button joy!

Quilter's Home June-July 2011 Seen the new June/July 2011 Quilters Home magazine? I just love that cover quilt, Drunkard’s Flower Path, don’t you? Looks like a perfect summer quilting project.

If quick quilty crafts are more your thing during the lazy days of summer, check out the article, Hot Buttons for the latest on whimsical buttons you can buy and fun button crafts you can make. And the instructions for all three projects can be found in the web-exclusive feature, Button Joy (click here to download or view pdf). Learn to make my embroidered button hair jewelry (below), Virginia Robertson’s one-of-a-kind stacked button pins and a decorative button jar.

What’s your summer sewing project?

Share your comments or summer sewing projects!

More Button Projects:
Cover Button Blossoms!
Bloomin’ Button Brooches
Fabric Ribbon Rosettes
Pocket Full of Posies (scroll down for Kurumi button tutorial)
Find Creativity in Everyday Life

free quilting arts sewing patterns

6sewingpatterns_2D00_cover I’m in a Quilting Arts eBook: 6 Free Sewing Patterns for Beautiful Homemade Gifts. It’s full of fun ideas of how to use fabric scraps to make quick, easy gifts for the holidays. It’s not too late to begin making handmade gifts for the holidays with these quick and easy projects! Adapt them for gift giving throughout the year by changing the fabrics and embellishments.

Includes instructions and patterns for an embellished table place setting, advent calendar, table runner, napkin holder, wine bottle gift bag, and quilted jewelry wrap. Click here to download your free copy from the Quilting Arts website.

jewelry-wrap Here’s my project, Quick Quilted Jewelry Wrap. Stash a special treasure inside this easy-to-make quilted jewelry wrap. It’s great for travel or green gift wrapping (use it again and again!)

happy gift making!

tip tuesday: cut smart! (part one)

Fusible applique is quick and fun. Here are a few cutting tips to make it easier:

  • Even if you like a bit of fraying, smooth-cut edges are still important. You don’t want it to look as if your new puppy chewed up your appliques, so make sure you have a good, comfortable, sharp pair of scissors, not too large and not too small. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just sharp.
  • Cut slowly and carefully, it’s not a race.
  • Cut smart. Notice the differences between the two appliques above. The red swirl is actually only cut once. The green swirl isn’t cut at all! I traced the outer circle and the inner swirl together onto one piece of fusible, ironed the red fabric down, and cut it apart into the two designs. Cut only one swirl, but get two swirl appliques. Then place a simple circle background beneath each one. Clear as mud? Check the pattern below to see what I traced and the photo at left to see what I cut.
  • Finally, practice, practice, practice! The more you cut, thebetter you’ll get. Try it out for yourself with my Salt Water Taffy pattern below. It has both shallow and sharp curves to hone your cutting skills.

For a pair of candies as pictured at top right, trace the following onto the paper side of fusible web: one swirly circle, two plain circle outlines (just trace the outer circle for these, ignore the inner swirl), and four of the tulip-shaped wrapper ends.

Fuse the red fabric onto the swirly circle, the green fabric onto the two plain circles, and the white fabric onto the four wrapper ends. Cut out the pieces as shown above, being extra careful when cutting the red swirly circle into the two swirls.

Assemble and fuse the candy pieces together as shown at top right onto a teflon pressing sheet or directly onto your quilt block background squares.

Have fun! =(^_^)=

tip tuesday: easy leaf patterns

It’s fun and easy to make leaf patterns for applique. Just gather a collection of interesting leaves. They don’t even have to be in autumn colors, just find some shapes that you like. When you’re choosing fabric for your leaves, they can be any colors you want.

Lay the leaves down on a computer scanner or photocopy machine and print them out. If they’re not the right size you can enlarge or reduce them. This is a scan of some gingko leaves I collected.

If you’re in a hurry you can use the printout just as it is. Otherwise trace the outlines of the leaves onto a new piece of paper and use that as your pattern. Tape the printout to a sunny window and place a blank sheet of paper on top and it will be easy to see.

You can trace all the details of the leaves just as they are or you can simplify the outlines as I did with my gingko leaf patterns below.

Here’s a fun free project I designed using my gingko leaf patterns, Autumn Gingko Leaves Purse Jewelry. You can download the PDF at CottonSpice.net, September 2007 issue, page 40.

muse monday: red, white & you

Remember the classic Necco Sweethearts Valentine’s candy hearts? Now they’re available in new Red, White & You colors for Independence Day. Red, White & You Sweethearts will be included in care packages to U.S. military troops and feature patriotic messages such as: My Hero, Miss You, and Home Safe. And they have new great-tasting flavors too. (strawberry, blueberry and vanilla crème … Mmmmm!) They’re a perfect inspiration for Fourth of July crafting.

Here are some fun and crafty ideas for using Red, White & You Sweethearts in your Fourth of July festivities.

First is the Red, White & You Patriotic Shaker. You can find complete directions for this and other easy crafts in the Sweethearts Patriotic Crafts for Kids booklet. Since I didn’t have all the exact supplies, I made do with what I had. I used an empty candy sprinkles plastic jar in place of the flip-top container and 20″ lengths of 1/8″ and 1/4″ wide ribbons, tied in the middle around the metal brad before sticking it through the lid. I tied red, white and blue pony beads onto the ends of the ribbons.

Next is the Folk Art Heart Party Favor. Cut two 3-1/4″ tall x 3″ wide pieces of wool felt (or you could use craft felt if you wish) and a strip 1-1/4″ wide x 9-1/2″ long. Cut a heart out of the middle of one of the panels and blanket stitch with 2 strands of embroidery floss around the opening. (Scroll down to the bottom of this post for the pattern. Click on the image and then print out the full-size pattern.) Click here for a great tutorial on blanket stitching on felt from Future Girl Craft Blog. (Variation: cut a heart out of a contrasting piece of felt and use blanket stitch to appliqué it onto the panel.) Blanket stitch one panel to each long side of the strip. Wool can sometimes be stretchy. If the strip stretches out past the edges of the panels, just trim it down to size. Put a box of Red, White & You candies inside the pouch.

Or use a small bag of Red, White & You Sweethearts to make a quick and easy Mini Favor. Simply cut a 6″ to 7″ square out of patriotic fabric with pinking shears or a wave rotary cutter, place the bag of candy in the center, gather the fabric around it and tie with a 1/8″ wide ribbon. Tie mini pony beads onto the ends of the ribbon if you’d like.

And finally my favorite, the Red, White & You Candy Dish Rug. You will need two circles of wool felt. I used a lid to trace around. My circles are 7-1/4″ across. That’s about the smallest circle that will handle four hearts. You can cut a larger circle and give more space in between the hearts or enlarge or reduce the size of the heart pattern for a different size rug if you wish. Check your candy dish to see what is a good size for you.

Next trace four hearts onto fusible web (click on pattern image at the bottom of this post for full-size heart pattern that you can print) and fuse polka dot cotton quilting fabric to the hearts, cut them out and fuse the hearts to one of the wool circles. Note: when you fuse the hearts to the wool circle, use the wool setting on the iron, you don’t want to scorch the wool.

Blanket stitch (click here for Future Craft Girl’s blanket stitch tutorial) around the hearts with two strands of embroidery floss, then blanket stitch the second wool felt circle to the bottom of the rug. (Variation: use solid wool felt hearts, no fusible web necessary, and embroider Red, White & You messages onto the hearts before embroidering them to the circle.)

Why not gather together some Red, White & You candy hearts, red, white and blue fabric, scrapbooking papers, beads, trims and embellishments and see what you’re inspired to make …

If you’d like to sponsor a USO Care Package and send a personal message to encourage a deployed U.S. service member, click here for the USO/Sweethearts secure donation page.

Heart patterns for Folk Art Party Favor and Red, White & You Candy Dish Rug. Click on image to open full-size pattern, then print.

something old, something new

Last month at Moonlighters, Violet Vaughnes (quilt historian and AQS certified quilt appraiser) gave a wonderful presentation, Tell Me About My Quilt, where members brought vintage quilts from their own collections to show the guild and have Violet tell us all about them. I was a holder/folder and got to see all those precious gems up close and personal. Although I forgot my camera and haven’t mastered the cell phone camera yet, I drank it all in. What a great history lesson to see it all right in front of your face.

Nearly a month later, the images of two hexagon quilts still linger in my mind. There was the classic 30’s Grandmother’s Flower Garden, with its sunny bright pastel blooms and paths of jade. Also an 1800-something Mosaic quilt top from a mill town in Great Britain with 1-inch hexagons of deep burgundies, pinks, blues, creams, and tans. Both quilts shared the same 7-piece flower shape, but were a world apart in feeling. Sure the different color palettes and scale of hexagons had something to do with it, but what made the biggest difference to me was the layout.

In the 30’s quilt, the blossoms were separated by the jade green paths, and didn’t really compete with each other for visual attention. You could place a mango flower next to a pink and not worry about them blending in to each other.

In the Mosaic quilt, all the blossoms were tightly packed next to one another. The ones that were brighter, darker, or higher contrast jumped out; and the paler, lower contrast ones receded into the background. This gave the quilt a lively sense of depth and movement.

Both were great fun to look at, I’m thinking over what kind of hexagon quilt I’d most like to try, and I learned something new for my own designing: Shapes are not limited to one style of fabric or one type of layout. I’ve illustrated this with two images here in this post. I’ve used bright colors and the same size hexagons for both so you can concentrate on just the color/pattern variation between the two, Grandmother’s Flower Garden at top and Mosaic just below it.

Finally I’ve included a Quilter’s Hexagon Grid for you to print out and color in your own designs. (just click on the thumbnail at right to enlarge to full size) You could also cut them out as 1-inch hexagon patterns for English Paper Piecing.

Next post coming soon: Stay tuned for my report on the Sally Collins workshop I took and what it’s done for my piecing abilities.