Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Free Motion Quilting on Essex

There are few things as therapeutic and fun as free motion quilting on whole cloth. I've played with fmq on Essex linen before to create this set of placemats. The recipient requested another four, so I got to try out four new designs and pick out another four lovely Kona solids to bind the placemats.
I used 40 weight Aurifil for the quilting, and I'm really happy with the results. The texture of this fabric combined with quilting is irresistible. I only wish I had time to make more.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Rugby Stripe Baby Quilt

I pulled out my bin of 2 1/2 inch scrap strips to make some Rugby Stripe Blocks on a bit of whim. These blocks are so quick and easy to put together, before I knew it I had enough for a scrappy baby quilt.
The blues, greens, and blacks make this version more masculine than the first, larger iteration of the quilt. I love how fabric choice completely changes the look and feel of a quilt.

I quilted it simply with my Bernina's serpentine stitch. You can play with the width of the wave and the stitch length and use the side of the walking foot to gauge distance between rows of stitching. These are about an inch apart.

The binding is a crisp navy and white stripe that should fit the nautical theme of my friend's nursery, and the flannel back will make this quilt a cozy on for her new little boy. At 41 x 55 it is a nice size to serve him through his preschool years too.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

More Improv Quilted Placemats

I finished up another couple of improv quilted placemats for my charity project for the year which is placemats for Meals on Wheels (#placemats4mow if you want to join in) made using up leftover blocks and scraps.
This was originally a test panel of strata for Improvising Tradition (affiliate link, although it looks like you can buy a signed copy from me in my etsy shop cheaper than that at the moment).This panel taught me that I prefer strata that is more monochromatic, but I chose to celebrate the pops of green as is by binding in a leftover strip of Kona grass green binding.  The perfect backing presented itself as an old Denyse Schmidt print. Love those dots.
I had fun coming up with a different quilting design for each shape, although some worked out better than others and some got repeated.
I made several strips of the improv technique in the second placemat a while ago. Several of the strips became a pillow, but I had a spare strip I've been looking to use. Bingo!
These placemats are numbers seven and eight, so it looks like I'm on track to make my goal of twenty to donate by December.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Improv Quilted Placemats

These modern, quilted placemats made good use of some leftover improv panels and scraps of grey solids. They are placemats numbers five and six for my year long project to make placemats for Meals on Wheels.
Placemats are a great way to try out new quilting designs. They are so quick to make too. I went a little crazy with free motion designs on one, and on the other I stuck to my walking foot to create dense waves.
I'd love to have you join me in putting your random quilt blocks of scraps to use to make something beautiful and useful for a homebound senior. Tag your photos online #placemats4mow to share your work. You can donate your placemats to your local chapter or any other charity of your choice. I put a little extra love in each placemat by hand stitching the binding.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Scrappy Triangle Quilt

It seems fitting to finish this quilt in time for spring. (Well, technically it is spring, although we're expecting a bit of snow tomorrow.) The bright colors of the Anna Maria Horner fabrics are undeniably cheerful and full of life, just like the season, and the low volume prints set them off nicely.
I used 50 weight white, Aurifil thread to quilt the top in a free motion figure eight design, which I  recommend if you are new to free motion quilting or have a largish quilt to handle on a home machine. The design offers lots of places to stop and adjust your quilt without interrupting the flow of the shapes. It can also be modified to fill pieced shapes, like these triangles.
The binding is another Anna Maria Horner favorite, and the backing is a soft, white flannel.
I'm sending the quilt to my grandmother. It will drape over the back of her couch where she will see it everyday. At 54 x 71 it is also a good size to fold over her lap on chilly days. She may not remember that I made it for her, but I'll feel better knowing it's there with her although I can't be.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

When Scraps Attack

 As you may recall, I finished piecing my scrappy Anna Maria Horner triangles quilt. I found a swath of white flannel for a cozy backing and got it basted. As I pondered quilting designs, it happened. The pile of scraps leftover from cutting all those triangles suddenly became irresistible. I had to stop everything and sew them into strip sets. Do scraps ever overtake your other projects?
The resulting rectangles made another set of placemats for a community service project for the year, which is a large stack of placemats for Meals on Wheels by December. These are perfect for leftover strips or blocks, paired with scrap binding and the odd fat quarter for backing.
I finished these quickly with some free motion quilting. Since the placemats will most likely be given to individual recipients, they don't need to match or be exactly identical in size. I'm eyeballing mine to be about 14 x 18 inches.

Now maybe I can get back to that quilt.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

One Use for Quilty Leftovers

If you're like me, you have a drawer or container full of leftover, random quilt blocks or otherwise abandoned projects. There's something guilt-inducing about all the work and money they represent, just sitting there, unfinished, even if they are out of sight! I'm going to share how I'm turning mine into a project for the year to benefit a local charity.
I've taken blocks like this lovely thing I made on a whim to use part of a scrap pack of screen printed fabrics from Karen Lewis (back before she had her own fabric line), and transformed it into a quilted place mats. Really placemats are the perfect use for leftover blocks. A quick border can fill them out to the needed size as I've done with a couple strips of mustard solid.

Or, combine leftover strips like these extras leftover from making a custom Scattered Colors Table Runner. The small size of placemats is perfect for trying out new quilting designs too. I went to town with my walking foot, and I love the resulting texture and interest it adds to the simple piecing. 

I'm taking thriftiness and the urge to recycle up a notch too by using scrap batting (frankenbatting if needed), the last bits of low spools of thread, scraps of binding pieced as needed, and even odd fat quarters I realize I'll never actually use for the backing. Mine are about 14 x 18, but since they will be given to individuals, the placemats don't need to match or be identical in size.

If I make a couple of place mats a month I will have a nice stack to donate to Meals on Wheels by December. It makes me pretty happy to think of someone getting not only a meal but a handmade gift, and my drawer of abandoned blocks will hopefully be emptier. If you want to join in, donate to your local chapter and hashtag #placemats4MOW to share pictures online.

What's your favorite way to use quilty leftovers?