My blog has been a bit quieter in 2017. Sorry about that! I have a really good reason, I promise. I’m working on a big project. I thought I’d show you some frustratingly-vague photos until I can share more details.
I’m working with a whole handful of quilters. A HUGE thank you to all the folks who are working away on this little idea I have. You guys are making it all possible!!!
And I’m working with generous companies!
And I’m making great progress as the days go on.
Quilt a bit. Take some notes. Quilt a bit more. Make some more notes. Snap a few photos. Zoom in on a few spots. Take some more notes. Try to make complete sentences. Quilt a bit more. That is pretty much my process right now. Phew. It is a blast!
I’ll still posts sewing projects when I can, but know I’m working really hard to bring you something really really cool. I’ll be sure to share more details as they unfold!
Be great today!
Grumpy Cat Quilt
Yes, you read that right. It is a Grumpy Cat Quilt. The San Antonio Modern Quilt Guild has a Pop Culture Sewing Bee: everything from Pusheen to Zelda, from Comic-Con to Memes and more! I chose Grumpy Cat as my project for the December meeting.
I do not have a pattern for the Gato Gru??n, but here’s how I made him:
First, you’ll need an image. I did a google search for “Grumpy Cat Cartoon” thinking the colors and shapes would already be broken down into easy, usable areas. That worked.
- Save the image
- Using software, scale the image to the size you want. (I assume you could do this in MS Office/Word, but I used Illustrator.)
- Print the image using the “tile large pages” or “poster” option. My finished piece is about 18″ x 24″.
- Tape the image back together.
You might find it helpful to outline the shape edges with sharpie. I tried, but the sharpie I was using was on its way out.
I taped it to a window (to act as a light board) and traced the outlines of the shapes onto Heat’n Bond fusible web.
Label the pieces before you cut them out! If you are making a portrait or image using this method, be advised that the final image will be “flipped” from what you printed. (You can flip the image on the computer before you print, if it isn’t symmetrical – like letters or recognizable places.)
Cut out the wacky little heat’n bond shapes and fuse them to the wrong-side of your project fabrics.
Now arrange the shapes, using the original printed image as a guide.
I worked in little sections. If I had something in the wrong place, I wouldn’t screw up the whole project with one press.
- Right-side of the Grumpy Cat face
- Left-side of Grumpy Cat face
- Left ear
- Right ear
- Tail and body shadows
- LAST- eyes. I was nervous about really messing those up. As Melissa Averinos says, the eyes are the most important part of the portrait.
Hey, are those cheese-y pigs in a blanket on my plate in the lower right corner (above)? Why, yes they are! You cannot have a sewing bee without food, of course.
Once everything is fused, it is time to think about quilting and think about the final use of the quilt. Sure, I probably should have thought about the end-use earlier, but you know… sometimes that doesn’t happen.
For my project, I plan to wrap it around a canvas and hang it on a wall. For this reason, I didn’t have to be too meticulous with the quilting as it will never be washed.
I did use a grey thread to trace around the fused shapes with stitching lines.
Instead of trying to work with a thin piece of black or dark grey fabric to outline his Grumpy Cat body, I decided I’d add those lines with thread, too. I drew them out with water soluble pen, and I traced over these areas 4-6 times with free motion quilting lines.
My last step will be to stretch the small quilt around canvas stretcher-bars. I’ll be using my staple gun and basic “upholstered headboard”?techniques to get this little guy wrapped.
This just in!!! I found a 16″ x 20″ canvas at the thrift store and it worked perfectly for this project.
And the fantasticly Grumpy Cat quilt is now greeting folks in my front entry. Merry Christmas to me.
Graffiti Quilting on my Dream Strip Quilt
Graffiti quilting was the plan for this old old old unfinished object, UFO, quilt. The larger solid stripes were perfect to showcase designs and the printed stripes provided a great practice area for other ideas.
I used a facing technique to prepare the edges of all the letters before appliqueing them by machine. You can find more details about the technique which is featured in Hexagons Made Easy. Turns out the method is great for any shape!
Here’s a closer look at the quilting around the word “dream.”
The aquamarine shows up great on the navy blue fabric! It isn’t wildly distracting, but you can definitely see all the graffiti quilting lines.
The narrower borders of the quilt are filled with border designs. In the above picture you can see a small wishbone quilting design.
This quilt was so fun to finish! It isn’t my oldest UFO, but it was one I recently re-discovered.
If you need any of your quilts finished, please check out my longarm quilting service page: ReannaLilyQuilts.com
Mini Quilt Transformed into Zip Top Bag
Are you addicted to internet mini quilt swaps? Are you running out of wall space? I have a cure for you.
This above mini was part of a Heartbeat Table Runner pattern by Nancy Zieman.
Turn your mini quilt into a zippered bag with a couple easy steps. The best part: It doesn’t matter what size your mini quilt is!
You’ll need a zipper roughly the same length or slightly longer than the short side of your mini quilt. Plastic, non-separating zippers work best.
If your zipper is shorter than your mini’s edge, you may want to sew zipper tabs to each end. Basically, you will be covering the zipper ends with fabric. Craftsy has a tutorial for zipper tab ends.
My zipper is almost the exact size as my table runner. (It is the “wrong” kind of zipper. This one, from my stash, is a separating zip like you’d use in a jacket. I stitched a zigzag tack stitch over the teeth to keep the zipper from fully coming apart.)
Pin the right side of the zipper to the wrong side of the quilt at the binding. The zipper tape should extend past the binding a small amount.
I pin parallel to the zipper tape to keep things straight.
Start stitching right inside the side binding. Working from the wrong side, edge-stitch along the zipper tape. The stitching line should fall right on the edge of the binding, when looking at it from the front. The binding itself will create a sort of lip around the zipper. (below)
Unzip the zipper and apply to the opposite side. Pretend you are making a tube at this point, if that helps. Make sure the zipper’s right side is touching the quilt’s wrong side. See the “twist” on the lower right of the photo below?
The zipper is in place, and the mini quilt looks like a tube. I’m going to leave my zipper ends exposed and not covered with fabric tabs.
At this point you have a few bag options:
If you like this flat pouch style, you can simply stitch the right and left sides of the bag. Do this by lining up the right and left bindings, and sew along the binding’s stitching line or in-the-ditch. If I opted for this method, I would simply cut off the excess zipper tape as the final step.
Option two is the standing bag.
- To make a standing bag, first close the zipper.
- Flatten the bag with the zipper as one folded edge and the bag bottom as the other folded edge.
- Stitch along the right and left seams either on the binding or in-the-ditch next to the binding.
- Next, turn the bag inside out.
- Match the side seam with the bottom fold. Open the two bound edges flat.
- Pin a triangle shape where the side seam and bottom folds meet.
- Sew across the triangle. This will create the width of the bag’s bottom. The size of the triangle will vary related to the size of your mini. For my bag, my triangles were about 1-1/2″ from seam line to point.
- Cut the excess triangle fabric 1/4″ past the stitching line.
- Use a zigzag stitch or serger to finish this interior cut edge. Sew slowly; there’s a great deal of bulk at the side seam line.
- Repeat the triangle treatment for both lower corners of the bag.
- Turn the bag right-side out.
- This is how the lower corner should look:
- And a peek inside:
Yep. My mini quilt turned zip top bag is ready to go!
I have seen the Cross?and Plus?Quilt everywhere thanks to the great tutorial on Amy’s Badskirt Blog.?She credits the block design to Nancy Cabot. I loved the block, but would like to make it HUGE. Thanks to EQ7 and a bit of math, it totally worked out.
Each of these quilt blocks finishes at 15″ square. That is a BIG block. With only 30 blocks, the quilt measures 75″ x 90″. Since this quilt uses fat quarters, it will definitely still look scrappy, even though it is mega-giant.
Here’s how I made it:
30 Fat Quarters* (I used Red and Blue. Choose 15 Fat Quarters from one color family and 15 from the other.)
—OR 3-1/4 yards color 1 (red) and 3-1/4 yards color (blue)
3 yards?white fabric
*A fat quarter is a precut fabric piece measuring 18″ x 22″.
For this quilt- one fat quarter will be one block’s worth of pieces. If you’d like a 4 block x 6 block quilt, use 24 fat quarters instead of 30.
From each colored fat quarter cut the following:
- Four 6-1/2″ squares
- Two 3-1/2″ squares
- One rectangle 3-1/2″ x 9-1/2″
- Two rectangles 2-1/4″ x width (for binding) ?NOTE: Only cut binding from nine fat quarters. The rest will be extra/scrap fabric.
Once the 6-1/2″ squares are cut, remove two triangle corners using this template and rotary cutting tools.
(Grab the template pdf here.)
You will need a grand total of:
- 120 squares 6-1/2″ x 6-1/2″ (then cut to fit the template)
- 30 rectangles 3-1/2″ x 9-1/2″
- 60 squares 3-1/2″ x 3-1/2″
- 9 pieces cut 2-1/4″ x width of fabric (for binding)
From the white yardage cut:
- 120 squares measuring 3-1/2″ x 3-1/2″
- 120 squares measuring 3-7/8″ x 3-7/8″ ?!!! Cut these squares in half on the diagonal to yield 240 triangles.
Each block is made up of three basic units:
Two double square blocks which measure 3-1/2″ x 6-1/2″
One long center unit measuring 3-1/2″ x 15-1/2″
Four 6-1/2″ x 6-1/2″ squares
Assemble the Units
Use a 1/4″ seam allowance on all seams for this project.
I worked in a?sewing?assembly line style and jammed this big double/queen size quilt out in a weekend.
First, I sorted my cut pieces by unit. I started with the double square units.
Using my quarter inch presser foot and my Seamingly Accurate Seam Guide, I stitched all these pieces at once. Line the edge of the fabric up with the 1/4″ mark on the seam guide to keep perfect seam allowances. I kept feeding pairs?into the machine, one after another.
Clip the threads between each unit?and press towards the darker fabric.
The long rectangle unit is assembled in the same fashion.
Next, I stitched the 6-1/2″ square units. I did not do the popular stitch-and-flip method to sew these blocks. My reasoning: Since the block is so big, the stitch-and-flip method would?be a bit wasteful. I’m already saving all the removed colored triangles in a ziploc baggie.
Matching right sides, lay the triangle on the diagonal cut of the colored block. Notice the points of the?white?triangle are longer than colored block. Let each point extend 1/4″ at the start and stop of that seam.
The?Seamingly Accurate Seam Guide?will help keep your triangles equidistant and?straight. The “V” where the two fabrics are off-set will be inline with the needle line and the edge of the fabric will be at the 1/4″ mark. This is how you’ll know the triangle is positioned correctly.?
The off-set is also shown in this Better Binding tutorial on Youtube, if you want to see it in action.
Be careful not to stretch this seam as you stitch; it is a bias cut.
I pieced these in an assembly line, too. Phew. I was a quiltin’ maniac this weekend.
Press the seam allowances towards the white triangles.
Assemble the Block
This is?the block I’m aiming for:
One color family would be the X and the other color family would be the + (plus) in each block. I made a test block first to see if my mega-assembly-method would work. 15 red X’s and 15 blue X’s.
Lay?the units in their places on my work surface.
Join the double square units to the 6-1/2″ square units on the right and left sides. Press the seam allowances towards the double squares.
Next, join the right and left sides to that long center rectangle. Press seam allowances towards the long rectangle.
Yep. That worked. You know what that means??? Assembly time!
I seriously laid out the remaining block units in stacks, on the work surface just as I did for the first block.
I stitched all of one seam type, pressed, and re-positioned it back onto the work surface. Boom. Next seam. It was really really fast. I was working in 29-seam increments. I made one block, right? So that means each stack pictured above has 29 pieces. Sew 29 seams, press that unit, reposition on the work surface, and sew the next 29 seams. Hum. If you wanted to go math-crazy, it is only 174 seams. =)
Assembling the Top
Since I knew my quilt would be 5 blocks by 6 blocks, alternating blue and red, I didn’t even lay out my design. I took the math approach here, too.
First– Remove three red X blocks and three blue X blocks. Set these aside as they will make up the fifth column at the end.
Second– Grab a red X and blue X, match right sides and sew these two together. Make sure to keep the long center rectangles oriented vertically (Unless that isn’t important- it totally doesn’t have to be important.) Sew 12 pairs. Easy!
Third – Sew the pairs of pairs together, making sure to sew one red to one blue. This will create the six rows.
Fourth– Add in those blocks set aside in the first step. Stitch those dudes to the end of each of the six rows.
Fifth- The homestretch!! All you do now is alternate the rows to join them together. By this, I mean,?odd number rows start on red and even number rows start on blue. Join 1 & 2. Join 3 & 4. Join 5 & 6. Now you only have 2 seams to go!?
Quilt. This speedy quilt was finished with a meandered star design. Yes, it is hard to see.
Bind. I opted to not use the scrappy binding, but rather use a piece of mottled blue fabric for the entire binding.
Ta’dah! This baby is heading out to a fundraiser event.
If you are a subscriber to Quilty Box, you’ll find a fantastic collection of goodies each month in your mailbox! I”m so thrilled to report that the October 2016 box includes the Seamingly Accurate Seam Guide! Along with fabrics, thread, a pattern and more, this book will get you started or round out your quilty collection of supplies & gadgets.
If you missed the box but want your own seam guide, you can grab it here. And if you have your box and need installation videos and super easy how-to-use videos for the seam guide watch them here or on YouTube.
Find out more about Quilty Box and subscribe to their monthly boxes on their site?http://quiltybox.com/.
Note: ReannaLily Designs does not receive compensation for this blog post. I just wanted to share the great news about QuiltyBox & Seamingly Accurate.
Halloween is?Monster Madness Quilt time!
The Monster Madness Quilt is a fun fast project for your little monster AND it is a wonderful Halloween Quilt. Grab the kids and let them be involved in the organic monster shapes, the eyes, and of course, the glasses.
The applique shapes are created using Heat’n Bond Lite?and raw edge fusible techniques. The pattern is Fat Quarter Friendly! Fat Quarters are 18″ x 22″ pieces of fabric, generally sold in coordinating bundles. Use solid colors or monochromatic prints to make this quilts.
This fun pattern comes to life with the “furry” machine quilting designs. The motifs are included in the pattern and can be replicated on your home/domestic sewing machine. Since this quilt is a 45″ square, it is manageable to free motion quilt in your own space.
Let’s see what you create for this holiday (I mean Halloween!) season.
This quilt is so fast, it might be a fun project for your next children’s group activity or charity quilt project.
Color Wheel Fangirl!!
I suppose Color Wheel Fangirl might be a weird name for a quilt, but surely, I am a super fan. The color wheel doesn’t lie and it always guides you to a reasonably good design decision. What’s not to love?
This quilt is roughly 48″ x 48″. Not too big at all. The quilt top was constructed a few?years ago, so not only am I excited to share it here, I’m excited to cross it off my UFO list! (UFO- unfinished object)
The design is inspired by the techniques in my book, Learn to Sew Easy Curves. In this case, I used a solids charm pack to create six 9-patch blocks, sorted by color family. I think used the method in the book to prepare the shapes for machine applique.
For those of you looking really really closely, you’ll see there were not enough purple pieces in the charm pack, so I added?in grey square. I just do not own very many pieces of purple fabric.
This quilt is slightly stiff and puffy. In the quilt-sandwich, I used a dense needle punch batting. I purchased 75 yards of it 10 years ago. TEN. At this point, I just want to use it up. The wall hanging size quilt will hold its shape nicely and the quilting lines are really pronounced.
Speaking of quilting lines, I had the best time mixing all sorts of designs on this quilt. I used a bit of graffiti quilting around the shapes, a nice swirly-hook design in the center and featured on each of the six circles: two types of feathers. Phew.?You can see so much texture!
The other unique thing I tried on this project was thread color. I tried to match, or at least attempt to match, my thread with my fabrics. The background is quilting in grey and the color wheel shapes are quilted in a thread from their color family.
Color theory is so neat. (Fangirl!) Take the purple thread below, when stitched on lighter purples the thread looks down-right brown. When stitched on deeper purple fabrics, it looks a bit pink-y. (Some may even go so far as to say Blush or Bashful.) Amazing stuff.
So happy to cross this off my UFO list. …Well… I say that, it still needs solid black binding…. ?*cough cough cough*
I recently found a small bag of quilt tops that I’ll be working through. I stashed them away before my sweet HandiQuilter longarm came into my life. I’m on a roll, now, though!!!?
If you are looking to have your quilt tops finished with machine quilting designs, or if you know a quilter who needs a very practical & thoughtful Christmas gift, head over to ReannaLily Quilts or grab the $50 gift card, here.
Lime Green Clamshell Quilt is Here!
Wow! This clamshell quilt is really green! I think the lighting in the (above) picture have it tamed down a tiny bit. I’m talking green green green; mixed of course, with black and fabulous shades of grey. You’ll see. It is a really fun quilt panel.
As you might know, I have lost my mind with these quilted clamshells. I started quilting one single quilt and that spiraled into a design collection in the book, The Quilted Clamshell. While down this rabbit hole, I designed and created three fabric panels at Spoonflower. I couldn’t help myself. I needed one more panel. This newest (4th) panel is inspired by the colors of Minecraft. I know, crazy, right? Inspiration is everywhere. Of course, my fan club was quick to tell me that Minecraft does in fact have EVERY color. Yes. Ok. Got it, kids. =) Perhaps I need an EVERY color panel next???
Side story: One thing you’ll notice in my actual real quilt panel above is that the lowest row stops on green. This was a test order to see if the colors and scale are correct in my design. Well, they were off. ((Operator error!!)) I have corrected the hiccup,?and you’ll see in the 36″ x 40″ panel available, the lowest row finishes with a dark grey. ?(The logo watermark doesn’t appear?on the available panel, either.)
How’d ya quilt it?
I’m so glad you asked!
I used the design methods in The Quilted Clamshell?to change up the quilting design motif variables. By changing the motif variable, I was able to achieve a different look in each row of clamshells.
With the book as a reference, it was easy to create something new without too much “Oh, what should it look like next.” thinking. Sometimes coming up with a concept is the most frustrating part.
I used a sour apple?green thread on all the lighter colored clamshells. Thanks to the always-fun color theory, some clams look like I’ve used yellow threads. Some look like I’ve used darker green. ?Nope; all Sour Apple Maxilock?green. (amazon link)
I switched to a Oxford Grey?thread in the needle and bobbin for the black clamshells. (amazon link)
When quilting the black clamshells, I switched up another variable mentioned in The Quilted Clamshell, and that is the starting point. All the design motifs for these clams start at the top-center of the shape, rather than at the bottom point.
To grow this quilt in size,?I added a three borders to the design: 1/2″, 2″, and 4″ widths. This gave me room for even more quilting. I actually tried to make little 3/8″ pebbles all along the thinnest border. Yikes! But, you know, I do love trying things.
The borders kept on with the slate thread in needle and bobbin.?Here’s something I’ve never done- I treated the two borders as one when quilting. I thought about going a traditional route, where each color would get its own design, but ultimately, graffiti quilting?style won out.
It is wild. I love it. It is just a hair outside my comfort zone as far as colors go. I’m so glad I tried out a few new designs and a few new quilting/border styles.
If you are looking to give it a try yourself, here’s a link to the Spoonflower quilt panel.
If you don’t have your copy of The Quilted Clamshell, you should totally grab one!
Find #TheQuiltedClamshell on Instagram!
Grab some quilting ideas from #TheQuiltedClamshell hashtag on instagram. See what I’ve posted and brainstorm your own designs.
Want to join in the fun?
This one is easy. During the week of September 12-18th, simply share at least two photos of your version of designs from The Quilted Clamshell. The design can be sketched or stitched? no pressure. Tag your photo with #thequiltedclamshell
Don’t have your copy of the book yet? You are more than welcome to share the campaign image (above), too.
You can win!
Once the hashtag is used on Instagram 100 times, three winners will be drawn to receive one of the one-yard Clamshell Quilt Cheater panels printed by Spoonflower, designed by Jen. (Choose blue, pink, or yellow.) ReannaLily Designs will?sponsor the fabric portion of the event and fabric will ship directly to the chosen winners.
Wait, why not give away a book? Heck, I can do that, too! THREE?lucky winners will also receive a copy of The Quilted Clamshell eBook.
Get out there and ### !
**Disclaimers– Winners will be selected randomly. Six different winners will be chosen. If a single person were to use the hashtag 100 times, he/she will only receive one prize of their choice. This campaign is designed to promote Jen’s new book title, and is not currently affiliated with any official sponsors. Instagram photos must relate to the book & ?hashtag to be considered for the prizes.