Hi, my name is Ruth and this is my blog to show & share my quilts that I give to family & friends.
Simple designs that may inspire you to make one too.

Monday, December 10, 2018

De La Luna Family Portrait (#103)

The fabric:  Here is the very popular De La Luna collection from Tula Pink. It has everything a Day of the Dead fan could want:  eye balls, skulls, bats, beautiful bright colors and so much more.  Better yet, I was able to purchase the fabrics as part of a quilt kit - a first for me. 
(Quilt kit from DIY Addict here.) 
The pattern:  The pattern is free (here) and called Family Portrait. It has since been updated to include the correct amount of yardage and fussy cut instructions. Unfortunately not in time for me - but luckily for those now making this quilt.
I like to pick a quilt pattern that can be made from a few simple blocks - put them together and call it a day.  Of course this pattern was nothing like that!
Here are some tips I found helpful especially since these blocks were not oversized for final trimming.

1) Measure the fabric and make sure it can handle slight shrinkage that will come from using starch & steam.

2) Make a dummy block and get a handle on unfamiliar angles or techniques.

3)  Sew slowly and be as precise as you can with your seam allowance.
I did all of the above and after more sweaty palm moments than I would have liked -  totally enjoyed the pattern, the fabric and the challenge of making something so different.
Quilting:  Because there is so much going on in this quilt I kept it to simple lines 1/4" on either side of the seams with a walking foot.  I did not sew over the faces and opted for a beautiful Aqua thread from the Tula Pink Chipper collection - Aurifil 50wt. #2835.  
The backing is black dimple dot minky. The pattern called for 2.25" width for binding - yikes. I usually do 2.5" width because of the bulk of the minky & batting.  But the good news is - a 2.25" wide binding can work with such a ' thick' quilt sandwich. 
De La Luna / Tula Pink
Family Portrait pattern / Free Spirit
Quilt Kit from DIY Addict
Aurifil 50wt #2835 (bright Aqua) #2692 (black)
Warm & White batting
Dimple dot minky / black
Size: 59" x 59"
December 2018

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Jewel Box Quilt Shibori Style (#102)

There is nothing I like more than a simple quilt pattern that looks complicated.  Behold .... the Jewel Box quilt.  
The fabric: Shibori II from Moda.  Shibori is a Japanese term for a method of dyeing cloth.  Traditionally using Indigo, it is a form of tie-dyeing that goes back to the 8th century. 
The pattern:  Jewel Box
Starting with 5" squares from my Shibori II fabric, I made 4-patches and half square triangles ( or HST's) that were unfinished at 4.5".  Assemble all your units the way shown above with the 4-patch focus fabric on the top left - and HST focus fabric - top right.  That's it!  Sew away and stack them up.
I figured out my quilt size based on a 4" finished square.  Keeping units and rows to an 'even' number ensured the pattern was balanced. 
Specs for this quilt: 
*  Each row across was 14 squares 
   (at 4" finished that makes it 56" wide)
*  18 rows down 
    (at 4" finished that makes it 72" long)
Each row has (7) 4-patches and (7) HST's.  
Total 4-patches to make: 126
Total HST's to make: 126 

Update Jan. 18 - I was asked in the Comments: how many 5" squares were needed to make this particular quilt - here was my reply. 
I am not a math wiz but here goes:
This quilt is 58" x 72" 

You need (63) 5" squares in blue and (63) in white to make 126 half square triangles.

You need (32) 5" squares in blue and (32) in white to make 126 


Totals are: 63+32 = 95 blue 5" squares
                 63+32 = 95 white 5" squares

All units are trimmed to 4.5" unfinished

See the Jewel Box pattern emerge as you rotate these units and match up the triangles and the four patches. 
 I made this diagram which explains the assembly in detail since I didn't follow a written pattern - the colors are not important. Two good links below are also helpful with instructions & pictures.
    *Make all your units (#1).  
    *Take two units (#2) and rotate them so the focus                        fabric HST's are pointing out (#3)
     *Sew blocks together with 4-patches and triangles next                  to each other (#4 and #5).
Backing is a beautiful midnight blue minky.  Wavy line quilting was done with a walking foot in Aurifil 50wt. threads. Following the seams makes it super easy to quilt and creates cute little squares.
1)  Shontelle from England Street Quilts has a great PDF and diagrams for a Jewel Box quilt here and an excellent Crossroads pattern here.  While our assembly techniques are different (Shontelle stripped pieced her 4-patches, I made them from 5" squares) - her pattern guides are the best.

2) For some good step by step pictures, visit Cuckooblue - and read about other quilts she has made throughout the years. 

Shibori II by Moda / Debbie Maddy
Kona white
Dimple dot minky / midnight blue
Binding: Cotton Couture Midnight / Michael Miller
Aurifil Thread 50wt: #2600 (dove) & #1248 (denim blue)
Warm & White batting
Jewel Box quilt pattern
Size: 58" x 72"
December 2018

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

It's a "Swell" Christmas Quilt (#101)

Nothing says Christmas like this fabric from Urban Chiks called Swell.  Cute retro images in soft cream, pink and green with a bright punch of Santa red.
If you happen to pick up a jelly roll and are not sure what to sew ... Thimble Blossoms Patchwork Swoon pattern (here) is a perfect fit.  For my first holiday quilt I wanted something that screamed CHRISTMAS, so instead of using a solid background fabric I used this happy red & white Christmas text by Henry Glass.
This is a nice pattern to follow with good directions and diagrams.  I chose to put a solid Santa square in the middle rather than patchwork.   
There are some overages of half square triangles (HST) that are a by product of the design. Quite enough for another project like a table runner or little blanket.
Quilting and piecing was done with my favorite off/white Aurifil 50wt. thread #2311.  It's sometimes called Muslin and it just melds with white Kona & the softer creams of Swell.  I love little squares created by jelly rolls (and 2.5" squares) because they create a ready made grid for me to follow when I quilt.  A wavy line following the seams with a walking foot is my 'go to' quilting method for most projects - it's pretty fast, easy to do and looks consistent.
For a large quilt with lots of design punch Patchwork Swoon is perfect. There are smaller versions of the same Swoon design, a 16" block just came out and is demonstrated here on the Fat Quarter Shop YouTube channel. 
Swell by Urban Chiks / Moda
Holiday Wishes / Henry Glass
Kona white
Aurifil 50wt. #2311
Patchwork Swoon pattern / Thimble Blossoms
Warm & White batting
white flannel
Size: 73" x 73"
November 2018

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Kaleidoscope Quilt in Materialize (#100)

It's time to celebrate ... my 100th quilt in my favorite month with Halloween fabric - perfect!  Here is Tim Holtz's new collection called Materialize.
Dark and moody, full of grunge accents ... who can resist Edgar Allen Poe's soulful gaze - not me!
Time for some quilty specs:  the blog post (here) gives all the directions you need to make this type of kaleidoscope quilt. One block has 8 focus fabric, the other has 4 focus fabric.  Everything else is black.
I use Accuquilt dies for this style of quilt which are fun & fast ... BUT here are some words of caution.  Accuquilt doesn't oversize it's shapes for further trimming.  No matter how carefully you sew, chances are you will end up with some wonky blocks.  
My advice is this:  iron and starch your fabric before cutting and always sew a scant 1/4" seam. This allows you some wiggle room after assembly to square up your blocks to a perfect 10.5" x 10.5".  Lastly, if you plan on making a few of these quilts, a 10.5" ruler is worth the investment.
Black Aurifil 50wt.thread and minky highlight all the distressed motifs that are pure Tim Holtz. Quilting is wavy line stitching on the seam lines and then through all the triangles - almost like you are cutting a pie.  
For those of us who like to play with fabric, Materialize is pure Gothic fun for sewers. 
 I was recently told that Halloween quilts should only be used in October ... I think not!
The black fabric almost looks like bats and the young man receiving this loves things with a 'ghoulish vibe' ... Happy Halloween my friends. 

Materialize / Tim Holtz 
Wintergreen Ebony / Moda
Hallows Eve / Northcott
Dimple dot minky / black
Aurifil 50wt. black (#2692)
Warm & White batting
Accuquilt dies: Triangle-Isosceles 5" x 6" / HST 3" Finished
Size: 60" x 76"
October 2018

Friday, July 27, 2018

Tula Pink Hunter's Star Quilt ... MSQC Style (#99)

It all started with the Tula Pink bunnies from her Slow & Steady collection. 
 How could I incorporate three large fussy cut bunnies but still highlight the rest of the designs in a pretty quilt.
 Enter the Hunter's Star pattern from Missouri Star Quilt Company
This version of the Hunter's Star pattern is great since it's all small HST's and squares.  The squares show a nice chunk of fabric design and the small half square triangles make it look complicated.
There is a learning curve because the pattern uses two star blocks ... block A with points going one way ... block B with points going the opposite.  This video (here) as well as a digital pattern from the Missouri Star Quilt Co has you covered with clear instructions.
I reduced the size of the units to 4.5" instead of 5" (which was stated in the pattern) so I could cut the half square triangles on my favorite Accuquilt die.  I won't do this again.  This quilt needed accurate points to highlight the star feature.
In my Thicket quilt I trimmed & squared up large blocks made with these same small half square triangles.  Missing points and corners didn't matter or even show up since all the pieces were clumped together
But here, these delicate little half square triangles need to steal the show.  Even with starch (and yes, some steam) - they came out more wonky than I would have liked. I do have success with most of my Accuquilt dies but am finding that in patterns that require accuracy without trimming - they miss the mark. 
The back is Free Fall wide in Navy which softens all the rich and vibrant colors on the quilt front. 

Quilting is wavy line stitching following the seams every 2 inches. Aurifil 50wt. #2311 on the top and a beautiful blue #1248 for the back.  Perfect thread every time.

There are "A" and "B" star blocks on either side of the bunnies in coordinating colors with white Kona to fill in the gaps.  The trick with this type of quilt was to sew a few rows and then figure where to put the fussy cuts.  I thought the bunny placement would look good after 2 rows - it didn't.  So I put another star row above them and voila - a nicely balanced quilt :)
Linking up for some Tuesday fun with Connie at Freemotion by the River

Slow & Steady / Tula Pink
Free Fall Wide Backing in Navy / Tula Pink
Kona white
Warm & White batting
Aurifil 50wt. #2311 / #1248
Missouri Star Quilt Co / Hunter's Star pattern
#Missouristarquiltco, #huntersstar, #tulapink, #slowandsteadyfabric
Size: 64.5" x 74"
July 2018

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Thicket Baby Quilt (#98)

It's always exciting to see newly released fabrics and what is 'trending'.  The flip side is that over time fabrics go out of print and become "rare".  I found the timeless quality of Moda's Thicket worth investing in for future quilts.
You can't beat a baby quilt using these lovely animal panels. The simple black and white designs make it perfect for a boy or girl.
Batting and white minky give this quilt weight but not so much that it feels bulky.  Following the seam lines to quilt in a wavy stitch makes a nice 2" grid throughout.  Aurifil 50wt. worked like a charm as always for piecing & quilting .

This is my 4th Thicket quilt and the design still feels fresh and current.  A previous post here has more sewing details on how to make a baby Thicket quilt.
Shown above is an 'adult' version using lots of small panels.  There is a stash of fabric waiting for me to make two more  blankets like this. I love these critters and so does my family & friends. For more on this quilt - the link is here.

While Thicket fabric may not be as available as it once was - the artwork of Stacie Bloomfield (aka Gingiber) can be found in fabric lines called Catnip Savannah. Creative credit for the original baby quilts goes to the talented Amy Smart of Diary of a Quilter.

Thicket by Gingiber / Moda
Warm & White batting
Aurifil 50wt. #2311 & #2024
Dimple dot minky / white
Size: 38" x 44"
May 2018

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Photo Tutorial for Fabric Coasters

On this little blog my most pinned picture is not a quilt but these cute coasters.   I figured it was time to update the coaster posts & include a tutorial -  Enjoy :)

 Whether you use a charm pack or cut the fabric yourself into 5" squares - this coaster design works every time.

These coasters are machine wash and dry friendly (they shrink just a little) ... and no matter what fabric you use: French inspired, modern, novelty, floral ... they look great.

Total items needed are (5) squares 5"x 5" and a piece of fusible fleece 4" x 4" or scrap batting for each coaster.
Put the fusible fleece, fleece or batting on the back square for more padding.  A little spray baste will adhere it if you don't have fusible fleece.  No spray baste? Just sew an "X" through the fleece/batting on the back square.
The reason for this is so your batting or fleece will latch onto the back and not move.

Iron the 5" squares into triangles and assemble as shown above.  Triangles lay on top of each other and the last triangle goes beneath the first one (pic 4). You are kind of weaving the triangles all together.

If you have a design element you want to see on your coaster - do steps 1-4.  I wanted the coffee cups to show on the front of my coaster - so here is how to achieve that.
(1) slide a piece of cardstock or paper plate under your coaster pieces.

(2) put another piece of cardstock on top of that
 Now flip everything over - like you are making pancakes.

(3) Lift off the cardstock and what you see is the BACK of the triangles. That's what you want. The coffee cups I want to highlight are facing down, not towards me.  They will  appear after sewing since I will turn this whole unit inside out! 

(4) Nestle everything tightly and pin so the triangles don't slide around (they will!).

(5) Move the pinned unit on top of the right side of back square (the one with the batting)  and pin everything together (6). 

(1) Sew around the edge of the coaster using a 1/4" seam and small stitches.   I usually sew off the coaster after each side but do a few reinforcing back and forth stitches at the corner area. Neatness does not count! Remove pins.
(2) Trim sides and just take a little off the corners.
(3) Dig into the center of the coaster and start to turn it inside out.
(4 - 6) Keep turning it inside out - poking the corners with a chopstick or something pointy.  
Give your coaster a good iron. If your fabric has patterns that don't need highlighting, everything goes faster. You just iron, pin & sew.  But I like the 'flip/pancake' method option so I can choose what part of the design shows.  

Lastly - its personal choice whether to top quilt them - I say 'yes' as they tend to flop & not look finished.  How to do it in one continuous line is shown (a little rustic) below.

May 2018