Butterflies for a friend

 

IMG_1847Once in a while we come across a fabric that just reminds us specifically of a person in our lives and the only thing to do with it is to make them a quilt! haha

This lovely blue butterfly fabric was the perfect choice for a friend of mine who loves butterflies and – although I wasn’t aware of it – also loves blue 🙂  They look like they were hand painted.

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I treated the main fabric like a panel, so it’s kind of an easy whole cloth project with a crisp white border (easy piecing is my thing, of course!) and really, why would you want to cut up this great artistic looking large print?  Well, OK, I can see that some quilters might have a good reason to do so and would likely do it in a very effective way, but for me it was just right in its natural state.  I quilted the butterfly section with a simple plume and flower stitching pattern and then dug out my ruler for the border.

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There are actually nice even lines around the whole border, but the lighting in the photo of the whole quilt makes it look like the sides are different.  I love the ruler work, even though it was just straight lines on this one – there’s just something about those on the white that gets me!

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Custom Book Bag

 

IMG_1787I was going to include this bag at the bottom of yesterday’s quilting post, and then I thought “save it for tomorrow so you’ll have an extra one ready to go.”  This way y’all get two posts in two days!  You’re welcome.

I wanted a book bag for myself – in a bit of a hurry because I was getting ready for a weekend road trip – and I didn’t want a big tote bag.  I love using the Soft & Stable from Byannie.com, and I wanted it to be sturdy but on the smallish side.  So I mulled over a few ideas, getting a little discouraged because I didn’t really want to spend time designing a whole new bag and then figuring out what size, how much fabric I needed etc.  Sometimes I’m in the mood for that, but not this time!

Then I looked up to the top of my shelf where I store the finished bags that are for sale in my Etsy shop, and I wondered how the largest of the Open Wide bags (pattern from Byannie.com) would suit my books.  It turned out to be just the right size for what I wanted, but I needed handles to carry books around.

Here’s a picture of the bags made according to the pattern:

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It didn’t take long to see that I could simply add a handle which could be secured underneath the already called for contrasting border strip on the front and then add a similar border strip on the back side for the other handle. I was able to use a pattern I already had – and have made several times so it’s kind of a no brainer now! – with measurements already calculated and just get to work.

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I love how it turned out; I’ve already used it a few times and it’s working really well for me.  So I wanted to share it here to give you an idea but also to remind you that sometimes you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to get something new; you might have just the right pattern sitting there and all it needs is an add-on to turn it into just what you need 🙂

Boundless Flower Shoppe

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As much as I like the look of modern quilts, every once in a while I am attracted to a pretty patchwork design, and this fabric from Craftsy.com sucked me in! haha  I wasn’t a sucker immediately though; when I first saw the photo of the fabric bundle I was thinking “meh…” but then I saw some completed projects and decided I liked the patchwork combination.

Often when I see a bundle or a set of pre-cuts there are a few individual pieces that I don’t care for on their own, but then when they are all mixed together in a project they don’t bother me.  Which is what happened in this quilt.  I guess that’s why I’m not a fabric designer myself and I’m just better off as a buyer!

I made this quilt using a 10″ square bundle of Boundless Flower Shoppe, and I ordered a bigger piece of the one floral print for the border.  It’s all half square triangles, which I made by stacking two squares right sides together, marking a diagonal line from one corner to the opposite corner, stitching a 1/4″ seam on either side of that line and then cutting on the marked line to separate my two finished blocks.  If you like the blocks smaller, you can just sew a 1/4″ seam all around the outside edge of your two square stack and then cut on two diagonal lines which will give you four smaller blocks.

Just for you, I’m including some very detailed and technical sketches below to explain what I’m talking about; do you appreciate that the pink marker coordinates with the pink in the quilt?  I thought you would.  The left one shows what I did; the right one shows the four smaller block version.

I like the bigger ones myself because, obviously, the quilt top goes together faster!  On occasion I’ve used the smaller version – they’re great for making chevron quilts – but I draw the line (haha) at anything smaller than those.  I’ve seen smaller in many quilts, but those people must either live to piece or have stronger medications than I do …

I ended up quilting it with an overall scalloped kind of flower design that looks really nice, fills in quickly, and gives it a lovely crinkled up look when it’s all done and laundered.  Once again, this quilt was intended for my shop but is currently making its way into my own living space so the jury is still out on whether or not it will be for sale …

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I like the photos of the crumpled quilt because it just looks so cuddly!

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Double Swirl Leaf Quilt

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I can’t seem to get enough of these appliquéd leaves!  This time, instead of quilting the leaves and the areas closest to them with a contrasting thread and then switching to a matching thread for the rest of the background, I decided to live dangerously and just keep the lovely turquoise thread going for the whole quilt.  I am really pleased with the look of it!  In person, the color pops even more.  This time I used a stitching pattern different from my usual intricate swirling designs around the leaves and of course it went more quickly, but I also like the effect, so I’ll be keeping this one in mind for future projects.

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Don’t ask me why this looks almost like a number 3; there is no significant reason. I wanted to start on the right edge and have a one swirl going down and then up and the other swirl going up and then down!  I usually just start laying the leaves on the background in sections while my background fabric is spread out on my ironing board, and I fuse them on in groups, but I don’t really see the whole picture until it’s all done!  Yup, sometimes I fly by the seat of my pants and just surprise myself.  It’s fun.

 

Canada 150

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After doing a custom ordered Canada themed quilt earlier this year, I wanted to grab some more of the “With Glowing Hearts” fabric to make a couple of baby quilts.  I thought they might be a popular gift choice for little ones born in this year of Canada’s 150th birthday.  So I found a few pieces online; the fabric was pretty much sold out everywhere as I’m usually a bit behind on the newest thing!

I quilted the baby one with an edge to edge geometric stitching pattern to give it a modern look and keep it gender neutral. I stitched some words from our national anthem into the top right corner of the border, and added a red section near the bottom left into which I stitched “Canada 150”.  I really enjoy stitching this geometric design because it fills in quickly and is both adaptable and forgiving 🙂

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It sold the day I finished and advertised it, purchased by someone about to become a grandma!

The lap quilt has the same geometric design in the centre section, with a couple of fun border stitching patterns: a square spiral chain, and a wavy triangle filler I first saw during an Angela Walters class.

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I’m very fond of the red and turquoise color combo in this and several other fabric lines!

The back shows the quilting more clearly.

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I decided to do a video showing how I stitched out these geometric patterns for anyone who hasn’t tried them yet, so check it out below if you’re interested!  I didn’t include the wavy triangle design because Angela has a class which includes a lesson on that one, so I don’t want to infringe on that 🙂

For now, I’m back to working on another variation of the appliquéd leaf quilts I’ve shown you in the past.  Until next time …

Keeping in Touch!

Hello everyone.  Yes, I am still here!  There has been some craaaaazzzzzy heat in my area the past while and when that happens my brain fries so I’m not able to do a lot of work on any kind of project.  I kind of just sit still in as little clothing as possible and try not to melt.  Don’t picture it …

But I just noticed that I haven’t posted my most recently finished projects, one of which is actually a new quilt! Yay! I was able to bind it on a very infrequent cool evening and I just love how it turned out because it is so soft I just want to keep squishing it.

First, here are a couple of smaller items I worked on in the mornings before the scorching started …

This is the medium size train case (Crimson & Clover pattern by Sara Lawson at sewsweetness.com) done in a vintage looking clock print with some music on the inside.  I added a second pull to the zipper and what a different that makes not only to the appearance of it, but also to the function!

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This size was definitely easier to do than the smallest one I made a while back (in red), like the difference between sewing barbie doll clothing and adult clothing! haha

I also got some couching done on a pillow cover, and used some of the fancy stitches on my sewing machine to add some quilting pizazz in bright colors for a funky look.  I used a couching foot for my Pfaff QE 4.2 to do the wavy lines of yarn and then switched to the free motion couching foot for the lettering.  I could have done it all with the free motion couching foot, but I am still getting used to it, so I wanted to save that for a small area that I could easily fix if need be 🙂

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And here is my newest quilt, pieced with soft vintage looking floral prints, bordered and backed with the Quilter’s Muslin I mentioned in a previous post.  I used a finer thread on this quilt – So Fine from Superior Threads – because I’m trying to work into using that for certain projects where I just want texture that blends in more than a heavier thread that stands out.  I’m hoping to get it to work consistently for me as many quilters and teachers love it and while I have a few kinks to work out, I’m getting advice from the experts so I’m trying to stay positive that it will indeed become a good option.

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Doesn’t that just look so cuddly?  And it feels like a quilt you just got from grandma, soft and loved.  I think the lighter weight thread does play a part in that.

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That’s all for now, hope you are all enjoying whatever you like to do in the summer.  I’ll be inside with the blinds pulled, sipping ice water and trying to figure out where my next meal is going to come from.  They say “if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen”, and because even boiling something on the stove raises the room temp, I’m taking that rather literally!  FYI: there’s no shame in eating cereal for supper … and chocolate tastes better soft anyway.

Whimsical Floral Tote Bag

I made this bag using various techniques and ideas learned from patterns and tutorials I’ve been using, and I combined them to make a bag of my own design.  I wanted to end up with something not too large, but large enough!  I love the size and shape of it.  I also wanted to make sure all seams were bound as I’m not a fan of raw edges or loose bag linings (I think I’m repeating myself after having mentioned that before!)

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I’m drawn to this particular fabric each time I’m browsing in my local quilt shop, but I was never convinced I needed it enough to make a quilt with it.  When I went looking for something floral yet whimsical for my new bag, it definitely fit the bill, so I was finally able to justify buying it! It turned into a super cute project 🙂

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It has a zippered pocket on the front, with a slip pocket behind that, another slip pocket on the back, and two side pockets with elastic at the top of them and pleats in the bottom so they expand a little, which I thought would be handy depending on what will be carried by the owner of the bag (it’s for sale!).  Inside I put two large mesh pockets – I like Annie Unrein’s idea of using mesh inside heavier bags because there’s no extra weight to it, and you can see what the pockets contain.

Personally, I don’t normally like a lot of inside pockets in my own bags because things tend to fall into them and get lost when they’re out of my sight.  Mesh is a great alternative to having to turn a bag upside down to empty it out in hopes of finding that tube of lipstick you KNOW is in there somewhere.

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Of course I’m getting sucked in by all the nifty hardware too, and I had to put a metal label on this one to see how it looked.  Not sure there’s any going back from this now …

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And just for your viewing pleasure, here are some of the open wide bags made with the Lily & Loom fabric I raved about recently (pattern from byannie.com).

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They are fun to make and even more fun to look at once they’re done.  I love the handbag zippers (wider zipper tape and bigger pulls) and I have to do a lot of testing by opening them and closing them, and opening them, and closing them and …………….. OK, I’m back.

We’ve had a few cooler days this week, so piling a quilt on my lap to hand stitch binding is looking more do-able and there just might be a new quilt to post in the near future 🙂

Here’s a flashy video of the bags I’ve made so far, because it’s just fun to watch them all with background music! LOL

 

Sweet Dreams Little One

I figured I’d better post a new quilt sooner rather than later lest you all think I had lost myself in a pile of handmade bags …

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This is the second baby quilt I’ve made with his particular fabric line and it never disappoints.  The vintage floral look appeals to many people and the fabric has such a soft feel to it.  On this one I adapted an idea I saw online and stitched the words “Sweet dreams little one” right into the solid pink strip second from the top.  It looks much better in person – the writing is much clearer – and I love the special effect it gives the quilt.

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I want to mention here the backing fabric that I like to use whenever I can, and that is Quilter’s Muslin from Hamels Fabrics in Chilliwack, BC.  It might be available from other sources as well, but this is where I get it from and I buy it in bulk!  Sometimes it’s even on sale.  It’s a neutral color, 60″ wide, and so very soft, especially once the quilt is laundered, but has enough body to be used as part of the piecing on the quilt top too if desired.  I have used other fabrics labelled as quilting muslin, but none have been as nice as this one, IMHO.

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The quilts I back with this fabric are always so much softer to cuddle up with than those that have regular quilting cotton for backing.  It isn’t always suitable for certain quilt tops, depending on color, but it is my favorite overall.  And the quilting shows up so beautifully on it that it’s like getting an elegant whole cloth quilt as a bonus!  I’ve actually been planning to do a whole cloth just for me, using this fabric for the top and backing, sandwiched with a lovely wool batt I’ve already purchased in preparation, so if and when that happens, you’ll see it!

I’ve also started photographing each quilt in a crumpled bunched up pose because it makes them look so much more cuddly and I think it really adds dimension when people are viewing various pictures to get a good idea of what it looks like 🙂  So far, the response has been positive!

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Doesn’t it look almost 3D instead of just flat?  Yup, that’s what I thought 🙂

 

 

More bags!

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So I’ve spent the last couple of days working on some new quilted bags and I can tell you that while these things can take just as long as making one of my quilts, they’re a different kind of fun and I’m learning some really cool techniques.

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This caddy was made using a pattern from ByAnnie.com and I love Annie’s finishing touches.  I don’t like loose bag linings and I’m not a fan of having raw seam allowances exposed, so I appreciate her attention to detail.  There are so many pockets inside and out – this is a great little storage caddy that can be used for so many different things!

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The floral bag below is my own design using some of the simple techniques I’ve learned from other patterns.  It has a slip pocket on each side and big inside zippered pocket.

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More bags (AND QUILTS!) to come as I keep busy tucked inside my house avoiding the extreme heat we are experiencing right now!

Here’s a video of me opening a fat quarter bundle I’ve been waiting for; it’s loaded with great prints for more bags 🙂

 

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