Wednesday, October 30, 2013

how to make a zig zag quilt (without piecing triangles!)

There is a long story behind the loss and recovery of this tutorial. I won't share the whole tale here, but let's just say that I'm over the moon thrilled that this tutorial has been recovered and I'm excited to be able to share it with you (again) today.

This was originally posted on the Bee Square Blog on March 23, 2009.

Here's how to make a zig zag quilt without piecing triangles!
First, select your fabrics.

You will need:
-9 quarter yards (not fat quarters) of coordinating print fabric
-1 3/4 yards of solid fabric
-1/2 yard fabric for binding
-3 yards backing fabric
-batting and thread
Cut two strips 3" wide x WOF (width of fabric) from each of the prints.
Cut 18 strips 3" wide x WOF from the background fabric.
Sew each print strip to a solid strip with a 1/4" seam allowance.
Press toward the gray.
Cut into 5.5" squares-you will need 14 blocks for each row.
Each strip will yield 7 blocks.
Layout as shown (except use all 14 blocks-only 12 are shown).
Repeat for the next set of fabrics.
Continue building the rows until all 9 fabrics are arranged.

Now it's time to assemble the quilt top.
Since your quilt squares are set on point, you will be assembling your quilt top on the diagonal.
Join the blocks to make strips, then join the strips together as shown.
Now the quilt top should look like this.

Use a rotary cutter, mat and ruler to cut off the zig zag points....
and your quilt top is finished!
The quilt top should measure approximately 46" x 61".

Baste, quilt, bind and wash.
And you have a finished zig zag quilt!

Monday, October 28, 2013

by request

My son requested a rice bag warmer, so I made one for each of my kids. Two minutes in the microwave and they are nice and toasty. My kids love them! I used up scraps AND an orphan block. Sweet! These are scrap projects #20, #21 and #22.
I was asked to make my Scrap Happy Purse for Quilt Market using Denyse Schmidt's upcoming line Ansonia. I really enjoyed playing with brand spankin' new fabric! I did NOT enjoy hand stitching on those handles. It's worth it in the end, but I always manage to stab myself with a needle way too many times. Ouch.
I had requests to make this sweet and sassy quilt into a pattern. I'm calling it Little Connections. (My husband named it, actually. I may like naming quilts even less than I like sewing on purse handles!) The pattern is available here. I made the first block for a boy version this weekend. If only I had more time to work on that today....
Happy Monday to you!

Friday, October 25, 2013

sweet and sassy finish

Welcome to finish it up Friday!
I have been feeling wiped out this week, so working on a baby quilt was just the ticket. I probably say this every time I make a baby quilt (which isn't very often), but I forget how fun and FAST they are. On Monday I basted. Tuesday morning I quilted. Wednesday I added the binding by machine. Thursday I hand stitched down the binding. Today I get to share my finish! :)
For the backing I used a gray Ta-dot by Michael Miller. I'm still kind of shocked that I used it rather than hoarding it 'til the end of time. (I really love this fabric!)
For quilting, I tried a new-to-me thread this time around. I remember Leah Day recommending Isacord thread, so when I saw it at my local sewing center I knew I had to try it. I must say, I was pleasantly surprised by the thread. I just looked up her recommendations again this morning and she has a great post about it here. She includes reasons why cotton isn't the only way to go. (Yay!) The thread was less than $6 for 1000 meters AND I can buy it locally. Both great things! My husband groaned when I brought home more thread. Someday I will have to show you my collection....but that's a post for another day.
The finished size is 39" x 44". I am thankful to have one more quilt off of WIP pile, which was about to topple over!
Now it's your turn! Please link up your finishes. Thanks for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

alternatives to hibernating

Fall is here and it's definitely quilt weather in Minnesooooota. It's so dreary outside and it makes me want to hibernate! I've resisted so far, but who knows how long that will last. Instead of hibernating...
I've been distributing quilts throughout the house. (Yay!) I so enjoy picking out quilts to go into every room, even though I usually drag my current favorite all over. I am curled up in one almost all the time. Even when I'm sewing! Or blogging. Not cooking, though. :)
I'm enjoying my newly painted quilt ladder. Previously it had an oak finish and I love the aqua upgrade. I give my husband a LOT of credit for not even batting an eye when I painted it. He's quite a guy! (I made sure to let the paint cure for a few weeks before using it for quilt storage. It wasn't easy!)
I have been working on binding this little baby quilt. I love to sit and hand bind. I have this dream of stacking up my quilts from an entire year and having a pile of 20 or so to bind throughout the winter. (What can I say? I'm a little crazy!)

And I have been enjoying watching the change of seasons in my back yard/park....
...all the while trying not to think about how much work it will be to clean up all those leaves! (It's a good thing I have 3 kiddos! Ha!)
Hope you are having a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

scrap management (and some stash additions)

Last week was a crazy one! I started off the week in Iowa, where I taught scrap 2 management classes and did a trunk show at the Old Capital Quilter's Guild. It was great fun! I love meeting quilters. I love helping them use their scraps. More importantly, I love enabling them to keep even smaller scraps. I'm kind of a stinker that way....what can I say?
It's inspiring to see what the students come up with. The transformation of humble piles of scraps to quilt tops never gets old. So many scraps are well on their way to becoming beautiful quilts. Hurray!
On Tuesday I taught at Inspirations in Hills, Iowa. It's a super cute quilt shop that was formerly a general store. It has a great upstairs class room. (I wanted to move in.) The owner and her daughter were so hospitable. Thanks Nancy and Cassie!
The students did a great job of using their scraps here, too! A big thank you to all of the ladies who took my classes. I enjoyed it very much!
Oh! I'd be remiss if I didn't share this fabulous storage idea. One of the students stores her color coded scraps in decorative birdcages. Isn't that fantastic?

Of course I didn't come home empty handed.....
This pile was from Inspirations. I'm pretty sure Riley Blake is going to make me go broke. I can't resist their cuteness!
This pile was from Ben Franklin...if you can believe that. I love blue and green. And gray. SO hard to resist. I usually walk out of a store with a color coordinated pile. Do you do that, too?

So, as nice as it was to be out of the office (ha!) last week, I'm so happy to be home! The sewing machine has been humming this week. That's a very good thing.

Friday, October 18, 2013

a very special finish

Welcome to finish it up Friday!
This week I have a finish to share that was a WIP for who knows how long. Years and years ago, my grandmother bought pillow case tubing. (I'm not sure that's the technical term, but it's a pair of pillow cases that is connected in the middle.) Several years ago my aunt Betty took the pillow cases to Arizona and embroidered them. Aunt Betty's friend crocheted the beautiful edging. A few months ago the pillow cases landed in my hands. All I had to do was to cut the tube into two pieces and hem them up. I finished the ends with French seams and now the pillow cases are complete. (I just did that this morning!) I'm so excited to be the last link-and the recipient-of these very special pillow cases. I'm going to go against all my hoarding tendencies and actually USE them. :)

How about you? Do you have a finish to share? If so, please link up. Thank you, as always, for joining me for finish it up Friday!

Saturday, October 12, 2013


The winner of the Scrap Happy Purse pattern is Heather! Thanks to all of you for commenting. It was fun to read your dream travel destinations!

Friday, October 11, 2013

shady quilt top

Welcome to finish it up Friday!
I'm happy to share my newest quilt top, "shady", with you today. It started with a few leftover blocks from this quilt. (Needless to say, they have been hanging around for awhile.) More recently, I made a few low volume blocks and combined them all to make this quilt top. It was a great exploration in values. I wanted to make it HUGE, because I really love it. I refrained because this will be a class sample, so smaller is better. The blocks are 12" finished and the quilt top is 36" x 48".
I still have plenty of strings left. I organized them into rainbow order last weekend...just for fun. I really, really want to start a new quilt! Color is so inspiring!

Thanks to all of you who purchased my new pattern! I appreciate your support and wonderful feedback.

Also, a big thank you to the Minneapolis Modern Quilt Guild for a fun meeting last night. It was so great to meet so many of you!

Ok, now it's your turn! Please link up your finishes for the week. Thanks for joining me each week. Happy Friday to you!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

scrap happy purse pattern

I'm pleased to announce that my Scrap Happy Purse pattern is officially finished! Woo-hoo! (And boy, do I have the headache to prove it!)
I've been carrying the original purse since May and I have gotten such great feedback on it. I absolutely love the size. It's perfect for everyday use, but it also works well for traveling. An I-pad and a small knitting project fit inside it quite nicely, even with my everyday purse contents.
The original bag uses pre-made handles (which I purchased at my local quilt shop) but there are also instructions in the pattern for making your own. I chose to make sassy pink handles for this version. :)
Have I mentioned that it's a great way to use up scraps? The more, the better!
By the way, this is scrap project #19/101. (Yay!)
The purse finishes at 9" wide x 11" tall x 5" deep.
The PDF pattern is available for purchase here.
If you would like to win a copy of the pattern, please leave me a comment on this post. In your comment I'd love to hear where your dream vacation destination is. I'll pick a winner on Saturday.

Monday, October 07, 2013

sweet and sassy

Over the past few days I've been working on this baby quilt top. I needed a quick little sewing project for sanity sake. (Have you ever been there?) I used pieces and parts from an abandon project, then I pulled pieces of stash for the rest. I've been stuck in my scrap vortex and it felt REALLY good to cut into some new stuff! The top measures about 38" x 44".

Funny that I would make a baby girl quilt when there are a few boy quilts I need to make. So typical.

Happy Monday to you!

Friday, October 04, 2013

a complete set

Welcome to finish it up Friday!
Once again the deadline of this link up party has pushed me toward a finish. This week I made 3 more storage boxes: brown, purple and white. I am so excited to have a complete set! (The pattern can be found in Sunday Morning Quilts.) There are a whole lot of scraps in those baskets! The new boxes will count as scrap projects #16, 17 and 18. I'm almost at 20% of my goal of 101....with no scrap shortage in sight! I swear that they multiply at night and in dark corners. :)

The winner of the book First Steps to Free Motion Quilting is Patti! Please email me, Patti, and we will get your prize to you. Thanks to all of you who entered the giveaway!

If you have a finish to share this week, please link up. Thanks for joining me each week! Happy Friday to you!

Thursday, October 03, 2013

kind of random Thursday

Next Thursday, October 10, I will be presenting a trunk show to the Minneapolis Modern Quilt Guild. The meeting will be held at the Textile Center in Minneapolis at 7pm. You do not need to be a member to attend. If you live in the area I hope you to see you there! I will be sharing a little about my quilting journey, a little about book writing and showing lots of scrap quilts. It should be a FUN night!
Remember this pillow I made for a friend? Well, I actually sent it out to her. Finally! (Why is getting to the post office so very difficult?) Since it's been hanging around here, I thought that the least I could do was take a proper photo with a pillow form and all. :)
This friend of mine is pregnant, so I wanted to include something for her baby boy. She's a classy lady, so I tried really hard to make something that would fit her aesthetic. (I LOVE these!!!) I used the very first tutorial that I ever wrote, with several minor changes. (oh my, it's a little embarrassing looking back that far into the archives.)

See, I'm trying something new...sewing for others. Ha! I need to do it more often, especially since I've been acquiring fabric and an extremely rapid pace.
You see, I have developed a bad habit of making a stop at a fabric store on my way to the grocery store each week. It makes errand day much more tolerable, but good grief, that is mighty dangerous! I could justify it 9 different ways, but you all know how it goes, right?

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

first steps to free-motion quilting

Today I'm happy to be a stop on Christina's blog tour for her new book First Steps To Free Motion Quilting. When I teach FMQ classes, I refer to Christina's blog as a resource. Now I'm thrilled to be able to recommend a full book written by her on the subject! This isn't just a book for beginners, though. No matter how long you have been free motion quilting, there is always more to learn. I personally love the reassurance that she gives that it doesn't have to be perfect! I can always, always use that reminder.

In this book Christina covers the necessities, the basics, tips and techniques, LOTS of quilting designs (about 23 pages, with multiple designs per page) and 24 fun projects to quilt up. There is also a comprehensive section on troubleshooting. It's nice to have a list to run through when you are ready to throw in the towel or pull out your hair. :)

The strip quilt pictured above is one of the projects in the book and I have added it to my to-do list. Each strip is quilted in a different design. SO many fun possibilities and such a great way to try/practice new designs.
There are several smaller projects in the book, too, and I was immediately drawn to the loopy bucket. Linen plus scraps? Sign me up! It was a fun and quick sew....easy to start and finish in one afternoon. LOVE that! (I am also pleased to be able to count this as scrappy project 15/101.)
I re-discovered how FUN it is to quilt on linen! I've used this loopy design on a few quilts in the past and it's a favorite.

I also wanted to challenge myself a little bit, so I picked out this design from the book and gave it a shot.
Here's my trial piece on muslin. Not too bad for a first try! Not exactly the same, but it doesn't have to be. I'm excited to try more. It's good to branch out!
So, there's just a peek at the book. Christina did a great job on it! Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour to see what they have to say about the book, too.

9/25: Allison Rosen at Stash Books Blog 
9/26: Jessica Alexandrakis at Life Under Quilts 
9/27: Monica Solorio-Snow at Happy Zombie 
9/28: Susan Beal at West Coast Crafty 
9/29: Kathy Mack at Pink Chalk Studio 
9/30: Angela Walters at Quilting is my Therapy 
10/1: Amanda Jean Nyberg at Crazy Mom Quilts 
10/2: Megan Dye at Megs Monkey Beans
10/3: Victoria Findlay Wolfe at Victoria Findlay Wolfe Quilts 
10/4: Katie Pedersen at Sew Katie Did 
10/5: Christina Cameli at A Few Scraps

If you would like to win a copy of the book, compliments of Stash Books, please leave a comment on this post. In your comment I'd love to hear your thoughts on FMQ. Do you love it? Hate it? Have you made great strides in this area? Please, only one comment per person. A US winner will have the choice of either an e-book or a hard copy. An international winner will receive an e-book. I will pick a name randomly on Friday, October 4th.