English Paper Pieced Quilt Block

 

Have you tried English Paper Piecing? EPP is a method for hand-stitching together fabric with a paper template to keep its shape. Most English Paper Piecing you see nowadays uses hexagons (or hexies), but triangles and squares are popular shapes as well.

If you’ve done some English Paper Piecing, you might be wondering what to do with your piece once you have it all stitched together. A great option is to turn it into a quilt block for a larger quilt. I made this block as part of a charity quilt, so it will be combined with lots of other blocks to make one amazing quilt! I’ll show you how I did it.

Start with your EPP piece. You want to measure it to make sure that it is larger than the unfinished size of your block.

block ready for trimming

 

Lightly spray with spray starch or Best Press.

spray with starch

Iron flat. Since you starched the front, be sure to iron from the back – this is the easiest way to not burn the starch!

When it is as dry as possible, it still may be slightly damp to the touch.

still damp to touch

Carefully remove any remaining papers from the back of the block.

taking out papers

Press again.

pressing again

Start trimming up your block. Take as little off as possible, you can always cut it smaller later.

trimming block

Cut all four sides. My block was to be 8″ finished in the quilt, so I made it 8.5″ (to accommodate seam allowances).

back of trimmed block

Be VERY careful with your cut block. Where the seams are cut, it is very weak. Add stay-stitching at about 1/8″ to support the block. This will be inside the seam allowance, and not visible on the final quilt.

stay stitching block

Your block is ready! Make some more if you like, and stitch them together with some fun sashing for a great quilt!

Supernova Quilt

I’ve been working on this quilt for quite some time. Last fall, I made a quilt for Art Gallery Fabrics to hang in their booth at market. The Sunshine Quilt. A starburst quilt like that one uses almost entirely diamonds. The pieces around the edges don’t have to be full diamonds, but all the middle pieces do. When cutting the diamonds for the quilt, there were a lot of partial diamonds cut on the selvedge ends. Far more than could be used in the Sunshine Quilt. I wanted to use all the extra diamonds from the starburst quilt into another quilt. That’s how I came up with this Supernova Quilt.

supernova quilt

I started with all the partial diamonds. I counted how many I had, and divided by 8. That’s how many blocks I could make.

pennant shapes

I stitched these pieces into pairs, and then the pairs into sets of four. These were each half a quilt block. Then I trimmed up the edge of each so the finished block would lie flat.

trim block

I stitched the halves together to make full blocks. All of the blocks were odd sizes, so I measured the smallest to see how large a square I could get out of it. Then I cut this size square from each block.

I didn’t worry about where the center of the block was in relation to where all the points met up. I was just interested in making the same sized block out of each.

I stitched together odds and ends to make enough sashing for the quilt, and sashed all the blocks together.

The quilting looks very random, but it is a stitch in the ditch of each seam, extended out to the borders.

quilted supernova quilt

Hopefully this will be the last quilt that is quilted exclusively with my walking foot… I’ve been working on improving my free-motion quilting. Yay!

Red Zig Zag Quilt

This is a super simple quilt I made for my Modern Quilt Guild’s HST challenge. The only challenge was to make something using Half-Square Triangles. I actually had something completely different in mind – a Heart made from scrappy HSTs off-center on a solid background. But then I saw this red fabric with the trees (it is Henry Glass fabric, in case you were wondering), and it was in the 50% off section at my quilt shop. So I bought the main fabric, and the chevron, and the white and red, and put them all together very informally to make a simple quilt.

zig zag quilt

I like it. I think it is fun and bright and cheery. It isn’t very fancy, and the quilting is super simple – just stitch in the ditch around the pieced chevrons, and some straight lines across for the rest of the quilt. I bound it in the same red and white chevron that flanks the HSTs.

I don’t know what I’m going to do with this one… often when I’m working on quilts, I decide who I’ll give them to, or where in the house they will belong… but this little guy is homeless. For now.

Mini Quilt Math

Mini Quilt Math for converting your favorite patterns

Last year, I was really cranking out quilts – at a rate of about 2 per month! Yes, that is a lot of quilting! I love making quilts, and still have a lot of UFOs, as well as quilts on my wish list. But I really don’t need to make another mountain of quilts this year. To get that quilting satisfaction without all the time (and fabric!) commitment, it makes sense to make mini quilts. Several designers have started offering mini versions of their popular quilt patterns, but not every pattern is available as a mini. Instead of just crossing your fingers and hoping that your favorite patterns will be offered as mini patterns, I wrote a two-part post for Craftsy on how to use basic math to convert standard patterns into mini quilt patterns.

The first post is on basic mini quilt math. I take you through the basic steps, and at the end of the post have some tips that will help you in creating your mini.

mini jack in the pulpitThe second post is more advanced mini math – half-square triangles. It seems like they would be tricky, but if you know the “magic number” for HSTs, it is super easy to figure out how to make your mini.

 

Dr. Seuss “Oh The Places You’ll Go” Wallhanging

Quilt based on Oh the Places Youll Go by Dr Seuss

Last year I made a quilted wallhanging using a simplified version of one of the last images in my favorite Dr. Seuss Book – “Oh, the Places You’ll Go.” I think the Dr Seuss Quilt is one of my favorite things I’ve made, and now it has a companion in a second Dr Seuss Quilt. I love the quote from the book. I love the whimsy of the image, and I love that it is the first thing I ever free-motion quilted. I decided to make a companion piece this year, using the same techniques, but a different image from the same book. My hope is to make another one next year so that I can have the three hanging side-by-side in the playroom. Here are the two I have so far.

Seuss Wallhangings in Playroom

I used basically the same technique I did last year. I started by drawing out the image, and picking fabrics. I labeled my drawing so that I would know what color each part would be.

draw out and pick colors

Then I created Printable versions of each part, fused them onto the right color fabric, and fused those onto the background. I used the dark orange as a background color, cut it to 18″ square before fusing on all the pieces.

Fuse pieces in place

Then I started stitching. Using the image from the book as a reference, I spent about  4 hours quilting, which adds all the beautiful detail. I love that it doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, the less perfect, the better! Here it is quilted, but not bound.

quilted and not bound

I did make one change from last year. I painted in the lettering. Last year I took the time to cut out each individual letter, then press it, and stitch it in place. Since I was doing four lines of text this year, and they were going to be smaller, I decided that painting them in was the best choice. It was tedious, but so much better than cutting and stitching!

After quilting, I trimmed everything down, and bound the quilt, adding pockets in the corner so I could easily add a rod for hanging.

If you’re interested in making your own, here is what you’ll need:
OH THE PLACES YOU’LL GO QUILT
(finished size 21″x26″)

Fat Quarter Dark Orange fabric, cut to 18″ square.
1/2 yard green fabric (for borders – cut two pieces each 2″x18″ and two pieces 4.5″x21″)
1 1/2 yards black fabric (binding, backing)
Black thread
Small pieces (I used Fat Quarters) of the following colors: Orange, Light Orange, Light Yellow, Medium Yellow, Green, Light Gray (for the child’s hands and face)
Applique pattern pieces printed onto Jenny Haskins Web Magic (printable fusable for applique) – found at quilt shops that cater to machine embroidery
Basting Spray
Batting
Mechanical Pencil

Here are the pattern pieces:
Green 1 Fusible
Green 2 Fusible
Medium Yellow Fusible
Orange 1 Fusible
Orange 2 Fusible
Seuss Light Yellow Fusible

Even in my messy playroom, I love the way these look on my wall!

messy playroom

Please note: These instructions are for personal use only. The pattern and quilt are not for sale. The pattern is intended for personal use only. If you’re interested in purchasing Dr Seuss fabric, Robert Kaufman has awesome Seuss Fabrics.

DIY Hoodie with Rapture from Art Gallery Fabrics

Rapture Zippered Hoodie

I was one of the lucky bloggers who was sent a fat quarter bundle of Pat Bravo’s newest line, Rapture. This is such a fun line, and everyone I know who has seen it has fallen for the fabrics in it. I love that it has a great variety of larger prints and smaller prints, making it a great choice for almost any project. Which is where I ran into a problem…. what to make? Of course I could put together a quilt using Rapture, but while I wanted to be able to wrap myself up in the fabric, I wasn’t up for making another quilt in 2013. So I found a great compromise – a zippered DIY hoodie using Rapture from AGF. I spend most of the winter in jeans and a hoodie, so this way I can wrap myself in the fabrics all day long – and still get my errands done!

My inspiration came from the appliqued sweaters quilters of the ’80s and ’90s made… but an updated version. I wanted my DIY hoodie to be a modern take on those sweaters.

If you want to make your own quilted hoodie, here is what you need:

Fabric (I used FQs of Rapture by Art Gallery)
Zippered Hoodie
Freezer Paper
Fusible Fleece
Pen
Basic Sewing tools, such as a Seam Ripper, Pins, Iron, Sewing Machine

I started by prepping the sweater. This meant using a seam ripper and scissors to carefully remove the front pockets. Then I ironed a large sheet of freezer paper to one of the front panels of the sweater, then used a pen to mark the outline, making a template. I turned the hood wrong-side-out, and made a template of the hood shape as well.

I prepped the fabric by selecting the fat quarters I wanted to use. I cut a variety of different sized strips, including a wide strip of one of the larger patterns. I stitched the strips together to make what looked like a striped piece of fabric.

I ironed the templates onto the fabric. The large front panel was ironed onto the right side of the pieced fabric, and the hood was ironed onto the wrong side of my chosen fabric.

patterns made for quilting hoodie

I trimmed around the outside of each piece, adding a seam allowance as I cut.

I stitched the hood on first. I cut two of the hood pieces, one in reverse of the other. I put the two pieces right sides together, and stitched around the curve (the back seam of the hood), then pulled off the freezer paper. Then I cut the curve and pressed the seam open.

stitch and clip curves

I pinned the hood piece to the inside of the hood.

Pin fabric in the hoodie lining

All the raw edges were turned over and pinned under.

I stitched the fabric on all the way around, then stitched down the center seam (through the sweater and fabric), to make sure the hood would stay in place even after washing.

stitched hoodie lining

On to the body piece! I put it on the sweater, and using my fingernail put a slight crease along the seam lines. I was then able to take the piece to the ironing board, and easily press the raw edges over.

mark edge with fingernail

I pinned the piece in place all the way around.

Pin panel in place

After stitching the body piece in place all the way around, I quilted it down. I did a “stitch in the ditch” on each seam, stitching down each seam where two fabrics meet. On the large strip, I stitched around the motif to secure the large piece in place.

panel stitched in place

top stitch in place

Next was the pockets. I put the pockets I had taken off in place, to gauge the size. I knew I wanted to add larger pockets, so I cut rectangles the size I wanted the pockets. I then cut a second set of rectangles for the inside of the pockets. Using a pen, I drew a curve for the pocket opening, and trimmed the fabric along this curve.

check pocket placement

Two layers of woven cotton don’t provide a whole lot of warmth on a windy day, so I put a layer of fusible fleece on the lining piece of each pocket.

To make the pockets, I put the outside and inside pocket pieces right sides together, then stitched all the way around, leaving a hole for turning. I clipped the corners to reduce bulk.

stitch around pocket and trim corners

After turning, I added two lines of topstitching around the curve to give it a finished look. I also quilted down around the flowers, just like I did on the body of the sweater.

top stitch pocket

I pinned each pocket in place, then topstitched them down, making sure to go back and forth at the beginning and end to secure the stitches.

Rapture Fabric on a Zippered Hoodie

For fun, I trimmed off a piece of the selvedge from the fabric, and top stitched it onto the label.

selvedge on the tag

Once it was done, I ran it through the wash. The washer and dryer softened the fusible fleece so that the pockets were perfect instead of stiff, and the fabric washed beautifully.

My friend Gina from Mom’s Lifeboat was over, so she took some photos of me in my new sweater.

Zippered Hoodie with Rapture Fabric

We also discovered that I have no future as a fashion model. I can’t say that I’m that broken up over it.

I have no future as a model

Zippered Rapture Hoodie

We did manage a few decent photos.

Sweater with Rapture Fabric

I’ve already worn my new DIY hoodie out and about, and gotten tons of compliments on it! I think this is a great way to have some fun with beautiful lines of fabric – ones that are worth living in.

Signature Baby Quilt

This little baby quilt is long overdue, in a number of ways. The blocks for this quilt were made at the orange and monster truck baby shower. I finally stitched them together and quilted it up about 3 or 4 months ago to give to baby D… but then it didn’t make it to their house. It was going to make it to D this weekend (for his first birthday), but he got sick… so it didn’t happen!

The blocks are “signature blocks”. All the kids at the shower were given fabric crayons and asked to draw on the blocks. Some of the kids drew a lot, and pressed hard with the crayons. Some didn’t draw much at all, and drew very lightly. Most of the kiddos were under the age of 5, which makes for some really fun artwork!

I stitched the whole thing together with orange sashing. There were only 8 blocks, so I decided to leave the center plain, and wrap the blocks all the way around. Another option would be a fun focus fabric in the center.

I just used a plain solid orange fabric for the sashing and borders.

orange signature baby quilt

I quilted it with orange cuddle on the back (to make it extra snuggly). I folded it up and tied some tulle around it. Because a quilt doesn’t really need any extra wrapping – does it?

wrapped up baby quilt

Baby D… one day your blankie will come! I promise!!

Sunshine Quilt

This post has been about a month in the making… and really the story isn’t finished yet, but I don’t want to wait any longer to share it. I got to check something major off my bucket list in October. Quilters, prepare to be jealous…

I had a quilt hang at market.

Diamonds Quilt at Marketpicture courtesy of Art Gallery Fabrics

Yup. No joke. I made that quilt hanging right there.

For anyone who has “get a quilt at Market” on their bucket list, I can tell you that for me the process was a little bit of luck and whole lot of work… with a dash of insanity thrown in.

After making the Roots and Wings Quilt, I had a bit of a “lull” in my schedule. And by “lull” I mean no major trips out of town or massive projects due. Just my steady stream of crafting and watching the kids with Halloween costumes and Christmas projects needing to get done. So I asked the folks at Art Gallery Fabrics if they needed anything done for market. They needed a quilt and a pillow, and we were off and running.

I’m not going to say that there was a major snafu with the postal service that delayed the fabric getting to me for over a week, or that I had to take a trip out of town for about 24 hours right smack dab in the middle of making the quilt. But I will say that getting to work on a project like this is better than getting a full night’s sleep. Well, I’m pretty sure. I haven’t actually gotten a full night’s sleep since 2007, and I really don’t remember it being that special.

Anyway, I got her finished, and I love her. Here is the front.

AGF Quilt Front

I cut, placed, and pieced each diamond. There are all kinds of crazy bias edges in this quilt. I had learned about glue basting the week before starting it, and that is probably what kept me sane… and made my points line up. Oh – and I quilted and hand-bound it as well.

I love adding some personality to my backs, and a variation on a stacked-coin back is my favorite way to go. I mixed it up a little this time by using the selvedges. This took a little planning – I actually cut all the selvedges from the fabric before cutting the diamonds, and set them aside to use in the backing.

AGF Quilt Back

After finishing the quilt, I still had a little steam, and a little time, to make the pouf pillow. Here it is unstuffed.

AGF Pouf

The circles are all done with reverse-applique and I inserted a big zipper around the bottom to make it easy to fill. Zippers and I usually get along, but after gettting that zipper into a curved seam… zippers and I weren’t on speaking terms for a little while.

And although you can’t see my pouf in this post (she is there though, just hiding!), here is a photo of the whole booth…

Art Gallery Fabrics Booth

picture courtesy of Art Gallery Fabrics

Why isn’t this story finished? Well… I have the blocks of a second quilt, using the scraps from this quilt, up on my design wall right now. I just need to find some hours to spend sewing, and then maybe I can show you another golden beauty…

 

ps… if you want to see more of the great Art Gallery Fabrics booth, you can read about it in their Market Wrap-Up Post.

Five Year Finish

witch quilt by buggy barn

This quilt is finally finished. It only took 5 years.

There is nothing overly complex about this quilt that made it take so long. I took a class at Quiltique when I was on maternity leave after having my oldest, who is now 5. I finished the blocks within a few days of taking the class.

A few years later, I put the blocks together and finished the quilt top. I had a friend quilt it.

A year or so after that, I made the binding.

This year, I stitched on the binding. Finally. It took 5 years, but this quilt is finished.

I have quite a few more UFOs (Un-Finished Objects) hanging in the closet that need piecing, quilting, and/or binding… I’m hoping to start working my way through them, instead of adding to them. I have already trimmed 3 quilts that need binding, and cut out their binding. I’m taking baby steps, but at least they are in the right direction.

Do you have any UFOs that you want to get caught up on?

PS – If you are interested, the quilt pattern for the quilt pictured above is from Buggy Barn. It is a fun stack-and-chop technique for making a quilt block.

Sweet Tea Picnic Made Easy (and Nine-Patch Napkins)

Sweet Tea Picnic

Recently, I was invited by Davidson’s Organics and Missouri Star Quilt Company to create a picnic. I couldn’t refuse. I’ve become something of a homebody, and anything to get me out of the house is a good thing! Plus, my son loves picnics. I kept this picnic simple, easy, and most of all, fun. They sent me sweet tea and fat-eighths of fabric to play with, in exchange for sharing my experience with all of you.

I packed up a picnic basket so that my son and I could spend the afternoon at the park.

pack up the picnic basket

I kept it simple. Mason jars with ice tea spoons, some snacks, honey for sweetening up my tea, my nine-patch napkins (more on those in a bit), and a juice box… because most 5 year olds aren’t big tea drinkers. Oh… and those big mason jars? Those are my secret weapon for packing an easy picnic.

One large mason jar is filled with ice. The other is filled with hot water and tea. The tea takes 5-7 minutes to brew. Which is about how long it takes to walk to the park from my house. So, while the water is boiling, I pack up the rest of the basket. Once the water is hot, I pour it into the mason jar, add my tea bags, pop on the lid, wrap a towel around the jar, and off we head to the park!

brew sweet tea on the go

By the time we get there, my tea is brewed, and I can pour the ice and tea into the smaller mason jars for drinking! Super easy. And while I sip my tea, my kiddo can do lots of this:

slide at the park

This made for a perfect fall afternoon with my kiddo. He’s growing up so fast!

With the fat eighths of fabric sent to me as part of my picnic package, I whipped up some nine-patch napkins. These are easy to make. Not quite as easy as the tea… but pretty simple.

I started with my fabric and 4 linen/cotton napkins.

nine patch napkin supplies

I cut the fabric into strips, 2.5″ wide, then stitched the strips into sets of 3. I pressed the seams so that half of the sets had the seams facing out, and half had the seams facing in.

two sets of strips

Then I sub-cut these into 2.5″ strips.

cut strip sets

I piled up the sets. The row on the right has the seams pointing out, and the row on the left has the seams pointing in.

I paired up strip sets to make four pairs, each using one strip from the right row, and one from the left row. Because the seams were pressed in opposite directions, they nest into each other perfectly, making for perfect intersections where the seams all meet.

I then added another strip to one side of each pair, making nine-patches.

pink the edges

Instead of leaving the edges raw, or trying to turn them under, I used pinking shears to trim the edges. This will keep them from fraying, and I really like the look of a pinked edge.

I pinned each square to one corner of a napkin.

pin squares in place

Then I stitched each square in place.

stitch down nine patch

It was that easy! We’ve got this picnic basket as a wedding gift, and until now I’ve always used paper napkins. I’m so glad I now have a set of nice picnic napkins to go in my picnic basket!

quilted napkins

Thanks again to Davidson’s Organics and Missouri Star Quilt Company for letting me join in on the fun!