Monday, September 28, 2015

A Holiday Destination

Where to go for the holidays?

DRESDEN.  Of course.

My Christmas fabrics generate scraps at an unusually high rate-- maybe because those fabrics only see the light of day for a limited portion of the year.  At any rate, having more fun with the Dresden Plate block seemed an obvious way to use up some of those scraps.

I quilted it with my walking foot.  There's echo quilting around the outside edge of the petals, plus a few circles towards the center.  It's only about 16" square, so not much quilting is required, making this a pretty quick project.  (And fun!) 

This was made with the Accuquilt Go tumbler block die for the petals-- and a "luncheon" size plate for the circle.  See my tutorial (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) for the method.  And it's listed in my Etsy store.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Here Comes Autumn

Incredibly, it's September.  Time to start thinking about cooler temperatures, brisk breezes, bright autumn foliage.

Well, maybe not.  Autumn is still a few weeks away here in hot and humid Florida.

What I do know is that my long, long summer off from orchestra work is coming to a close in a couple of weeks, so it's time to address all of the things I Was Supposed To Do.  So despite stifling temperatures, Here Comes Autumn, ready or not.

It's really my favorite time of year for seasonal sewing.

Here's a table runner and placemat set made out of the "Autumn Medley" collection by Martha Negley.  I'm not sure this fabric is being produced anymore, although you can still find it on Ebay and Etsy.

And here's the latest version of the Autumn Leaf runner:

This style runner has been a strong seller in my Etsy store for years.  I love making them!  I use the Autumn  Accuquilt Go die for the leaves and pumpkin.

I fuse the shapes to the background fabric, then go around the edges with a narrow zig zag stitch. Then the whole thing gets basted and quilted.

For more details on these items, check out my Etsy store here.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Getting Silly

A small purchase for my home inspired an attack of Crafting Silliness.

It's just a simple Reading Wedge-type pillow, something that I've wanted for a while and finally found at Target.  (It's a seasonal "Back to School" type item, available now but not all the time).

I didn't initially object to the plain beige pillow cover, as my bedroom has acid green walls and a wide rotation of bed quilts in many colors.  Best to keep the accessories simple, and neutral.

But the poor thing is Just So Plain.   And I couldn't resist.

Time to break out the ric-rack and yo-yos!

Now, if you were really dedicated this could be a sewing project-- the pillow cover is removable.  But I decided to keep it fun and easy and used fabric glue, which is really strong and washable, and there was no need to remove the cover.

For a project like this, remember Linda's First Rule of Embellishment:

If Some is Good, More Must Be Better

I love it!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Magic Carpet Ride


Well, it was actually a braided rug.

I had an absolute blast of a week at the John C Campbell Folk School learning all about the art of braided rugs.

I wanted to have an adventure this summer and this seemed like
a fine place for one.  It's in a beautiful location that's drivable
from here (southwestern North Carolina, about 10 hours from my home in Tampa) and the range of classes that's offered is absolutely staggering (click here for a list of classes).
And I thought a braided rug would be fun to make, a completely new skill for me, and something that would look great in my wood-floored, Craftsman-style bungalow.

It all started here, with a box of 2" wool strips:

  Our wonderful instructor had brought some samples of her beautiful work along for inspiration

rugs by Diane Ellis

  Looks easy, right?

We had these wooden "ducks" to provide tension for the braiding portion of the process.

In the old days they would have used a nail on the wall, or inserted the strips in the drawer of a heavy dresser.

The wool strips were threaded through these metal holders to keep them folded.

Ideally, when you braid you don't want any folds, creases, or raw edges to be visible.  Plus you want even tension so the braid comes out even.

After making several feet of braid, it was time to lace it together to form the rug.

As you can see, my braid is a long way from perfect!  Lots of folds are visible, although it got better as I went along.

The difficult part of the lacing process is getting the rug to lay flat, even when going around the curves.

Here is my rug just after being completed!

The class consisted of 7 other ladies plus our wonderful and dedicated instructor.  We all got along marvelously and it was just a wonderful experience.

The campus of the Folk School is breathtakingly beautiful, and quite historic.

My class met in this building, which also houses the quilting studio. (No quilting classes were going on the week I was there.)

We had our class at long tables in this room, since there was no weaving going on that week.

Look at all those looms!  My next class might have to be weaving.

Every morning started out cool and misty. . .

And ended up being sunny and gorgeous!

I can't wait to go back!                                                            

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Going to the dogs: Final Chapter

An epic custom order is complete:

You'll recall from this post that a customer had commissioned a quilt made from many years accumulation of dog kerchiefs.  She had owned a series of poodles and every week they went to the groomer for a bath and a kerchief.  

It's been a long journey from what was
many bags of kerchiefs in every color and
size .  . .

to organized sets of blocks. . .

layout. . .

and completion!

I hope it looks as good on my customer's bed as it does on mine!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Going to Dresden-- the big finish!

Let's finish our Dresden Plate blocks with an easy way to make perfect circles and lots of fancy stitches!

(If you need to catch up:  Part 1 and Part 2)

We've constructed the petal portion of the block and pinned it to an 18 1/2" square of background fabric.
To construct the center circles:  find a bowl, plate, or something circular that's at least 3/4 of an inch larger than the center of the block.  I used a 9" luncheon size plate and it worked just fine.

Trace the circle onto a piece of lightweight fusible stabilizer.  I always have a bolt of Pellon 960F in the house for making T shirt quilts, so that's what I used.

 Cut out the circle a little outside of the drawn line, and pin it to the fabric you've chosen for the center.

Pin right sides together:  the rougher side of the stabilizer is the right side, so have that facing the right side of the fabric.

 Sew all the way around the circle on the drawn line.

Trim away the excess fabric, then cut a slit in the back of the stabilizer.

Pull the the fabric through the hole.  You will have a circle with the right side of the fabric facing up and the right (rougher) side of the fusible stabilizer on the back facing down.
 Center the circle and iron to fuse to the block.
Now it's time for my favorite part:  fancy stitches!

These pictures were taken from the back of the completed blocks (before basting and quilting).

A narrow zig zag stitch, a single or double blanket stitch, or a satin stitch around the edges of the petals and the outside of the circle will all work fine.

Baste and quilt to finish.

My sampler turned out about 18 x 54"

With all the bright colors I used for the blocks I decided to keep the quilting simple with wavy horizontal lines done in invisible thread.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Going to Dresden, Part 2

This is a continuation of my last post, about constructing Dresden Plate blocks the Quick and Easy way using the Accuquilt Go cutter tumbler block die.  Click here for the full post and join in the fun!

We have 13 tumbler blocks cut out so it's time to start sewing.

Take each block and fold it in half lengthwise, right sides together.

Sew a 1/4" seam along the bottom edge.

Turn it right side out.

A chopstick or knitting needle helps to get that point fully turned.

 Press flat.

Have an 18 1/2" square of background fabric ready, and lay out the petals in whatever order you think looks best.

Sew them together in the order you selected, then press the seams open.

Center the circle of petals on your background fabric, and pin in place.

Next post:  we'll finish the blocks and have fun with fancy stitches!