Thursday, December 31, 2009

Brrrrrr it's cold in Kansas

This is the view out of my back door on Christmas Day.

This is the INSIDE of our screened in porch.  The snow is gone from inside the porch now but not from the yard, driveway or street.  So this New Years Eve will be spent in my cozy warm house -- sewing!  (It's about 15 degrees F right now. . .yikes!)  When it turns cold like this I get a nesting instinct and wrap up in quilts and sweaters and nap in my recliner.  Ahhhhh, no sense coming out until Spring!!

My yellow lab Rockie loves opening packages, even when they are not for him.  Notice how well he can help open an envelope with outh missing a beat!  This is one package eating dog!!

So I guess I will warm up a bowl of soup, grab a trashy novel and a quilt, and commence to curling up.  Happy New Year!!!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Midnight Posies Block 12 -- Tulip Garden Block

I am so pleased to share block 12 with you in the Midnight Posies series!  I hope you have had a blast making these simple but totally bright and fun blocks, and built your quilting confidence in the process.
This last block in the series had four gorgeous red tulips dancing around a green and purple garden.  The block looks complicated, but as always the techniques make it easy!

This pattern is no longer available for free but can be purchased on my web site or at my Etsy shope. [Click here to go to my ETSY shop]
I am working on a brand new Free BOM which will start in January!  No peaking for the moment, but I will share a few hints in upcoming posts.

And you thought Christmas was over!!  Silly you.

Happy New Year!!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Presents of the Quilty Kind

I am not good at getting things done on time.  Ask anyone I swap with, they will tell you I am last minute Lulu.  So it should be no suprise that I am packing up boxes for out of town family members with Christmas goodies.  Two went in the mail today and one will go tomorrow.  I hear people say how they did all their holiday shopping in October, have everything wrapped in November and shipped out by December 1.  Yea right!!  I think they must be lying.  Its just not possible.  Even when I try to shop early I still can't bring myself to assemble all the wrapping items in one room until at least the 20th of December.  Its a rule!  Ok, more like a guideline, or perhaps a suggestion.  Sheesh, why can't I get things done ahead of time? 

I blame it mostly on being a teacher and waiting until school "breaks" to get real work done.  I suspect that is just a lame excuse for a far more significant and dangerous condition.  If I didn't procrastinate, I tell myself, what would I have to look forward to???  So anyway, Christmas is almost a day away and I am just getting gifts finished and wrapped and shipped.  So big deal.  LOL

So if you are a member of my family, don't read any further cuz one of these items might be for you.  Everone else can read on!  In early November at retreat I made some fun table runners using striped fabrics and a 60 degree triangle ruler.  These were totally fun and addicting.  This week I got them quilted and bound. 

This poinsettia runner is one of those floral border stripes.  The outer edge looks black but it is really a dark green.  I quilted a feather in the center after marking it in pencil.  I did this one on my Bernina.  I stitched around each of the poinsettias in gold thread and then did the curved feather border in gold as well.  I am getting better with my free motion quilting, but still need a lot more practice.  I think the feather in the center came out best of all .  Here is a closeup.

This is the smaller of two runners I made using this fabric.  The other is about 76" long and has the tan center like this one but also has tan on the outside as well.  Of course I packed it up without taking a picture of it but you can see a picture of it before I quilted it here.  DUH.  I quilted that one on my HQ16 using a panto called "Pheonix" from Urban Elementz.  It is a bit big for the runner and I should have used a slightly smaller design, but I think it looks ok given the size of the runner.  Both of these are for my sister.  So shhhh don't say anything until she gets them and has time to open them.  The pattern for these is called the Easy Striped Table Runner by Karen Montgomery and it is soooo simple.  Even I can do it, and ahead of schedule at that! 

The binding on this runner is Nan Binding.  that is binding sewn on completely by machine.  Nan D taught me how to make this so of course it is named in her honor.  [Ever notice how quilters name things after the person who taught them how to do it?]  It is sewn onto the back of the quilt -- instead of the front -- and stitched down on the front with a blind hem stitch and matching thread.  I love Nan binding!!!

You can see more Nan binding on this little placemat I made for my great (or is it grand?) nephew, Dominic.  This was totally fun to make and quilted up so fast.  And of course, with Nan binding it finishes fast too.  I quilted on all the black lines around each border and stippled the blue background to make the white center puff up.  I love the way that all the "pie slices" fit together even though they don't match up.  This really is a fun and easy pattern.

Well after I got these runners made, well really it was the other way around.  I made the stockings first!  I made Christmas stockings for all my great (or is it grand) nieces and nephews.  Six new ones just this year!!!  On my husband's side of the family there was Brooklyn, Delaney, and Molly.  On my side of the family there was Clark, Jack and Tessa (who is not yet born but will be coming along very shortly).  Here is Jack's stocking.

And here is Tessa's stocking.

It was such fun to quilt these.  I lined the fronts and backs of each stocking with batting between the layers.  The I quilted the backs with cross-hatching and quilted the fronts outlineing all the elements on the preprinted stocking panels.  I bought these panels last year when I made stockings for Michael and Dominic.  I am glad I bought plenty of fabric at the time cuz who knew I would need to make 6 more this year????

Finally I made some placemat sets for my other nephew and his wife.  These were made with the figgy pudding line of fabric by Moda.

I posted instructions for this pattern I designed on my blog earlier and you can go back and find the instructions here.  If you make some of these please send me a picture.  I would love to see what yours look like.  Ok, I have blathered on enough for one night.  Hope you enjoy the pictures and the quilts.  I am going to go get a glass of wine, put my feet up and read a good book!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Free Christmas Project - Broderie Perse Table Runner

I just can't make enough table runners it seems.  Here is one I designed for a class and it turned out so easy to make that I have made several.  The pattern is adaptable to any seasonal fabric so you could make one for valentines day, easter, oh heck, just about anything.  It relies on using seasonal fabrics with at least one having large floral or seasonal motifs which you can cut out and fuse on.  This really is a quilt-in-a-day project (with apologies to Eleanor Burns) because you can complete it from cutting to quilting in one day.

Yea yea, I know I took a lot of heat about my 4-hour bag.  But I can make it in 4 hours!  But that's another story.  Here is the Holiday Table Runner.

What could be easier?  The center section is cut the size of your ruler!  LOL  I love easy stuff like that.  My ruler is 6.5" x 24.5".  The borders are added next and then the flowers are cut out of great fabric and fused onto the corners of the table runner.   Here is the pattern.

At this point I layer the top, batting and backing and use basting spray to hold it together.  I stitch in the ditch around each border to stabilize the quilt top then the fun begins.

The fun part of this pattern is the quilting.  I did double cross hatching 1" apart with gold thread on the center section.  It reminds me of a frosted glass window in a big wooden front door panel.

Next I used gold thread (rayon thread with a nice sheen) to blanket stitch around the flowers.  I did each petal to make it look more like applique.  That is what makes it look less like a cut out from fabric and more like real applique.  I love shortcuts like that.

Then I used a curved feather stencil to mark the quilting lines for the plain corners and sides.  I quilted those in gold thread as well.  In addition I did a double row of straight lines 1/4" inside of the edge of the large border.  On the outside of the feathered curved lines I did micro stippling.

In the white speaces between the flowers I did some MacTavishing in gold thread.  I did all the quilting on my domestic Bernina.

Oh and I almost forgot.  I did a strip of red piping around the binding.  I love the Piping Hot Binding Tool by Susan Cleveland, and I use it on table runners all the time.  It makes binding so easy to do.  Altho I have to say that the key to success for me is the Bernina zipper foot.  Yup, that's right.  I tried the Bernina piping foot and it works ok, but it is not as good. . .to me at least. . . as the invisible zipper foot, which has a tight groove for the zipper to ride in.  The groove fits the thin nylon cording exactly and holds it in place both when you make the piping and when you attach the piping to the quilt top.  The Bernina Piping foot is good when attaching the binding over the piping, however.  So both feet are a good investment.  Enjoy the free pattern!