Saturday, December 4, 2010


Let's talk Trees...

And yes my soul is fed by needle and thread, and I am sure that is for most of you here today!~
 Hi, I'm Molly from Molly's Place.  I'm here, once again, to try to help you Manicure your stash.  I come here regularly to get inspiration from all of you and this is just a little "pay back". 
It just so happens that I have had a little FREE Block of the Month going on over at my place the past year called "TREE TIME".  I started it not only to bring interest to my blog, but to challenge myself.  My goal was to learn new hand embroidery stitches and to make sure that the blocks were simple enough for everyone to do--even beginners.  In the beginning, I did not plan to use wool, but as my blocks evolved, I decided to do just that.

Sew!  This is an idea, not only to manicure your fabric stash, but also your thread stash.  Embroidery thread!  You don't have any?  Seriously?  Then this might also serve as a challenge then.  A challenge to make a small purchase (did someone say small purchase???).  This is only for one reason!  To help you Manicure your stash of fabric!  (Sure, you say).  Wool is also an avenue that some of you may not have tried.  The greatest thing about wool is that the edges don't fray.  Great stitching fun!  You can buy wool garments at flee markets or garage sales or use your own used garments by washing them in hot water to condense the fibers.  Then add them to your stash and use them in my blocks.  Living in Texas, we don't have many wool garments, but those of you who live in the north--well you just might ship me some of your remnants!  LOL

In the beginning, I intended for all the trees of  "Tree Time" to be generic trees, not associated with any month or time of year.  I had so many comments encouraging me to add "stuff" to them that I did just that many  months and then encouraged my followers to "make the blocks their own" by leaving off or adding to their own liking.  We can all be designers, right?  Maybe we just need a little head start.  One of the things I learned in this project is that the end result of my design was never what was intended in the beginning.  It would evolve and I was generally most surprised at what it turned out to be. 
Because it is the season, I am showing you the trees that I think most fits in as a Christmas Tree.  Actually it is the March block.
 This is another version of the same design used a different background and different decorations--buttons instead of stitched berries and ribbons.
Another thing I started out doing was using buttons and stars on every tree.  That did not ring true as the year past.  Seems EVERY tree did not need or want a button and a star.

Here are several more of my Tree Time blocks.

As you can see, the blocks are very diverse and can be used not only together, but separately or singly.  I can see them used in row by row quilts, stitched in scenic quilts, or as a quilt depicting the months of the year.  A few additions or depletion's, here and there and you will have a completely original design.


FYI--I plan to begin a Texas Boot Boogie Block of the Month in January.  I hope you will visit Molly's Place now to see the other Tree Time Blocks and also don't forget to take a look at the boot block in 2011.  What did you say?  You want a little preview?  OK--here ya go!

Also, as a little bonus for visiting Stash Manicure and commenting on my post (in advance) here is a bonus Tree Time pattern that I did not use.  It has potential.  I never chose which stitches I would use, but there are a multitude that would work great.

 I have tips and tricks and many links on my blog for stitch tutorial sites and even tried my hand at a tutorial myself!  It is really pitiful, but hey, don't laugh until YOU try it.  I can't stitch and hold the camera at the same time very well---LOL
Happy Holiday and don't let the holidays get in the way of your stitches!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Let's Talk Binding

Hi quilters!  I'm Sandie from crazy'boutquilts and my blog name pretty much tells you all you need to know about me. lol  :-) I made my first quilt 20+ years ago, then sewed mostly clothing while our children were growing up. I got back into quilting approx 8 years ago and haven't looked back. I love quilts! And anything to do with them.;-)  My original  goal was a quilt for every bed, now I'm working on another round. ;-)

I have been binding things like 'crazy' lately and thought you might like to see how I sew my bindings. I know there are a number of ways to do this, but I like to try to do my best all the way to that last stitch, and I think I've hit upon a few tips for you. You've probably seen the little tutorials in magazines for binding and how they fold and tuck the ends together. If you've tried it, you may have been as unimpressed as I was... I did not like the ensuing bump or lump in my binding!  I like it when no one can tell where the binding was joined from where the fabric strips were joined. ;-)

I cut all my bindings, (no matter what I'm binding) the same width, so I can keep the scraps for a future project. When I have enough scrap strips~ or close to enough, I sew them together. Maybe you have a favorite width you cut yours~ please tell me! I'm always curious. :-)  I sew the strips together on the diagonal. Trim off the little triangles. And press the seams open.  I usually make my stitch length smaller for this part.

Strips sewn together
and pressed open
Then I press the strips in half and sew them to my top. ( I baste a little less than a quarter of an inch all the way around my top, so I don't have to worry about creating any puckers with the back.)  I always pin the end and start sewing a quarter inch seam about 6 to 8 inches from that end.  If your machine has a 'needle down' setting, it works great here. Stop sewing 1/4 inch from the end, and sew diagonally thru the corner... I hope you can see that!

sewing the diagonal helps when stitching the binding down
Then lift your needle and presser foot and take the quilt out far enough that you can fold the end of the binding straight up.  Fold it back down so the fold is even with the end of the quilt and start sewing right from the edge. Continue sewing until you get close to your pinned end and stop.  You want to have enough room to work so stopping 4 to 6 inches from that pin works out great.

and it helps when folding up and back ;-)
start again on the edge
Now take your top to your table and smooth the bindings out flat. Make sure you have 2 tails each about 4 or more inches long and over lap them. (I didn't realize this would be so hard to explain!)  Cut the excess so that the overlap is as long as what your binding width is. I cut my binding at 2.25 inches, so you can see my overlap is 2.25 inches.

the overlap
Fold the left side up from the quilt and open it with the right side down. Open the right side binding and place it under the left side with right sides together and on the diagonal.... here is where a photo helps a lot! ;-)

pin the direction you will stitch
Sew the diagonal just like you did when you joined the strips. Trim it out leaving a quarter inch seam allowance and finger press it open. Fold your binding back in half and finish attaching it to your quilt. :-)

I finger press, but you could press it with your iron too
finish stitching down
I usually leave a half inch or more of the batting and backing until I've attached my binding, then I trim it back.  And one more little trick~ to get nice smooth corners when you are sewing down the binding, trim out as much as you can without cutting your binding or quilt. I cut the corner diagonally, and then trim from the sides too.
the polka dot fabric is not attached, I just slipped it behind so you could see the corner better

another finished scrappy binding :-)

I hope I've helped you to get lump-free bindings. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask!
Good luck and happy quilting! :-)  I appreciate the time you took to be with me, and thanks Stash Manicure, I enjoyed sharing with you.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Scrappy Stocking Tutorial, pssst and a little extra stuffing...

Hi everyone! I'm Vicki from Sew Inspired and I'm so happy to be posting here at Stash Manicure again. Today I'm sharing my Scrappy Stocking Tutorial.
I decided to make this type of stocking when I was making my Wreath of Doves quilt, back when my oldest son was a baby. I’ve since used the same pattern to make similar stockings for my other two kids, and last year I took photos of the process as I made my daughter’s stocking. Here’s the tutorial!

Materials needed:
Scraps of red, green, and white or off-white fabrics
Piece of batting 10"x17"
Muslin 20"x17"
Red fabric for stocking back 10"x17"
Fabric for stocking loop and binding 2.5"x24" or so

You can download the (hand drawn, low-tech) pattern I made for this stocking here
1/4" seam allowances are included on all pattern pieces. You will need to tape the top and bottom pieces of the stocking body pattern together. 

Gather up your scraps of the colors you’d like to use for your stocking. I used red for the main part of the stocking, green for the heel and toe, and off white for the mock cuff. You might want to cut your larger scraps--the largest scraps I used in this stocking were about 4.5" square and others were smaller. 
Start sewing red scraps into pairs (use 1/4" seam allowances). Match up a couple scraps that are similar sizes, and sew them together. After you’ve sewn a few pairs together, press them, lay them out, and sew the pairs to each other or to another scrap.
Continue until you have a piece of red scrap fabric big enough for your main stocking pattern piece.
Like this... let's see if it's big enough...
It is! Here is the pattern piece laid over the pieced together red scrappy fabric:
Using the same technique, make a piece of green scrap fabric big enough for the heel and toe pattern pieces.
And finally, make an off-white scrap piece big enough for your cuff section:
Next, cut out all the stocking pieces
and sew them together with ¼” seams (the little “super patchworky” section in the middle of the heel and toe is left over from my oldest son’s stocking and the dove quilt....)
Press your seams!
Now you need to layer and baste your stocking front for quilting. I used plain muslin for the backing, and basted with pins.
Quilt it:
And then trim your batting and backing to the edge of the stocking front fabric.
For the back of the stocking, I chose to use a double layer of fabric, not quilted. Use the quilted stocking front as a pattern and cut out your stocking back (make sure you put the front and back right sides together when you cut!) and a muslin layer for the back lining.

To assemble the stocking, place and then pin the layers in the following order: muslin back lining, stocking back right side up, quilted stocking front right side down.
Sew the stocking together, using a ¼” seam allowance and sewing through all 3 layers (the quilted front, and both back layers). Backstitch at the beginning and ending of your seam. 

Zigzag your edges and clip the inner curve above the stocking toe (cut a few clips in the curved area by cutting through the seam allowance almost to the stitch line, being careful to NOT clip through your seam!)  

Make a little stocking loop from a strip of fabric, about 5” long and 2” wide. Fold it in half lengthwise and press, and then fold both long edges into the center fold and press again. Stitch down the open edge and then sew the strip into a loop.  
You could also use a ribbon or piece of ric rac. Baste the loop, pointing down, to the top edge of the inside of the stocking above the heel. The binding will cover the raw edges of the loop.

To finish the stocking, bind the top edge of the stocking the way you would bind a quilt. Here is my tutorial on binding, or you can use another technique if you want.
Final step: Hang by the chimney with care!
Thanks again, Madame Samm, for giving me the opportunity to share this tutorial with Stash Manicure readers! I would love to see pictures if anyone out there decides to make a stocking like this!

WINNER OF this Pattern and stamps...from Eat Cake graphics, Thanks to Holly for the generous offering...

 I contacted winner, ...but still has not confirmed please connect with me asap!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Where do I Begin?

Yes,  I am Jantine from the Netherlands again. I know, it has been a while.
I have been a member for quite a while and honestly, I really don't have a clue what to tell you about. I feel like I have told everything in my previous posts. Let me first tell you I do have my own web log called Urban Style, which is both in Dutch and English.
I think I will just tell you a little about having to move my sewing room since it will be my youngest sons bedroom. So I will get his room, which has less square meters, but I think about the same amount of wall meters. Which is very good as I have a lot of stuff ;-). I haven't braved to take a centimeter and check. Imagine it is less... What will I do? Leave some stuff behind in Davids room? Mmm, I might with one or two big boxes with polar fleece and stuff like that, but for the rest... Better just take it with me!
So the last weeks found me sewing and cutting to reorganize a lot of stuff. I made about 5 draw string bags with all the strips I have in boxes... I wrote about those here. I can tell there is not much red or blue left, time for another color theme...
Bonnies mysterie
So I started with Bonnies mystery Roll roll, cotton boll, to get rid of a lot of my DH shirts, mainly light blue, which I will use instead of neutrals.
In between those projects I sewed a few more blocks for my leader-ender quilt.
leader/ender project
I found a few projects that were in several boxes and put them together. I started cutting into my flannel for a rag time quilt and in the mean time I am cutting all my scraps into manageable sizes like 3,5, 2,5, 2, 1,5 and 1 inch strips and squares. For about the last three or four projects I just put all my left overs in a box, so there is a lot to sort. I already folded all the FQ´s and bigger pieces.
log cabins made from 1 inch strips

Yep you read it right,1 inch, since I am still sewing log cabins with those! I think I showed them before, but I can´t find the post back so soon, it was about chain piecing log cabins. I already have about 140 blocks finished now, but I think I will be needing about 400.
Just now I am gone again, organizing my scraps and catch some sleep!

Thanks for inviting me back Madame Samm and to all those who are here today, thanks for your comments, I always like to read what you liked.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Time to celebrate our December Banner quilters...Work with me..2 posts in one we have a guest blogger tomorrow...

If this Banner does not have you seeking a mistletoe
to kiss all of these very creative quilters
then YOU are just not ready for the 
But I am , sew here you go, Wendy, Michelle,
Ariane, Carla and Elizabeth...Here are your stories...
Warmest Congrats and thank you for inspiring me
and assisting me in creating a beautiful December Banner!

To all those who entered their Quilts, I kiss you too..
It is always a challenge for me to blend all of them together,
I could have made dozens of banners to highlight you all.
Sew thank you, you all sew INSPIRE me. 

Think BLUE for January wink!

Let's begin ....
Top Left corner belongs to Wendy.
Upon seeing her quilt...oh do go to all of their blogs
to view them in all of its entirety 
I was captured by the authenticity of her design!

Last Christmas my youngest daughter was 9 months old.  She was born premature and with health problems.  I had health problems leftover from a challenging pregnancy.  Without a doubt, it had been the toughest year of my life, but things were starting to look up, and I wanted a project that really celebrated my sweet family.  This quilt will always remind me of the huge blessing of us all being together (and happy and healthy) at Christmastime.  I made a square for each of us:  a mama elf, Santa, and two little girl elves.  Last year this quilt hung from our mantle during Christmastime, and I am thrilled to see it out again this year.  And I am equally thrilled to share it with Stash Manicure!

You can see the rest of it, here. Thanks for included me and my happy quilt Madame Samm. What JOY!

And then came Michelle knocking on my door
with this lovely Christmas Wreath
top center..

Originally, I made this wreath for my secret Santa - before I knew who it was.  I was anxious to get the ball rolling, even though it was October.  LOL!   During the process, my little man made comments about how pretty it looked & when would we be able to hang it up...yikes!  I'm going to have to make another one.  But as luck would have it, after I found out who my secret Santa gift did not fit her taste.  So now it is hanging up in our home...another treasure added to our mountain of Christmas decor! (smile)
( Madame samm's comment...who the heck would not have been over the top 
excited by this?...I would have treasured it But that is me lol.)

Now Top right is  Ariane
with her delightful Santa Runner..
I heart  this!

Wow, thank you so much for choosing my little Christmas table runner. This is my original design. I call it "Santa's coming". I used by Go! cutter to make it. I really had fun with it and quilted a unique design on it too. This was my first time doing the little swirls, that is noted on his beard and hat. This is just a fun Christmas runner you can all make. I posted a tutorial on my blog for this. You don't need a Go! to make it. You can just make a template. Not only that, but it is all made from your stash too. 
Love to see you!
Visit me here for the Tutorial. Love to see you!~

Bottom Left belongs to Carla...
for her very festive quilt, just love the border too..

For several years, I really had a thing for joining Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt projects on her website, Quiltville. After each one, I would tell myself, "That's it. No more. There are too many small pieces." Then, Bonnie would introduce another and I'd be hooked right away, searching though my stash for just the right fabrics to create another quilt of mysterious design. This  quilt is the fourth and final project that I made with Bonnie and her quilt- alongs. It is also my favorite of the four.  Using one white background fabric with all of the scraps, I think is what makes it shine for me.  I also took my color selections from an Alexander Henry fabric that I'd found on clearance, fallen in love with and used as the backing.  The traditional Christmas color scheme of red and green was joined by a more modern pink, lime and greyish blue. I'd probably have never dreamed up that combination on my own, but I love it! When I look at this quilt, it reminds me of the enjoyment I've had quilting with others in a virtual reality. I'm also pretty proud of the fact that I finished up this project which contains tons of 1 inch squares! If you would like to see more pictures of this quilt, take a look at my original blog post.  So excited to have been chosen, Thanks Madame Samm, a lovely surprise!

And bottom right is Elizabeth's quilt...
Kate Spains, 12 days such a good choice
in design and placement!

Oh goodness me, how pleased I was when Madame Samm sent me an email with a list of the winners. She showed us a preview of the design. WOW!. I was chosen. I am so thankful. This quilt is a gift for my sister-in-law's family this year, and was a lot of fun to put together.  When I first saw Kate Spain's 12 Days of Christmas line, I knew I had to have it.  I wound up snapping up a few charm packs of it, and I stumbled upon Thimbleblossoms' Wild Thing pattern and it just felt like serendipity.  A super fun, whimsical pattern to go with a beautifully whimsical fabric line.  I'm really pleased with how this quilt turned out and I'm hoping my sister-in-law will love it just as much as I do!

Here's where it originally appeared on my blog -

Again thank you were a JOY to highlight....
You will have the chance to win this
on the 1st of January.
Another sweet treat from
One of you will win this delightful BLUE  collection...

p.s comments still apply....yes maammmmmmm !