Thursday, September 24, 2009

Quilt Market Sneak Peek

We are displaying a veritable smorgasbord of new patterns at fall Quilt Market. Here is a sneak peek at my favorite new pattern, No Guilt Quilt. I'm thinking of making this one as another Blog of the Month--any takers?

The pattern and possibly kits will be available very soon. I'll be giving more sneak peeks in the next two weeks at more of our smorgasbord--anyone hungry?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Happy Halloween Blog of the Month, Part 7

WOW! WOW! WOW! Ann Petersen, an award winning quilter, finished quilting the Happy Halloween quilt and now it only needs to be bound and buttons stitched on for the eyes.

For the back, I wanted to use a cute Halloween fabric that we designed. It needed to be pieced with a vertical seam. I bought a little extra fabric (4 1/4 yds) because I wanted the characters to be spaced evenly and semi-lined up. It wasn't until I was sewing on the binding that I saw that Ann matched the two pieces exactly!!! Ann is truly an awesome piecer and quilter.

We used Warm and Natural Batting which is a nice choice for a quilt that will be displayed on a wall. First she ditched the quilt next to the sashing strips, squares, and borders using Madeira Monofil (Smoke) in the top and an orange Aurifil (to match the backing) in the bobbin . Then she outline stitched the characters, including the features, and around the Happy Halloween letters, also with the Madeira.

She free motioned quilted some soft curves in the block backgrounds using two shades of Superior Rainbows, #848 Buncha Violets for the darkest background and #847 Fuchsia Fusion for the others. Rainbows are lovely variegated threads where the color changes about every inch. They also have a beautiful sheen.

She meandered the green Happy Halloween banner with Superior Rainbows #820 Lime Squeeze and added a couple of spiderwebs in the corners. Ann used Superior King Tut #977 Ebony to quilt bats in the sashing strips and stars in the sashing squares.

Spider webs were quilted in the border. When quilting on the darkest background squares, the sashing, and the borders, Ann used black Aurifil in the bobbin. This way, if the tension isn't perfect, there won't be little dots of a different color thread popping to the top. All of these threads work best with a 90/14 Topstitch needle. (Can you see the backing seam?)

I stitched on buttons for the eyes as the pattern suggests. The larger buttons (approx 1/4") were used for Mummy, Bat, Mr. Monster, and Skeleton. All of the rest have smaller buttons (approx 1/8"). Because this quilt will most likely be a wall hanging the buttons could be glued on. They could also be embroidered or beaded. I hid the knot under the button and stitched the button on by stitching through to the back. My backing fabric is busy enough that it is very hard to see where these stitches are. I stitched through each button three times. I poked a pin through to the back to mark the position for the second eye, and I traveled my needle from the first eye button to the second under the backing fabric. I stitched through the button three times, made my knot, and then traveled the needle through the backing fabric for a short way and trimmed the thread.

Yeah! We are almost finished. I'll do a binding tutorial next and then it will be time to hang the quilt in plenty of time for Halloween decorating.
Happy quilting,
P.S. If you are interested in a thread packet for the 5 threads we used, please email me. Also, we have 5 button packets that contain the two different sized buttons available on a first come, first served basis for $6.95. Please email me if you are interested.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

CANUKUS Pineapple Quilt

Diana Hill sent us a picture of this beautiful Pineapple quilt made using our Positively Pineapple book and Pineapple Rule. It is named CANUKUS PINEAPPLE because the ladies that made it are from Canada, UK, and the US. It was pieced by Janet Vigeant, Thelma Price, Diana Hill, and Alanna Petrusich and was quilted by Alanna. They are all members of the Kuwait group KTAA-Kuwait Textile Arts Association. The quilt will be raffled for funding to pay for educational speakers for KTAA Quilt members, also known as the Q8 Quilters.

What a beautiful Pineapple quilt--great job ladies!
Thanks for sharing,
Lynda and Nancy

Monday, September 7, 2009

Happy Halloween Blog of the Month, Part 6

Hello again Happy Halloween friends,

It's time to get this quilt together. Your character blocks should be trimmed and ready to be sashed. To begin, let's trim the Happy Halloween strip if you didn't already. I don't know about you, but that was a lot of applique. Now, my advice to you is 'measure twice, cut once'. Follow the pattern directions and place the HH strip over the placement sheet. Mark the final trim line on all four corners. I then folded my strip in half, matched the 4 corners and marked my cutting lines. I measured the height in several spots to make sure it was consistently 11 1/2". I measured the length to make sure it was consistently 20 1/4" (40 1/2" unfolded). I found I had to add 1/4" to make the 40 1/2". When you are sure of your measurements and that the corners are square, cut to size.

Vertical Sashing
Cut your sashing and setting squares, following pattern directions. Stitch vertical sashing to all applique pieces as shown on pattern and press all seams toward the sashing strip.

Horizontal Sashing
Years ago, I learned a tip that makes sewing squares together so much easier. When stitching a quilt of all squares together, first identify the lengthwise grain of each square. The lengthwise grain has the least amount of stretch. Sew the squares together matching the lengthwise grains. This leaves the unsewn edge with all crosswise grain, which allows for the stretch and/or ease you may need to match the seams perfectly. I applied this hint to the crosswise sashing strips. Find the lengthwise grain of the sashing squares and stitch this edge to the sashing strip. This leaves the unsewn edge with all crosswise grain, making it easy to match all the vertical strips. Stitch the quilt top together. Press seams towards the sashing strips.

First Border
Press the top from the wrong side, following pattern directions. Flip to the right side and make sure that there are no tucks in the seams. Follow pattern directions to cut and stitch border strips together. If using a stripe, try to stitch the seam so that width of stripe is similar in width to the others.

Measure the quilt from top to bottom at center of quilt.

It should measure 54 1/2". Mine measured 54 1/4". I measured in a few other spots and the measurement was consistently 54 1/4".

If your measurements are not consistent, average the measurements together and cut your strips accordingly. Cut 2 border strips to the size that your quilt top measured. Fold your top into fourths and mark with pins. Fold Border 1 into fourths and mark with pins. Pin Border 1 to quilt top, matching pins. Stitch seam with Border 1 on top. Work on one quarter at a time, leaving pins in position until you get to them. Press seams towards outer edge of quilt top. Measure quilt from side to side. It should measure 46 1/2". Adjust your measurement if necessary. Match and pin quarters, stitch and press as before.

Outer Border
Measure and cut side borders as before. Match and pin quarter sections. If you cut your outer border strips on the lengthwise grain as pattern suggests you will probably need to ease your quilt top to fit the border. There is a lot of stretch in the outer edges of the top, since it is all crosswise grain. Mark and pin quarter sections accurately. Stitch with the quilt top closest to the sewing machine bed. The feed dogs will help ease any fullness into the border. Keep pins in place until you get to them. Press seam to outer edge of quilt top. Repeat for top and bottom borders. Yeah--a completed quilt top!

We are now ready for quilting. I quilt with my wallet--overheard in a class we taught. : ) So, mine will be going to one of our long-arm quilters, but I'll be back in a few days with some hints. In the meantime, choose and prepare your backing.

With a crosswise seam, you will need 3 1/2 yds of fabric for your backing. If you want a lengthwise seam, you will need 4 yards. If you are using a directional Halloween print (and there are soooooo many cute ones out there) you will probably want a lengthwise seam. Unfold your backing fabric and fold in half crosswise. Cut along this fold to make two pieces. Place these pieces right sides together and stitch one side along the selvage edge. I usually stitch with about a 1" seam and then go back and trim off the selvages. Press this seam open.

Well, it's been fun appliqueing and piecing the top with you. I can't wait to decorate for Halloween and put my quilt on the wall. I'll be back to give you some quilting tips in the next few days and then a lesson in binding.

Until then, happy stitching,