Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Mittens and Tissue Covers

Lately, I've been working on some Christmas gifts for family and friends.  First I made several sets of wool mittens.  The mittens are made from felted wool.  I bought some 100% wool sweaters and jackets at thrift shops, and then felted them by washing in hot water and drying on high heat.  The mittens are lined with fleece which makes them very cozy as well as quite warm. The pattern is found here.

I also wanted to make some easy stocking stuffers.  I was reading Erin's blog a week or two ago and she was making travel size tissue covers.  These little covers are so handy to use and so easy to make that I really got into the swing of things.  Before I knew it, I had made a couple of dozen. So, those of you who actually know me will probably be getting one. If you'd like the pattern, it can be found here.
 The covers can be made very quickly with a pillow shape, or you can spend just a bit more time and box the corners.  I personally like them better with boxed corners. This is really a fun project that uses up lots of scraps in very little time.
If you find these patterns useful, leave a comment so I know if anyone actually likes what I put on my blog.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Roll Roll Cotton Boll is Finished

I finally finished my Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt from last winter - Roll Roll Cotton Boll.  This is a very large quilt with many, many small pieces.  I particularly like the pieced border.  At first, I was somewhat leery of using such an intricately pieced border, but it went together very well and really sets off the rest of the quilt.  I am so glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone to make it. Those of you who follow my blog have seen pictures of it in progress.  Most of the fabric in this quilt is recycled from men's shirts. 
I actually finished the piecing of the quilt last spring.  But, it took me all summer to do the quilting on my Elna sewing machine.  I chose a wreathe pattern to quilt into each string pieced block and into each dark pieced block. There are 30 of each of those blocks in this quilt.  It's hard to see the quilting on the front, but the back shows the quilting very well.

Now I am looking forward to Bonnie Hunter's newest mystery quilt which will begin sometime in November.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Placemats from Scraps

It has been a VERY long time since I've written anything new here on my blog.  It's not that I haven't been working on a variety of quilting projects, so I don't know what my excuse is.
One of my projects last spring was making placemats. Linda Saunders returned from Coastal Haven in April with a bag of scraps from Roseanne.  There were so many nice sized triangles that I thought would make some great placemats.  With just a little extra fabric from my stash, I used up most of her scraps.
I made a total of 6 placemats.  Since I still had some of her fabric left, I also made about 2 dozen coasters.   I'll bring them down to Coastal Haven this winter.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Grandmother's Flower Garden Quilt as you go

While I was in Alabama over the winter, one of the ladies in the RV park showed us her Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt.  It was wonderful!  She explained that the pattern had been published back in the 70's in Better Homes and Gardens magazine. She showed us how it was made which is really relatively easy.  So I've started making a GFG quilt for myself, and as I've gone through the basic steps I've taken pictures.  I'm going to attempt to write this as a tutorial for anyone else who would like to make one.

The original instructions directed us to make cardboard templates for hexagons with 2" sides, but I purchased a set of hexagon rulers developed by Marti Mitchell.  They are the Quilt Sense Cut Shapes Hexagons.
The package came with 3 sizes of hexagons - 1", 2", and 3".  I'm using the 2" for my GFG quilt.

I cut 4" strips from my fabrics and 3.75" strips from my batting. I cut the batting a slight bit smaller than the fabric, so that there would be a bit less bulk in the seams.

Next I put the fabric strips right sides together so that I could cut out both the front and the back hexagon pieces at the same time.

Then I placed the hexagon ruler on the strip, making sure the flat side edges of the ruler lined up with the edges of the fabric.  Then using a rotary cutter I cut out the hexagons. I followed the same procedure to cut out the batting hexagons.  Using this ruler and strip method creates a bit more waste of fabric than some other methods, but I found it to be more accurate and quicker this way.

When the above step is finished, you will have 2 fabric hexagons and 1 batting hexagon. As shown to the right.

Now layer the 3 pieces.  Put the 2 fabric pieces with right sides together and place the batting piece on top.

Using the quarter inch foot on your sewing machine sew around 5 sides of the hexagon.  You want to leave the sixth side open so that the hexagon can be turned right side out. Before turning, trim off the corners to about 1/8" from the stitching of the sandwiched piece. This helps to alleviate some of the bulk in the corners. Now turn the piece right side out.
After turning the hexagon right side out, you need to use a pointed object to push the corners out from the inside.  I used a chopstick that I sanded to a point on one end.  This works really well to get the corners nice and sharp.

Now you begin the hand sewing.  Fold in a quarter inch of the front and the back of the open side and using small stitches, whip stitch the side together.  Next work 2 lines of small running quilt stitches about a quarter inch from the outside edge and then another quarter inch inside that line of stitches, so that you have 2 rows of hexagons quilted in the individual petal.  The picture on the right is my first hexagon, you can see that it is not perfectly hexagonal, but I have gotten better as I've made more petals. (Actually, I think the picture is slightly distorted.  Look at the "straight" line below the petal.)

To assemble one complete flower block, sew a round of 6 individual hexagon petals to the center hexagon. Use small overcast stitches at the hexagons' edges.  Turn the piece over and sew overcast stitches along the edges of the other side, too. Since this will be a 2 sided quilt, you want the stitching on both sides to be nice.

Attach the third round of 12 individual hexagon petals to this sewn piece, adding the hexagons one at a time.  This completes 1 of the quilt's flower blocks.

I'm using unbleached muslin hexagons to join the completed flower blocks together by stitching 1 row of muslin hexagons between each flower block.  My finished queen sized quilt will have about 39 flowers.