Hi everyone! I finished piecing my “I Love This Quilt!” remake of Geese in My Kitchen and I want to share it with you, along with a couple of tips in case you want to make your own version.
When I first blogged about this remake back in June (which you can read here), I was about halfway through making all 216 of the flying geese and I was still mulling my options for the two solids I’d need for the blocks. At the time I was considering a pale blue and navy blue in lieu of Kathy Patterson’s black and white (with one pop of bright orange).
I ended up going with Soldier Blue and Shell, a light beige, from FreeSpirit Fabrics’ Designer Solids collection. The Soldier Blue has a deep blue color I love that’s a bit brighter than navy, and the Shell, well, I told you these Jennifer Paganelli prints reminded me of a beach vacation, didn’t I? I admit I was drawn to the name but also to how the soft, pale neutral offers just a little bit of contrast to the clear, bright prints and their white undertones. Continue reading →
The Ghoulies & Ghosties Halloween Quilt is the perfect project to get a jump-start on autumn quilting. This delightful, cozy lap quilt pattern is a great project to make-ahead for Halloweeen…and it’s frightfully easy!
The Season’s Not Over. Grab your machine, fabric & pattern. Go GLAMPING!
We’ve heard about a lot of quilters who don’t let a camping vacation stop them from quilting. They take it along! Deb McDonald, McCall’s Quilting Administrative Editor, is no exception. We asked her to share her expertise for making a camping experience a glamping experience with quilting projects in tow.
Deb McDonald and Happy Day with her camper
My husband and I enjoy camping in our 5th wheel RV. The Colorado State Parks have beautiful campsites that are clean, spacious and well-maintained. An added bonus to these getaways is that I have uninterrupted sewing time. The distractions of home remain at home.
Outdoor Quilting Set-up
If the weather is nice you will find me at the picnic table working on a quilt.
Indoor Quilting Set-up
In cool or wet weather I’m at the small dining room table in our trailer. Just like at home, I don’t let something like the weather get in the way of my quilting.
Since I don’t have easy access to my sewing room, I have to make sure I have the right supplies and equipment to keep my current project moving forward. The lists below are supplies I always have with me for camp quilting:
Sewing machine, including foot pedal, power cord, extra bobbins and an extension cord
Quarter-inch presser foot
Extra machine needles
Spare spool of neutral thread
My pressing mat in use
Space is at a premium so I do not take a 24” x 36” cutting mat along. A 12” x 18” mat is good for trimming units. Don’t forget your rotary cutter! I leave a small travel iron in the RV. That, combined with a cushioned board, becomes my pressing station.
I pack my pattern and quilting supplies based on the project I plan to work on. Typically, I’ll take my 4” x 14” ruler and maybe a smaller square ruler. I pre-cut as many patches as I can while I’m still at home or use commercially pre-cut pieces. By preparing ahead I can jump right in to the sewing part.
No matter the season, inspiration is close at hand. It’s rare that I come home from a camping trip without another quilt idea or two.
It sounds like the key to camp quilting is to have the standard essentials always at-the-ready, leaving you to only pack up the items special to a project. You can start pulling together your ‘quilt camp kit’ right here. I added links to the essential items in Deb’s lists above. While browsing through the Quilt and Sew Shop, I even found a pattern (on sale) that includes the supplies you need to make it—one that fits right into traveling through America. How easy is that!
America The Beautiful quilt, designed by Lynn Lister
I don’t know what the temperature is where you live right now, but here in the Denver area school is back in session, which makes it official: Autumn Is Coming.
And with autumn comes the return of Quilting Weather. Shorter, cooler days inspire many of us to want to focus on making warm and cozy projects. It’s also a great time to get in the spirit of the season by adopting a “back to school” mentality and learning some new techniques.
For many of us, wool felt applique would certainly fall into the “new techniques” category but it’s an incredibly beginner-friendly and immensely satisfying technique that’s easy to get the hang of. The September/October 2017 issue of McCall’s Quilting features a gorgeous bed quilt, Fall Stars by Jo Moury, that’s made with wool felt applique; the pattern includes a lesson on working with and making your own wool felt.
Here are some video tutorials that will allow you to see different ways of working with wool felt up close.
Paula Stoddard loves wool applique and designs adorable patterns using it that make you just want to reach out and pet her quilts. (Be sure to scroll down a bit to see Paula’s latest project using wool felt applique, Dreaming of Spring.)
In this tutorial she did for “Quiltmaker’s Block Network,” Paula demonstrates a step-by-step method for using wool felt to make the Flowers for Ewe block that she designed for Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks, Vol. 2.
In another episode, Paula demonstrated how to make the Some-Bunny block she designed for Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Vol. 5 also using a fusible applique method.
In this episode of Quilters Newsletter TV, Amy Mundinger described what to look for in a wool sweater in order to felt it, how to felt the wool and how to prepare it for projects. The full episode (available for viewing on QNNtv.com) also includes some of the fun projects Amy has made with her felted wool.
In a second episode, Amy talked more specifically about how to create wool applique shapes, how to arrange and stitch them to a pre-quilted background, how to turn them into medallions for centerpieces or brooches, and more. The full episode is available for viewing on QNNtv.com.
In this “Quilty” episode, Marianne Fons joined daughter Mary to show how to make a darling wool felt heart that you can hang up as a decoration or give as a tiny gift. Learn how to work with wool, how to do a hand blanket stitch, and discover a good use for all those extra buttons in your junk drawer!
In the 900 series of Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting, Liz and Marianne demonstrated an array of decorative embroidery stitches perfect for wool applique as well as a trunk show of gorgeous wool projects that anyone can make. Visit QNNtv.com to view the full episode.
Also on QNNtv.com is a full episode of “Quilting Celebrations” with Patrick Lose featuring Miranda McGahee and Patti Conner in which Patti showed some projects she made using Miranda’s hand-dyed wool. Patti shows how she cuts out and places her appliques shapes, as well as how she pre-stitches some of her motifs before adding them to the project and some of her signature stitches. Visit QNNtv.com to view the free preview of this “Quilting Celebrations” episode.
So now that you know the basics, what are you going to make using your newfound skills? I have a few ideas for you.
Quiltmaker’s current series pattern Dreaming of Spring by Paula Stoddard combines pieced and appliqued blocks for a throw or wall quilt. It’s available as a kit, which includes the full Dreaming of Spring pattern, as well as flannels from Windham Fabrics and cozy wool from Weeks Dye Works for the quilt top and binding. Even better: it’s currently on sale for $20 off (price subject to change).
There are a couple of adorable patterns that Jen Daly designed for editions of Quilters Newsletter’s Best Christmas Quilts special issues that are made with wool felt applique.
You can find her Let It Snow table runner and pillow in Best Christmas Quilts 2012 .
And her O Christmas Tree Advent Calendar is in the 2013 edition of Best Christmas Quilts .
Both of these special issues are available as digital downloads and are currently on sale for only $2.00 each! I’m talking the entire issue, not just one pattern for $2.00. Such a deal!
So with all of those ideas, I say: Bring on the Quilting Weather!
Welcome to Tuesday! Everyone is busy around the office, ready to ramp up for fall: the end of summer vacations, finishing up outdoor projects and getting kids ready for school. Our editors worked on a couple of quilting projects last weekend to share with you. They are all about samplers.
From Acquisitions Editor, Lori Baker:
I’m working on a sampler type of quilt with assorted applique blocks from my stack of orphan blocks. Most of them are finished blocks but some of the applique has raw edges and is only fused in place. I spent my sewing time this weekend blanket stitching around some of those fused blocks.
A block from Lori’s Sampler
Another block in Lori’s Sampler Quilt
Applique on a photo background
One block is applique on top of a photo printed on fabric. The photo was the yellow flower on a background of grass. Another layer of yellow fabric was added and stitched in place to give added dimension. This block was a step-out given to me by a friend. I didn’t have the same color of yellow thread but I finished it anyway. There is no seam allowance left at the top of the block, I’ll have to get creative there.
The fourth block must have been from a lesson. It is a wedding remembrance with the name of the bride and groom and their wedding date handwritten in the center. I made the coordinating four-patch and appliqued it in place to cover up the writing.
From Managing Editor, Tricia Patterson:
I finally had a chance to work a little more on the sampler of window seat pillows I shared with you way back in May through a Design Wall Tuesday post, Quilt Block Pillows. (Wow! This summer has gone fast.) I’m making the pillows with Osnaburg and my own hand-dyed fabrics. I used a block I designed for Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks, volume 15 as my starter inspiration.
My inspiration block, Refractions from Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks, vol 15, is the one on the left.
I’m largely taking an improvisational approach to making the pillow covers. I add strips of different colors, choosing placement at various angles as I go. I don’t have a preconceived plan in mind, or on paper; just a general concept. It’s been really fun to see how the design of the pillows come together, as I seem to just let the fabric create the design. I think they have a level of cohesiveness created by using the same fabric and shapes, but each of them is very unique.
Improvisational quilting: I just sliced off the edges of another inspiration block to come up with the version on the left.
I’m going to use this body pillow for the center back of the window seat. Still a work in progress.
I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing a few samplers we have in the works. And, I hope they inspire you to create a unique sampler project. The great thing about samplers is that they can come together from all angles; no rules to hold you back. You can just have fun pulling together all your favorite fabrics, techniques and designs into one quilting project.
Have you ever made a quilted backing for your quilt? What a fun way to feature any of your favorite block! If you’re a fan of log cabin blocks, read on…
In the September/October 2015 issue of McCall’s Quilting we ran the Handsome Stars lap quilt (shown above, right) which included a free creative backing pattern – that backing pattern is today’s FREE Friday quilt pattern! Whether you use this free pattern to make a creative backing for the Handsome Stars quilt or to be the top for a separate quilt all its own, the easy piecing will get you to the finish line in no time. Explore a different color pallete or a different block all together during your next project!
Download the FREE Handsome Stars creative backing pattern…it’s a Friday FREEbie.(Problems downloading our PDF? Check out our troubleshooting tips.)
Knowing different approaches to making triangle-squares (also called half-square triangle units) is one way to take you from being a beginning quilter to an intermediate one. Having a variety of techniques in your quilter’s toolbox allows you to look at a pattern and evaluate how to make what you need based on what works best for you and your fabric choices.
Example: I really like Candy Hargrove’s pattern for Homeland, which was featured on the cover of the McCall’s Quilting June/July 2017 issue, and I was the editor who adapted it to a mini quilt size for the free pattern download.
Candy’s full-size throw quilt is wonderfully scrappy and would be a great way to bust some stash making all of those 6” triangle-squares. Making triangle-squares one or two at a time is the technique you probably want to use if you want yours as scrappy as Candy’s.
When I decided to make a 16” pillow sham based on Homeland, I had a couple of things to consider. First of all, I knew the triangle-squares would finish at 1.5”, which is fairly small. I also wanted to use a bright red-white-and-blue palette that was still scrappy but more contained; at that size, I felt that too much variety in the prints I used would obscure the design.
Because of those two considerations, I decided to use the 8-at-a-time triangle-squares technique. Same outcome, just a different approach.
So with that in mind, here are some video tutorials that demonstrate different ways of making the ubiquitous triangle-square unit.
This “My First Quilt” tutorial featuring Sara Gallegos is a great place to start, especially if you want to make really scrappy triangle-squares by cutting and piecing triangles instead of using a fast piecing method. This gives Sara the opportunity to talk about how important the grainline of your fabric is and why it matters (more on that further down). She demonstrates the 2-at-at-time technique (which we include in the Quilt Basics or Basic Lessons sections of McCall’s Quilting and Quiltmaker) and what to look for when you’re joining your triangle-square units together.
Sara also gives you the quilt math you’ll need to figure out what size to start with if you want a particular finished size. Click here to learn more about the entire free video series “My First Quilt” on QNNtv.com.
In this “Quilty” video, Mary Fons demonstrates a method of cutting patches to make triangle-squares from strips using a triangular ruler and rotary cutter.
This “Sew Easy” tutorial demonstrates the technique I used to make my pillow sham and that I’ve learned to love, which is how to make triangle-squares 8 at a time. It’s really helpful when making multiple sets of triangle-squares, and requires the same amount of fabric as the standard method.
You may have seen tutorials online for making triangle-squares from strips or squares that were cut across the width of the fabric and that have been pieced together. That particular technique makes me furrow my editor’s brow in consternation because if you’re stitching on the straight-of-grain, you’re going to get bias edges all around the outside edges of the units. Just so you know, we quilt editors do everything in our power to avoid writing patterns that result in bias edges on the outside of units. I’ve never used the technique demonstrated here of cutting triangle-squares from bias strip sets but it makes perfect sense; you’re still stitching on the bias and cutting units the straight-of-grain. It’s just one more tool in a quilter’s toolbox!
Homeland is one of many, many fantastic patterns that are based on triangle-square units. Here are just a handful of patterns of differing complexity, but once you know the basics of making triangle-squares, none of them are beyond your skill level. Out of the Blues by Nancy Mahoney
Thanks for joining us! It seems like Winter was on the minds of a few editors this past weekend! I think the hot summer weather is making us think of cooler weather. Read on to see what the editors of McCall’s Quilting and Quiltmaker have been up to.
From Content Director, Carolyn Beam:
I’m having so much fun playing with my charm square collection and coming up with new pattern ideas. I played with another one this weekend and made a bunch of units. Here’s a sneak peek.
From Administrative Editor, Deb McDonald:
With temperatures soaring I decided it was time to cool off with thoughts of winter. Last weekend I held my own personal Christmas in July sewing session. I love the Christmas Bows quilt Paula Stoddard designed for McCall’s Quilting Nov/Dec 2016 and knew I wanted one for our home. You can still order your own kit for Christmas Bows. Several months ago I cut and paired up all the patches, sewed a few blocks together and then promptly set the project aside. When I opened the box this weekend it was such a treat seeing the ‘getting ready to sew’ tasks were already done. I turned on my machine and started chain piecing units together. Here is what I have so far.
From Associate Editor, Tricia Patterson:
Thinking of winter in August. I worked on a quilt I designed for the Jan/Feb 2018 issue of Quiltmaker this week-end. My inspiration for the design was the imagery of glistening snow on the flat fields of Indiana and mountain top trees in Colorado. I selected Cardinal Christmas and blenders from Hoffman California Fabrics to get the snowy effect I wanted allover the quilt top. I finished the sections and blocks and I’m ready to sew all of them together. I can’t wait to see what the finished top looks like. Even though I have the design on paper, it’s alway exciting to see it come together in fabric!
From Video Content Strategist, Caitlin Dickey:
Some of my fabrics started loudly calling my name sometime last week, and even though I felt like I should finish my snowflakes quilt top before moving on to another project, I couldn’t resist. The pattern for this new quilt keeps changing itself and adding fabrics from my stash that I hadn’t originally pulled for this project. This is what it looks like on my design wall right now; we’ll see where it ends up!
Halloween plus neutrals quilt in progress
I hope you’re enjoying your summer and are finding some time to get some sewing in. Stop back next week to see what we’ve been up to!
We received a response to one of one of our feature McQ&A questions from Barbara Harris of Magnolia, Texas. It was such a delightful read, and carried sentiments many quilters share, so much we want to share it with you.
Thank you Barbara!
Obit… Singer FashionMate. 1972-2017
1972-2017 Rest in Peace Singer FashionMate
It is with somber fondness I must report that a pillar of the Harris household, Singer FashionMate, passed quietly and suddenly from this realm on July 29, 2017 after a long and productive career. A rather plain and simple being with a pale, frost green face, she was adopted in 1972, during the era of polyester double knit, from the local S&H Greenstamp store and came to reside with her current companion, keeping her in stitches for the next 45 years. Singer was a faithful and reliable assistant, only occasionally showing any rebellion by breaking threads or looping stitches and rarely complained about denims or batting. Even when her throat plate was covered in fuzz and lint, she performed well. She had a great knack for holding things together and pressing her best foot forward (and backwards). She just kept bobbin’ along and kept her dogs fed. She was never known to have needled anyone in her whole existence, although she did seam to hate invisible thread and went on a years long strike against its use.
Psychedelic 70s- Repurposed for my grandchildrens’ costumes
Singer’s first accomplishments included garments such as psychedelic colored bell bottoms and evening attire for athletic banquets, along with mending chores. An occasional set of curtains and other small projects were accomplished as well. In the mid 70s to early 80s she seamed up a few baby garments. In the late 1980s, she zigzagged off in a new direction and stitched her first log cabin quilt, which still exists to this day. With that feeling of accomplishment, she eventually fabricated over 25 other quilts, mostly her favorite, simple log cabins, but also some nine patches, a double wedding ring (which only took 12 years to finish as she despised the taste of the invisible thread and refused to work on it), several memory quilts with pictures (one was for the 100th birthday of her companion’s grandmother) and appliqué, a flannel biscuit quilt (which caused considerable congestion) and a variety of baby/toddler quilts. In more recent years, never too old to try new things as long as they weren’t too complex, she tried her arm and foot with craft items such as tote bags, placemats, microwave bowl hotpads, toy sacks, cosmetic bags, pillows, aprons, children’s hooded capes and whatever various semi-useful things her companion could claim were gifts. Finally, this week while working on a lovely blue and yellow log cabin quilt block, her internal anatomy suffered a catastrophic failure. Her gear was stripped, broken. She stopped dead in her throat as it seamed her foot and arm were no longer spooling with her bobbin. CPR was attempted with a limp response and a trip to the urgent care center confirmed that she had seamed her last. Hospice was called in and her life support was disconnected forever. May she always RIP.
My Stash and Singer
She had no fancy stitches to offer and her operator has no special expertise, but together they seamed to get along, making many stitches in time, saving 9…or more. A memorial service was held August 1, and was attended by many of her colorful offspring that still reside nearby. Then, surrounded by her beloved fat quarters and tattered user manual, she was gently sealed in her case and interred in the garage. Her feet, needles, bobbins and attachments have been preserved for future possible transplantation. She will be missed but always remembered.
Planning ahead for Christmas gift quilts? Don’t forget that adding plush fabrics to simple piecing can make for a textured-treat quilt for your favorite kid. This snuggle-friendly lap size quilt may be just what you’re looking for!