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.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Fancy Fox Quilt - Retro Style (#46)

I loved making Elizabeth Hartman's Fancy Fox Quilt with Riley Blake Shades (here) - but it was time for a whole different look and feel: beautiful coordinating  Retro 30's Child Smile from Lecien was perfect.
Fancy Fox quilt made with jelly roll and Essex denim
It took a while before I settled on these medium to small colorful prints from Lecien - I had my heart set on the 'Joie De Vivre in Beryl' by Frances Newcombe and Essex black yarn dyed linen. 

After making a few blocks, I felt the large floral design distracted from the simple beauty of the fox face. 

Fabrics like this lavender Dot to Dot Mixmaster (Robert Kaufman) look great however, as do cross hatch and burlap textured looking cottons from Carolyn Friedlander, Timeless Treasures & other manufacturers.  
Fancy Fox quilt from Ye Olde Sweatshop
1.5" sashing in Essex denim linen was sewn around every side of the fox block and trimmed to 8x10" unfinished, not much waste at all.
Fancy Fox quilt made with jelly roll and Essex denim
Lots of ironing & starching made the cotton & linen easy to handle - and using a scant 1/4" seam is a must with the different fabric weights. All seams are ironed open.
Fancy Fox quilt made with jelly roll and Essex denim
All piecing & quilting was done using Aurifil 50wt. Dove #2600.  A wavy serpentine stitch follows the larger seams, and the wavy stitch again into a 3" diagonal diamond pattern overall. I changed needles twice to keep everything sharp and the thread worked beautifully through the heavier Essex linen and the delicate backing. 
Fancy Fox quilt made with jelly roll and Essex denim
Not being a free motion quilter, following the seams and doing a grid pattern looks rather simple when compared to intricate FM designs that add lots of pizzazz.  But, every time that Aurifil looks so consistent as it sinks into any weight of fabric - I do a happy dance.
Fancy Fox quilt made with jelly roll and Essex denim
Lastly, a nice binding is this Hatch Basic in Graphite by Timeless Treasures - not heavy looking like a flat black but dark enough with a hint of texture.
Fancy Fox quilt made with jelly roll and Essex denim
There are 64 foxes so a 4" border all around allows them space to float and not run into the edges.  A beautiful rainbow of foxes made with a fun pattern that works every time.

Retro 30's Child Smile Spring 2015/ 2.5" sushi roll / Lecien
Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in denim (Robert Kaufman)
Far Far Away 2 (Unicorns in Blue) / Heather Ross
Hatch Basic Graphite /Timeless Treasures (binding)
Fancy Fox Quilt Pattern by Elizabeth Hartman
Aurifil 50wt. Dove #2600 & Medium Grey #1158
Warm & White batting
Size: 65" x 81"
December 2015

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Batik Hearts Quilt (#45)

This quilt is a combination of 7 different batik prints - all picked out to create an atmosphere of Hawaiian ocean breezes and cool lagoon waters.  Made for a couple who are getting married in Hawaii - it seemed natural to use a heart pattern.
The batiks & white Kona were cut using an Accuquilt 4.5" HST die, and this diagram from Craft Buds was indispensable for helping me layout the triangles.
 Each heart needed 20 color and 12 white half square triangle pieces - the final block size was trimmed to 18" x 18". 
The hearts looked much better in a staggered pattern, and that left two gaps in the center row to fill.  This little heart pattern from the Moda Bake Shop called:  All in a Row by Melissa Corry, saved the day. 
1.5'" sashing on the little hearts top & bottom, followed by 2" on the sides and then trimmed to fit.
White Aurifil thread is on the top in a serpentine line following the seams in a grid pattern, using yet again this wonderful technique from Nancy Zieman.  The white thread melds into the Kona allowing the hearts to take center stage. 
The bottom bobbin has Aurifil Dove which disappears into the midnight minky backing. Using a #10 needle for piecing, #12 for quilting with a walking foot and going slowly with my beautiful threads and lots of starch - I hit none of the snags I had heard can happen with batiks and their tighter weave.  

7 half yards of batiks
Half Square 4 1/2" Finished Triangle / Accuquilt
Kona white
Minky Cuddle Dimple Dot / Midnight Blue
Aurifil 50wt. Dove (2600), White (2024), Dark Cobalt (2740)
Faultless Spray Starch
Sweet Heart Mini Quilt pattern
Moda Bake Shop / All in a Row
Nancy Zieman Quilted Palcemats
Size: 58"x76"
November 2015

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Quilted Coasters

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/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.

Updated May 2018 :)

Monday, November 23, 2015

Quilted Christmas Stockings

Using up scraps to make quilted Christmas stockings is a short fun project.  My Tim Holtz Eclectic Elements pieces were so many different sizes that that I couldn't make a regular grid pattern - but it still looks great.

More traditional is this one made from a mini charm pack of 25th and Pine from Moda - definitely easier to lay out since all the work is done for you with 2.5" squares.  A very cute look.
Extra charms cut into 2.5" squares were leftovers from my Deb Strain Spa quilt by Moda, and it's good enough to pass for something from the movie Frozen.

The pattern is here in video format from the Missouri Star Quilt Company - or printed directions in their BLOCK magazine (Holiday Vol.1 Issue 6) where it is explained how to make the hanging loop.
Lastly, fabric from this shabby chic quilt, cut with a small Accuquilt tumbler die for someone who loves everything Paris. Win/win.

Final thoughts after making 4 stockings:  this pattern is relatively quick, imperfections just disappear, quilting is fun and they look great - but for an overall festive vibe with more of a Christmas feel - holiday fabrics are the way to go.

Moda:  Spa, 25th and Pine, 
Eclectic Elements, Paris Flea Market, Petal by Tanya Whelan
Warm & White batting
Aurifil 50wt. thread
November 2015

Friday, November 20, 2015

Quilted Fabric Baskets

Nothing says 'cute' as much as these fun and pretty quilted fabric baskets.
A great tutorial from Pink Penguin explains everything. I tried small squares like Ayumi shows, as well as experimenting with larger scraps.
If all goes well when making these beauties, the outside quilted fabric should measure 12" x 9 1/4" - but if you are little off by a 1/4" or more (like I was) just make sure to cut your lining the same size as your outside piece.  Then everything will fit and match perfectly. Still cut the corners the recommended size in the tutorial.
I experimented using fusible Pellon 906F Sheerweight interfacing on the lining fabric to see if that made the basket a little sturdier. It did, although turning the basket to the right side through the lining was a little tight ... it was worth the effort. (see above)
This basket using Amy Butler scraps is made with batting only and no interfacing - it holds it's shape and is a good one to start with to learn the process.
I used a #12 needle and regular sewing foot throughout.  No need to use a walking foot but slow sewing to attach the handles is prudent. Aurifil 50wt thread is a winner as always - as is using up scraps & extra batting.
November 2015

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Darth Vader Quilt (#44)

Making this pixel quilt of Darth Vader was great fun.  The pattern comes from WS Kane Patterns on Etsy where she provides clear instructions for fabric requirements and multiple grid templates for you to download (and mark up to your hearts content!)
I used small post it notes to isolate 5 rows up & 5 rows down - and then assembled these larger squares together, working from the top of the pattern to the bottom.  For me, it was easier than working left to right, row by row.  
There are multiple patterns from cross stitch, knitting, crochet and bead sites that you can use to make a pixel quilt (or search '8-bit pixel quilts' and of course, Pinterest for ideas) - although you have to be careful that the design is not too wide or long to accommodate a 2.5" square.  Too large and your quilt will be enormous.  This Darth Vader template was perfect in its dimensions.
Quilting was done using a 3.5 straight stitch length in a 3" diagonal grid. Using Aurifil 50wt. medium grey #1158 and light grey minky on the back - the darker image of Darth Vader stays the focal point.
What made this so enjoyable was letting go of perfection expectations ... I threw all the little black & pepper Kona squares into a big box and did the random pickup method with my eyes closed ...  I washed, starched, ironed and cut as carefully as possible these little squares - and still, I was a little off on a few!
Do these 'mistakes' mean the end of pixel quilting ... no way ... pixel quilts are on my bucket list!
 A very cool website that allows you to make a pixel pattern from your own image is: KnitPro

{ Update: finished another pixel quilt, the little blue Totoro - here.}

WS Kane Patterns / Darth Vader
Kona white, ash, black & pepper
Architextures Crosshatch in Shadow / Robert Kaufman
Mirror Ball Dot in onyx - Michael Miller
Mini Confetti / Dear Stella
Minky dimple dot / silver or light grey
Binding: Aged Solids in black/3 Sisters for Moda 
Aurifil 50wt. Dove & Medium Grey #1158
Size: 60"x 76"
October 2015

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Spa 9-patch Quilt (#43)

A 9-patch block made with Deb Strain's Spa line from Moda,  proves that the combination of blue and white can be both fresh & traditional at the same time.
Spa uses beautiful scroll designs and mosaic motifs in multiple shades of blue - from light to cobalt. This collection is like looking at Blue Willow china or Delft pottery.  Your eye can always find something to enjoy.
White Kona sashing & borders lighten up the front, and help separate the Midnight Blue minky on the back.  My initial choice for the back minky was a light grey because I was worried it would be 'too blue' - but the darker back worked nicely to give the quilt more visual weight.
Tension issues can arise when using  minky.  If you use a dark bottom thread and the tension is a little off, or you get stuck with the batting and minky making your walking foot work extra hard - the darker thread can show up on the lighter quilt top. 
 Here's my win/win solution - I use a light thread in the bobbin.  (in this case it was the middle spool of grey blue)
Aurifil 50wt. is perfect since it sinks and almost disappears into the 3mm pile of the minky.   This totally works for me; no stress about thread show on the front and the back looks great since you can still see the stitching lines ... I can't wait to use more dark minkys!

Spa by Deb Strain / Moda
Kona white
Aurifil 50wt. dove(#2600), white & grey blue (#5007)
Warm & White batting
Midnight blue dimple dot minky
Size: 57"x 72"
October 2015

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Another Noteworthy Quilt (#42)

Using the softer colors of the Noteworthy collection worked better than expected to make this hourglass quilt.  I purchased 2 fat quarter bundles of what I thought was the entire collection.  It wasn't - and missing were the cuter elements ... birds on the wire and the bucket list notes in various colors.
Since Noteworthy came out in 2012 - it was easier to find a few yards of one design - I choose the blue bucket list to 'flesh' out the plainer patterns.  
Cutting the half square triangles from my Accuquilt 6.5" die - I assembled them into hourglass blocks (see how to here at the bottom of the Far Far Away post).
Because half the quilt is light blue, the overall vibe is calm & soothing. Bright white minky on the back doesn't conflict with the muted palette and the zig zag quilting in Aurifil 50wt. grey blue (#5007) and white (#2024) just sinks beautifully into the whole design.  

Noteworthy for Sweetwater by Moda
Aurifil 50wt. Grey Blue / White
Warm & White batting
White minky
Size:58' x 74.5"
August 2015

Monday, July 27, 2015

Peak Hour Half Hexi Baby Quilt (#41)

The fourth, and last quilt to be made with Peak Hour by Riley Blake.  With some left over jelly roll strips and a 10" layer cake, I thought it would be fun to experiment making a hexagon pattern.

Here is what worked best for me:  for the jelly roll 2.5" strips, the small half hexagon from Missouri Star Quilt Co. worked nicely. For the 10" squares (layer cake) I used Lori Holt's  large Hexie Half ruler.
I was very lucky finding a layer cake since this design was released 3 years ago ... and was more short on fabric than I thought.  No worries - white Kona came to my rescue to fill out the gaps.

A half hexagon quilt, much like a  tumbler quilt, has to be laid out row by row to balance color. 

It is easier to see the hexagon shapes when the 'top' and 'bottom' hexi's match, but if you don't have enough fabric - mismatched works fine - as does combining the two different sizes.  

The half hexagon templates are fun - the larger size is my favorite as it comes together really, really fast! Quilting was done with Aurifil 50wt white in a loose zigzag, 2" apart - making a beautiful design through the batting and flannel back.

Peak Hour / Riley Blake
White Kona
Amy Butler / Sunspots in olive
Aurifil 50wt. white
Warm & White batting
Size: 47" x 54"
July 2015