process.  But one that gives me total long as I take it slow and steady.  One day I think I'll try free motion quilting around the lettering, but for now I'll stick to what works.

After that it's the main event which I get back to using my walking foot.


I used 4 or 5 different thread colors and did a massive amount of matchstick quilting.  There are some tricky parts to quilt in and around the letters.  I do what I can with my walking foot around the letters, but the inside of the letters I had to FMQ.  To me, they need quilting in order to make the word stand out even more.  

I used a tutorial from Audrey of Cotton & Bourbon for the faced binding.  This is the second time I've used Audrey's tutorial and love it!  Her method uses one layer of fabric with a folded edge, which makes this type of binding less bulky around the corners.  

There might not be any quilting better than matchstick quilting!  I love the texture it creates.

As I said earlier, I've done this technique in various forms.  Here are a few links in case you're curious and want to see more:

I do like to push the limits or the norms once in a while.  It's nice to be able to explore and try ideas without worrying about making sure it's done the proper way.  Whatever works for you and you are comfortable with should do it!  


Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Half Square Triangle :: Lap Quilt

A few weeks ago my productivity was halted when my small machine that I use for all my piecing made a big clunk and refused to budge.  I couldn't believe it and was slightly devastated!  Of course I took it in for repair right away and crossed my fingers that it wasn't anything major.  

All was not lost though!  I took advantage of the piecing down time to quilt some quilts using my big machine.  I'm fortunate that I have two machines!

51" x 62"
I've always loved this design and enjoy throwing all the colors of the rainbow into it when I make one.  I usually reserve this design for baby quilts using six HST blocks and two borders, but with a treasure trove of HSTs already made I decided a lap quilt was worth my time.

I like to pair up colors and then add another color element in the centers of each block.  I've learned that if something works there is no need to change it.  As they say 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'!

I love a good rainbow and while this quilt has every color under the rainbow, it doesn't have that true spectrum we associate with rainbows.  

I was unsure if I would add a border until the very end.  As you can see I did!  I added a 3" border using Kona Medium Grey because I love the look of this design with borders.  Using a good neutral gives it containment without interfering with the colors.

One thing I was sure of was the quilting part!  You know, the usual...straight lines!


I always divide my quilt into sections before I start quilting this design.  After mapping out the sections I marked the 1" lines with my Hera Marker.  It's a lot of work marking the lines before hand, but it's also necessary.  By marking first, I can make small adjustments here and there to make sure the lines are as straight as can be.  Truth be told...the seams and points aren't perfect!

There are enough 'guides' along the way that I can follow so that while marking and quilting I don't get too far off the beaten path.  

I used Light Fern Aurifil thread 50wt (#2882) for all the quilting.  It was a good choice as it didn't stick out like a sore thumb!

The back and binding are Kona Shadow.  It's my favorite light grey and one that I use over and over again.

As for my small made it home after two weeks away.  Turns out it was so full of lint that the gears were caked with it and they couldn't turn any longer!  I won't say I'm a cleaning fanatic, but I honestly clean my machines regularly!  And I take it in once a year and have professionals service it.  

I'll try harder, clean more often and hope this doesn't happen again anytime soon!   I use a brush and pipe cleaners.  How do you clean your machine?  Do you have any tips or tricks that you can share ?!