Friday, November 22, 2013

Kath's Quilt

I have a whole stack of projects to blog about, I just need to carve out some computer time! I'm actually going to start out with my most recent finish.

Last weekend I met up with my BRF (Best Running Friend), Kath, in Philadelphia for a girl's weekend. Of course we also ran the Philadelphia Marathon - the weekend wouldn't be complete without a race! It was a great weekend, we both improved out race times by quite a bit, and I got to surprise her with a quilt.

Kath's Quilt

You may recognize this quilt from here. I had this top finished before I received the feedback on the other quilt, which may have squashed any desire that I had to work on this one. I'm glad I pulled this back out to work on, because in the end I love them both!

Kath's Quilt

I used a grey Aurifil for the background (my long arm has finally learned to love Aurifil - YAY!!) and a dark teal for the colored blocks. I really love the contrasting thread, I'm glad I chose it!

Kath's Quilt

In the grey background I quilted a ribbon meander with a few boxes thrown into the mix. I debating quilting the entire top in tiles, a la Angela Walters, but at the last minute I changed up the design a bit. I think this simpler design fits the quilt and the recipient better!

Kath's Quilt

Kath's Quilt

I pieced the back using several prints that I had on hand. We had a good laugh about the dark teal fabric....I love the Indian Summer line, but this print just reminds me of a field of.....well, use your imagination. ;) Thankfully my friend just laughed about it and agreed, she didn't throw the quilt back at me in disgust! Ha!

Kath's Quilt

Kath got stuck in Pheonix on her way home, but as soon as she was back in Seattle I received a pic of her quilt on her bed!

Long Arm Quilting!


I'm excited to announce that I have started to take long arm clients! Take a peek at some of the photos below, and feel free to contact me via email with any questions!

I have been doing a lot of quilting for my friend, Jessica, recently! She started out as a bag pattern designer and then last year she bought my favorite local quilt shop. She is still designing bags, and has started writing quilt patterns as well. So far I have quilted all of her pattern samples, and it's been so fun!

This quilt is her Sequence pattern. Unfortunately I forgot to snap a photo of the full quilt, but I will do that the next time I'm in the shop! I really love how this turned out!

My mom also sends me the occasional quilt top to work on! It's a fun challenge, as my mom is a bit more traditional than I am. I've heard that this quilt is going on her bed...I can't wait to see it the next time I visit:


This is another Sew Many Creations pattern, called Shuffle:


Here's a shot of the completed top:


Here is a close up of the Intertwined pattern:


This is the Ripple pattern, one of the first quilts that I long armed for Jessica!


I love the look of this one - I have another version on the long arm now!


This is also the Shuffle pattern, in a more traditional fabric line:


I've shown this one before, the Triforce quilt!

Triforce Quilt for baby Linc!

And then there's the circus peanut quilt!

Diamonds for Ducklings Baby Quilt

I must admit, it's scary to put my work out there for the world to see! I have really enjoyed long arming so far, though, and I especially love quilting for others, and witnessing their excitement when they see their work all quilted up.

Right now my turn around is about 1-2 weeks after I receive your quilt. That means you could have your quilt back before the Christmas holiday!

You can also find me on Instagram (thegirlwhoquilts) and facebook now! I tend to use Instagram the most, and there are lots of in progress shots in my feed.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Gathering Place Pillow - tutorial!

This tutorial was originally written as a guest post HERE for the Benartex blog.

In case you missed out on the tutorial over at Sew in Love (with Fabric), see below to make your own Gathering Place Pillow!

I am also organizing a class for this pillow, along with a few design alternatives! If you're near Glens Falls, New York, contact Patti's Quilting and Fabrics for more information!

Gathering Place Pillow

Fat Quarter of focal print
1/4 yard coordinating print (preferably a blender fabric)
Fat Quarter for pillow back
16" x 16" piece of lightweight fusible interfacing
16" x 16" pillow form
14" zipper (optional)

Let's start cutting!

Gathering Place Pillow

Focal fabric (zigzags): 12.5" wide x 16" long
Coordinating print (black): 8" wide x 32" long
Backing (squares print): 16" x 16"
Lightweight fusible interfacing - not shown: 16" x 16"

We are going to gather the coordinating print, so let's start by sewing gathering stitches down both long sides of the 8" x 32" piece. To do this, set your sewing machine stitch length as long as possible. Leave at least 3-4" thread tails at the beginning of your seam and sew about 1/8" from the raw edge. Leave 3-4" thread tails at the end of your seam. Sew another row of stitches in the same manner about 1/4" from the raw edge. Repeat on the other long edge of this piece.

Gathering Place Pillow

Now find both of the top threads on one side and gently tug those threads to gather the fabric up. Do this slowly and gently so as to not break the thread. Repeat on the other side. Evenly distribute the gathered fabric so that the piece is now approximately 16" long.

Gathering Place Pillow

We are going to fuse this gathered piece to the 16" x 16" square of fusible interfacing so that it is easier to work with. It doesn't need to be perfect, and you will end up pressing your gathering as you fuse. Don't worry, all of the "wrinkles" will look great on the finished pillow!
Begin by aligning one gathered edge to the edge of the fusible. Lightly fuse the piece so that you can lift it and move it slightly if you need to. When you're happy with the placement, press it once more.

Gathering Place Pillow

Next we will prepare the focal print. Cut slits into the fabric as shown with the red arrows below. I followed the zigzag print of the fabric, so my cuts aren't even or uniform. I chose to cut up to about 1/8" from the lime green zigzag so that the cream background would show.

Gathering Place Pillow

Here are my cuts in the fabric:

Gathering Place Pillow

Starting at one corner, fold the corner to the back following the zigzag.

Gathering Place Pillow

Fold one edge and press before moving on to the next fold, always following the print for guidance. Continue up the side of the fabric.

Gathering Place Pillow

This is how your piece should now look! I clipped away that little piece of fabric at the top.

Gathering Place Pillow

Here is how the back of your piece should look:

Gathering Place Pillow

Now place the focal print on the fusible interfacing. Align the raw edges and lightly fuse in place.
The points will overlap the gathered fabric, so they will not fuse down. Pin the points down as shown.

Gathering Place Pillow

Now it's time to sew again! Set your stitch length to about 2.5 and use a thread that blends with your focal print (I used cream here). Topstitch the folded edges of the zigzag. If you'd rather, you can use a zigzag stitch instead of a straight stitch for this step. Remove the pins as you sew.

This next step is optional. Do you see the shadowing caused by the black fabric underneath the cream?

Gathering Place Pillow

If you want to fix that, here's how:
Because we *lightly* fused the pieces down, we can go back and peel the fabric up from the interfacing.

Gathering Place Pillow

Now CAREFULLY trim away some of the  fabric underneath as shown by the red arrows. When you're done, fold the fabric back down and fuse back onto the interfacing.

Gathering Place Pillow

Let's put the pillow together! I like to zigzag stitch or serge the raw edges of my pillow front and back before assembly. You can also quilt the front and/or back of the pillow. I chose to quilt the back with straight lines.

Gathering Place Pillow

To install the zipper, place the zipper down along the bottom edge of the pillow front and sew down using your zipper foot. I start and stop my stitching 1-2" in from the pillow corners as shown below (my stitch line is the white thread on the blue zipper).
**As an alternate to the zipper closure, you may wish to finish the pillow with an envelope-style back or another technique of your choice!**

Gathering Place Pillow

Now sew the other edge of the zipper to the pillow back.
Open up your zipper at least half way. Now line up the raw edges of the pillow front and back, and sew using a 1/2" seam. On the bottom edge of the pillow where you installed the zipper, pull the zipper ends out and away from the seam, and stitch from the corner up to the zipper seam, as shown below.

Gathering Place Pillow

Turn your pillow cover right-side out, poke the corners out nicely, and give it a light press with your iron.

Now you can insert your pillow form, and you're finished!

Gathering Place Pillow 

Pillow front:

Gathering Place Pillow 

Pillow back:

Gathering Place Pillow

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The One I Almost Scrapped - The Circus Quilt

Wow. It's been so long since I've shared a new quilt! I promise I'm still quilting, I've just been spending a lot of time with my longarm lately. A friend of mine has started writing quilt patterns, so I did some quilting for her - if you're at Market this fall you may just see some of it! Be sure to check out Sew Many Creations - she's got great bag and quilt patterns! And if you're in the Adirondacks and/or Capitol Region of NY, check out her quilt shop!

So, about that new quilt! This quilt taught me a great lesson about my work - more specifically, to keep an open mind and reserve judgement even when it comes to my own projects.

Diamonds for Ducklings Baby Quilt

I began this quilt as a baby gift for a friend. I had saved these Lizzy House prints for a long time, but suddenly I felt that this was the project for them! I had a few design ideas involving small triangles with borders, but really I set about creating the triangle units without a firm plan for them. Once I had all of the triangles pieced, I played with layout. My initial design idea wasn't playing out quite right when I got the idea to create diamonds. This idea came to me as I was thinking about the name of the fabric line, "Ugly Duckling". I wanted to play around with the name when I thought of the phrase, "diamond in the rough" - Bingo!

After I had the diamond layout I chose the light orange solid. I love the orange, which I had used in another project. However, as I pieced the orange with the diamonds I started to question it. Something about the quilt reminded me of the circus, which I mentioned to a friend during a late-night sewing session. She innocently commented that the orange reminded her of circus peanuts, which started to worry me even more! I thought about taking the quilt apart and using a different solid, but in the end pure laziness won out. I decided to continue with the quilt as it was, but if I didn't like the finished product I would make something different for my friend.

The best part about using solids in quilts is having that area to show off some quilting! Using a light peach thread I quilted smaller diamonds in the solid sections; each quilted diamond area was filled with pebbles and the surrounding area was filled with swirls. Even after the quilting, I still had my reservations. But I charged forward and added the binding, and then tossed the quilt in the wash.

Diamonds for Ducklings Baby Quilt

I was completely shocked when I saw the freshly washed quilt. Everything about it suddenly fell into place - the quilting was soft and crinkly, the colors flowed beautifully. Something truly magical occurs in the washing and drying process!

Diamonds for Ducklings Baby Quilt

Here's a peek at the back. I love using my stash for quilt backings!

Diamonds for Ducklings Baby Quilt

I'm so glad now that I didn't give up on this project. I shipped it off to my friend a few weeks ago and she absolutely loved it! She's a quilter as well, and has a great eye for color and design, so I was a bit worried about her reaction. In the end, the very part of the quilt that I questioned the most - the orange solid - was my friend's favorite part! Call it a happy accident or a learning experience, I'm calling it a win!

Diamonds for Ducklings Baby Quilt

P.S. I'm officially naming this one, "Diamonds for Ducklings", but I will always remember it as, "The Circus Quilt"!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Benartex Fabric Bundle Winner

The winner of the Cachet fabric bundle is:

Comment #75 - Cecelia!!
Please email Benartex at sewinlovewithfabric (at) with your mailing address, Cecelia!

Thanks so much to everyone who entered!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Guest Blog Tutorial and Giveaway!

Today I'm guest blogging over at the Benartex blog, Sew in Love (With Fabric)! A few weeks ago Lisa from Benartex contacted me and asked me to write a tutorial featuring a line of their fabric. I couldn't say no to playing with some fun new fabric, and I quickly fell in love with the Cachet collection!

Gathering Place Pillow

Would you like to win a fat quarter set of this collection?

To enter to win a fat quarter bundle of Cachet, do one or both of the following:

1. Sign up to follow Benartex's blog, either via email or a blog reader program like Bloglovin' (both on the righthand sidebar of the blog). Leave a comment here letting me know you did so.
2. "Like" Benartex on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you did so.

For an additional chance to win:
Check out the tutorial and leave a comment here letting me know what you think!

The giveaway will remain open until October 1st when one winner will be selected from the comments here. The Benartex team will select the winner using a random number generator. The winner will be announced here as well as on the Benartex blog!
Thanks so much to Benartex for hosting this giveaway!

Now head on over to their blog to see my "Gathering Place" pillow tutorial!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Triforce Baby Quilt!

Several months ago my college roomie, Emily, confided in me that she was pregnant! I was so excited for her, and immediately started thinking about how kind of quilt I would make her. Emily loves video games, especially Zelda. She has the triforce tattooed on her back and I have witnessed many crazy discussions between Emily and my husband about each new Zelda game to hit the market. I knew that Emily's husband had similar interests, as he and Emily actually met at a Comic Con!
I had to create a Zelda-inspired quilt for Emily...I thought about simply using the triangles as inspiration, but I really liked the idea of appliqueing the full image of the triforce onto a solid background. I wanted to use a grey solid for the background, and either pale pink or pale green for the applique. As soon as Emily announced that she was having a boy, I picked out my fabrics!
Triforce Quilt for baby Linc!
Usually if I needed a graphic enlarged for a project, I would ask Emily to help me out. That wasn't an option for this quilt, so I actually drew the triforce myself. The dimensions aren't quite right, but I think it's close enough!
Triforce Quilt for baby Linc!
I played around with the quilting a bit, too. I wanted the pebbles to trail off in various directions, but as I was quilting I tended to smooth out the edges. From the pebbles I quilted wavy lines that extended to the edges of the quilt. This was so fun to quilt, and I learned a lot in the process.
Triforce Quilt for baby Linc!
On the back I used a grey and white herringbone print and a cute little bug print. I was worried about the bugs not fitting into the Zelda theme, but Matt assured me that Link carries jars of potion along with him! :)
Triforce Quilt - Back
The binding is a very dark grey solid; I love the look of the dark binding as a frame around the quilt!
Triforce Quilt for baby Linc!
While I was visiting my family in the Chicago area this summer I had lunch with Emily. She loved the quilt so much, and showed me that the colors even match the nursery! On the wall of the nursery, she had hung a yellow "L" (which I assumed stood for the baby's first name). Emily even painted a tiny little triforce in the bend of the "L", in a green color very similar to the green in the quilt!
I hadn't heard her mention the baby's name, so I wasn't sure if she was keeping it a secret. As I was leaving I decided to ask her, and she told me that they decided on the name "Lincoln Peter". I knew that Peter was her dad's name, and this is the first boy of 4 grandkids in her family. Then she told me that they decided on Lincoln because they could call him....Linc! (Yes, she really does love Zelda!!)
Linc decided to make his appearance the day after I left, but I've seen photos and he is adorable! I can't wait to see him in person!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Perfectly Polished Tutorial - Finding Inspiration Everywhere!

Below is a guest post tutorial that I originally wrote as a guest post at Jedi Craft Girl. Enjoy!

Today I'm going to explain a bit of how the design process works for me and follow that up with a tutorial for the block that I've designed!

I'm a scientist by training and although I've always been a crafter, designing doesn't always come easily to me. In fact, my favorite projects are typically the product of a simple idea (or a mistake! Ha!). While I was working on an idea for my tutorial I decided to take a break and skim facebook for a bit. That's when I saw this advertisement pop up:
Perfectly Polished Block Tut
I instantly knew that I had to create a quilt block based on the photo. I started out by drawing on graph paper (technically this is engineering paper, for fellow nerds and nerd spouses out there!). I like to start with graph paper because it's easier and faster for me than using the computer. I also pulled out my own bottle of Essie nail polish and measured it (1" wide by 1.5" tall) so that I could keep those proportions in my design.
Perfectly Polished Block Tut
My first drawing was quite basic. Based on the actual bottle size, I had decided on a finished size of 3"x4.5" for the colored blocks. I liked my first drawing (top drawing above), but I wanted to include the narrow spacing that the glass bottles naturally create between the blocks of color. My second drawing incorporated the spacing. This is also the point when I started to think about the easiest way to piece the block and draw in my piecing lines. If I wasn't quite satisfied with my design I would have continued to tweak my drawings and redraw them as needed until I was happy with the design. In this instance I didn't stray much from my inspiration. Sometimes the inspiration is barely recognizable in the final design and other times it's a near replica. Don't be afraid to play with different ideas!
(Reality check: sometimes my drawings end up in the recycling bin or a binder, only to be see months later. And other times they turn into great quilt designs!)

I had a few math errors in my second drawing, so I made a third drawing but didn't include a photo here. I never start drafting on the computer until AFTER I work out all of the math on paper. For me, it's easier to calculate everything on paper. And don't forget to include seam allowances (I don't draw them in, but keep them in mind when writing out cutting directions!). Once I had my block design worked out on paper I moved over to the computer. I use Adobe Illustrator for my graphics (I wish I could provide a tut on that, but alas, I am still a young Illustrator grasshopper!).
Perfectly Polished Block Tut
I'm calling this block "Perfectly Polished"!

Now, let's sew up the block!
For starters, here are the supplies:
6 scraps for the color blocks, at least 4" x 5.5"
1/4 yd background fabric*

To create a 19" square mini quilt, the following are needed:
1/3 yd background in place of the 1/4 yd listed above*
22" square batting
2/3 yd backing
1/4 yd binding

Cut your fabric as follows:
6 color blocks: 3.5" x 5"
Perfectly Polished Block Tut

Background (it's helpful to label the individual pieces here):
A:  2.5" x 6"
B:  1.5" x 3.5"
C:  3.5" x 4.5"
D:  1.5" x 5"
E:  1" x 5"
F:  1" x 3.5"
G:  1" x 5"
H:  1.5" x 5"
I:  1" x 5.5"
J:  1" x 3.5"
K:  3.5" x 4.5"
L:  3.5" x 4.5"

Refer back to the illustration above whenever needed during the piecing.
For this block I find it especially helpful to lay out my design on a design wall or a nearby table. As I sew and press my seams I place the sections back in the appropriate places within the design.
Press all seams as you go. I prefer to press open, especially when using a light colored background fabric such as in this project.

Start by sewing piece B to the bottom of color 1.
Perfectly Polished Block Tut
Sew piece C to the top of color 4; sew piece J to the bottom of color 4.
Perfectly Polished Block Tut
Sew piece D to the top of color 2; sew piece E to the bottom of color 2.
Perfectly Polished Block Tut
Sew piece F to the right side of color 3.
Perfectly Polished Block Tut
Sew piece G to the left side of color 5; sew piece H to the right side of color 5.
Perfectly Polished Block Tut
Sew piece K to the left side of color 6; sew piece L to the right side of color 6.
Perfectly Polished Block Tut
Now sew piece A to the left side of the color 1 section.
Perfectly Polished Block Tut
Sew piece I to the bottom of the color 3 section.
Perfectly Polished Block Tut
Now it's time to start piecing the colors together! Begin by sewing the color 1 section to the top of the color 3 section.
Perfectly Polished Block Tut
Sew the color 2 section to the top of the color 5 section.
Perfectly Polished Block Tut
Sew the color 4 section to the left side of the color 2+color 5 section.
Perfectly Polished Block Tut
Now piece the color4+color 2+color 5 section to the right side of the color 1+color3 section.
Perfectly Polished Block Tut
Finally, piece the color 6 section to the bottom of the block!
Perfectly Polished Block Tut
Your block should now measure 12.5" long and 13" across.
To create the 19.5" mini quilt, continue below.
If you'd rather square up the block for another use, simply sew a 1"x13" background strip to either the top or bottom edge of the block. This will give you a 13" square block which will finish as a 12.5" square block.

To create the mini quilt, do not add the 1" strip to square up the block.
Cut the following borders from your background fabric:
2" x 12.5"
2" x 14.5"
5.5" x 14"
6" x 19.5"

Sew the 2" x 12.5" strip to the left side of the block.
Sew the 2"x14.5" strip to the top of the block.
Sew the 5.5"x14" strip to the right side of the block.
Sew the 6" x 19.5" strip to the bottom of the block.
Perfectly Polished Block Tut
Baste, quilt and bind!
Perfectly Polished Block Tut
Thanks so much to Amanda for having me over for tutorial week! I would love to see any projects that you create from this tutorial. You can always contact me through my blog or post in my Flickr Group!