Saturday, August 29, 2015

Grandma's Dress/ Kaleidoscope Quilt top

Kaleidoscope Pattern/ Grandma's dress

This little scrappy, mostly pink and white quilt top started out last winter as blocks for a comfort quilt for our Quilt Guild. We have regular get togethers and make simple quilts to give away to people who are ill or in the hospital for whatever reason, just to wrap them in comfort and love, and bring them some cheer.

Some of our blocks are sewn at home, using Guild fabric in a predetermined design, and some are made from our own fabrics.  Then we have a 'Sew Day' where we meet and sew the blocks together.
(Some of my fabric scraps were from a sundress that I had worn and loved  about 20 years ago. I didn't have the heart to part with the dress, I enjoyed the fabric so much, I decided to use it it a quilt. Hence the name "Grandma's Dress")

Back in March, we were directed to make 8 1/2" pinwheel blocks from 4 1/2 " inch half square triangles, using white and any other bright coloured fabric scraps that we had available.  Using the same fabric, we also had to make 48 two inch fabric squares sewn to a 2" inch white square,. We then trade these at one of our meetings to get a variety of scrappy fabric squares. Then we sewed them together into six '8 patch' blocks.

These blocks were all sewn together at another Guild 'sew day' into this pretty scrappy quilt:

Comfort quilt sewn by our Quilt Guild

I had some pinwheel blocks left over and more of the fabric, so I decided to keep making pinwheel blocks and then organize them into a "little girl" quilt top for one of our little grandchildren.

Then I remembered a pattern that had struck my fancy in the fall/winter 2014 edition of "Fresh Quilts" magazine. The pattern on page 44 was called Kaleidoscope.

Creating the kaleidoscope pattern top
Because I already had most of the pinwheel blocks made it was a little tricky sewing the rows together because the pinwheels were staggered with solid white of half square triangle blocks filling in in between. I had to sew a few "Y" seams to make it work, but it turned out quite nicely.

I made a whole bunch of 1 1/2 inch half square triangle blocks for the border. At that time (it was April by now) it measured 32 1/2" by 35 1/2", about the size of a baby quilt.

I decided that it was too small! I really wanted it for one of our toddlers so it had to be bigger. I figured out how to take it apart without too much work so I could add another row of pinwheels. 

Adding more squares

I took off the bottom row of the half square border and made a few more 4 1/2 inch blocks. Then I had to add a strip of fabric to the pink inner border and make a few extra triangle blocks for the second border.  Now it measured 32 3/4 inches by 41 1/2 inches. Still not big enough.  I needed more borders.

White 3rd border and pink outer border

I added a 3 inch white on white border and a pink 4 1/2 inch outer border. I still had a few half square triangles left so I decided to make the pink outer border more fancy with the triangle blocks at the corners.

Because each of those blocks was smaller than the pink border, I had to add some white fabric at the corners, too. After fixing a mistake (oops, sewed 3 of the triangle blocks on one corner facing the wrong direction!) I was pretty pleased with the results. The finished quilt top measures 47" by 56" a better size for a toddler.

Finished Kaleidoscope quilt top 47" X 56"

After that I washed the kitchen floor, taped a piece of pink mike fleece to the floor, Cut a piece of batting  to smooth out on top, and next I placed the quilt top on top and smoothed out all the wrinkles.
After that I pinned the heck out of it starting at the centre and working my way outwards. 
Here it is draped on the kitchen railing, waiting to be quilted.

Pinned kaleidoscope quilt top- Aug 23/15

Now I'm just waiting for inspiration for a good quilting design to make on it…


Friday, August 28, 2015

Trellis Place Mat

Trellis Place Mats

After completing the Trellis table topper, I had some blocks and fabric left over, so I decided to make some matching place mats. I used 4 blocks for each place mat, 2 blocks arranged side by side on the point, the 3rd block I cut in half  to use at the top and bottom to create the flat edge, then I cut the 4th block in quarters to make the corners of the mat.  They zipped together quite easily.

Next I added the sashing borders to make the place mats measure 13" by 18", a good size for a placemat with a bit of room for shrinkage (although I did wash and dry the fabric first so there should be little shrinkage.)  I added 1 1/2 inch of swirly green sashing to the top and bottom to make the mats wider, then sewed on the 3" floral sashing all around.

I had some solid green pea pod coloured fabric to put on the backs and also a lot of left over batting from other projects. I made mock binding for the mats (by bringing the back fabric around to the front, folding it over and stitching all around the edges.)

In making these blocks there are a lot of triangle pieces cut off and I hated to waste them, so I laid them out to see if I could create a pleasing pattern. I ended up making 2 more place mats out of all the scrappy triangles with the same sashing border. I ran out of green for the back, but I had a leftover piece of turquoise from the blocks, just enough for 2 backs and the extra inch around all the sides to make the mock binding for these as well.

Triangle Scraps = 2 place mats

I quilted them all in the ditch before stitching the binding. The Trellis place mats look quite summery, I think.  I'm quite pleased with how they look and I have been using them on our table with delight.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Summer Table Runners- Trellis Pattern and Beach Calypso

Trellis Pattern

In the summer I usually don't get a lot of quilting done. I have a huge yard with 8 flower beds, a 10 foot greenhouse and a veggie garden as well to plant and maintain.
I realized the other day, that most of my place mats and all of my table runners are either fall or Hallowe'en or Christmas patterns. Not one summer table runner! And only one set of seven spring placemats (with appliquéd tulips on them.)   What an oversight!

I had ordered some summery fabrics a few months back and one rainy day recently, I decided it was time to dig it out. I already had a pattern in mind called "Trellis" which I had found in the Quilters World spring 2015 magazine a few months back. The main fabric for this project, is a summery floral print in pink, turquoise, lime greens and white.  The accent fabrics are solid turquoise and a green tiny bubbles fabric (left overs from my "paint chip challenge"which I made a year ago).

Time to get started! I washed, and pressed the fabric and started cutting squares and creating blocks.

 I cut 6 1/2 inch squares from the floral fabric.  Then I cut the 2 accent fabrics (solid turquoise and a green on green bubble fabric) into 4 1/2 inch squares.  The accent fabrics are sewn on opposite corners of the floral square.  The excess fabric on the corners get cut off a 1/4 inch from the seam line.

The blocks are arranged "on the point" with half squares at the top and bottom to fill in the spaces.

Half squares were cut crossways for the ends.  I put a number label on each diagonal row and then started sewing them together.

Auditioning the possible border fabrics.

Once the blocks were all together I auditioned some of my fabrics for the inner and outer borders. I took photos of each option but I decided to go with the white and green swirly fabrics. I really like the turquoise and green idea above as well.

After sewing on the borders, I decided the green swirl fabric was too wide so I chopped of an inch all around and also cut  a 1/4 inch of the white. 

Next I sewed the back fabric together and cut a piece of batting the same size.  I decided to 'sandwich" the front and the back, not make a binding around the edge. I safety pinned the batting to the back side of the runner top, then lay the back fabric on top of the runner with the right sides facing and sewed all 3 things together leaving a 5 inch opening to turn everything right side out. 

Swirly green on green back fabric

As luck would have it, I had to flip it wrong side out again and resew the 2 ends because the runner top wasn't sewn onto the back quite right. After a bit of seam ripping and re-sewing it looked good. Next I slip stitched closed the 5 inch opening by hand. I pressed the whole runner and then I sewed a 1/4 inch seam all around the outside after that.
Last I sewed "in the ditch" along the diagonal seams to hold the batting in place.  Voila,  it was done!

Now I'm working on making some place mats out of the left overs. We'll see how that turns out! ;)

Lantern Blocks/ Beach Calypso

My friend B's birthday sneaked up on me this year! We had invited B and her husband out to our place for an early birthday celebration and I decided I wanted to make her a summer table runner for her birthday. The main colour is a peridot solid green fabric. The other fabrics were Balis from another project. 
I found this easy design in Quilter's World Summer 2015 magazine which takes simple 2 1/2 inch blocks to create.  The pattern is called Simple Calypso on page 52. I really like how it turned out!  I think I might (eventually) make one for myself, too. :)

"Beach Calypso" using lantern blocks from Quilter's World summer 2015 

Newest member of our family- 9 weeks old

This little one makes quilting quite challenging when she's around as she has to get into and play with everything! 
Happy Quilting!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Done At Last!

Lone Star Sampler Quilt

Lone Star quilt is completed and looking great, I believe! I am pretty proud of myself for all this work and am looking forward to hanging it at our quilt show tomorrow! :)

And then seeing it on our bed and sleeping under it for a long time to come.  I will most definitely be working on other quilt projects, but will not be attempting anything this big of a long while.

The next to last job on the Lone Star quilt was cutting and sewing together all the binding strips. I cut them 2 1/4 inches wide and sewed them together diagonally to make a long binding ‘snake’ 225 inches long!  I pressed the wrong sides together and the binding to the top edges of the quilt. (Took about 1 1/4 hours.) Then I had to fix a couple of spots...

I folded the binding over the raw edges to the back and pinned it in place. Then I hand stitched it while watching Tv for 2 evenings, about 4 hours of work.

Last job, I made a hanging sleeve and hand stitched that to the top back of the quilt to hang it in the quilt show. Voila! I’m done! :D 

Lone Star Sampler Quilt

Lone Star Quilt

This Lone Star quilt block is the most difficult one I have ever attempted, even harder than the Bargello quilt that I made 2 years ago

(I used a pattern from McCall's Quilting magazine, Jan/ Feb 2014 pages 27- 29.) 

Making the various strip sets according to the dark and light variations was quite easy and I enjoyed matching the different fabrics together.

Each diamond needed 3 strip sets.  Cutting the diamonds at a 45 degree angle was a little tricky. I had to recut the edge of the strip set quite frequently.  The diamonds are 2 1/2 inches wide.  Then 3 of them are sewn together to make the bigger diamond.  That was the difficult part!

In order for them to line up properly, I had to draw a pencil line on the back of the diamonds, 1/4 inch in from the edge.

Then I put a pin through the back of the 3 piece diamond, exactly where each seam crossed a pencil line, put it face down on top of the second diamond and lined up the pins with the seam there.   

The end of one diamond always stuck out about a 1/4 inch from the one below it, but once the seam was sewed, all the seams lined up quite well. I have to admit I did use my seam ripper quite a lot with these blocks. Any that didn’t line up well got taken apart and re-sewn. It did get frustrating sometimes, but the end results were good!

Eight of the big 9 piece diamonds had to be sewn together to make the lone star. Again, this was a bit tricky...

First I had to draw pencil lines 1/4 inch from the edges of the big diamonds on the back of all 4 sides.   I had to start sewing them right sides together at the spot where these pencil lines crossed, (not at the ends,) sewing 2  big diamonds together each time, pressing the seams. 

Eventually all 8 diamonds were together.

 Next came the setting pieces to make the star blocks square

Stars with 2 different setting pieces

Sewing the setting pieces in between the points was tricky. I went online and found a tutorial for sewing y seams.
Here are 2 that I found useful:

(Again I became good friends with my seam ripper. LOL!) 
I started sewing at the corners,  1/4 inch in from the edge of the fabric and sewing out towards the star points. Most of the setting squares and triangles fit quite well and with some pressing they all  looked good. 

The McCall's pattern called for all the big blocks to be sewn together in rows of 3 directly to each other, but I wanted my quilt to be bigger so I decided to make sashing in between my blocks. 
I did the math and figured out that I need a meter of fabric for the sashing between and around the 9 blocks.

The olive green fabric in my blocks would have looked great for that, but I didn’t have enough left and the fabric store where I had initially bought it didn’t have any more, so I had to think of something else. 
I looked at the Hamel’s fabrics online site and found a nice cafe brown that I thought might work. They also had an olive green so I ordered a meter of that, and a meter of milk chocolate brown, just in case. 

It took about 9 days to get the fabric sent and after laying out the 3 possible sashing choices next to the big Lone Star blocks, I decided that the cafe brown looked the best.

I cut the sashing 2 “ wide and sewed it on the blocks. I laid all 9 blocks out on the floor to decide on an arrangement and then numbered the blocks and labeled the rows.
Next I sewed sashing all around the 9 big blocks like an inner border. 

Outer Border

I figured out how much fabric I would need for the outer border.  I auditioned a couple of fabrics for this ‘job’. I figured out that I would need about 62 1/2 inches of fabric (LOF - 42” wide) to make the outer border.  That way the finished quilt would measure 106” by 106” inches, a nice king sized quilt.   

The fabric that  I liked the best was called Nature’s Sketchbook (by Red Rooster) which I had bought in the USA a couple of years ago.  It is also in the Lone Star blocks themselves. 
I cut the fabric strips 6 1/4 inches wide LOF, and sewed 2 together to make them long enough for each side. 

I had a beautiful king size wool batting to use for this quilt. Have never used wool batting before but it is nice and light, and supposedly very warm. 

Back Fabric: With a quilt this big, it requires a huge amount of back fabric.  I decided that 8 meters would be more than enough.
I wanted a fabric design that would complement the quilt top itself. I found a beautiful rustic, fall coloured fabric on line at the Hamel’s fabric site called “Wish You Were Here” (by  Holly Taylor for Moda.)

 Back-Star block with sashing is 33 1/2".  Fabric on either side is 42 X 33 1/2" 

I had quite a number of Lone Star ‘diamonds’ left after making the quilt top and I put 8 of them together to make a ‘scrappy star’ for the back to add some interest. :)

I added sashing around the star and then figured out how big to cut the fabric pieces to sew on either side of the star to fit across the back 10 inches longer than the quilt top (5 inches longer than each side.) 

Then I figured out how big the fabric pieces had to be above and below the centre star piece. Again they had to jut out 5 inches longer than the quilt top. (42” X 114”  each).

Our Heartland Quilt Guild is having their quilt show this weekend. I decided to get this big quilt professionally quilted on a long arm machine which I have never done before (I have always quilted 
my own work.)   It was very expensive, but it turned out beautifully!  

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Two More Super Hero Capes

I made two more super hero capes in March/April, for my other 2 grandkids, A and  little T.
Made them the same way as the last two capes that I had made for the twins, C and H.
The most difficult part was making the logos.

This is the link to my first Super Hero Capes blog:

This is the website where I found the directions originally:

Saturday, June 6, 2015

New Toddler Quilt- Monster Cars

Monster Cars Quilt for my Grandson- Feb 2015

Too narrow- needs a strip of blue along each side.
In between quilting his twin sister's butterfly quilt, I worked on blocks for my grandson's new 'Big Boy" quilt.  I liked this bright colourful Monster Trucks fabric and it seemed to meet with his approval, too, when I showed him the fabric.
I fussy cut the monster car panel into squares and added the colourful sashing around each one.

I loved the vibrant green fabric with Monster Cars, but wasn't sure what kind of blocks to make with it. After going through a few quilt magazines for inspiration, I decide I would try friendship stars and square in square blocks and see what I liked best.

I cut a 4 1/2 inch square out of thin plastic to use for fussy cutting the cars out of the green fabric, trying to get a good variety without wasting too much fabric. I have a nice chunk of dark blue minkee fleece for the back so I had plenty of car fabric to work with.

I sewed the centre blocks together and then arranged some of the other blocks around it to see what I liked.  This is the pattern I ended up with. It is only 40 inches wide, so I added two 2 1/2 inch strips of blue fabric along both sides. It was already 60 inches long so I decided not to add any more to the top and bottom.

I pinned the layers together, Minkee Back, inner batting and quilt top, and started thinking about how to quilt it. I wanted the cars to stand out so I decided to do ditch quilting around most of the blocks sides. After struggling with tension issues, I changed the needle and then the top thread.

(I know the theory is that your bobbin thread and top thread should both be the same type, both cotton or both polyester, but in this case my tension issues were resolved when I changed the top thread to cotton, leaving the bobbin thread polyester! Go figure.)

The only problems after that were on the back stitch when it yanked the top thread in a ball underneath!  After much fixing with the seam ripper and adjusting and readjusting the tension dial, I left the quilting till the next day.

It worked better the next day… maybe my machine just needed a break. Also I didn't back stitch at the beginning and end of my rows. I  did clean out underneath the bobbin as much as I could reach with my little bush. It's amazing how much fluff accumulates so fast under there!

I made the binding strips out of the colored stripe fabric and it sets off the blue around the side blocks  well, I think.
My 3 year old grandson loves his new quilt and often sleeps with it. I'm so pleased! :D

I made him a pillowcase, too,  to match his quilt.

One of a kind 'Monster Truck" quilt for my 3 year old grandson H.