Monday, June 22, 2015

It's Summer! - Free Pattern

It's officially summer!  And to celebrate the season, I'm sharing a pattern for a quick little framed quilt AND my favorite pie recipe.  It's a twofer (and by the way, I looked it up: "twofer" is actually a word!).

Remember my " Think Spring" quilt:

Well it's obviously time to put it away, but I think my kitchen windowsill would look pretty naked without a framed quilt on it now, so I decided to make a summer version:

Once again, the quilt fits into a 5" x 7" frame and the unfinished quilt top dimensions are 7½" x 9½"- seems a little big for a 5" x 7" frame, but the extra size is to help you wrap the quilt around the frame's glass insert.

To make your own little quilt, you'll need:

Border (stripe) print:  10" x 10" - cut (2) - 2" x 4½" and (2) - 2" x 9½"

Muslin (I used a primitive muslin):  10" x 10" - cut (1) 3" x 6½" and (24) - 1¼" x 1¼" squares to cover the muslin sections of the star blocks

Red and blue prints:  1¼" x 6½" strip of each of four prints

Batting: 9" x 11"

Also needed:
Washout or disappearing marking pen, spray basting adhesive, blue embroidery floss, metallic gray floss (I used DMC's E317), black embroidery floss, and a 5" x 7" frame

To make the star blocks:

I chose to paper piece the 1½" x 1½" star blocks.  When I'm working on a miniature scale, I find paper piecing to be easier and more accurate.  The star block has three units, but if you make sure to follow the printed numbering (ie. start with A1, B1, and C1 for each unit), the units nest together nicely.

Print out or copy four sets of foundation patterns (find the template here) and make sure that each little unit measures ½" x 1½" from solid line to solid line -- 1" x 2" from outer dotted line to outer dotted line.  Make four blocks.  Note:  when stitching units A, B, and C together for each block, press the seams open -- to do this, you'll want to remove the paper from behind the star blocks before pressing.

Once again, here's a link to a great Fons and Porter paper piecing tutorial if you need a little brushing up on how to paper piece.

To assemble the quilt top:

After making the four star blocks, stitch them together horizontally and press the seams open.  Then stitch the muslin 3" x 6½" to the top of the row of stars and press towards the muslin 3" x 6½".  Stitch a striped 2" x 4½" to either side of the center unit, pressing towards the stripe.  Finally, stitch a striped 2" x 9½" to the top and bottom of the center unit, pressing towards the stripe.  Press the finished quilt top well.

To finish the quilt top:

Referring to my framed quilt and using a washout or disappearing pen, trace the "Summertime," dragonfly, and dragonfly trail onto the quilt top.  Then lightly spray basting adhesive to the 9" x 11" piece of batting and smooth the quilt top over it, right side up.  I embroidered with the batting in place to give the stitching some dimension and to keep the floss ends from showing through the quilt.  Note:  if you decide to use a vanishing ink pen, just remember that the summer humidity may cause the ink to disappear quickly so you may want to embroider the quilt immediately after marking it and in one sitting.

FYI, the above embroidery template should measure 2½" x 6" (find the template here).  Use two strands of floss and a back stitch for the lettering.  The dot above the "i" is a french knot.  I used one strand of black floss and a running stitch for the dragonfly's trail, two strands of black floss and a back stitch for his body, and two strands of metallic floss and a lazy daisy stitch for his wings.  Here's a close-up of the dragonfly to help you out:

To insert the quilt into the frame:

After you finish embroidering, trim the batting even with the edges of your quilt.  Remove the contents of the frame.  Center the glass behind your quilt top and wrap the edges of the quilt around it.  Reinsert the glass and quilt into the frame, fold down the quilt's corners and put the back of the frame in place, taping if necessary to keep it closed.  Done!

I chose to make my quilt using a patriotic color palette, but I've been thinking that it would also be really cute in beachy colors with a weathered white frame:

Your choice!

And now for the pie recipe:  it's a Strawberry-Rhubarb-Raspberry pie that I found in an old issue of "O" magazine and it is amazing!!  I love traditional strawberry-rhubarb pie, but the addition of the raspberries really elevates this pie to an entirely different level.  I made this one yesterday and, despite wanting to consume it entirely by myself, I served it to my family with vanilla ice cream.  Bliss.

Summer quilts, summer pies!  Don't you just love summer!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Christmas Baubles Quilt

What a gorgeous day here in New Hampshire!  It's so sunny and blissfully warm that Christmas seems a long way off, but I suppose it's never too early to at least start thinking about your Christmas quilting projects.

If you're looking for a fun and easy project (or an excuse to buy some Christmas fabrics!), try my Christmas Baubles quilt!  It's my latest recipe for the Moda Bake Shop and the free tutorial is featured at the Bake Shop today.

I have to say, I really love this sweet little project!  The combination of miniature Christmas ornament blocks and Kate Spain's colorful and cheerful "Jingle" fabrics just makes me happy.

Christmas Baubles is a very easy project.  It's perfect for a beginner and definitely doable in a weekend.  To make the quilt, you'll only need a single mini charm pack of Christmas fabric -- and Moda has some really gorgeous Christmas fabrics coming out this summer -- 2/3 yard of a background fabric, a scrap of gray fabric, and a yard of backing/binding fabric.  Once you have all of your ornament blocks made, the quilt comes together very quickly.  

I wanted this project to be fast and something that any quilter could finish at home, from soup to nuts, so I decided to try to quilt it on my regular old sewing machine.  I used a ruler and a vanishing marking pen to mark a tree shape that outlines the ornament blocks.  After stitching the tree, I then marked and stitched vertical lines in the background of the quilt.  The quilting went pretty quickly and I couldn't be happier with the results!  Just don't forget to be sure that the marking pen you choose comes out of your background fabric before you mark your quilt!!

So there you have it, a little taste of Christmas in June.  I hope Christmas Baubles fills you with inspiration, not anxiety.  And just in case you're wondering, there are 196 days until Christmas.  Plenty of time!!