Sunday, January 24, 2016

Bows and Boughs- Christmas table runners

Bows and Boughs Runners

It's always nice to have a decorative table runner at Christmas. Long before I took up quilting, I had bought me first table runner at a craft sale and it was a Christmas one. It was quite simply made from two pieces of fabric, one of which had a border around it, but I loved it and still use it.  🎀

Since our daughter and her husband were hosting Christmas this year with all of his family plus a few from our side (about 16 people counting all the kids), I thought she should have a nice big fancy table runner for her huge dining room table.  I had enjoyed making the "Bows and Boughs" paper pieced presents and evergreen tree blocks so much that I decided to make some extra ones and turn it into a table runner for her.

 Paper pieced tree blocks and present and bow blocks

The bow blocks were the trickiest to make as they each involved 7 or 11 pieces.
The tree and present blocks are each 5 1/5 inches by 8 1/2 inches in size. I added a strip of white between each present block and tree block to make it 16 inches wide.

I made a similar Bows and Boughs block at both ends.  In between I put a strip of 2 1/2 inch dark green sashing then added a piece of red reindeer print fabric to the centre. Last I added a 2 1/2 inch dark green border to both sides of the runner.   This reindeer bows and boughs runner measures 21' X 58" in total.

I added the batting and the green mistletoe back fabric, then used the back fabric to the front to make a mock border.  Next I machine quilted it. I echo quilted 1/4 inch around the tress and presents in white thread, then ditch quilted around the sashing in dark green. I free-motion quilted a small mistletoe pattern on all the sashing in dark green thread, and did a simple meander pattern on top of the reindeer centre fabric.   Last came the mock edging.

I  liked this runner so much, I decided to make one for myself, so I continued paper piecing more bows, gifts and trees.  I chose a green swirl fabric for the centre of mine. My table is much smaller than my daughter's so I reduced the size of the centre fabric. I added the same dark green sashing to make a runner measuring 20 3/4 X 44.

20 3/4" X 44" Bows & Boughs runner- kitty approved!
I used an off white Christmas fabric for the back. After adding the batting to the middle, I sandwiched the 3 layers together, turned them right side out and quilted the top. I echo quilted around the trees and presents, then ditch quilted around the sashing.
Next I free motion quilted some mistletoes shapes into  the centre green fabric and also on the 2 centre sashing strips. I just did a simple swirly stitch on the outside sashing.
Last I sewed a 1/4 inch seam all around the border and I was done!

I'm really happy with how my table runner turned out! The only downside was that I didn't get mine finished till mid January! I guess it will just go into the linen closet till next Christmas.
After that I got industrious and started putting the extra tree and presents blocks together into place mats. Those are still unfinished, but I have lots of time to do that before Christmas 2016.  🎅

Happy quilting!   

(Paper piece templates were from the McCall's Quilting magazine- Dec. 2011 issue pg 58)


Saturday, January 23, 2016

Bows and Boughs Wall Hanging

Bows and Boughs Wall Hanging

 In the 10 years that I have been quilting, I have never made a Christmas wall hanging!  I was so focused on making quilts, place mats and runners, that I had only in the last 2 years made any wall hangings at all. ( One Hallowee'en paper pieced hanging "Wacky Jack" my Oct. 2013 blog and a paper pieced cats and plants hanging, "Tabby's Place" May 3, 2014 . See Photos below.)

So I decided to rectify that over sight but couldn't really fined a specific pattern that I liked. I looked through my old quilt magazines and saw several Christmas quilts with blocks that I liked so I decided to use 3 different ones and put them together into one wall hanging.

The first block I made was a Snowman block. I had downloaded that pattern off the Connecting Threads website in the fall.  It involved cutting out the 12 1/2 inch square background, which I did from a blue and white fabric that I had bought previously. Next I printed a copy of the template pieces and cut them out.

After that I cut the snowman's various pieces from scrap fabric, his body, hat, arms and carrot nose, plus 3 snowflakes.  I used Steam a Seam 2 to adhere the pieces onto the background, then I used a satin stitch (Stitch # 52 on my Janome 7700 Memory Craft) to stitch around everything, changing the colour of thread as needed.  (On the back I used a thin muslin to give the appliqué some stability.)
Last I used a straight stitch on my machine and black thread to carefully stitch his eyes and smile, going over it twice. Voila he was done and I love his happy smile!

The second block I made was the wreath block. I printed and cut out the template pieces, tracing the wreath pieces on different green fabrics and the bow parts on red fabrics. Again I used Steam a Seam on the backs. The back fabric is a white on white snowflake fabric which I had bought a while back from Connecting Threads.  I arranged all the wreath pieces they way I liked, then pealed the paper off and pressed them on. After that I did the same for the bow pieces and 3 red berries on top.
Last I did t quilting, I free motion quilted the wreath pieces one by one, about  1/3 of an inch in from the edges, but used a satin stitch at the edges of the bow and berries.
(This pattern was from the Mc Call's Quilting magazine December 2012 issue page 68)

The third block I decided to make was the one called Bows and Boughs (from Mc Call's magazine Dec. 2011 issue page 58). It involves paper piecing which I rather like. (More about Bows and Boughs in my next post.)
Again I printed the paper piece patterns on my computer (using thin paper- easy to tear off.)  There were 2 different presents and 4 different bows, plus the trees which all went together to make a quilt, but I just needed one of each for this hanger. I added 3 1/2 inch squares of Christmas fabric under the present and tree blocks to look like  small presents. It was fun to make and it lead to making other present blocks and tree blocks which I turned into 2 table runners, but that's my next blog post. :)

Happy quilting!

Other wall Hangings

Tabby's Place Blog
Wacky Jack wallhanging

Advent Snowman Calendar Nov/Dec 2015

Snowmen Advent Calendar   November/ December 2015

Growing up, we always had an advent calendar as kids to count down the days till Christmas.
I had ordered a kit from Connecting Threads to make an advent calendar for my grandkids.
The kit was a simple panel with snowmen printed at the top and 24 numbered squares under that. Another piece of fabric had 24 small mittens printed on it.

You were supposed to put batting behind the mittens, cut them out and hang them on each numbered square as each day came along. My daughter thought that was not a good idea as the little ones (who were aged 11/2 years and twins 3 1/2) would probably play with and lose most of the mittens before the month of December was even half over.   

Pockets! I decided numbered pockets were the answer.  I kept the top of the panel with the printed snowmen, but cut the rest off.  I made 5 rows of 5 pockets instead, then appliquéd the 24 mittens onto the pockets.  I used a quilt/ fabric pen to write the numbers on the mittens. I had a 25th pocket so decided to fussy cut a reindeer from some fabric scraps and wrote a "25" on that.  That would be the Christmas pocket!

After that I cut a piece of back fabric to fit, added the batting in the middle and made a mock edge* on it.

Snowman back fabric

It turned out quite well and my daughter filled the pockets with little treats and prizes for our grandchildren to "discover" each day. A nice way to do the Christmas count down.      

 (How to do  Mock edging:  Cut the excess back fabric to 1 inch wide, fold it in towards the quilt and press. Flip it over to the front and sewing it down.)  Easy Peasy!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Carseat cushions Sept. 2015

Carseat Cushions
Our grandkids are often travelling by car. It takes over 2 hours to drive here to Grandma and Grandpa's place.

Their paternal grandparents live 2 provinces away, a 2 day drive, so it is essential that the youngsters are comfortable in their car seats.  They had been complaining about "sore bums" so I decided to sew them each a car seat cushion.  "How hard can it be?!" I thought.

We measured the dimensions of the seat, the front, back, sides, distance to the seat buckle. Then I drew a small diagram to take home.

The back of the seats are 12 inches across and the front is 13 1/4 inches wide. The distance to the buckle from the back is 6 inches and from the front is another 5 1/4 inches.

I taped 2 pieces of white paper together and drew a parallelogram the size of their seat bottoms, plus drew a slot where the buckle hole should be 3 inches wide
Paper template

I decided to make a practice cushion. I used this template to cut out 2 pieces of fabric, and a piece of batting (about 1/8 inch narrower on all sides)
In the centre I cut the slots to accommodate the car seat buckle.  I sewed a narrow seam around the buckle opening on both the top and bottom fabrics.  So far, so good!

After that I layered all the pieces with the fabrics right sides together, then the batting on top. I sewed a 1/4 seam all around the layers, leaving a a 5 inch opening to turn everything right sides out.  It turned out well and fit the car seats reasonable well. My daughter decided a half inch bigger would fit better.

Waterproof interfacing

For the "real seat covers" I added 1/4 inch all around the outsides of the fabrics and added a piece of waterproof lining/interfacing (found at Fabricland) for the inside. (Just in case of spills or accidents.)

I also added a 4 inch double strip of fabric to the cushion back to tuck into the back of the seat so the cushion didn't move around.

Next I layered all the pieces with the fabrics right sides together, then the lining on top of them and the batting last. (The "tucking in" piece was tucked towards the inside of the layers with raw edges out.)

I sewed them together the same way as the practice one:  a 1/4 seam all around the layers, leaving an opening to turn everything right sides out.

Last I sewed a 1/8 seam all around the whole cushion then also around the centre buckle opening.
Voila, it was done! Easy peasy!  Now their little tushes will be comfy on long car trips. :)
Happy quilting.

Reverse sides of cushions

Friday, October 23, 2015

Deck Chair Cushion Covers

Deck Chair Cushion Covers- July 2015
This summer I got creative and designed and sewed myself some deck chair cushion covers.

First 2 chair cushion covers

Our deck chairs are 10 years old and the cushions are still in great shape, but they look very faded. Last summer, we went looking for new cushions to replace them with, but the only ones we could find were either the wrong size or were very ugly!

In Fabricland one day, I found some outdoor fabric that I really like.  How hard can it be, I thought, to make a simple casing for 4 chair cushions. and maybe the long lounge chair, too.  I measured the length width and depth of the cushions, multiplied by 4, added in the dimensions of the lounge chair then rounded up generously in case I had miscalculated.

Luckily the fabric that I liked best (a flashy orange and beige floral design) was on sale half price! There you go!  Serendipidy! It was meant to be!   I bought 9 meters of the fabric, some tough orange outdoor thread to go with it and 2 zippers to start with.
The summer got away on me and I didn't get a chance to start them (Plus my Lone Star quilt was taking up all my quilting time!)

Cutting the big pieces of fabric

This summer 2015, I was determined that I would get it done! I dug out the fabric in June and started cutting the first cover pieces. Basically you are sewing a 6 sided "box" to enclose the cushions. I measured all the sides of the cushions again and added an extra inch so the cover wouldn't be too tight.

I needed 2 pieces 20 1/2 " x 44" inches each for the front and the back of the first cushion, plus 2 side pieces 4" X 44" inches long, and the top and bottom pieces,  4" x 20 1/2".
What about the zipper; or should I make over lapping flaps like my pillow sham backs? I liked the zipper idea best- where should it be placed, I wondered?   Definitely it should go underneath the cushion so it didn't show (underneath the seat part.)

I cut the underneath piece an inch longer then the top piece so I could put in a zipper and have half inch seams attaching it. I sewed the front piece to the left side using a French seam so there would be no raw edges. Then I  worked on the back/underneath side and put in the zipper. (Piece of cake with the nice zipper foot I have with my Janome machine!)

Underside of cushion with beige zipper

The back of my patio cushions have a kind of upside down pocket the width of the cushion where it fits onto the back of the chair (behind your head).  I better make those, too, I thought.
I cut a rectangle 6 1/2 inches wide by 20 1/2, then sewed under the seams on all 4 sides. I sewed that on the back,  3 inches down from the top.

Next I added the right side piece to that and placed it on the cushion (which I had brought inside) to make sure it would fit. The  bottom and the right side piece mirrored the top and the left side piece.  Yes, it was going to work! I sewed the top end piece onto the front part and the bottom end piece to the back.
( I  used French seams on the front of the cushion covers only, not the back where it meets the chair. )

It needed a couple of "Y seams" at the top and bottom to finish "the box".  I had had lots of practice with sewing "Y seams" with the Lone Star quilt I had recently made, so that wasn't too difficult. I almost forgot to undo the zipper, though in order to turn the whole thing right side out once I was done sewing.  Then I fought with the cushion for a bit to pull the cover on.  I zipped up the zipper and voila, it was done!
I was so pleased with how it looked! Wow, only 3 more chairs to go ( I wasn't counting the lounge chair at the point.)

Bit by bit, seam by seam, I cut out and sewed a second, then a third deck chair cover. I made a few mistakes and had to rip out some long seams here and there, but finally the 4th one was done! Yay!
I took a few weeks break before I started the lounge chair.  I had bought a huge spool of orange outdoor thread but it was nearly gone.

We made a trip to Red Deer Fabricland and they were out of outdoor thread! Yikes!
I ended up buying a really thick beige thread to use for the lounge chair. I measured that all up and yes, I had more than enough fabric left for that cover! The "Quilting goddesses" were definitely smiling down on me! )

The lounge pieces had to be cut 20 1/2 wide by 81 long.  Instead of cutting 6 separate piece I decided to cut the front/ top and the right side all in one, make a fake French seam 4 inches in from the side to create the side piece. Then I did the same for the bottom/ and the left side.  Oops! that wouldn't work because I need the bottom separate to put the zipper into it.  In the end it all turned out well and before I sewed the last part together I decided to sew a couple of velcro strips which would attach the lounge cushion to the back of the chair.

I am really pleased with how they look!  It sure does spruce up the deck chairs and they look better than new! :)

Happy quilting!

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.