Tuesday, October 29, 2013

snowflake applique pillows

I've found some Christmas spirit and started working on a couple of Christmas pillows for display at my LQS, Material Girl in Crystal Lake, IL.

The pattern I used is called "Snowflake Pillows", and it can be found in the new book, Modern Holiday by Amanda Murphy. This book is full of fun quilted projects you can make to decorate your home during the holiday season. I want to make all of the pillow patterns, as well as most of the quilts. You should definitely check out this book!

I traced the four unique snowflake patterns from the book onto Heat n Bond Lite, then fused them first to a Basic Grey Grunge fabric in white. I trimmed around the snowflake shapes and then fused then to my pillow fronts - four different snowflakes per pillow. Tiny zigzag stitches in matching thread cover the raw edges of the applique pieces and protect them from fraying.

Both of my pillows are made using the 2013 Basic Grey holiday line called "Aspen Frost". The first has a blue Grunge accent with nutcrackers and tree ornaments...

While the second pillow has a green Grunge accent with poinsettia flowers and pine needles. The buttons are for the pillow backs - I have quite a few mismatched deep red buttons of varying sizes from 3/4" to 1" that I plan to use to give each pillow a unique look, rather than purchasing new buttons that all match.

Each snowflake is centered on a 4.5" finished square, and the finished pillow will hold a 12" x 16" insert.

I quilted the green trimmed pillow with horizontal wavy lines on both the trim and main body pieces. The snowflake squares are not quilted because I appliqued through all the pillow front layers - pillow top, pre-washed flannel, and muslin backing.

The blue trimmed pillow is quilted with swirls - my favorite! - on the trim and main body pieces.

I'll show you the backings and completed pillows soon. I'm anxious to finish these and get them to the shop for display!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

My skirts are (sort of) famous!

My recent skirt sewing binge is featured over at Stop Staring and Start Sewing, the blog of Jona Giammalva, author of "The Essential A-Line", my new favorite skirt sewing book!


My first class on fitting the pattern and making the basic A-Line skirt will be held on Fridays, November 1 and 15 from 6:00-9:00pm (Parts 1 & 2) at Material Girl Fabric Shop in Crystal Lake. You can stop in the shop or call to register. I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Fall Back finish

Another completed quilt for 2013! And just in time for the cold weather that is already upon us here in Northern Illinois - there are snow flurries in the forecast today - what?! The "fall back" clock change hasn't even happened yet.

But we are ready for snuggling with this extra large napping quilt. It's nearly twin sized, measuring 60" x 84" :)

The all-over quilting pattern features acorns and maple, ash, and oak leaves.

The quilting thread is a dark, rusty orange. It shows up really well against these light squares.

For the backing I used two large pieces from the stash and purchased the gold and rust print (Folkloric Blooms by Sue Spargo and Wendy Morris for Robert Kaufman) on the right.

The black and white wiggly stripe binding is from Moda's Halloween line The Boo Crew, and it's called "Black Tricky". Love that!

Now I've just got to put a label on this so it can be washed and dried for maximum cozy softness during TV watching or book reading in the cold days to come!

You can read more about the process I used to construct this quilt here.

Happy Fall!!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Modern Maples top done

This quilt top wasn't really finished in one day - I've been steadily working on it for a couple of weeks now. I started with this lovely stack of fall fabrics and about 4 yards of Robert Kaufman Quilter's Linen in a sandy/taupe beige color way.

In my version I opted to fill all the negative space from the original pattern with smaller leaves - 6" and 9" finished.

Adjusting the size of the blocks is not difficult. The maple leaf block is basically a version of a nine-patch block, so instead of each section finishing at 4" for a 12" block, I scaled the sections down to finish at 2" for a 6" block and 3" for a 9" block. The stem sections for the 12" block are cut at 2", so for the 6" version I cut them at 1", and for the 9" version I cut them at 1.5".

In this shot you can see the seam lines between blocks a bit more clearly. In order to "size up" the smaller leaves to fit the grid created by the 12" blocks, I bordered the 9" leaves with a 1.5" border on all sides. The 6" leaves were paired together with 6" background blocks into a four-patch block or bordered by 3" of background fabric.

And here is the "ugly duckling" fabric I mentioned yesterday. It caught my eye at a sidewalk sale five years ago where it was priced at $3/yard.  I have no explanation for buying it other than the fact that it looked so dimensional and I was caught up in the frenzy that is a fabric clearance sale. I honestly had to touch it to verify that it was printed cotton and not a chenille textured fabric. I really liked the colors, it had the requisite "bold, bright and loud" factor, so I just blurted out, "I'll take seven yards!" Why seven? Who knows?  I guess I thought it would make a great quilt backing that would probably require five yards, and then I might want to use it as a border also, so that might be another two yards. So yeah, seven seemed like the right number.

Since then it has been languishing in my fabric stash just waiting to be put to use. I'm so glad I didn't give it away or chop it into fat quarters for an "ugly fabric" guild challenge - which was my most recent plan to put it to use - because I think it is THE PERFECT BACKING for this quilt :)

Good things come for those [fabrics] that wait. Aaannnd wait.

P.S. This version of the Modern Maples quilt will finish at 63" x 85" finished (twin size). It will be late November before I get this one back from the longarm quilter, and (sadly) the spectacular sight that is Fall in the Midwest will be long gone by then...

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Modern Maples in progress

Because one fall quilt just wasn't enough for me this year, I jumped on the Modern Maples bandwagon and got busy making piles of these HSTs...

Which led to a big pile of these 12" finished maple leaf blocks - 19 to be exact...

These are a few of my favorites...

But then I was uncertain about the layout. The original pattern (available for free download here) calls for 18 maple leaf blocks in a 30 block (6 rows of 5 blocks) grid leaving lots of open negative space...

I just wasn't feeling the whole negative space thing on this quilt (and yeah, I wanted mine to be a little different than the original) so I added in some 9" and 6" maple leaf blocks to fill the grid that I expanded to 7 rows of 5...

Check back tomorrow for photos of the finished top and the "ugly duckling" backing I bought 5 YEARS AGO at a sidewalk sale because I thought that one day I might make the perfect quilt top to go with it :)

How old is your oldest chunk of yardage bought to use as a backing?

P.S. You can see lots of lovely Modern Maples quilts finished and in progress here at the Falling for Modern Maples Flickr group and on Instagram at #fallingformodernmaples and #modernmaples.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Inspiration of the Week in Kansas City

Exciting news! Some modern quilters in Kansas City find me inspiring this week...

My Improv Challenge Baby Quilt was featured Tuesday on the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild blog as the "Inspiration of the Week".

Thanks to Sarah from the KCMQG for choosing my quilt. You've made my week :)

Friday, October 4, 2013

Project Night Night finish

My first quilt for Project Night Night is finished and ready for donation! Earlier in the summer I found three charm packs of Moda's Fresh line by Deb Strain and two orphan blocks made from those same fabrics in my stash.

Thing 2 laid out all the squares with the blocks to arrive at a 49.5" x 58.5" size. I pieced the top and then delivered it to my long-arm quilter Carol who quilted an all-over pattern of swirls, dragonflies, and flowers in an orange thread.

The two large blocks finished at 13.5", so you can get an idea of the scale of the flowers and dragonflies from this picture. I'm hoping some little girl will have fun looking for and counting them across the surface of this quilt.

For the backing I used two larger pieces of fabric from the same line that I had on hand. I wonder what my original intent was for these fabrics?

I also had the batting on hand, so I'm proud to say that this project was created entirely from my stash. The binding was machine sewn on both the front and back sides so the quilt can stand up to lots of love and washings :)

The Crystal Lake Modern Quilt Guild's first donation to Project Night Night was delivered in August - 12 bags each containing a quilt, book, and stuffed animal. We're on target to donate over 20 more bags in October! I'm so proud of the way the ladies from our new little guild have responded to this worthwhile cause!

You can read more about Project Night Night here.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

my new favorite fall skirt

Are you tired of seeing photos of my skirt creations yet? I hope not, because after this one I've still got one more to show!

This is a tiered version from The Essential A-Line by Jona Giammalva. The book version has four different fabric tiers, but I've included just two here because I love that main fabric so much.

Fabrics shown are Kaffe's Lotus Leaf in Umber used as the main skirt fabric and his Violets in Ochre used as the bottom tier. I added the Kaffe Shot Cotton in Prune as the bias binding between the fabrics and at the hem.  This one looks fabulous with a lavender tee and jean jacket!

Once again I used a centered back zipper rather than the side invisible zipper shown in the book. These skirts are very easy to make (especially when you've worked the process six times!), but just in case I ever need to alter the sizing, the center back zipper will allow me to take in or let out the side seams to adjust the fit without ripping out the zipper. A side seam invisible zipper is less conducive to alterations.

This skirt is lined with a poly/cotton blend broadcloth and includes a waistband facing, just like many of the others I've made. You can see more of my Essential A-Line skirts and read more details about how I've constructed them by clicking here and here.

Next up for skirts - inverted pleats!

P.S. If you are a local reader, my two-session Essential A-Line basic skirt class will be held on Fridays, November 1 and 15 from 6:00-9:00pm.


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