Monday, November 25, 2013

one last fall project

In my house there are no Christmas decorations allowed until after Thanksgiving, so I've still got a few days left to enjoy this scrappy pumpkin...

Pumpkin fabrics: Lots of 2.5" squares of Kaffe, a little AMH, some Tula Pink, and some Michael Miller, swapped and shared from stash with my friend Andrea. Background: Kona Taupe (I think).

Quilting: outline/echo straight-line stitches in taupe using the even-feed foot on the background, and free-motion contouring in an orange variegated King Tut thread on the pumpkin.

Backing: An out-of-print Kaffe Fassett fabric called "Fans". Binding: Kaffe "Exotic Warm Woven Stripe", also from the stash!

Final measurements: 16.5" wide x 15.5" high. A hanging sleeve on the back holds a very small dowel rod that slips right into a pair of little 3M hooks mounted on my kitchen pantry door.

Given the small size of this project I didn't make use of a huge quantity of scraps, but the only thing I had to purchase was the background. In fact, now I've got even more scraps because Andrea and I just cut and cut and cut orange squares for an entire afternoon, not really paying attention to how many we might use. We've each got enough squares cut for 3 or 4 of these projects! My excess squares have been neatly tucked away in the 2.5" square bin for next year - maybe they'll become some fall-themed trivets using Insul-Brite as the batting?

Friday, November 15, 2013

a quilt for my mom

Earlier this year I found myself stopping and staring at the same finished quilt every time I shopped in one of my local quilt stores. This was the quilt - the original Amish with a Twist pattern by Nancy Rink.

When I'd look at the bolts of solids used in the quilt they didn't seem nearly as bright and saturated as they did against the black background of the finished quilt. And you know how I love the bright colors! I really wanted to make one, but I have no queen sized beds at my house, and I couldn't think of anywhere I would put it, so I shelved the idea.

Then a couple of months later, I discovered on the Hancock's of Paducah website that Nancy Rink had created a few different colorways of the same pattern and I asked my mom right away what she thought of this version...

Yep - she was all for it! So here we are several months later, and I've finally managed to take some photos of the progress. The pattern is sectioned into five "lessons", each one slightly increasing in difficulty so that beginners can feel comfortable starting out and learning new skills as they progress.

Here are the blocks from Lesson #1 - strip pieced rail fence, four-patches, and nine-patches. Nancy does a terrific job in this pattern with diagrams and clear, well-worded instructions. Any confident beginner could jump right in a have great success with this pattern.

Lesson #2 focuses on half-square and quarter-square triangles to make hourglass, star, and pinwheel blocks utilizing the best method for success - constructing the sub-blocks larger than needed and then trimming to size!

The fabrics used in this quilt are Centennial Solids from Marcus Fabrics. It will finish at 88" x 105.5" - perfect for my mom's queen sized bed!

The pattern for the version on cream background was not re-written to utilize the new fabric colors, but both Nancy Rink and Hancock's Paducah were able to send me a conversion chart so I could order the correct colors and change the color names in the original pattern. Honestly that has been the most challenging part since there are three colors that are used in both the dark and light versions, but not in the same places. That part is keeping me on my toes! Next time I'll show you blocks 7-12 from Lessons #3 and #4.

Happy Weekend!!

P.S. At the time I was ordering these fabrics, the kit for the light version was no longer available for purchase from Hancock's Paducah, but their telephone rep and Nancy Rink were both so helpful in guiding me to the correct colors and quantities I needed. So if you are interested in making the same quilt, you can click here to see the dark version pattern available for sale at Hancock's Paducah, and here for Nancy Rink's contact information.

Friday, November 8, 2013

everlasting pumpkins for fabric lovers

Christmas ads are already inundating us, but there are still a few weeks of fall remaining. Plenty of time for you to make a batch of these pumpkins to decorate your home for Thanksgiving.

I made these three last weekend, and it took me about one hour per pumpkin - a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon. The project will go even faster if you've got a willing crafty helper :)

You can find these carve-able pumpkins at JoAnns, Hobby Lobby, Michaels, and most chain craft stores. You'll also need fabric scraps, matte finish Mod Podge, and a foam brush.

I cut my fabric scraps into roughly 3" squares. I cut them with scissors, eye-balling the dimensions. No need for precision cutting on this project!

Beginning near them stem, brush a swipe of Mod Podge larger than your fabric square on the pumpkin. Place the fabric square on top of the Mod Podge, tamp it down, and then brush another layer of Mod Podge over the top of the fabric square.

Continue this process - layer of glue, fabric, glue over the fabric - down the side of the pumpkin, overlapping the fabric edges as you go.

Yes - this is my mostly Kaffe (and friends) pumpkin!

When you get to the bottom of the pumpkin with a "column" of fabric, start working your way back up to the stem. Continue until you have the entire pumpkin surface covered with fabric.

Check for any edges that may have lifted and re-glue them with another swipe of Mod Podge. Then you just have to wait for them to dry - usually only a couple of hours.

Now you've got some everlasting pumpkins to decorate your home. I've displayed mine on the fireplace hearth, but the outside photos are so much prettier!

You could cut your fabric scraps into any shape - rectangles, triangles, circles, diamonds - go crazy and have fun!

Next year I want to cover some white pumpkins with large dots of black and grey fabrics. What do you think?

Monday, November 4, 2013

snowflake pillows finished

The holiday snowflake pillows are completed and on display at my LQS. Here's a shot of the two pillow fronts and the little info cards I made to attach to each one.

The pattern called for the pillow backs to be closed with seven buttons. While I loved the look of the buttons in the pattern book photos, I didn't think that a button closure was the best option for a few reasons:
  1. that's a lot of buttonholes to sew
  2. all my buttons were different sizes so I'd need to recalibrate the buttonhole attachment frequently
  3. I didn't want the pillow backs to look like when a guy wears a too-tight shirt and the buttons are just barely keep everything contained

So I put a zipper under the buttonhole flap instead!

Now the backs are all smooth and pretty with just five decorative buttons each.

You can read more about the construction of these pillows here. The pattern I used can be found in Amanda Murphy's new book, Modern Holiday.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Thank You Lynn!

I have a wonderfully spunky friend Lynn (who always has the most infectious smile on her face) with mad skills in graphic design. Earlier this year (much earlier) she designed a logo for our newly forming Crystal Lake Modern Quilt Guild. In order to thank her properly with no funds to our name, we designed and made a quilt specifically for her.

And now that quilt has been delivered to her! After I finished sewing the quilt top, Paige (our CLMQG President and amazing machine quilter) finished this on her long-arm machine with an all-over pattern of swirls and curls in a light yellow thread.

The backing is one of my favorite prints from Heather Bailey's Pop Garden line - Pop Daisy in Red.

Lorrie (another CLMQG member and friend from SewMod Designs) sewed the red and white polka dot binding.

And this is my lovely friend Lynn. If you are ever in need of some awesome graphic design work, drop me a line and I'll pass your info to her. She really is the best!

Thanks Lynn!!

You can read more about the construction of this quilt here. The finished size is approximately 63" x 68".


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