I made one Christmas present in 2018, for my sister, Kathi, and sister-in-law, Stefi. They have a tandem bike, but I couldn’t remember what color it is and didn’t want to spoil the surprise by asking.
I started with the Bicyclist block from Quilted Adventures by Sara Nephew. I had a little trouble understanding the instructions, but managed to wrap my brain around it and then added the second cyclist. I sometimes have a kind of spatial dyslexia.
Since they are both musicians, I used musically-themed fabric for the shirts. I tried three times to make nice looking heads but they are both very blond and fair skinned. Translation: boring (and the first one was the wrong size). I opted for do-rags that matched their shirts.
I string-pieced the rectangular units…
Made some mistakes…
Had to figure out where to put the bar (maybe not mechanically accurate, but it looked the best) …
I added a small black border followed by more musical fabric.
I have been pin-basting small projects and ran across a box of these foam pieces (a gift that included a wrist pincushion). I thought I would try them, as opposed to my curved pins. I am giving the foam pieces away as this method hurt my hands–I’ll stick with the curved basting pins and basting spray for larger projects. Leah Day likes using PinMoors, a product you can buy on her website. Some of my friends had never seen this basting technique and thought I was embellishing the quilt. You never know with me.
I straight-line quilted the background, the tires, and anything that wasn’t lying flat, figuring out how to quilt with the least thread breaks. Sometimes this requires diagrams.
I changed the lyrics to “A Bicycle Made for Two” for quilting the outer border. I tried once again to sew the label into the backing fabric and still didn’t leave enough margin. I have been unhappy with my attempts at sewing in the label. Next time, I will sew the label into the center of the quilt backing, rules be damned (lower right-hand corner), allowing more room for information. I’ll be sending a better label to place over the original.
Quilting in progress.
Once again, I have failed to take a final picture before mailing. It had a simple black binding and is called “Ever in Tandem.” Le sigh. Oh well, it arrived before Christmas. I think I put rings on the back for hanging. It’s all good. Till next time…
I have finished my Too Precious to Cut (But We Will) Challenge for the Modern Quilt Guild of NWA. This was a challenge put out by Paula Mariedaughter, one of our members. I was in a panic last week thinking that it was due for our September meeting (next week), but it’s actually not due till October. Ah well, it’s finished. Go here to see what else this creative quilter is up to. She’s always putting a new spin on quilt design and makes the best labels.
I faced this quilt using Susan Brubaker Knapp’s tutorial. Check it out along with her other free tutorials.
The only thing I do differently is Step 4. I don’t like to pivot at corners, so I sew to the end, and then cross the seam at the corner. I also use these little clips instead of heavy pinning–you don’t want the facing to show on the front and this helps.
I had a little trouble with the quilting. After doing all the straight-line quilting in the center, I went to free-motion quilt the lily fabric and ripped out this lily twice. Then I quilted this spot with regular stitching, which required a lot of pivoting, cleaned and oiled the machine AGAIN, changed the needle AGAIN, and free-motioned the remainder with no problem. Gremlins, I’m tellin’ ya.
I also finished my placemats. See my previous post for the Round Placemat Tutorial. And why does spell check always want “placemat” to be two words? Not doin’ it.
Well, it’s back to my studio. I am putting everything away so I can get back to finishing up the rest of my Christmas UFOs. And here is one of my favorite Paula Mariedaughter quilts from a local Q.U.I.L.T. Guild of NWA show in 2013–those wonky flowers and the colors just make me happy. Till next time, do what makes you happy for at least part of the day!
I took the Divide and Conquer (Creative Quilting for Any Space) class by Lori Kennedy on Craftsy last week. In addition to Flower Power, an all-over free-motion quilting design, I learned some other motifs that you can use in small spaces, borders, or to make a whole-cloth piece.
First I made a thread sampler using some decorative stitches and Lori’s spool motif. I drew the first one with disappearing ink and then did the others without drawing. I marked one thread with an L for being Linty and one as being very Linty as there was lint on my practice piece as I was quilting and not just in the bobbin area when I was finished. I had trouble with the turquoise thread at the end of the day–I just needed to clean the bobbin area and then it sewed correctly.
Here is the Square Flower and my variation of the Sun motif. Note that you can use partial motifs in a triangle shape.
Here are a set of motifs: sun, dashes and dots, sailboat, and waves. I could use a little more practice on those waves. Two ways to practice a new motif: Keep drawing it on paper or use a white board before stitching with thread.
A leaf design with border motifs (paperclip and rickrack).
The first row shows Lori’s design and I did a variation on the leaf veins after that.
One of the grid work designs involved ribbons and bows but I skipped it as I didn’t think I would use it and instead went on to the medallion motif of Nora Rose with Orange Peel background.
P.S. I have only finished the first five lessons of this class (there are three more lessons). I will come back to this class in future, which is the beauty of Craftsy. You can continue a class at any time and even repeat it as you wish.
This class is still on sale ($24.99) if you’re interested. Note the date of this post was 8/28/2016, so check for class availability.
Another class I can recommend is Leah Day’s Free-Motion Quilting Sampler. She takes you through making a large sampler quilt and also teaches you how to make and quilt separate blocks (quilt as you go) and then put them together.
Want more free tutorials and videos for free-motion quilting designs? Go to Lori Kennedy’s and Leah Day’s websites. They’re both on Pinterest as well. Till next time–
Keep reading for directions on making a quilted, round placemat with no hand stitching or binding. Last week, I posted about the Too Precious to Cut (But We Will) challenge with my modern quilt guild. The idea is to take a piece of fabric that you have a hard time cutting into
and do something with it. This is where I left off with the piecing.
I thought this was a boring table runner and decided that I could make more interesting placemats. Since I have a round table, I cut out a 13-inch circle from freezer paper using my Creative Grids Circle Ruler. This ruler must be discontinued–I could not find a link for it so unless you have one, you’ll have to find an alternative way to make a circle template.
After pressing my freezer paper template onto my pieced work, I used a small rotary cutter to cut out three pieced circles, one whole cloth circle from the leftover piece of lily fabric, four batting circles,and four backing circles. I was able to reuse the freezer paper template. This gets a little tricky for the batting–press from the center out in segments.
CAUTION: I was actually able to cut out the circles keeping my free hand on my hip. If you cannot do this, keep your free hand well away from the rotary cutter as you cut and be sure to close your cutter each time you lay it down. I have known of quilters who have needed a trip to the emergency room because they have cut themselves. More often than not, it is their husbands who don’t believe how sharp these blades are. USE CAUTION.
Next, layer the pieces as follows. Good side of batting facing up, right side of front facing up, right side of backing facing down. Read this five times so you get this layered correctly.
Otherwise, you’ll have to do what I did: unstitch, relayer, restitch. It’s a process. I used a half-inch seam allowance, leaving a 4-6-inch opening for turning. Then I trimmed the batting close to the stitching.
Finger press the fabric layers where the opening is; this will make closing easier.
Next trim the fabric layers with pinking shears. I left a little extra where the opening was so I would have enough fabric to easily turn under.
Turn your placemat inside out, smoothing the edge with your fingers. Machine stitch close to the edge. I started at a seam line and then when I got back to the beginning, I stitched in the ditch a few stitches and continued stitching circles, using my presser foot as a guide. This gives you continuous stitching without having to break your threads. As I got toward the center, I had a hard time maintaining the circle shape, ripped out my last two circles and did a free-motion design to finish the center. This is one of my favorite Leah Day designs: Layered Flower, #226.
Here is the finished placemat after steam pressing.
I’m playing with the leftover pieces and will probably make a mat for the center of the table. We have a glass table and it’s irritating when salt and pepper shakers, etc., rattle around while you’re eating. If you decide to make your own set of placemats, send me a link. I would love to see them! As always, leave me a comment if you have questions. Till next time, I’ll be in my happy place stitching.
Last spring, our local modern quilt guild had a work night and we learned how to make a Swoon Block. Here is the link for this pattern by Camille Roskelley from Thimble Blossoms. http://thimbleblossoms.bigcartel.com/product/swoon-pattern-142-pdf-pattern
One of our members had made an entire scrappy quilt with these large blocks—mine finishes at 24-1/4 inches square after quilting. You can find a Swoon-Along on Flickr for more ideas and photos. Backing up a little, late last summer, I had layered several quilts so I could get some serious quilting done over the winter. That didn’t happen then but it’s happening now. I did start quilting my Christmas quilt so I would have it finished in time for Christmas, but that didn’t happen and I’m not quite in the mood to work on it right now.
After angsting for a day on how to quilt the center star, I decided that I wouldn’t. I chose fabrics with high contrast and I want that star to stand out.
I hitched up the walking foot and pulled out some smoke mono-poly and quilted in the ditch around the star. This turned out to be a good choice as the smoke doesn’t show up too much on the light backing fabric. Here is the back—it looks as if I missed some lines but it just didn’t show up in the photo.
Next I quilted the dark areas of the corners. I drew out on paper how to stitch this entire section without breaking the thread—sometimes I’m a genius.
Then I switched to pale yellow around the outside, finishing with Leah Day’s wandering clover design. This is #13 in 365 Days of Free-Motion Quilting Designs. http://www.leahday.com/project1/ I did not have enough pale yellow fabric to bind this block and considered using the same fabric as the back, but finally decided to use the batik fabric in the blocks and this set it off pretty nicely. I will show a final photo after I finish the handwork. Oh, and my thoughts for quilting that center star (more Leah Day designs).
And finally #365 Infinity Tree. This was my first attempt—the tree is a little scary but I rather like it.
I started something new as I quilted my Swoon block. I knotted and wove in thread ends as I went. I usually wait until the end and do them all at once which can be kind of overwhelming. Why it took me so long to start doing this is beyond me. The quilt that I finished last spring still has boucoups thread ends to hide. It also has another problem (or two) which I think I’m finally ready to tackle, fix and finish. Watch for my post on Windows on Spring (working title) and its companion table runner, Gelato.
In between projects, I tried out my rolled-hem foot for a tablecloth I embroidered.
My next post will show you another UFO—The Redwork Quilt. It’s a personal favorite. Till then, here’s a quote for the day.
Neither genius, fame, nor love show the greatness of the soul. Only kindness can do that.
-Jean Baptiste Henri Lacordaire, preacher, journalist, and activist (1802-1861)