Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Signature Quilt

      Signature Quilt for Grandma Phyllis

Almost a year ago I got the idea to make a signature quilt.  I planned a design and sent out a letter to my aunts, uncles, and cousins.  Included in the envelope was a piece of white fabric, a letter describing what to do, and a cardboard cutout guide to help people know how big to sign on the fabric. 


As the signatures began to trickle in I started piecing them into blocks and embroidering the names.  I chose to do the ladies in pink, the men in blue, and my grandmother in black.

It took a while to get all of the signatures rounded up.   I had the pleasure of waiting for the names of the two newest members of the family!

I spent a long time rearranging blocks.  I ended with an arrangement that had all of my grandmother's children touching her block.  From there, the blocks of each immediate families' members were also touching.  There had to be some empty blocks so I tried to position them next to the families who might still be growing.  

One block is in honor of "those who have gone before us".   

 In my quest to decide on the right backing and binding fabrics, decided it needed a border.  I love the diamond border.  A few of those corner squares had to be fudged just a bit to make the points match.

A solid, almost periwinkle, blue became the backing fabric.  I used the remaining  30s prints for a scrappy binding, which turned out great.

Then came the quilting.  Obviously you don't want to quilt over the names, so it was trickier than normal deciding what to do.

I machine quilted each square of four colored triangles--in the ditch above and below the signatures.

That wasn't enough quilting though, technically (per instructions from the batting I used) and aesthetically because the quilt was a bit poofy in the corners of the blocks. 

So I decided to tie the quilt also.  At the corner of each block (in the middle of the four-triangle-squares and where the four points of white come together) I tied with two pieced of white embroidery floss.  

Here it is folded just right and in our family's special box we reuse every year and lovingly call "the box," which I just so happen to have been in possession this year. 

 Thanks for stopping by my blog!  I've been waiting to share this one for such a long time! 


linking up with Let's Bee Social
 and Crazy Mom Quilts

Stars and Stripes Quilt

I made a flag-inspired quilt for my mother this Christmas.

STARS:  I used a darting minnows pattern in white and blues.  The minnows were paper pieced to get the points of the stars to line up perfectly.  All of the minnows used a medium blue, while the non-minnow squares of blue alternated between a lighter and a darker shade of blue.

STRIPES:  The red and white "stripe" fabric is from Ikea.  I originally planned to use it for the back of the quilt, but the top ended up being too small for a good lap size quilt.  So I cut it up and used it as a border instead.

Here are the pictures: 

It's super flaggy, and not likely to really blend in with any home decor, but I think it's fun.  

Thanks for stopping by!  I have yet another Christmas present quilt post coming up soon...


linking up with Let's Bee Social

Puffy Pencil Pointer

Puffy Pencil Pointers!

One day my kindergartener was excitedly talking about the selection of pointers used in her classroom at calendar time.  I thought it might be fun to create some fun, pencil shaped pointers for both my daughter's classrooms for Christmas. They went together very quickly.  My girls had a lot of fun playing with them before giving them to their teachers! 


Make sure you  have a dowel rod or pvc pipe.  Cut it to size (mine is 16 inches).

Cut fabrics.  I cut mine 6 inches wide and long enough for the dowel rod to fit comfortably inside. (approximate cut lengths: black-1.25", tan-2.5", yellow-11", metal-3", pink-2")

Sew fabrics together.

Fold in half lengthwise.  

Stitch around in shape of pencil (see below).  Leave a section toward the end unsewn for stuffing.    Make sure the part you left unsewn is far back enough to allow your dowel rod in.  

Cut away extra fabric.  Turn right side out.

Roll the dowel or section of pvc in quilt batting.  The batting should be a bit longer than the rod on each end so it fills in the end spaces. 

Before stuffing, I wrapped the batting tip in tape in order to secure the batting for its trip all the way down to the black tip of the pencil.

Stitch the opening closed. 

 Voila--Puffy Pencil Pointer!
  My girls really seem to enjoy the eraser! 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

DIY Quilt-Inspired Wooden Wall Art

 DIY Quilt-Inspired Wooden Wall Art

While looking through a Pottery Barn catalog I noticed a cool piece of wooden wall art in the shape of a star that looked very much like a quilt block.  It just so happened that we had a stark wall begging for some DIY.

My husband and I set to work.


1.  Planned a straightforward herringbone pattern.

2.  Measured the space on the wall we were targeting.

3.  Bought supplies:
  • long planks of wood (1x3)
  • a thin base backing board
  • liquid nails
  • polyurethane
  • bunch of the tiniest cans of stain.  (We decided on 5: black, gray, dark brown, red, blonde.)

4.  Cut the blocks to size- made a stop block on the saw table to ensure consistent cuts and speed up the process.  We checked after every 10 or 15 cuts to make sure the blocks were still coming out exactly the right size.

5.  Lightly sanded the edges.

6.  Stained, dried, applied coat of wipe on polyurethane.

7.  Arranged them just so.

8.  Checked studs on wall and marked backing board where we would drill through it and into the wall.

9.  Glued each block on one at a time (we didn't glue any blocks over mounting marks--left a perfectly-sized empty space there for now).

10.  Let dry.

(We considered adding a border, but preferred just painting the edges black.)

11.  Screwed the whole thing straight into the studs in the wall.

12.  Placed remaining blocks in spaces over the screws.  They were a bit proud of the wall because of the screws, so we drilled shallow holes into the back of the blocks so the blocks would fit flush to the wall. (No glue was necessary with these final few.  This way we can simply remove them to unscrew our art from the wall.). 

Voila!  DIY quilt inspired wall art!


Clearly the possibilities are endless! It was a very fun project.  Happy holidays to you all!


linking up with let's bee social!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Machine Binding Tip

When I began quilting I used the machine to bind my quilts.
I went about it somewhat haphazardly with mixed results.
I wanted a more polished look.

So I hand stitched a few.
I like the look of  that.
However, I don't enjoy hand stitching.
The finish didn't seem durable either.

So I've been perfecting my machine binding process.
I get great results with this method and I'd love to share it with you. 

My Machine Binding Tip For You

(I am presupposing you know how to connect the ends of your binding tape and how to handle the corners.  For my binding I use a 2.5 inch wide strip and iron it in half.)

1.  Lay and pin folded binding strip on top of quilt with raw edges matching on the outside.  Using a 1/4" seam allowance, sew all the way around the edge of the quilt top.  Iron it flat, back away from quilt top.

2.  The pinning is the key to this method--take time to make sure each pin is positioned exactly right.  Fold the binding over.  You're going to pin from the front, always puncturing in and out of the ditch (where you'll be stitching later).  Be very aware of where your pin shows up on the back.  Repin until you get it just right.  You want it to be close to the edge, but not too close.  Pin like mad!  Pin, pin, pin!  Lots of pins.  It will be worth it.

(above: close, but not too close)

3. *You will be sewing down through the TOP of the quilt in order to secure the BACK portion of binding.*  Stitch in the ditch on your quilt top. 

Use your fingers to make sure the binding doesn't shift open (particularly between pins).  Slow and steady here.

3.5.  For added durability I like to back stitch just a stitch or two on both sides of each corner.  

That's it!  Flip your quilt over and trust that your careful pinning has given you that polished, strong, machine stitched binding you were hoping for.

Thanks for stopping by!

I'm linking up to Let's Bee Social