The Bike Quilt!

Earlier this year I had a small break between customer quilts, so I was able to work on something of my own! This was right after QuiltCon, and I was motivated to become better at quilting without my stitch regulator.

I pulled out this quilt top, which included everything from straight lines to stitch in the ditch and curves! It was a great piece to practice on, and I think it turned out quite well.

I quilted straight lines in the background areas, switching up the direction of the lines, the spacing, etc. In the curves pieces I used lots of different quilting designs.

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Some of the quilting is hard to see in the printed fabrics, so here are some pics of the back!

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This quilt finished at sort of an odd size (I think it's about 60" square). Perhaps I'll hang it in my studio with the backside facing out. There are so many great quilting designs on here that It will likely provide great inspiration!

Quilting after PRK - my Halloween projects!

A month ago I had PRK, which is similar to LASIK, but has a longer recovery period. I was told that my vision would be unpredictable, especially up close. It was weird to hear that, as I was having the procedure to correct nearsightedness, but it's because of the recovery process and the healing that my eyes are going through.

Not being able to see well is not great news for a quilter, especially when the length of recovery can vary quite a bit from 1 person to another! I spent the first week doing a whole lot of nothing.  I tried to quilt a few days after the procedure but just couldn't see clearly. Week 2 my vision was better but still very blurry. This is when I realized that I couldn't quilt, but I could piece just fine! I finally had the opportunity to sew some of my own projects!

I started with a simple hourglass quilt made from a Halloween layer cake of Haunted Gala from Moda and a Cloud 9 solid in coral.

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I used the Quilter's Dream wool batt in this quilt, and I knew I wanted it quilted lightly. This was also a great way to ease back into quilting with so-so vision, because I used a ruler for the curves and I just had to hit the very obvious intersections of my piecing!

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I LOVE how this turned out. I spilled something on the quilt when I was carrying it around to hand bind while Addy was at swim team practice, so I had to wash it sooner than I otherwise would have. That ended up being a blessing in disguise, because the washing really softened up the batting! And that orange peel quilting -it steals my heart every time!

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For the backing I chose the Rhoda Ruth wide back Starlight print in flame. I'm in love with wide back fabric, and this sateen does not disappoint! For the binding I used the Carolyn Friedlander Architextures in black.

I seem to love to collect Halloween fabric, and I had just bought a charm pack of Boo! by Cotton and Steel. I paired that with the leftover solid and made some quick pillows for our new couch! They ended up about 20" square, and I used the existing throw pillows that came with the couch as a guide. 

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I played with some quilting that I learned from Jodi Robinson, and I really love it! It's a fun design to quilt, and it filled out these crazy-shaped areas quite well.

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I used another Cotton and Steel print called Paint Dot in Cloud on the back, and quilted it with randomly spaced straight lines. The fabric has these really fun metallic dots all over it. I'd love to get my hands on several more yards of that print, but it seems to be sold out everywhere!

I used Quilter's Dream cotton batting in the select loft for the pillows.

I really love the pillows and quilt on my couch, it adds a bit of color and whimsy to the room! I think that's what I like best about Halloween fabrics and decoration - it's a great excuse to embrace whimsical designs and just have fun! I'll try to snap a pic of the quilt and pillows in my living room and post it on Instragram. If you don't already follow me there, here's the link!

Tips for Working with a Long Arm Quilter

During the last Pittsburgh Modern Quilt Guild meeting, I had the opportunity to talk about how to make the most of your experience with a long arm quilter. As I was typing up some notes for the talk, I realized that I've never shared these tips with all of you!

I want to do the best that I can with every quilt that enters my studio, but I can only control my own work. Here are some tips that help me to do my best work, which will result in both of us being happy!

Preparation:
-Invest in quality fabric, thread and batting: long arm quilting is an investment. Make the most of your investment!

While Piecing the Quilt Top:
Press seams to one side rather than open
Press to the darker fabric whenever possible
Fix any puckers or fullness in the quilt top, including wavy borders
Press the quilt top and stay stitch around the top (1/8" - 1/4" from the raw edge)
Trim loose threads
Mark border scallops (if applicable), but do not cut
Leave off any embellishments

Backing and Batting:
Choose a backing no darker than the lightest fabric in the quilt top
Batting and backing must be at least 6" longer and 6" wider than the quilt top
Use a bleached batting for quilts with a lot of white or light fabric
1 horizontal seam in the backing is preferred, although other pieced backing will be accepted
Remove any selvedges from the seams in the backing fabric
-Selvedges along the edges of the backing may remain
Square up and press your backing - Rip your backing for straight edges!
Do not assume that a backing design can be centered in the finished quilt

Shipping and Delivery:
Press top and backing well
Label the top and bottom of the quilt top and backing
Fold the top and backing around the batting to avoid firm creases
Do not baste the layers!
Place project in a plastic bag to prevent possible water damage from rain when shipping
Include the signed and completed Take In Form and Checklist with your project
Contact me before shipping or delivering
-I prefer shipping without signature required. Please note that requiring a signature upon delivery may result in as many as 3 business days delay in my receipt of your quilt.

Here is a printable version of these notes. This file can also be found on the Long Arm Quilting Services page.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions of tips to add to this list, please leave me a comment!

SewPro recap and a quilt!

Wow, it's been a lot time since I've blogged!

This past weekend I attended SewPro in Chicago, and I learned so much about running a crafty business. I'm the first to admit that one of my weaknesses is with social media. I loved InstaGram for a long time, and I still use it frequently. It's so easy to snap a picture while I'm working on a quilt and see the likes and comments pour in! Now that IG has changed, I'm struggling. I see pictures hours or days after they are posted, and I assume others are having the same experience! So, while I'll continue to use IG, I'm also going to recommit to blogging and sharing on facebook!

I attended several different lectures at SewPro, from book publishing to taxes, and more! It was great to surround myself by others who are also making their space on the business side of the crafting world, and the support was amazing! I've always felt very supported by others in the industry, and this was no exception. Connections were made, knowledge was gained, and I have spent my first day home working on my facebook page and blog, while waiting on a customer quilt. ;)

If you're considering a business in the craft world, or have a business and need support, consider attending SewPro in 2017! And if you have any questions, feel free to comment or email me: quiltygirl AT gmail DOT com

Now, let's see how pretty quilt pictures! If you follow me on IG, you've seen these before. As usually happens, I snapped some pics as I was working. It's still quite fun, and oftentimes shocking, to see the full reveal! This is the Northern Lights quilt pattern by JayBird Quilts, and it was pieced by my mom!

Northern Lights - Pattern by JayBird Quilts, Pieced by my mom, quilted by The Girl Who Quilts

Northern Lights - Pattern by JayBird Quilts, Pieced by my mom, quilted by The Girl Who Quilts

I quilted this with alternating swirls and straight lines. The straight lines really allow the swirly designs to stand out! In the center I quilted a swirling paisley, which has become a go-to design for me when I want to fill and elongated space.

Northern Lights - Pattern by JayBird Quilts, Pieced by my mom, quilted by The Girl Who Quilts

Northern Lights - Pattern by JayBird Quilts, Pieced by my mom, quilted by The Girl Who Quilts

Here's a closer shot of the designs I used. Sorry about the pic quality!

Northern Lights - Pattern by JayBird Quilts, Pieced by my mom, quilted by The Girl Who Quilts

Northern Lights - Pattern by JayBird Quilts, Pieced by my mom, quilted by The Girl Who Quilts

And here's the back! I was so proud of my mom for creating this super cool back! I just love how the quilting stands out, too. It's so much fun to quilt solids, because there's nothing for the quilting to compete with. :)

Stay tuned for some more long arm quilting. I have a huge backlog of stuff to share, and I'm hoping that my time at SewPro was the kick in the pants that I needed to jump back in!

Star Tablerunner and Cloth Napkin Tutorial!

This tutorial was originally posted on the Benartex blog last week.

Today I'm going to share a tutorial for a cloth napkin and tablerunner set using the adorable Frosty Forest fabric line by Cherry Guidry.

Christmas In July Tutorial for Benartex

Let's get started!

Here are the prints that I used for this project:

1 yard of Jubilee Geo Multi
1 yard Jubilee Geo Grey
1/8 yard Frosty Snowflake Green
1/2 yard Dot Jubilee Red
1/4 yard Jubilee Geo Green
1/4 yard Snowman Swirl Grey
1/4 yard Snowman Swirl Turquoise

You will also need 18" x 50" of batting if you choose to quilt your table runner.

Cut the following pieces from your fabrics:
From Jubilee Geo Multi:
4 squares at 17" x 17"

From Jubilee Geo Grey:
cut 3 binding strips at 2 1/2" x WOF
(Save remaining fabric for backing)

From Frosty Snowflake Green:
2 strips at 1 1/2" x 12 1/2"
2 strips at 1 1/2" x 14 1/2"

From Dot Jubilee Red:
4 strips at 1 1/2" x 12 1/2"
4 strips at 1 1/2" x 14 1/2"
1 square at 6 1/2" x 6 1/2"
4 squares at 4" x 4"

From Jubilee Geo Green:
8 squares at 3 1/2" x 3 1/2"
8 squares at 4" x 4"

From Snowman Swirl Grey:
4 squares at 3 1/2" x 3 1/2"
4 squares at 4" x 4"

From Snowman Swirl Turquoise:
2 squares at 6 1/2" x 6 1/2"
8 squares at 4" x 4"

Here are the different size pieces for the table runner:

Christmas In July Tutorial for Benartex

The backing fabric (folded on left), binding strips and napkin fabric:

Christmas In July Tutorial for Benartex

To finish the edges of the napkins, draw a line 1" from each edge of the napkin square on the wrong side of the fabric. Use a pencil or a pen that does not disappear or set with heat:

Christmas In July Tutorial for Benartex

Next, fold each edge in to the drawn line. This should create a 1/2" fold (first edge is shown folded below, repeat with all 4 edges):

Christmas In July Tutorial for Benartex

Once all 4 edges are folded into the lines, fold in again by 1/2" on all 4 edges:

Christmas In July Tutorial for Benartex

I like to pin the corners in place:

Christmas In July Tutorial for Benartex

Now stitch down all of the folded edges, being sure to catch the corners in the stitching:

Christmas In July Tutorial for Benartex

Repeat to create all 4 napkins!


To make the table runner, begin by drawing a diagonal line on the back of each Dot Jubilee Red 4" x 4" square and each Jubilee Geo Green 4" x 4" square:

Christmas In July Tutorial for Benartex

Next pair each red 4" x 4" square with a Grey Snowman Swirl 4" x 4" square.
Pair each green 4" x 4" square with a Turquoise Snowman Swirl 4" x 4" square.
Stitch 1/4" from the both sides of the drawn line. Repeat for all of the paired squares:

Christmas In July Tutorial for Benartex

Trim the squares apart on the drawn lines:

Christmas In July Tutorial for Benartex

Press your seams (you can choose to press open or to one side):

Christmas In July Tutorial for Benartex

Now square up all of these half square triangles to 3 1/2" x 3 1/2". I like to use a 6 1/2" square ruler and line up the diagonal line of the ruler with the seam line of each half square triangle:

Christmas In July Tutorial for Benartex

Next sew the half square triangles into pairs, as shown below. Press the seams. You will create 4 sets of the grey/red and 8 sets of the green/blue:

Christmas In July Tutorial for Benartex

Now we will work with one block at a time. Begin by laying out the red and grey block as shown:

Christmas In July Tutorial for Benartex

Sew the pieces into rows and press the seams:

Christmas In July Tutorial for Benartex

Next sew the rows together and press the seams to complete the block:

Christmas In July Tutorial for Benartex 

Attach a 1 1/2" x 12 1/2" Frosty Snowflake Green strip to the top and bottom of the block. Press seams:

Christmas In July Tutorial for Benartex

Now attach a 1 1/2" x 14 1/2" Frosty Snowflake Green strip to each side of the block. Press seams:

Christmas In July Tutorial for Benartex

Repeat the above steps to create TWO blue/green blocks with red borders.
Stitch the 3 blocks together with the red/grey block in the center and press the seams:

Christmas In July Tutorial for Benartex

For the backing, the remaining piece of Jubilee Geo Grey fabric must be cut into 2 pieces measuring approximately 28" x 20" and pieces together along the 20" sides to create a piece measuring approximately 55" x 20".
At this point you can finish your table runner with a simple backing or quilt it. I prefer to quilt my table runners.

To finish the table runner with a bound edge, sew together the 3 binding strips of Jubilee Geo Grey and bind using your favorite method!

Christmas In July Tutorial for Benartex

Look at that, it's only July and you've got a Christmas decoration and/or gift all ready to go!