Off the Wall Basting

The thing about ideas that are just crazy enough to work is that a person must be crazy enough to try out the idea, to see if it will in fact work. As we’ve been settling into our home and filling it up with more furniture, the nice big floor spaces on which I used to spread out and baste my quilts are no longer very big. It’s really no fun crawling around on the floor to baste a big quilt, but basted they must be and it’s a tried and true method that works.

While I’m running out of floor space, there’s still plenty of wall space. Maybe I could use that instead?! If it worked, I’d be able to stand up straight and pin everything together without discomfort. While I’m sure my co-workers would help me baste a quilt that needed to be finished for work, I had a quilt top and back that I made just for fun, for me, and I wanted to get it out of my unfinished pile. I don’t remember the exact size off the top of my head, but it’s about 70″ square. You may remember it, I blogged about making the top. I decided to give my wall-basting idea a shot.

I started by pressing my quilt back so it’s nice and wrinkle-free, then I put two long strips of regular masking tape along the top, on the wrong side of the fabric. I used the 2″-wide kind of tape so there would be plenty of adhesive on both the fabric and the wall.

wallbasting1 Off the Wall Basting

Two long strips of masking tape at the top will hold the quilt back in place, so I can tape the perimeter of the quilt back to the wall.

I did need my husband’s help just to get the quilt back initially stuck onto the wall so it hung straight. We each held one of the strips and stuck them to the wall, then his job was over and I was able to tape all around the perimeter by myself. It worked out well because I could pull the fabric taut since it was stuck to the wall on top, and tape the edges down. It was obvious if there was any distortion and the tape was easily readjusted as necessary.

wallbasting2 Off the Wall Basting

The quilt back is nice and smooth, taped all around the edges. It’s a little hard to see since the wall is almost the same color as the masking tape!

Next comes the batting, of course. I had the idea that cotton batting would stick pretty well to the back and stay put without any tape, but I did have to tape the upper two corners in place while I smoothed it over the quilt backing. I cut off the excess batting, which was adding unnecessary weight, and then with a bit of manipulation and patting out folds I got it nice and smooth against the quilt back. So far, so good.

wallbasting3 Off the Wall Basting

The batting, trimmed to size, stuck pretty well to the backing. It was a little tricky in the bunchy areas where the batting had been folded, but patient manipulation worked that out.

The quilt top, being smaller and lighter than both the quilt back and batting, should adhere nicely to the batting, I thought. It did. Once one corner was anchored and smooth, it was really easy to smooth out the rest of the quilt top and it stayed put without any tape or anything. It was actually much simpler that crawling around on the floor to get wrinkles out, since on the floor you usually have to put your weight on the quilt and that distorts the smoothing out you just did. I was able to get the backing, batting and quilt top on the wall in about half an hour.

wallbasting4 Off the Wall Basting

Layer the backing, batting and quilt top. On the wall. Done!

Then it was time to pin it! I was nervous that the safety pins might add more and more weight and eventually pull the tape off the wall, but I figured that by then I’d have a good amount of basting already done and then I could just move to a table or something. So I just started pinning at the top and before I knew it, I was done! It worked really, really well. I did have to squat and then sit on the floor to pin the very bottom, but it wasn’t for long and still preferable to crawling on hands and knees.

wallbasting5 Off the Wall Basting

It’s not too apparent, but there are safety pins all over the quilt. No knees were harmed in the basting of this quilt.

So, wall basting. Have people been doing this all along, but I just never heard about it? It’s pretty great. I guess it helps to be tall if your quilt is pretty big, and I had made my quilt back about 6″ larger than the front so even with the slight distortion that happened when I removed the masking tape from the fabric, it didn’t affect the working area. My husband was a little concerned that the masking tape might damage the paint on the wall, but it came off with no trouble at all and the wall looks just fine.

My quilt front and back are perfectly smooth, basted, and ready to quilt. I think this will be a good project to practice some more free-motion quilting.

wallbasting6 Off the Wall Basting

Close up of the front, basted.

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The back, basted. No wrinkles!

Please tell us all about your quilting adventures and ideas, innovations and dreams! We’re always on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+ and our website. Have a stitcherrific weekend!

Posted in Gigi, Inspiration, Staff Quilts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Golden Age Fabric Giveaway!

CoverJJ14 200b Golden Age Fabric Giveaway!

PLEASE NOTE: THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. THANK YOU TO ALL WHO PARTICIPATED. CONGRATULATIONS, NORMA!

It’s almost time for our August/September 2014 issue to hit newsstands (next Tuesday the 22nd if you’re counting down), so we’d like to give one last hurrah to our fabulous June/July 2014 issue with another Staff Picks fabric collection fat quarter bundle giveaway. (Don’t forget to grab your copy of Quilters Newsletter June/July 2014 if you haven’t already, because it’s packed full of intriguing techniques like using LED lights with conductive thread, history articles like “Cheddar Quilts” and intermediate and challenging quilt patterns!)

One lucky winner will receive 24 fat quarters from the Golden Age collection from Collecting Threads, a densely decorated series of opulent prints to give your next quilting project the royal treatment.

JJ14SPL 002 550 Golden Age Fabric Giveaway!

To enter to win this bundle of fat quarters from the Golden Age collection from Connecting Threadsleave a comment on this post below telling us about your favorite summertime place to quilt. Comments must be entered by 11:59 PM Mountain Time, Sunday July 20, 2014. Open to anyone worldwide who has not won anything from Quilters Newsletter in the past 90 days. If you are randomly selected as a winner, the email will come from QNMquestions@fwmedia.com with “Quilters Newsletter blog giveaway” in the subject line.

Once you’ve added that new variation of our editorial questions email to your “safe senders” list, be sure to follow us your preferred form of social media: FacebookTwitterGoogle+Pinterest,Instagram and YouTube, and don’t forget to visit our website for previews of what’s in the latest issue (currently June/July 2014 which can be purchased at your local quilt shop, bookstore, or online at Quilt and Sew Shop)!

 

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More about the Denver Art Museum

Gigi told you in her blog post on Friday that we went to the Denver Art Museum for a media open house. We saw so many wonderful things, Gigi couldn’t possibly include them all. In fact, even after I tell you about the high spots for me, there will still be many, many noteworthy items we haven’t talked about. I have so many wonderful photos. It is truly hard to choose which I’m going to write about.

The first exhibit we saw was Beyond Pop Art: A Tom Wesselmann Retrospective. I loved his art. At the start of his career, Wesselmann did two-dimensional art. Our tour was part of a private media event and we were fortunate to have our tour of this exhibit guided by Claire Wesselmann, the artist’s widow.

DAM 004 More about the Denver Art Museum

Bedroom Painting #38 (1978)

Later on, he started doing three-dimensional art. His metal work was amazing to me. I have sons who are welders and I know they would love to see Wesselmann’s art in metal. This one is charcoal on cut-out metal.

DAM 10 More about the Denver Art Museum

Monica Nude with Cezanne (1988-1992)

These beautiful flowers are oil paint on cut-out aluminum.

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Mixed Bouquet (Filled In) (3D) (1993)

I was already in love with the Denver Art Museum and we hadn’t even gotten to the textile exhibit.

When we got there, the first thing that caught my eye was this log cabin quilt. The logs are slightly less than ¼” wide.

DAM 22 More about the Denver Art Museum

Barn Raising Quilt – Log Cabin Variation

According to the placard, it is from the United States in the 1890s. They speculate that the center was made by one person and the borders were added later by someone else because of the quality of the workmanship. There is even one piece of border fabric on the upper left hand side that doesn’t match the rest.

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Here is the border fabric that doesn’t match.

Then there was an excellent example of a quilt made with neckties.

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Ties Quilt, Sue V. Bulkeley, 1950s

Besides being lovely, this quilt brought back a fun memory for me. One of my favorite uncles had a collection of ties. As children, my brother, my sister and I were amused to find the underside of the ties sometimes held surprises (nude or barely clad ladies). We’d go to the closet where his ties were, just to check. This quilt had one of those designs included.

DAM 39 More about the Denver Art Museum

This made me smile.

This quilt was unique. It looked like it weighed a bunch!

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Label Quilt, Libbie Gottschalk, 1973-2003

The placard said this was “a mending project gone mad,” a 30-year project originally using labels to repair a beloved quilt that belonged to Gottschalk’s grandfather. Eventually she decided to cover both sides with labels.

The QN team made sure I noticed this quilt. It’s all yo-yos.

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Yo-Yo Quilt, United States, 1970s

When I first started working at Quilters Newsletter, we were working on an issue that had cute little Christmas trees made of yo-yos. The team invited me to a session in the sewing studio to make some and even as the “new kid on the block”, I turned them down. I really don’t like handwork and my yo-yos (the one time I made them) don’t even turn out round. In case you’d like that issue with the little Christmas trees, it’s still available in digital format here.

I always try to remember to say that even though I don’t like to do handwork, I really appreciate it. I think it’s beautiful when it is well done. I just don’t do it myself.

Here’s one last quilt.

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Pine Tree Medallion with Borders Quilt, United States, late 1890s-early 1900s

Mary Kate and I talked about this quilt and all the math involved. Each of the plain borders had to be just the right width so the pieced border next to it would fit. We loved this one.

In the activities area, there was a small display of weaving.

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A Weaving Display

At the very top of the display is a piece of weaving using fabric and yarn; what I think of as traditional materials. At the bottom of the display are crayons, Q-tips and matches woven together. It was eye catching.

We had a delightful time at the Denver Art Museum. If you get the chance to go, you’ll be amazed. Gigi and I haven’t even begun to tell you about all the things to see. There is something for all ages. It is so worth your time. Special thanks to Dr. Alice M. Zrebiec, Avenir Foundation Curator of Textile Art for the museum, for giving us a personal tour of the quilt exhibit.

And now, until next time, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+ and our website.

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Quilts and Activities at the Denver Art Museum

Yesterday we were lucky enough to go and visit the Denver Art Museum for their media open house, which was an introduction to the exhibits and programs that they will launch this summer. There was a fascinating retrospective of the work of pop artist Tom Wesselmann, an exhibit of 20th century Japanese prints and a collection of recent portraits by the talented painter Daniel Sprick. But we were there for the quilts, of course, which were displayed in the new textile gallery in an exhibit titled First Glance/Second Look.

When we arrived at the museum, it was great fun to see the huge community quilt in the lobby, for which we made a panel last year.

DAMlobby Quilts and Activities at the Denver Art Museum

Bottom half of the SPUN community quilt. Our panel is in the third row from the left, second from the bottom.

Curator of Textile Art, Alice Zrebiec, was kind enough to give us an in-depth tour of the First Glance/Second Look exhibit and explained why each of the quilts were chosen. Out of more than 300 quilts which are currently in the Denver Art Museum’s collection, this exhibit contains more than 20 quilts, selected to illustrate different traditional techniques and patterns that are still popular today, like log cabins, stars, mosaic, applique and more. It’s a diverse and engaging show, and if you make it to the Denver area in the next year or so, I highly recommend a visit.

I’ll show just a few favorite quilts from the exhibit, since there was so much more to see besides that!

DAMmatterhorn Quilts and Activities at the Denver Art Museum

The Matterhorn Quilt made by Myrtle May Fortner, 1934. Alice says this is one of the most popular and most requested quilts in the collection.

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Detail of The Matterhorn Quilt. It’s made up of 9,135 squares that each finish at 3/4″

DAMmedallion Quilts and Activities at the Denver Art Museum

Medallion Quilt from England, 1820s. We all loved the large patches and the use of printed stripes as sort of cheater patchwork fabric. Modern quilt concepts go back a long, long time.

Here’s an example of patchwork that was not used in a quilt. Alice said this man’s shirt was added to the museum’s collection around the 1940s.

DAMbigshirt Quilts and Activities at the Denver Art Museum

Seminole piecing on a garment.

DAMbigshirtdetail Quilts and Activities at the Denver Art Museum

detail of the piecing

Adjacent to the exhibit, there was a great activities area for kids and adults alike, surrounded by examples and explanations of just about everything to do with textiles, sewing and quilting.

DAMdyeing Quilts and Activities at the Denver Art Museum

This section was all about different dyeing techniques like shibori, clamping, wax-resist and more.

In the activities area was a really fun and clever companion exhibit featuring quilts made by member of Studio Art Quilt Associates. It was in a big chest of drawers, and each drawer contained a little treasure of an art quilt. I thought it was a thoughtful, space saving way to display the quilts – while you have to take a bit of trouble to open the drawers to see them, each one becomes like a little secret surprise that you’ve uncovered. Even though they’re under glass in the drawers, you can get nice and close to look at the details.

DAMdrawers Quilts and Activities at the Denver Art Museum

Chest of drawers containing quilts by SAQA members

DAManderson Quilts and Activities at the Denver Art Museum

Yo Yo Botanica by Faye Anderson of Broomfield, Colorado.

DAMhill Quilts and Activities at the Denver Art Museum

It Takes a Village – California by Gretchen B. Hill of Carlsbad, California.

DAMadams Quilts and Activities at the Denver Art Museum

Progress? by Dierdre Adams of Littleton, Colorado.

There were also two ladies demonstrating tatting, or lace-making, the same way that it’s been done for centuries. It looked very cool but it was hard to tell what exactly they were doing with all those pins and strings!

DAMtatting Quilts and Activities at the Denver Art Museum

Lace tatting demonstration

DAMtatting2 Quilts and Activities at the Denver Art Museum

Tatting up close and in action!

DAMtatting3 Quilts and Activities at the Denver Art Museum

Tatting finished product

There were also frames where people could try their hand at quilting stitches, and a big table and a board, both with a grid, along with cut out squares and triangles to create patchwork designs. It is a great introduction to everything about quiltmaking, and the hands-on activities really give a nice perspective and insight into everything that went into making the quilts shown on the wall. I had to be dragged out of there when it was time to go!

DAMframe Quilts and Activities at the Denver Art Museum

Try some quilting stitches on the frame…

DAMtable Quilts and Activities at the Denver Art Museum

…or make a patchwork design!

DAMboard Quilts and Activities at the Denver Art Museum

A fun way to get your work onto museum walls.

On the way back down (the textiles are on the 6th floor), we passed this very interesting piece displayed in the room with all the amazing Oceanic art. The scale and history of the artifacts in this room are really impressive. This piece fits in pretty well, it’s a skyscraper of blankets! All the blankets were donated to the artist, and attached to each one is a hand-written story that shares it’s significance to the donor. Here’s what artist Marie Watt said about it, “We are received in blankets, and we leave in blankets. The work…is inspired by the stories of those beginnings and endings, and the life in between. I am interested in human stories and the rituals implicit in everyday objects.”

DAMblankets Quilts and Activities at the Denver Art Museum

Blanket Story: Confluence, Heirloom and Tenth Mountain Division by Marie Watt, 2013.

If you get an opportunity to visit the Denver Art Museum this year, go! The quilts are so incredible, but there’s a whole lot to see besides those. The staff really make an effort to be interactive and draw people into the spirit of each exhibit with activities and information to enhance the experience. It’s a ton of fun for people of all ages and very family friendly.

For all the latest, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+ and our website. Have an artistic and creative weekend!

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So Many Books Giveaway Part 2!

PLEASE NOTE, THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. THANK YOU TO ALL WHO PARTICIPATED! CONGRATULATIONS V, MARY, SHEILA and LINDA!

About a month ago, I blogged about how Quilters Newsletter gets books in for review for our “Staff Picks” section in each issue and how sometimes we don’t just get one copy of each book in for review but also one or two more copies to giveaway. Since last month’s giveaway did not clear out our stash of giveaway books, I’d like to allow each of you, our readers, another chance to win some of these wonderful quilt books.

This week, there are four prizes of three books each: MoreBooks 600 So Many Books Giveaway Part 2!

The first prize set (the Hexies set) includes Pieced Hexies by Mickey Depre from Kansas City Star Quilts, Hexagons Made Easy by Jen Eskridge from That Patchwork Place and A Cut Above by Gerri Robinson from That Patchwork Place.

The second prize set (the Traditional set) includes The Blue and the Gray by Mary Etherington and Connie Tesene from That Patchwork Place, Civil War Legacies II by Carol Hopkins from That Patchwork Place and Log Cabin Fever by Evelyn Sloppy from That Patchwork Place.

The third prize set (the Seasonal set) includes Patchwork Plus: Easy One-Block Quilts with Seasonal Applique by Geralyn J. Powers from That Patchwork Place, ‘Tis the Autumn Season by Jeanne Large and Shelley Wicks from That Patchwork Place and Winter Wonders by Jennifer Rounds and Catherine Comyns from C&T Publishing.

And last but certainly not least, the fourth prize set (the Neutrals set) includes Modern Neutrals  by Amy Ellis from That Patchwork Place, Knockout Neutrals by Pat Wys from That Patchwork Place and Easy and Fun Free-Motion Quilting by Eva A. Larkin from That Patchwork Place.

To enter to win one of these four sets of three books, leave a comment on this post below telling us which of the four sets (Hexies, Traditional, Seasonal or Neutral) you want to win the most. Since winners are randomly selected, it’s not guaranteed you’ll receive the set you most prefer, but we’ll try our best! Comments must be entered by 11:59 PM Mountain Time, Sunday July 13, 2014. Open to anyone worldwide who has not won anything from Quilters Newsletter in the past 90 days. If you are randomly selected as a winner, the email will come from QNMquestions@fwmedia.com with “Quilters Newsletter blog giveaway” in the subject line.

Once you’ve added that new variation of our editorial questions email to your “safe senders” list, be sure to follow us on all our social media sites to make sure you never miss a contest or quilt inspiration or news about the quilting world, on: FacebookTwitterGoogle+Pinterest,Instagram and YouTube, and don’t forget to visit our website for previews of what’s in the latest issue (currently June/July 2014 which can be purchased at your local quilt shop, bookstore, or online at Quilt and Sew Shop)!

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Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way

Yeah, sometimes things don’t go as planned. That’s how it was for me this weekend.

I had a project I wanted to work on. Two projects for work are due on the 18th so I feel like I really need to get moving on this one – I need 200 half-square triangles for it.  We were going out to our old home in northeast Colorado, which we have completely emptied, except for appliances. Everything else is in storage or at our apartment in Golden.

I made sure to pack very carefully: sewing machine – check; cutting mat and rotary cutter – check, check; matching thread, scissors and pins – check, check, check. We planned to go to the storage unit when we got there to bring a table and a chair for my sewing station. Uh-oh, Dear Husband forgot the key to the storage unit. I’m so sorry I didn’t get a photo of my fix for the problem. I set the sewing machine on the kitchen counter and sewed standing up. Now just take a minute and picture that in your head. It’s amusing, isn’t it?

But now, I want to talk a little more about those half-square triangles. In the August/September issue of Quilters Newsletter, our Easy Lesson talked about stencils for making half-square triangles. In preparation for the Easy Lesson, Linda Camp of Sunday Best Quiltworks  sent me a stencil in all the sizes from 1” to 4 ½” finished. Woo Hoo! The size I needed was there. So I got nearly all my half-square triangles done. With the stencil, it’s a simple matter of mark, stitch, cut apart and press.

This is the stencil and it’s worth its weight in gold.

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The Stencil – Ready to Mark

Here are a couple of little hints. I have ¼ yards of fabric so my fabric isn’t as wide as the stencil. That was an easy fix. I drew the grid 2 wide by 5 long instead of 3 by 3 as the stencil is. I was careful to make the ends match so my stitching lines could continue. And I didn’t feel like I needed to mark the cutting line that is in between the two stitching lines.

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Marked and Ready to Sew

I went to the sewing studio this morning to time myself with this method. It took 20 minutes from the time I turned on the light until I left again. I cleaned up and put things away, too. And I have 20 half-square triangles ready to press open.

I did finish 160 of them over the weekend. (Only part of those standing up, we did eventually get my kitchen table and some chairs.)

So here is where I am at this point.

7 7 7 Where Theres a Will, Theres a Way

160 Half-Square Triangles

I’ll keep you posted on this project. It’s going to be a fun one!!

Happy quilting until next week and  for great ideas and hints, remember to check us out on our website, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube.

 

Posted in Lori Baker, Tools, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

Celebrate Giveaway!

PLEASE NOTE, THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. THANK YOU TO ALL WHO PARTICIPATED! CONGRATULATIONS, MARIE!

Happy Fourth of July! A fun way to celebrate the holiday is to give away some free quilting stuff! We’ve got a fun little gift that’s full of happiness, nice quilts, celebration and a bit of red, white and blue. Would you like to know more?

fourthgiveaway Celebrate Giveaway!

Two incredible books and an amazing bag in which to store them. I hope you win!

There are two beautiful books from Schiffer Publishing, Eagle Motifs in America by Susan E. Wildemuth and Creating Celebration Quilts by Cyndi Souder. In Eagle Motifs in America, Wildemuth asked a variety of quilters to create eagle quilts inspired by different decades in American history, from 1770 to the present day. The different techniques used make for an amazing range of quilts, and the stories make for fascinating reading. It’s a really nice book that is sure to inspire.

Creating Celebration Quilts is all about making quilts to commemorate and celebrate life events. Souder guides the reader through the creative process for making quilts meant to be treasured keepsakes. Learn how to incorporate personalized elements that evoke memories, and get motivated by looking at the large gallery of celebration quilts of all kinds.

You can store these two great books in a lovely, large, handy tote bag from C&T Publishing. It features detail images of two quilts made for the Quilted in Honor program, a partnership between quilters, the quilting industry and the charity Operation Homefront, sponsored by Island Batik. The quilts pictured on the bag are Spinwheels by Angela Walters and Remember by Barbara Persing and Mary Hoover. The bag is made from recycled plastic bottles and is a great for storing and transporting quilt projects-in-progress or as an all-purpose tote.

To enter to win the books and bag, leave a comment on this post below telling us what your celebration quilt would celebrate, if you made one. Comments must be entered by 11:59 PM Mountain Time, Sunday July 6th, 2014. Open to anyone worldwide who has not won anything from Quilters Newsletter in the past 90 days. If you are randomly selected as a winner, the email will come from questions@qnm.com (or its new variation QNMquestions@fwmedia.com) with “Quilters Newsletter blog giveaway” in the subject line.

As always, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube and our website for all the latest news and giveaways. We wish you all a very happy and safe Fourth of July!

Posted in Book Reviews, Contests, Gigi | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 238 Comments

Red, White & Free Giveaway!

PLEASE NOTE, THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. THANK YOU TO ALL WHO PARTICIPATED! CONGRATULATIONS, LAUREN!

This coming Friday, July 4, is the US Independence Day, or Fourth of July holiday. The QN staff will be out of office on Friday to celebrate, hopefully doing fun things like visiting relatives, having picnics and bar-b-ques, going for hikes, working on our own quilt projects or just generally relaxing. Our giveaway this week should help us all get in the mood: it’s fabric in the colors of the American flag — red, white and blue!
RedWhiteFree 3 Red, White & Free Giveaway!

This bundle of fat eighths from Moda is called Red, White & Free, by Sandy Gervais. And not only is it patriotic, it’s also not even in stores or online yet! It is mentioned on the Moda Blog in a post announcing another patriotic fabric line, Because of the Brave by Moda as inspired by Tom and Stephanie Hove. Both fabric lines can be used in their 2015 Piece and Comfort Challenge which begins January 1, 2015 with national winners being announced May 8, 2015. These fabric lines ship in November, 2014. Proceeds from the challenge will benefit the charity USA Cares, helping veterans and military families.

To enter to win this bundle of fat eighths from the Red, White & Free collection by Sandy Gervais for Moda, leave a comment on this post below on how you’re spending your Fourth of July weekend. Comments must be entered by 11:59 PM Mountain Time, Friday July 4, 2014. Open to anyone worldwide who has not won anything from Quilters Newsletter in the past 90 days. If you are randomly selected as a winner, the email will come from questions@qnm.com (or its new variation QNMquestions@fwmedia.com) with “Quilters Newsletter blog giveaway” in the subject line.

Also be sure to check out QN‘s website for our block-of-the-month mystery quilt Ooh-Rah by QN creative editor Lori Baker to see the newest block, #7, which posted this morning. Doing something nice for the veterans and/or military families in your life or donating to a charity like USA CaresQuilted in HonorOperation Homefront or Quilts of Valor would be a good way to honor the spirit of the holiday as well. And if that doesn’t already give you enough to do, check out QN‘s latest free-for-a-limited-time Christmas-themed series quilt, First Snow by Tina Curran, the first block and instructions for which posted yesterday.

And if you’re looking for something else to do during your downtime this summer, follow us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestInstagramYouTube and our website for tons of quilt inspiration and news on all the latest happenings in the quilting world.

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Making Progress

What a good weekend I had. Look what is on my design wall this morning.

036 Making Progress

My snail’s trail quilt is well under way.

But before we get to that, let me tell you about my weekend. It was a fun one.

I knew it was going to be busy so I did my grocery shopping  Friday night. I made a huge amount of potato salad to take to a barbeque on Saturday. When we have family picnics, I know I am safe if I bring potato salad or homemade ice cream. Those are the two things my kids and grandkids always request.

Saturday morning, I went to the farmer’s market. I love that part of summer in the metro area. I go every Saturday – the fresh produce is astounding and the prices are amazing. One of the booths has a bag for $10 – whatever you can fit in that bag.

002 Making Progress

From the Farmer’s Market

I’m finding we get to have a huge variety of veggies. Last week in addition to the things I buy every week, I got Brussels sprouts and fava beans. This week I bought the regular things, as well as beets, green beans, Poblano peppers and a purple potato.

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I love the fresh veggies.

Next, I watered my “garden.” In the December/January 2014 of Quilters Newsletter, we featured Tim Latimer in Meetin’ Place. If you want to read about him, the digital issue is still available here. Tim does wonderful hand quilting and is also a horticulturist and floral design instructor at Michigan State University. I’ve followed his blog for quite a while and he frequently posts photos of his flowers. I really enjoy looking at his flowers as well as his quilts. So I’m hoping you enjoy my “garden” photo here.

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It’s not quite a garden but I enjoy it.

I have a tiny patio at my apartment. A few weeks ago I got this shelf and most of the plants you see on it. It’s amazing how much pleasure I get from just a few flowers and herbs.

After the watering was done, I still had 30 minutes before heading across town for the barbeque so I sewed for those 30 minutes.

I’m working on a snail’s trail quilt. It’s actually the pieces and parts left from a video shoot. In the video segment, we talked about how to prepare a single quilt block to hang on the wall. That episode is available here.

039 Making Progress

One block – it hangs in my office.

When we do video shoots, we have multiples of the project so we can show you the steps. I had the finished, mounted snail’s trail block and five other finished blocks as well as pieces of a sixth block. I decided to turn the leftovers into a small quilt. I had the collection of fat quarters from Connecting Threads called Fiesta by Jenni Calo. I decided if I made a total of 36 10” blocks I could have a nice little throw. I’d been working on the blocks all week. A set of four fat quarters made eight blocks. I worked with four fat quarters at a time, cutting the patches and then sewing the eight blocks. The first three sets went along without a hitch but I cut the fourth set wrong. I still have no idea how I did it but I had to do some major piecing on the last two blocks. I marked the pieced seams in this one so you can see them.

041 Making Progress

Oh me, oh my!

The fact that I had to mark them so you could see is encouraging. I’m hoping once the quilt is quilted it won’t be noticeable but if it is, I’ll come up with a plan – an applique or extra quilting or something. There is always a fix for that kind of problem.

So anyway, Saturday morning I worked on those two blocks for a half hour or so.

Then it was off to the barbeque. It was a birthday party for our granddaughter. She is a girly little girl and loves princesses and sparkly things but here’s my favorite present. Her uncle (who is a Little League baseball coach) found this pink baseball glove for her. I think it is so cute.

022 2 Making Progress

A PINK Baseball Glove

The party was great fun. Five family members surprised us. They are from three and six hours away and we had no idea they were coming. Here are the kids and grandkids who were there (and hubby in the back row).

031 2 Making Progress

A Group of Bakers

I finished the snail’s trail blocks on Sunday. I was putting them up on the design wall as I went.

035 Making Progress

The blocks are finished.

There were two sections that I didn’t like. In the top row, the left hand block looks “mushy” to me because the blue print and the green print don’t have enough contrast. The center block in the top row is the only one with the pale center and I think it looks strange. I also want to rearrange so the two sets of blocks from the same four fabrics are not next to each other in the bottom row.

This is when I love my design wall and my hint for this week. I rearrange and take photos so I know what I did. Then I review the photos and choose the look I like the most.

Here is what is on the wall now but I’ll probably play a little more before I actually sew the quilt top together. By just rotating the blocks, you get a different dominant color and it completely changes the look of the set of four blocks.

036 Making Progress

This is better.

I worked on the back a while, too. I wanted to finish using the spool of thread I was using before moving on. And I did it. I emptied two spools this weekend making a total of 34 spools so far this year. I am actually concentrating on using up spools so when I am piecing a scrap quilt, I choose the emptiest spool that is in the right color family.

038 Making Progress

Empty Spools

Now unfortunately, the snail’s trail quilt has to go away for a while. I have two other quilts to work on with deadlines later in the month. But I’ll get back to it eventually and show you photos when I do.

Happy quilting until next week and  for great ideas and hints, remember to check us out on our website, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube.

Posted in Inspiration, Lori Baker, Staff Quilts | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Summer Strips

It’s officially summer! The days are longer, the weather is warmer and the wardrobe has to accommodate that. Last weekend I started a really fun project – I made quilted strips and used them to replace some of the straps on my sleeveless tops. I had made a prototype a few years ago but I knew it could be improved upon. So over the weekend I went ahead and began an improved version of a custom quilted strap top and I found that I couldn’t stop! I made 5 new-to-me tops that I can enjoy all summer long.

tanktop1 Summer Strips

The prototype. The thing that bugs me about it is that the inside isn’t finished properly. It’s a good start but I can do better!

Here’s how I went about making a new and improved version. Start with the strips. I wanted my new straps to finish at 1 1/2″ x 8″. Something helpful to use inside the straps is medium-weight interfacing to give a bit of body and structure. (It also creates a third layer in between the layers of fabric, which make the completed straps, technically, tiny quilts!)

tanktop2 Summer Strips

Strips sewn with a single seam and pressed up at either end.

Since these strips were sewn together on the long edges to finish at 1 1/2″ wide, I cut them at 3 1/2″ wide to begin with.

tanktop3 Summer Strips

Back of sewn and pressed strips

Adding a 1 1/2″-wide (actually I cut this just a bit narrower for a bit of wiggle room) strip of interfacing on top of the pressed ends keeps everything in place.

tanktop4 Summer Strips

Interfacing gives body, structure and now those folded, pressed ends aren’t going anywhere.

Turn the strips right side out.

tanktop5 Summer Strips

A safety pin gives something to hold onto for turning the strip.

My strips finish at 1 1/2″, so I should find the area on the existing strap the also measures 1 1/2″ for the join to be smooth. I attached the new straps to the back of the top first so that I could try it on and adjust the placement of the straps on the front as needed. It would be way more difficult to have to try and adjust the straps in back for fit while wearing it!

tanktop6 Summer Strips

1 1/2″ wide. I can make my cut just above that. Pin the top together to make sure both sides are cut the same.

The cut straps of the shirt can be inserted into the prepared strips and stitched down.

tanktop7 Summer Strips

I stitched two rows to secure everything nicely.

Now you can either look for the same 1 1/2″ measurement on the front, or you can try on the shirt and adjust the strips to your preferred length. This is where the custom fitting part comes in, and it may be different for everybody. I tried it on and pinned the strips where I wanted to attach them on the front.

tanktop8 Summer Strips

Make sure they’re the right length before you cut the rest of the strap off!

Then join the strips to the front the same way as the back, by inserting the cut straps into the folded ends of the prepared strip, and stitch to secure.

tanktop9 Summer Strips

Measured, inserted and ready to stitch down.

There’s another variation where you can make the straps with 2 side seams instead of a single back seam. The technique to attach them to the top is exactly the same as described above, but the cutting of strips is just a bit different and you also have to cut a lining piece. I used this method when I wanted to have a specific part of the print on the front of the strap.

tanktop10 Summer Strips

Side seams on the strips. One strip has interfacing fused on it already.

I got done cutting and sewing a bunch of tank tops over the weekend, and during the evenings this week I tidied up the loose thread tails.

tanktop11 Summer Strips

These have a single seam on the attached strips.

tanktop12 Summer Strips

These all have strips with side seams, so the inside fabric is different from the outside fabric. This method allows for fun fussy cut straps.

This is a really fun and pretty simple project. Since everybody is different, the specific dimensions of strips might change depending on who the shirt is for. I used strips that finish at 1 1/2″ x 8″. The best way to figure out what dimension will work for you is to use a piece of scrap fabric and safety pin it to the shoulders of a tank top that you have. Once you try that top on with the attached strip you’ll be able to tell if you want your straps to be longer, shorter, wider or narrower.

tanktop13 Summer Strips

Here’s how the new top looks on!

What makes this technique easy is having your new straps as complete and finished as possible before attaching them to an existing tank top – so you don’t have to worry about sewing wovens to knits – you just insert the cut strap into the folded open end of a prepared strip and stitch it closed. Then you can quilt all the layers together to hold everything in place. It’s a nice way to add some personal flair to inexpensive tops or to give new life to an old garment. Plus you can wear your most favorite scraps if you want to!

Quilting and summer don’t always go together, but they can! What are your favorite summer quilting projects? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+ and our website. Stay cool this weekend!

Posted in Gigi, Inspiration, Staff Quilts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments