SHOP HERE FOR THE PATTERNS AND TOOLS MENTIONED IN THESE IDEAS!!
It's no different this year, here I am at the last minute finishing a quilt for a Christmas gift! But the piecing has
been done for months and I left the top in two "crib size" sections to make it easier to layer and handle under
the machine. The backing and batting are larger than each pieced section so that I can add the borders later.
The quilt is my design, Sandstone, in browns and aquas with an Oriental flavor. (If you like the look of the
design, Sandstone Revisited and the Lazy Girl X 4 Flying Geese ruler is one of this month's web specials!)
One fabric has less design and is lighter so those pieces really stand out in the quilt. As you can see in the photo,
I'm doing a free-motion feather in those units and the rest of the design is a "watery meander" -- easy to do the
meander (though I do get lost once in a while) and the feathers are some of the best I've ever done. Not sure what precipitated
their uniformity (practice, maybe?) but I'm concentrating on making my stitching more uniform in preparation for quilting
my Farmpark Quilt Show entry and going slower, so perhaps . . . . . After the two sections are quilted, I'll put them
together and finish the backing seams, then add the borders (stitch and flip) and quilt those. To help you try
this approach to finishing a quilt, Marti Michell's book, Machine Quilting in Sections is the other
web special through January 15, 2011. The backing is a very busy print and the bobbin thread is a near perfect match,
so the stitching just blends right into it. Will it be done for Christmas? No, because I can't make up my mind
whether to border it with brown or aqua. Happily, I have enough of either color and so will let my daughter
make that choice when she sees the quilt. Talk about passing the buck!! It's okay -- my family is use to unfinished
gifts -- and once it's done, I may just keep it for a season of quilt shows. You are going to have to
see those feathers!
|Steps for a four-patch block.
August 2010 "SHUT-UP"
to quote a student this past weekend when she saw how easy it is to create 4-patch or 9-patch blocks from those alluring Charm
Square Paks all the quilt shops are selling!! So I thought you might enjoy getting in on it, too! STEP 1
-- layout all the squares on a table (you will have to take the pak apart, but it's okay) and match them into pairs.
STEP 2 -- With right sides together sew the pairs together on two opposite edges (1/4" seams, of course) so it's like
a fat little tube. STEP 3 -- For 4-patches, cut each pair in half parallel to the seams. For 9-patches, cut
each pair into thirds parallel to the seams (yep, you need to do math). STEP 4 -- Press all seams in each set towards
the same fabric. STEP 5 -- For 9-patches, you will have one strip of each fabric -- add one to each stitched pair so
it alternates and press seams as Step 4. STEP 6 -- For each set, with right sides together, align the pieces so that
the fabric is on top of the opposite fabric and first seams are meshed together. STEP 7 -- Stitch 1/4" seams of
opposite edges and perpendicular to the first seam(s). STEP 8 -- Cut 4-patches in half and ta-da, you have two 4-patches.
STEP 9 -- Cut 9-patches in thirds and repeat Step 5 and ta-da, you have two 9-patches.
|Steps for a nine-patch block.
It's summer and the zucchini are threatening once again to take
over the world!! Here's an old recipe from a magazine over 30 years ago for a delicate cookie that will use up
that last cup of shredded zucchini:
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. butter or margarine
3/4 c. sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp or more grated lemon peel
1 c. shredded unpeeled zucchini
1 c. chopped walnuts
Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
In large bowl, cream butter and sugar until
light.Beat in egg and peel until fluffy.At low speed or with spatula, stir in flour mixture until
dough is smooth.Stir in zucchini and walnuts.Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls on greased cookie sheets.(Or if you are lazy like me, spread them into a jelly roll
pan and bake 20 to 25 minutes.)Bake in preheated
375 degree oven 15 to 20 minutes until very lightly browned.While warm, drizzle with Lemon Frost and cool on racks. (If baking as bars, drizzle, cool, and then
cut.)Make around 6 dozen.
Lemon Frost: Mix well 1 cup confectioners'
sugar and 1 1/2 T. lemon juice
2009: Do you recognize this quilt? Since
designing the pattern in the mid-90's, I think I've made it a dozen times. So this time I decided to give it a twist.
It's SANDSTONE! I designed it to be used with a fabric collection by King's Road Imports and it's simplicity made it
a big hit with all of you. When I decided to make a lapquilt for a friend for Christmas, it was the first quilt to come
to mind. The "boot" fabric has been waiting in my stash for several years for just the right quilt and
I decided to make this a "stash-only" project. There was plenty of the boots for the piecing and the border,
but not all the fabrics I chose were large enough pieces. Time to adapt!!
I decided to replace some of the largest sections with pieced
units. I auditioned a couple of ideas and settled on flying geese which are perfect for the rectangle sections.
I used my Set B Marti Michell templates to cut the scrappy geese -- you could also use the Lazy Girl X4 Flying Geese
Ruler (both can be found on my SHOPPING page). I have to confess I often start a new quilt while still
working on another one and it was no different this time. Once the "geese" pieces were cut, I stitched
them together as my "leaders" and "enders" as I chain pieced the first project. (For a
good explanation of this process which I've used for years, take a look at this website: http://quiltville.com/leadersenders.shtml). By the
time the first quilt was set together, all the flying geese units were pieced and ready to assemble into groups of 2 or 4
for insertion in the new Sandstone. I was delighted to rediscover how quickly this quilt top goes together.
In two afternoons, I had the top pieced and bordered and ready to layer. I layered the quilt the other evening
and I'm ready to quilt!!! After the holidays, I'm going to use one of my hoarded children's fabrics to make
a crib size variation.
I'm so pleased
with the look of this adaptation that I'm inserting the instructions with cutting changes for both the lap and full sizes,
piecing instructions, and a crib size variation of it into the Sandstone pattern. If you don't already own the pattern,
you can order it on-line (http://www.maryhueyquilts.com/catalog/i6.html). If you already own the pattern, send me a stamped, self-addressed
evelope and $1 for the adaptation instructions!
AUGUST, 2009 This
past month, I taught a guild workshop on ADAPTING PATTERNS. As I was pulling samples together and looking
over my notes, I got to thinking about how to adapt some of the patterns I've written. Since many of you own several
of my patterns, I've decided to devote this month and next to some suggestions on other ways to change up some of them easily
-- give you "more bang for your buck"!!
month, I'll look at QUILTERS JUST WANNA' HAVE FUN. There are 9 patterns in this collection of
simple ideas that I adapted or designed to use with all the gorgeous fabrics that appeared in the late
1990's. I realized during the winter that the CHECKERBOARD pattern is perfect for Jelly Rolls.
If you are making the lap size, using the light background strips in the roll may give you enough contrast without buying
or cutting any more fabric! And if you add a contrasting (different color, very light, or very dark) fabric
for half the strips, you should be able to make a twin size from most Jelly Rolls I've seen. Several of the patterns,
NOVELTY PICTURE QUILT, RECTANGLE 4-PATCH, and WONDERFUL AND SIMPLE are
excellent candidates for showing off machine embroidery blocks or a set of redwork blocks or cute fusible applique motifs
in the larger blocks of each quilt. Since I'm currently out of baby quilt tops (try to keep at least one on hand
for quicker baby gifts), I'm running my embroidery machine when I'm in the sewing room to create a set of cute little mouse
motifs from a design card in my stash! I've also used machine embroidery motifs to jazz up the FAT QUARTER PLACEMATS.
The set I liked the best was made with fat quarters of beige fabrics (normally used for background) and embroidered with herb
motifs -- I layered the placemat top and the flannel inner lining, did the embroidery, and then did the final assembly with
the backing so the wrong side of the embroidery doesn't show. JUST SQUARES PLUS and SCRAPPY
TRIANGLES are my favorite chameleon quilts -- changing the fabric personality makes each one look like a totally
different quilt. I've done both in fun and funky prints, sweet and charming prints, traditional -- I have the fun of
working with a new set of fabric without the effort of figuring out a new set of pattern directions by repeatedly making my
favorite simple quilt tops. This is especially wise when making quilts to give away -- I want to save my energy for
the special quilts -- the ones I make for me and my family!! Another trick you can use with JUST SQUARES PLUS
is to change the random 4-patch blocks to another design or to change the size of the basic squares. A student recently
adapted the size of the squares to match the size of precut squares of French fabric she purchased on a trip. Originally
SCRAPPY TRIANGLES was made with a set of prints and a set of plain fabrics which created the background.
For a change, pull one of those large prints out of your stash and use that for the "background" triangles.
Chose simple tone-on-tone prints for the other set of triangles -- wala -- you have a stunning quilt from a simple pattern
because of that gorgeous large print.
these ideas inspire you to take another look at FUN, maybe to finish a project you started from the booklet or make your next
quilt using a wonderful fabric from your stash!! If you'd a printable copy of this month's entry that you can cut up
and add to your copy of FUN, just e-mail me -- firstname.lastname@example.org -- and if you don't own FUN, you can order your own copy right here
on the website!! And if you'd like to host an ADAPTING PATTERNS workshop for your friends or guild, get in touch
with me and we'll set up a date!!
July 2009 Don't you love the way designers end their patterns -- "quilt to suit". Why can't
they just tell us how to quilt it? I still have enough quilt top around here to keep a longarm quilter busy for
a year!?! Well, as a sometime pattern designer, I'm trying to mend my ways and this month I'll share some suggestions
on ways on quilting three of my patterns.
most popular pattern is MISSISSIPPI MUD. Since I suggest using so many prints for the "background"
around the stars, I generally do a meander pattern throughout that part of the quilt. But the stars
have always baffled me. When I made my granddaughter, Grace's quilt, I stumbled onto a good idea for the stars that is
one continuous line of stitching for each star. Put your walking foot on the machine and use the
edge of it to measure the distance from the seam. Start at the point in the diagram marked by the red hash mark
and follow the green line stopping with the needle down and turning at each corner until you reach the starting point.
Stitch a few more stitches (retracing the first line) until you reach the blue X. Stop with the needle down and
turn to start stitching the dark red line. Continue around this part of the star returning to the beginning. Leave
a couple inches of thread at the beginning and end of your stitching so you can come back and using a self-threading needle
to bury the threads back in under the quilt top before cutting them. The self-threading needles are available on
the SHOPPING page!
The easiest way to quit MARIE'S
SCRAPS is to treat each band of patchwork like a border! Go through your quilting design books or stencils
and find a couple you like. Then alternate between the two of them and just sew right over the patchwork. The
designs don't always show up, but it's a great way to practice especially if you are still uneasy about your machine
quilting. "Stitch in the ditch" between the patchwork bands and the setting strips. You'll be done in
Finally, SANDSTONE is
such a busy quilt with no structured block pattern that a meander is perfect for it, but challenge yourself to add in a little
flourish every now and then like a simple flower or a heart or a star and keep on going. Usually an hour and a half
is about all the longer I can stay at the machine when quilting, but if I do that every day for a week, I ready to bind
in a couple weeks for a large quilt!! For some good tips and a slightly different perspective on binding, visit
Alicia's Attic website (http://aliciasattic.com) and watch her video on Binding: Joining Ends. I found
it very interesting!!
I hope one of these
ideas helps you get something moved out of that pile of quilt tops this summer!! Happy quilting!!
MAY, 2009 It's that time of year!! I woke up this morning and realized I have
a niece graduating from high school and based on my gifts to the first 12 nieces and nephews, she'll be expecting a lap size
quilt. I knew this was coming so one of my teaching samples from the past year was created with her in mind.
But I'm not always this far sighted. Here are a couple ideas I've used many times to create a gift under pressure.
Basically, I either customize a project I've already started or I turn to my booklet, QUILTERS JUST 'WANNA HAVE FUN. Here are some examples of customizing an
already started project -- say you have 16 log cabin blocks that you made in one of my Log Cabin Snuggler
classes -- look a bit further down the page and use the November
idea to expand the 16 blocks into a larger laprobe with some fussy cut panels from a large print that is
lurking in your stash. How about that half finished wall hanging -- could it be enlarged into a crib quilt or
laprobe? My Appalachia quilt group has expanded a dozen small pieces this winter by adding simple patchwork
borders (think checkerboard, flying geese, or sawtooth triangle bands) to the top and bottom alternated with bands of
border fabric that coordinates (see the Feburary idea
below for an example).Many of you own my booklet, QUILTERS JUST WANNA' HAVE FUN (if you don't, just go to the shopping page --
it's available in a less expensive format now!!). There are 9 simple projects, many of which were designed to make
use of large beautiful prints (I'll bet you already own one or two of those!). I don't know about you, but when
I buy those, I tend to gorge on them -- I have big pieces which I can use as a starter for a fabric combination from
my stash! The College Bound Quilt has been a
lifesaver more than once -- just uses two fabrics and big triangles that go together quickly. I use the 4" triangle
paper for fast accurate pieces! Just Squares Plus
is a flexible quilt that uses lots of fabrics and depending on the fabric you chose, it can be a romantic throw for a
new bride or a funky treasure for the high school grad. One of my favorite bridal strategies is to create a shower
gift using holiday fabrics -- such as Christmas fabrics for the Fat
Quarter Placemats. So don't let the gifting needs of this season
throw you into a shopping frenzy -- use it as a reason to piece something. You'll feel so resourceful when you
use up some of that stash and you'll get such a buzz when you finish the gift plus the recipient will feel
honored that you have taken the time to create something just for them!! Happy piecing!!
MARCH, 2009 Do you remember when spring meant cleaning? I have to admit I don't
get far with that task anymore -- a few windows, the sofa slipcover, and perhaps a closet. We are such busy gals these
days that the thought of spending a week going over the entire house from top to bottom doesn't even show up on our radar.
But the sewing area would benefit from a going over at this time of year. Many of us have been busy in there during
the quiet months of winter and are looking forward to heading out to the garden. Before leaving for the glamour of sunshine,
I've been spending some time tidying up my room and this is one of the little projects I used to empty out a box of random
color strips. It's Rocky Roads and was made from a funky assortment of green, pink, and yellow strips sewn into "strip"
sets, then cut into wedges with a Kaledio-ruler. Any large scale shape will work for this approach. Some quilters
like to build a strippy unit onto a muslin backing using a flip and sew technique. Either approach works fine. If
you don't like scrappy color combinations, choose two or three color families like I did and concentrate on those. Other
shapes that work well are large 45 or 60 degree diamonds or big equilateral triangles. Starching the strippy
"fabric" before you cut the units to size will make everything easier to handle in the long run since you will grainlines
going in all different directions. Okay, so I didn't empty the box of strips but this little beauty is a candidate for
a new porch quilt! I'm dreaming of using the color scheme to make new pillows and stuff for the cozy little space
I create on my front porch every summer (which is the envy of all my neighbors). Last, but not least -- I let go
of a couple things! I finished up a small UFO that has been cut and ready to sew for maybe 3 years. Then I donated
it to a fundraiser that I support every year! It was definitely a feel good thing!
Sorry, I missed the last couple months -- no excuse other than I'm easily
distracted by all the interesting opportunities around me!?! If you have my SEASONAL MEDALLION
pattern, you know it is written for a square quilt that is intended as a large wall hanging or lap robe. I'm currently
working on a bright version of it using whimsical prints with a Laurel Burch butterfly print fussy cut to make the central
squares. I need to make a couple twin size quilts in the next year for graduating nieces and this color
scheme will be perfect for one of them. So I'm elongating the quilt. I've pieced the quilt as far as the final
border -- it's about 48" square right now. To elongate the quilt, I want to add a new border to the top and bottom
edges. Our Appalachia quilt making group uses this strategy alot to change square quilts into rectanglar ones.
It blends right into the original piece if you repeat a piecing unit that is already part of the design, so I chose the flying
geese units. I measured the size of the top at this point, got out my MARTI MICHELL FLYING GEESE RULER
to see what sizes I can make. I divided the different sizes into the size of the top until I found one that divided
into it evenly. I settled on the 3 1/2" by 7" units! I still had plenty of fabric from the quilt top
to cut the large triangles (geese) but had to dive into the stash and audition a few backgrounds since there was none of the
original background left. The picture shows part of the quilt and you can compare to the photo on the pattern
sale pages. I hope this is a suggestion you can use to finish a quilt or rehab a UFO!
Do you have one of MARTI MICHELL'S LOG CABIN RULERS?
Of course, I have all three and I use all three! Love them!! Well, here's an idea you can use with any of the
six sizes. Marti has designed a wonderful Block of the Month quilt called Jamestown and the sampler blocks
are set together with Log Cabin blocks. Her quilt was obviously rolling around in my memory when I decided last month
to use a set of blocks I had in progress with fussy cut squares of large scale bird prints to make a quilt. Here is
an auditioning photo of it in progress. One of the great things about this setting is that it increases the size
of a quilt without much work -- the 16 blocks from the first pattern in LOG CABIN ABC'S (the
Snuggler) with 9 fussy cut squares suddenly becomes a 25 block quilt and with just 7 more log cabin blocks and 3 fussy cuts, you
have a twin size top! Since you are fussy cutting the "plain" squares from a large scale or novelty print,
the log cabin blocks can be any size! The second photo is the layout using some 5" blocks I'm piecing with
the leftovers from Grace's Mississippi Mud and a novelty print -- cute, cute, cute!! The key is to make the log
cabin blocks first, then cut the fussy cut squares to match that size. Thanks Marti for planting that idea in my head!
The fall and
winter holidays are so much fun!! Don't you love all the special fabric that is out there? But do you use it or
hoard it? I use it!! These placemats are one of my favorite projects for holiday prints and they use
MARTI MICHELL'S SET J, THE LITTLE HOUSE TEMPLATES. They are simple enough to make as a gift
or to give your home a fresh look.
Chose 6 holiday prints, stack them right
sides up, and cut every shape needed for a little house block twice. When you are done, you will have cut enough pieces
for twelve blocks in no time. Now layout each stack of pieces in the arrangment for the blocks -- looks dumb at this
point because the top block is all the same fabric. If you sew it together that way, people will wonder what you are
doing! But you are going to shuffle each section. Start with the window pieces -- move the top fabric to the bottom
of the stacks. Then move the top two fabrics to the botton of the door stack. And the top three fabrics
to the bottom of the roof stack. Continue until each of your six fabrics is represented in the top block. Time
to sew!! The pre-trimmed corners of the roof guarantee you a straight unit with ease. The blocks almost fly together.
Once the twelve blocks are finished and pressed, you can also use them to
make a wallhanging of 3 blocks across by 4 blocks down with 1" finished sashing between the blocks -- this is diagrammed
in the instructions that come with the template set.
This is how I finish the blocks into six
placemats. Using the photo as a guide, the sashing is cut 1 1/2" wide and the blocks are framed with it.
Then I use a larger scale print that I don't want to cut into small pieces -- cut this 12 1/2" (or the height
of your house unit) by 12 1/2". Add it to the house unit and you are ready to interline (I use flannel --
washed and dried twice) and back the mats. For the backing, think about using another style of print so you have a truly
reversable placemat that will do two different holidays or seasons. Over the years, I've discovered rounding off the
corners of the placemats is easier to finish and gives a better looking product. I layer the interlining, backing right
side up, top right side down -- pin and stitch around 3 1/2 sides leaving an opening to turn. Trim the interlining out
of the seam and turn right side out. Hand sew the opening closed, press and edge stitch the placemat 1/4"
from the edge.
-- a finished project!! Now all you have to do is enjoy using them or giving them to a special friend!