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.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

New Toddler Quilt- Tessilating Butterflies Done!

Tessilating Butterfly Quilt

Tessilating Butterfly quilt is done plus matching pillowcase, both kitty approved!

I finished quilting and binding the butterfly quilt for my little grand daughter this week! Am so excited with the finished product! Yay!  I used free motion machine quilting to complete it.

Pillowcase made from leftover quilt fabric

Before starting the quilting, I measure the quilt again and realized that it was almost 5 inches shorter than the race cars quilt top that I was making for her twin brother. The butterfly quilt was already pinned together with the batting and backing, so what to do?
I checked the leftover fabric and there was next to nothing left…. I had used most of it up making the matching pillowcase.

But luckily the quilting goddesses were smiling that day and I found a small piece of the inner border fabric. I saw that it was just enough to cut it into 2 1/2 inch strips to add to the ends. (To create a double inner border at each end).
I carefully unpinned the outer borders at both ends, took them off with my faithful seam ripper and added the extra strips. Then I added the outer borders back onto both ends of the quilt, along with an extra piece at each corner. Talk about having just enough fabric!

It now measured 45 inches X 57inches!

Time to quilt it!
The light pink Minkee fleece on the back was much easier to work with than I remembered.
IT's always a good idea to look at your quilt top and think about what kind of quilting design would compliment it. Don't rush into it, (like I sometimes seem to do.)
At first I kept it simple: I ditch quilted right down the centre of the quilt between the rows of blocks. Then sewing from alternating sides, I ditch quilted all the way to both ends. The minkee fleece on the back was still sitting nice and straight. Yay! Then I quilted it the same way vertically.

Next I did a free motion butterfly pattern inside each block, on top of the tessillating butterfly, connecting each block in the row. Remember to take breaks and check the back of your work to make sure the tension remains good. Nothing more frustrating than working away diligently, and realizing afterwards that it looks really bad on the back. My bobbin has a habit of jumping the thread out of the groove, wreaking havoc with the tension. Then you have a half hour or more of "undo" work….

12 appliqued fussy cut butterflies

After that I ditch quilted all around the pink inner border.  At both ends of the quilt, the pink border was wider (see above) so I free motion quilted some of my easy signature butterflies there.
Now what to do for the outer colourful butterfly border, I thought. I decided to keep it simple and just do an easy free motion meander stitch.  I even love how the back turned out! :D

Last step: binding. Oh, oh, what could I use? I was pretty much out of fabric and since it mostly came from my stash, I couldn't just go out and get another 3/4 meter…  I checked a few other pink fabrics in my bin, but didn't want to introduce a new shade or pattern since the quilt top is so busy already.
Ah hah!  The leftovers from the pink Super Hero Cape is just the right shade of pink. Is there enough scrap left, I wondered?

Laying out the quilt layers to pin

 Well I got lucky for the second time that week! I cut 2 1/4" inch strips, sewed them together and they were perfect for the binding.   With about 12 inches left at the end, I feel very fortunate. Maybe I should have gone out and bought a lottery ticket that day, too! :)

Happy Quilting!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Super Hero Capes

Super Hero Capes

Our twin grandkids just had their 3 birthday. I was visiting recently and our grandson wanted me to take his feet out of his pyjamas, but leave the top part on... Ooookay, I wondered where that was going?  Is this related to potty training somehow I wondered???  Wrong! He was trying to create a Super Hero cape for himself. Quite ingenious, really.  Of course his twin sister followed suite and baby brother just stared (for now!)
Ever up for a challenge to try something new,  I figured whipping up a couple of simple Super Hero capes on my Janome would be pretty simple…
After a bit of research on line, I found the perfect site:   (

There was an easy cape template download there for a mere $2.99. There was even a link to a site  with Superman letters inside the Superman logo shape. Well, all the hard work is done for you, I thought. Yay!

 I bought some solid coloured broadcloth just as the site directions suggested. What luck! It was on sale for half price that week! Wow,  I thought, the quilting goddesses are definitely smiling down on me!
I bought 3 colours, dark blue, bright green and pink.

I quickly traced and cut out the dark blue and the pink for capes for the twins. Should I make inner lining or just  a nice seam around the outside?

"Well, you saved on the fabric so why not do as the directions say",  I thought to myself, (and stop "re-inventing the wheel" so to speak!)
I was so excited about how the capes would turn out I jumped to the logo directions. I had some red felt and yellow fabric for the logo backgrounds, plus the double sided webbing (Steam- a Seam 2). I started in on the H logo.

 In my excitement to get going I had skipped a step , not crucial, I could go back and do it, but I ended up having to cut the spaces around the H twice, once with just the red felt and again with it attached to the webbing, tedious extra work…

The letter C logo went a lot faster since it had less tiny spaces to cut out and I did the steps in the right order, tracing only once.

I was super careful about using a pressing cloth when pressing the logo to its yellow background with the webbing and then onto the back of the outer cape, 3 inches down from the neckline, centred equadistant from the sides. The H logo looked great on the dark blue!   But... the cape looked a bit too short!   I had made the 4T template size (our twins are 3 years old), but I realized it was 3 inches short of the 21 inches I had measured from the backs of the twins' necks to the backs of their knees... Dang!

Luckily I had not ironed on the C logo. What to do about the H logo which was stuck so fast to the short blue cape???
I got out the blue broadcloth, did some fancy re-folding and managed to trace another template, 21 inches long this time, (only just!) out of the leftovers! Yes, the quilt goddesses really were smiling on me. ( I pushed aside the thought that if they had been paying better attention to begin with, I would have done it correctly the first time!)

I took my trusty scissors and cut the H logo off the small blue cape, leaving a hole in the back, so it now became a mere scrap...
I re-folded the pink broadcloth, too and, yes, my luck was holding! I had enough to cut a new longer (21") pink cape., with very little to spare. :)

Green cape and lining for Little T's Super hero Cape
I pressed the C logo onto the cape with the iron, then proceeded to stitch the logo on just for good measure. That turned out to be a bit of a hassle! The thread kept breaking and I realized what the problem was: The needle was going through the logo, and through 2 layers of gummy webbing which was making a blob of thread stick to the needle. Yikes! What next, I thought!

Had to clean the needle well between stitching parts of the logo and had to re-thread the needle several times. (This is where the better quality Mettler silk finish thread stood out in comparison to the cheaper Gutermann thread, which kept breaking. )
I will have to re-think this webbing process when I make Little T's Logo…

Little T's green Super Hero cape without the logo

I sandwiched the lining with the cape (sewed them right sides together with a 6 inch "hole" left at the bottom. I clipped all the curves and turned the capes right side out! Nice!

 Next to last step was to sew a 1/4 inch seam all around each cape, catching the opening part at the cape bottoms, which I had pressed inward.
Last, I sewed a 1 inch piece of velcro onto the neck ends.
Wow! I am so pleased with how well they turned out! :D

One year old Little T. LOVE this happy, independent little guy! :)


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Tessilating Butterfly Quilt Top

The tessilating butterfly quilt top is done! I completed it 2 evenings ago. ( January 27, 2015)

I'm really pleased with how this quilt top looks, but I am reaffirming that I am never making this tricky pattern again! It is very time consuming getting all these curves right. Sewing the completed blocks together was a challenge as well.

I thought I had trimmed all the blocks to 7 1/4 inches square, but obviously I had missed a few or measured them inaccurately. As I was sewing the rows of blocks together I saw that some seams did not line up very well. I had to take the rows apart, re-sew a few of the block seams a tad narrower (or wider) to try and accommodate the differences. I even trimmed a smudge off the sides of a block or two.
In the end, I think I finally did success in getting the blocks and rows lined up pretty well.  As they say, "All's well that ends well"!   :)

I cut 2 inch strips of the solid pink fabric to use for the inner border.  The quilt top measured 38" X 44 1/4" inches.
Block rows with inner border

Next I  added 4 inch strips of the glittery butterfly fabric around the outside.  (Inner border width = 1 1/2 inches, outer butterfly border= 3 3/4 inches.)

The finished size of this little top is 45 X 51 1/4" inches.

I had a tiny bit of leftover butterfly fabric. I decided to add one more little touch to this quilt top. I fussy cut 12 butterflies from the leftover piece and used Steam a Seam to adhere them to the quilt top. Then I sewed a blanket stitch around them with my Janome machine. 

12 tiny appliquéd butterflies

Next step, wash the kitchen floor then spread out the back fabric, a pink minkee which I taped face down to the floor with small strips of masking tape.  Then comes the batting and last the butterfly quilt top. After smoothing them all out, I started pinning the layers together with numerous safety pins, starting at the centre of the quilt and working outward to the edges.

After that I used the leftover fabric (which there wasn't much of) and made it into a pillowcase.