Friday, August 29, 2014

Pillow Tutorial!

Hop over to the Benartex blog today where I'm sharing a tutorial for this fun pillow!

Tile Pillow Tutorial for Benartex

There's a chance to win a fat quarter bundle as well!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Memory Quilt Custom

Matt's cousin contacted me a few months ago regarding a custom. She had a bridesmaid dress from a friend's wedding, and now the friend was having a baby. She found an idea on Pinterest and wanted a baby quilt made from the dress she wore in the wedding.

I must admit, I've seen these quilts and they aren't really my style. But it was a small, simple project, so I figured I would challenge myself.

Memory Quilt from Bridesmaid Dress

I knew that I wanted to add quilting cotton to the mix, and she mentioned that the dress was blue. I pulled some fabrics, but WOW was I surprised at how the very bright blue color of the dress! I added and subtracted fabrics until I had a nice mix of greys to go with the blue.

Memory Quilt from Bridesmaid Dress

For the quilt design, I was looking for something simple. I decided on isosceles triangles, so I picked up a few new rulers and chopped up my fabrics! The dress was short, so there wasn't very much usable fabric. I cut as many triangles as I could, and then I pieced the blue and greys randomly. Nothing planned, just grab some pieces and stitch them together!

I quilted the piece with a simple swirly meander. I wanted to keep the layers from shifting around, but also keep the quilt soft.

Memory Quilt from Bridesmaid Dress

For the backing I chose 2 fun prints - the kite print is also in the quilt top and I like that it brings a bit of red and purple into the design. The binding is a brighter blue, one of my favorite prints! I remember being unsure of the brighter blue, but as soon as the quilt was finished I LOVED it.

Memory Quilt from Bridesmaid Dress

Memory Quilt from Bridesmaid Dress 

In the end, I actually love this entire quilt. The blue color really pops, and the shine of the satin is a fun touch. I've heard that the mom absolutely loves it, and Matt's cousin was really happy with what I created for her friend.

*If I remember correctly, quilt finished at about 36" x 42".
*I did not stabilize the satin. It was very easy to work with, and had very little fraying!
*Because of the bulk of the satin, I pressed all seams to the cotton fabric. Ironing did not damage the satin, but I tried to iron only on the cotton and barely touch the seams to flatten them a bit.
*I used the same needles and thread in my long arm that I would have used if the quilt had been all cotton.
*I used Quilter's Dream Poly batting in Select loft.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Projects from my patterns!

Over the last few months I've sewn up a few different projects using my patterns. Some of these are from classes that I taught locally, and some are samples for local shops!

First up, some pillows!
The original pillows that I made for my Gathering Place pattern were done in a Christmas print:

Christmas Gathering Place Pillows

For one pillow I gathered the side panel and created a scalloped edge:

Christmas Gathering Place Pillows

On the other pillow I did some pintucking on the side panel and a zig zag edge:

Christmas Gathering Place Pillows

Click over to my flickr stream for more photos.

Next I created a set of pillows in batik. These are samples in a local shop:

Batik Gathering Place Pillows

On this pillow I combined a gathered side panel and a curved edge. I let the batik print dictate the curve on this one:

Batik Gathering Place Pillows

This is probably me favorite of them all! For this pillow I combined
 the pintucked side panel and a zig zag edge:

Batik Gathering Place Pillows

I quilted the backs with straight lines. It goes so well with both of these batiks!

Batik Gathering Place Pillows

The last of the pillows is this Halloween set. I used these to teach a local class last fall:

Halloween Gathering Place Pillows

I wanted to have a little fun with these, so I tried to create a "monster teeth" edge on this pillow, combined with a pintucked side panel:

Halloween Gathering Place Pillows

On the second pillow I created a small, tight zig zag with a gathered side panel:

Halloween Gathering Place Pillows

On the pillow backs I combined straight line quilting with a few lines of zig zag stitch. It adds a fun touch, I think!

Halloween Gathering Place Pillows

The other pattern that I used recently is the Hexie Chains quilt pattern. I love this pattern, for so many reasons! It sews up really quickly, is a great way to use some prints in larger chunks,  and is really fun to quilt! I used a layer cake for this quilt - the pattern calls for 44 hexagons, so I had to cut an extra 2 from a fat quarter. The background is Essex yarn dyed linen - it was SO easy to work with, even with all of the bias edges!

Hexie Chains Quilt in Blueberry Park

On the back I used a bunch of prints from my stash:

Hexie Chains Quilt in Blueberry Park

In the linen background areas I quilted simple wavy lines and in each hexagon I quilted a different design:
Hexie Chains Quilt in Blueberry Park

For the thin blue border I went with a simple zig zag for the quilting:

Hexie Chains Quilt in Blueberry Park

If you've sewn something from any of my patterns or tutorials, I would love to see it! I'd like to write a post featuring all of your projects! The fastest way to reach me is by email (Quiltygirl AT gmail DOT com), so feel free to send over a few pictures of your projects!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Paper Lanterns Quilt - New Pattern!

I have a new pattern to share! I designed this quilt top using a jelly roll (or 40 strips measuring 2 1/2" wide x width of fabric) and 2 1/4 yards of one other fabric, for the background. It's a great project to use up precuts in your stash, or quickly grab a few things at the store for a fast project! I find that after a few weeks of more complex projects, it's nice to work on something simple for a bit.

Paper Lanterns Quilt in batiks

The chains of paper lanterns provide really great space to practice different quilting designs! I couldn't decide on a thread color, so I used a green and a blue, alternating between rows. In the background I quilted some simple circles with black thread.

Paper Lanterns Quilt in batiks

Paper Lanterns Quilt in batiks

Paper Lanterns Quilt in batiks

Paper Lanterns Quilt in batiks

 The thread really stands out on the black backing fabric!

 Finishing at 48" x 60", this is a great pattern for a baby quilt, a small lap quilt, or a wall hanging. I may hang this quilt in my new studio after we move!

Paper Lanterns Quilt in batiks

The pattern is now available on Etsy and Craftsy!

Paper Lanterns Quilt in batiks

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!