I made the bag shown above for Cassandra's birthday. The pattern is the Tuscany Tote and I reach for it over and over when I want to make a bag. The pattern has helpful step-by-step pictures.
I love the magnolia fabric and had some leftover, so I made a few of these cute little snap bags. This is a fast, fun pattern that uses pieces from a metal ruler in a casing to "snap" the bag shut.
The inside has a double layer of pockets.
Who is the Quilt For?
This quilt was made as a donation for an organization that helps homeless veterans. I wanted a more masculine feel for the quilting so I used pointed, linear, geometric designs instead of organic, rounded, floral designs.
Notice the zig zag quilting in the bear claws and the curved pointy design in the bear paw. Straight lines were quilted in the sashing.
This quilt could have easily been given a softer, more feminine feel by quilting a large mum design in each bear paw and feathers in the sashing.
What is the Quilt For?
I quilted half feathers in the inner border and pointed leaves in the outer border.
Once you decide who and what you quilt is for, you'll have a better idea of how to quilt it. Test the designs right on the quilt using your piece of clear plexiglass. After you've quilted a few tops, you'll start to get a better idea of which designs give the quilt a perfect finish.
Pumpkin Bundle and Old Timey are some of the first quilts that I quilted for someone else:
I had done a lot of practicing of other quilting designs, but wasn’t feeling very confident and didn’t want to mess up someone else’s top! You know how you’re about to take that first stitch and feel so nervous you think you’re gonna pass out?
So, because of the more traditional quilt design and because of my nerves(!), a medium size meander was the perfect choice. The quilting would blend in and continue the traditional scrappy feel of these quilt tops.
I call this one Old Timey because my husband loved it and it reminded him of his Grandma. I used off-white thread and Hobbs 80/20 batting.
These quilts are another example of same pattern, different fabrics like these.
Because of the fall colors, Pumpkin Bundle is my favorite of the two. I used Superior's So Fine thread in Hawk for the quilting and Hobbs 80/20 batting. If my customers don't already have a name for their quilt, I give them my own name because it helps me remember them.
To keep the meandering the same size as you move along the quilt: After quilting the first section, place your plexigass on the top and trace over your quilting. You can refer to this as you roll the quilt and keep the quilting consistent.
With all the fancy quilting, you may be discouraged because you only feel confident doing a basic meander quilting motif. But take heart, sometimes it's the PERFECT choice!
So give yourself permission to be a beginner and get comfortable meandering!
Here's a quilt I recently finished for my Sister-in-law. She asked for a quilt with red and with flowers so the beautiful red and white floral border was my starting point. I only had 1/2 yard of it, but thankfully I had a bunch of fun red and white fat quarters that matched the red in the border fabric - yay!
I decided on a pretty basic pattern and bought some solid red fabric for the sashing and binding.
I planned on an overall quilting design but added a little twist to make it interesting. Here's the basic plan drawn on my plexiglass:
I divided the quilt into diagonal sections and did a different motif in each section. The circle quilting in the sashing made it easy to stop and start each section as I rolled the quilt on the longarm.
I used chalk to divide the border into matching diagonal sections.
I got brave and used solid white for the backing! The diagonally quilted motifs show up much better on the back.
Add a label and ready for gifting!
Tablerunner and Placemats
I recently completed a few small quilted items to go with the bear paw quilt that is hanging in my living room. The "how to hang" your quilt tutorial is here. I love how everything looks. Note that a lot of additional fabrics were incorporated because I didn't have enough leftover from the quilt to have everything match. I wrote more about that dilema in this earlier post.
The light fabric in the placemats is an off-white linen and the pattern is from a magazine. The tablerunner is a quilt-as-you-go pattern from Gudrun Erla's Table Talk book.
The quilting on both these projects was done on my domestic sewing machine.
I am excited to present the completed bear paw quilt. Here's the quilt that lived here previously. VERY different, huh? It's nice to be able to change things up a bit.
Here are a few detail shots:
I love how the bright blue binding and tiny border pop and bring out the blue in the wide border.
Here's the tutorial so you can make hanging pockets for your quilts.
Fabric backing faux pas (learn from my mistakes):
Pretty feathers! In the picture above, you can see some practice is needed on these bump back feathers - tracing over previously quilted lines can be tricky. But the busy fabric on the front hides the detail and is a great place to practice new quilting designs.
Sew on a little label:
Is is perfect? no. Will it win an award? no, I almost always do cheater binding (not hand sewn). The piecing had some problems, the backing wasn't big enough and I wish I had done a different quilting design in the quilt body.
But it was fun to make, I learned a lot and it looks awesome in my living room.
I highly encourage you to begin your quilt journey!
A Beginner Sewing Project
Adding a cute bit of fabric to some plain tea towels is a great way to add some pop to your kitchen. It's a great beginner sewing project and can also make a lovely gift. Mother's Day is next month, so you've got some time to follow this tutorial and make a colorful, useful present for your Mom!
You just need 2 tea towels and 2 rectangles of fabric that are 4-6 inches high and 2 inches wider than your towels. I cut my fabric 6" high and 22 1/2" wide.
Step 2: Fold & Press
Fold the long edges under 1/4 inch along the top and bottom.
Measure and mark a line 2 inches from the bottom of the towel. A Frixion pen is a fantastic way to mark on fabric - it erases when you iron the fabric.
Line the rectangle up along the line you just marked so it hangs over evenly on each side and pin it in place.
Step 3: Fold the Short Ends
Wrap the short ends to the back of the tea towel, fold over 1/2 inch and fold over again and pin so it.
Step 4: Sew
Sewing close the the edge along both long edges, attach the fabric band to the tea towel. I used a stitch-in-the-ditch foot to keep my stitching even along the edge.
Sew along each short edge, keeping the right edge of the presser foot even with the towel so you catch the folded over bit.
When finished, the fabric band will look like this:
Enjoy your color coordinated kitchen accessories!
Christmas Color Kitchen Pop
Use some Christmas fabric to sew some fun gifts for your friends. Wrap some home-baked goodies in the tea towels for an extra special gift.
Kitchen Color Pop
My kitchen is white, gray and black with red accents so these gray towels with pops of color in the fabric bands add a nice splash of color. Red ric rac is a fun addition to the rooster tea towels.
Comparing 2 Jelly Roll Race Quilts: "Pink Lemonade" and "Army Green"
Both of these quilts use the jelly roll race pattern just like my previous post about Batik Garden. This pattern is a wonderful way to start your quilting journey. You can see how using totally different fabrics and quilting designs completely changes the mood of the quilt.
About Army Green
Army Green was made for Quilts of Valor so I wanted a very masculine type quilt. I had a jelly roll full of green and tan batiks and added some green, tan and brown fabrics for the borders and did mostly angular quilting. I used a design I call Palm Frondish in the body of the quilt, meandering triangles in the outer border, spiral boxes in the dark brown border and radio waves in the tan border.
I just love the batik leaves fabric I found for the backing; it's perfect.
About Pink Lemonade
Pink Lemonade is a very feminine quilt. I made it for Quilts Beyond Borders when they were collecting quilts for young ladies in Russia who were coming of age and had leave the orphanage. I wanted something cheery and bright; so when I saw this pink, orange and yellow jelly roll at Quilter’s Market, I knew it would be perfect for this top!
My quilting inspiration was from this book, In the Studio with Angela Walters, where she did different designs across the body of a quilt. I used chalk to mark diagonal lines on the quilt top to divide it into three sections and filled one section with scrolls, one with paisley and one with bullseye spirals in pink thread. These rounded, flowing designs add to the feminine, happy feel of the quilt.
I added a flange between the body of the quilt and the border. I love how the black makes those bright colors pop!
Where do I get my quilting ideas?
Books with quilting designs are an invaluable resource that I refer to whenever I’m looking for inspiration. I also keep a list of quilts and how I quilted them and notebooks where I doodle to test out ideas. Some designs work better on one quilt than they do on another, but the only way you learn this is by actually quilting!
Two very different looks from the same pattern!
Batik Garden Jelly Roll Race Quilt
Here's the 3rd quilt I've finished using the jelly roll race pattern. There are lots of free tutorials and videos on the web showing how to make this easy quilt. If you're just getting started quilting, this is a good pattern to start with because it doesn't involve much cutting. Jenny at Missouri Star Quilt Company has tons of great video tutorials including 3 variations of the jelly roll race.
Here you can see the quilting progress while it's on the longarm.
I used Omni thread in light sage on the top and So Fine thread in marco in the bobbin. I was inspired by the allover feathered rose design by Judy Woodworth in her book Freemotion Quilting. A lot of the prints in the jelly roll were floral so the quilted roses and leaves were a perfect match for my Batik Garden quilt.
Quilting on Busy Fabric
I love how it looks on my new sofa. Note that the quilting doesn't show much because of the busy fabrics, but it adds great texture. Practicing a new quilting design on busy fabric is a great way to try something new. If you bobble, it won't show much and you'll still have a lovely finished quilt!
Custom Longarm Quilting
This is a wedding quilt I designed, pieced and custom quilted for my nephew and his bride. I used the Metro Rings pattern and the Quick Curves ruler to make the double wedding ring blocks.
How to pick quilting designs
When deciding on the quilting motif, it helps to know a little bit about who the quilt is for. My SIL said the couple were young hipsters, so I tried to keep that in mind when deciding on the quilting design. He plays drum in a band and they both have tattoos and ride motorcycles so I wanted something more graphical so I went with a Celtic/Egyptian/Art Deco feeling.
Most of the pictures were taken while this was on the longarm, so you may see chalk marks, unquilted areas and batting with no binding on the edges.
I quilted the solid blue corner areas as if they were pieced:
You Should Name Your Quilts!
You should definitely name your quilts - it will help you remember them and picture them in your mind. The large triangles in the border represent the Tennessee mountains where the couple live so I named this quilt Wedding Rings in the Tennessee Mountains.
I used a combination of stencils, longarm quilting rulers and freehand quilting.
My favorite way to express my creativity is with fabric. Join me as I share my journey with you. I hope you'll be inspired to create something too!