Category Archives: quilt

Spring Quilt

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I started this little quilt a few weeks ago from some fabrics that were already in my stash.  The main squares in the middle of the quilt were from a stack of fabrics from Camille Roskelley.  I love the combination of the red and the light turquoise which happens to be her signature color combination.  Then, I added some other fabrics along the way for the borders.  This quilt was not pencilled out or designed before I started sewing.  Rather, I just let the fabric selection and final design come to me as I stitched.  So, we pick up the quilt here:

Measuring for the Second 6" Border

I love adding borders to quilts.  I have tried all different styles and sizes and each quilt wants a different type of border.  You just have to pull different colors out and see how they work.  And, then play with sizes.  I ended up doing three borders on this quilt.  A 2″ border in white to frame the squares in the middle.  A 4″ turquoise border and then a 6″ border in the large pink floral.  The other thing that I paid attention to is the colors that were in the quilt that I wanted to highlight.  In this case, it was the pale turquoise and pink.  Also, you will notice the scale of the print on the two border fabrics is quite different; the turquoise with a smaller scale print and the pink with a larger scale print.  I didn’t particularly plan it, but I do know that you want to change up scales of print throughout your designs.  Too many large scale prints next to each other is often offensive to the eye and too many small scale prints makes it too busy.  Rely on your eye and play with combinations.

Pinning is the Key

My tips for making sure your borders fit correctly:

  • Measure your border size using the middle of your quilt and not the ends.  If your quilt is “wonky” and not perfectly square at the corners, this will help to straighten it up.  Measure from the middle, but the border and then attach to the end of the quilt.
  • Now, if the size is not exact, you will need to stretch or bunch up the border and then pin.  You want to spread out the excess or the lack of fabric across the entire edge.  Trust me – we all create “wonky” quilts at one point or another.  The border is the trick to fixing this.  Be patient and don’t get too pissed off.
  • Pinning is the key to making sure that your borders are affixed correctly and match up end to end.
  • DO NOT measure your border at the end and then free sew.  Your quilt will be worse off…trust me.  Been there…done that.

Close Up of Front Panel

When your front panel is all done, make sure you iron really good so that it is ready to be sandwiched with the batting you have selected and the back.  I like to create the backs to my quilts so that they have a little bit of personality.  When I first started quilting, I hated doing anything on the back because I just wanted to get the quilt finished.  Now, I like to take my time so that the front and the back are just as nice.  The product of a good pressing job is that the back of your panel looks like the photo below.  Well, kind of…there are still a few seems that need to be repressed.  By the way, I hate ironing my clothes….but, I do iron my quilts.

Back of the Front Panel - The Iron is Your Friend

Then, it is off to creating the quilt sandwich:  front, batting and the back.  I always use 3M 303 spray adhesive to create the quilt sandwich.  It is the quickest and easiest way to do this…I have tried all different ways and this is my preferred method.  Then, I quilt.  I use my own Bernina to quilt all of my quilts.  I drop the feed dogs and go for it.  The next few pics show some closeups of the quilting.  I just used the standard stipple (meandering) pattern.

Quilting Close Up

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Quilting Close Up

And, here is the finished product.

She's All Done

Perfect Spring Quilt

Here’s a quick snapshot of the back of the quilt and my label….I wasn’t very good at labeling my quilts in the beginning.  Now, I label all of them.  You never know where they will end up (or where I will end up).

Back is Matching

This quilt is up for sale at my etsy store.  Check it out here>>>> Spring Quilt on Etsy

My next quilt is already rolling around in my head.  It has something to do with green pastures and cute sheep.  Stay Tuned!  Have a lovely day and do more of WHAT YOU LIKE!

 

Quilt Gift

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Last weekend, I finished one of my first “commissioned” quilts.  This quilt was for a husband and dad’s 40th birthday present.  The quilt design and color was centered around the high school letter that never made it onto a jacket.  So, this inspiration guided the selection of the fabrics and the style of the quilt.  Here’s the journey from drawing to fabric to quilt:

I pencilled this quilt out a few weeks prior to get the approval of the customer.  It is always hard to get my ideas on to paper, but once I do it moves the creative process along quite quickly.  My initial design is below which I changed slightly as I purchased the fabric, worked the blocks and figured out the sizing.  I ended up going five blocks down rather than four because it just looked better to the eye.

Initial Design

One of my favorite things to add to add quilt is a border and stripes.  I never know exactly what border will look right until I get the main part of the quilt complete and have the fabrics all in front of me.  The final design with the stripes changed slightly, but they are still there.

Dimensions

I decided to start this quilt with 4 1/2″ squares when sewn together in blocks of 9 would make a full 12″ block.  You can see my ever present companion (Baja) below the table.

The Beginning...4 1/2" Squares Sewn Together

Sewing the blocks together and creating the main portion of the quilt.  Once these blocks come together, the quilt gets pretty large and a little hard to manage.  The key in getting the corners and lines to match up is pinning.  Yes, it pays off to pin things.  I used to skip this step, but would always regret it!  PIN IT!

Sewing Blocks Together

The addition of the personal touches like this high school letter is when the quilt design really started to take shape.  It is when the concept on paper and the reality of what is sitting in front of you starts to move into what looks right now that you can see it right in front of you.  I used a blanket stitch with green matching thread to stick the letter on the quilt top.

High School Letter

So, here’s my secret to getting the perfect letters.  It is probably not a secret to many, but I discovered it a few years ago when trying to figure out how to get perfect quilt letters.  I just use Microsoft Word to locate the type of font I want and the size.  I print out the letters that I want to use in the correct size.  I then use these letters to trace onto the fabric adhesive.  There are several different products out there to use:  Steam A Seam, Heat and Bond, Pellon, etc.  They all work well, but try different types out and use what you like the best.  Make sure it is two sided adhesive and not one sided.  Otherwise, you will be unhappy!

Font for Lettering - My Trick

Once the letters are all cut out and ready to go, I sew them on to the base fabric using my favorite blanket stitch with matching thread.  This is something that you will get better at over time.  One thing that you will want to play with is the size of the stitch and the tension in your bobbin.  If you see your thread from below peaking through, your tension is too tight.  I first attached these letters with a blanket stitch and then went back over the letters after the quilt was complete and washed with a decorative stitch.  It created a nice effect on the letters that allowed them to standout.  Oh, and make sure you change presser feet before you start the blanket stitch….or, you will break a needle.  Trust me…I know.  I broke two last weekend.

Sewing on the Letters

Here is the actual quilting in progress (after the back of the quilt and batting have been assembled with my preferred method of spray glue basting).  One of my favorite parts…the part that makes a quilt A QUILT!  I used just a meandering stipple pattern done freehand.  I drop the feed dogs, adjust the tension, change the foot and go for it.  Check the back of the quilt occasionally to make sure your tension is correct; you will have to adjust if you start sewing fast as it will pull a bit.  Just keep an eye on it and adjust as needed.

Quilting

Here is the final quilt.  You will notice that the stripes made it to the binding on the quilt.  I love the effect.  I debated whether adding another border, but liked this look so much that I kept it like this.  I quilted using a silver grey thread on front and a black thread on back.  The back of the quilt has a brushed cotton flannel which will be super cozy and warm.  I love to wash my quilts right after they are finished so that they shrink up, become cuddly and are nice and soft.  Also, if you have done some applique, you can check to make sure you don’t have any places where you need to go back and touch up.

Quilt Front

Here is a close up of the letters.  Notice the decorative stitch that I used on the blocks that the letters sit on.  And, how the letters puff out a bit.  That is a result of coming back after washing the quilt and sewing around the letters a second time.  You can also notice how the quilt shrinks up and gets a little “wrinkly” after washed.  I like this look…

Quilt Detail...Lettering

Close up of the message on the back of the quilt…I should have gotten a better picture.  I had embroidered this on the back of the quilt with cotton thread.

Quilt Back - Message

I used left over binding to tie up the quilt into a perfect package.

Quilt Package - Ready to Give

The quilt was delivered the next day and I hear that it was well received.  In fact, it was given a few days in advance to the birthday boy because they couldn’t wait!  Always, good to hear.

If you are interested in a custom quilt, go to my etsy page to see the options.

Happy Day!

Finally…A Quilt

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With the football game on and whole lot of procrastination at play (laundry, house cleaning, work, etc), I entered my sewing room.  I had no idea what was on the agenda.  I organized some fabric and a small stack of fabric caught my eye.  With no particular plan in mind, I just started sewing pieces together.  And, here’s how it went:

Bliss by Camille Roskelley

Looking at the Colors

Sewing

Putting it All Together

The Addition of an Aqua Border

So, a few hours and an assembled quilt top.  I will leave the back, quilting and binding for an another day.  Look for it soon in my etsy shop.

In the next few weeks, I will be working on a 40th Birthday commemorative quilt that should be exciting.  The design has been sketched up and approved.  Just hunting for the right fabric and will get started in the next week.  More to come on that quilt.  And, after that, a sweet memory quilt for my niece with all of her baby clothes.  I am really looking forward to that quilt.  It should be fun to put together.

The week ahead will be very busy.  My scheduled is filled every single day already.  I am thankful for a few hours this afternoon to create.  Taking the time to do those things always makes the stress and intensity of the week more palpable.  I enjoy my job every day, but am very mindful of the need to refuel what I call my “love cup.”  I do that by creating and when I don’t, everyone knows it!

Thanks for stopping by and have a great week.

Starting to Look a Lot Like Christmas & Pulling Teeth (Literally)

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It was a busy week trying to wrap up all the loose ends at work (as if that is really possible).  I have finally realized that I will never have everything ‘done’ before I take time off at work.  I am either at that point in my career or in my life that I realize it simply isn’t even possible.  Yet, I still try every single time.

It certainly feels like the Christmas season around the house with presents under the tree, the smell of baking and 70 degree weather (yes, southern California is lovely this time of the year).  Although, I wouldn’t mind a chill in the air.

It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas…I narrowed down my Christmas decorations this year and really just kept those things that I absolutely loved.  I mean really loved.  Here’s a small sampling of this year’s tree.

The tree skirt is got to be at least 15 years old.  I made it by hand; it was a cross stitch pattern that I probably bought at Michael’s and took a few years to complete.  It needs to be updated I think; maybe a project for next year.  I am thinking it needs some type of quilt backing and an update on the edge ribbon.  We shall see.

I also tried my hand at a few hand made gifts besides the cookie baking and pretzel bag gifts in my previous post…I tried my hand at some homemade sugar scrub.  Stay tuned for that in my next post.

The biggest bummer about this week was that Cali went in to have her teeth cleaned only to come out with 11 teeth extracted.  Now, first, I feel like the biggest jerk dog owner in the world because her teeth were in this condition.  But, second, I signed up for a teeth cleaning, dropped her off and called to get a status only to find out that they removed 11 teeth.  The initial appointment was predicated on a teeth cleaning and maybe having to remove one tooth…NOT 11.  Much to my surprise when I called for her status, I was casually informed that she was doing well and that they had to remove 11 teeth.  My first response was “how many teeth does she have”.  Well, apparently they have 42.  I don’t know about you, but they would never remove 11 teeth out of a human at once.  NEVER.  I am not a happy camper.  I paid for the x-rays so that they could call and tell me ahead of time what the plan was…NOT so that they could remove 11 teeth and tell me after the fact.  They assure me that this is fairly normal and that she will be fine.  I am most unhappy that no one notified me and when I did call, they were so casual about it.  So, I am waiting for her to come home so I can make her feel better…..I feel so bad.  So, so bad.

Sweet Cali - I am so sorry!

Splash of Color – Orange & Aqua

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From Inspiration to Creation – New Fabric Lines

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Last year at this time, I was headed to Houston for the International Quilt Festival.  It was an amazing experience and overwhelmed me with inspiration.  It is almost sensory overload.  Now is the time of year when the fabric designers roll out their best for the show.  Even though I won’t be going this year, there are plenty of places online to see the new lines and to check out the happenings at the quilt festival.  I thought I would share with you a few of my favorite lines that I came across in the last few days while surfing the web.

First up is Terrain by Kate Spain.  If you don’t know Kate Spain by name, you probably know her by seeing many of her prints and patterns on housewares and stationary at Target.  She has a great eye and I am personally inspired by how she translates her photographs into imagery and then into sketches which finally make their way to fabric.  It is truly beautiful.

Below, you actually can see the photos that inspired her line and the hand sketches that resulted.  I am fascinated by how the original inspiration changes and evolves until the final product.  I have not quite connected these things in my head for my own creativity.  But, that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible!!

Kate Spain Terrain - Fall Line

You can find out more about Kate Spain on her website and blog.  In addition, there is a great interview with Kate Spain at Ryan Walsh Quilts which you might find interesting.  This line is at the top of my list right now for my next fabric order…..

Another great new line that I am in love with is Daisy Cottage by Lori Holt of Bee in My Bonnet (fabric by Riley Blake Designs).  This fabric is adorable and so are the quilts to accompany the line.  I love the mix of the grey, yellow and pink in the line.

Daisy Cottage by Riley Blake Designs

Riley Blake has some of the most talented fabric designers and the most amazing booth at the quilt festival.  I couldn’t stay away last year and this sneak peak proves that it will be just as good as last year.  I just want to buy the kit right now and start sewing.  I am personally in love the with chandelier fabric…it is adorable.

There will be more to come as I become inspired from the comfy chair behind my computer.  Until later….I will continue to daydream in my pajamas.

Fall Quilt in Progress

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Just a quick post to show my work today.  I have had this Sandy Gervais fall fabric forever.  I love the intensity of the colors and just couldn’t think about actually cutting the fabric up.  But, today was the day even though it doesn’t feel a bit like fall outside.  It was cool this morning and had a hint of fall, but now it is over 80 degrees.  I am not so sure I am in love with this quilt just yet…like the colors, but not sure about the pattern.  Still have some work to do on the borders and they may change the entire look.  For now, today’s progress:

Started with 2 1/2" strips of fabric....

I always struggle with arranging the colors.  I tend to want everything matchy matchy and I think my quilts suffer for it.  So, I tried something different this time.  Still some matching, but complementary colors.  Still not so sure….

Figuring Out the Color Sequence - Decided on Color Grouping

I strip pieced all the 2 1/2 inch strips together.

Sewing Into Strips

Then cut against the original sewing lines into 2 1/2 ” strips again.  Then laid out some ideas for the quilt top and went for it.

Sew, Cut and Resew…..

 

Fabric Detail

For now, here is my progress….it didn’t turn out the way I imagined it and I am not so sure that is is pleasing to my eye right now.  The quilt is made entirely of 2 1/2 ” squares.  I need to add some thicker borders to increase the size of the quilt and to frame the colors and tie everything together.  Should be interesting….

Progress So Far....Still not so sure.

I am already thinking of the perfect flannel backing that would make this quilt warm and snuggly.  Or even, a great wide border with an applique.  Stay tuned.