Saturday, October 29, 2016

Lantern Table Topper

Lantern Blocks

Lantern blocks are simple to make but look quite pretty. Time was running out to make more table toppers to take along as gifts so I decided to make something that I was familiar with, the lantern blocks.
I first saw this pattern a year or so ago  in the Quilter's World Magazine July 2015. The quilt pattern was called Beach Calypso on page 52.  It uses  2 1/2 inch fabric strips cut to 8 1/2 inch length, and 2 1/2 inch squares at the corners.

The blocks are 8" by 8" inches finished. Instead of making a quilt out of them, I made them into a simple table topper last summer for my friend B's birthday.

B's birthday table topper- July 2015

That table topper was made up of eight 8 inch blocks plus borders, but in Germany most of my relatives have smaller tables so I decided to make them from six blocks each.

These easy blocks just zipped along so I ended up making 3 of these, 2 fro give away and one to keep for myself. I finished the last one the day before we left on vacation.

The inner border was made from a 1 1/2 inch strip of fabric and the outer border was 2 1/2 inches wide. 
The completed table toppers are 22" By 30" inches in size.
The recipients were quite pleased to get them, I'm happy to say.

Happy quilting! :D

The Magic of Quilting: Lone Star-Done At Last!

The Magic of Quilting: Lone Star-Done At Last!

Echo Table Runners

Echo Table Runners
14" X 42" finished table runner

Echo blocks are made entirely from traced fabric pieces using 2 different templates that fit together to make the blocks.
It consists of 2 curved pieces of fabric sewn together, then 4 of those are sewn to each other to make the 18 1/2 inch blocks.

I had seen the pattern in a quilt magazine a few months before and decided to give it a whirl because it was quite different from anything I had tried before (except maybe the tessellating butterfly blocks that I am staying away from ! :)     (Quilter's World - Time Friendly Quilting May 2016 issue pg. 19)

We were going to a wedding in July and I thought it would make a unique gift.

We were also going on vacation in the fall to Italy and Germany and I wanted to make some table toppers to take along as thank you gifts for our hostesses, my German relatives.

 I liked the idea of using Bali Batik fabrics so I went hunting for some at the quilt store in Camrose, Quilting From the Heart, where they have a huge selection.

First pin the pieces together at both ends, then in the middle.

Can't have too many pins! :)

I cut the 2 template pieces out of template plastic, then began tracing on my fabrics and cutting them all out. then I began to mix and match the various pieces. When sewing the curved pieces together I found that it helped to pin them well, starting at both ends and then the middle. My best tool at that point was my tweezers which helped me make sure the fabrics were lined up properly to sew them perfectly. 

The one on the left has batting in the centre so I quilted a circular pattern on the blocks and meander pattern around the edge.
The one on the left just has thin webbing inside. That one is ditch quilted. (Made for Rosel)

My first runner, which was the wedding gift, I left in a rectangular shape. The next two, I cut the corners curved.

I traced the back fabric and batting, cut them out, then sandwiched them together with the runner, wrong sides facing, then sewed a 1/4 inch seam, leaving an opening to turn it right side out. Press it, then sew a generous 1.4 inch seam around the outside ( after hand stitching the opening closed.) 
Then last I machine quilted them.

I liked these blocks and table toppers so much that I made the place mats, too! :)

Friday, August 12, 2016

Scrappidy Do Dah

Scrappidy Do Dah Quilt

Quite a while ago I had downloaded a cute idea for making a scrappy quilt made out of pieces of leftover fabrics. After a time a quilter ends up with so many small chunks of fabric leftover  from previous projects,  I thought it would be a great way to use some of them up.
I had started making the blocks a long while back. (How long? I'm not really sure, but I'm guessing about 3 years agoโ€ฆ)  I had made enough to make pillow shams for my sofa throw cushions, but not enough to make the whole quilt top yet.

Each block is made out of a 6 inch square and a 1 1/2  x 9 inch strip contrasting of fabric. (anything goes!)
The square is cut in half corner to corner to make 2 triangles. The fabric strip is then sewn in between the 2 rectangles to make a bigger square.  Then use a square acrylic ruler to trim the blocks to 6 1/4 inches or whatever is suitable. Easy Peasy! :)   I had made about 60 of them.

Auditioning fabrics for the inner border with Kitty's help. :)

In March I found out that a close friend of mine had cancer. My quilt guild makes comfort quilts regularly to give away to people in the community who have illness and I had often taken part in making them, but up until now, it was mostly for strangers. My friend lives in different part of the province and was going to Edmonton for treatments in April. I had promised to visit her there, not having seen her since last year.
"Why not make M a comfort quilt that I could take along?!", I thought to myself. It was only about 2 weeks until the time of the visit, so it would have to be something relatively fast.

I took out my Scrappidy Do Dah blocks and laid them out on the floor (my "design wall" :)  ) to see if I could make a pleasing pattern. I rearranged them numerous times taking photos to look at each time, until I had something I liked.  I decided that I needed to make 4 more of a lighter colour to balance out the blocks, but in the end, I think it turned out looking quite good.

I burned the "midnight oil " to get it completed in time. Next the sandwiching and pinning was done on the kitchen floor, as usual. Then I used my sewing machine to ditch quilt the blocks. I free motion quilted the brown top and bottom border strips in my usual butterfly pattern. The outer border got a meander pattern quilted all around.

Quilt layers:  bottom fabric taped to the kitchen floor, batting smoothed out on top of that and next the quilt top smoothed out at the very top. 

Next I cut the edging strips and sewed them to the quilt top. I finished hand stitching the edging strips the night before my trip to Edmonton. I made a label for the back using the embroidery alphabet on my Janome. (After 3 attempts, I was satisfied with the label for it. That's another story!

we headed off to Edmonton to visit my dear friend and brought her the surprise quilt. She was so pleased! And so am I!

Finished size: 60   x 70 inches

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Split Square Kitty quilt

Split Square/ Kitty quilt

Split square Kitty quilt

One of our little Grand daughter just turned 3 this month (February) so it's time to make her a "Big Girl" quilt. She loves kittens, puppies and the colour pink so the quilt I'm making for her has two of these on it.  I decided to make 8 inch split square blocks. I had made a similar split square block as a border around a panel about 2 years ago for my husband's grand niece's baby. I loved how the blocks looked on that quilt and have wanted to make a whole quilt like that ever since.

It is made from 2 strip sets, one light, one dark with 4 different fabrics:
-a dark mottled pink,
-kitties on white background,
-tiny white flowers on pink, and
 -green polka dot fabric for contrast.

The kitty fabric and the dark pink are my main fabrics.
Cut the fabrics into 2 1/2 inch strips, then sew 1 main fabric strip to 1 supporting fabric strip lengthwise. (Kitty fabric sewn to the green spotted fabric;   the dark pink fabric to the small flowers. )

 Next cut the strip sets  2 1/2 inches wide crossways.  Cut rectangles 2 1/2 by 4 1/2 inches from both main fabrics.  (Kitty and dark pink in this case.)  Sew a little strip set rectangle to the same colour fabric rectangle. Now you have a 4/12 inch block. Sew 4 of these blocks together (with the small squares in the centre) to make the larger 8 1/2 inch blocks.

4 small split square blocks = one 8 1/2 inch block

I made 30 blocks like this and then sewed them together, 6 rows of 5 blocks.

6 rows of 5 blocks

These 30 inner blocks measured 40 1/2" X 49" inches when sewn together.

2 inch wide inner border

 Then I added the narrow border of white fabric (cut 2 1/4 inches to make a 1 3/4" width inner border.
Now the quilt top measured 44" X 52" inches. I was aiming for a 50" X 60" quilt so I added a 4 1/4 inch outer border. (Cut kitty fabric strips 4 1/2" wide for outer border.)  I had to cut 5 strips in order to have extra to add to each of the sides. 

Now for the back:  I had the perfect size of pink fleece fabric in my stash for the back with lots of overhang.

Outer 4 inch kitty border

I cut a piece of batting to fit the quilt top with 3 or 4 inches extra on all sides. Then I taped the pink fleece to the kitchen floor with strips of masking tape, and smoothed the batting out over it. 
Next I smoothed out the quilt top on top of the other 2 layers.  I pinned tall the layers together starting in the middle and working my way outward (a total of 186 pins.)

That was many hours of work just to get to that stage! (About 40 hours work, I would guess.)  
 Now it was time to quilt it. Because fleece can be slippery to work with, before free motion quilting, I first ditch quilted down the centre of the quilt, both vertically and horizontally to hold the fleece tight to the quilt top.  I ditch quilted around each individual block as well, and then sewed all around both sides of the inner border.

Free motion quilting: flowers and ocean waves patterns

Free motion quilting
Sometimes it's hard to know how to quilt a quilt once it's pinned together.  I loved the flower pattern that I had quilted on the pinwheel blocks of my Kaleidoscope quilt so I decided to use that idea again. 

I started with sewing a circle at the very centre of each 8 inch block, then I sewed 4 petals around it, one in each small centre square and next I sewed a larger petal around each small petal. It looks somewhat like a rose. After that I continued by sewing a wiggly, swirly line to the middle of the next 8 inch block and made another rose there, and so on. I need up with 30 roses. 

Now for the inner border. A simple free motion wave pattern in white thread should do the trick. 
Last: the outer border. Maybe my signature free motion butterflies?  Hmmm, maybe I should continue the flower theme and make a daisy chain- a continuous row of daisies all around the outside!  

After that, sew a 3/8 inch seam all around the outer edge of the quilt, Next, trim the excess fleece and batting off the sides.  Almost doneโ€ฆ

Finished quilting and binding Mar 2/16

Now cut 2 1/4 inch fabric strips and sew together to make the binding (perimeter of quilt plus 1 inch for each corner and 6 inches overlap at beginning and endโ€ฆ (a total of 50 + 60 + 50 + 60 + 4 + 6 =  230 inches.) Press binding lengthwise, wrong sides together.

Pinned binding strips

Last, sew the binding around the edges on the front sides of the quilt, flip the edging over to the back, and hand stitch all around. NOW you are finally done!  Yay! Time to enjoy the fruits of your many hours of labour. : D

May your needles never be dull and your bobbin never run out.  Happy Quilting!

I love the back quilting pattern- flowers and oceans waves

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Kaleidoscope Quilt and Split Square Kitty Blocks

Kaleidoscope/ Grandma's Dress quilt
Kaleidoscope/ Grandma's Dress quilt has finally been quilted

It seems to take me forever to decide on a quilting design for this little kaleidoscope quilt. These blocks are mostly staggered pinwheels with some solid white blocks in between to give it this extended pinwheel look which I love!

The back is a soft pink minkee fabric, a bit tricky to sew with but not as bad as some of the thicker patterned minkee.

Before I started quilting, I stitched in the ditch down the centre of the quilt to hold the minkee in place. Then I ditch quilted around the inner pink border and added a bunch more pins to the outside to hold the minkee securely. (I learned this trick the hard way!)

The rest of the quilt is done in free motion quilting (using my beloved Janome Horizon 7700 machine.)

Free motion daisy design on the inner pinwheel/ split square triangle blocks.

Free motion butterfly and swirls design in pink thread on the pink outer border.

Ocean swirls in white thread on the white border.

Minkee back of quilt shows the quilting stitches well.
The binding I did in white which offsets this quilt nicely.
I can't part with this one!    ๐Ÿ˜Š  ๐Ÿ’—  

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.  ๐ŸŽ€

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.  ๐ŸŽ…

Happy quilting!   

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