Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Quick & Easy Christmas Table Runner Tutorial

Now that the leftovers have been eaten and the dishes put away, it's time to get sewing for Christmas. 🎄  And since some of that sewing will be for gifts, I've come up with a quick and easy table runner that would make a great gift (think neighbor, teacher, gift exchange, hostess gift).  It uses 16-patch blocks and can be made in just about any color scheme (I made this one using Little Joys).  I quilted mine with a simple serpentine stitch using my walking foot, but you could quilt it even faster using a free-motion foot.  Great for scraps or leftover 10" squares.  Let's get started: 

Materials needed:
  • Total of (32) 5" squares (2 each of 16 different prints - you can repeat if necessary)
  • 1/4 yard fabric for binding
  • 1/2 yard fabric for backing
  • 18" x 34" piece of thin batting 
Block size: 8" finished
Finished size: 16.5" x 32"

For each of the eight blocks - take a set of two matching squares and team up with a different set of two matching squares.  You will now have 8 sets of 4 squares.  Keep sets together.

Take each set and cut squares in half: 

Each set will now have eight 2.5" x 5" strips (4 of each color).  For each set, take a strip, and lay an opposite color strip on top (right sides together) and sew on the long side to make a strip unit: 

Repeat for remaining strips in each set (you should have 4 strip units for each set). Press the seams to the darker side, or open.  Now take each strip unit and cut in half:

Make a 4-patch by taking one cut half, flipping it around, pinning and sewing to other half.  Repeat for all strip units.

Lay out each set of 4-patches, and sew together to make eight 16-patch blocks.  Wait to press.

Arrange your blocks 2 down and 4 across.  To make sewing easier, press each block the opposite way of its neighbor.   Sew blocks together.  Do a final press.

Layer your top (right side up), batting, and backing (right side down).  Quilt as desired.  (I quilted mine going diagonally in one direction with a large serpentine stitch.)  Trim sides even, making sure corners are nice and square.

Prepare binding and attach using your favorite method.  I like to finish my binding by machine - here is a good tutorial if you need one. 

This table runner can be made larger, or quilt-size just by making more blocks.  Forty-eight (arranged 6x8) would make a nice throw size quilt - 48"x64"). 

Fabrics used:  Little Joys by Elea Lutz/Riley Blake

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Fabric Pumpkin Finish

Happy October!  In the desert southwest, we pretty much live for this time of year. 

The other day, I was putting out some fall decorations, and realized I didn't have any actual "pumpkin" decorations.  So I searched and found this tutorial and made one up.

 It was so easy and probably took less than an hour.   Here's what I used:
  • A 9" x 21" piece of orange floral fabric (half of a fat quarter works great)
  • Scraps of green dot fused together with Heat-n-Bond 
  • Craft stuffing, cream-colored crochet thread, piece of jute, 1/2" x 2" stick, cookie cutter for leaf shape, glue  
I just love it and plan on making more in other sizes.  A display with several would be fun.  

Finished size:  Approx. 6"W x 3 1/2"H (not inc. stem)  

Fabrics used in project are from the Fig Tree Farmhouse collection by Moda

Friday, June 24, 2016

My 3 Favorite Tips from The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting

Is is hot where you are?  We've had temps around 110 for days.  Ugh.  The heat does provide a great excuse for staying inside and sewing though - and maybe doing some machine quilting (and a little book-reading).  Today I'm going to give my favorite tips from Angela Walters' and Christa Watson's awesome book The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting.   

Favorite Tip #1:  When you're quilting across a border and get to the corner, it's perfectly OK to fill in with a different design.  Your border design may not work rounding the corner, so why not switch to a complimentary design and then continue the first design in the next border.  Genius. 

Favorite Tip #2:  Use a highly patterned fabric to practice your machine quilting.  Why go to the trouble of drawing a design onto a practice quilt sandwich (fabric/batting/fabric) if you don't have to?  You can use up those "What was I thinking" fabrics for this one.  Perfect.

Favorite Tip #3:  Close is good enough.  When you first look at Angela's and Christa's quilts, they look perfect.  But if you look closely, you'll see they're not; each design element isn't exactly like the one next to it, and it doesn't need to be. With enough practice, which both Angela and Christa strongly suggest, you'll get your quilting to a place where it's pleasing to you. 

This book is packed with tips and techniques to take your machine quilting up a notch, no matter whether you're a beginner or advanced quilter.  It's available here.


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Strawberry Biscuit Blog Hop Here Today!

Welcome to my stop on the Strawberry Biscuit blog hop!  Oh my goodness - have you seen all the adorable projects being made with Elea Lutz's new collection?  Quilts, bags, kitchen accessories, baskets, pillows, skirts and even dolls.

I love the happy colors and sweet motifs of this vintage-y collection (I mean, how could you not?), and since they are the colors in my sewing space, I thought baskets to hold sewing supplies would be fun to make.       

I made three sizes so they could hold a variety of items like threads, scraps, notions, leftover binding, leaders & enders, you get the idea.

For the inside of the largest, I used this pink print which has sweet little animals playing together.

There are MANY good tutorials available for fabric baskets, but this one is the most similar to the method I used.  It's basically like making a pouch without the zipper, and adding handles.  I used Pellon fusible batting ironed to the outside instead of interfacing.  Quilting would have added a nice touch and more stiffness.    

Because I loved the gray floral so much, and because my other phone case was getting a little ragged, I used some scraps to make myself a new one. 

I made the case so my phone would be snug, added a loop for my house key, and used the selvage to give it a cute tag.  Now when I go for a walk, I just grab my phone and go.  For a quick trip to the store, I can also tuck in my license and debit card. It even garnered a compliment from my teenage son. *smile* If anyone is interested in a tutorial, let me know in the comments and I'll get one done. 

I hope you enjoyed your stop.  Thank you Elea and Penny Rose for allowing me to participate!  For more inspiration, go check out the next stops on the hop:

28 April - Megan of Sew Style Love (@dollyhenryau)

28 April - Kimberly of Fat Quarter Shop (@fatquartershop) 

29 April - Christa of Cotton Berry Quilts (@cottonberryquilts)

29 April - Elea of Elea Lutz Design (@elealutz)
Come see me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/farmroadquilts/

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Scrappy Quilt Finish!

Hello!  Today I'm here to show my latest quilt finish.

I started this quilt around 10 years ago and am so happy to have it done.  Most of the scraps (the small squares) I used were left over from 2" strips from two log cabin quilts I made.   The middle squares are 3 1/2" (unfin.).  This quilt was a fun, low-stress project.

The backgrounds are from my stash too, except maybe for one or two.  The alternating block squares are 9 1/2" (unfin.).  I quilted straight lines 1 1/2" apart with my walking foot.  I like the slightly modern look they give it.

 To really bust some stash, I used a bunch of fat quarters on the back.  Kind of reminds me of a picnic quilt. 

The binding is finished by machine, using my favorite "nearly invisible" method. 

Finished size - 63" sq., block size - 9"           

Linking to:  Sew Many Ways Sew Darn Crafty
                  Crazy Mom Quilt Finish It Up Friday
                  Quilt Story Fabric Tuesday

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Farmhouse by Fig Tree is Here and On Sale!

This fabric collection is so me!  Joanna of Fig Tree Quilts really captured a farmhouse feeling with this collection. For the next week, all of these new lovelies, including yardage and precuts, are 20% off in my store (above is just a sampling).  Sales ends Oct. 16.  

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Fabric Panel Project Ideas

Have you ever bought a panel because you loved it, but didn't know what to do with it when you got it home?  Today I'm going to show you three projects I made with panel parts, and share some other ideas.   Here's the panel I used in my projects:

Moonlight Manor panel by Deb Strain/Moda

I chose three of the motifs and made a place mat, snack mat and kitchen towel.  Each of them were simple, easy projects.

For the kitchen towel, I chose a square motif with a black background, then purchased a very inexpensive black kitchen towel ($1.50) at my local big box store.  (It's hard to see the motif background in the photo, which is kind of the point).  I adhered Heat-n-Bond Lite to the back of the motif, ironed it onto the towel, and used a narrow zigzag stitch to finish.  I added a band of fabric at the bottom by cutting a 2 1/2" strip, pressing it in half lengthwise, stitching the raw edges approx. 1/2" from the bottom, flipping it downward and stitching it down.  So easy and I really like how it turned out. I did pre-wash both the fabric and towel before I began, so the fusible film would adhere properly.

In making the place mat and snack mat, I chose motifs and then just kind of built around them.  I did have an idea (from Pinterest) on what sizes I wanted them to be.  I layered them with cotton batting and backing, and did some simple quilting.  Then applied binding which I finished by machine.  Each one didn't take long at all.  I plan on giving them to my grandkiddos.  

8 1/2" x 11 1/2" finished size

9" x 13 1/2" finished size

As I cut the individual motifs apart and started playing around with them, I could see the possibilities were endless: 
  • For the kitchen - snack mats, place mats, potholders, embellished towels, table runners
  • For the home - small and large pillows, banners, quilts, wall hangings
  • For kids - treat sacks, small treat bags, baby bibs, appliqued t-shirts
  • For you - gift bags, tote bags, zipper bags, aprons
 All of these items would make great gifts too, especially with all the great holiday panels available. 
Individual pieces

I applied fusible web to this one, before cutting, so it can be used as an applique

The panel used for these projects is available in my Etsy store for 25% off, if you'd like to make any of these projects for your own little goblins (or yourself).

Linking to Quilt Story Fabric Tuesday
                My Quilt Infatuation Needle & Thread Thursday 
                Crazy Mom Quilts Finish It Up Friday

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Winner! And Some Advice About Quilting Large Quilts

Rebecca you are the winner of the Machine Quilting With Style e-book!  (Sorry I'm a little late.)  Send me your email address and I'll forward it to the publisher, who will in turn send you your copy.   To pick the winner, I numbered the comments and chose a number using the Random Generator.  (You can see it in the lower right-hand corner.)  

OK, speaking of comments, thank you for a great response!  It seems that quilters are really interested in improving their quilting skills.  I started replying to each one and I just couldn't keep up.  So if I didn't answer yours, know that I read and appreciated every one. 

In reading the comments, I noticed a common theme.  Most of you are willing to quilt your own smaller quilts, but send out anything larger than a twin size (me included).  Christa offers suggestions in her book that will help us quilt those larger tops:
  • Make sure your machine is at the same level as the work surface around it
  • Support your quilt well on the back and left sides of your machine
  • Use gloves made for machine-quilting to help with grip (I've even resorted to kitchen gloves which worked well in a pinch, kind of hot though)
  • Use good body and hand positioning (more about these in the book).  
When I asked her if she had any other large quilt advice, Christa reminded me to "Just take it nice and slow".   Sounds like great advice Christa.  For more great info, get your own copy of Christa's book here or here.  

Monday, September 21, 2015

Machine Quilting With Style Blog Hop & Giveaway

Hello there!  Welcome to day #7 of the Machine Quilting With Style blog hop.

It's my turn to show you my version of a quilt from Christa Watson's great new book. But first, the original from the book:

Modern with a nod to traditional.  Love it!  OK, here's mine:

As you can see, my little twist on this quilt is a subtle Halloween theme.  I am loving the trendy combo of aqua and orange right now, and it fits right in.  The style of quilting I chose is called "Gentle Wavy Lines" in the book and it's one of my favorites.  It's quick, easy and gives a nice texture.  I quilted the lines vertically from top to bottom, approx. 1" apart.  I just marked a few straight lines to guide my quilting.  In the book, the name of the quilt is "Square in a Square". 

In her book, Christa shows you that YOU CAN quilt your own quilt on your domestic machine.  This book shows lots of designs, from easy (like gentle waves) to the more complex (swirls, pebbles, etc.).  And she gives instructions for 12 modern quilts to use those designs on.  Machine Quilting with Style is a great resource for every quilter who has even thought about quilting her own quilt.

For as long as I've known Christa (since our 15-year-old sons were babies!), she's been a cheerleader of quilting your own quilt.  She's devoted much time to sharing and teaching her awesome skills, and loves to see you succeed with your quilt.  She'll be leading a quilt-along in January and is encouraging everyone to vote for their favorite (here).  The winner will be the object of the quilt along.  How fun!


More good news -- I've been given permission to give an e-copy to one lucky reader.  Leave me a comment saying whether or not you've ever quilted your own quilt (with your domestic machine).  I'll choose a winner on Sept. 28. 

If you don't win (or just can't wait), get yours here 0r a signed copy from Christa.    Right now it's the #1 new release in patchwork on Amazon.  Woohoo!

Hop on over to these blogs to check out their versions:
Plus, there will be additional stops on the hop from the awesome people listed below. They will be sharing their insights including book reviews, interviews, sample blocks, and other interesting content you won’t want to miss.

Linking to:  Crazy Mom Quilts' Finish It Up Friday