Quiltmaker and the Christmas in July Contest

(Please note: The Christmas in July contest is for U.S. readers only.)

QMMP 150800 cover500 221x300 Quiltmaker and the Christmas in July ContestOur annual Christmas in July contest is open and you could be one of the eight lucky winners!

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Eight winners!

Two grand prize winners! One grand prize winner will receive a $1000 gift certificate from Handi Quilter and one grand prize winner will receive a Skyline S5 sewing machine from Janome. 

quilts 300x100 Quiltmaker and the Christmas in July ContestSix prize package winners! Each person will win one of these holiday-themed quilt tops (plus backing and binding to finish), as seen in our July/August issue, and beautiful fabric from:

AND will also receive the following wonderful prizes.

Correctly answer questions about our sponsors’ products in the scavenger hunt for a chance to win one Christmas in July quilt top and a fantastic prize package. The contest is open until 11:59 pm MST on August 7, 2015.

(Please note: The Christmas in July contest is for U.S. readers only.)

Why is this contest open only to U.S. residents?
We value all of our readers, whether in or outside of the U.S. While we wish that it was possible to include everyone in our contests, it isn’t. Holding contests has complex legal implications and you will find that many contests are only valid in the country where they originate. This article gives a good explanation: howstuffworks.com/question541.htm

 

Posted in Giveaways & Contests | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

QM Bitty Blocks: I Heart This One!

It’s time for another QM Bitty Block!

The passing of time can be a strange thing. In a way, it feels like forever until each new Bitty Block is released. But in another way, the months seem to fly by. How is that possible?

BittyBlockLogo 300px1 QM Bitty Blocks: I Heart This One!
I’m happy to share another one of these adorable small quilt blocks with you today. This one is special to me. I was born on Valentine’s Day in 1960, the fifth child but the first and only girl. My mom was tickled pink. My dad said that when they came out and announced, “It’s a girl,” he looked around to see who they were speaking to, because he knew it couldn’t be him.

rowofhearts QM Bitty Blocks: I Heart This One!

So my parents always made a big deal out of having a girl on a special day, and while it might seem corny, I really like hearts and I especially love Valentine’s Day. Today’s little 3″ heart quilt block is right up my alley.

When I designed this block a few months back, it had a seam across the middle. I made quite a few in reds and pinks because I was also working on my quilt block for Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Volume 12 which will come out this fall.

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My first design had a seam across the middle.

But when I started to work on my samples for this blog post, I realized I didn’t need that seam across the middle.

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Bitty Love from Quiltmaker

Now the block is quicker and easier, and the vertical seam lends itself nicely to using two different fabrics.

Here’s how you make Bitty Love.

bbhearts1 QM Bitty Blocks: I Heart This One!

Each heart quilt block takes these patches.

Cutting

Heart fabric
2 rectangles 2″ x 3.5″ (can be the same fabric or two different fabrics)

Background fabric
4 squares 1″ x 1″
2 squares 2″ x 2″

Sewing

This block uses “Stitch and Flip” to attach the background patches to the heart patches. I used to dread this technique but I learned some things to make it work.

These patches are tiny so I recommend shortening your stitch length to a maximum of 2.0mm or 13 stitches per inch. It’s a good rule of thumb that the shorter the seam you’re sewing, the shorter your stitches need to be. Read more about understanding stitch length.

Place two small background squares at one end of each heart rectangle, right sides together. Sew from corner to corner on each square as shown. I didn’t mark this seamline because the patches are small and it’s pretty easy to eyeball it. Be sure to sew them as shown so they form a little peak in the middle.

bbhearts2 QM Bitty Blocks: I Heart This One!

Use Stitch-and-Flip as shown.

Place a 2″ background square at the other end of each rectangle. On the wrong side of the 2″ square, mark a diagonal line from corner to corner as shown. Sew on the marked line. Be sure to sew them in opposite directions as shown on the patches above.

bbhearts3 QM Bitty Blocks: I Heart This One!

Trim the seam allowances to 1/4″ and discard the trimmings.

Trim the seam allowances to 1/4″ and discard the trimmings.

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Open out the patches and press gently.

Open out the patches and press gently.

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Sew the heart halves together to complete the quilt block.

Sew the heart halves together to complete the block.

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Here is how the block will appear once it is sewn into the quilt.

I laid strips of fabric over the seam allowances so you could see how the block will appear once it’s sewn into the quilt. I love that vertical seamline. You can use two fabrics in similar colors, as I did above and below.

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This heart has significant contrast between the two blue fabrics.

Or you can make both halves out of the exact same fabric.

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Both halves of the heart are of the same fabric.

It’s fun to try different combinations and see what floats your boat. You could make the backgrounds scrappy—just keep them fairly similar in value, which is a fancy of saying lightness or darkness.

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Have some fun with various combinations.

I have two tips to help you with the Bitty Love blocks. One is about feeding the stitch-and-flip of the 2″ background squares into the machine. It’s best to feed it through as shown below, where the point is lying on top of a patch with no point.

bbhearts7 QM Bitty Blocks: I Heart This One!

Feed the 2″ background square through the machine like this.

It works better as shown above because the point doesn’t get pulled down into the needle hole. If you feed the corners through first, like this:

bbhearts8 QM Bitty Blocks: I Heart This One!

If you feed the points through the machine first, they can be pulled down into the needle hole.

…they can easily be pulled down into the needle hole and that is no fun. Try to remember this guideline for all of your piecing. Try to avoid feeding the corners through first.

Another trick has to do with the cleft of the heart. In the photo below, you can see that my cleft doesn’t match up very well.

bbhearts9 QM Bitty Blocks: I Heart This One!

The cleft of this heart doesn’t match up very well.

When I pressed the seam allowance to the right, this mistake was evident. But if I pressed it to the left, it practically disappeared.

bbhearts10 QM Bitty Blocks: I Heart This One!

When I pressed the seam allowance to the left, it looked much better.

So when you have a cleft that’s not perfect, experiment by pressing the seam allowance to each side, and see if one doesn’t look decidedly better than the other.

Printer-friendly version of the Bitty Love instructions

You’ll find links to all of the Bitty Blocks patterns and posts on our Bitty Blocks homepage, as well as a link to the many quilt options for this project and other tips and tricks. Please tell your quilting friends about these free quilt patterns, and use #qmbittyblocks on social media. You can send photos to editor@quiltmaker.com. We’d love to see how your Bitty Blocks are coming along!

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Some of you have asked about sewing your blocks together into rows. If you’re sure of what size quilt you’re making, by all means go ahead and sew the blocks together.

BB square1 300x300 QM Bitty Blocks: I Heart This One!

Posted in Freebies, Quilting 101, Scrapbag | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

Zia’s Square Dance: A Bonnie Hunter Scrap Quilt

Today I have an old-fashioned scrap quilt to share with you as well as a sweet little story of reclaimed fabric. First, a little background.

Many of you are familiar with our friend and columnist Bonnie Hunter of quiltville.com.

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Bonnie has taught at QM’s Block Party, designed a Lazy Sunday mystery quilt for us, submitted many designs to Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks, and more.

LazySunday Bonnie Zias Square Dance: A Bonnie Hunter Scrap Quilt

Lazy Sunday by Bonnie Hunter

She’s in every issue of Quiltmaker with a new scrappy block and a column called Addicted to Scraps. We’ve picked up a number of subscribers because of this column—people love Bonnie’s enthusiasm and her dogged determination to use up fabric she already owns.

162ATS 125 Zias Square Dance: A Bonnie Hunter Scrap Quilt   QMMP ADD2SCRP MAY 125 Zias Square Dance: A Bonnie Hunter Scrap Quilt   QMMP ADD2SCRP SEPT 125 Zias Square Dance: A Bonnie Hunter Scrap Quilt   QMMP 120200 SCRAP 125 11527 Zias Square Dance: A Bonnie Hunter Scrap Quilt

Bonnie takes ho-hum and sometimes even ugly fabrics and somehow sprinkles them with fairy dust, and they become showstoppers. It’s a beautiful thing.

This year we formed a new team of readers to take Bonnie’s Addicted to Scraps block designs and make scrappy quilts from them. Today team member Melva Nolan from Trinidad, Colorado shares the quilt she made from Bonnie’s Idaho Square Dance block.

oDgBimB1bsr1FG6HgjQYhwtEqPG5 yESEGnlAYvDBfI Zias Square Dance: A Bonnie Hunter Scrap Quilt

Idaho Square Dance

The block pattern is inside Quiltmaker’s May/June issue. Here’s what Melva had to say:

“While itty bitty pieces are not my favorite to work with I refined my skills as I pieced this quilt. In the first few blocks I noticed that my blocks weren’t flat. I began paying closer attention to the beginning and ending stitches of my seams.

melva1 Zias Square Dance: A Bonnie Hunter Scrap Quilt

Idaho Square Dance, scrappy quilt block

I had the tendency to veer away from the 1/4″ seam line one way or the other. By the time I reached the last few blocks for the quilt top I had noticed that my blocks were flat and square!

melva2 Zias Square Dance: A Bonnie Hunter Scrap Quilt

Idaho Square Dance, scrappy quilt block #2

“Much of the fabric used in this quilt had found its “new” home with me recently as I had been gifted with a large stash of fabric from a sweet lady named Zia.

melva5 Zias Square Dance: A Bonnie Hunter Scrap Quilt

Notice the sashing fabric. It’s the fabric Zia remembers below.

When I shared a picture of the quilt top and that I named the quilt in her honor (Zia’s Square Dance) I received this message back. Little did I know that some of the fabric was older than I am!

Oh my goodness, what a project and I am so honored with it being named for me. Of course I think it’s great—and there is my 1960-1961 dress material again in the strips around the boxes. It was the orange flower material. I enjoyed wearing that dress that Mother had made for me. Yes, she made it and I wore it my first year of college. Orange & green were the trendy colors of the times and I still like wearing orange. Thanks for sending it.

“I used Hobbs Heirloom Fusible batting. It is an 80/20 blend and I love the way it looks. After it is washed it makes the quilt look well loved and comfortable.

melva4 Zias Square Dance: A Bonnie Hunter Scrap Quilt

Zia’s Square Dance, a scrap quilt by Melva Nolan

“I did free-motion quilting. I wanted to have some swirls or wave-like quilting on it to offset the straight lines of the blocks.”

What a beautiful job by an experienced scrap quilt maker! The border colors complement the sashing and block fabrics perfectly. Please leave a comment and help me give Melva a virtual round of applause.

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102 Gift Ideas Under $25 from Quilt and Sew Shop

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Scrap Quilt Ideas: Sea Glass by Kathy

Quiltmaker’s Scrap Squad is a small select group of readers who make scrap quilts from QM patterns. We share their creations on Quilty Pleasures to inspire you to make scrappy quilts from the quilting fabrics you already own.

QM scrap squadB3 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Sea Glass by KathyToday’s quilt is a scrappy version of Sea Glass from Quiltmaker’s May/June issue. It was designed by Scott Murkin and made in fabrics from Quilting Treasures.

QMMP 150600 SEA 506flat Scrap Quilt Ideas: Sea Glass by Kathy

Sea Glass by Scott Murkin for Quiltmaker’s May/June ’15 issue. Fabric: Quilting Treasures.

Kathy Wagner is from Cambridge, Ontario, and she represents the many Canadian readers we have. We’re happy to have you all!

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Kathy Wagner

You’ll hear from Kathy in her own words below.

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I am delighted to show you my second scrap squad quilt called Sea Glass.

 

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My daughter is a diver, so I immediately wanted to try this quilt pattern. These are the watery fabrics from my stash that I started out with. Some pieces are fat quarters, and some are smaller bits left over from other projects.

 

 

 

 

IMG 0315 113x300 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Sea Glass by Kathy

 

 

 

The block construction for this pattern uses a “strip insertion” technique that was fun to sew. I did not precut my strips to insert as the instructions recommended, but I strip pieced them instead. It was fast and worked great. The only problem was when I sewed them too close together and couldn’t separate them without nipping into the block.

 

 

 

 

 

IMG 09521 300x298 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Sea Glass by KathyI decided to add in some photo transfers of my daughter diving. I made the blocks using the same technique as all the other blocks. I had to add some scraps to make the block become the 4.5″ size. I used the pieces trimmed from the sides of the photo to add to the top or bottom as needed.

 

 

 

 

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I also decided to add in a paper pieced stingray block. These are my daughter’s favourite underwater creatures and I found a paper pieced pattern by Quilt Art Designs. It was a challenge to sew, but it looked great in the quilt.

 

 

 

 

 

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The other change I made from the pattern instructions was putting the blocks on point.  As soon as I tried that, the quilt came alive! I put the lighter blocks at the top and the darker blocks at the bottom to make it look the same as the ocean does when you’re diving.

 

 

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These are the 50-weight threads I used for the machine quilting. Because many of the fabrics including the backing are batiks (which have a high thread count) I needed to use a size 100 topstitch needle to prevent skipped stitches. I quilted horizontal wavy lines across the quilt using these blue threads and sometimes added a sand-coloured thread.

 

IMG 0973 300x225 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Sea Glass by Kathy

 

In the larger blue sections I quilted some swirly waves and even tried some “whale tale” designs just for fun. Sometimes they turned out fairly well, and sometimes not! But the quilt is busy enough to hide all those “unique” quilting designs.

 

IMG 0990 283x300 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Sea Glass by KathyHere is the finished quilt!

The binding is also scrappy and uses up some of the leftover scraps. Why buy new fabric for the binding when you can use up scraps?!?

The best part of this quilt is that my daughter loves it!

~Kathy~

Posted in Scrap Squad, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 15 Comments

What Every Quilter Should Know; Giveaway!

Here’s a roundup of some good blog posts containing things every quilter should know. I hope you’ll enjoy them!

P1110660 What Every Quilter Should Know; Giveaway!

What role does value play in our quilts? It’s more important than color! Follow the link to learn more.

Valuable Lessons: What is value and why does it matter?

 

 

label8 What Every Quilter Should Know; Giveaway!

Follow the link and learn to make a quick quilt label.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Make a Quilt Label

 

 

 What Every Quilter Should Know; Giveaway!

Click the ruler for help in understanding stitch length for quilters.

Understanding Stitch Length

 

 

flunkieredo What Every Quilter Should Know; Giveaway!

Tips for improving your stitch & flip technique are here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Improve Your Stitch & Flip (written by someone who flunked this part of quilting!)

 

Did you like these? Did you learn something?

Leave a comment by midnight Monday, May 25 telling me what, and I’ll choose a winner for a package of quilty fun.

 

 

The winner of the “What Every Quilter Should Know; Giveaway” is Marylin Fite. Marylin has been notified by email.

 

Posted in Giveaways & Contests, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 133 Comments

Scrap Quilt Ideas: Emily’s Folk Art 2.0

Quiltmaker’s Scrap Squad is a small select group of readers who make scrap quilts from QM patterns. We share their creations on Quilty Pleasures to inspire you to make scrappy quilts from the quilting fabrics you already own.

QM scrap squadB3 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Emilys Folk Art 2.0Today’s quilt is called Santa Fe. It appears in the May/June issue of Quiltmaker, on newsstands now. It’s available on our website in print or digital versions.

QMMP 150600 SANTA 506flat Scrap Quilt Ideas: Emilys Folk Art 2.0

Santa Fe, Quiltmaker May/June ’15, designed by Janice Averill, made by Hatty Brown. Fabric: Tonga Calypso Batiks from Timeless Treasures.

Santa Fe was designed by Janice Averill and made by Hatty Brown. The original fabrics are Calypso Batiks from Timeless Treasures. The digital pattern for Santa Fe is available, as well as a kit for the quilt shown above.

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Emily Klaczak

Today’s version of the quilt was made by Emily Klaczak from from Pittsburgh. You’ll hear from Emily in her own words below.

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When I first looked at Santa Fe, I saw the classic quilt block pattern Ohio Star. But then I realized that it was constructed from 2-1/2″ squares, half-square triangles, and flip-and-sew rectangles. So I got out my graph paper and drew an Ohio Star block made from a square in a square, four flying geese, and four half-square triangles.

Around that block, I sketched out the original design elements of Santa Fe. When I was finished, I had combined four blocks into one. I decided to eliminate the squares at the tip of the X shapes, but my working design was otherwise identical to the original.

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I colored just enough of the design to be certain my idea would work.

I was afraid that if I used too many colors, the original design would be lost, so I decided to get as scrappy as I could within a limited color palette. I spent an afternoon going through my stash, looking for a ‘focus fabric’ to guide me in color selection. And as much as I resisted it, this is the fabric that I chose:

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Seasons Greetings from 2002!

This had been in my stash for over 15 years, and why it wasn’t donated to a local group that makes charity quilts, I have no idea! I think it was destined to be in one of my quilts, so this long forgotten piece of Christmas Past would be my inspiration. I would use it to choose my colors, and also as the center of the Ohio Stars and the quilt border.

I was glad when the folk art quilt trend passed as I wasn’t a fan of the colorways: browns, dark reds, blues and greens. But after studying the fabric, I saw orange, lighter blues and greens and bright reds, overshadowed by the darker hues. So I decided to let these colors shine.

Thanks to Quilt Calc, I knew how much fabric I would need for each shape, but I didn’t have enough variety in my stash. I needed saturated blues and reds, and patterns that weren’t multicolored or otherwise distracting. I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for in the fat quarter bins at my local quilt store. So I resigned myself to not being as scrappy as I wanted to be, and limited my colors to only one or two shades of each.

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Fabrics from my stash that fit into the color recipe

I had many half-yard pieces of beige and off-white, so why not make the background scrappy?

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Plenty of neutrals in my stash, some of them very, very old!

Following my layout, I cut everything out and sewed the blocks together.

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Oops! Better turn those corner units around before I start sewing it together!

I decided to quilt in sections and then sew them together. It’s so much easier to maneuver a 40″ quilt sandwich through a home sewing machine than a 90″ square.

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Partway there…

I stitched in the ditch to stabilize the piece so I could remove the pins before I started the stippling and feathers. I wasn’t sure how to quilt the blue triangles and red squares so I outlined them with brown thread, creating a faux nine patch. I liked the contrast of the unquilted squares with the more densely quilted areas around them, so I left this area and the green squares unquilted.

The four quilted squares went together quickly, and I did a flip-and-sew border. And here is the finished quilt:

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The finished Santa Fe quilt, held by my husband, whose arms are stretched out as far as possible.

I used a different fabric for each section of the quilt back. And you can more clearly see how I quilted it.

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The back of the quilt shows off the quilting.

This quilt isn’t as scrappy as my last project, but counting the quilt back, I used about 30 different fabrics, while the original version of Santa Fe used only five. In comparison, it is the scrappy version, yes? I liked the effect of  different fabrics in similar colors for the background and I will definitely do this again.

Blue and orange aren’t seen as often as the other complementary pairings of red and green or yellow and purple. But I’ve been seeing denim and chambray blues combined with oranges and rusty browns in the home decorating magazines.

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A wedding reception I went to recently was held in a barn, and featured similar colors to my quilt.

And I went to a wedding last month with a down-on-the-farm theme; the groomsmen wore chambray work shirts and blue jeans, the attendants wore faded-blue dresses and the boutonnieres and bouquets were yellow and orange.

emilywedding Scrap Quilt Ideas: Emilys Folk Art 2.0

Wedding day colors

So I guess that I will call this quilt Folk Art 2.0!

 ~ Emily ~

Posted in Scrap Squad | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

QM Scrap Addicts: Quilts from Bonnie Hunter Blocks

Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville fame writes a regular column for Quiltmaker called Addicted to Scraps. Each column has a pattern for a scrappy quilt block. You can see all of the blocks on the Addicted to Scraps homepage, along with some ideas for scrap quilts.

QMMP ADD SCR 2014 MJ 125 QM Scrap Addicts: Quilts from Bonnie Hunter Blocks   QMMP ADD2SCRP SEPT 125 QM Scrap Addicts: Quilts from Bonnie Hunter Blocks   addctedtoscraps 125 QM Scrap Addicts: Quilts from Bonnie Hunter Blocks   jackinthebox 125 QM Scrap Addicts: Quilts from Bonnie Hunter Blocks   158addictedtoscraps 125 QM Scrap Addicts: Quilts from Bonnie Hunter Blocks

Earlier this year we decided it would be fun to give the quilt block patterns to willing reader-sewers and see what they could come up with. We hand-selected seven enthusiastic people and turned them loose. The finished quilts are starting to come in and I feel certain we chose a group of dynamite ladies!

oDgBimB1bsr1FG6HgjQYhwtEqPG5 yESEGnlAYvDBfI QM Scrap Addicts: Quilts from Bonnie Hunter Blocks

The Addicted to Scraps quilt block pattern in the current issue of Quiltmaker (May/June ’15) is called Idaho Square Dance. It’s a simple little block with a great deal of potential. This is one of the reasons we hoard keep small bits of fabric! The squares are just 1.5″ before they’re sewn in.

Today’s featured quilt is by Doris Rice, also known as The Quilting Queen Online. Doris recently moved from Texas to Illinois. She took this little block and made it her own by using a Western-themed panel and a coordinating border print.

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One of Doris’s Idaho Square Dance quilt blocks

To make it work, she resized the blocks with a 6″ center, shown above and below. She fussy cut the Western motifs.

anotherblock QM Scrap Addicts: Quilts from Bonnie Hunter Blocks

This block says “Texas” to me.

Doris set the blocks side by side in a 3 x 4 arrangement. She added a pieced border (wow!) made from an adaptation of the block, and finished off with a coordinating border print. She kept her palette fairly narrow in shades of blue, red, tan, brown, black, white and gold. There’s a dash of green, too.

Controlling the fabric range helps hold the scrappiness together and keeps it from becoming chaotic. If she’d added hot pink or lime green, can you see how they wouldn’t have worked?

finish1 QM Scrap Addicts: Quilts from Bonnie Hunter Blocks

Doris’s finished “Idaho Square Dance—With a Western Swing” quilt is terrific.

Isn’t this a fabulous finish? Doris quilted horseshoes on the quilt, which will be given to her young grandson Emmett.

quilting QM Scrap Addicts: Quilts from Bonnie Hunter Blocks

The horseshoes in the quilting help to carry out the Western theme.

Doris pieced an equally interesting backing for the quilt. She says she likes it almost as much as the front.

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The back of Doris’s quilt

This is a fine example of a quilter who took a simple block and pursued her ideas to make something unique. My guess is that Doris didn’t have to shop for fabric either. It’s amazing what can happen when we’re willing to dig into our stashes and “shop” for just the right stuff!

On behalf of Quiltmaker, I’d like to thank Doris for a job well done. Please look for Addicted to Scraps blocks in every regular issue, and visit our Addicted to Scraps webpage for scrap quilt inspiration.

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Plan ahead for summer celebrations and make Uncle Sam to dress up your home! Easy pattern goes together in a fireworks flash!

unclesam QM Scrap Addicts: Quilts from Bonnie Hunter Blocks

Uncle Sam quilt pattern from Quiltmaker

 

Posted in Quilty Lifestyle, Scrapbag | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Learning to Quilt on a Longarm

Longarm Quilting: It’s Not for Sissies

That’s my new mantra and boy is it the truth. I rented time on the A-1 longarm at my local quilt shop last week—my first time! Before that, I’d spent only a minute here and there on some longarm machines at quilt shows, but quilting a project from start to finish is another matter entirely.

A1 default Learning to Quilt on a Longarm

I live in a rural area of Nebraska, so it’s about 40 miles to the nearest quilt shop, Calico Cottage in Hastings. Shop owner Sue Brown regularly offers a one-session longarm class with an overview and a lot of valuable information. Once you’ve completed the class, you can schedule time on the machine to quilt your project.

Sue was my teacher and guide for the afternoon—giving me enough detail to feel informed, but not so much that I was overwhelmed.

sissies1 Learning to Quilt on a Longarm

Sue Brown owns Calico Cottage in Hastings, Nebraska.

Not long ago I bought a big stack of solid-colored 16-patch quilt blocks at my guild’s garage sale. I set them together into the top shown below (read The Quilt Blocks that Came Full Circle). This “freebie” seemed like the perfect candidate for my first longarm adventure.

leftovers7 Learning to Quilt on a Longarm

A quilt top in solids that I recently put together from garage sale blocks was the perfect candidate for longarm learning.

I had a pretty good idea that my quilting wouldn’t be spectacular on my first attempt. I’m a reasonably okay quilter on my home sewing machine, but quilting on a longarm is different. I think your domestic machine skills help to a point, but longarming is a whole new ballgame.

sissies2 Learning to Quilt on a Longarm

A busy print on the back of the quilt helps to hide beginner’s blunders.

I chose a length of Valori Wells FreeSpirit floral I had from long ago. Sue aptly noted that its busy-ness made it a good choice, which I had not considered, but what a lucky break.

sissies2b Learning to Quilt on a Longarm

First things first: We loaded the backing, batting and quilt top onto the longarm.

Sue showed me how the backing, batting and quilt top are loaded onto the machine. I had expected this process to be more painful, but it wasn’t a big deal. Working together, we had it ready to go in about 25 minutes. I’m guessing that I slowed her down considerably.

sissies2d Learning to Quilt on a Longarm

The pantograph can be seen under the roll in this photo. It’s the quilting design printed on paper.

Sue starts everyone out with a pantograph. This is a purchased quilt design that comes drawn onto a long sheet of paper. You use a little red laser light and attempt to follow the lines, working across your quilt in a series of passes. I say “attempt to follow” because let me tell you, it’s harder than it looks.

sissies2f Learning to Quilt on a Longarm

Relaxing your arms and shoulders helps, but is easier said than done.

I quickly discovered that you need to relax your arms and shoulders. Easier said than done. Once I began quilting, I was able not to fret about how bad it looked.

sissies4 Learning to Quilt on a Longarm

Some of my first stitches

I’d mentally prepared myself to blunder. And Sue was gracious with encouraging words: “You’re doing great” and “You’re improving!” It might not have been true but I needed to hear it and I was glad she said it.

sissies3 Learning to Quilt on a Longarm

This was not the time to be creative.

I learned that you need to pay attention and really try to stay on the lines. At first I was a little too relaxed, thinking I could be creative. Ahem. Not the time to be creative.

sissies2g Learning to Quilt on a Longarm

Try to stay on the lines but don’t become anxious when you can’t!

On the other hand, you can’t get all worked up when you miss the lines. Sue talked about getting into a rhythm, which I don’t think I found just yet, but I can imagine how much fun it would be! I don’t think worrying will help you find a rhythm.

sissies2c Learning to Quilt on a Longarm

Repeat after me: Find the rhythm, find the rhythm, find the rhythm.

This was interesting: When I’m quilting on my home machine, I’m sometimes afraid to reposition my hands. In my longarm scenario, it was my feet that caused the fear. You have to walk along the machine as you progress down the pantograph. If you don’t move your feet, you’ll fall over!

I was surprised at how tiring the whole process was. Before it was over, I was physically and mentally spent. Not much stamina in the longarm area just yet!

When I compare the first pass…

sissies3 Learning to Quilt on a Longarm

First pass

to the final pass…

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Final pass

Maybe I did improve! My shapes look less like whales than they did at first. Here’s one I’m proud of. It approaches being graceful:

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This one is pretty good!

It was incredibly grand to pull the quilt from the longarm and realize that finished is better than perfect! It took us about two hours, so at $20 an hour, it cost me $40 in machine time. Which to me is an absolute steal because I tried something new, I was stretched and challenged, and I had a great afternoon.

sissies9 Learning to Quilt on a Longarm

Finished is better than perfect!

A few takeaways:

• A good longarm quilter is worth every penny. She has spent years learning to do this well.

• I spend a lot of time on quilt tasks that I’ve mastered. This was a good reminder of how it feels to try something new—something you’re not very good at. It was good exercise for my cognitive muscles, not to mention my hand-eye coordination.

• Remember the old joke, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?”

“Practice, practice, practice.”

I’m signed up to quilt again at the end of the month.

I can hardly wait!

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Learn about longarm quilting with our online course at Craft University: Longarm Fundamentals.

longarmfundamentals Learning to Quilt on a Longarm

Check out our online course with Angela Huffman at Craft University called Longarm Fundamentals.

 

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Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Volume 11 Recap

Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Blog Tour was a great success!

QMMS 150044 cover 5001 Quiltmakers 100 Blocks Volume 11 RecapThanks for joining us on the
100 Blocks Blog Tour!

Thank you all for joining us over the past week to preview the new block and quilt designs featured in Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Volume 11. We hope you found many potential designs that could be incorporated into new quilts, added to WIP’s or that inspire you to try something new.

We would also like to give a BIG thank you to all of the designers who participated in the Volume 11 blog tour for sharing their tips, tricks, design options and quilty inspirations.

QMMS 150044 MCGUIRE Quiltmakers 100 Blocks Volume 11 Recap

Just Go With the Flow, block #1056 designed by Mary McGuire for Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks vol.11.

We need to note a correction from Day 5 of blog tour. Mary McGuire’s name was linked to the wrong blog, therefor you may have missed out on viewing her post. Please stop by Mary’s blog to check out her great work!

Winners from the Monday–Friday giveaways have been notified by email and their names have been posted in the giveaway portions of last week’s blog posts. However we do have one final Blog Tour giveaway here today!

Final Volume 11 Giveaway!

bundle Quiltmakers 100 Blocks Volume 11 Recap

Leave a comment below to enter today’s final giveaway!

This wonderful bundle includes a copy of Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Volume 11, Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Volume 10, pattern books, single patterns, fabrics and notions, all courtesy of the participating Volume 11 designers. The bundle of quilty goodies will come stashed in a fabulous Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Volume 11 tote bag!

To enter today’s giveaway: Please leave a comment below describing your quilting lifestyle in a few sentences by Wednesday May 13th at noon MST. We just want to know how you’d describe yourself as a quilter! The winner will be chosen at random and announced here.

Lillian M. is the winner of the vol.11 Recap Giveaway. The winner has been notified by email.

100 blocks covers400px2 Quiltmakers 100 Blocks Volume 11 Recap

Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks

If you’ve missed out on any previous Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks issues, you can find print and digital versions in our online store! Check out the Quilts from Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks issues for more inspiration on how to make beautiful quilts using the designs from the 100 Blocks series.

We enjoy and look forward to receiving your feedback. Please reach out to us at editor@quiltmaker.com with any comments or suggestions in regard to Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks.

Posted in 100 Blocks, Giveaways & Contests | Tagged , , | 299 Comments

Scrap Quilt Ideas: Under the Northern Lights

Quiltmaker’s Scrap Squad is a small select group of readers who make scrap quilts from QM patterns. We share their creations on Quilty Pleasures to inspire you to make scrappy quilts from the fabrics you already own. Doesn’t that sound like fun?

QM scrap squadB3 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Under the Northern LightsToday’s quilt is from Quiltmaker’s May/June issue, on newsstands now. You can also get it directly from us in print or digital format.

QMMP 150600 cover 500 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Under the Northern Lights

Today’s featured quilt is Chop Suey, designed and made by Scott Flanagan from Fremont, Nebraska. It’s one of three designs by male quilters in this issue. Scott’s quilt, below, is made with Bali Batiks from Hoffman California Fabrics.

QMMP 150600 CHOP 506flat Scrap Quilt Ideas: Under the Northern Lights

Chop Suey, designed and made by Scott Flanagan, Quiltmaker May/June ’15. Fabric: Bali Batiks from Hoffman California Fabrics.

Today’s unique version of Chop Suey is by Keri Blankenship from Cornville, Arizona. We’re happy to have Keri as a member of QM’s 2015 Scrap Squad. Keri was recently featured on the Arizona Quilters Guild Hall of Fame page.

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Keri Blankenship

You’ll hear her quilt story in her own words below.

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It was love at first sight. I knew the perfect fabrics for Chop Suey were sitting in my stash. During my time working in Alaska, I collected at least one fat quarter from every quilt shop I found between there and Arizona, all with a sea-life theme. There were about 20 fat quarters in my stash along with one panel.

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My inspiration panel, “Under the Northern Lights”

My seven-year-old grandson asked me why the panel was on the design wall and what I was going to do with it. I explained that I was trying to decide what would go in my new quilt and this was my inspiration. We looked at the other fat quarters, scraps, and the pattern. He very seriously discussed design options. (His mom and older sisters are paper artists, and design discussions are not new to him.)

He then sat down with 50 colored pencils and some graph paper to show me how he thought it should be made. The next morning, he handed me a drawing with the caveat, “This is how you could do this one, Grandma. But, I really think you need to make a Spider-Man™ quilt next.”

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Conner’s design incorporated into the quilt label

I chose an I Spy quilt approach rather than his whole quilt design. I fussy cut the fat quarters into 5″ squares. The chop sticks were cut from the remaining fat quarter fabrics or the 2 ½” scrap bag. Some of them were also fussy cut.

fatquarterstash Scrap Quilt Ideas: Under the Northern Lights

Alaska and sea-life fat quarter stash

In the original pattern, the blocks are reversed, with the sticks on the right and then on the left of the block. I liked the movement this gave the quilt, but it meant paying close attention to the directional prints during cutting and block construction. I constructed the blocks one at a time using the design wall to keep the correct orientation.

Keri ChopSuey MayJune 2015 21 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Under the Northern Lights

The design wall was key to maintaining the correct orientation.

Once the blocks were complete, I realized that there were no Canadian geese in the quilt. Geese were daily visitors to the wildlife preserve near my apartment in Fairbanks. They needed to be a part of this quilt in order to reflect my Alaska experience. I found the perfect border idea in Nickel Quilts by Pat Speth and Charlene Thode (2002) and used one-seam Flying Geese pieced edge to edge to complete it.

piecedquiltborder Scrap Quilt Ideas: Under the Northern Lights

One-seam dimensional Flying Geese form the third border.

The Geese units are folded to create a dimensional finish. Instructions are widely available online; here are instructions from Piecemakers4life. I used a scant quarter-inch seam to construct the geese. I noticed that some tips were missed when I sewed the blocks end to end. I would suggest a full quarter-inch when piecing these blocks and also applying a line of stay-stitching along the outside edges of the border to prevent stretching during construction.

Keri ChopSuey MayJune 2015 goose 300x210 Scrap Quilt Ideas: Under the Northern Lights

One seam flying geese units give added dimension to the border.

I finished the top with the blue tone-on-tone print. I mitered the corners.

I quilted this one on my own and used invisible thread to grid the quilt and stabilize it for quilting. I then used Atlantis Glitter Hologram Thread from Superior Threads for the quilting. The manufacturer recommends setting the tension at 1.0 with a size 90/14 topstitch needle. I found my machine stitched well with the upper tension at 1.8 and a size 100/16 topstitch needle.

I originally planned a more intricate quilting pattern to reflect the Northern Lights. However, before I could start the detail quilting, Life got in the way. I had an outbreak of shingles which made using the fluff and stuff method of quilting on my home machine a real challenge. I compromised with free-style straight stitching with a walking foot. It still gives the look and glitter of the Lights.

The quilt is finished with a self-turned binding, bringing the backing to the front of the quilt.

rotaryruler Scrap Quilt Ideas: Under the Northern Lights

Measure twice the desired binding width and trim backing and batting to size. Two rulers here help keep it straight.

I trimmed the back and batting to 3″ around the quilt top and then stitched the corners at a 45 degree angle, trimmed and turned. Voilà! A perfect miter.

markingmiter Scrap Quilt Ideas: Under the Northern Lights

Measure half the width and draw a stitch line at a 45 degree angle.

 

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Trim seam and turn.

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Fold in binding and stitch around the quilt.

I love the way this frames the quilt with the red and gold swirl fabric.

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Glitter thread quilting with self binding finishes the quilt.

This quilt is 88″ x 96″, which is technically full size, but it fits nicely on top of a queen size bed.

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Under the Northern Lights on a queen-size bed

I definitely see Chop Suey becoming a go-to pattern. It’s quick and easy to construct with so many easy ways to personalize it. I can’t wait to get going on a baby quilt using this pattern.

My thanks to Conner Blankenship for the design advice…and yes, there is a Spider-Man™ quilt on my to-do list.

Posted in Scrap Squad | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments