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Making it Fun Quilt – Spring Quilt Market 2018

Spring Quilt Market Quilt for Michael Miller

Guys!!!  I’m so excited to finally be able to share my project for the Michael Miller Spring Quilt Market booth.  They sent me fat quarters of their new has dot blenders and their marbled fabrics, along with some coordinating Cotton Couture solids and told me to make something fun and rainbow-y!  Is that a dream assignment, or what??  I narrowed it down to 48 unique fabrics that I wanted to use in the quilt, and lined them up:

Spring Quilt market
Holy cow!!! 48 different fabrics!

I numbered them and then numbered the design I had mocked up in EQ8, but it was starting to get a little crazy.  I ended up having to make a smaller swatch card because some of the fabrics were so similar in color and shade that I was starting to go cross-eyed flipping through that stack.

Spring Quilt Market
Swatch Card

I very rarely make swatch cards, but I found it to be very necessary with this quilt.  I designed a foundation paper piecing block in EQ8 and then rotated it slightly to complete the design.  The piecing went really quickly and I just needed to double check that I had the correct fabric for each block before I started sewing.  I’ll admit, there was a good amount of seam ripping to be had with this one!

FPP
Foundation Paper Pieced Blocks stacked and ready to go!

I used my new Daylight Company light box to help with the foundation paper piecing, and I really love how thin and lightweight the unit is.  I had a very bulky, cumbersome light box in the past and recently upgraded to this one.  It’s been such a nice treat to have one that doesn’t take up all of my cutting mat.  I also used Adobe Illustrator to help design the applique text in the right size and fonts, then tiled the pages to make a huge pattern.  I hand cut each letter and symbol out, then used the paper as a template to trace onto the white fabric for the applique.  I used Misty Fuse on the backside of the white Cotton Couture and then cut out each letter.  It was pretty time and labor intensive, but I love how it turned out.

My EQ layout compared to the quilt top, prior to adding applique
My EQ layout compared to the quilt top, prior to adding applique

I did come up with a slight problem in getting the applique on straight, centered, and spaced equally.  Usually, I would just use a big window and tape the quilt in place or trace where the letters needed to be, but I decided to buy a cheap portable projector and project the original applique design onto the quilt while it hung, and then I positioned the letters in place with a small amount of glue from an Elmer’s glue stick.  Once they were in position, I lightly fused them into place and then took the quilt top to my Janome MC9400 to complete the applique blanket stitching around each individual letter (that took about a day and a half!).

projector
Using the portable projector to project my applique design onto the quilt

Once I finished the applique, it was time to throw it on the longarm for quilting.  I chose just a single layer of Quilter’s Dream Wool to maximize the quilting texture and also keep it fairly lightweight.  Then I quilted some straight diagonal lines with rulers to finish it off.  I opted to not bind the quilt traditionally, but I faced it to not take away from the overall punch of the quilt, and keep the focus on the applique.  I really loved making this quilt and loved the new fabrics being released by Michael Miller Fabrics for Spring Quilt Market 2018.  I can’t wait to get my hands on more of that fabric!

Spring Quilt Market Quilt for Michael Miller
Spring Quilt Market Quilt for Michael Miller
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Quilting applique and some modern maples

Swirls!

I just love some good free motion quilting!  Last month, I quilted some amazing client quilts.  One quilt was a BOM from a local quilt shop – Sew Special in San Antonio, TX, and another was pieced by Kasandra Lee from the SAMQG.  The first quilt I mentioned was a quilt pieced by Katelen Postert that started as a traditional BOM using Moda’s Grunge line.  Katelen added her own special touch and added some amazing animal appliques to really make this quilt special.  Katelen is so talented, and that mini-parade of wildlife strolling down the center of the quilt is just perfection!

Katelen's Quilt
Katelen’s Quilt

When I met with Katelen for her quilting consultation, we decided on some  clean straight line quilting (not too dense), and outline the appliques with some stitch in the ditch and surround them with medium-sized swirls.  I used Glide thread in a 50 wt. light teal color that matched the duck (along with a lighter cream color for the swirls), and used a single layer of Quilter’s Dream Wool batting.

Duck Applique
Duck Applique
Longarm View
Longarm View

I was so in love with Katelen’s color choices and her addition of the applique was such an awesome touch.  Here’s a portion of the finished quilt with the applique.  Bravo Katelen!!!

Katelen's quilt
Katelen’s quilt

Kasandra’s quilt was just as exciting for me to quilt.  She did a great modern maple quilt with lots of negative space in a cool color palette.

Kasandra's Quilt
Kasandra’s Quilt

I did some diagonal straight line quilting within the maple leaves to follow the lines of the piecing, and then added some free flowing swirls to the background.  The batting used was Quilter’s Dream Orient for a functional, soft, and drapey quilt that will be useful in a hot climate.

Longarm View
Longarm View

And these are the free-flowing swirls I did in the negative space.  This is truly one of my favorite fills to do, and so relaxing to get lost in!

Swirls!
Swirls!

I’m so happy I can share these quilts made by some very talented women.  I love mixing a little free motion quilting with ruler work and I think it makes the quilt really stand out without being overly done.  Hope you’re getting to do some lovely sewing this week!

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Couching tutorial

Decorative stitches with a 3-way cording foot 

I had absolutely no idea what couching was when I first heard of it.  I saw a demonstration of couching on a longarm quilting machine, and then very quickly wrote it off (since I didn’t have a longarm at the time), thinking I would never have the means or opportunity to try couching.  You can use couching to emphasize a print on fabric, outline applique, doodle with it, and you can even quilt with it.  

Couching can add a little flair to regular fabric


Well, there are some ways that you can couch without buying a super expensive longarm quilting machine, and then also buying a super expensive couching attachment for said longarm.  You can actually couch by hand–but it takes a while.  And you can certainly try couching by using a domestic sewing machine.  You don’t even have to buy a special foot for it if you don’t want to.  As long as you have a free motion quilting foot that has some sort of round part that the needle goes through, you’re good!  I will say, that if the hole for the free motion foot is really big, you can easily modify it yourself by taking a small piece of scotch tape and covering a portion of the hole (not a portion the needle will travel through).  The smaller the hole on the free motion (or couching) foot, the easier it will be for the yarn to travel where you want it to go.

Make an art piece using couching techniques if that floats your boat!

I wrote a super easy to follow couching tutorial for Janome’s website that can be accessed HERE
So click it and check out how easy couching is!  There are seriously so many things you can do with couching to spice up existing projects.  

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Insert Harry Potter theme song here…


So…It pretty much seems like everyone I know is either pregnant or just had a baby here lately.  I am in that season of my life where the wedding invitations have stopped and the baby shower invitations are lining my mailbox!  That being said, I get a LOT of joy making things for people’s new babes.  While I work on it, I wonder if they’ll be curled up on the couch with it, playing outside and dragging it through the mud, becoming a couch fort in the living room…I love it!

 This was the appliqued fabric before I started quilting it.  


I had a close friend from college ask me to make a Harry Potter themed baby quilt for her brother’s first child.  She pretty much gave me free reign to come up with whatever (which is AWESOME!!!), so I thought I would applique the deathly hallows symbol, followed by “lways” so that it kind of looked like “always”-just google it, I’m sure there are examples!  I made a fun template out of poster board and traced it onto the fabric I wanted, used some Wonder Under and fused that bad boy to my background fabric to get ready to applique! 
I was really excited about the quilting process and wanted my free motion quilting to LOOK like MAGIC would look.  
Just pulled from the longarm frame!

I’m not really sure what that means, but I tried my best to quilt what I thought magic looked like in thread form.  And I loved the outcome. 

I used the Harry Potter-y chevron fabric that I think was really meant to be college colors for the backing and really love how it turned out.  I’m not usually a huge applique person, but I definitely will be trying it with more projects in the future!  And I really hope and pray that this kiddo is a Harry Potter fan!

Roughly crib sized finished baby quilt!
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Applique your way to a handmade Mother’s Day!

I’m always looking for creative gifts to make for holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, and it seems like it’s always the same kind of stuff that you could really do without…like, how many cosmetic bags do you really need?  

So I was trying to think about what kinds of gifts would be meaningful to me if I were a mother.  What kind of gift would I cherish and appreciate forever?  

Well, right off the bat, I think about things that represent my “imaginary kids”.  Handwriting samples, drawings, things that could be made more permanent.  But then, I thought not all kids are old enough to draw or write…so how could that stage be permanently captured in a cute way?  My answer was hand prints!  But the painted hand prints are kind of cheesy, and lots of those probably come home from school in the form of turkeys,  reindeer antlers, spiders, butterflies, etc.  

So how about making a functional patchwork pillow with traced hands of the kiddos appliqued on top of the patchwork?  

I got to team up with Janome for this super easy tutorial, and really loved the experience.  If you’re in the need for a super cute, but still functional Mother’s Day gift (or grandmother’s gift!), this is the project for you!  Follow this Link to access the full tutorial and supply list.  

The pillow features Karen Lewis’ awesome fabric range, Blueberry Park.  The back of the pillow is an easy envelope closure that takes minutes to make.

Hemming the envelope closures of the pillow


Sweet little blanket stitch on one of the hands prior to quilting

Selecting thread to go with each hand
For more details, check out Janome’s project page and access the complete, free tutorial!
Until next time, I hope you are able to get some good sewing in!


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A new-ish reverse applique

One of my guilty pleasures is Instagram.  One of the people I follow on Instagram, @orchidowlquilts, posted a photo of some awesome quilting and an astounding mini quilt.  It inspired me to try the technique as well.  If you’d like to give it a try, here are the steps you need to follow:

Supplies you’ll need:
Small (super sharp) embroidery scissors
seam ripper
pins
mini quilt (backing, batting, 2-3 layers of top fabric)
Quilting thread
Fray check

Tips and tricks:
-If you cut too closely to the quilting thread, your top fabric may come loose from the quilting.  Try to stay about 1/16″ away from the quilting thread.  You may need to go back and quilt again if you clip too closely.  
-Be careful not to slice the final layer of top fabric!!!  If you do, the batting will be exposed (sad panda).  
-I wouldn’t recommend this technique if you plan to wash the finished quilt, but it’s perfect for a mini quilt that will be a wall hanging or a display piece that won’t be handled much.
-There were a couple times that I sliced through the wrong fabric, but fray check is your friend, and you’ll be amazed at how well you can hide your mistakes with it!


1.  Choose two or three fabrics (solids work well for this).
2.  Make a quilt sandwich.  For my first time, I made a mini as well.  I think it’s good to try this out on a small quilt so you don’t get discouraged by the time involved…
3.  You will lay your backing fabric wrong side up, batting on top of that, then one of your solid fabrics on top of the batting (right side facing up).  Smooth to get all the wrinkles out.  
4.  Now you’re going to layer another solid fabric on top of the one you just smoothed.  This could be your final piece of fabric, or you could choose to layer one more on top of this.  I would keep it to three fabrics for the top for your first attempt.
5.  Smooth all the top fabric layers to remove wrinkles and baste in place.
6.  Mark the top fabric for quilting if you need to mark, or if you like to wing it like me, get ready to quilt!
7.  Quilt your mini quilt.  I would recommend not quilting too heavily or small for this.  It will make cutting the fabric much easier if the space between your quilting lines is at least an inch.

8.  You can do smaller quilting (like in the picture above), but plan on not cutting those teeny tiny pieces–to keep your sanity.
9.  Once you finish quilting, you should decide which areas you want to cut.  I marked the areas to be cut with a small marking pen that irons away so I wouldn’t get confused after the fact.  
10.  You’ll need a small pair of embroidery scissors and a seam ripper before you get down and dirty with this!
11.  In the photos, the gray is my top fabric, the green is the middle top fabric, and the blue is the last top fabric.  When you see the green, I am only cutting through the gray fabric.  When you see the blue, I am cutting away both the gray and the green fabric.  
12.  Use a pin or a seam ripper to pull the top layer of fabric away from the next layer of fabric (without grabbing the layer of fabric you want to leave alone.  I use a seam ripper to pull it away and make a small slice so I can get my embroidery scissors in to do the cutting.  You can see in the picture below that some of the gray fabric has been sliced with a seam ripper already.  
13.  Once you have a large enough space to get your embroidery scissors, start clipping the top fabric away.  
14.  Put on your favorite Netflix shows and clip, clip, clip.  Then clip some more!  




15.  When you finish clipping fabric away, go back with fray check and outline all the cuts you made with it to keep the fraying in check!  Allow to dry completely, then you’re ready to put your binding on and call it a day (or week)!

I really love how mine turned out, but I would definitely make the quilting spaces a little larger and less dense on the next go-round.  This is not your typical reverse applique, but it is a fun spin on an oldie.  Give it a try and see what you can do!

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Getting ready for state convention

FFA State Convention is in three days–so to get in the zone for leadership stuff and prepare…I decided to make some applique shirts.  So the first one, I was pretty satisfied with (I actually did it after the gray one).  The second shirt…yuck.  Did not turn out how I had planned at all.  I spent about an hour piecing these tiny strips of fabric, and didn’t even end up using them.  Really should have been paying closer attention instead of rushing since it was for me and not someone else!

I’m thinking about putting the first style in my Etsy shop…but we’ll see.  



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Make your own Home Decor for cheap, with DIY tutorial included

Finally, I did a shortened version of my original tutorial  (since Blogspot doesn’t support PDF uploading–or I couldn’t figure it out!).

Above is the wall art that I made when I re-did our guest bathroom.  This is a very inexpensive way to make something to suit your taste and easily coordinate with your home decorations.  Just a heads up-this does take a good amount of time, and requires a little concentration-depending on how detailed your silhouette is.

First, you need to find a shape or silhouette that you like.  Keep in mind that you will be cutting this out AND sewing around the perimeter.  I suggest doing a practice one first with a circle or square–something simple and straightforward.  You might get really put out if you start with the deer!  

Print them out to the size you want them to be in your decor.



Now for your supply list-
Some kind of fusible stabilizer or interfacing that is thin to put behind your background fabric
Background Fabric (pictured in the next photo)
Fabric for your silhouette
Rotary ruler
Iron
Precise scissors
Sewing machine/needle and thred
HeatnBond Lite
Sewing pins or scotch tape
Photo frame with enough spaces to put what you want in it

So this photo shows the thin interfacing that you will be fusing to your background fabric.  If you don’t have any handy, this step is not mandatory, so don’t fret!  

You’re going to cut your background fabric to the size the picture frame you bought is.  Make sure you cut the pieces a little larger than the viewing window so you can easily secure them.

Cut your pieces of stabilizer to the same size as your background fabric pieces.  I have three in this picture because I had a 3-photo frame.  

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for fusing the stabilizer to the fabric.  Now you can set these beauties aside, because you won’t need them for a while!

Now cut your silhouette down to the smallest you can get it without cutting on the lines.  You’re going to prep your silhouette fabric now…

Before you cut your fabric, lay your shape on top of it and make sure you have a good inch extra on all 4 sides.  It’s better to have a little extra to play with if you need it than having to go back and cut more if you make a mistake.  Once you measure, go ahead and cut the fabric to size.


Cut a piece of HeatnBond to just a LITTLE larger than your silhouette.  Place it shiny side down on the wrong side of your silhouette fabric.  Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for bonding.  Mine said not to use steam, so make sure you don’t!  


Once you’ve got your HeatnBond on the back of your silhouette fabric, flip your fabric over so it is right-side up.  You may want to choose a fabric that isn’t solid colored-sometimes it’s hard to determine which is the front or back.  I use scotch tape and pins to secure my silhouette shape to the fabric–make sure your shape is directly over the HeatNBond.  If you can’t tell, hold your fabric with the silhouette up to a light source and you should be able to see the HeatnBond with no problems.

Now you’re ready to get stitching!  You’re going to sew ON THE LINES of your silhouette.  
You don’t need a machine to do this, but it sure goes a Heck of a lot faster if you do.


After you have your outline sewn, you’re going to cut through all layers around the silhouette.  It’s a good idea to leave a 1/8″ space between the stitching line and your cuts.  If you cut too close, you risk cutting the thread, or having the fabric fray–which you definitely do not want!

Now you’re going to peel off the printer paper from the front of you shape, and the paper backing from the HeatNBond from the back of the shape.  You even have to peel off the measly little paper between the cuts you just made and your line of stitching.  Be careful to not fray the fabric.  This is why I told you to leave a 1/8″ space.  You can see that I did not.  I’ve done this a few times before and so I knew I could get away with that.  You might find that too.  But for now, leave 1/8″. 


After you remove the paper backing, you can go grab your background fabric and center your silhouette on it.  I think the easiest way to do this is with a rotary ruler or some kind of clear acrylic ruler.  Makes things move a little faster–but you can also use just a regular ruler.


Now, look at the manufacturer’s instructions on how to apply the HeatNBond, and follow the directions.  You will now fuse the silhouette to the background fabric.


Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to frame it!  Just remember to minimize the handling of the silhouette so the edges don’t fray.  If you have more than one, you’ll just repeat these steps with each other piece you have.

Please let me know if you have any questions, and good luck on your new wall decor!

Joanna