Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Winter Blues were stitched away!

I was beginning to think I would "bearly" make the deadline for this sweet opportunity to post here at Stash Manicure. I had a plan to "stitch the winter blues away" but sometimes the "best laid plans" just do not work out like you think they will. That's when friends become really important, like my blogging buddies and, like my faithful bear buddy, Minnie. She was sure I could get this project done and kept watch over it as I worked. She has claimed it for her own now that it's finished and has asked me "why would you use this as a table runner when it makes such a nice quilt for me?" I'm always willing to share so I'll let Minnie use it when it's not on the table. :-)

And because I love to share, I'm going to show you all how you can make one of these table runners from your own stash! Perhaps I should introduce myself.......my name is Sandi and you may be familiar with my blog A*Legacy*of*Stitches. If you recognise me, you may have seen this runner in a simplified version on my blog as the SewManyPossiblitiesTableRunner. It's a quick and easy project that can use "orphan" blocks and scraps or you could always buy some fabric for a truly coordinated look!!

For this tutorial, I began with a pile of mostly blue and white snowflake/snowman themed fabrics. I keep them in a fabric covered box with a lid. I have this thing about "color-coding". The navy fabric with snowflakes that you see in the background is what the box is covered in and so when I want my snow-themed fabrics, I just grab that box. Same for Valentine fabrics which are in a box covered with heart print fabric, St. Pat's in green and so on.

From the fabrics you see in the photo above, I chose several that were in the same blue color way. Isn't amazing how there can be so many "color-ways" in fabrics? Blue is blue until you are looking for just a certain blue and then you find you have almost none of it in your stash. This usually means a trip to the fabric store.............but not for this project. I was determined to make it only from fabrics I had in my sewing room stash!

Here are the requirements for this project.....

1/2 yard fabric that will be your borders and the backing fabric plus miscellaneous fabric scraps for the center block and side panels. Left-over bits from charm packs and jelly rolls work well for this project. Left-over 12-1/2" blocks can also be used for the center of this table runner!

Coordinating thread
Batting 17" x 30" - This can be scraps left over from a larger project and any batting will work. I personally like either Warm and Natural or Quilter's Dream Poly for table runners.

Rotary cutter, mat, and ruler.
and your Sewing Machine!

Once you have selected your fabrics, you can begin to cut. Feel free to change your mind and switch fabrics if needed. I did!

I had always liked the blue and white glittery plaid that you see on the left, so I chose it for my borders. I liked the fat quarter that had those big snowflakes on it but had never found a project that could use them. I found a few other snowflake prints and I was ready to go.

Cut the following pieces:

For the center block, cut four 6-1/2" white squares and sixteen 2" squares of blue fabric.
Cut sixteen 2" x 5" strips in assorted fabrics for your side panels.
Cut the following strips from the fabric that will be used for borders.
Cut 4 strips that measure 2-1/2" x 12-1/2"
Cut 2 strips that measure 2-1/2" x 29-1/2"
Note: at this time, you may also cut your backing piece which will measure 16-1/2" x 29-1/2"

Step 1. Sew the 2" blue squares to the corner of each 6-1/2" white square. Look closely at the photo and you will see that you sew across the square so that a corner triangle is formed.

Step 2. Fold blue fabric back to corner to create a "Snowball" block. Press.

Step 3. Place your four blocks together and make sure your corner triangles will match up fairly closely. :-)

Step 4. Sew the two top "Snowball" blocks together, then sew the two bottom "Snowball" blocks together. Seams on this project are 1/4". Press the seam open on each of these sections. Then sew top section to bottom section and again, press seams open.

The photo above shows how the seams look when pressed open. This makes for nicer quilting when the project is finished. I generally press seams open on small projects as they lay flatter and quilt so much easier this way.

Step 5. Lay out the side strips in a design that pleases you. I had originally chosen to alternate four fabrics, but found I needed another lighter fabric. Sew the strips together into two strips with eight 2 x 5" strips in each side panel. Press seams open on these strips, too.

Step 6. Your center block and side panel strips are complete. It's time to add the borders/sashing. Lay out the pieces and make sure you like the placement of all your fabrics.

Step 7. Pin a 2 x 12-1/2" strip to each side of your center square. Then stitch in place. Remove pins and press. At this point, I now press the seam away from the center block.

Step 8. Pin side panels to the strip that you just stitched to the center square. Stitch and press. Then pin remaining 2 x 12-1/2" strips to edge of side panels. Stitch and press.

Step 9. All that remains to create the table runner top is to add the top and bottom borders/sashing. Pin and stitch the top strip in place. Then pin and stitch the bottom strip. Press and your top is complete.

Step 10. Place the pressed table runner quilt top on your batting. My preferred method is to use Quilt Basting Spray so that my top does not move around when quilting.

If you double-click and enlarge this photo, I believe you can see that I also stitched around the edge of the quilt top. In this case it is so that I will stitch along the same line in this plaid fabric. At this point, I'll share that as much as I loved that fabric, it was awful to work with. It was not "on the straight-of-grain" and I had a hard time getting pieces that aren't skewed. I thought I had all straight pieces and had cut two diagonally and two horizontally when cutting the 2 x 12-1/2" strips. Then I discovered that the plaid squares aren't quite square so I had to use a piece that is skewed on the right side border.

Pinning and sewing on the straight line as much as possible helped this project come out a little better than it was looking mid-way through the stitching process.

Step 11. I used white muslin for the backing. I wanted to use blue fabric, but there was no length of the "right blue" in my stash so I opted for white. Sometimes I sew pieces together to create a backing but I wanted a solid backing for this piece. Place the backing fabric over the top of your finished table runner top. Pin and then stitch around almost the entire perimeter of the table runner, leaving a 6" opening on one side. I like to leave my openings on the bottom edge of any project.

Step 12. With the table runner pieces sewn together, it's time to turn the table runner "inside-out" or is it "outside-in"? :-) Anyway, you know what I mean. I use my Purple Thang, a little tool that I bought several years ago and am so glad that I did! If you do not have one, check your local quilt shop and see if they carry them. It's a great little tool!

Step 13. When the table runner is completely turned out, press carefully and then slipstitch the opening closed.

Step 14. Time for a little quilting. You can do this by hand or machine. I like these extra long pins when I'm quilting small projects. They make the piece lie flat which makes stitching easy.

You can see in the photo on the right, that I am "stitching-in-the-ditch". I chose to do that on the side panels because I really liked the fabrics and wasn't sure I wanted them covered by lots of stitching. In the photo below, you can see that I "stitched-in-the-ditch" around the center square and then I stitched just inside the edge on each of the "Snowball" blocks. It's all done but I may go back and add some hand-quilting in a silvery thread. I'm thinking some curly-Q stitches over the side panels and maybe some snowflakes in the "Snowball" blocks.

I'm going to leave it just as it is right now, because my "winter blues" have been stitched away and because Minnie says she's ready for a nap and wants to use it. I can let her borrow it for a bit because she was so thoughtful to never say a word when I got upset over that skewed plaid fabric. LOL!

Minnie has a special story to her origins........she is hand-made but I don't know her maker. I found her in a trash can at the apartment complex where my mother used to live. Someone was cleaning a unit and had tossed out lots of things. When I went out to empty the trash for my mom and lifted the lid, there sat this gorgeous bear. I brought her in the house and showed my mom, then promptly gave her a bath although she wasn't dirty at all. I added that blue bow because it's my mother's favorite color. Minnie got her name from my Dad. It was his nickname because he was called "Skinny Minny". :-) If it weren't for my mother and dad, I wouldn't be stitching today. Thanks to both of them! And thanks to Madame Samm for letting me share my stitching fun with all of you! Now go grab some fabrics from your stash and stitch up a little table runner for you or a friend. Enjoy!!

Sandi at A Legacy of Stitches

Monday, January 3, 2011

Winner Announced for Nan's travelling stash

OHHH look Ariane....
it is you....

Ariane, Thanks so much for being a follower of Stash Manicure and for reading my post and playing along - I'm sure I speak for Madame Samm when I say we BOTH appreciate you!

Now, get me your address and watch your mailbox!  And remember, you must send off YOUR unwanted stash items within a week - with instructions on how to keep the traveling stash going and going and going!!! 

Happy New Year!!


Once upon a time, in a land far to the North, a caveman husband and his wife had the following conversation:

Him:  Whatcha making?

Her:  A new quilt.

Him:  Looks like a lot of little bits of nothing, will you be done soon?

Her:  Nope, just got started and it will take me a while - like a year or so.

Him:  If you want a new blanket why don't you just go and buy one?!?

Her:  It's not a blanket it's a quilt.

Him:  Same difference. (And he begins to look around...)  Wow, you've certainly amassed a lot of cloth!

Her:  It's called fabric and never you mind about it.

Him:  What's in those drawers?!?

Her:  That's my stash.

Him:  What's stash?

Her:  Why are you in here?  Don't you have a lawn to mow?  Are you trying to irritate me?  Is homicide legal??  This is my space, you're in it, move on out!  Out I tell you!  OUT!  OUT!  OUT! 
You can take the man out of the cave but you can't take the cave out of the man...am I right or am I right?  Allow me to reintroduce myself, I'm Nan from Pots and Pins, a bit neurotic, often times hysterical, as in crazy, and definitely happy to be back as your manicurist du jour!  I kind of feel like Norm on Cheers when he walks into the bar...very at home here because you all speak my language.  Quilt speak.  A language my mister seems to be incapable of understanding, even after thirty years of intensive training!  But it's not his fault, as the only living-breathing-Neanderthal on the planet today, his brain is just not equipped for quilting terminology...as he still can't grasp the concept that a quilt is NOT the same thing as a blanket! 

But I'm not here today to talk about the mister, as entertaining as he is, I have something very important to discuss...this being a new month and a new year - it's time to resolve to de-clutter, organize and manicure the stash...because if not now, then when?!?  I'm going to show you my stash...yes, I 'm getting personal,  I'm going to take you into the bowels of my home and show you my new and improved stash!!!  I'm not proud of this but I had to PAY someone to organize my stash for me!  I hired a high-school girl ($12 an hour and it was the BEST $60 I EVER spent!) to sort and fold and line it all up into drawers, each one holding a different color.  My stash was out of control - in fact, my entire sewing room was a disaster - and I was overwhelmed with how to deal with it!  I'd tried numerous ways over the years but I swear it began breeding at night and in the morning there would just be piles and piles of STUFF!

I realized my system was not working; I could never find what I was looking for! I am a visual person so I have to SEE my fabric and after visiting many a sewing room, trying to decide how to make mine into my "dream room," I realized that what I needed, short of a lobotomy, was a "drawer system" - it was the perfect solution for my feeble mind.  My fabric is sorted by color and it "stands on end" so I can see all of my fabric at once!  Two drawers hold projects or groups of fabrics that are going to be used together and one drawer holds just Halloween fabric and another holds just Christmas fabric.  My sewing room is in an upstairs bedroom  - it used to be in our unheated, unfinished garage so this space feels luxurious to me! I removed the closet doors and that's where my fabric drawers are, in the closet area. 

I purchased my drawers from The Container Store and they were a cinch to put together!  The system I bought came with a top shelf, which gives me a counter to set the drawers on or layout fabric - I almost feel like I'm in a fabric shop!  I'm telling you, I do a little happy dance every time I reach for fabric - I'm SEW grateful to have a system that works for me!  Now, my system may not work for you - I know someone who has over 200 Mason Jars in her workroom, each one containing bits and pieces, buttons and thread and some with novelty fabric, all carefully arranged around the room.  This same person has fabric stuffed into open shelving that just screams HOARDER!  But it works for her and she creates the most wonderful quilts!  Those Mason Jars would drive me to drink (it would be a short trip!) but having a de-cluttered, neat-as-a-pin room would have the Mason Jar gal searching for a tail-pipe to suck on! 

Here's a shot of the other side of my sewing room - or, as I like to call it, The Nerve Center.  It's where I keep my patterns and books - and I don't keep a lot of them on hand as you can see.  I used to have dozens and dozens of books and then I realized I am NOT a librarian, nor did I want to be, although I do have a librarian action figure!  I love looking through books for inspiration but now I buy or borrow, read and return or donate - it works for me.

I have a proposition for you...I'd like to propose a Traveling Stash.  And I'm going to start it.  Here's how it will work:  I will go through my stash and take out those fabrics I know I'll never use, buttons that were a total waste of money, trim that is SEW-last year, and I'll stuff it all into a LARGE FLAT-RATE USPS box.  I will pick a name (using Random Generator) from the comments left on this post on Tuesday, January 4th after 6:00 PM PST, and I'll send the box to that person.  So if you want to play along, make sure you leave me a comment with your email address so I can contact you to get your snail mail address if you win!

The winner of the Traveling Stash box will then have the opportunity to go through my unwanted stash, keep what she wants, then stuff the box with whatever she wants to get rid of.  (Of course I will include some WANTED items as well!)  She will then send it on to a quilting friend.  The box must be out of her possession within ONE WEEK.  You all know nothing good comes without a price...and the price to ship a large, flat rate box is $13.00.  IF you do not want to pay to ship the Traveling Stash, do not enter.  This is strictly voluntary!  Just think, though, of all the stuff you can rid yourself of for only $13.00!  That's a small price to pay for more space for new fabric!  So if you're game, leave me a comment today!  And how fun would it be to get another quilter's unwanted fabric for your stash?!?  I personally would love it as the grass is always greener!  Wouldn't it be great to keep the Traveling Stash going and going and going?!?  It will be just like the Traveling Pants, except that we don't have to try to SQUEEZE into THEM!  C'mon, it will be fun!  Think of it this way...instead of having to go on a New Year's Diet, like we do EVERY YEAR, you can shed your stash of at LEAST 5 pounds and in my book, if my stash is lighter by 5 pounds then I am, too!

Happy New Year, Happy New Manicure to you All!  Thanks to Madame Samm for another (long-winded)  visit at Stash Manicure!  And don't forget to come and visit me at Pots and Pins, I'm always cooking  trouble something up!

xoxo, Nan

Saturday, January 1, 2011

OUR January 2011 Banner Winners....are anything but BLUE! lol

For our Banner Winners, yours to add to your blogs
and for the rest of us some snowballs for those
who forgot what they look like
( snow-less in wine country Canada)

Sew We Quilt @ Stash Manicure
is off to a wonderful start.
It gives me great pleasure to introduce
our Banner Winners for January 2011.

Behind the Seams..

But before I do that, I want to convey my appreciation
for the over 812 quilt photos that were sent to me.
You have no idea how difficult it is to not include you all. lol
Seriously...there is always one I choose that I blend the others with,
sew I put them all in a file, with no names. I have no idea
who they belong to until I have completed the design.
Then and only then do  I search through another file to locate
the quilters..No easy task. It often takes me at least one full week
to accomplish this. By the third week of each month, I have already
made my selections...HINT for February with RED, please
send them to me as soon as possible...

Their stories..
Ok, now to tell you about our Banner Winners.
I have asked them all to tell the story of their quilt.
Makes for a very interesting read...sew please let's welcome
them all and share in their joy...

From top left we have Pauline, you may know her as Quilt Queen.

I'm thrilled and honored to have my 'Snowman' quilt showcased 
 on the January banner for Sew We Quilt @ S.M.
There are not enough thank you's to express my gratitude.

....the beginnings of this quilt started about 18 months ago.... 
for years I would always knit or crochet in the car
when travelling the 4+ hours back to Canada to visit the grandkids and family. 
One day I decided to trace the snowmen and reindeer blocks
from the 'Bird Brain Designs pattern 'Snowmen and Reindeer'
 and try embroidery during my travels. 
I finished the first 12....then a second 12 blocks....then a third set of 12. 
One of my favorite, quick and easy patterns is 'The Yellow Brick Road' by Terry Atkinson
 and I decided to use it instead of the layout for the Bird Brain Design quilt. 
I followed the directions for the lap size;
 place one embroidered block in each of the eight rows....
and voila...a new look for the "Yellow Brick Road' pattern. 
 I loved the look sEw much, I'm still embroidering more blocks
.....there are no idle hands,
....I now have quilts waiting to be gifted
....and you just never know when I'll give away 8 more blocks
to a lucky follower to get creative....
Come for a visit as I'd love to read your comments
they always make me smile:).
Our Middle Banner Winner is 
AnneMarie from Gen X Quilters.

A big Thank You to Madame Samm for featuring this Snowflake
 Quilt that I call "Baby It's Cold Outside"!  What an honor!
I love RED.  I naturally gravitate to warm and rich colors.  And unless I am making a baby quilt for a boy, I don't choose to work with blues.  So making this snowflake quilt was a challenge to work out of my comfort zone.  Here I discovered what fun it is to make your own charm packs!  The sky is the limit!  This quilt is a new wall hanging in my home.  Every year, when taking down my Christmas decorations in January, I feel a bit blue.  The house looks so empty...  I decided to make this quilt to go up at exactly this time, to add some energy and vibrant color!  Now this quilt can shout "Brrr!  Baby it's Cold Outside!" and as long as I have my cup of hot chocolate, I can enjoy the pristine snow from my front window.  :)
Stop by my blog Gen X Quilters to see the full post on this quilt!  

Our top right Banner Winner is Melissa.
She has been on our banner before, and again
I had no idea until I completed it...
It wasn't like I could redo it all..right? 
it fit in perfectly.
( we may exclude her future quilts, what do you think? lol)

This quilt turned out to be an amazing source of solace for me.  I designed this quilt and a similar one in pink when I found out I was pregnant and was hoping to have twins, a boy and a girl.  I know most people think that is crazy but being a twin myself, I know how awesome it is!  However, things didn't quite turnout as planned.  You can read more about the story here.  please link here for more   A month later I started designing for the Moda Bake Shop and this design began to take shape once again.  This time, for everyone out in quilting blog land.  And lucky you, it was just released at the Moda Bake Shop 3 days ago!!  So if you love this quilt design just head on over to Moda link now..  for a super beginner friendly step by step tutorial.  
Sincerely Melissa.

Our bottom left Banner Winner is Susan
from PatchworknPlay

 I have been a sewer for many years and made my first quilt for my son in 1983.  In recent years I have enjoyed stretching my sewing skills by trying new techniques.  And this is how this Mariner's Compass block came about.  It is foundation pieced and one of nine blocks I set myself to make during 2010.  I worked on about one a month and really enjoyed making them.  I have gone on to foundation piece other blocks with, I hope, many more to come.  It is indeed an honor to be included in the Sew We Quilt/ Stash Manicure January banner!"

Here is the link to the blog post

What a wonderful way this will be to celebrate a new year.  As I said it is indeed an honor to be included in the January banner!  I am so excited to share it with my friends.
Thank you so much for choosing me to be included!
kind regards

 And our Bottom Right Banner Winner
is Frances, you may know her as our Quiet Quilter

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!

I am sew tickled pink (oops, blue) that  my blue/white quilt was chosen to be part of Janurary’s banner.  It is the symbol of how far I have come in quilting since 2006 (whole quilts only). 
 I had barely worked with Half Square Triangles and needed more practice.  I liked this design and block at Marcia’s Quilter’s Cache, and it had only two colors so I could concentrate on the blocks themselves.
 It became my learning quilt.  HSTs and their points, how to put together a top, pressing, matching corners, contending with bulky seams (where I still need help), keeping the different components of a project together, hand quilting on both sides of ditch, and how to blog about it ,,,, it taught me all these things.
I worked on this from March 2010 until I completed it late November, 2010.
  Just in time to share it with you.

Madam Samm---here is the link showing my finished quilt. 

Just loved sharing my story with you

Thank you Ladies...I have to tell you, 
you have all put new meaning 
into January BLUES...

Winner of Tote will be announced later today...
 WINNER is # 116 DAWN
( no blog but I know you check daily, sew
please connect with me..you won
this beautiful summer tote
filled with Ginger Blossoms!)

 All those who comment  today 
with a note they would like to be a 
GUEST blogger 
( even those who do not have a blog)
( must be a follower though)

WILL be eligible to WIN.
 this fat quarter bundle...
and in Blue...

WINNER IS #171 Vicki
congrats, please connect with me...
I believe you are the Vicki who has just joined..
sew Wow!. you won this bundle...
I'm just saying...
Tote and all 19 fat quarters....
from Michael Miller!
( love ya)

and a FAT Quarter Bundle to  
Another with a  Confirmed date 
as a Guest...( I will give you dates
not to worry, they won't be till March..
as we are already booked for Jan, Feb, a bit of March
and some in April. But heh, I like to plan ahead...
way ahead..) 

49 of you yesterday who said you would like
to be a guest are also included in this giveaway
and I will be connecting with you all next week..

I 'am just feeling it...aren't you? 
What a way to start our year..