Sunday, March 12, 2017

In My Pocket

My latest quilt is up on the Moda Bake Shop and it’s a fun one called In My Pocket! I designed a block in honor of Zen Chic’s latest fabric line, True Blue, that is based on the back pocket on a pair of  jeans. 



The pattern on the Bake Shop uses a layer cake and makes a big, fun block! I thought it would be fun to also design a scaled down version using charm squares.

Referring to the larger pattern for some more details on the block, use the instructions below to make a mini version of In My Pocket. This little quilt finishes at 40” by 49”. Happy sewing!


In My Pocket: Mini Version

Materials Needed
Two charm packs
1 yard of background fabric
½ yard binding fabric
1 ½ yards of backing fabric (Note: This amount of backing fabric only gives two inches of extra fabric on each side, assuming your fabric is 44” wide. If you need more overage, plan accordingly!)
60-degree triangle ruler (optional)

Constructing Pocket Blocks
Take 36 charm squares. Fold in half and trim bottom using 60-degree ruler as shown on the larger version of this pattern. Alternately, you can trim from 1 ½” up the side of the square to the center.

Cut two 3 ½” strips from background fabric. Cut strips into [36] 3 ½” by 2” rectangles. Cut rectangles diagonally to make triangles.

Sew triangles of background fabric to the bottom of charm square as shown on the larger version of the pattern.

Take 36 charm squares. Cut a 2” by 5” piece from each. Set aside the remainder of charm square for the border.

Sew the 2” by 5” piece to the top of the block to make the pocket block.


Your block should measure 6 ½” by 5”. It will finish at 6” by 4 ½”.

Lay out blocks, using the quilt diagram as a reference.



Sashing
From background fabric, cut five strips 1 ½” by WOF. Subcut into [30] 1 ½” by 6 ½” rectangles.

Add 1 ½” by 6 ½” sashing strips between each block. Do not add sashing to the left and right sides.

From background fabric, cut five strips 1 ½” by WOF. Trim each strip to 1 ½” by 32 ½” strips.

Add 1 ½” by 32 ½” sashing strips between each row. Do not add sashing to the top and bottom.


Border 1
From background fabric, cut four strips 2 ½” by WOF. Trim two strips to 41 ½” by 2 ½” and two strips to 36 ½” by 2 ½”. Attach to sides and top.


Border 2
From the remains of the charm squares, cut [36] 2 ½ by 5” rectangles.

Take eight and sew end to end. Repeat. Take ten and sew end to end. Repeat.

From remaining charm squares, cut [4] 2 ½” squares for corner units. Sew to ends of eight rectangle units.

Sew ten rectangle units to the sides of the quilt. Sew the eight rectangle units to the top and bottom.


Finishing
Sandwich, baste, and quilt.

Bind.



The quilt finishes at 40” by 49”.

Monday, February 20, 2017

White, White or White?

When I need solids for a project, my go-to fabric choice is Kona Cotton by Robert Kaufman. There's a store not too far from me (though not close enough...) that carries all the colors of Kona cotton (more than 300!), and it is a joy to behold.

Quilters often struggle to find the perfect white. You don't want a fabric that is blinding, but you don't want one that is too creamy, either. The three neutrals I use most often are Kona White, Kona Snow, and Kona Bone.



Kona White is a true white. It's great when you need a really white white, say for autograph squares. It pairs wonderfully with cool colors, but I find it to be too stark for most quilts. Even when you think you want a white, you probably want a fabric that is slightly off white.

That brings us to Kona Snow. This is a pretty perfect neutral, and it is insanely popular among quilters for good reason. Perfectly blendable, the fabric is not too stark and not too yellow. It's white enough without being glaringly white. When in doubt, reach for Snow! I've used it as a background fabric many times and it hasn't failed me yet.

I'm also a big fan of Kona Bone. Slightly more antique feeling, it has a touch of warmth, making it a perfect complement for reproduction prints or warm fabrics. I use Bone when I want the background of the quilt to have the slightest bit of creaminess. 

I recently used Kona Silver as a background fabric. While certainly not white, the light gray was an ideal modern neutral. I like using a non-white for backgrounds, and the Kona Silver allowed the main fabric to pop while providing a bit more visual interest.

The right neutral background is such an integral piece of your quilt. What are your favorite neutrals?

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Aurora

My latest project is up on the Moda Bake Shop! Aurora is a fun, bright quilt that features Lulu Lane, Corey Yoder's latest fabric line.






















I love the happy, scrappy look of this project. I used a variety of fat quarters for the project, but I think it would look stunning as a two color quilt, as well. Check out this illustration.



The quilt posted on the Bake Shop is quite largea full sized bed covering! That might be too ambitious for some, I know. The good news is that this quilt is super easy to resize. Each fat quarter makes two full blocks and each block finishes at 12 inches. To resize, figure out how many blocks the quilt requires and divide that number in half to determine how many fat quarters you need. Easy peasy! Here are two additional sizes:

Baby quilt (36" by 48")
This quilt is arranged in a three by four layout (that is, four rows with three blocks in each row). You will need six fat quarters for this version.  

Throw quilt (48" by 60")
This quilt is arranged in a four by five layout (that is, five rows with four blocks in each row). You will need ten fat quarters for this version.  

I think this quilt would look great with a border, or with sashing between the blocks. I even toyed with setting the blocks on point. So many interesting possibilities with this block. Have fun making it your own.

Happy sewing!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Gifts for Quilters: 12 Ideas

Need gift ideas to share with your loved ones this holiday? Or perhaps you're searching for presents for your favorite quilter. Here are some thoughts, all either products I use and love, or ones that are on my own list!

1-Any quilter would love a subscription to a sampler box, like Sew Sampler or Quilty Box. I am itching to try one of these! I love the idea of getting a surprise in the mail each month.

2-One of the top items on my list is Bernina's new ruler foot. I'm always looking for new ways to quilt my projects and I would love to give ruler work a try on my home machine.

3-I love small, beautiful things. I've been intrigued by the hand turned seam rippers I see on Etsy. This one looks great!

4-I love, love, love the badges Moda released this year. They make the Girl Scout in me happy. I would love to find some in my stocking. Check out this adorable set!

5-I could use a good travel iron, and I'm sure many other quilters would appreciate this practical gift!

6-I've spotted some really adorable tins around. Quilters can always use some containers to house our notions. This set with a variety of sizes would come in very handy!


Quilters can never have enough notions. This list includes stocking stuffers, those little items quilters can never have enough of!

1-Wonder clips
2-Sewing machine brush 


And, if you're completely out of ideas, know you can never go wrong with fabric!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Neat and Organized

I recently shared a pattern for a thread catcher over at the Moda Bake Shop. It’s a quick, fun little project that is finished without any sewing. I find it’s handy to bring around the house with me when I’m sewing binding or burying threads in my quilts or working on any other activity that results in piles of thread! The borders are also a handy spot to stick needles or wonder clips.



I had a bit of the fabric I used for the thread catcher left, and decided to make a matching pop up bin for my sewing area using this great pattern by the Fat Quarter Gypsy. The pattern was well written and resulted in a bin that is the perfect size to sit on my sewing table for the bits of trash I accumulate while sewing. I like that I can fold it down and throw it in my bag to bring to retreats or classes. 



Happy sewing!

Please note: I purchased the product mentioned. I received no compensation from the company mentioned. These opinions are all my own!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Multi-tasking

Quilting can sometimes be monotonous and lonely. Some days, the monotony is welcome, and I find myself in kind of a quilting trance. Other days, I get bored and a bit antsy. I found an ideal way to ameliorate the boredom--audio books! I love reading, but my quilting time often comes at the expense of my reading time and vice versa. Audio books allow me to engage in both activities at once!

I love reading fiction, but I have found that I'm not keen on listening to novels. I much prefer non-fiction audio books. My local library is a great source for audio books (I use the Overdrive app). Recent selections have included GI Brides by Duncan Barrett, Beneath the Surface by John Hargrove, Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth, Instant Mom by Nia Vardalos, and I'm currently working on First Women by Kate Andersen Brower.

What have you read or listened to lately? Any suggestions for my next book?

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Binding Trick

I happened upon an easy trick to keep your binding neat and tidy when finishing your quilts. My machine (a Bernina 350) has two spool holders--one vertical and one horizontal. The vertical holder is perfect for placing the rolled binding while you're attaching it to the quilt edge. The usually unruly mess of binding sits neatly and unrolls easily. Happy quilting!