I'm finally giving up on my stack of skinny jeans! (If I ever lose enough weight to fit back into my size twos, then I'll want to reward myself with a new pair anyway.) The multiple shades of worn and unworn blue denim will form a happy family with my block print fabrics, living side by side in a patchwork quilt. I'm making it as a gift for my mom, who loves gardening, so I decided it should have a botanical theme.
With that in mind, I select the block print fabrics that have nature related patterns, and cut them into neat little squares. I also cut the skinny jeans into neat little squares - satisfying! Then, I assemble the fabrics checkerboard style and move them around until I feel a good balance. I sew the squares of each row together, then iron them flat. Next, I sew the rows together, and iron the entire quilt top.
For the backing, I use a dark denim. I like to cut the backing about 2" larger than the top on all sides so I can use it to bind the quilt. I layer the top over the batting, and both of these layers over the backing. After pin basting, I tie the corners with embroidery thread. To finish up, I fold the backing up and over the top of the quilt, then sew it into place.
Stay tuned for pics of the finished quilt!
I recently made a baby quilt out of one of my block print illustrations. It's neat to think about all the stages involved in making something like this. I list them here so you can get a peek behind the process...
1. It begins with an idea...
2. ...which I then sketch out on tracing paper.
3. After refining the sketch to a point where I'm satisfied with every detail,
4. I transfer the final drawing onto a block of wood.
5. At this point, I carve the image.
6. Once the carving is complete, I ink the surface of the block...
7. ...and print it onto paper.
8. When the ink on the paper is dry, I scan the block print image into my computer,
9. make refinements in Photoshop,
10. and save it as a JPEG file.
11. Over at my Spoonflower shop, I upload the JPEG,
12. select the amount and type of fabric I want the file to be printed on,
13. and purchase it.
14. A short time later the fabric is shipped and arrives on my doorstep,
15. at which point I lay it over batting, which I lay over the backing cloth.
16. I pin the three layers together,
17. free motion quilt it on my sewing machine,
18. and bind the edges.
Below, my favorite thing about printmaking:
I go with the blue for my quilt top and have the image digitally printed onto KONA cotton at Spoonflower.
See the quilt making process in this blog post tutorial.
See finished quilt below!
If you are reading this, you may be considering making this quilt. Of course, most quilt designs can be made from an existing stash of fabric, so before you go any further, I just want to give you a heads up that the making of this quilt requires a purchase at my Spoonflower shop (see below).
If you're up for that, read on! If not, please check back at some point in the future - because I have some designs brewing in my sketchbook that won't require a Spoonflower purchase...
This tutorial explains how to make the quilt pictured on the right, but it doesn't teach how to quilt. If you've quilted before, this will be no problem for you. If you've never quilted, check out the amazing tutorials you can find on YouTube, or better yet, take a class at your local quilt shop or community school (and then come back here!) Finished size of quilt is approximately 28"x38".
1 yard of turquoise 100% cotton fabric (I used KONA - turquoise)
1 yard of batting (I used Warm & Natural)
self healing mat
basic sewing supplies
The first thing you'll need to do is purchase the "In the Beginning" quilt top fabric which is available in my Spoonflower shop. You can do that here.
When making your selections from the pop-up menus in the shop (see screenshot below), make sure you select as below:
1. Choose Fabric: Kona Cotton Ultra ($19.00/yd)
2. Choose Amount: 1 (quantity), Yard (42" width)
When the fabric arrives from Spoonflower, machine wash, dry, and iron it.
Cut a piece of batting several inches larger than the fabric on all sides and smooth it out flat on the floor or a table top.
Take the fabric outside and spray the back with quilt basting spray.
Bring the fabric inside, center over batting, and place directly on top of batting.
Starting from the center of the fabric and working your way out towards the edges, use a circular motion to smooth the fabric out over the batting. The two layers will adhere.
Flip so that the image is facing down, and from the center
Using a quilter's ruler, rotary cutter and a self-healing mat, trim the edges of the fabric and batting. Leave a 1/4" white border around the entire perimeter.
Turn trimmed piece over (so that the image is facing down) and place on a large flat surface. Pat down (rather than smooth out) any areas that aren't lying flat. Spray with basting spray.
Lay backing fabric (wrong side up) on a large flat surface. Center quilt top with batting (image side up) over the backing fabric and place directly on top.
Flip entire sandwich so that image is facing down. Starting from the center of the backing fabric and working out towards the edges, use a circular motion to smooth the fabric out over the batting.
Trim the edges of the backing fabric. Leave a 1" border around the entire perimeter.
At this point you can quilt the three layers together by hand or machine. I did some light free motion quilting and just followed along the lines of the illustration, but you can do anything your heart desires!
To bind the quilt, follow the steps below...
Hand sew along the edge of the binding using a slip stitch to secure it to the quilt top.
I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial and that is was helpful for you!
I've been making quilts (sporadically) over the past 15 years, and had never attempted hand quilting until I'd completed piecing the top for this black and white. Stitching an entire quilt by hand had always seemed too time consuming, but somehow, this one seemed to cry out for the human touch. I'd already deprived it of curves and color, so I thought I owed it at least this much.
Turns out I LOVE the process, even more so than machine quilting. I found myself looking forward to working on it all day, a reward for completing all of my menial labor. Normally, at this time of night, I'd hold my computer on my lap and catch up on e-mails (which I now realize is a task better suited to my crisp, morning brain). At the end of a long day, I now find, nothing beats relaxing on the couch with a needle in my hand, and a quilt in my lap.
My daughter is a Girl Scout. She and her troop are so lucky to have two amazing women who volunteer to lead their troop. It's a major time commitment to be a troop leader, which is why I've never done it, but every year what I do do is volunteer my time to do an art based project with the girls. Last year it was nature journaling. This year - quilting!
Time was limited to an hour and a half for our first meeting, an hour for our second meeting, and five minutes for our third and final meeting.
In the first meeting I planned to teach them to how to hand sew a four square block, in the second how to hand tie the quilt and make the quilt label, and in the last, a final viewing and photo before donating it to the local hospital. In between the meetings, I worked on the quilt at home to have it ready for the next.
Here's how I prepared for our meeting #1:
First I cut four square pieces of fabric for each girl. I selected a range of fabrics from my stash, limiting the color range to that within my "yellow through red" drawer in order to have somewhat of a cohesive look.
In order to have some movement throughout the quilt, I chose both lights and darks. (If they were all light or all dark, it would have flattened the design which was not what I was going for).
Then, I cut each fabric into strips (I believe they were 4" wide) using a rotary cutter, and each strip into squares.
Since I'd be teaching them to sew by hand, I drew 1/4" seam allowance around the perimeter of each fabric square using a white chalk pencil (which doesn't seem to show up in photo above). This way they'd have a guide for sewing a straight line.
I then selected two light and two dark pieces of fabric and pinned them together using four pins and one needle. This saved time in having to distribute the pins and needles to each girl during our meeting.
I forgot to get picture of our sewing session, probably because I was very busy! Even with the help of both troop leaders, teaching 16 girls (9-10 years of age) how to sew was a great challenge.
There were different skill levels across the group; a small portion of the girls had had sewing lessons in the past and knew the basics (how to thread a needle and how to align and pin right sides together). Most of the girls hadn't sewn before, but seemed like they'd had lots of experience with crafting in general, and were able to catch on quickly. For the remaining few, this seemed to be one of their first experiences making something with their hands. For their sake, I wish we'd had a smaller ratio of adults to children. One on one would have been best for them.
Even so, the girls couldn't have been more enthusiastic about the process. They were interested, engaged, and loved the experience. Better yet, most of them were able to complete their sewing by the end of our meeting.
At home I machine sewed all the blocks together, added a bright orange Kona cotton border and backing with a layer of Warm & Natural batting in between, and pin basted it all together in preparation for our next meeting.
Meeting #2 went a little smoother than the first. I'd explained the steps I'd taken at home to get the quilt to it's current state, and pointed out the three layers.
Then, the main portion of the troop went on to an (unrelated) activity while another mom and I worked one-on-one with two girls at a time teaching them to tie the quilt.
Towards the end of the meeting, we all came together to make the quilt label. I had prepared the label fabric by ironing a piece of wax paper to the backside to stiffen the surface for writing on. Also, I had drawn out guide lines with a fabric pen to keep things neat.
Knowing that we'd be donating it to our local hospital where it would be given to a sick child, they came up with the wording you see above. I wrote their message onto the fabric using a permanent pen, and then they each signed their names (going a little overboard with their decorative accents!)
At home I finished the quilt by machine quilting three lines around the perimeter of the patchwork, sewing on the binding, and attaching the label. See end results below!
It's been three weeks since my friend and I started a quilting group (which we now call the Glen Rock Quilting Bee, or GRQB) and I love it! We meet every week for two hours in the town library. Each of us work on our own individual projects just as we would at home, except we are together, which is much more fun! I love seeing what everybody's working on, it's sooo inspiring. It's also quite educational - some of the women who have been quilting for many years are happy to share their expertise if one of us should need it. You don't get that when you're home alone in your work space!
The only thing I don't like about this weekly meet up is the fact that I need to pack up all my supplies to take with me, and unpack them all once I get home. But until I have two of everything I need (which is unlikely to ever happen) I'll just have to deal. Waaaaa!
One think that helps (just like every other routine in life that requires a little thought) is having a list. A list assures that I'll remember to bring everything I'll need, while leaving my mind free to day dream - or whatever. The past couple weeks I've been scribbling my list on an index card and tweaking it. I think it's pretty much complete, but I'll be adding to it if I find there's anything else I need to bring.
If you, my dear reader, would like to print it out, feel free. Just keep in mind - we all have our own sewing needs (depending on the project or working style), so you should consider it a starting point to which you can add and cross off until it works for you.
Quilting Bee Packing List
Start off by packing current project including any cut pieces, fabrics, pattern templates, instructions, etc.
MEASURING & MARKING
- fabric pencil
- fabric marker
- pencil sharpener
- tape measure
- measuring guage
- pin cushion
- cutting mat
- rotary cutter
- quilter's ruler
- fabric scissors
- sewing machine
- extension cord
- bees wax
- seam ripper
- ironing pad
- misting bottle
MISCELLANEOUS (for the group)
- member list
- fabric and batting scraps
- quilting magazines or books to pass along
My sister Liz loves to read, and often works her way through 2, 3 or even 4 novels at a time. She keeps her books stacked on her nightstand, and on one of my visits earlier this year, this stack sparked a gift idea for her - a set of bookmarks.
Never one to hesitate on starting a new project, I immediately designed three bookmarks, each meant to appeal to her modern aesthetic and love of nature. I selected just two high contrast solid colored fabrics to give big impact to these tiny creations. The nature themed icons are bonded to the fabric using fusible web. I quilted fluid lines over the appliqué in attempt to add a sense of movement to the design. They're also meant to suggest the wind, the flow of water, and the flight of a bird.
What I love about this project is that it's quick. I finished the three bookmarks I initially set out to make (see above left) and then went on to experiment with contrast, color and construction techniques (see above right).
I made a pattern and tutorial for this bookmark project which is available here as a free pdf download. If you make the bookmarks, please send a pic of your work - would love to see how they turn out!
Yesterday the Glen Rock Quilt Group (not our official name) met for the first time in the Glen Rock Public Library.Read More