Monday, October 21, 2013


Over the last month or so I have been working on items to reopen my ETSY shop.  I have almost completed the personal projects I had piling up, totes, place mats, shower gifts for family members and a king size quilt for myself. Several of these I have already posted on a previous blog. I still have one more project started but it's a secret shhhhhh, it is a holiday gift for a family member. 
My King Size Quilt

The chevron is my go to quilt for baby's as of late. Using a minimum of 8 different printed fabrics and one solid I am creating beautiful quilts.  Using this old pattern with a more modern top stitching the double folded binding is turned all to the back side.  What this does is give the front a cleaner modern look and doesn't cut off the ends of the chevron blocks. I have a confession- am crazy fanatical about 2 things in the quilting process 1) pressing every seam after every stitch and 2) squaring my blocks. I have reviewed several ways to do my blocks, after many different methods I now make 8 chevron squares at a time.  

Placing two 9 x 9" squares right sides together place an X with erasable marker corner to corner.

Erasable Marker Lines

Start stitching from one corner using this line as if it is the edge of the fabric, stitch 1/4" away.  When you get to the end turn it around and do the other side of this same line.  Repeat in the other corner.
1/4" Stitching on each side of the line

After completing the stitching, cut 4 lines to create 8 blocks.  Cut down the middle top to bottom then across the middle from side to side.  Then cut on the erasable lines and you will have 8 doubled triangles. 
Cut into 8 at the dotted line 

Press each triangle open and square to 4" x 4"
Open block and press seam to the darker fabric
Square block to 4" x 4"

If you square every block before putting it together everything lines up perfectly.  It's such a great pleasure and feeling to create a beautiful baby quilt that will be used, washed, played with and still be around for many years after they've grown.  

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Design Wall

Need, Good to have and Desire are the categories of a Quilt Artist.  Today I will talk about Desire, the other categories we can talk about another day.

DESIRE - this is where I had the design wall that I always had mapped out for my studio.  Since our home is kid free I can start and leave a project knowing it will be the same upon my return.  As the patterns I made or use allowed for more improv, using a design wall has become more necessary to audition piece placement.  So I had to figure out how I wanted mine, I'm a planner.

Belonging to a quilt guild has many perks, some of them are the variety of knowledge and the willingness to share.  I asked the question online to the group and some friends.  The suggestions ranged from easy to do to a little more work.  Easy were using a flannel backed plastic table cloth on the wall or an old box from a refrigerator - genius! Each would work but I chose to use parts of suggestions from 2 other very experienced ladies of the WNYMQG, YouTube and an element I decided I wanted.  

I like to reuse/ recycle when possible so my husband found in the basement a good size piece of unfinished door molding, the necessary screws and washers.  Between my husband and son comparatively "Tim the Tool Man" only had a couple of tools - seriously.  Having the necessary tools I knew wouldn't be a problem.  

I purchased 
4 yards of heavy weight flannel for the fuzzy top, 40% off coupon at Joanne Fabrics
White batting  for a second layer - I want the wall to be as white as possible to keep the auditioned colors true. Another 40% off coupon
1 Sheet of 4' x 8' foam board - I had Lowe's cut it in half to fit into my truck @ no extra charge

We had
2 1/2" scrap strips of white fabric
80" of door molding 
6 - 3" Screws 
4 Washers
2 - 1" dowel rods ( from a past project)
White Duck Tape 
Blue painters tape
Razor cutter
Drill - drill bit and screw driver bit
Stud finder 
Tape measure

After cutting the flannel into two pieces 72"x 44" I sewed them together creating a piece now 72" x 87".  I added a 4" hem rod pocket to each of the 72" sides, top and bottom of my now new design wall.  To give it a more finished look I put a folded binding strip down each unfinished side edge. After I decided the placement of the design wall my husband put up the door molding, finding the studs, leveling the top and staying away from outlets, you don't want them under your foam board.  Once the first screw was set I slid the top pocket onto the molding, 2 screws hold it in place.  The flannel alone can be used to audition fabrics but I knew I wanted an under layer. 

It was time for part two.  
With my foam board currently in 2 pieces I needed to measured the appropriate size to fit under the flannel.  Once cut to size with the razor and ruler I put them together with white duck tape making a square measuring 67" The foam board was then covered with a layer of batting securing it to the back with painters tape. Hubby then secured it in 4 places with a washer and screw, the washer keeps the screw from working through the foam. 

Lastly it was my decision NOT to also attach the flannel to the foam board. My thought was A) the flannel is heavy adding weight, if I use the wall to create the quilt sandwich (layering the back material, middle batting and quilt top) it would be too heavy on the foam board.  B) eventually the foam board would have many holes in the same spots if I ALWAYS had to pin into the board, replacement would be more often than necessary.  Sometimes you just need to catch the flannel or simply place the fabric and it will stick.  This will also make it easier to clean the flannel in the event I get adhesive spray on it making the quilt sandwich.

To weigh down the flannel top I used the rod pockets in the bottom, sliding the dowel rods in.

First project on the wall- a monkey chevron baby quilt, so much easier to audition placement. 

Do you use a design wall?

Friday, October 4, 2013

She's here!

A few weeks ago I was invited to a baby shower for my cousins daughter. 

Our family was large with my Mom and Dad having about a dozen brothers and sisters between them.  My placement in the group of cousins was the youngest as I am 10 years younger than my oldest sister.  It always felt like 90% of the cousins were the same age as my first 3 siblings, not many were my age.  Family gatherings in the 60's usually centered around food.  When my mom made her famous chicken chowder it became a gathering of family. All the kids played outside, yes these were the days of yo yo's, skip-it (which I was really good at) and hula hoop.  I bring this up as it was my cousin C who didn't treat me like a little kid too young to join in, she included me and taught me to hula hoop. She and my sister K are still close and I join them when I can for breakfast once a week.

I was excited to make her something special that she wouldn't get from anyone else.  The color of the baby's room was my favorite green and since we didn't know if it was a girl or boy gender neutral was the theme, that and jungle animals. I knew I wanted it to be modern, the fabrics I picked out screamed it.  I also wanted the quilting not to overshadow the chevron design and I had just taken an Angela Walters class, it was perfect for this quilt.

I made her this quilt, lion and added a baby book about lions. All I needed to add was a basket, cellophane and a bow.  She loved it. 

Two weeks later and a month before she was due a beautiful baby girl was brought into this world, she is perfect and mommy is doing well.  Grandma, my cousin C is overjoyed and to celebrate her arrival I made a pink blanket with the baby's name appliqued on it in the green fabrics of the quilt. Do you think she will like it, it's very snugly.

Welcome Sabrina.