Saturday, December 19, 2015

Perfect Pillowcases

With Christmas around the corner, I realized I hadn't made anything for my boys. These pillowcases were the perfect quick project to fit into my holiday to do list. 
I followed the pattern from School of Sewing. The pattern is really well written and features a self-lined border, optional flange, and all French seams. I'm confident they will withstanding frequent washings because all the raw edges are enclosed and all the seams reinforced.
I found the fun Star Wars print at my local fabric store, Modern Makers (there is still some available, local peeps!), and I paired it with a dot and text print from my stash.
I know my boys are going to love finding these in their stockings. If you've got part of an afternoon or evening free, you've still got time to make a couple for someone on your list.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Quilted Pillow Times Four

I had so much fun making these quilted pillow covers. I chose some of my favorite shots cottons to create simple square in a square pillow tops. Then I went to town trying new free motion quilting designs from Christina Cameli's Step-By-Step Free-Motion Quilting book. The designs are called Portholes, Leafy, Flourish, and Spectrum.  This is Flourish, a fluid variation on a simple paisley design.
I think I've found my favorite methods of pillow backing this time. I used fusible fleece to interface the backing and closed the pillow with a lapped zipper. The result is sturdy and polished.
I've listed the pillow covers in my etsy shop. Here's a tip for puffy, full pillows. Use a pillow form, feather preferably, that is slightly larger than your cover. These covers are 18", and I used a 20" form.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Candy Coated Christmas Quilt

I've wanted to make a Christmas quilt for several years now but could never settle on a design that I liked, would have the patience to piece, and would look good in my house. I wanted something subtle but festive, simple but not monotonous to make. I discovered the perfect pattern in Sunday Morning Quilts by Amanda Jean Nyberg and Cheryl Arkison. The pattern, called Candy Coated, is an improv stripset design that is easy, quick, and perfect for using scrap strips. I made the quilt slightly wider and shorter than the pattern in order to make it a generous throw sized quilt.
The limited palette to cream, grey, and red gives the quilt a candy cane effect that isn't overly sweet.
I backed the quilt a soft flannel from Robert Kaufman and bound it with a scalloped stripe.
I used a simple loopy quilting design. It was a good choice because the quilt is very heavy because of the flannel. That, together with the large size, made it challenging to get through my tiny machine.
I love my new cozy, winter quilt. Now I'm all set for the holidays.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Wonky Stacks Pillow

I came across a beautiful improv quilt by Kathy Loomis via Pinterest and was pleased to find an informative blog post attached. Kathy explains the technique for making what I'm calling wonky stacks, a method she learned in a workshop with Nancy Crow. The technique is one of those easy, genius methods you immediately wonder why you didn't think of on your own. I pulled out my scrap strips to play (this technique is the perfect use for scraps). The method is so simple! Just sew strips together in groups of three (using light, dark, light or dark, light,dark), subcut into bars, and stack.
I trimmed the bars to  4 1/2" wide and joined enough to make a column 20 1/2" long. I joined five columns to create a 20" pillow top.
It was so fun, I made another, playing with value by using light aqua strips paired with navy strips.
I quilted the orange pillow in straight lines and the blue pillow in a fun lily pad free motion design from Christina Cameli's book on free motion quilting. I backed both pillows with a simple self-lining envelope closure (tutorial from Crazy Mom Quilts).
In the off chance you don't want to rush to your sewing machine and make your own, both pillows are available in my etsy shop.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Free Pumpkin Patterns

To celebrate fall, I'm giving away my pumpkin block pattern in my Craftsy shop. The free pattern includes the paper piecing templates for both the 6 x 6 single pumpkin block, and this cute 12 x 12 block featuring a group of three pumpkins.

The single pumpkin block is perfect for beginners. Those more confident with paper piecing will have fun making the more challenging block with three pumpkins.

The pattern includes the templates alone. For detailed instructions and tutorials on paper piecing, check out some of the following links:

Beginning Paper Piecing by Ellison Lane or her video
How to Paper Piece on the Craftsy blog
Paper piecing video by Crafty Gemini

Monday, September 28, 2015

Paper Pieced Pumpkin Placemats

I'm teaching Beginning Paper Piecing next month at KC Modern Makers, and I created this super easy pumpkin block for the class.
After learning the basics, we'll move on to a more challenging block, or students may just want to make a few more of these cute pumpkins like I did. 
I made my blocks into a set of seasonal placemats for my family. My boys are still at the age to get really excited about changing seasons, so they had each claimed their own placemat before I even got them quilted.

This is a great project for scraps. Each pumpkin, stalk, and binding is made from a different fabric from my scrap bins. I even used scraps from a friend to make a simple improv back. It was great to find the perfect project for those jack-o-lanterns, candy corn, and ghosts. Happy Fall!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Good Neighbors Fabric Winner

Thanks for sharing your favorite Crazymom Quilts patterns and tutorials. The winner of the Good Neighbors fabric charm pack is Bethany. I've sent you an email, Bethany. Just respond with your details, and I will forward them along to Connecting Threads. (By the way, did you see the price per yard for this fabric!? It's available now!) Thanks for playing along, and be sure to stop by the other blog posts for more chances to win. Update: I never heard back from Bethany so I chose another winner at random: Linda from FlourishingPalms!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Good Neighbors Fabric Pincushion Party

Did you hear that Amanda Jean of Crazymom Quilts designed  her very own line of fabric? Good Neighbors fabric, available from Connecting Threads, really fits Amanda Jean's style: bright, saturated colors, polka dots, and simple prints. The line as a whole includes so many prints and colors that it almost feels scrappy, which we all know is her favorite thing. I am delighted to join in the Pincushion Party celebrating the recent release of the fabric.

My pincushion is a mini version of one of my favorite patterns by Amanda Jean, the Bright Birch Trees quilt. You can find the pattern in her Craftsy shop.

The mix of brights and low volume prints makes it a really versatile line. A charm pack alone can make so many different designs, as you can see by visiting the blogs of the other participants.

Amanda Jean
Melissa Corry

Leave me a comment by Wednesday evening and you have a chance to win a free charm pack of Good Neighbors fabrics for yourself! Let me know your favorite Crazymom Quilts pattern or tutorial. Giveaway now closed. But if you weren't fortunate enough to win this giveaway, visit each blog in the Pincushion Party for more chances to win.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Tiny Icecream Dress and Top

I have the world's cutest, funniest, little niece (and nephew for that matter, but this gift isn't for him). I was to spend some time with her this summer, and I could see my window quickly closing to make things for her to wear before her opinions may overrule. So, I made this sweet Icecream Dress in a tiny size 2T, pattern by Oliver and S, using shot cotton and an Anna Maria Horner print.
The pattern is so well written. I haven't done any garment sewing since high school (a long time ago folks!), but the instructions were easy to follow. I love the sweet little details like the notched pocked and the button closure, but my favorite aspect of this pattern is the clever construction. There are no exposed seams and no raw edges if you use French seams. I feel great knowing it will stand up in the wash, because my niece is a very busy girl. She will be getting all sorts of things on this dress.

I also made a top from the same pattern. This was even quicker to make. The bunny print from Cotton and Steel is so adorable.

Back to quilting soon.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Castle Peeps Quilt

My dear friend Lauren humors my love of scraps by sharing hers with me periodically. That's a good friend, right?! In this last batch, she included several WIPS/UFOS (works in progress/unfinished objects). I couldn't resist the blocks she shared using Lizzy House's adorable Castle Peeps line. It's such a quirky, whimsical set of prints. The colors and fabrics are very Lauren, and the quilt also makes me think of forests and Robin Hood. Fun!
I finished up the improv log cabin blocks by making a few of my own to add to the mix (12 x 12, 6 x 12, and 6 x 6 blocks), piecing, and quilting the 36 x 48 baby quilt. I'm donating it to Project Linus and linking up to 100 Quilts for Kids.
I definitely recommend pairing up with a friend to swap WIPS and finish them, especially for a quick finish for a charity project. 100 Quilts for Kids runs through September 30th, so you still have time to finish up an old project, or a friend's project, and give a handmade gift to child in need. Remember, you can donate the quilt to any organization in your area that you like. Just link up for a chance to win prizes and see other quilters' contributions. I hope you'll join in!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Tale of Two Table Runners

Believe it or not, this is the first project I've made from Improvising Tradition since it was published. A family member requested a handmade item, and the Scattered Colors Table Runner came to mind because it is quick to make and easy to customize. I loved seeing it come together in the cool colors he requested, and I shortened the runner lightly to fit his table by simply omitting a couple of strips. It would also be easy to make it wider or narrower. The pattern is very specific, but it also teaches you the method. Once you understand the method, you can adjust it to fit your needs so simply.
Using the fabrics from the front as a simple striped backing makes the runner reversible. Love that! I used beautiful blue and green shot cottons, and the gray is a Moda crossweave.

Once you have the fabrics out and begin cutting the strips, it is just as easy to make two runners as it is to make one. I made both over the weekend, finishing up the binding over the course of a piano lesson and an evening of movies. I have listed the second runner extra for my etsy shop. It measures 13" wide by 51" long.

Friday, August 14, 2015

A Whole Month of Improv Quilting

Did you know that Sandi of Crafty Planner  and Daisy of Ants to Sugar are dedicating a whole month of blog posts to improv quilting? Improv Quilting Month includes tutorials, podcasts, prizes, and book and class reviews. It's a great place to get a taste of the many different perspectives and techniques available on the subject. I find it interesting to see how quilters approach the same topic in so many unique ways.

Today Sandi reviewed Improvising Tradition, and you have a chance to win a copy, among other giveaways. Just post a picture of a recent or current improv project with the hashtag #improvquiltchallenge for a chance to win. I definitely recommend you peruse the hashtag on instagram for tons of improv inspiration!