Category Archives: Tutorials

Treeline Border for Turtles Quilt

Help wanted! If you’re making trees please send them my way by January 20th, 2016. Thanks guys.

Here’s a little tutorial for the treeline border blocks my friends and I are making for the turtles quilt. This quilt has been a collaboration from the start so it makes sense for this last bit to be made by many artists as well. If you want to help out and make one, I’d love that! As you can see from the last photograph I’ll need a lot of them to make it all the way around.

You’ll need some medium/dark greens and light blues for this 8 x 11.5″ block. This can be as scrappy or not as you’d like it to be. Use one green and one blue or a bunch of ’em.

 Cut:
  • Four 4″ green squares
  • Four 4″ blue squares
  • One to four strips of blue 1.5″ wide which add up to 40″ in total length
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Time to make some half-square triangles. Mark the diagonal line on each of the blue pieces. Sew them, right sides together, to the blue pieces on either side of the marked line. So, you’re going to get two half-square triangles out of each one. I like to chain-piece these, sewing 1/4 inch to the left of the marked line and then flip ’em to sew 1/4 inch to the right of it.

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Cut right down that marked line. Press ’em to the dark side and now you have 8 half-square triangles. Sew them into sets. You’re making a larger triangle shape with each one now. Press.

DSCN0009 Decide which piece will be the top of your pine tree. Set that one aside. Cut the other three by measuring 2.75″ from the bottom. Chop the tops off at that point and discard.

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Stack the pieces together and sew ’em up. Hello little tree! Border on all sides with the blue strips you cut and then trim the whole block down to 8 x 11.5 inches. This block is my own design. No need to worry about super-precise piecing on this one.

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You Are Not a Yellow Starburst

dont let them treat you like a yellow starburstThis week has given me a lot of practice in standing up for myself. Hopefully some of that will pay off soon. I am not a yellow Starburst! You don’t get to put me on the bottom of the list or stash me away for later in the junk drawer. Oy.

new wee purseAnyhoo… I did finish this bag for myself a few days ago. I’d been meaning to make a replacement for the one I made while testing the pattern for Sam Hunter over three years ago. Here’s the new one! Isn’t it cute? I used a fabric I bought just because I liked it for the flap and a warm brown for the rest of it. There’s a button and loop closure because I couldn’t find my velcro…. until after the purse was done.

audreys january bee blockI also completed the January block for the 2015 Stash Bee I’m a part of. This month’s blocks are navys and white and will go to Audrey of Hot Pink Quilts. Click on the block above to go to her tutorial. 
dealing with wood rotHubby and I are still working on the house. Here’s a before pic of the wood above the garage door. It was soft and squishy from rot; not so great structurally. We replaced the wood and flashing (the metal stuff on the top corner) and the silicone sealant is drying.

Painting is another large project we’re in the middle of. We’re repainting all of the trim its original brown and painting the house a little yellow-er of an off-white. So far the front off-white and the trim around the front windows and doors is completed. There’s lots more to do. project quilting

 

This week’s Project Quilting challenge is sunrise and sunset. I’ll keep you posted on what I decide to make. There’s 6 days left. Ready, set, go!

 

I’m linking this post to Show off Saturday and Handmade Tuesdays.

You Can Piece the Backing and Batting Too!

Yup, it’s time for another post on frugal quilting. Here are some of my past articles on this subject. They’re mostly about scrap quilting and using up all the little bits of fabric you have.

Crumb-ing With Ami Simms

Megan Bags Courtesy of My Friends

Binding Doesn’t Have to Be Boring

Did you know that you can also piece your backing fabric and the batting? I haven’t bought batting in a while but I continue to finish baby quilts. I have three tops ready to be spray basted so I can quilt them and get them into my etsy shop. (Two of them feature the crumb quilting you guys love!)

Here’s how I do it. First, I take small leftover batting scraps like these and cut them so that at least one side has a straight edge. I set two pieces side-by-side, straight edges together, and sew them together with a zig-zag stitch on my machine.

batting scraps

Continue putting two and two together and then joining those pieces until you have a big enough piece of batting to be usable. This one works for a baby quilt that’s up to 35 x 40 inches. It’s made up of 20ish scraps sewn together. Yes, it will lay flat. No, you won’t be able to tell that the batting is pieced once the quilt’s all together.

Pieced batting

 

It’s difficult to see since I used white thread on white batting, so here’s a closer look. Can you see the different pieces? When you piece batting, join like with like. I buy mostly Warm & Natural but also have some scraps of other battings friends have given me. Warm and Natural scraps go with other Warm and Natural scraps. That way everything wears and shrinks evenly… plus it has a uniform thickness and needles the same. You can piece almost anything though! I’ve even done this with fusible fleece and flannel with good results. Close-up batting

As for the backing? Yup there’s nothing wrong with piecing that too. This backing (upside down in the photo, ready for spray basting) is for a kid’s quilt. So the fun bright fabrics add some interest and make it so I don’t have to run to the store for that extra-wide backing fabric. I’d rather use up my scraps!
pieced back

 

One last tip for frugal living enthusiasts: The Dollar Store’s version of children’s liquid allergy medication works almost as well as Benadryl. So buy it there and take a tad more, for great savings! Can’t beat a buck.

 

 

My Holiday Loot!

I usually don’t post “yay I got this” kinds of posts, but you might actually be interested this year. Especially since a lot of the gifts I got, I picked out myself. Those came from etsy sellers.

First, my Dad’s side of the family has a secret Santa gift exchange every year. I got a very thoughtful gift this year, a mason jar for pins with a pincushion on top. Oh, and these gifts have to be handmade. It even has a little saying on it with kitty paws.

pin cushion jar

 

My hubby got me my own printer, which is awesome. Now I don’t have to bug him in his garage workshop to print something out every time I need that. It even has scan and copy features. Woot. I won’t bore you with a photo of that.

I bought this beautiful photography 2014 calendar from an etsy shop. It didn’t come with those blobs of grey, I added them because I started filling in appointments before photographing it.

calendar

I also got patterns from two etsy shops. The first pattern is of a messenger bag. Here’s that shop.  The second pattern is for up-cycled sweaters and finger-less arm warmers. You can find that kooky shop here. 

I’m on the hunt things made from wool and cashmere to start making my own up-cycled items. A dear friend has offered me several wool scarves that are moth-eaten. Perfect! I’m looking for items that are stained, stretched, shrunken, ripped, or otherwise unusable to you. Please please contact me if you have anything like that you’d like to donate to my cause. I can help with shipping costs if need be.

My next blog post (on Monday) will feature a custom photo quilt that I made for a client who gave it to her husband for Christmas. I’m so excited to finally be able to show it to you! (Didn’t want to ruin the surprise.)

Happy Holidays!

Crumb Quilting: Crazy or Improvisational?

Since the beginning, I’ve categorized my crumb quilts as crazy quilting. And looking at them, you can see why. Visually there’s a lot in common with crazy quilts…. at least initially.

 

I’ve changed my mind. It isn’t crazy quilting. Crazy quilts use many kinds of fabrics, showcase embellishments, and are usually foundation pieced. My crumb quilting has much more in common with improvisational piecing, which is a modern approach to creating shapes without using patterns or templates. Here, let me show you. This is an improvisational pieced block that I made for a recent group challenge.

 

I just cut and sewed things together in straight lines, over and over, until I liked the shapes it made and the overall look. It’s regular machine piecing. That’s what I do with crumb blocks, just on a smaller scale. Here is the back of a crumb block in progress. See?

 

This little epiphany will help me explain my process more clearly to others. Though the finished project may look similar to a crazy quilt, that’s not how you get there. Improv. piecing is a completely different way to do things. No wonder I was getting so many confused looks! Here’s how to do it:

  1. Sew a straight line to join two tiny pieces of fabric together. Press the seam to one side, doesn’t matter which one.
  2. Repeat #1 until you have a small pile of two-fabrics together (2’s)
  3. Sew two those new pieces you’ve made out of two fabrics together. Press. Now you have some 4’s.
  4. Repeat #3 until you have a small pile of four-fabrics together (4’s)
  5. Sew the 4’s together. Press. Repeat until you have a big enough piece for whatever you’re making. My large quilt has 3.5″ squares.
  6. Square it up! It’s going to be a weird shape after all that work so take your ruler and rotary cutter and cut it to the size you want.
  7. Use the cut-off leftovers to start the next block.