Thursday, April 3, 2014

Kyle's Quilt

I have (virtual) stacks of photos to share, and hopefully I'll make time to do that soon! For now, I have a  simple, but special, quilt to share.

You may remember the pillows that I made for some close friends two Christmases ago. Our friends include my husband's ex-coworker, his wife, and their two sons. One of the sons lives in Chicago now, and the other (Kyle) was living here. In the two years since we moved to New York state, we've grown really close to these friends. Addy loves spending time with them, and she especially loves seeing Kyle. He teases her and tosses her around like an uncle, and he is so patient with her!

We knew that Kyle was looking to leave the area, but we were still quite shocked to learn that he was taking a job outside of Salt Lake City, Utah! I wanted to make Kyle a quilt, but somehow his move date snuck up on me. When I realized that I only have a few days to make his quilt, I had to decide if I wanted to sew it up quickly or mail it off to him later. I decided to whip up something before he left, because I wanted to be able to give it to him in person. It also helped to keep the design simple, which suits him well!

I choose mostly batiks for this quilt, with a few prints thrown into the mix. My local shop has such a fun selection of batiks, and they have a bit of an Asian feel to them, which is perfect for Kyle. I started with a grey and cream feather print, because I remember Kyle telling me that feathers are significant in Japanese culture. (I'm pretty sure he told me that they symbolize good luck, although googling didn't turn up much. I'll continue to think that, though, as it fits the quilt well!) I paired the creams and greys with a few different shades of blue.

Kyle's Quilt

I really like to use rectangular blocks when I can. It's such a nice break from squares!

Kyle's Quilt

I quilted an all over square design, which I think works well with the simple piecing. It was really fun to quilt an all over design for a change, and it quilted up so fast!

Here's the feather batik that I began with:

Kyle's Quilt

On the back I used a mix of prints and some Essex linen (in denim):

Kyle's Quilt

I almost forgot to add a personal label. I didn't have the time to iron a scrap of fabric and hand stitch it to the back of the quilt, so I just wrote a short note on the backing fabric. I wrote this note right before snapping these pics, and shortly after that I was in my car to hand deliver the quilt!

Kyle's Quilt

Kyle loved the quilt, as did his parents! I'm so glad that I finished it in time to hand it over in person. I know that he'll love it and use it, and think of us often. (And I may have another stack of fabrics all ready to create something for his parents....if only I could find that free time that I seem to have misplaced!)

On a personal note, our family is moving soon! We're excited to relocate to Pittsburgh sometime in the next few months. I'm sure the sewing will slow down during the move, so I hope to spend a bit of time sharing more on here! In the mean time, I post often on instagram. I hope to catch up with you over there!

Friday, March 14, 2014

English Rose Quilt Tutorial

This tutorial was originally published on the Benartex - Sew in Love with Fabric blog on Wednesday, February 26th as part of a blog hop to create quilts for childrens' charities. Please feel free to use this tutorial for your donation and gift quilts!

Hi! I'm Nikki, and I blog over at The Girl Who Quilts. I'm so excited to share a quilt tutorial today. I love to make charity quilts, so that makes this project especially fun for me!

Here are the great fabrics which Benartex provided me for this event. The collection is called English Rose, and it's a great combination of different prints.

These are the prints that I chose to use in my quilt:

Here's what you will need to create this quilt:
4 - 5/8 yard cuts of coordinating fabric
1/2 to 1 yard of large scale print (I used a floral)
1/2 yard binding fabric
3 yards backing fabric
55" x 65" batting
Large batting scraps
Marking pen or pencil suitable to use on batting

Optional: Basting spray or glue stick to temporary hold the applique pieces

To begin, I cut 8 squares measuring 10" x 10" from each of the 4 coordinating prints.

Next I cut out 8 large floral motifs from my large scale prints. I left about a 1/4" edge around the floral motifs because I wanted the background fabric color in the floral print to frame the prints.

I am going to raw edge applique the floral pieces to one of my coordinating prints. To give them some dimension, I want to back them with batting. To cut the batting, lay each of the 8 floral motifs on the batting scraps and trace around the motifs one at a time.

I like to use a marker to trace on batting. This marker erases with ironing, but if you're using a marking pen that doesn't erase just be careful not to draw on the edges of the applique pieces.

Here you can see how I drew around my floral motifs:

All traced!

Now cut the batting *inside* the drawn line by 1/4" all the way around.

If you lay the batting over the wrong side of the applique piece, the applique piece should show around the edges by about 1/4", as shown here.

At this point, you can applique your floral pieces, or wait to do that during the quilting. To applique the floral pieces now:

Lay the floral motif on one of the 10" x 10" squares, layering the cut batting between the block and the floral motif, and stitch around about a 1/4" inside the cut edge. Feel free to use a walking foot or a free motion foot to do this step. (There are pictures of this below.)

Once the piece is sewn down, you can stitch around the different elements of the motif. If you'd prefer, you can save this step for when you quilt the quilt. (See photos below.)

You can now stitch your blocks together into a 5 block x 6 block layout. You will have 2 - 10" x 10" squares left.

If you'd rather applique the pieces during the quilting process, follow the instructions below:

I chose to wait to applique my floral pieces.

First, I stitched together my blocks in a 5 block x 6 block layout.

Next I pieced my backing and basted my top, backing, and batting.

Beginning in one corner of the quilt, I started to quilt an all-over loop design.

When I approached a square where I wanted to applique a floral piece, I placed the batting and fabric in place* and quilted my way to the edge of the applique. Rather than cut my threads, I sewed from the edge of the applique up to the edge of the floral design. Can you see the stitch line to the right of my quilting foot in this photo? That is how I transitioned from the background loop quilting to stitching down the applique!

*If you're worried about the applique shifting, try basting spray or a bit of glue stick to hold the piece in place.

Next I quilted around the entire piece, approximately 1/4" from the cut edge, holding it in place as I sewed around. No need to stitch perfectly along the print!

After quilting around the piece I outlined the individual flowers and leaves, plus added some quilting details. The double layer of batting really makes the quilting pop!

Continue to applique the pieces and quilt the rest of the quilt.

If you appliqued the pieces onto the individual blocks above, you can now baste and quilt your quilt as desired. Adding quilting details to the appliqued pieces really makes them pop!

Now bind your quilt with your favorite method!

Before washing the quilt check the applique pieces for excess batting, as shown here:

If there are large pieces of batting like this, trim a bit of it away. Be careful not to cut through the applique or quilt, though! It's better to leave the excess batting than risk cutting too close. This is as close as I would try to trim:

Now wash and dry your quilt!

 The applique edges should be soft and fluffy! Feel free to trim away any long threads. I also ironed the applique pieces to flatten the edges for this photo:

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! I'm excited to send this quilt off to Benartex for donation to Quilts for Kids!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Craftsy Class Review!

Have you tried out any of the great classes offered by Craftsy yet? One of my local quilty friends, Mandy Leins of Mandalei Quilts, recently filmed two great classes for Craftsy! Her first class, A New Look at Long Arm Quilting, is totally free, and it's a great intro into playing around with a long arm. A lot of the tips will work for free motion on a domestic machine as well! I definitely recommend viewing it - and hey, it's free!

Mandy recently had a second class pop up on Craftsy, this one is called Creative Long Arm Quilting. I had the chance to view the class, and I wanted to share a little bit with you! First I'd like to point out that all of the ideas in the class can be achieved without a long arm. If you have a basic understanding of free motion quilting on a domestic machine, you can tackle all of these projects!

The class is split into 5 techniques, with 20-30 minutes of video for each of the techniques. Mandy provides great tips that she's learned in her quilting experiences, including how to avoid pitfalls and "fix" issues such as cutting fabric a bit too small. These little things can bring a project to a grinding halt if you're not prepared to deal with them, and Mandy's suggestions are always a unique and easy solution to keep your project moving forward!

My favorite project is the first technique, which uses freezer paper templates to create an abstract, raw edge quilt. Mandy shows how to create an entire throw quilt with the technique! There is a great combination of free-form piecing and quilting to give this project a lot of depth and texture. I can imagine really spectacular wall hangings made this way!
This project is absolutely doable with a domestic machine, and I think it's also a great project for many skill levels. It is very free form and forgiving for beginners, yet it is a new and different technique that many advanced quilters will enjoy. The project also gives many opportunities to practice new free motion styles!

If you'd like to hear a bit more about Mandy and the projects in her class, hop over to Quilting Is My Therapy where Angela interviewed Mandy a few weeks ago! I hope you decide to give Mandy's classe a try, and if you do please share your finished projects with her. It's always so much fun to see!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Guest Posting!

Today I'm guest posting over on the Benartex Sew in Love (with Fabric) blog! I'm excited to share a fun quilt tutorial for the Kid's Quilts Blog Hop. Each day a guest blogger will share a tutorial and Benartex will highlight a children's charity.

Hop on over to the Benartex blog where you'll see my English Rose tutorial, and you can read more about Quilts for Kids!

Monday, February 24, 2014

My Modern Tote!

I'm so excited to share that my Modern Tote has been published in the March/April issue of Love of Quilting!

Fons and Porter did such a great job photographing the tote, I just love it!

Here's my original tote. I used metal rivets to secure the handles, but the pattern calls for simply stitching them to secure. Much easier, and no extra tools needed!

The pattern includes a variation on my technique for covering 1" webbing to use for handles. I love the sturdiness of the webbing, and this allows me to use fun fabric without sacrificing that sturdiness!

If you sew up a tote, I'd love to see it!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Hexie Chains Quilt Pattern!

I'm so excited to finally share this quilt and accompanying pattern! I created this quilt a year ago as a custom order for my aunt. I love the design, and I think this is one of my favorite quilts!

The pattern is deceptively simple, and involves NO y-seams! It would be suitable for an intermediate quilter, or a confident beginner who is careful when handling pieces with bias edges.

I designed the quilt using the Hex N More ruler by Julie Herman of JayBird Quilts, but paper templates are also included if you don't have the ruler.

For my sample quilt, I chose fabrics from Bella and Glimma by Lotta Jansdotter. The large hexagons show off the prints really well! The background is a grey kona (ash, perhaps?), the border is yarn-dyed essex in denim, and the binding is a text print from Architextures.

I quilted the quilt in the "honeycomb" quilting style, which I found over at Crazy Mom Quilts!

You can find the Hexie Chains Quilt Pattern on Craftsy or Etsy!

Paper copies of most of my patterns are now available as well! Ruby Scissors Quilt Shop in Glens Falls, NY now carries them. I will update when they are available in more shops.

Feel free to contact me if you'd like to purchase a paper copy. I'm happy to ship them out to you!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Yarn Kites Quilt Pattern

I have another pattern to share with you! Sometimes I have an idea that tumbles around in my head for awhile before it becomes a tangible object, and other times I dive right in. This quilt certainly falls in the later category. I love this line, Sunnyside by Kate Spain, so I snatched up a layer cake from my local shop as soon as I laid my eyes on it. I must have been in the middle of a few intense projects, because I had a simple idea for the layer cake and I went straight home to play!

This quilt is great for beginners, especially those who are interested in trying something different from traditional piecing. The instructions walk the reader through how to create modern, one of a kind blocks, and how to put those blocks together into a quilt similar to the one pictured. There is very little measuring in the block construction, and squaring the blocks up after piecing ensures that everything fits together easily in the finished top!

The wide open background fabric is a great place to show off some quilting. I did what I call "mummy quilting", aptly named because it reminds me of layers of wrapped bandages!

I also went a little wild playing around with the quilting in the blocks, and I quilted each pieced section differently. It was a fun project to play around with, because if I wasn't crazy about a quilting design I could choose something totally different for the other areas.

The pattern uses 1 layer cake (42 - 10" squares) and 1 1/3 yards of background fabric for the quilt top. It finishes up at 57" x 72", and it's so fast and fun that you could have it pieced in a weekend!

The pattern is available for purchase through Craftsy and Etsy!