Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Wormy Love: Patchwork and Embroidered Pillow Tutorial

Hi there!  I'm so happy to be here at Sew We Quilt/Stash Manicure for the very first time!  I'm AnneMarie of Gen X Quilters and I've worked up a little pillow to add to the cute love and romance of Valentine's Day...

I did mention I love RED??  The brilliance and energy of reds call to me every time.  So the pinks and reds of Valentine's Day are right up my alley.  And guess what?  I just so happened to have this charm pack (Flirtations by Sandy Gervais) in my stash from a couple years ago.  It makes up into such a cute little pillow to throw out during the month of February.

There is some simple patchwork to do before adding the PiZazZ.....  and the pizazz is a little embroidery!  This is a fun trend I've really gotten into lately.  I received the book Doodle Stitching for Christmas.  It's made me get out my pen and paper to do some drawing again.  What fun!  Sometimes the actual sewing part is so soothing to just sit down on the couch in the evening and hand stitch a little embroidery.  If you haven't tried it, give it shot!  It's sooooo relaxing...

Wormy Love Embroidered Pillow

1 charm pack
1 8.5" x 8.5" square of coordinating solid (I used Kona Pale Flesh)
3 coordinating embroidery floss (brown, red, pink)


Pillow Top
1.  Select 16 charms to be part of the pillow top.  I pulled out 4 of those 16 on the left, all of them light in value.  These 'light' charms will be used to flank the cornerstones.

2.  Cut your fabrics as follows:
            -solid should be cut to 8.5" x 8.5".
            -each of the 4 light charm squares should be cut into 2 -  1.75" x 3.25" strips (8 total)
            -the remaining 12 charms should be cut into 3.25" x 3.25" squares

3.  Arrange your cut squares and strips as shown below to make a frame around the solid 8.5" square.  I used the darkest charms as the cornerstones, the light 1.75" x 3.25" strips flanking either side of the cornerstones, and then the medium valued charms in the middle.  But you can lay them out however you like!

4.  Sew the 4 strips used in the top row together and press.  Repeat for the bottom row.  Then sew the left and right columns together and press (the cornerstones are included in the side columns).  Use a 1/4" seam allowance for all seams.

5.  Next sew the top row to one side of the 8.5" square.  Sew the bottom row to the opposing side of the 8.5" square.  Again, use 1/4" seams throughout and press seams toward the border.

6.  To finish the pillow top, first sew the left side strip to the left side of the 8.5" square.  Sew the right side strip to the opposing side of the 8.5" square.  Use 1/4" seams throughout and press toward the border.  There we go! 

7.  Now you are ready to embroider!  You may print off the embroidery pattern here.

 I trimmed the 8.5" x 11" sheet of paper down to an 8.5" square to help me center the design on the solid square in the middle of the pillow top.

8.  There are several ways to transfer the designs to the fabric.  I use an iron-on transfer pencil to trace the design on the wrong side of the paper.  It helps to hold the sheet of paper up to the window when tracing.

9.  Next center the sheet of paper with the design tracing side down onto the right side of the fabric.  Apply a warm iron.

10.  Remove the paper and make sure the design has transferred in all places.  Repeat the ironing step if needed.

11.  Use the picture below as a color reference for your embroidery.   This design is very simple and I only used the back stitch and the french knot.

Pillow Back
12.  Select another 9 charm squares for the pillow back.  The back of the pillow will be one large 9-patch block.  Lay them out in a color arrangement you like.

13.  Using 1/4" seam allowance, sew three horizontal rows of squares. Press seams towards the darker fabric. Join the rows to finish the pillow back.

14.  The pillow back may be slightly larger than the top.  Trim the excess from all sides of the pillow back if needed.  Make sure to keep the 9-patch centered by trimming equivalent amounts from all sides.  My 1/4" seams always turn up a little short, so I didn't need to do any trimming. 

Place the pillow top on top of the pillow back right sides together.  Pin on all sides.  Sew 1/4" around all sides leaving a 3" gap at the bottom for turning.

15.  Turn the pillow right sides out and stuff.  Close the 3" opening using a hidden stitch.  Ta-dah!  All done!

Wormy Love Pillow Back

Wormy Love Pillow Front

13.5" square pillow

Thanks so much for having me Madame Samm and I'd love to see it if you decide to make this little pillow!  Stay warm!

**A Question showing up in the comments below asks what kind of iron-on pencil I use...  I use a Dritz iron-on pencil from Joann's.  I have not tried any of the markers...  I would definitely suggest a test piece to make sure the markings will come out or fade before using on the real thing.  Hope this helps!**

Monday, January 17, 2011

Meet Annie, a postcard ARTiste( she says she's not..U B the judge lol)

Hello fellow stashers. My name is Ann and everyone calls me Annie and I love to sew. I'm very honored to be invited here today. I must admit that I have blog-fright, having never ever blogged before. Madame Samm promised it would be painless, simple and fun. So, here goes.

My fabric postcards seem to have caught Madame Samm's attention and I hope you will enjoy them as well. Maybe you'll start creating original keepsake greetings from your scrap stash too.

I have always been intrigued with mail art. What has ever been more fun than to find a fun piece of mail amongst the bills in the mailbox? I'm no artist, but creating a small 4X6 piece of fabric art actually seemed possible to me. I found a tutorial on fabric postcards and the wheels of ideas began turning. I wasn't very happy with my first efforts based on the best tutorial I found, so I set them aside for a year. A year! The idea of them kept eating at me all the while.

Fabric Postcard

Determined to come up with a process to create the cards and make them mailable I went back to work on them keeping what worked, discarding what didn't. I finally settled happily with materials that keep them easy to make, with a cleanly finished edge and sturdy enough to withstand the United States Postal Service. My very first mailed cards reached their destinations in tact and unharmed.

Fabric Postcard

Although I started out with fabric fronts and backs, I wanted to write messages on the cards easily and I wanted to know for sure the postage stamp would stay put during it's travels. So, the backs of my cards are paper. I made a template for the backs and I just run off copies through my printer and cut them to size.

Fabric postcard backs

Materials I use are fabric scraps (sometimes I have to go out and "buy" some new scraps...don't try to tell me you haven't had to do that), and I like to use InnerFuse between the front and back for stiffness. I like the clean finished edge so I bind the edges. Most tutorials show satin stitched edges. I like how the binding frames the little works of art.

Christmas Fabric Postcard

I find inspiration for my postcards in all the normal places: magazines, books, patterns, greeting cards, gift wrap, etc.

Fabric eeek! Postcard

And some maybe not-so-normal places like from rubber stamps and fabric that can be fussy cut and one of my favorites, old family photos.

Birthday Fabric Postcard

Merry Christmas Fabric Postcard

Hello - Old Photo Fabric Postcard

Since the blank canvas area is only 4" X 6", I look at bigger inspirations and think about it in smaller portions and partial sections.

Brrr ~ Fabric Postcard

And finally, holidays and major events are always inspiration in themselves.

Cheers! Fabric Postcard

We spend so much money on paper greeting cards and later stress out over the guilt of throwing it away! Or just tucking it into a drawer, never to be seen again. Postcards can be made from fabric scraps and mailed for the price of a first class postage stamp. (some cards require an additional 20cent non-machining fee). But where can you buy and mail such an awesome greeting for 64cents? Fabric postcards are a novel, fresh idea greeting for your recipients. They not only want to keep it, but it becomes a fresh new decor item for everyday or holidays, depending on the design idea you created.

Love Fabric Postcard

I've enjoyed sharing my fabric postcards here today. I hope I've inspired some of you to give them a try. Thanks to Madame Samm and Stash Manicure and happy stitching everyone!

Hugs ~ Fabric Postcard


YOU can reach Ann here
This is her Flicker account where you can keep an eye on her lol

( editors note....Ann, does not even have a blog
I found her in my group of Mug Rug Swaps, and invited
her to just send me an email with all her posting and photo
link to her flicker, and I would look after posting everything for her..
Sew for all of you who do not have a BLOG but would love
to be a guest and you have words and photos..well 
come forward, there is a lot of talent out there that needs
to be shared..Thanks to Annie for trusting my guide) 
YOU  my dear are a terrific guest blogger..
Love to have you back...

And ps...it looks like she will be back and with a Tutorial..

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Friday, January 14, 2011

How to bust your stash while traveling?

Hello fellow Stash busters!  This is SewCalGal.

I've enjoyed being a follower of  Stash Manicure and hearing insights by Madame Samm, as well as a variety of guest bloggers.  Thus, when Samm mentioned she was looking for guest bloggers I decided to give it a try.  I've actually never been a guest blogger before, so I hope I won't bore you. 

I compiled a list of things I wanted to share, but decided to focus on one that deals with a way to reduce your stash while you are traveling.  This works on long trips, short trips, and many other times too.  You just need to realize that good things can come out of small pieces, if you take little steps at a time.

Many people fear hand piecing, but it is really quite easy.  And when you pre-kit your blocks, hand piecing can be an excellent way to reduce your stash, consume scraps, and make beautiful quilts while you travel. 

You can hand piece just about any quilt block design you want.  I'm currently working on simple unstructured designs using  half-square triangles (HSTs). 

I use a plastic template and a fabric marking pencil to mark my fabric scraps.  I visually cut 1/4" away from the drawn line on the fabric with scissors!  I keep the cut pieces in a large ziploc until I have a variety of cut pieces.  I will layout the different colors to select pieces for a block and then place these pieces into a small ziplock, creating a kit.  Kits are stored in a small box, along with thimble, matching thread and hand sewing needles.

When I travel, I can quickly reach in and take as many block kits as I think I may have time for.  Or, if I am going to a guild presentation, I might take a couple of kits and finish them while at the meeting.  I hand sew the pieces together using a running stitch, with about every 4th or 5th stitch I'll take a back stitch.  And I do knot the thread, to secure the first stitch and I back stitch and tie off the last stitch, before I cut the thread.    

You can certainly plan colors ahead colors for hand piecing, just like planning a machine sewn quilt.  But, as my goal is also to reduce my stash I focus on using scraps - not on the effort to plan & coordinate fabrics.  If I don't think the color of a scrap fabric will work in my project, I toss it ASAP and don't worry about it.  But I do strive for randomness on these type of projects, and want a variety of colors and prints in these scrap quilts too!    

I enjoy seeing the blocks come together and laying them out on a hotel room floor.  Sometimes I will sew a few blocks together, and then groups together.  Yet other times I will layout enough blocks for a particular top, before I start sewing the quilt together.  Again, my goal is stash busting and making a scrappy quilt.  And have fun and zero stress while creating.

This quilt top was made while we went on a boating vacation in British Columbia.  I have made several pinwheel quilts with bright colored pinwheels on white backgrounds, over the years, and never get tired of them.

Ultimately, if a scrap of fabric is too small for a piece to work in this quilt, I will toss it ASAP.   I find the kits take up less space and are handy to take with me on trips.   Having these kits ready increases my ability to finish a quilt block faster too!

This approach to using scraps  may not work for everyone, but it is one that I've really enjoyed while traveling.  If you do not already hand piece, I hope you'll consider pre-kitting and taking some kits with you on your next trip.  I think you'll be pleasantly surprised how fun it is to quilt while you are traveling and amazed how this also helps to reduce your stash!

Thank you Samm for having me be a guest on your delightful blog.  And thank you to all her wonderful readers too!  I've had fun sharing this insight with you. 


Thursday, January 13, 2011

How to get your family to help you bust your stash!!!

Hi everyone!!!

It's me again! Ariane from Ariane's Crafts.
I'm so glad Madame Samm invited me to share with you again.

I was trying to figure out what to share with you and I was a bit stumped.
I did have one idea, tried to make a tutorial, but it didn't quite work out.

So, I went to my sister Michele to rescue me.
You see, she did a family project a short time ago to get rid of some scraps.
She made placemats and got her 6 year old son and her husband to make them too.
I really liked them and thought it would be a fun project to do with my kids too.
So, I thought I would share the placemats I made with my kids. 

I managed to convince my 15 year old son, 13 year old son, and 11 year old daughter to each make a placemat. I told them that they could design them any way they wanted, as they would be for them to use.

This is the material list we used:
-scraps a quilting cotton
-fusible web
-ironing board
-scraps of batting
and of coarse a sewing machine

The first thing I did was cut 4 neutral pieces of fabric 12.5 inches by 17.5 inches.
Then, I gave the kids each a bowl and told then to pick any fabric they wanted out of my scrap baskets.
I have my scraps sorted by color in my sewing room.
They all went down and picked out their fabric. This is what they came back with.
I got them to decide what size they needed for each piece and I ironed fusible web to the back of the fabric.
I, then asked them to draw their designs on the paper side of the fusible web.
Here they are at work.

They then cut out their designs and started placing them in position on the background fabric.
I helped then iron down all the pieces, once they had decided the final settings.
These are their final designs.

This is what my 15 year old designed.
He wanted to have water, grass, fire, the sun and the moon.
I really like it!!!

This is what my 13 year old son came up with.
He really likes detailed designs. He's a budding artist this one.
His battle of the Romans is his original design.
It all came out of that head of his and didn't copy any pictures.
He really enjoyed this process.

This is my daughter's design.
I really like her design. It's more modern, and also has a quilty kind of block appearance.

Once they were all done with the tops, I started working on mine.
I only used the left over pieces of fabric with fusible web on them.
I also wanted to challenge myself to keep it simple.
I am working at "simplifying" my life.
So, here it is.
Now, the fun part for me was to quilt these placemats for the kids.
Here are the finished products.

I must say that this was a very rewarding experience. I had told the kids it would only take about an hour to do the tops. But they chatted, laughed, and sang songs. After about 2.5 hours, they were done. It's an amazing feeling when my kids get together and get along. I learn a lot about them in times like these.

So, get your children and grandchildren involved with your quilting.
It will give both of you some wonderful memories.

Just a quick note!!!
I'm celebrating my two year blog anniversary with a giveaway.
Leave me a comment here and visit be over here, you know at