Thursday, October 31, 2013

Stars and Stripes Quilt

"Ohhhh....say can you see....."

 In unison " the dawn's early light..."

Yes. No need to ask.  I love this quilt!

  I bought the Hexa go-go book last year and I cannot express my love enough for this book and quilt. It turned out to be better than I imagined!


I started prepping my hexies at the end of December and had them all finished by the end of January.

The next months consisted of laying out

and hand piecing the blue section and rows together. 

I decided to cut out all fifty stars and raw applique them. I had attempted a few hand embroidered stars but didn't like the direction they were going. 

It was at this point when I appliqued the hexie rows on the backgrounds, that my plans for a Fourth of July throw changed a significant direction.  What I imagined to be a large throw became more.

 It was then, that my darling husband suggested that I hang it in the newly painted/rearranged game room. The boys have sports pennants, posters, and paraphernalia galore in the room.
 Doesn't a flag seem fitting? The one thing ALL the sports have in common?

When I had the "throw" mindset, I was going to skip the pieced borders.

I am SO glad I didn't. 
Love all my neutral "black and white" bits!  Memoirs fabric scraps?  Can I have more please?

I love this bit with the word ducklings, because I have always called my boys ducklings when we go out en mass to the store or zoo.  "Make way for ducklings!" 

The tiny blue paisley border?  A nod to our new home, Texas.


The quilting. 

I originally thought I would quilt like the book. However, when I loaded it on my machine?
 It begged me to get a little daring. 

A wonky pattern back and forth frames the pebbled and curved frames for the wonky "bow tie" blocks.

A looped-y-loop pattern along the rows.

With reversed curves on the hexies themselves.

A reverse curved pattern around the stars.

Which resembles flowers on the back.

Meandering in blue variegated.   And yes.  That white in the middle does look a little "yellow".
 I ran out of Kona White scraps and popped a few Kona Snow hexies about!  I really like it!

The backing seems to have a way to enhance and hide the quilting on the back.
It's a cool French script by Tim Holtz.

It evokes thoughts of my favorite mini series, John Adams. He wrote his lovely Abigail frequently from Paris. Maybe in French?  If not, they were allies right?

And the binding.  I have had this red ticking in my stash and had just enough for this quilt.
 I liked that it was soft and didn't detract from the quilt itself.

I know I'm no Betsy Ross, but I am so happy to be able to have this hanging in my home, as soon as I get the sleeves in the next few days. I need hubby's help to hang it this weekend. It is QUITE heavy!

Oh, and other than the backing?

"....and the la-a-nd of the free........"

God bless America!
(Had to share the blowing in the wind shot. I can't help myself!!)

Linking up to Bloggers Quilt Festival
(Category Wall Hanging) Entry #73
Voting begins today!

Blogger's Quilt Festival -

Quilt Stats:
Measures 102" x 70"

Pattern: Stars and Stripes from Hexa go-go book
Fabrics:  Scraps, Kona White, Kona Snow, Kona Red
Pieced by:  Heidi Grohs @ Buttons and Butterflies
Quilted by: Heidi Grohs on Avante HQ 18" Longarm Machine

Thanks for stopping by, stick around. I have more quilts to come.
 Christmas is arriving and my WIP list is quite long!


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sewing Studio Mini Quilt

My second entry for the


This Spring I decided to work on a Mini quilt.  I was sorta stuck in a commissioned quilt and "large quilts that are still not done" rut.  

I always feel like I need to spice it up.  I trolled my own Pinterest Quilt Inspiration board and landed on this.

This sewing studio block By Charise Creates glared me in the eye.

I adore this block.  I do not necessarily adore my execution!
 I am, however, really happy with my fabric choices.

I chose my fabrics all around the lace fabric from Serenata by Riley Blake.  

I saw the lace in the original block on the dress and knew I had to use my hoarded bundle!

I was really happy with the basic solids that were included in the Serenata FQ bundle I purchased from Knotted Thread!  The gray was perfect for the dressform and the nice stippled color of the beige made for a great background.

This is where I keep it real.  For those who know, me?   I always have to keep it real!

I didn't stay closely to the pattern on the sewing machine and spool.  The original design is actually for freezer paper piecing not foundation, so I had to improv a few things.  

 It's okay. Make fun of my spool and machine.  I say it just gives it more character.

The only fabrics that are not from Seranata line are the quilt on the machine, binding, and backing.  

The binding (and dress belt) is the Orange Tic Tac from Life in the Jungle.
 The backing is a Joann's special that I had no plans for in any near future.  The colors seemed to compliment well enough.

I just loved the notions and tried to get it to look like the tape measure was hanging out of the jar.

The hexagon quilt is a nod to my obsession with English Paper Piecing right now.  If you want to see my other Blogger Festival submission HERE,  you will understand what I am talking about!
  I used the Jungle Hexie Blue!

I started out with just wanting to outline the sewing items, but ended up outlining, and echoing, and echoing, and echoing some more.

I have linked it to the Blogger's Quilt Festival under "doll/mini quilt".

Quilt Stats:
Measures: 14" x 14"
Pattern: Sewing Studio Block by Charise Creates
Fabric: Serenata and Life is a Jungle by Riley Blake
Backing: Sewing notion from Joann Fabrics
Binding: Life is a Jungle Orange Tic Tac
Quilting: Machine quilted on domestic machine by myself.

I'm not quite sure where this happy little mini is going to live, but for now, it is going on my giant clipboard behind my machine!

It already has sent good sewing vibes in my studio.  I have just completed my 16th quilt for the year!

Home Stretch {WIP Wednesday}

I am getting pretty pumped!

I am three quarters of the way done binding my Stars and Stripes Quilt!

I loaded it last week on ole Betsy.  I had planned on following the example from the Hexagogo book. 

But I was carried away and it took much longer than I had anticipated.

Especially since hubby was gone all last week!

I am extremely happy with the dense quilting since it is going to be a wall hanging. And after blinding it with it on my lap the past few days? I don't think anyone will want to curl up under it. It is heavy and huge!

After binding, I have to make hanging sleeves.

My goal is a complete finish by end of business day on Thursday!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Quilted Leaf Potholders {Tutorial}

I was undecided about writing up a tutorial for these, but I received a ton of emails asking me if I would after posting my original leaf potholders two weeks ago.  I had made three for myself, but really wasn't up to making any more.  However, when someone asked me to make them a pair?  I finally had a reason to make some and take some pictures for you!

 I have finally been able to create a .pdf for this tutorial.  Please go HERE for the .pdf for download.

Leaf Potholder Tutorial
This tutorial yields two potholders.


Fabric scraps (preferably strips with lengths approx. 14"long)
2 Batting pieces (10"x12")
2 Insul-Bright pieces (10"x12")
1 Fat Quarter (backing fabric)
1/2 yd fabric (binding fabric)
Ruler/Rotary cutter
Sewing Machine


Gather fabric scraps in all the colors you would like.  For these, I was shooting for "Fall".  I also think it would be fun to do a leaf in different colorways.
Either find or cut strips that are 1 to 2.5 inches wide and approx 14 inches long.
 I found some slightly shorter strips in my collection that I really wanted to use.  If this is the case, try to keep those at the ends. 

Piece all the strips together. I centered each strip as I went along. Your final "rectangle" or stack, like mine, should be about 14 inches tall.   Press your seams.

Layout your "rectangle" and grab your ruler, preferably with a 60 degree angle on it.

Take both your rectangles and make a 60 degree cut.  If you have never used your ruler angles, the simplest explanation is to place the 60 degree line (highlighted in white) at the bottom or with a strip that is parallel to the bottom, like the photo.  

Make sure that you have the angle going one direction on the first piece and the other direction on the second piece like the photo below.

If you are all of a sudden panicked because you don't have your ruler? Do not fear.  I placed lines on the pattern, just in case.  They are not necessarily 60 degrees, but they work. Line up the leaf on the stack of strips at a pleasing angle and place your ruler at that angle and cut away!

 (excuse the mess on my original pattern. I like to re-use printer paper when I am experimenting!)

 After your two cuts, swap one piece from each cut rectangle.
 Layout the strips at an angle like the photo below.
 Piece with a 1/4 seam allowance.  Press your seam allowance to the side.

Print and cut out the Leaf Potholder .pdf.  
I gave myself approximately an 3/8" seam allowance around the solid line.

Using your pattern with the extra seam allowance, cut two leaf patterns from your fat quarter backing, two leaf patterns from your batting, two leaf patterns from your insul-bright.  I extended my rough cuts another 3/4" to 1 inch past.
Line the pattern up with the lines on the seam line. 
(Note: the angles on the leaf .pdf are not exactly 60 degree angles, 
just focus on the center "vein" line)

Cut out a rough leaf pattern...extending it approx. 3/4" to 1 inch past the seam allowance just like the other pieces.


Layer your pieces in this order.  Backing fabric (wrong side up), insul-bright (metallic side down), batting, and stripped piece (right side up).  I use a quick dusting of spray adhesive to baste all of my pieces together.

Take your quilt sandwich to the sewing machine.  Using a complementary thread color and walking foot, mimic the straight center "vein". I chose to sew 1/4" on each side of the vein.

After that, gradual swirls from the center to the outside give the movement of the leaf veins.  I did not use my FMQ foot, but still used my walking foot.   If you shy away from anything but straight, you could just echo the strips themselves.  Either way, it will still look like a leaf when you are a done.

When you are finished, lay your leaf pattern on top and cut the leaf out.  In this photo, you can see that I was very generous with my strip lengths and just cut my leaf another 1/2 inch from my pattern (including the seam allowance).   However, I have a few at the size of the original pattern, and it is a very adequate size.

 Living in Texas the past year has just caused me to embrace "Everything is bigger in Texas".

Bias binding.

 Yes.  It makes some of the sturdiest of quilters run screaming into the nearest woods.  I do not pretend to be an expert, so please feel free to google a few tutorials.  One day, I do plan on doing a meticulous tutorial on continuous binding, however, I will have to return from the woods to do so.  

In the meantime...a short explanation for the beginners.  Bias binding gives you "stretch".  A straight cut, WOF (width of fabric) cut binding will not give you the stretch that is necessary for curves.  I caution you to not use any straight binding on this project because you will be quite frustrated.

But don't fear.  Here is my simplistic quick binding that you can use.  I would not recommend this to be used on a full quilt, but on a small project like this one? This works!


First,  I just simply cut a triangle from the 1/2 yd of fabric I pulled from my stash.

(Top Left) I then proceeded to cut 2.5" strips from the diagonal end of the triangle, opposite of the 90 degree angle.  (Top Right) After I had strips, 45 degree angles were already created at the ends.  I snipped off the selvage ends and then pieced two long strips together, as pictured.  Layer the two ends so that you have slight dog ears on each side.  (Bottom left) Stitch 1/4" seam allowance (Bottom right) Press the seam to one side. Press the strip in half, lengthwise.

Attach the binding as you would any other project.  Note:  I do not pin my bias binding.  I maneuver it on the curves as I stitch it on.  I find that I can manage the curves while stretching it to fit.  This is not necessarily the "correct" way.  If you would prefer to pin, I will not scoff at you!


Once you have attached your binding by machine and before folding your binding over for hand-sewing (or machine if that is what you prefer) it is a good time to add a loop.

Grab a 10-12" piece of strip from your bias strip leftovers.  (Top Left) Fold the two sides in to the center and press.  (Bottom Left) Fold the piece in half and press.  (Right) Stich the open side closed.

Cut your piece into two 5" pieces.

Grab and loop your 5"piece. 
I like to make it create a scoop, of sorts, by making sure the stitched ends meet. I find things are easier to hang on hooks if you do so, because the loop is naturally open. No fumbling for me!

Stitch on with a straight stitch, towards the "stem" end of your leaf.  Make sure that you do not put it directly at the top, but approximately 3/4" away from the point.  Otherwise, it could be tricky binding the point with your folds.  After I straight stitched it on at the same line of the binding, I added a zig-zag stitch to reinforce.

Fold over the binding and hand sew your binding to the back.

When you get to the loop, I recommend sewing the binding to the loop at the front.  

Then stitch the backside of the loop to the backing fabric. 
 It keeps it from pulling the binding at that point.

I am still in love with these potholders.  And when a potholder gets the stamp of approval from hubby?  I can certainly smile when I take them out to use them!

 I had some quilter friends that said "Thanksgiving Host gift idea!".  And I totally agree!  Too bad I am the hostess this year?  I also think they would be great as a housewarming party gift if the family was moving in at this time of the year, and there is always the newly married couple! 



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