Sunday, April 19, 2015

Hands2Help - Introducing Our 2nd Guest Blogger, Lisa!

Hi, all!

Sunday is here, and it's time for another guest blogger for the Hands2Help Charity Quilt Challenge!  (It's also our first check-in date - you can read more about that at the end of the post.)  Today I'm so very happy to welcome Lisa (a/k/a/ Ellie Quilter) from Love to Color My World!  She's got a great post for us today, which solves a problem I bet many of us face! So without further ado, here's Lisa!


Hi! My name is Lisa and I blog under the name Ellie Q (for L(isa) E(rin) Quilter) over at Love to Color My World. I've been following Sarah's blog for a few years now and am constantly impressed with her turnout of quilts to give to others. When she asked for guest bloggers to post tutorials this year for the Hands2Help Challenge, I jumped at the chance.

I enjoy making charity quilts but I frequently encounter one stumbling block: the quilting. Picking a pattern and finding fabric in my stash? Yep! Stitching the quilt top? Sure! Then I get to the quilting part. I don't have a longarm (it's on my "someday" list), and I can use all the machine quilting practice I can get on my domestic machine. But I frequently am frustrated by the pulling and maneuvering of the quilt, not to mention the huge blank canvas that needs to be filled with stitching, so I'm less inclined to finish those charity quilts--it just seems like too big of a job.

A while back, I made a quilt for my guild's annual charity project using the quilt-as-you-go method. This made the quilting part less intimidating and easier to do. That's what I'm going to share with you today.

My tutorial will show you how to make the exact quilt you see here, but you can easily adapt this concept to your own needs or stash by using any width strips--just be sure to calculate the length of the quilt so that you start with enough backing and batting!

Row-by-Row Dino Quilt
You'll Need:
3/4 yard focal print
1/4 yard each 3 coordinating prints
1/4 yard each white solid, dark blue solid, light yellow solid and green solid
1/2 yard goldenrod solid
1/2 yard binding fabric
44" x 62" piece of batting
2 yards backing fabric

Focal print:
Three 8" x 42" strips

Coordinate #1 (stripe)
Two 3-1/2" x 42" strips

Coordinate #2 (squares)
Two 3" x 42" strips

Coordinate #3 (green plaid)
Two 4" x 42" strips

White solid:
Three 1-1/2" x 42" strips

Dark blue solid:
Two 2-1/2" x 42" strips

Light yellow solid:
Two 2-1/2" x 42" strips

Green solid:
Two 2-1/2" x 42" strips

Goldenrod solid:
Two 2-1/2" x 42" strips
Three 2" x 42" strips

Binding print:
(5) 2-1/2" x 42" strips

Let's get started!

1. First, we'll make the two pieced rows. Sew each 2-1/2" x 42" dark blue strip lengthwise to a 2-1/2" x 42" light yellow strip. From the two strip sets, cut twenty 2-1/2" wide segments.

2. Sew these segments into ten four-patches.

3. Join the four-patches together to make a checkerboard row measuring 40-1/2" wide.

4. Sew the two 2-1/2" x 42" green strips and two 2-1/2" x 42" goldenrod strips together as shown to make a strip set. Cut the strip set into five 4-1/2" wide segments.

 5.  Sew the segments together to make a striped row. Your two pieced rows should look like this and both measure 40-1/2" wide.

6. Lay out all of the cut strips in the order you desire on a design wall. You can see my layout here (and you'll notice it differs slightly from the finished quilt...oops!) But that also demonstrates the beauty of this technique--you can change the layout--accidentally or on purpose--mid assembly and everything works just fine! :)

7. Trim each strip to measure 40-1/2" wide, the same length as the pieced rows. Note: If you make this quilt without the pieced rows, you don't have to worry about trimming your strips; you can simply square up the quilt when you've finished piecing and quilting it. 

8. Lay out the backing and batting. I spray basted the layers together, which I think helps, but you don't have to. Don't worry too much about wrinkles right now--you'll smooth them out as you add rows.

9. Flip the backing/batting combo over so the batting side is face up. Find the center point, lengthwise, and use chalk or a marking pen to draw a line across the batting. 

10. Smooth out the backing/batting along this center line. Take the middle two strips off your design wall and match their raw edges on the drawn line, centering from left to right as well. Be sure the strips are layered right sides together. See how wrinkled my batting is? No problem! 

 11. Using your walking foot, stitch along the layered raw edges using a 1/4" seam allowance. You'll be sewing through the two rows, the backing and the batting...quilting as you go! Press the rows open so they look like mine below. You can also see how I have the excess batting and backing rolled up on both sides of where I'm working. This makes it easier to maneuver around your sewing machine.

12. Add on the next strip from the design wall in the same stitch and flip manner. Before adding each piece, be sure to smooth the backing and batting flat.

13. Below you see the third strip pressed open. You can see that I then quilted the middle strip. I find it easiest to quilt a row after it has been secured with another row on each side. You can quilt each row after it's secured, or you can stitch and flip all the rows onto the quilt and then go back and quilt each row--your choice! I did a little of each based on my mood--when I was in the mood to play around with machine quilting, I'd quilt a row after it was secured. The only drawback to that is that you're switching sewing machine feet (and potentially thread color) often. 

14. Add the checkerboard row. For efficiency, I like to work in both directions at once, pinning a row to the top edge and the bottom edge of my growing quilt top. 

15.  Two more rows added:  Don't forget to smooth out the backing and batting before each new seam!

16.  Here you can see I took a break from adding rows and did a little quilting. The rows are great for practicing some new motifs in a confined space!

17.  When all the rows have been added and quilted, trim the batting and backing even with the quilt top.

18. Use the five 2-1/2" x 42" strips to bind the quilt. 

A couple close-ups of the quilt front and back:

I always love looking at my machine quilting from a distance! :)

I hope you enjoyed my tutorial! You can also use this technique on larger quilts, or even add borders. I happen to prefer this approximate size of quilt for this technique because it's easy--each row can be made from a strip of fabric, selvedge to selvedge (without piecing), and you can just fit the quilt top onto a single width of backing without piecing. 

Thanks again, Sarah, for letting me guest post today! I can't wait to see all of the finished quilts made for the Hands2Help Charity Quilt Challenge!


Thank you, Lisa, for a great post!  I've always wanted to do a QAYG quilt, but hadn't found a tutorial until now!  So now I have no excuse... I must make my first QAYG quilt!!  


And now it's time for to check in!  There's a linky party below where you can link to a blog post on your blog or a photo on the Flickr page for the H2H Challenge.  If you don't have a blog and aren't on Flickr, feel free to email your picture to me at salliesue57 (at) gmail (dot) com and I'll link them up for you.  (Please reduce the size of your pictures before emailing them - 200-400 kb is a great size.  It's big enough to see detail but not so large it takes forever to download!)  Your quilts don't have to be finished for this check-in date - you can just share your progress and be cheered on by everyone!  

I know that some of you have already completed quilts and sent them on to one or more of the charities - I love seeing that you are all so excited about the Challenge!  You guys keep me excited about it too!

I can't wait to see what you're working on!



Friday, April 17, 2015

Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? The Pennant Quilt is Finished!

Hi, all!

It's Friday again, and you know what that means - it's time to get our whoop whoop on!  I know for some of you, this pretty spring weather has kept you outdoors so you may not have a finish - but remember, we whoop whoop for progress, too!  So show us what you've been working on no matter what stage it's at!

This has been an odd week at my house, as we prepared for our daughter and son-in-law to head to China to finalize the adoption of Nathanael, our adorable 3-year old grandson!  I've spent a good bit of time getting ready to host our granddaughters four days a week (the other grandparents have them over the weekend) and, since Wednesday, playing chauffeur for school and all of their other activities.  Wednesday was a dry run/test, but Thursday was accomplished without my daughter as near as her phone to help me remember which way to turn!  (As of 6:30 Thursday morning, they were en-route to Beijing, China!)  So - before the week started, I managed to finish the new quilt for Emmy's bed!  And here it is...

What?  You can't tell what it looks like from that?  OK, try this...

Spring in middle Tennessee means one of two things most of the time - wind, or rain.  Very seldom do we have a perfect-for-picture-taking day of sunshine and no wind - so we take what we can get!

Here's a pretty shot of the flimsy with the light shining through it!  

This pattern was originally a smaller block, designed to be paper-pieced.  Well, me and paper-piecing do not get along well - for some reason I just cannot wrap my mind around it!  And I wanted larger blocks for a quilt this size, so I redrafted the block, increasing the size.  Then I cut templates for all four pieces from an old cutting mat I had hanging around. That worked great!  Piecing was done in the traditional style, very carefully so as not to stretch all the bias edges in this block.  But it all worked out well - the blocks went together easily!

Here's a close-up of the finished front!  The fabrics are all from the Etched line by Hawthorne Threads - they print their own label fabrics in house and they are just beautiful!  I've got lots of leftovers so expect to see them turning up in other quilts in the near future.

And here's the back - the multicolored print is a very pretty Cloud 9  organic cotton print that is available at JoAnn's, and the print on the left is something I found to coordinate with it, as there wasn't enough fabric on the bolt to make the whole back from the multicolored print.  They go nicely together and this shot shows off the organic wavy straight line quilting I used for this quilt - to evoke the thought of wind blowing the pennants strung across the front of the quilt!

And here's how the two quilts look together in Emmy and Nathanael's bedroom.  (Because they are both 3 and are both deaf as posts with their cochlear implant processors off, it makes sense for them to room together for a while.  If one wakes up in the night, it won't necessarily wake the other one up, and only one room has to be fitted out to deal with their needs.)  I love the way the two quilts look together - not the same, but using the same colors - Nathanael's in the stronger saturated tones, Emmy's mixed with a lot of white which makes them more feminine looking - and the same basic shape, the triangle.  The background fabric on both quilts is Kona Snow.

Here's Emmy's little corner of the world...

And here's Nathanael's!  All ready for when he comes to his forever home at the beginning of May!!

Can I get a whoop whoop??


I've had a lot of great feedback on the pattern for Emmy's quilt, so I'll probably try to draft a tutorial for it in the next few days (while I still remember how I did it!)  If you think this is something you'd be interested in, let me know in a comment below!


And now it's your turn! 

What's got you whooping this week?

What's making you dance the happy dance?

Tell us - we want to dance right along with you - 
because it's always more fun to dance with friends!

It doesn't have to be a finish - just whatever's 
making you happy this week.

The party stays open until Sunday midnight - 

Hope to see you there!



PS - be sure to check out the new Fabrics N Quilts website - and also Shannon's blog, as there is a blog hop to celebrate the new site and multiple chances to win some great prizes over the next three weeks!  And if you go to the quilt show at Paducah next week, be sure to stop by Shannon's booth (#4503, under the Big Bubble, April 22-25).  She's got a special little freebie for you if you tell her I sent you!  Take a selfie with her for an extra entry in my own portion of the blog hop, too! (Coming May 1st...)

Monday, April 13, 2015

Make-A-List Monday - The IGDFMYFAGR Version!

Hi, all!

Well, I'm calling this week's post the IGDFMLFAGR version - that means the "I Got Distracted From My List For A Good Reason" version!  You'll see why in a minute...

So here's how last week's list went...

1.  Finish piecing Emmy's quilt top.
Done!  And not only did I finish piecing it, I quilted and finished it!  I'll be posting about it on Friday, but here's a teaser picture...

2.  Put up two new light fixtures - 
Bill's office and my sewing room.
Done!  Why in the world did I wait so long to do this?  I wanted to leave the vintage light fixtures up, but the one in my studio gave off very little light - this one is so much brighter I can even work in there at night without going blind!

3.  Start repairs on the crazy quilt.
I didn't get to this one...

4.  Learn the grandgirls' new schedule
 (Emmy is now in preschool!)  
because I'll have to cart them around while their
parents are in China!

5.  Choose pattern and fabric for a gift quilt.
More about this below, but yes, I did this!

6.  Quilt a child's quilt for the ministry.
I didn't get to this...

7.  Keep up with all quilt ministry needs that arise.
Done!  It's a long list this week...

This quilt went to a woman with terminal cancer who was put on hospice care this week...

This quilt went to a new baby boy, the grandson of our longtime church secretary...

This quilt went to an elderly woman in the hospital...

This quilt, pieced by Deb using AmandaJean's Long Division quilt pattern, went to a farmer diagnosed with kidney cancer...

This quilt, pieced by Olga (you can see her peeking out over the top of the quilt!) is going to her father, who has just been diagnosed with prostate cancer...

...and this quilt, Deb and Eddie's version of my Interlocking Stars pattern, went to a woman who, while serving as caregiver to a woman who had a lung transplant, was herself diagnosed with breast cancer.

We also decided to send five quilts to Quilts of Compassion, who put out a call for quilts for the victims of the Illinois tornados this week.  We had extra quilts on hand, so we voted to send some to them!

And here's the reason I didn't get to everything on my list this week!  

I was asked to test drive a new pattern written by Christina Cameli of A Few Scraps - and this is the lovely result!  You all are going to love this pattern - I'll feature the quilt and do a post on it when she releases the pattern - and maybe even do a giveaway of a copy!  But in the meantime, I'm finishing this one up to give as a gift.  

So that's how the week went. The pattern testing was an unexpected task, but always a pleasure, and since she needed the feedback before releasing the pattern, I moved it up to the top of the list.

And here's what's on the table for this week...

1.  Finish the gift quilt.

2.  Check with a local fabric shop to see if I can hang out in their space while Emmy is in preschool for the next two weeks (more about this below!)

3.  Prepare projects I can take with me to work on while Emmy is in preschool.

4.  Keep up with any quilt ministry needs that arise.

It's a very short list this week, because my daughter and her husband leave Thursday morning (yes, THIS Thursday!) to go to China and pick up Nathanael, and that means I take on full-time Nana duties until May 1st!  It will be a lot of fun, but it will also seriously cut into my sewing time.  Lilli has to be at school at 7:15 AM, then Emmy has to be at school at 11:30 - and her school is 40 minutes from my house.  They both get out of school at 2:30, so it doesn't make much sense to come home and then go back.  I'm hoping one of the quilt shops near her school will let me hang out there and do some work - keep your fingers crossed for me!  Maybe I can get that antique crazy quilt repaired in the next two weeks.....

So now the question is - - - what are YOU working on this week?