Friday, September 24, 2010

Amy Butler Pillow LOVE

Finished another new pillow this week for my upcoming October pillow class. The focus for this session is adding cording/piping to the pillow edge. Originally I was just going to add the cording to a non-quilted piece of fabric, and so I did that with this beautiful Amy Butler print from her "Love" line and some Happy Dots from Midwest Modern. But when I looked at it I thought: "wicked boring."

So I decided the solution would be to quilt the heck out of the top. I removed the cording and free-motion quilted around all the flowers and swirly shapes, re-attached the cording, and then I LOVED it :)

To make the cording I used an amazing new product called Nancy Zieman Wrap 'N Fuse Piping (it comes in different sizes - I used 3/16")... basically it is cording wrapped with fusible web, so all you have to do is wrap your bias strip around the cording, iron, and TA-DA! you are ready to go. I will never make cording with a zipper foot again!

I added a fun wide-striped backing and placed the zipper off-center between two of the stripes. I used an invisible zipper this time - primarily due to the fact that I bought the wrong kind and was in too much of a hurry to go back and get the right one. For traditional installations I'm going to stick with all purpose zippers and save the invisible ones for pillow edge seam insertion. But hey, it's functional and "Love"ly, and what more can you ask for?

Enjoy this first weekend of fall! I'm planning to indulge in some apple cider donuts :)

P.S. Hop on over to this site to show off your Amy Butler creation and enter to win some great prizes!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

baby pinwheels finish and Kaffe quilt

Earlier this week I finished the baby pinwheels quilt top that I wrote about last time. The L'il Twister tool delivered what it promised, which was easy pinwheels. I even got over the amount of fabric waste caused by it's use :)

I was very unsure of this border before I sewed it on. My original plan was to use this fabric lengthwise (instead of crosswise as shown here) in order to show a unique complete flower stripe on each side of the quilt without cornerstones. But one look at that on the design board, and I knew that would be waayyy too overwhelming... the borders would completely overpower the pinwheels. There is still a LOT of pattern, and it's still growing on me, but I'm leaning towards being happy with it. The cornerstones were a definite necessity with all that busy-ness.

Not sure where this quilt will end up, but in the near term, it will be hanging at my LQS where I have a class planned for the October/November time frame.

On another note, my Kaffe Crayon Box is completely complete! I got it back from my genius long-arm quilter and friend, Paige, and got the binding on just in time for a local quilt show last weekend. The show was held at a nearby garden center, where the staff hangs all the quilts inside the greenhouses with lots of lovely flowers. It isn't a judged show, just a gathering of quilts made by local people. Every year it gets a little bigger, and a little better attended, but the main point is just to view all the pretties made by others in the area.

Now that it is back in my house, I've got to decide where to put it. I put some hanging tabs on the back, just in case... and we do have plans to re-paint and re-decorate a room... hmmm...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

adventures in pinwheels

I'm trying out a new tool this week called the L'il Twister; it's supposed to make pinwheels easier. Right out of the gate I'm a little skeptical, because how could they be any easier than the half-square triangle kind? But I'm giving it a go with these cute fabrics... lots of polka dot charm squares, some Moda Bleached White solid, and a flower stripe from Michael Miller:

Start by making a four-patch unit with charm squares and border it with 3" cut strips on all sides...

add this tool...

Cut like so...

Re-arrange like so...

And sew it all back together to make this ultra-cute pinwheel! The finished block is 9" square.

As I was going through this process, I was thinking, "this sure is a LOT of seams and cutting to make a 9" block! And this (photo below) is a LOT of waste!" (BTW - I loathe fabric waste, except in the case of paper-piecing New York Beauties... I mean how else are you going to get those super-sharp points, right?)

Anyway, even though I was extremely skeptical and so sure that I would not be happy with this tool, I can report that I AM happy with it. Those pinwheels are so cute and the process required little more thought than which charm squares to put together, that I have been won over. I'll keep you updated on the progress of this project; it's going to be a baby quilt when it's finished.

Incidentally, there is another Twister Tool sized to use with layer-cake squares and several projects for using both tools in the new book Let's Twist published by Country Schoolhouse Quilt Shop. It seems that quilt shops are having a difficult time keeping these items in stock, so I don't know where to direct you to purchase them. If I get more info I'll pass it on!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Glam Garden Baskets

I love it when I finish a project on a Monday! It makes me think the rest of the week is going to be so productive :) Last week I started on these basket blocks for my SewMod group Row Quilt Challenge.

The row is for Andrea, and her focus fabric was Glam Garden in Summer from Josephine Kimberling for Robert Kaufman. I love all the bright pinks, orange, turquoise and yellow in this print!

My row assignment for Andrea is blocks. Now I've never sewn a basket block that wasn't appliqued, but I found this cute block pattern here and it was FREE! I modified the instructions a bit (mostly the way the half-square triangles were constructed) to make it easier, and I think it turned out quite pretty. Not perfect... but fresh, modern, and pretty.

The block name is "Basket of Chips", and while Andrea is hands-down the healthiest eater I know, I also happen to know that she indulges in potato chips with dip during certain football games. So I figured the block was appropriate :) Hope you like your row, Andrea!

P.S. I also finished all my Kaleidoscope hexagons last week, so now I am ready for part 2 of the class taking place at the end of the month. So this is what it feels like to be ahead of schedule... I could get used to this :)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

but how does it go together?

Still making great progress on my hexagon piecing. Today's stats: 30 more completed bringing the total to 87 out of 114. Only 27 left to go... Good grief this productivity streak has got to be a record for me!!

Today I want to give you an idea of how this is all going to be pieced together to make a quilt top. The above photo shows how they will be laid out on a design board all nested together (this is not the final placement, just a random grouping to give you the idea).

Then when I've decided on the final arrangement, they'll be *carefully marked* and sewn together first into vertical rows. Sew together the rows and there you have it - a kaleidoscope quilt top - no sashing...

I'll still need to decide if I want to have any of these hexagons hanging off into the borders... the book shows several finished quilts that use this option, but right now I think "no". If not, then I'll have to trim some of these beauties (that I've been working so hard on) to make four straight sides before adding a border or two of who-knows-what-colors.

Here's Dixie - my sewing companion - making sure I'm doing everything right :) She also votes "no" to having things hanging off into the border.

What do you think?


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