Sunday, May 3, 2015

My Starburst Quilt - A Fun Pattern to Make!

In April I attended Sewtopia in Chicago. It was great! One of the activities was the Michael Miller Fabric challenge.  I couldn't wait to cut into this fun fabric to make my Starburst quilt. I used the fat quarters and added some Michael Miller white solid and a package of Cotton Couture solids 5" squares.

If you follow my blog you know I love precuts and I like to take a conventional block or pattern and make it with precuts.  Sometimes that means "unconventional" block sizes and sewing seam sizes.   Since I usually make my Starburst using jelly rolls, I went ahead and cut my fat quarters into 2 1/2" strips. The blocks I made called for several half square triangles.  After some research I found a way to make 2.5" half square triangles using 2 1/2" strips.

To do this I cut rectangles from the fabric strip into 3 1/4" in lengths and pair them with a solid fabric the same size.  Using the 45 degree line on my ruler I placed the 45 degree line along the bottom of the rectangle and slid it until a drawn line went from the upper left corner to the bottom of the rectangle.  

I then slid the ruler further along the fabric until it was at the end of the fabric.  Keeping the 45 degree line along the bottom of the strip I drew a second line.

I sewed along the lines and cut between them.  Voila! 2.5" half square triangles were born!

For each block I cut 8 white 2.5" squares, 8 fabric 2.5 x 3.25" rectangles to pair with the white 3.25" rectangles, 17 fabric 2.5" squares  and 8 fabric 2.5" squares from a different strip (These 8 squares are the center squares and should be a different colorway.)  

Here is my Starburst block, ready to be sewn, row by row.

I sewed pieces from row A to row B, row C to row D. Then I sewed rows C and D to row E.  I pressed my seams to one side so they would nest when sewing rows together.  I like a flat block and sometimes I press seams open.  However, when sewing this block it was easier to press the seams to one side when piecing the final block.

Voila - here's what you end up with.  I love this quilt pattern.  I like to use circular quilting, following the edge of my walking foot.

 If you make one please share your photo - I'd love to see your quilt top!

How do you use your precuts? What’s your favorite precut?

I hope you’re inspired today!  

Follow me on Instagram - julieqquilts  - there you'll see lots of photos of my contemporary quilting adventures!

Friday, January 2, 2015

“You made that with a layer cake???”

I Love Layer Cakes!

“Dwell”by Camille Roskelley, using Sandy Gervais’ Soho Chic

All my quilting friends know I love a good layer cake.  There’s so much you can do with a layer cake. Why do we buy precuts? If you’re like me you probably like the fact that you have the entire fabric collection.

When you see a pattern that you like take a few minutes to read the fabric requirements and see if you can substitute a precut collection for the yardage.  It works! I’ve become quite adept at converting pattern yardage into a layer cake when ever I can. 

Camille Roskelley’s Dwell quilt, from her book Simply Retro, is one recent example.  I love Camille’s book and after I picked up Sandy Gervais’ Soho Chic layer cake last year I knew Dwell would be the perfect quilt to use this layer cake fabric.  It took a little bit of tinkering to make it work. I didn't have enough of some squares to follow the directions calling for houses with a matching roof and walls. So I used a coordinating roof fabric to the walls and you know what? It looks fine! I really like how this quilt top turned out.

When you think about using a layer cake, think out of the box.  There are lots of different ways you can use your precuts.

How do you use your precuts? What’s your favorite precut?

I hope you’re inspired today!  

Follow me on Instagram - julieqquilts  - there you'll see lots of photos of my contemporary quilting adventures!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Quick and Easy Wine Coasters

These wine coasters are the perfect Christmas, birthday or house warming gift for family and friends. And of course it never hurts to include a nice bottle of wine too! These coasters are also a great way to use your fabric scraps, left over charm squares and layer cake squares.

To make each coaster you'll need five 5" squares of coordinating fabrics.  I use the same fabric for the top four squares and a coordinating fabric for the bottom square. 

To begin, press each of the four top squares in half, creating a 2 1/2" x 5" rectangle.  Draw a circle on the wrong side of your bottom square. I use a 4 1/2" inch diameter circle.

Next, place your four top rectangles on top of your backing square following the photos here:

Turn down rectangle #1 to place the left half of rectangle #4 beneath it.

Pin at each fold, you'll only need 4 pins.  Sew around, following your drawn line on the backing square.  Remember, slow and steady wins the race when sewing these circles.  Take your time and your circles will be fine. I used my walking foot to keep the layers from shifting as I sewed. Some sewing machine companies make a circular embroidery attachment which will move the fabric around in a perfect circle. 

When you're finished trim as close to the stitching as you can, being careful to not cut the stitches. 

Clip around the circle. If you have pinking shears these will also work and will save you from clipping around the edge of each coaster.

Turn your coaster inside out, use a stylus to gently shape and push out the outer curve of each coaster and voila! You're done!


If you make a set of wine coasters please tag me, @julieqquilts, on Instagram so I can see what you've made. Follow me on Instagram - julieqquilts - there you'll see lots of photos of my quilting adventures.

I hope you're inspired today!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Who Starts A Christmas Quilt in November?!?

I do! I can't wrap my head around making Christmas quilts in July. I just can't.  I can make a Christmas quilt in November...with Christmas music playing and freezing temperatures outside. Yes, I am inspired!

I saw a picture of a quilt block and I decided to de-construct it.  Of course, I could have looked the block up online, found it in a book, the usual ways to choose and construct quilt blocks. But when you're procrastinating it's kind of fun of do it the hard way. After some trial and error constructing test blocks out of scraps, I was able to construct the quilt block using a layer cake and some additional fabric.

It started out as a lap quilt but after seeing 9 blocks on my design wall I decided to go the table runner route.  I'm still working on it but here's what I've done so far.

I'm using Deb Strain's "Christmas Countdown" layer cake. You know how I love my precuts, especially layer cakes and I wanted to use this particular one this year.  I picked several medium and darks, a few lights, and stayed away from the greens because the background is green. In hindsight I wish I'd used more of the cremes and stayed away from the black tone fabric. Oh well, you know what they say about hindsight...

Such a pretty fabric line!
Here is the first section of the block. Add 3 more and you have the complete block.

From the layer cake square cut it into 4 5" squares (you can also use charm packs.)

Cut each square on the diagonal and you'll end up with 8 triangles from the layer cake 10" square or 2 triangles from a charm square.
Be sure to have a wide variety in color and tone.
From your back ground fabric cut 5" squares and subcut diagonally to make the triangles. For each block section sew one background triangle to one layer cake triangle. You'll need 4 of these units for each block.

Next, choose 4 more triangles (make sure none of your layer cake fabrics match, keep it scrappy!) From your background fabric cut four 2 1/4" x 7" rectangles. You'll sew one rectangle to each triangle and end up with this:

Squaring up each section is really important.  If you square your blocks properly you'll have perfect points in the finished block. Make sure your layer cake triangle, sewn to the background triangle, is what you use to center your block. I centered my blocks so they were 6" which translates to 5 1/2" finished. 

Sew each of the 4 sections together and press your seams open at each step so your blocks lie flat.

As I made each block I put it on my design wall. However, when I had the 9 blocks on my design wall I thought the finished quilt looked too "muddy." My fault, I should have used lighter layer cake pieces, eliminating the blacks.  So, I decided to make 2 table runners - one with 4 squares and one with 5. Here's the one I'm quilting today, with 4 blocks and a skinny border that will measure 1 1/2" finished. I used left over layercake squares to make the backing.

 I'll post more photos in a few days after I've finished the first runner. Our little peanut comes home from college today for Thanksgiving break and the big kids come home on Wednesday so I won't get much sewing done. And I'm happy about that - I love having my kids back home!

I hope you're inspired today!

Follow me on Instagram - julieqquilts - there you'll see lots of photos of my quilting adventures.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

More Mini Quilts!

I have been in a mini quilt mood the past few weeks and I've made several. Most of them are sent to my dd who lives and works in Philly and she decorates her office with them.

Last week I made Julie Herman's Mini Tiny Dancer. I used Kona's charm pack of Sunset Colorstory and Kona white.  Of course I used Julie's mini hex-n-more to cut the pieces...such a cute little ruler! And tiny next to my little desk top scrap can.

I thought I was finished but there was just something about this quilt that I couldn't quite put my finger on. I really liked it when it was up on my design wall, before I sandwiched it and added the binding. What I realized is that what I liked was the way the blocks floated off the edge of the quilt before I bound it. So, I ripped off the binding and decided to make a false backing to give the top a look that wouldn't have any binding to frame it.  I liked the results!

After I sewed the false back I had to cut a couple of slits to pull the front through. So, now there was a big hole. I thought what the heck, put in some stuffing and see how it looks as a pillow!

 You know what? I like it! So much so that I'm planning on making another with one more long row so the pillow will be a little more square. 

Have you ever changed a quilt from a flat top to a pillow? 

I hope you're inspired today!

Follow me on Instagram - julieqquilts - there you'll see lots of photos of my quilting adventures.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Using A Charm Pack to Make the Pinwheel Baby Quilt

I had so much fun making this cute baby quilt! I used a charm pack of V&Co.'s Color Me Happy, paired with Kona's white. I found this cute pattern at the Moda Bake Shop. This quilt was designed by Jodi of Jodi's directions were simple to follow and I made the quilt in about one day. Prairie points were new to me.  They're more work than I thought they were going to be but they really made this quilt sparkle. 

Have you read Moda's Bake Shop blog?  It's great!  Lots of cute quilts and a really good source for precuts, if you're into that like I am! Check out Moda's Bake Shop.  I think you'll find lots of goodies there.

I hope you're inspired today!

Follow me on Instagram - julieqquilts - there you'll see lots of photos of my quilting adventures.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Am I A Modern Quilter???

We moved at the end of this summer. No big deal, we've moved 9 times in the 28 years we've been married. However, for the first time in 27 years, it was just my husband and I. We're empty nesters! And this is the first time in a long time that I am going to have to get out and make friends on my own...weird, right? We took our "baby" to college a week before we moved so there went one sure fire way to make new friends. Making friends through my children's school was always easy. I'd volunteer and get to know the other parents. As my kids grew older I went back to work and that was another great way to meet and make new friends. 

Now, for the first time in a long time, I have to get out there on my own. Scary...and I'm not kidding. So, to dip my toe in the waters of finding friends, I decided to join the local modern quilt guild. I already belong to the national MQG, as an individual, and I wanted to get to know some local quilters. I have already made a friend, yay! But attending my first guild meeting was an eye opener.  

I'm not sure I am a "modern" quilter. The more I follow modern quilters the more I think I don't fit the profile mainly because I don't like negative space. And you all know there is a log of negative space in modern quilts.

What I do think I am is a "contemporary" quilter. I am a fan of solids and traditional blocks with a new spin. And I love all the one block quilts so many of today's designers are making. 
For instance, I am a huge fan of the quilts Lee Heinrich designs. Many of Lee's quilts are based on traditional blocks which she transforms into exciting quilts featuring fresh and bold new settings.  For modern quilters, as well as traditional quilters, Lee does a great job honoring traditional quilt blocks while celebrating today's quilt design with a fresh new perspective. Check out her patterns and her book, Vintage Quilt Revival, on her blog, Freshly Pieced.

I'm looking forward to the next modern quilt guild meeting because it's a nice group of people who have a lot of great ideas about quilting.  But I won't push myself to add more negative space in my quilts, or more curves, or use only solids.  I'll keep on doing what I like best because that's what makes me happy and that's what's most important!

Any whoo - here's what I've been working on. It's gong to be a pillow cover. Right now it's sitting until I figure out what I want to quilt in the borders. 

I hope you're inspired today!
Follow me on Instagram - julieqquilts - there you'll see lots of photos of my quilting adventures!