Sunday, December 15, 2013

Christmas Table Toppers

These little table toppers are quick and simple to make.  I hope you will enjoy the following tutorial.  There are several on the web and you can purchase patterns if you like.

* * *

To start with you will need:

1 -  12.5 inch square of background fabric.
2 -  5 inch squares of background fabric.
1 -  20 inch square of batting
1 -  20 inch square of backing fabric
1 -  12 inch square of pellon 805 fusible

Assorted scraps of holiday fabrics for leaves and ornaments.

2 -  2.5 inch strips cut width of fabric (40-44 inches) for your           

* * *

To make the ornaments,  I cut strips of fabric random widths and stitch them together.  I used a cup to trace 4 circles on the Pellon.  I rough cut them out and placed them as desired on the strip set.  Press the Pellon patterns onto the backside of your strip set and then cut out carefully with sharp scissors.  

Using random bits of scrap fabric for the leaves, draw your leaves and berries onto the Pellon and again, press them onto the wrong side of your fabric.  Carefully cut out your pieces with sharp scissors.

Take your 12.5 inch square of fabric and fold in half, press.  Do this again the opposite way and again on both diagonals.  See below.

This will create lines to help you place your pattern pieces in a symetrical fashion.

Now, lay out your pieces as desired and press into place.

Take your 5 inch squares and cut them both on the diagonal as shown below.

Fold your triangles in half and finger crease on the long side, do the same for your block, fold it in half and finger crease.  This will help you line up your pieces uniformly.  I have placed a purple mark to show you below, but your finger crease will be evident and it is not essential that you mark your fabric.  

Pin your side pieces to your blocks, matching your finger creases.  I like to place three pins, one in the middle and one at each end.  Be careful not to stretch these triangles, they are cut on the bias.

When you have them all stitched on, press to the outside.

Now for some decorative top stitching.  I like to place a 12 inch square of Pellon Stitch-N-Tear Lite beneath my fabric for stability.

Pin the Pellon Stitch-N-Tear into place so that it does not shift while you are stitching.

Stitch your pieces into place with your desired stitch, straight, satin or perhaps blanket stitch or another decorative stitch of your choosing.  This is the time to satin stitch your ornament tops.  I just stitch back and forth until I have the desired shape and then stitch a little circle around the top with straight stitching a couple times.  If you are not comfortable free handing these, you can draw them on with a disappearing quilt marking pen to make it easier.

Place your backing down, wrong side up, then place your batting and your table topper.  You should have plenty of batting and backing on all sides.  Iron and then pin into place.  Quilt as desired.  Carefully trim your block and bind the edges.  There is a great binding tutorial that I will link here:

Wasn't that fun!  I am making lots of these right now.

Thanks for stopping by, I hope you and your family have a very Merry Christmas!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

We Have A Finish Folks!

Yes, I know, this was last years BOM with's been a busy year, what can I say.  But I have finally finished it, quilted and bound with a little help from my friends.

Sophie and Honey Bee, they are always there ready to help.  Bee is holding down my chair, keeping it warm and Sophie is holding down the quilt so it doesn't fly away, she is very good at that.

I am trying to reason with her, explaining the difficulty I will have manuvering the quilt with her on it...she's not going for it.

She is thinking, "I am in the sun, on the quilt, it smells like mommy and I am warm and happy, time to sleep now".  After much coaxing and some kitty cookies...both the girls retired to the livingroom to watch TV with dad.

Now I know what you are thinking...this is some wild fabric, and yes it is!  It's "Miami" by Philip Jacobs.  The colors are perfect and I am in love with the way it "reads" on the edge of my quilt.  Just stitching it on was a joy and finishing it by hand on the backside gave me the greatest pleasure.  I love the vibrancy of the colors.

This is my new "most favorite" piece of acrylic right this minute!  It is called "The Binding Tool".  You may already have one and if you do, why didn't you tell me about this?  It's amazing and makes that perfect ending to your binding experience.  If you don't have one, this is a MUST GET, MUST HAVE tool for your quilting pleasure.  I'm going to show you how to use it in the photos below and will include a video that is on youtube so you can see just how easy it is.

First thing, you have stitched your binding all the way around your quilt, leaving and opening of 12 inches and leaving long strips of at least 10 inches of binding on your start and finish ends.

Fold your binding strips back and place the tool on one side, printed directions are on the tool so you can't screw up.  Place your binding over the top of the tool as shown.

Mark with a removable marking pen, the line where it is indicated on your tool.  Then flip your tool and do the same on the otherside.  (TIP:  if you cannot read the writing on your tool, you have it wrong side up)

Again, make the mark where indicated on your tool.

Okay, don't get scared, here comes the fun part.  Fold out your binding and lay it flat on your board, for the left side, line the tip of your tool against the line you drew and make sure your edges line up with your binding strip.  Now cut.  Whew...I know, kind of scary...

Pay attention here.  Do the same for the otherside, BUT place the line of your tool, over the line on your fabric.  Remember to flip your ruler and make sure you can read the print.  Now cut.  

Take the cut edges and pin them together, right sides of fabric together, you will note that the flat tips when you cut will perfectly line up on the edge of the opposing binding strip!  Yeah!!!

Now stitch a 1/4 inch seam.  Open out your binding, press your seam open and whaaalaa!  Was that AWESOME?!!!  Look at that, it is perfection, not too lose, not too tight, why by golly Goldie Locks, it's JUST RIGHT!

Now just finish stitching down your binding and you are ready to turn and if you are like me, hand stitch the backside.  

Here is the video for this amazing tool!

You want one now don't you!  

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Autumnal Flurries!

The oak and madrone leaves are drying on the trees now and it doesn't take much of a breeze for them to come swirling down.  The forest floor is carpeted in their gold and brown beauty, crackling as the deer wander through.  I think this is one of my most favorite seasons.  The sun is starting to drop down in the southern sky, the mornings are brisk and this past week we have been treated to a Hunter's Moon.  It has been so bright that even here in the forest, all the stars are dimmed behind it's blazing pale reflection.  

It calls for a moon glow table runner, something with lots of reflective bits, something that would express that Autumnal glow that lays below the pines right now.  Spider webs glistening in the last rays of the warm sun and pumpkins in the field, ready for their special night.

 The table runner is complete, batting and quilting done, now to pick out a suitable binding.  For me, binding is like framing a piece of art.  

My friend Brenda Allen has just completed a beautiful Halloween Quilt!  Hand stitched center pannel with color crayon color on the fabrics, a fun technique!  Her fabric selections are always great.

I love the BOO surround!

Her backing is awesome!

Color applied to fabric with color crayons!

I always appreciate her beautiful creations.

We had our last quilt class for the year this past Friday.  Everyone was busy working on their individual projects.  Teri brought in her quilt top to pin and it is just so bright and wonderful!  She is really turning out to be a very talented quilter!

Teri pinning her quilt top.

In addition to her quilt top, she brought in a tree skirt that she made this past year.  Just cute as can be!!!

I am doodling along with my Sugar Block is my mess...LOL.

I am planning four corner blocks that will look like the one above, each block in the four corners will be different but will be framed with the flying geese and the white fabric.  More to be revealed there.  I have blocks from 3 other BOM's that I have yet to assemble.  Slacking off.  Lots of quilting in my future, lots and lots of quilting.

So, like the flurry of leaves that are falling to the ground now, I have a flurry of projects to complete.  A quilters work is never done.  Thankfully.  

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Preliminary Layout Sugar Block Club 2013 Quilt

The Sugar Block Club blocks are finished and I am ready to start putting them into a layout for a quilt top.  I have a small design wall in my sewing room, so this will not be the final layout by any stretch.  It does give me an initial feel for what will be going on here.  I am too heavy with the grays in the lower right corner so I will move that block and swap it out with the one in the upper left corner.  Then I think I will be happy.  I have some connecting blocks that will go in to this as well.  The blocks will not overlap when the top is finished, the entire set will be expanded outward and filled in inbetween with additional design work.  I want to leave a lot of white space to be quilted at a later date.  I have two white on white fabrics to use in completing this top, one is white with white dragonflies, the other is a white on white pin stripe.  

I bought two books used this past week, I was hoping they would come for my class but they did not arrive in time.  They are both on setting your quilt blocks and are good examples of breaking out of the "square" mold.  

The first one is Smashing Sets by Margaret J. Miller which I purchased on

The second one is Sensational Settings by Joan Hanson also purchased on

I like to purchase books used on, you can often pick up older titles for very little, just a couple dollars.  Nice to add to your library.  I also enjoy their downloads to my android through Kindle.

You can see that my setting resembles the cover photo of the Sensational Settings book, but it will be expanded and contain more elements like some that are in the Smashing Sets book.  Fun!

My husband John, now with his new glasses! and I went on a weekend tour, looking at longarms!  Wheee!  So much fun, I am keeping my fingers crossed that I am able to get the one I would really love to have.  So, I didn't get a lot of sewing done.   It was great fun though, we stopped in Squaw Valley and picked up my son Andrew and both he and John stitched on the longarm!  Yes they did!  And loved it!!!  More to be revealed!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Burning Man 2013 Video - After The Blaze

Burning Man 2013 is over but never fear my can relive all the wonder by watching Jason and Jennifer Phipps incredible time lapse video!  It will whisk you right back; ah the playa dust blowing through your dread locks, the searing heat, the spectacle of lights, the frenzied hive like activity!

Jason and Jennifer hike way up to the top of a near by mountain, set up their cameras and you are witness to the amazing results of their efforts!  Enjoy!!!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Perfect Paper Piecing - The Setting

We will be meeting this Friday, September 20, 2013 as usual at 9am.  At this meeting you can finish up any blocks you wish or work on what ever you want!

We will be discussing possible settings for your blocks.  Last year we finished our quilts with sashing on the square.  I will have some other setting ideas for you to explore.  Doesn't mean you have to do it this way, you do what pleases you!  Maybe you are making a table runner and place mats with your blocks...maybe you are making a quilt...what ever you decide to do with them is fine!

Table runner above from:

Your setting is how your blocks are joined together to make your quilt.

Here are some examples of quilts from Connecting Threads website:

This shows how a quilt might look with alternating a solid block with your pieced blocks.  It gives space for the eye to rest and has a light feel about it.

This one, the blocks are touching each other, it's a more dense feeling but still very attractive and you can see a small secondary pattern formed by using the same block over and over.

This quilt has sashing, again giving the eye some rest and and interesting border which draws your eye around the quilt.  Maybe you want a sashing with corner stones?

Alternating a simple block can change up the look completely.  This example is from

Here is another example of a simple block alternated with your pieced blocks to give a very crisp look.  This is from

What happens if you turn your blocks on point and alternate with a simple block?  This

Here is a wonkie setting.

Here is another dynamic option from

Here is another link that can give you some ideas:

You can see that there is a wide variety of possibilities and we haven't even touched the surface. These are pretty tame possibilities, very conservative.   Examples to expand your mind a little.  Go online and google quilt block settings.  See what possibilites you come up with.  Dare to be different!  See you all Friday!  

The Fall Harvest Festival will be on Saturday, October 26th, starting at 4pm.  There will be games for the children, dinner at 5pm and "Trunk or Treat" starting at 6pm.  We will again be exhibiting our quilting, if you have something that you would like to show please contact me and we will display it.  Last years contributions were well received and I would love to have several items to show for this year as well.  

Our final meeting for this year will be on Friday, October 18th at 9am.  We will again have a pot luck brunch.  We can spend the morning sewing and I have some special little gifts for each of you!