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.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Tessilating Butterflies- and How!

 Tessilating Butterflies Blocks  Jan. 17, 2015

As I may have already mentioned, these are rather tricky blocks to complete. They do look really cute once their done, though.

Sewing curves takes a lot of patience. It's not difficult once you get on to it, but it takes a great deal of concentration and it's very time consuming.

Each butterfly block is made up of 9 curved pieces.  The first time I tried these blocks, I cut out enough pieces to make12 blocks for a baby quilt for my new infant grand daughter. Then when I went to sew the pieces into blocks, I realized that, YIKE, I didn't know where to start! I had never sewn a curve before, let along pieces that had both concave and convex curves!

I looked online and found a great video that demonstrated it very well. (See bottom of post for link.)
My tweezers became my new favourite tool.  :)

At the time, I had said I was never going to make these tricky, time-consuming blocks again, but here I am, 2 years later making 30 curved butterfly blocks this time!  (Sucker for punishment, I guess… :/ )

Tip:  Before you start sewing the pieces together, make 1/8 inch cuts around the edges of the curves, especially the concave (inward) curves.

2 pieces that need to be sewn together, with both concave and convex curves

Flip the 2 pieces right sides together just like you would to sew square or rectangular pieces.  Pin the edge where you want to start.  Some sites say to pin the start, the middle and the end of the pieces.  In this case, because of the changing curves, I found that didn't work very well. 

Put your presser foot down and stitch 2 or 3 stitches. Lift presser foot; Move your top fabric edge over to match the bottom fabric edge close to the needle; Then stitch 2 or 3 more stitches.  Repeat...

I use my tweezers to help me grip the top fabric and slowly move it to match the bottom edge as I'm sewing whenever possible. 

Keep moving the top fabric edge over to line it up with your bottom fabric edge after every few stitches. 

Press seam open and you are done!

Putting the body in between the wings was the tricky part especially the last edge.

Connecting Threads-Sewing Curves Tutorial     (Scroll to the bottom of the blog for a good video)

 The 30 (plus) butterfly blocks will be sewn into a new "big girl" quilt for my little grand daughter C who just turned 3 and is now in her "big girl" toddler bed.

Arranging blocks- only 6 left to make! :)

Her twin brother H will be getting a "big boy" quilt, too, after this one is finished. 
Happy quilting!


Monday, December 22, 2014

"In the meadow"- Snowman Christmas Stocking

Our littlest Grandchild needed a Christmas stocking this year. Last Christmas he was only 3 weeks old and he had a store bought "Baby's First Christmas" stocking.

I saw a snowman block that I liked on a pattern for a table runner and decided to make one block and create a stocking out of it. Next year I'm planning on making that whole table runner to use here at Christmas time.

Pattern:   "In the Meadow- Snowman"
Quilter's World  "Quilting for the Holidays"  Nov. 2014  pg. 139

It starts out with a 5 1/2" snowball white fabric block (1 1/2" blue corners) for the body, along with a 2 1/2" X 3 1/2" rectangle for the head. The hat is 2 black rectangles: 1 1/2" X 5 1/2" and 1 1/2" X 3 1/2" from black fabric.  Then I added two 1 1/2"X 2 1/2" rectangles next to the head and then blue fabric strips ( 2 1/2" X 9 1/2") on each side.   It creates a 9 1/2" snowman block.

I also sewed 3 smaller snowball blocks 3 X 3" which I incorporated into the stocking below the snowman. The rest of the stocking front is made of strips of Xmas scraps cut in various widths.  The back of the stocking is made out of Christmas fabric printed with cute little birdhouses and other Christmasy things on it.

I used the same template to cut out this stocking as I did for the Star stockings Which I made last Christmas for the twins.
( Xmas stocking template: Fons and Porter magazine Nov. 2013  page 52-55)

Lining: All 3 stockings are lined with Christmas fabric.
Top edge Binding:  The trickiest part was attaching the binding to the top of the stocking and making the loop. (  I cut 2 1/4" strips of fabric, sewed them together end to end, then pressed them in half, right sides out. I used a few dabs of "Speed Sew" glue to attach the binding to the stocking in a few spots, then stitched the binding on securely on my machine. I then flipped the binding over the raw edge to the inside of the stocking and then sewed it in by hand.)

The snowman stocking is quite large, 19 1/2" long X 6 1/2 " wide.  Our little guy seemed to like it quite a bit after he had unwrapped it at his first birthday party on Dec. 3 (2014).

Star stockings made last Christmas for the twins' 2nd Christmas
The star stocking are about 18" long and also 6 1/2" wide.

Let it Snow, Let it Snow- Snowman Placemats

Let it Snow, Let it Snow- Snowman Placemats

Claire's placemat has regular binding made of 2 1/4 inch strips of pink star fabric matching the back and scarf.

The Hallowe'en Jack-o-lantern Placemats were such a hit, I decided to make our 4 little grandchildren a snowman placemat to use over Christmas and the winter.
I found a cute pattern for snowman face block on a wall hanging featuring 3 little snowman faces with different accessories, either a hat, a scarf or earmuffs.  
(Quilter's World magazine-  "Quilting for the Holidays" fall 2014 Page 130)

It starts out as a 10 1/2 inch snowball block made out of white fabric, ( 3 1/2" blue squares for the corners)  then 1 1/2 inch strips of median blue fabric for the sashing.

I added 3 1/2" X 12 1/2" rectangles of pale blue hearts, mitts and evergreen print fabric to the sides, then 1 3/4" strips of the same fabric to the top and bottom.

Tanner's Mat-  Dark green Christmas tree fabric backing and mock binding on edges.

After that chose some fabric to use for the hat, scarf and earmuffs.  Than I tried to scan the templates for the accessories and blow them up 150%. Had a bit of trouble with our scanner so I ended up drawing them bigger, then tracing them onto the back of the Steam-a-Seam webbing. Next I pressed them lightly onto the back of the fabrics, cut them out and arranged them on each snowman block in correct oder. (the scarf has 4 separate pieces, the hat and earmuffs have 3 each.)  I chose a blanket stitch on my Janome and sewed around the outsides of the appliqués accessories in their respective colours. I also appliquéd orange carrot shaped noses on the faces and used my "disappearing ink" pen to draw the eyes, and mouths.

I used machine stitches for sewing the eyes and mouths next:  After a couple of bad attempts which were rectified with the seam ripper, I ended up using stitch #  139 twice to make each eye (once on the right and once upside down to the left). Then Quilt stitch # 93 for the mouths, going over the mouth lines twice (and even 3 times in one case) to make the mouths stand out more.

Hayden's Mat -Red snowflake back fabric and mock binding matching the pom pom

Each placemat has a different back, either pink, red or green print, depending on the colour of the accessory on the front.
Quilting: I machine quilted with white thread around the snowman faces, then with blue thread around the sashing, and coloured thread around the hats, scarf or ear muffs. I free- motion quilted loops and squiggles on the sides and bottom fabric.  Next I trimmed the excess batting off the edges using scissors, and then trimmed the back fabric to 1 1/2" width all around the edges of the mats.

Adelynn's Mat: Pink/white polka dot back fabric and mock binding matching the hat

To make the mock binding:
I pressed in each corner of the extra back fabric, then pressed the rest of the fabric in half towards the edges of each mat.  Then I turned in the edge fabric once more, pinning it to the placemat on all 4 sides. (It should meet nicely in each corner. Then carefully trim off the excess corner fabric parts that are sticking out.)
Last I sewed all around the 4 sides about 1/16 from the inside fabric edge.
Placemat done!  Finished mats:  15" X 18"

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Wacky Jack Hallowe'en Table Runner 2014

Wacky Jack Hallowe'en Table Runner
This table runner matches the placemats that I had made for my 4 grandchildren and also the Hallowe'en wallhanging that I had made last year.  It ended up being  22 1/2" X 53" quite a good size.

I made 2 foundation pieced blocks, each one 12 1/2 inches square; one is a black cat and the other is a witch on a broomstick. These were 2 free foundation piecing patterns from this website:  

These were the most difficult foundation piecing I have ever made! There were no directions as to how to start or anything. It looked like you had to cut the patterns into 4 or 5 pieces and make each one separately, then sew them together.   That was more tricky than it sounds. Lining them up was really difficult.

The black cat wasn't too bad, but the witch was a real to do!  I took that block apart and sewed it back together three times! I  finally had to add an extra piece of fabric to one piece in the centre around the broomstick just so it would match up to the rest.  :(

(Note to self: throw this witch pattern away and never make it again.)

The Jack-o-lantern block was easy as I have made them so many times now. :) It is also 12 1/2 square when completed.  Next I sewed  the 3 big blocks together with 1 1/2" strips of sashing (black spiderweb/ pumpkin fabric). I fussy cut 2 rectangles 4 X 12 1/2" from a black hallowe'en print and sewed one on each end.

Next I added 2" strips of the web/ pumpkin fabric to the top and bottom of the runner.

 I appliquéd eyes, nose and mouth (solid black fabric) and a green stem on the Jack-o-lantern.  I used Heat bond thermo web and machine stitched the appliqués with stitch #45 on my Janome.

The back fabric is a cute orange and black eyeball print.  I did not add batting to the middle, instead I used up the rest of my roll of "Whisper web". After that I made a mock binding around the edge (flipping over the extra back fabric to use.)
 Last  I lightly machine quilted it to keep the Whisper Web from shifting around.

I like how it turned out!