Monday, July 28, 2008

'Christmas Spice' quilt tutorial part one ~ Sew blocks and quilt

I have called this quilt tabletopper 'Christmas Spice'. Don't forget to click on the photos to enlarge for more detail which may help you as you work.

I came up with name after creating the first 3D star block and thinking it reminded me of star anise.

For this 15 inch quilt, you will need the following:
Cutting mat, ruler and rotary cutter
9 fabrics for the 3D star blocks
3 fabrics for the borders
Quilt thread and large beads

Cut one six inch square from each of the nine fabrics choosen for the 3d star blocks.

Fold the block in half and iron only the ends of the fabric.

The block will look like above photo once all four ends are ironed. Be careful not to iron all the way across so as not to have a crease in the star at a later stage.

Measure from the ironed fold 1-1/4 inches from to the right and place a pin.

Fold the fabric where the pin is placed back in harmonica style as shown lining up the fabric edge and bringing the ironed fold forward. This will give you a edge by the corner of the square of approximately 3/8 to 1/2-inch (see right corner of photo)

Pin these folds in place. Be sure to leave the center of the fabric loose.

Once all four folds are in place, sit the block down on an ironing pad with the four corners straight and the center mound of fabric upwards.

Here is the fun and magical bit! Just tap the fabric mound and it will flatten on its on to form a diagonal square on the folded square. This square in the center will measure approximately 1-3/8 inch.

Iron this down flat.

The back of your block will look like this.

The front like this. I will refer to this portion I am holding up as the fabric square later when we create the 3D effect. This block now measures 3-1/2 inch.

Cut 6 strips - 3-1/2 inch x 1 inch from your first border fabric (I choose green).

Sew these strips to the blocks forming 3 rows of 3 blocks.

Cut 4 strips of fabric - 10-1/2 inches x 1 inch from this same border fabric.

Sew these strips between the three rows being careful to match the cross seams as shown in the previous photo. Once you remove the pins from the folded blocks, you will have give to pin the row of blocks easily to fit the strip.

Cut 2 strips - 11-1/2 inch x 1 inch from the same border fabric. These strips will be sewn along the top and bottom completing the square.

Cut 2 strips - 11-1/2 inch x 1 inch from the second border fabric. I choose a dark red. Sew these strips along the two sides.

Cut 2 strips - 12-1/2 inch x 1 inch from the same border fabric. Sew these strips along the top and bottom edge.

Cut 2 strips - 12-1/2 inch x 1-3/4 inch from the third border fabric. I used a red and gold fabric. Sew these strips along the two sides.

Cut 2 strips - 15-1/2 inch x 1-3/4 inch from the third border fabric. Sew these strips along the top and bottom.

Quilt as desired by hand or machine.

Sew a binding on the quilt to finish it off.

On to part two which is creating the 3D star effect.

'Christmas Spice' quilt tutorial part two ~ Create the star

In the second part of the tutorial, we are going to create the 3D effect. This brings the blocks to life with a star in each square.

You can feel the center of the block through the patchwork. You will be able to feel where the four folds have come together.

Knot a piece of quilt thread and feed this into the back of the quilt so that the thread tail disappears in the backing.

This drawing can be referred to for the placement of the thread to create dimension.

Bring the needle and thread up through the center of the quilt block.

Go from the center to the middle of the left side of the diagonal square. Pass the needle through from top to bottom of the fabric square only (not through the entire quilt).

Continue this step three times as shown. See drawing.

This creates a stitch on each of the four sides of the fabric square which can now be gathered by pulling the quilt thread.

Pull tightly and place a stitch in each of the four points of the star to hold the form together.

Continue back to the first form taking on extra stitch and create a loop to tie off the thread but do not cut. The knot is to secure the star form before adding the bead.

Add a large bead with the same thread. I fed the thread through the bead three times to secure it before tieing off and working the thread tail once again into the quilt.

The Christmas Spice quilt measures 14 3/4 inch square. It makes a sweet tabletopper for the upcoming holidays.

Quilting is optional. Here is the back of my quilt which I have kept simple and used large quilt stitches to be sure the gold metallic quilt thread shows.

If you have any questions about this project, please contact me as I will try to help in any way I can. I hope you will enjoy making this very simple quilt. Even if you have never tried quilting, this might be a fun project to try out. Remember ~ measure twice, cut once!

Merry Christmas in July!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A short break...

"With my needle
I planted these flowers
To capture the peace
Of the stitching hours"

~ Just Nan stitching verse ~

I had promised you the Christmas in July tutorial tomorrow. I hope you will forgive me for postponing it until Monday. I am off for a long weekend at Cranberry Cottage. My bags are pack and also a few patchwork blocks are ready to be sewn. It is nice weather and I hope to sit out in the garden working on them.

The project has turned out really nice. So nice, in fact, that I am going to make a second one with an autumn theme now. I really hope you will join my on Monday. In the meantime, have a wonderfully creative weekend!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Introducing the color purple...

In my previous patchwork blocks for the Centennial Sampler, I have used the colors blue, green and brown. Time to add another color to this sampler in the form of purple. I am continuing to try and give these blocks an unorganized and old look to them. I was unsure it was going to work but when I placed my blocks up on my design wall in the quilt studio, I found it works very well so far. I will share a photo of the design wall next week when I update you once again.

I picked two blocks and decided to trace the templates and cut them out before I left for Cranberry Cottage. This freed me up to do just the sewing while I was there as I find preparing the block at the cottage takes up much of my time. I was able to finish two blocks this weekend with this extra preparation finished.

First, I choose The Bars which is a simple block as it is all straight seams. I wanted something simple to work on after the block last week with its 32 triangles and my second choice for this weekend...

...which was the New England Star. This block contains 24 triangles which is much easier than the previous block Jack in the Box. Now I have to go through the book once again this week to pick two more blocks for the next weekend.

Finally, I was given the KreativBlogger award by Tanya over at At the Honeysuckle Tree.

I must pass it on with the following rules:
1. The winner may put the logo on her blog.
2. Put a link to the person you got the award from.
3. Nominate 5 blogs.
4. Put links to the blogs.
5. Leave messages to the nominees.

I am passing this award on to members of my stitching group who also blog. They are an amazingly talented group of ladies that are also wonderful friends. Our group is very small and we have become very good friends. Here are some of these members who also blog:
1. Barbara
2. Britt
3. Christine
4. Clare
5. Margaret
6. Nancy
7. Nancy
8. Roberta
I know I awarded this to more than 5 bloggers as in the rules but really wanted to share this with these very creative ladies! You and the entire group are just the greatest. I wish the entire list had blogs as I would have awarded it to each and every one of you. You all inspire and encourage each other every day. That is something very special and I am so grateful to lead this group!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Busy weekend ahead...

On one of my stitching lists, we are doing a summer challenge. We pick a project that we want to focus on trying to finish by the end of the summer. I choose Silent Sampler and this is my progress after our first week of the challenge. I was able to complete the basket. I am already setting my goals for this week...

Another personal challenge this year was to try and finish as many of my quilt UFOs as possible. I pulled two more off my hangers and got one of them started. This is a tablerunner I worked up as a sampler for a high tea workshop but never gave as I decided to stop giving lessons. I am hand quilting this one too and keeping it rather simple to accent the simple lines of the quilt.

The second UFO is waiting on my ironing board to be sandwiched and will be machine quilted as it is unusual fabrics that would be too difficult to hand quilt. More about that one hopefully next week...

And finally a question for all your out there in blogland. I received these old fashioned wash pegs from a friend who knew I was looking for them to put in a jar in my redecorated laundry room when it is done. They are new and very light wood. Does anyone know a method to make them look old? I would love any tips and suggestions.

Have a great weekend everyone! My hobby backpack is ready to go to Cranberry Cottage. I hope to sew two more patchwork blocks while I am there as well as do some stitching on Silent Sampler.