Butterfly Applique Baby Quilt

 

img_0986

I just finished this bright and fun baby quilt with cool butterfly and flower appliques, so I wanted to share some pictures with you, as well as a new video showing parts of my process in getting this one made.

I’m not including all the steps for applying the fusible web, cutting out the shapes, and ironing them to the quilt top because I think there are lots of places where you can find that information 🙂

This is what it looked like after I fused the appliques onto the quilt top (kinda boring and flat for now):

 

And here is the finished quilt, all washed, dried, crinkly soft and ready to go, with the scrappy applique edges starting to show:

img_0983img_0985

imgp1993-1

I have to make special mention of the binding because it’s become my new favorite thing:

I saw a picture some time ago of a bright colored quilt that was bound in a black and white striped fabric – even though there was no black in the quilt – and I loved it!  I thought it really made the quilt and gave it a modern funky look that set it apart from the ones with typical bindings that coordinate with the quilt tops.

I started searching for my own black and white striped fabric to have on hand for my next bright quilt and I tell you, it wasn’t easy to find.  There are loads of black and white striped fabrics out there, with stripes in all different widths, some running with the length of the grain and some running across it, and finding one that had small enough spacing, running in the necessary direction was a challenge.  Perhaps if I’d been able over time to visit several stores in person I might have stumbled onto some, but when I get an idea I generally want it ASAP and even online I had trouble finding just the right one to suit me.  I had to import it from the U.S., decided to get enough for at least six quilts in case I couldn’t find it again, and the company only shipped UPS so I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what that little adventure amounted to in Canadian dollars!

However, it was worth it, and it’s even cuter in person 🙂

Check out the video below for more on how I worked through this quilt.  Now I’m off to get started on a custom quilting job I just received in the mail!

 

Advertisements

Prewashing Fabrics: worth the effort

I’m putting a lot on the table here because, for the sake of keeping my process as time efficient as possible, I’ve been following the pack of quilters who never pre-wash their fabric, and not taking the pre-washers too seriously.  But I’ve changed my mind and have no problem admitting it!

**This information applies to quilts that will be loved and laundered regularly, rather than art quilts that will hang on walls and never be laundered 🙂

I liked the idea of not pre-washing, drying, and pressing all my fabrics before I even got to that time-consuming-not-so-favorite piecing process and was happy to learn that there are MANY experienced quilters who don’t pre-wash.  After over one hundred completed quilts I’ve not had a problem with a quilt coming out of the wash ruined by bleeding colors, but I believe that means I’ve been lucky rather than “right” in my decision to dive right in and cut as soon as I get home from the store.  Just because something hasn’t happened yet doesn’t mean it will never happen!

I recently purchased a selection of solids for a quilt I want to make for my home, and for some reason, as I looked at the array of colors from very light stone to vibrant boysenberry, I started calling to mind the voices I’ve heard recently (outside my head, just to be clear!) explaining again the good reasons for pre-washing.

img_0951

I decided that for my own reference, I would pre-wash on all the pieces and see what happened.  I really didn’t expect anything unusual but I separated them into two groups I thought were sensible and threw a Shout color catcher in with each load, thinking I would be able to put this matter to rest, at least for myself.

I’m here to say that I’m now a believer!

Not only did the color catcher in the purple/fuschia/orange load come out pink, but there were dark blotches on the lightest orange piece.  Don’t cry for me, Argentina, (sorry, couldn’t resist) because the pattern I’m using has very flexible block designs and I’ll still get what I need from that piece.  I consider this a cheap lesson because I plan to quilt the heck out of this thing, meaning hours of work at my quilting machine alone, and had I not pre-washed the fabrics, I can imagine that the dark spots would have bled into several places and ruined my finished quilt.  Especially since that gorgeous boysenberry is also the binding.

img_0953

As well, I noticed in my pre-washed fabric the exaggeration of something I’ve always known to be true – fabric off the bolt is often not straight on the grain even if it looks straight based on the almost permanent crease put into it opposite an often well lined up selvage edge. I really notice it on pre-printed panels and generally use a stretching technique to get those straight, although I prefer to avoid using them whenever possible.  When you lay out other new fabrics to start cutting, this off grain thing isn’t always noticeable.  But when you wash it and that factory crease is gone, allowing the fabric to move into a natural position, you can really see how much it needs to be adjusted!

I’ve also known that fabric shrinks differently along the straight grain than it does along the cross grain, so when we’re cutting blocks and placing them in various configurations around the quilt top, they aren’t all going in the same direction and therefore have the potential to shrink in different ways causing possible issues.  Since the variations can be minimal, I didn’t worry too much about it, but I’m now wondering if an imperfection I noticed along an edge of one of my baby quilts and a block distortion in another one might have been due to this and I’m thinking the end results could have been different had I been working with pre-washed fabrics.

Thankfully I am not a big fabric stasher because yesterday I started washing, drying, and neatly folding the fabrics I do have on hand and will finish this up today so that all my pieces are ready to go.  I can still look forward to the desired crinkly look of a freshly washed quilt because my batting will have its own shrinkage 🙂  After thinking it was so much more work to pre-wash, I’ve discovered that I really don’t mind. I’m even enjoying the pressing and it gives me a chance to really look over the fabric for any flaws or imperfections.

This has now inspired me to do a scrap purge so that I’m only keeping what I really want and making sure what’s left is all washed up – when I go in I go ALL IN! I’m not a big scrap saver, as you know, but I do hang onto certain things until I have enough for a crazy strip baby quilt – they’re very popular in my Etsy shop! – and sometimes I have bigger leftovers than I expected. I will pass on all of the smaller pieces and pre-wash those larger ones.

Here is picture proof.  Yes, this is my actual scrap inventory and nothing has been edited out.  I have nothing to hide here, people …

For your viewing pleasure, I even arranged the smaller scraps into something of a block with a black centre and a nice black border for effect.  You’re welcome.

If you want to see some live results please click or tap on the video below where you’ll not only get to see the fabrics for my upcoming quilt, but I’ll also show you how to easily fix that annoying off grain issue!

 

 

 

 

Tools and Supplies

img_0949

I like to read and hear about what other crafters have found in the way of tools and supplies that make their process easier, more time efficient, or more fun.

Here I am talking about my preferred tools and supplies; many, if not all, are likely familiar to most readers but I wanted to put them all in one place for the Youtube video I was preparing, so I got a nice photo before I put them all away!

If you’re interested in watching the video, check it out below 🙂

(If you’re reading this in an email, you will need to tap or click on the still picture below to get the video to play.)

My new pin cushion (and a cute baby quilt…)

I needed a new pin cushion.  Yes n-e-e-d-e-d.  I was using some old thing that I recovered a while back and I didn’t pay much attention to the fact that it was ugly as long as it worked.  But then when I started using the pretty Clover flower head pins from my mom, they made the pin cushion look even worse.  AND it wasn’t padded enough so sometimes if I picked it up the wrong way I’d impale myself on something that was long enough to stick right through.  OK, I didn’t require first aid or anything but it freaking hurt!

So I started thinking about a new pin cushion.  I like the tomato style round ones but I’m not a cliche type of person and I didn’t want a red tomato sitting by my sewing machine. (Sorry if you love those, no judgment here).  Every once in a while I looked for ideas for making a new one but other things were just more fun to look at and I kept putting the whole problem aside.

Until…

I’m currently working through an online class by Kimberly Einmo.  Yes, everyone, it’s all about various piecing patterns with pre-cuts and not the typical kind of class on my list.  But Kimberly is one of the well known book-writing and traveling teachers of quilting, and a passionate piecer friend of both my mom and I – you know who you are – raved about her on more than one occasion, so when I was looking for a new class the other day  I thought to myself “what the heck, I will check this lady out.”

Now Kimberly is really fun to watch and listen to and she has a lovely personality, lots of great ideas and techniques – she even sells her own special rulers which she features in her class – and I’m enjoying the class although I still might not do a lot of picky piecing even after completing it.

BUT when I saw her pin cushion I had to have it.  I actually rewound the lesson and paused it to make sure that if I went hunting for it I would get exactly the right one. I can’t tell you off hand what she was teaching me at the time because as soon as she picked it up to do something it popped out at me like she planned it that way. (Of course, this is one of the benefits of taking classes on Craftsy, being able to pause and rewind to go back to something important, like the perfect pin cushion). It was a lovely large and plump pink velvet tomato style pin cushion with a little green topper and a pretty bead hanging from a cord and I knew right then it was the one I wanted.  I’m not even a bright pink person, but it was irresistible.

I immediately found it on Amazon and of course, because you get free shipping at a certain point, I threw a couple of rotary cutter blades into my cart and placed the order.  You can always use some backup blades.  And it came all wrapped in cellophane so you just know it’s special …

img_0897

Five inches wide!  It’s the biggest tomato I’ve ever seen.  So I’m happy now to have not only a cute new perfect pin cushion, but the SAME pin cushion as Kimberly Einmo (she sells them on her website too) which makes me feel pretty cool overall.

And just to keep you up to date on the quilting side of things, my most recently finished quilt is a sweet floral print baby quilt using lovely coordinated prints cut into simple strips of various sizes to give it an almost patchwork look without all the patches! Yay! My kind of quilt top 🙂  I saw an idea online for a baby quilt using very girly floral prints that to me have a vintage look when put all together, so I just had to try one because it was so pretty.

I don’t know what it is about this fabric, but once the quilt was washed, crinkled up and all cuddly it was just so noticeably soft, even compared to my other quilts.  The prints are from a line called Princess Rose which I found online at Missouri Star Quilt Company and I’m so happy with the end result that I immediately ordered more!  (They must be getting used to me by now …)  I know I will want to make another baby quilt, or maybe even one for me, with this gorgeous fabric.

Just to finish things off, I had to take a photo of my cute pin cushion with this adorable quilt, which is already sold and packaged for delivery.  I couldn’t resist doing a before and after: I ask you, is there any comparison here? NOT!

img_7051
old and ugly
img_0900
perfect!

Meet me in Person (if you haven’t already!)

Just wanted to share my Intro video with you because, according to suggestions from successful online business people, it’s a good idea for people to be able to see bloggers and Etsy Shop owners in front of the camera once in a while 🙂  Don’t expect it to happen often!

(if you receive this by email, you might have to tap or click on the picture to open up the video)

 

What is up with WordPress??

OK, this is post number 2 for today for my email subscribers.

There is something TERRIBLY WRONG within the editing process on my Word press site.  It continually duplicates sentences and paragraphs once I hit “PUBLISH”.  I proofread every section to make sure it is all OK before uploading it and then BAM!  I go straight to the published post and it’s all messed up.

PLEASE bear with me and I will try to find out what the heck is going on.  And if you see repeated sections, know that I am not missing them or losing my mind.  I edit very carefully and I have no idea what is going on!

Thanks for your patience.

Ann

English Paper Piecing

OK, so I’m pretty sure there won’t be a single one of my regular readers who ISN’T surprised by the title of this post!  The act of piecing anything hasn’t exactly been a highlight in any of my posts.

But that darn Jenny Doan from Missouri Star Quilt Company had a video this morning and she should know that I can’t resist watching her videos because I just love to listen to her and laugh along with her!  I enjoy her personality and sense of humor so much that even if I’m not really fond of a particular quilt design being featured, I watch the video anyway because she lifts my spirits and makes everything look like fun.  She must be an absolute blast in person and one day I might even go right down to Hamilton, MO just to meet her in person, and of course, give her a big hug because she definitely seems like someone who would give great hugs 🙂

When I hear “paper piecing” I think of one thing – intricately piecing quilt blocks with triangles and points and such – and it’s not something I’m currently interested in doing.

However, English paper piecing, as I’ve just learned (late in the game, I know, but remember, piecing things hasn’t been my first love!) is altogether different, and it interests me because I’m always looking for handwork I can do while watching television in the evenings.  My mother is going to laugh when she reads this post, because she has been making hexagons in various sizes for a while now and I’ve been shaking my head, wondering what the big deal is, but I think after seeing the lovely ideas for making various shapes into beautiful appliques that I can use on quilts, I might have to pay more attention.

I’m not going to tell you all about it because if you’re reading this, you’re capable of googling it, but I am going to share this video tutorial with you so that you can see for yourself how much fun Jenny is and how cool this technique is (especially with glue which makes it even faster and I’m all for that!)

(If you are receiving this post by email, you will need to tap or click on the still picture you see to get to the video)

You never know what might show up next here on my blog so don’t hold your breath, but be ready for anything! LOL

My Workspace

I really hope this works!  I made a short video for my Etsy Shop and decided to share it here for anyone who is curious or interested. HAHA

But I’m flying by the seat of my pants to get this video embedded onto the page and I might not know until it’s actually published whether or not it worked properly, so I apologize in advance to my email subscribers who will get the email right away – good or bad – and if it goofs up, I will fix it directly on the page as soon as I can, so please check back on the website if you can’t get your email version to work!

Oh Baby!

Happy New Year!  Now that we have the Christmas season behind us, I’ve been able to clean things up around the house and get back to my quilting.  YAY!  I was away from my machine for almost three weeks and I really felt it.  So when I finally did up four quilt sandwiches and got to sit down to start free motion quilting on the first one I was relieved to be back in my happy place!

The airplane baby quilt was obviously a snap to put together as a whole cloth colorful scene and I love that bright yellow binding to set it all off.  Just some pebble loopy stitching on this one, but it works well for babies who aren’t really analyzing the quilting too much.

img_0851img_0852

The patchwork “urban modern” baby girl quilt below took a little more time to do because I was short just one block for the configuration I wanted and I had to trust that adding in a kind of coordinating piece that wasn’t actually part of the set would be acceptable.  Then I had to play around with arranging everything because that one extra block had to go in the centre so it wouldn’t be a random out of place print in the midst of an otherwise symmetrical layout.  I think it worked.  I also tried out a new-to-me stitching pattern that’s super easy, fills in quickly, and gives a bit more flare to the girly quilt than just lines or loops 🙂  I am going to use this one again for sure.

img_0847img_0843

More to come soon as I have another two sandwiches all ready to go.

I am, however, struggling with the project of setting up a better place for photographing my quilts.  I really want to improve on this, especially for photos in my Etsy shop, and I think I’ve found the best location but I have to fix up a wall, hang a rod, and get the lighting just right.  It will end up being a kind of photo backdrop that converts into a design wall.  I will keep you posted 🙂