Sunday, April 5, 2015

Adventures in Applique: An Introduction to My Calendar Quilt

Little Quilt Stand
One of the activities at our Quilt Guild this year is to make a calendar quilt. We were given various patterns to cover each of the 12 months in a calendar year, but instead of making a big quilt, I decided to make 12 little ones to display on my little quilt stand. It measures 15" across the top horizontal bar and 11-1/2" on the vertical. The small quilt (a valued gift from a quilting buddy) currently hanging on it measures 8" square.

In my quest to create something different in these calendar blocks, I came upon this lovely blog, chock-full of tutorials and patterns on applique blocks. This provided all the inspiration I needed for this project.  The applique patterns were very easily downloaded in pdf format. Thank you to Wee Folk Art for so generously allowing us access to your lovely patterns free of charge!

Fusible Web
The applique blocks I chose finish at 6" square so the finished block will measure anywhere from 8"-10". And I decided to use the raw-edge applique method for which Lite fusible web was first on my list of supplies. This value pack has been in my stash for a while and there's a lot of it there.

Freezer Paper
Here's something that is invaluable to a raw-edge applique project. These 8-1/2" by 11" sheets  of freezer paper come in a package of 50 and the patterns can be used over and over again. Each applique piece is cut out of the pattern which is printed on the paper side of the sheet.  This particular pattern is not reversed so it is ironed onto the right side of the fabric facing the waxy, gluey side of the freezer paper. 

Transparency for Inkjet Printers 
The next thing on my list of supplies is overhead transparencies made specifically for inkjet printers. These don't smear and dry very quickly. By placing the background fabric under the transparency, it makes it very easy to position the different applique pieces, prior to permanently pressing them in place.

Parchment Paper
This kitchen essential is available in any and all supermarkets and come on a long roll or cut into 12" x 16" sheets to line your cookie sheets. I lay it on my ironing surface so that the glue from the fusible web does not adhere to the ironing board. It's a good idea to tuck the pieces to be ironed between the parchment paper so that the iron is not affected either.

Ready to Begin
Here is the process I plan to follow for this project.
  1. Gather all the necessary supplies.
  2. Make 2 copies of each of the 12 patterns, one on freezer paper and the other on a transparency.
  3. Cut out twelve 10-1/2" squares of background fabric.
  4. Gather fabric for each calendar block.
  5. Cut out pattern pieces from the freezer paper patterns.
  6. Adhere fusible web to wrong sides of each applique piece of fabric, leaving the paper intact on the other side of the fusible web.
  7. Adhere freezer paper pattern to right side of fabric piece and cut out all the pieces.
  8. Remove the paper from the other side of the fusible web and adhere pattern pieces to the background.
  9. Using a button-hole stitch and matching thread, sew around the raw edges of each applique piece.
  10. Once all the blocks are made, they will each be layered, quilted and bound.
Preview of January block
Judging by this first block, I figure it's going to take 4-6 hours to complete the applique for each block. Along with the quilting and binding of each, it'll probably take a day of uninterrupted quilting time.

Watch for my next blog post in which I'll share my trials and tribulations as I complete January's block. I've decided to first make a block for each season and then work on the other eight.

January (Winter)
February (Valentine)
March (St. Patrick)
April (Spring)
May (Tulips)
June (Sunflower) 
July (Patriotic)
August (Summer)
September (Back to School)
October (Halloween)   
November (Fall)
December (Christmas)

Happy Easter, one and all!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Li'l Twister Christmas Wreath Workshop

My Wreath for the Workshop
Our November quilt guild meeting was quite an event because I conducted a workshop on the Twisted Christmas Wreath quilt using the Li'l Twister ruler. It was so exciting to see the quilts that were made as part of this workshop and displayed at our December Christmas party. Most were finished - pieced, quilted and bound.

2013 Christmas in July Twisted Wreath
Last year in July 2013 I used the Li'l Twister ruler for the first time and blogged about a Christmas Wreath wallhanging I made and used it for a show & tell at our Spring Quilt Retreat earlier this year. The guild members were interested in learning this technique & asked me to conduct a workshop at the November meeting this year.

There was an enthusiastic response! 16 members participated and here is a gallery of the wallhangings from that workshop.

This trio of quilts was particularly interesting because the quilter decided to use every last scrap of fabric. The quilt on the right was made from 5" squares with the help of the 3-1/2" ruler. The quilt on the top left was made from the resulting 2.5" squares, using the smaller ruler and the quilt on the bottom left was made with the remaining tiny squares which were sewn together and used to cut out the ivy leaves for the wreath.

This quilter made 3 wallhangings as Christmas gifts. We have an awesome group of ladies in our quilt guild! Enjoy the gallery of quilts.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Churn Dash Reversible Apron

Churn Dash Challenge Entry

This apron was made with my grand-niece in mind. She had a birthday this month and turned 13.

At our Spring Quilt Retreat earlier this year each participant was gifted a churn dash (CD) block and told to make something with it for a challenge to be held in September. My CD block has been stored in a very safe place which is so safe that it cannot be found. So I had to create my own block.

Traditional Churn Dash Block
The block we received at the retreat was a traditional churn dash block.

My Modified Churn Dash Block
Since my traditional block went missing, I could design my own churn dash block which needed the following components to make a 9" finished block.

One 3-1/2" Printed Square
One 14" Strip Cut Into Four 3-1/2" Segments
Made from
two 1-1/2" white strips &
one 1-1/2" printed strip
One Printed & One White 5-1/2" Squares
Sewn 1/4" around the perimeter of the square
and cut twice on the diagonal 
The formula for making 4 half-square-triangles from a dark and light square is
Size of HST + 2" = Size of each of the two squares
3.5" + 2" = 5.5"
Completed Churn Dash Block
Then a decision had to be made as to what to do with this block. There were the usual cushion or table top covers, a wall-hanging or a medallion for a baby quilt. I decided to make an apron. Before the apron was constructed, a 1" border was added to the churn dash block to make it stand out. 

Waterproof Nylon Apron
I used an existing nylon apron as a template, turned it over to its wrong side and pinned the cotton material to the inside of the white piping and strings. Then the cotton material was cut to the outside dimensions of the apron.

The completed apron
To avoid the tedium of having to construct new piping and apron strings, I decided to leave the nylon apron in place, folded and pinned the outer edges of the printed cotton to fit just within the piping and sewed the whole thing all the way around. 

What we have now is a reversible apron, one side that is waterproof!

As I thought, when all the entries were displayed at the challenge, there was only one apron and several cushions and wall-hangings. I hope this project has broken through my quilter's block because there are a whole slew of projects just waiting to happen.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Sweet Chic Flannel Baby Blanket

Sweet Chic - Flannel Blanket Kit
A friend brought home her baby girl recently and because she and the baby's father were not aware of the sex of the baby, I had to wait until she was born before choosing colors for her quilt. A quick trip to JoAnn Fabrics & Crafts proved useful because I found two kits for making flannel blankets. Since winter is almost over, these lighter blankets make more sense.

Front of Flannel Blanket
The kit came with very clear instructions, but I deviated from the recommended technique of placing the two pieces of flannel right sides together and trimming them. I saved a step by sewing along the edge of the front and then trimming a quarter inch from the sewing line. It was then turned right side out through an opening and pressed. 

Back of Flannel Blanket
The blanket took an afternoon to construct. I edge-stitched a quarter inch away from the edges of the blanket and did some minimal quilting on the inside of the panel.

This kit was so convenient! It was quick and easy to make, as was the Self-Binding Fleece Blanket I made the day before. Baby girl's Mom was very pleased to receive both blankets.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Self-Binding Fleece Baby Quilt

Measures 35" square

A very productive weekend produced this darling baby quilt made from two pieces of fleece. It's soft and smooth and very comforting.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Charity Quilt for a Little Boy

Sewing on the Binding
From our quilt guild meeting last month, I brought home a charity quilt to bind. The quilt was assembled and the binding had been stitched down the front of the quilt by machine. All I had to do was fold it over to the back and hand-sew it down.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Christmas Tree Ornament - a Tutorial

The inspiration for this ribbon tree ornament came from the one given to me and each member of our Tri-County Quilt Guild at our Christmas party. They were a part of our place settings and were made by committee members of the guild.

Hop over to my craft blog for a tutorial on how I made 16 of these for a Christmas party.