12/08/2016

Mug Rug Christmas Exchange

This evening our quilt guild had their annual Christmas potluck. We enjoy appetizers and desserts at the potlucks. Then we have a fun gift exchange.

This year we were to bring a mug and a matching mug rug that we made. I had chosen my mug a few months before, but really pondered about the mug rug design. I found an embroidery at Embroidery Library, Inc. called Koi Circle which was just the thing for the mug rug.

I found the fabric colors that would go with the mug. All the fabrics are Island Batik fabric scraps I had. The mug rug measures 7" x 11". 

I layered the top and batting on the larger solid piece of Island Batik ginko print in red. 

Quilting didn't need to be extensive because the piece is small. I slowly stitched around the circle with my walking foot. I threaded the starting and ending tread tails in a sewing needle, pulled the threads to the back and knotted them. I could lift the red side piece to tie the threads because I hadn't quilted the straight seams yet.

I stitched in the ditch of the seams between the red and blue sections. 

I didn't have any more of any of these fabrics for a binding. I brought the backing around to the front, pressing, pinning and hand stitching the binding down. Finally I stitched a label on the back. 

Sue got my gift. She used to have koi in a pond in her yard, so she really liked it. 

All of the mugs and mug rugs were spectacular. This is the gift I got in the exchange from Denise. 
Looking forward to hot chocolate in the morning. 

If you belong to a guild, do your members have a gift exchange? 



12/04/2016

Sew With Me: Seasonal Pathways

Today I invite you to sew with me.

In October, I designed and made a table topper for the Island Batik Ambassador Pumpkin Fest.
Some readers expressed an interest in how it was made, asking if there was a pattern. In October, I created it as I sewed. Today I am giving you the details on how I made it, with measurements, steps and photos. I am sharing it with everyone as a Christmas table topper. I named it Seasonal Pathways.

It is a simple, straight-forward pattern. Scraps can be used, or strips cut from yardage. In fact, in today's share, I cut some strips from a striped Christmas fabric. (Change out the fabrics for a different season.) All the fabrics I used have some shiny gold in them.



Let's start!

  • Round up 12 pieces of fabric that work well together. Cut 12 strips  1-1/2" x 12-1/2" and 24 strips 1-1/2" x 6-1/2".
  • Cut 2 squares (6-1/2" x 6-1/2") of fabric for two opposite corners that will stand out from all the strips. (My corners read as a solid with some gold.) 
  • Cut 2 binding strips 2-1/2" x WOF.
  • You will need basic sewing supplies, including a rotary cutter, ruler (6" x 24" is good), maybe a 12-1/2" squaring ruler or a mat with graph lines.
  • Thread that blends with your fabrics for sewing.
  • Thread for quilting. 
  • Batting piece (scrap will work) 14" x 26"
  • Backing fabric (14" x 26")
  • A design to fuse to the 2 corner squares OR an embroidery design (machine or hand). 
  • Fusible for the design. 
If you are using an embroidery design, embroider on a larger piece of corner fabric (to account for any pulling in with embroidery) and trim down to 6-1/2" square size. 


The fabrics are cut, so on to sewing:

Arrange the 12 long strips in a pleasing plan.

Sew the long edges of the strips together. 

You can press after each seam; but, I have The Strip Stick which allows me to press one seam at a time and not interfere with any other seams. I get no curving or distortion when pressing the seams. (I have no affiliation with the company.) Press the seams in one direction.

Lay out 6 shorter strips as shown below. In each set, I did not want the short gold strip adjacent to the long gold strip on the left, or the greens touching on the right side. I arranged them that way first and the joint stuck out like a sore thumb! I put green next to gold on each side. 
Sew. Repeat for the second set. Press.

Sew the 6-1/2" squares to each 6 strip set as in photo below. 

I added a fused embellishment, but I could have used a fussy cut square of fabric and made a little less work for myself. I used a soft gold rayon embroidery thread and a tiny zig-zag stitch around the flower. 

Layer backing, batting and top. Stitch on the side of the seam, opposite the pressed seam, starting in the center block. I went down one seam, turned the piece and stitched through the next seam, toward one end of the topper. 

Sew the shorter strips, starting at the edge, pivot where the strip joins the center, stitch along the center seam. 

Turn the piece and sew back toward the edge. Continue along all strips. Repeat for the other side. 
I did not quilt in the corner sections, but one could.

Trim so the topper edges are straight. Add binding.

If one sews the center section and one side, a placemat could be made for the table. 
I hope you like the pattern and make a table topper. 






11/30/2016

Christmas Cards from Quilt


Just before Thanksgiving, I ordered 20 Christmas cards through Shutterfly using a photo of my Island Batik Christmas in July project (above). The cards arrived today and I am very pleased with them.

I cropped the original photo to fit the card. I have room on the wood, at the top of the card, to stamp or emboss some words, like Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Season's Greetings,etc. I left the inside blank so I could stamp or print my own messages.

I have used my quilts a few times over the years to create cards for various purposes. I order only when Shutterfly has a discount or free cards, so I only pay tax and shipping fees.  I make sure each card costs 50 cents or less. These cost 40 cents per card. The cardstock is a very good quality as are the envelopes. I also begin a photo book of my quilt projects in my account. As I finish more quilts, I upload the photos, write the captions, and save it until a great offer comes to my email or Facebook--usually I use the one free book offers and only pay shipping. I now can say I have been published!

Have you ever used your quilts with a photo service opportunity?

I'm off to write some Christmas cards!

11/28/2016

Back to Quilting Projects

I took the Thanksgiving week off from sewing in order to get ready for the holiday. We were going to dinner with our daughter and her fiance. I baked the pies - pumpkin and apple. The kids cooked the rest of the dinner. We had a wonderful day with them.

Gift wrapping was on my list, too. I have been buying items all year to give as Christmas gifts. I now have them wrapped. There are only a few gift cards I will be purchasing for a couple of people on our list.

So, it is back to sewing - Yes!

I did shop on Small Business Saturday. I bought embroidery CDs at my go-to embroidery store. I am experimenting more with my embroidery machine and look forward to using these CDs.

Join me on December 5 for my SEW WITH ME pattern. I will have step-by-step directions for sewing this table topper. (I have revised some measurements.)

It doesn't take much fabric. You can use scraps, strips, or pieces from yardage. It can be changed up for any holiday, so you'll want to grab the free pattern. I made this in October for the Island Batik Pumpkin Fest, but the one on December 5 will be for Christmas (with some EQ illustrations for other holidays).

Other items on my list include this:


I am looking forward to joining Marian and Janeen as they begin 12 Days of Christmas on December 1. I will call it a free pattern collection. They are combining Marian's patterns and Janeen's patterns into something new.  A gingerbread village block from Janeen and a gingerbread man or some other cute item from Marian. I grabbed this preview picture from Janeen's post today. I think it looks so fun. They will not have a new block on the weekend, but Friday's block stays up all weekend.


What are you sewing this week?





11/21/2016

Winter Table Topper Finished

I am quite pleased with the straight quilting I did on this table topper using the walking foot on my domestic sewing machine. I set the needle for a 1/4" away from the seam line (ditch). The angular effect makes it graphic. And yes, the end are skewed because of the 9 degree angle cuts I made on the sewn strips. 


I thought these snow people looked quite happy to be playing in this woven winter wonderland of Island Batik fabrics. 


It is thrilling to make (designed) something from a small amount of fabric.