Friday, December 30, 2016

Sewing and quilting gifts from Santa

Did you put quilty items on your wish list to Santa this year?  I did, as I always do, and Santa came through and granted a few of them plus threw in a couple of surprises.  Do you want to see what I received?  I thought so.

First up, while these may seem a tad boring, they are really helpful to me.  Almost 100 percent of the time, I store bobbins with the matching spool using pipe cleaners but for those bobbins that I use all the time (white, black and those that match the colors of Girl Scout vests that I always am sewing patches on) I keep them in the desk drawer that is my sewing table.  
Having a place for them to be so that they don't get all tangled will be really helpful.  

Next up is one of the few books I wanted.
I'm a big fan of Judy Madsen, and even more so after taking a bunch of classes from her 2 years ago at MQX, and I just had to have her new book.  I haven't peeked at it yet as I'm waiting for the perfect time to be able to enjoy it (ie when they kids are back in school) but I know that I will learn a lot and will be itching to get to my machine to try some of the designs out myself.

Along with the book I received this magazine of Best Christmas Quilts from Quilters Newsletter.
I don't subscribe to as many quilting magazines lately as I'm really enjoying creating my own designs but I do like to get a few specialty magazines every now and then.  I've glimpsed through it and a few of the projects sparked my interest, one in particular that I think I will expand on and use up a bunch of scraps in the process.  Stay tuned.

Santa was probably chuckling when he chose this t-shirt to give to me this year.  He knows me so well and this shirt will get plenty of use during the upcoming quilt show season.
As last but not least, my sweet daughter gave me this sewing machine bank.  I'm sure that her Daddy had a hand in finding it but she was so excited to watch me open it and my heart burst with joy at seeing her reaction at how much I love her gift.

I need to find a treasured spot in my studio to put it but I'll always remember the look on her face that day as we shared a Mom and Daughter quilters moment.

My wish list was short this year and that's perfectly fine.  I have all that I really need right here at home, my wonderful husband and my 2 kids that I I won't new longarm is right up there too. I'll be sharing photos of that in its' new room, hopefully soon.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Jingle Tree quilt tutorial

Just as I expected, many of you have commented or emailed me for info on how to make your own Jingle Tree quilt.
It really is simple.  I made up a fancy diagram in Excel but can't figure out how to get it posted here and didn't want to take the time to design it in EQ 7 so instead I'm just going to list the steps.  I didn't take a ton of pictures during construction as it was just sewing the bricks end to end but I think you can figure out that part easily enough. 

To make your own version you will need:

(1) 5" x 5" charm for the trunk
(53) 2 1/2" x 5" bricks in your choice of colors and prints
(9) 2 1/2" x WOF White strips
(2) 5" x 16" White strips
(32) 2 1/2" x 5" bricks for the binding (if you choose to do it the same)
 42" x WOF of your choice for your backing (I used White muslin)

Note: All pieces listed below are CUT sizes, not finished size.  For your White strips cut the longest pieces first and use the leftovers to cut the shorter pieces.

You will be just sewing the pieces end to end using a slight 1/4" seam and pressing all seams to one side. I pressed the Red seams to the right and the Green seams to the left so that when they did meet when sewing the rows together, they butting nicely.
Assemble your tree rows first but do not sew the rows together at this point.  After you sew all your tree rows you will want to measure YOUR pieces and adjust the length of your White strips accordingly to achieve the correct desired width.  Mine quilt is 36" wide.  

The tree row cut size pieces are as follows, placed from left to right:

                          Row 1:  (1) 3" brick
                          Row 2:  (1) 5" brick
                          Row 3:  (1) 3" brick and then (1) 5" brick
                          Row 4:  (2) 5" brick
                          Row 5:  (1) 5" brick, then (1) 3" brick and then (1) more 5" brick
                          Row 6:  (3) 5" bricks
                          Row 7:  (2) 5" bricks, then (1) 3" brick and then (1) more 5" brick
                          Row 8:  (4) 5" bricks
                          Row 9:  (2) 5" bricks, then (1) 3" brick and then (2) more 5" bricks
                          Row 10:  (5) 5" bricks
                          Row 11:  (2) 5" bricks, then (1) 3" brick and then (3) more 5" bricks
                          Row 12:  (6) 5" bricks
                          Row 13:  (3) 5" bricks, then (1) 3" brick and then (3) more 5" bricks
                          Row 14" (7) 5" bricks
                          Row 15:  (1) 5' x 5"  charm
Once you've completed the rows for your tree, then you will need to add the White 2 /12" wide strips to both ends to complete the background.  The cut sizes for the White strips are as follows:

                                                 Row 1:  (2) 17" strips
                                                 Row 2:  (2) 16" strips
                                                 Row 3:  (2) 14 3/4" strips
                                                 Row 4:  (2) 13 3/4" strips
                                                 Row 5:  (2) 12 1/2" strips
                                                 Row 6:  (2) 11 1/2" strips
                                                 Row 7:  (2) 10 1/4" strips
                                                 Row 8:  (2) 9 1/4" strips
                                                 Row 9:  (2) 8" strips
                                                 Row 10:  (2) 7" strips
                                                 Row 11:  (2) 5 3/4" strips
                                                 Row 12:  (2) 4 3/4" strips
                                                 Row 13:  (2) 3 1/2" strips
                                                 Row 14:  (2) 2 1/2" strips
                                                 Row 15: (2) 16" x 5" wide strips
 Once you have all your rows complete just sew them together, matching up seams where they meet. Lastly add (1) 2 1/2" x 36" strip each to the top and the bottom and your quilt top is done.
Quilt however you wish.  To make the binding, again sew the 2 1/2" bricks end to end using a slight 1/4" seam and press open.  

Your result will be a 36" x 36 1/2" quilt you will be proud to hang in your home for all to admire and enjoy.
I'd love to see your own versions of my Jingle Tree when it is done so please share.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Jingle Tree quilt - a finish

Last Christmas my hubby bought me this textile hanger.  It is made from smoked bamboo and was crafted in Vietnam.  Sometime after the holidays he hung it on the wall in our great room as I had planned to use it for hanging small quilts but for months it just hung there empty.
 Over the summer, once I had finished my Merry Jingle Christmas quilt, I was actually in the mood to create more holiday projects.  I had another one of those "what if" moments and started designing on the fly a wall hanging for that bamboo hanger using some of the Kate Spain Christmas Charm Swap charms I had left over.  

I wanted it to be just Red and Green so I selected some of the Red charms that went well together.
 Then I cut them into half and made bricks.
 Those bricks became the bottom row of my tree.  I wanted the finished quilt to be a specific size to fit the space so 7 bricks worked perfectly mathmatically.
 Next came the Green pieces.
 Same step next...cutting them in half to create bricks.
 I made the Green row 1 inch shorter on each side so the middle piece is a 2 1/2" x 3" (cut) rectangle.
 I kept working my way up and of course my assistant stopped by every so often to inspect my progress.
 Once all the rows were done, I added white strips to each side to create my desired width of 36 inches.
 The rows were quickly and easily sewn together and within a few hours I had a finished quilt top.
I debated about what thread to use for this and since White didn't feel right, I waited to attend a show and there I picked up some Superior Metallic thread in both Gold and Silver.  Once home I placed both on the quilt top and the Gold was definitely the right choice.
Of course my Girl Scouts duties got in the way of this getting finished for a few months but when I listed my Penelope for sale I had to complete the quilting so that I could put practice fabric on the frame for potential buyers.  It didn't take long and then all that was left to do was the trimming and the binding.
I'm really thrilled with how the Gold metallic thread worked on this quilt.  It give it just the right amount of bling without overpowering the fabrics.
I used more half charms in alternating Red and Green for the binding and then Ta Da it was done!
Of course Mother Nature wasn't cooperative for quite a number of days to allow me to take some final pictures of it and as soon as the clouds cleared I snapped them quick.
I used the Santa Ana panto and I love the effect.
I'm so happy that another one of my light bulb moment ideas turned out exactly as I imagined and this gorgeous quilt will now hang on the wall for all the admire for many holiday seasons to come.
I'm finalizing the details so you can make your own version of my tree quilt and will post it soon.  Edit: you can find the tutorial here.

I've made one more quilt top from my Kate Spain Christmas charms and if I can find the time to get it quilted and bound soon, I'll be able to share that one with you too.