Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Window On My Quilt Retreat

Hello quilters.  This is Jill from Jillily Studio.  I am happy to join you here on Stash Manicure again. 
I just got home from my family quilt retreat last night.  Four days of laughing, sewing, sharing, eating, and very little sleep.  We do this every year, and it was even the subject of my last book, Stitched Together.  Twenty Eight of us met at a cabin from all over the country to spend this weekend together.   Here's a glimpse of the mess we made.  (And the fun we had!)
You can see more about the retreat on my blog in the coming days.  (I still need to unpack and get organized, but I will be posting more soon.)  So I am home just in time to post this for you.  Since it is fresh in my mind from retreat, I am going to share a project we did together.  My sister Susan made the sample, a pillow made with cathedral windows blocks.  Isn't it so cute?
Now I know that there are several ways to make a cathedral window block, and usually they are stitched by hand, but we did ours by machine and I am going to describe the method we used. 
Here goes. 
We'll make the window panes first.  On Susan's pillow above, the window panes are in the green fabric.  In the following photos, I used a different fabric (which happens to be the one she used for the "stained glass" so don't get confused.)

First, cut nine 14.5" squares from your window pane fabric.  Cut a template from poster board 13" square.  Center the template on the wrong side of your fabric square.  Use a hot steam iron to press the corners up over the template, and each long edge as well.

 Remove the template.
 Fold the square in half with the wrong sides together.  Press.
Fold in half again making a square, press.

 Now open the square back up and use the pressed quarter lines as a guide to fold each corner in to meet in the middle.  Press.
 Again fold the corners in to meet in the middle, making a smaller square. 

Fold and press all nine of your fabric squares that way.  (Stack them up so you can enjoy how cute they are together.  I added this step because that is about all I got done!) 

Take two of the prep-ed squares and put them next to each other with the folded side up.  Unfold one folded flap from each square and align the creases.  Pin these squares together along that crease.
 Sew right along the crease line.  (I am pointing to it.)  Backstitch at the beginning and ending of your seam. 
 Sew three folded squares together like that to make a row, then sew the rows together.  Now all your squares are attached, but the folded triangles remain free. 

 Now we will add the "stained glass" to the window panes.  Cut twenty four 4.25" squares.  You can pin them loosely in place, but I used Appli-Glue to baste them to the window panes.  In the following photo, I left some off so you can see where to place them on the panes.  The stained glass squares will hang off the edge on the outside windows.  We will trim those later.
 Just a drop of glue on each edge and in each corner.

 Now you will roll the "window frame" over the "stained glass" and pin in place.  The thickest part of the "frame" is in the middle creating an oval opening between windows.  Put a pin in the center of the roll to hold it while you sew.  We sewed ours by machine through all the layers.  Follow the curve of the window pane, stitching right along the edge.  Begin and end with a knot or backstitch.  Continue to stitch each side of the window frame until the "stained glass" is completely enclosed. 
Stitch each window frame around the "glass."  The windows on the edges will have only two stitched sides.  When all the windows are completed, trim off the extra "glass" fabric on the edges. 

(Note that I have no pictures showing the next few steps, because that is as far as I got!  My machine is still in the car, so you will have to trust me on this.)

Measure your pillow top and cut a pillow back the same size. Place the pillow front and back right sides together and stitch around leaving an opening to stuff.  Turn out to the right sides.  You can use a pillow form or loose stuffing.  Fill your pillow and hand stitch the opening closed.  Add buttons for embellishment if you want.
My daughter-in-law Erin did a smaller version.  Here is her finished block:
Wow, that is so cute!  Erin made hers with different "glass" in each block.  They are the same fabrics she used to make the large project we did at retreat.  Just for fun, here is a peek at her quilt top that matches the pillow.
Won't that pillow be so darling on the bed dressed in this sweet quilt? 
Another sister, Judy made her cathedral window pillow out of silks.  It is absolutely beautiful.  I will post a photo of it on my blog as soon as I get one.  If you use silk, make sure you use a lightweight fusible interfacing to make the silks easier to handle.

I would like to give away a prize to a few lucky readers of this post.  I will randomly choose a few winners to send a copy of my book, Stitched Together, my Appli-Glue, and my newest notion, Poke-A-Dots
Make a comment here and sign up to "follow" on my blog.  If you haven't heard of Poke-A-Dots, they just came out and will be showing up in quilt shops soon.  They are a sticky little thimble dot that you stick to your pushing finger for hand sewing, like bindings and buttons, etc.  Learn more about them here. 
(If you don't happen to be a winner, you can purchase all of these items on my website, along with all of my patterns and kits.)

I hope you have a fun time making a cathedral window pillow, or maybe even a whole quilt!
Happy Quilting-- I hope to see you on my blog!

Monday, April 4, 2011

sew... what is it with Quilters and Cats?

Hi there!  I'd like to thank Madame Samm for inviting me to share some stash busting info with you today.  My name is Thea McCurry - also known as Grannygoodstuff.  I don't design patterns or have a store or sell stuff.  I do make lots of charity quilts for Project Linus and Quilts for Kids as well as the following project.... Cat Snuggles!  I found this info while I was searching for a pet bed that I could make from supplies on hand... which in my case are embarrassingly extensive, but that's another topic...and one you might also suffer from enjoy?  hmmm?  no?  seriously??????

The website I found has all kinds of pet beds, and the organization that sponsors the website is "The Snuggles Project".  You can read all about it on their website...so - here is the linky to the entire, and rather extensive, pattern library: http://www.snugglesproject.org/pattern-library/

....there are lots more options on this website, and I can't honestly claim to have followed any instructions to the letter.  That's just not how I create.  How about you?  Do you read through the directions on things and then 'wing it'?  yup, that's me!  Just show me a picture and I'm off to do it!
front view of kitty snuggle

top view of kitty snuggle

I mean well, but I'm usually multi-tasking  between the computer, the TV and whatever is in my hands, so "I y'am w'ut I y'am", as Popeye used to say!   and what I'm not is a perfectionist!  I tried to make a cross-stitch sampler many years ago - it took me 14 years to finish - it says "Finished is Better Than Perfect"... and I really mean that!  and guess what else!  Kitties don't care!!  Maybe that's why I love my furry purry grandchildren so much!

Here’s a few kitties enjoying the comfort of this snuggle bed:
This is Gray – he was the first to take a nap in the new snuggle…isn’t he a handsome model?  a bit on the shy side, perhaps?  nope, just sleepy!

 ....notice the yarn scraps twisted in with the fabric scraps... adds a nice extra texture, don't you think?

And then Peaches had to try it on for size… she’s a bit on the dainty side… but isn’t she beautiful?  ...such a glamor girl!

….and although he probably stretched it beyond original expectations, Bully had to prove that he, too, could fit into the new bed!

My daughter rescues cats the way I quilt....
her rescue cats often have to visit the vet a good bit as she nurses them to fitness... or in some cases, just nurses them.  These snuggles are designed to comfort traumatized animals - but even the non-traumatized seem to like them, too!

You can take a peek at more pics of these and other rescue kitties here.  

Yardage & supplies for one Snuggle:  all the ‘OMG WWIT’ fabric from your stash….  Go ahead, pull it out and own up to it!   I also have a couple of boxes of “You quilt, here’s some fabric I found while cleaning out an attic/basement/whatever so I’m sure you can use it”   ... or the growing in popularity practice of dumping a large bag of unwanted fabric on a doorstep, ringing the bell, and running….  In some parts of the country, it’s called "pre-zucchini season training"…  this is also an option for a ‘round-robin’ quilt guild fabric exchange -  just leave a list of guild members in the bag, cross off your name when it gets to you, add your OMG WWIT’s to the bag and pass it onto the next sucker, unsuspecting, err, appreciative  guild member.
You’ll need the biggest crochet hook you can find – mine is size S - a huge plastic hook from JoAnns…. I also have a nice wooden hook that’s a size N-15 and it works well for ½” strips, but it’s slower than using the wider strips and the bigger hook, and does not use up the fabric fast enough.  
Now, if you are still with me, and you’d like to manicure your stash to make a kitty snuggle here is how it’s done.  You’ll need about 6-10 yards of fabric, depending on the size of snuggle you are making – and while you are digging around, if you come across any odds & ends of yarn, toss those into the pile too! ( ...while crocheting, if you come to a fabric strip that isn’t quite as hefty as the others, just tie a piece of yarn onto it and keep going…..)
1 1/2" strips ready for joining
Take all this fabric to your cutting table and reduce it to a nicely cut pile of 1 ½” strips – you can leave the yarn for later….… and I like using the June Tailor “Shape Cut” ruler similar to the one in this video for making strips – it goes sew fast, just be careful to keep your fingers away from those slits – the only thing that should be going through that slot is your rotary cutter!  Watch the video on the linky if you've never tried it!

Take one of your strips and your big fat crochet hook and make a ‘pretzel’ knot – make six crochet stitches into the pretzel, and join to make a circle…   

join the circle and continue working without turning....

when you get to the end of a strip, join another strip to it as follows (this is the only tricky part - HONEST!!)

hold the two ends together - leave about half an inch beyond your fingers - snip a 1/2" slit in the middle of the fold with a strong pair of scissors - wimpy scissors won't do the trick!  don't cut all the way through to the ends of the strips - the slit should be just big enough to pull the fabric strip through.

now, with the new strip on top of the working strip, pull far end of the new strip UP through the slit in BOTH of the slits at once....

and pull the new strip all the way through the hole.

now, pull the ends snug, and crochet some more - or you might want to add all the strips together at once so you don't have to stop and join every 5 or 6 stitches!

If you want a stretchy, soft bed, crochet into the back or front loops only.  If you want a firmer bed, crochet into both loops.
I increased every 2 or 3 stitches to keep the bowl shape until it was as big as my lap, then I stopped increasing and crocheted the sides until it was about 6 inches high... go ahead and make one... your kitty will love you for it!

Now I'll tell you a little secret... these 'beds' make wonderful stash baskets, too!
Great for sorting out the fabrics for a few charity quilts. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

It's Me......John'aLee.....from The Scrappy Appleyard

True Friendship Never Ends Block
I'm not a foolin'...
when I say....
I am tickled
down to my 
itty bitty tippy toes...
that Madame Samm
has invited me to chat with you all here today!
You know how you meet someone...
and instantly you know....
this is a kindred spirit?

that's what happened
when Madame Samm rung me
one snowy Sunday afternoon.

So about me....
I am a pattern designer,
and owned a quilt shoppe in Utah for 
several years...
A Picture from my Quilt Shoppe

before moving here to Nashville, Tennessee.

I'm happy to let you know
that I am going to be giving away...
one FREE Buttercream Summer
Mystery Block of the Month
Quilt Kit to one of you readers!!
A Summer Afternoon Read
Flowers For Sale
Grandmother's Flower Garden
Now on my blog...
I have shown the whole design process
of this quilt.
From original drawings...

Here are some of the works in progress for
the Grandmother's Flower Garden Block
And some of the others...
Sometimes I have to rework a drawing
several times
before I am happy with it.

And more times than I care to admit ...
I have to throw out my mistakes...
like the above pic.
I forgot to mirror image these
applique pieces.

And then here...
I cut out all 16 pieces for the chair
and ottoman...
thinking I was going to use them all.
Only to end up with 4 of them!
So who says a Designer's Life
is glamorous?
Ahhh....my friends...
it is very humbling!!

This next block....
I have over 200 hours invested in.

Not that it will take you 200 hours to make it!!
I made the whole piece
before I was happy with all of the 
scrolls, strawberries and flowers.

I will say...
this is my very first time to do 
hand embroidery.
So don't be too hard on me!!
I finally figured out...
I had to have the drawing
before it could ever go to fabric!
Just look at this first trial run...

This quilt has 8 blocks...
Next month I am designing all of the pieced blocks
to put the 8 blocks together...
which will create the center of the quilt...
and then it will be finished off
with a large border encompassing the whole quilt.
This final outer border
will have the scrolls, flowers and 
 embroidered in it!

It has taken me a whole year to design this baby...
but I am hoping it will be a winner when
it's done.

So that's all for now folks!
Don't forget to leave a comment here at STASH and on my BLOG
to be included in the drawing!

The winner can choose either this color way...
or the other color way....
Parisian Summer.
(Hint: Gotta go to my blog  HERE to see it!)
 (Put 'Parisian Summer' into the Search Box)

Renee....waiting for her to respond...
She is the lucky winner of this BOM

Thanks to all who entered....

Until next time...


Thursday, March 31, 2011

Behind the Seams with our New Banner Winners..

The stories behind their quilts.
Love this part...

Earlier today I shared with you they were
( name and photo)
This afternoon a bit more...

Let's begin with 
Here is Lee's story:
more here on her quilt
I was so excited to be chosen for this April banner. I actually feel quite honoured. Thanks Samm!
I made this quilt for a very special lady in my life.  She has been a great friend, neighbour, mentor and surrogate parent. She announced to me in Dec she had to have surgery in January.  I just had to make her a special quilt to help her with her recovery.  She is an advid gardener and according to her husband, her favourite colours are yellow and green. I had just the right fabric in mind.  I was also given a GO cutter for Christmas and was itching to use it.  (loved using it by the way)
I used April Cornell's Spring Magic fabric.  The quilt pattern is a simple 4 patch and plain block.  I used an all over meandering flower and loops pattern to quilt it on my domestic machine.  We are always are harshes critic, so when one flower wasn't looking the best, I had to remind myself, that all the flowers in nature aren't perfect either.   I hope the sun is shining in your part of the world. 

And here is our Wendy's Story... and link to her blog.

Wendy's synopsis of her 'UR My Sunshine' quilt:

When I saw that Stash Manicure was asking for yellow quilts for April, I knew I wanted to make this wall hanging.  I had just received my beautiful Sunkissed by Sweetwater bundle and the yellows were beautiful to me ... so bright and cheery ... downright sunny.  Well, I got this picture in my head, and while it may have taken me quite a while and several design changes and seam un-sewings, I believe the vision in my head came out pretty well when finished.  It truly 'popped' for me once I finished the quilting on this in what I invisioned as sun rays, heat curls and overall sunshine-like quilting.... for once my brain and abilities cooperated. Yay! Ü

This quilt's phrase has a special meaning for me. Long before I ever knew "about" life, my lifetime's goal was to become a mother.  I used to place my hand on my little baby-bump as I was driving to work each morning and sing "You Are My Sunshine" over and over again to my tummy.  Silly, I know.  But then, it became such a mantra to me, that I sang it to my daughter as a baby, to my second blessing of a baby, and then to both of my girls at bedtime or when their tears just needed a mommy hug.  Then, at other times in life, a person needs to make their own sunshine.  I've hung this piece on the wall in my longarm studio for those moments when I might need the reminder, especially when things feel so bleak, you think the sun will never shine again.  ... I'm happy with my Sunshine reminder.

The direct link for my finished quilt's posting is: 

Again, I thank you for the honor!
 Blessings and hugs to you! 


And here is Jill's 

I made this quilt when I was emerging into a modern quilter, so it's sort of a mixed bag.  I wanted a simple modern design that would featured the 30s reproduction fabric and went with the brick design.  All the fabrics were from my stash, including a pieced back. It's hand quilted.  That's kind of my niche, hand quilted, modern style.  

And the blog post to link it to:more here-lot's more here

Hope you're having a good day so far!  Jill

and our dearest Sunflower creator  Liesbeth.. blog and more of her stories and quilts

Thank you !! It is a honour for me to be on the April Banner. 

I am a dutch quilter; my native language is dutch. I learned English at school, so I hope I used good words and you understand my sentences...( sew far sew good) editors note.

My sunflower is a fiber-art. I made it last year for a birthday of a friend. (male) His anniversary is 17th of May. The time that the sun is shining, and the flowers are growing in our garden. I love the hue of the sunflower. It means warmth and happiness for me. That is what I wanted to share with this friend.

Nature is a well of inspiration for me. I love flowers in my garden, It gives me rest and it helps to ground me, keep my feet on the ground, as you would say. 

For this art I used a  light yellow background of fabric and a light orange fabric . The heart of the flower is made of brown fabric.
All the rest of the colors and the translucent background  is made by layering  very thin Litradur, coloured with transfer painting (by ironing). So I made every other petal with an little bit different glue. I fastened it on the background and at last I fused the heart of the flower and made my stitches with Pfaffie.
Then I cut the cart in the right measure (4 by 6 “”) Give it a batting and a background and used a ziczac  to put it together.  

Some personal  information; my name is Liesbeth or Elisabeth. I’m 61 years old and I am a wife, a mother of 4 and a grandmother of 2 girls ; we are expection another baby in the family the end of july.
I live on the country, in the eastern part of the Netherlands.
Quilting became really my thing after I stopped working, a couple of years ago.
I make traditional quilts, (SBS and the Pockets of Posies) and I make artquilts, mostly little one’s.
Normally my weblog is written in the dutch language, but I shall translate it a little bit for English spoken quilters.
 I hope this is what you need , greetings from Liesbeth

Are they just not the most interesting ladies/quilters..
Told you...we manage to attract the very best...
It helps for me that I absolute love 
yellow..( buttercream) sew this is one of my 
favorite months...

Thank you Banner Ladies, 
Thank you visitors. please let them know 
how much you enjoyed their contribution...

What does the color yellow or buttercream
say or mean to you?