April 13, 2017

Big Finish: MQG Mini Quilt Swap

Last fall I signed up for the first mini quilt swap organized by the Modern Quilt Guild, the parent organization of my local guild. I was a little hesitant -- I don't love the pressure of making something on a deadline for a stranger -- but I went for it.




The partner I received wasn't active on social media, so I didn't have anything on a blog or Instagram, for example, to inspire my design for her. That was disappointing. All she provided was a preference for "most colors, love oranges and yellow greens and aquas. Love solid fabrics, graphic and improv designs." I don't do much improv quilting, but I decided to go with a graphic, high-contrast design with some improv (though precise) piecing and gentle curved quilting.




On the receiving end, my partner in Ohio made me a lovely mini quilt full of hexagons. The precision and color palette (navy!) are so me, and I was delighted when I opened the package. After I saw the picture she posted, I realized she intended for it to be turned sideways - oops! It works well either way, I think.



I love her choice for the backing and the hand-written label.



April 5, 2017

Personalized Name Pillows


A few years ago, I made an applique name pillow for my niece Piper. I didn't think about making any more until my sister Emily asked me to make one for her younger daughter Judy. I gathered some leftover fabric from her nursery (my mom made her crib sheets and changing pad covers), downloaded my favorite letters for applique from Skip to My Lou, and got to work. I use Heat 'n Bond on the letters and applique them to the background panel. Then I add borders to get it to size and layer it with batting and a piece of muslin or solid fabric, just like a quilt. I add some hand quilting to the center panel, around the name, and secure the rest of the front with straight line quilting. The envelope backs of the pillows are just fabric, no batting or quilting.

Judy at 4 months
And Judy at 13 months, just the other day (the pillow has seen better days, but it's being used and loved!)

Emily then asked if I could make a pillow for her nephew on her husband's side of the family. (She seems to be under the impression that I'm in need of projects. For the record, I am not. But I have trouble saying "No.") So I made another pillow for Toby. Same process but without the hand quilting in the center panel.


THEN somehow it came to my attention that Emily's other, older daughter also needed a name pillow. Em had asked me to recover a couple of long pillows that had previously sported panel prints from Penny's woodland nursery. After redecorating her room in pink and turquoise, new pillows were in order. I made one patchwork cover and one personalized with her name.



Penny has had this patchwork pillow for a little while now and is very attached to it. She's getting her name pillow for her upcoming 3rd birthday.


So that covers 3 of my 5 nieces. I've been thinking about making pillows for the two oldest girls, and I think simple initials -- M and H -- will be a good alternative as their names are a little long for pillows. After struggling and sweating to get the long, rectangular pillow form into Penny's pillows, I've sworn off that size. So simple squares with initials are the way to go.

January 18, 2017

4-Patch Butterfly Block Tutorial


The Knoxville Modern Quilt Guild is ready to make another quilt for a graduate of local nonprofit The Restoration House of East Tennessee, and we've decided to collect these 4-patch butterfly blocks in cool solids from our members. Consistency is one of the challenges of charity block collections, so to help ensure that everyone's blocks fit together well, I've put together a simple tutorial.

4-Patch Butterfly Block
Unfinished size: 12.5" inch using scant 1/4" seam allowance
Finished size: 12"

Step 1: Select 4 solid fabrics in cool colors (blue, green, purple) and cut four 3.5" squares from each color. Cut four 2.5" white squares and then cut each one on the diagonal, resulting in 8 white triangles. (You can also use larger triangles to make piecing a little easier.)


Step 2: Place the white triangles on the corners of two diagonal colored squares as shown. Make sure that when you sew a 1/4" seam from the long edge of the white triangle and then flip it down to cover the corner, the white extends beyond the colored corner. Sew the white triangles in place and press seams open. The triangles do not need to match each other - wonky butterflies are fine!



Step 3: Flip the triangles down and press. Then trim to 3.5" square.



Step 4: Repeat Steps 2 and 3 with each of the other colors.


Step 5: Make sure that all of the butterflies are going in the same direction. Sew the squares of each color into pairs, and press seams open. Then sew the two halves of the blocks together, press open, and sew the four blocks together to finish the block.



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