Sunday, December 27, 2015

I hate it when that happens

I was happily getting the hang of freemotion hooked swirls again and thinking I might get the quilt quilted this afternoon.  My stitch length is not even, but overall the quilt looks good, I think.

Then I tried to smooth out the next section to quilt and couldn’t.  Uh oh.  I didn’t, did I?  Humbug! Yes, I did.

I failed to notice the side of the quilt sandwich sneaking under the quilt and I sewed it to the back of the quilt. At least I noticed before too many more stitches were made, so I don’t have too much reverse sewing to do!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Because the project list was too short?

I’m in the middle of quilting a tree skirt (newsflash: it won’t under this year’s tree!), also halfway through quilting the blue snowflake quilt, and I have two other tops I planned to quilt before the end of 2015, and I’m very close to finishing hand quilting my son’s quilt.

So of course I had to go work on something completely new!

Not sure why some photos are insisting on loading sideways...

 My current Christmas placemats were beginning to look a bit the worse for wear, so I bought this pretty poinsettia print last month to make some new ones.  It just sat around decorating my sewing room for the season until I decided how to use it, then sat around a little longer while I pondered what fabric to pair it with.

I settled on the 10-minute table runner (you can do a search for that and find lots of tutorials) though it took me longer than 10 minutes to make.  I added trim between the borders and the center, and top stitching to help keep seams flat after washing.  Still quick, but it took longer than I anticipated.  Then again, what doesn’t?

I wanted the poinsettia print to do most of the work in the placemats, and I wanted to use the other two fabrics from the runner to tie in to the runner.  Here’s what I came up with:

I took notes and pictures to remember how to make them again and to share the process here.

Christmas Placemat Tutorial

For each placemat I used:
  • 1 – 13” x 18.5” rectangle of poinsettia print
  • 1 – 13” x 18.5” rectangle of backing fabric
  • 1 – 2” x 14” strip of gold for the diagonal strip
  • 2 – 3/4” x 14” strips of striped accent fabric 

Step 1. Sew one accent strip to each side of the gold strip.  (I missed a picture of this, sorry!).  Press the seams towards the accent strips.

Step 2. Measure and mark 9 1/4” from the top left corner along the top and left side of the print rectangle, then cut from one mark to the other.

Step 3.  Sew the gold strip set to the largest print piece, centering it along the diagonal cut.  Open and press the seam towards the print.

Step 4.  Sew the print triangle to the other side of the gold strip set, matching centers.  Press the seam towards the print.

Step 5.  Trim the piece back into a rectangle measuring 13” x 18.5”".  The top of your placemat is finished.

Step 6.   I wanted my placemats to be thin to layer over a tablecloth, so I chose not to add batting to quilt them. I also didn’t want to use binding, so I finished the placemats by sewing the front and back together right sides together all around the sides, leaving an opening on one side, then turning the piece right side out through the opening.  I clipped the corners of the seam allowance to reduce bulk in the corners.

**If you want to add batting, layer batting, then backing (right side up), then top (wrong side up) and proceed as in step 6. **

Step 7.  Press placemat, making crisp edges all around and pressing the fabric in the side opening to match.  Top stitch about 1/8” from the edge all around the placemat.  This will close the opening as well as keep the edges pressed when you wash the placemats.

Step 8. Top stitch in the ditch between the thin accent strips and the gold, and between the accent strips and the poinsettia print.  This will help the seams stay flat when you wash the placemats.

That’s it!  Now I need to go fill a few plates with Christmas goodies to set on the Christmas placemats!  I need to go find the greenery and candle centerpiece too…

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Seedheads fabric

This fall Clothworks, a fabric manufacturer, approached me about using my pattern Geese Across the Table in a project sheet for their new fabric line “Seedheads” by Cary Phillips. The fabric will be shipping to stores by February, with my placemats and runner as suggested projects!  Take a look:

Pretty fabric, isn’t it? And doesn’t the pattern work well with it?  I haven’t found a fabric yet that didn’t work with these placemats and runner!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Finished flimsies

I went to a two day retreat this weekend and purposely brought projects that were almost done so I could have the satisfaction of finishing something.  Plus, with nothing else to work on I couldn’t procrastinate on the steps I don’t enjoy, like adding borders.

Project #1, which ate up a little over half of the first day, was in fact not almost done, but it was small and involved cuddle (Minky-like) fabric and was started and successfully finished.  I can’t show you the finished product until after Christmas on the off-chance that a particular someone might stumble onto this post.

Project #2 will look familiar.


I planned to add a final narrow blue border but decided the white finished it just fine, like icicles hanging off the binding.  I had pretty much decided this before I polled the other ladies at the retreat and they unanimously panned the extra blue as well.  Just quilt and bind in white, they said.  OK, done!  This top is about 48” x 60”.

I think the only glimpse of Project #3 on the blog so far has been a picture of the fabrics.


The colors aren’t showing up well here thanks to the poor lighting.  The colors are bright and crisp and really pop.  The pattern is “1 in a Minion” by Paula Stoddard from the Sept./Oct. 2015 issue of Quiltmaker magazine.

I had pieced the outside borders several weeks ago but procrastinated when the time came to cut the panel down to size, so having nothing else left to work on at the retreat was a good thing.  It really wasn’t a big deal once I started!  Some of the ladies thought I had pieced the borders that day…. Should I have let them believe that?

IMG_9565On day 2, I worked exclusively on Project #4, but I have no new pictures.  It’s the yellow/grey/black starry confection I last worked on in May.  I spent a ridiculous amount of time on Saturday trying to preplan how to press seams so they would nest at a later step…and I should have waited till I was home and could make use of the design wall to really see what would meet where.  I had it on paper but I messed up.  Oh well.  The pieced setting triangles are now all pieced, even if the seams might not nest just so, and I have all the pieces cut for the last 4 blocks I need to make this a queen size.

I even found a fat quarter of the light gray fabric I was bit short of.  I bought the fabric months ago, and got that awful sinking feeling when I couldn’t find the bolt anymore.  I had seen it very recently too, which made it frustrating.  If it had been for a different part of the quilt I could have substituted something else, but this one had to match. I’m so glad someone suggested the FQ bins.  If a bolt is almost empty, the shop turns the remaining fabric into fat quarters.  I’ll remember that from now on!

That’s it for now.  I need to get the last two borders on the fall quilt so I can show you that as well, then I need to start quilting some tops.  They are starting to pile up…but the piecing UFO pile is shrinking!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


I had a burst of activity to reimagine my snowflake quilt over two weeks ago, then the borders slowed me down just like the windrow at the bottom of a driveway after the snowplow goes by.


It looks OK in this photo, but in full scale that inner white border wasn’t working.  Try again.


I took the white border out and proceeded full speed ahead, sewing blue borders before the pieced border.  Hmm.  Not quite right either.  You can’t see it in this photo, but the aspect ratio of the blue center with blue borders was off, and made the snowflakes look lost on the background.

OK fine, how about a skinnier inner white border than the one I tried initially?


I didn’t sew anything on this time.  It’s all just clinging to the design wall.  It’s better, but still not quite right.


Close!  I think the final product may look very much like this. I just need to tweak the border widths.  I need the plain borders to add up to the right width to make the pieced border fit.

First, I’m off to the kitchen to put some Christmas cookies in the oven.  I need energy to tackle these borders!