Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Everyone Happy With Their Gifts

I just returned home from our family vacation last night.  Oh my goodness, I need another vacation just to recoup from the first one!

On our way to Myrtle Beach, SC we stopped in Tennessee for one night to pick up my parents and visit our oldest daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren.  

We didn't have much time, but made the most of it by going out to dinner....


Then we headed to our daughter's home to give our granddaughter the gift I had made for her birthday....her birthday was actually August 9th, but I wanted to deliver it in person which meant it had to be a couple weeks late.


The next morning we headed on to the beach for a week....more about that in a future post. :)

After our wonderful vacation, we headed back to Tennessee for two nights.

Our first night back, I was able to give my daughter the birthday purse I had made for her (today is her birthday)....


The last night in Tennessee, we celebrated our grandson's 4th birthday with a family party. His birthday is Sept. 5th, but since we were there....PARTY TIME! 

He loved the birthday quilt I had made for him out of Dr. Seuss The Lorax fabrics along with the book to match.


Thank goodness there are no more birthday quilts expected for the rest of this year!!!! :) :) :) :)

I'm happy!  Everyone else in the family is happy!  Now I think I'm going to go lay down for a much needed nap!

What have you been working on while I was away on vacation?

Keep sewing and quilting!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Don't Tread On Me - New Free Quilt Pattern

Since I will be on our family vacation next week, and am not certain if I will be able to share any new posts until I return home, I've decided to share with you my newest design!  I'm SO excited about this quilt and hope you like it also.

The name of this quilt design is DON'T TREAD ON ME.  When I look at the design photo, I can see two different "reasons" why this name seemed perfect.  What do YOU see?  I'm really interested to know if anyone else can see what I see.

Don't Tread On Me designed by Theresa Litz c2014

Construction is extremely simple and works wonderfully as a Leader/Ender project while you work on other quilt tops.

The entire quilt center is made up of scrappy Half-Square Triangle Blocks with a common neutral color (in this case I'm using Kona Black).


Directions and fabric requirements will be provided for your choice of two different sizes, both a Lap Size and a Queen/King size (depending on the size triangles you use).  I will also provide cutting directions for both traditional means and when using an Accuquilt Go.

Let's begin, shall we?

For a LAP SIZE VERSION
With Borders - 72" x 76"
Without Borders - 60" x 64"
HST Blocks - 4 1/2" unfinished, 4" finished

Fabric Required for Lap Size:
1)  Black for HST's - 2 1/2 yards
2)  Assorted scraps in all colors for HST's - approx. 2 1/2 yards
3)  Black for Inner Border - 3/4 yard (2" wide finished border)
4)  Blue for Outer Border - 1 1/2 yards (4" wide finished border)

Cutting Instructions:  
1)  If using an Accuquilt Go - You will need Die # 55031 (Half Square Triangle - 4" Finished Square)
2)  If using an Easy Angle Ruler and rotary cutter - you will need to cut your fabrics into strips that are                 4 1/2" wide, then line up your ruler using the 4 1/2" line.
3)  OR you can cut both your Black fabric and your scrap fabrics into 4 7/8" squares, then cut in half on the          diagonal to create 2 triangles.
4)  For Inner Border, cut strips Width of Fabric - 2 1/2" wide for a finished 2" border
5)  For Outer Border, cut strips Width of Fabric -  4 1/2" wide for a finished 4" border

You will need a TOTAL of
280 Black Triangles
280 Scrappy Triangles

***Note:  If you have chosen to cut 4 7/8" squares, then cut in half on the diagonal - you will only need to cut 140 Black Squares and 140 Scrappy Squares to produce the needed 280 triangles for each color.

Use 1/4" seam allowance.  Sew a Black triangle to a Scrappy triangle, press towards the black side.  Once triangles are sewn together, you should have a Total of 280 Half-Square Triangle Blocks measuring 4 1/2" unfinished square (4" finished square).

Arrange your 280 HST Blocks using the top photo in this post as your guide.

Layout is 15 HST Blocks across x 16 HST Blocks down.

For a QUEEN/KING VERSION
With Borders - 106" x 112"
Without Borders - 90" x 96"
HST Blocks - 6 1/2" unfinished, 6" finished

Fabric Required for Queen/King Size:
1)  Black for HST's - 5 yards
2)  Assorted scraps in all colors for HST's - approx. 5 yards
3)  Black for Inner Border - 3/4 yard (2" wide finished border)
4)  Blue for Outer Border - 2 1/2" yards (6" wide finished border)

Cutting Instructions:
1)  If using an Accuquilt Go - You will need Die # 55001 (Half Square Triangle - 6" Finished Square)
2)  If using an Easy Angle Ruler and rotary cutter - you will need to cut your fabric into strips that are                   6 1/2" wide, then line up your ruler using the 6 1/2" line.
3)  OR you can cut both your Black fabric and your scrap fabrics into 6 7/8" squares, then cut in half on the          diagonal to create 2 triangles.
4)  For Inner Border, cut strips Width of Fabric - 2 1/2" wide for a 2" finished border
5)  For Outer Border, cut strips Width of Fabric - 6 1/2" wide for a 6" finished border
Your will need a TOTAL of
280 Black Triangles
280 Scrappy Triangles

***Note:  If you have chosen to cut 6 7/8" squares, then cut in half on diagonal - you will only need to cut 140 Black Squares and 140 Scrappy Squares to produce the needed 280 triangles for each color.

Use 1/4" seam allowance.  Sew a Black triangle to a Scrappy triangle, press towards the black side.  Once triangles are sewn together, you should have a Total of 280 Half-Square Triangle Blocks measuring 6 1/2" unfinished square (6" finished square).

Arrange your 280 HST Blocks using the top photo in this post as your guide.

Layout is 15 HST Blocks across x 16 HST Blocks down.

*********************************************************************************

Here's a photo of some of my completed HST blocks once I had sewn the black triangles to scrappy triangles.....


Here's my design wall with about 1/3 of my blocks arranged.....


I decided to go ahead and sew together the first five rows.....working in smaller segments made things easier for me especially since I was using the assembly of these blocks as my Leader/Enders while I worked on other projects.

A few days later, I placed another group of completed blocks (for the middle of the quilt) on my design wall.....you can see the top portion that I had sewn together earlier hanging on the lower part of my design wall.


Then I sewed these rows together....then attached them to the bottom of the first section....


I'm REALLY liking how this is starting to turn out.  I already have the remainder of my 280 needed HST Blocks pieced, pressed and ready to arrange on the design wall.  Then I will just need to sew the rows together and attach to the bottom of the section above.

Maybe I should have waited to share this new design until I had actually completed my own example....but I was just too excited to wait any longer.

Please, please share photos with me if you decide to make a Don't Tread On Me quilt of your very own.

Hope everyone has a great and productive day that includes sewing!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Making Fabric on a Rainy Day

I woke up this morning to a rainy, dreary, dark and cool day.  Looking out the living room window revealed changing colors of leaves.  Did I miss summer time?  Did we even have a summer?

Thankfully I had spent most of yesterday doing much needed routine housecleaning and laundry because on days like this, I don't feel like doing much except spending time in my sewing room.

A bright, fun, not too intense project was needed today.....a perfect day to MAKE FABRIC!


Have you heard of the book 15 Minutes Of Play - Improvisational Quilts?  A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to spend the day in Syracuse, NY during the annual "Quilting By The Lake".  We attended a lecture and the featured speaker was quilt designer and author Victoria Findley Wolfe.


Her lecture was exciting and encouraging.  She remarkably mixes modern design with the use of scraps.  As a busy mom, to keep from going crazy, she would set aside 15 minutes a day to sew.  She found that with only 15 minutes, she was most productive when she could just mindlessly sew and have fun...."making fabric".

Let's give it whirl......

I try to keep my scraps neat and organized, but there is this ONE large basket that sits near by where all the odd little shapes and sizes of scraps get thrown....you know, the ones that aren't exactly large enough to cut into commonly used sizes.

Like a child, I just dumped the scraps on the table....

Then just started sewing them together.....

Neat, straight edges aren't required for this because all you do is sew a seam, flip it over and trim the excess fabric to leave 1/4" seam allowance.

Trial and error taught me that it's easier to keep two "pieces" going at the same time.....

Did you notice that I'm not using any paper foundations, etc.?  I'm just sewing little odd shaped scraps together.

Once I have a decent sized piece of "made fabric" ready, I spray it with Best Press and press with a hot iron. This just allows it to hold it's shape without stretching, etc.   Then I cut out a 4 1/2" square.


Of course you can make any size you like, but I've decided to make 4 1/2" unfinished blocks.  I don't exactly have a project in mind for them, just thought this would be a good size that will easily adapt to most traditional blocks, etc.

After making a 4 1/2" block, I use the leftovers to start more "made fabric".


In addition to the lecture, we were able to visit the quilt show and vendor booths.  Thankfully, I wasn't tempted to make many purchases.

This is the result of my shopping....one jacket pattern and a handful of buttons for future purse/tote bag projects.

Time to start supper....then hopefully head back to the sewing room this evening.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

EQ7 August Newsletter Spotlights My Design

I'm really excited and honored to share with you that I was contacted by EQ7 (Electric Quilt 7) a few weeks ago and was asked if they could spotlight my "Quilt Neighbors" that I designed using their software in their August 2014 newsletter.

Needless to say, I agreed and it is indeed included and allows anyone with the EQ7 computer software to download a copy of my personal design file which includes complete directions, etc.

Click HERE to go directly to the EQ7 August 2014 Newsletter.

I took a screenshot photo of part of their newsletter.  If you look closely, bottom - center, you will see a photo of my quilt design.


Keep sewing and quilting!  You never know when your work will be recognized by others!  It's a good feeling when it happens. :)

Friday, August 8, 2014

Shoo Fly for Abbi

Tomorrow will be my granddaughter's 12th birthday.  She assumes and has been telling all her friends that her Grandma is making her a quilt.  Of course she is correct!  She won't receive her quilt for a couple of weeks because I plan to hand deliver it when I make a trip to Tennessee towards the end of the month. There were so many birthdays within a few weeks of each other, I had to decide on another quick and easy design.

I chose to make the Shoo-Fly using the Disappearing Pinwheel by Jenny Doan of Missouri Star Quilt Company.  She provides an excellent FREE video tutorial, just click on the link below to see it for yourself:



I followed her instructions to make the Shoo-Fly blocks, but I didn't follow her entire directions when it came to finishing the quilt top.  I didn't add all the smaller pinwheel blocks around the edge of the quilt as she does.  I made more blocks, 42 to be exact and sewed them together 6 across and 7 rows down.  Then I just added two borders to make it large enough to fit Abbi's queen size bed.

It was easy and fun to make the blocks.  I used a Layer Cake (pre-cut 10" squares) by Windham Fabrics called Love At First Bite.  The fabric line has adorable cupcakes, sprinkles, bakery terms, etc. on shades of pink, mint, cream, yellow and browns.  For the neutral I used a Layer Cake of Kona Snow.

My design wall as I arranged the placement of my completed blocks.....

I shopped from my "stash" for border fabrics.  A Kona solid Purple was used for the inner border and I found a piece of yardage (just enough) for the outer border called Journey's Flower Patch by Free Spirit.  It may be flowers, but if you use your imagination, can't you see cupcakes with pink icing and maybe a cherry or jelly bean on top too?  :) :)

Time to start quilting.  I used a backing fabric that is 108" wide and decided to be frugal by quilting smaller projects on the extra fabric at the same time that I worked on the quilt.  Would you believe that I actually quilted two table runners and 2 sets of place mats (a total of 8 place mats) while I quilted the quilt itself?

The quilting pantograph I chose to use is called Mod Dotz by Urban Elementz.


Quilting is finished.....

Close up.....

Close up of quilt back....hopefully you can see the quilting....it was difficult to get a good picture.

What are YOU working on?

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Microwave Bowl Holder Tutorial

Microwave Bowl Holders....I'm sure most of you have seen these around.  They are AWESOME.  My entire family loves using them and even my dear hubby searches until he finds one in the kitchen whenever heating up leftovers.  They sure have saved us from many burned fingers!!!!

Within one weeks time, I had 4 different friends share the directions for making these wonderful little things, so I decided to pass it on to you. Would you like to guess what most of my family and friends will be getting as Christmas gifts this year? :)

NOTE:  Because this item will be used in a Microwave....all supplies MUST BE 100% COTTON!!!!!!!

Supplies Needed For ONE Microwave Bowl Holder:

     Cut TWO - 10" x 10" squares of 100% COTTON fabric
     Cut ONE - 9 1/2" x 9 1/2" square of 100% COTTON batting
     Sew using 100% COTTON thread


1)  Place One - 10" square of fabric RIGHT SIDE DOWN, then place One - 9 1/2" square of cotton batting on top, centered on fabric square....

2)  Fold in half with RIGHT SIDES of fabric facing each other....

3)  Using a pencil or fabric marker, mark 1" up from center fold on RIGHT edge of fabric.....

4)  Repeat and mark 1" up from center fold on LEFT edge of fabric/batting....

5)  Now measure 2 1/2" from RIGHT outside edge toward center and mark on FOLDED edge of batting....

6)  Repeat on the LEFT side.....

7)  Using your ruler, draw a line to connect the two markings you made.....do this to both sides, right and left...

8)  Your project should look something like this.....

9)  Now take your second 10" square of cotton fabric (no batting this time) and fold in half face to face....

10)  REPEAT STEPS 3 - 8 on this single piece of fabric....

11)  Your project should look something like this....


I'll be honest and admit that I decided to make a matching set for my daughter's kitchen so I quickly cut out another set and repeated all the steps so far...now my cutting table looks like this... :) :) :) :)

12)  Easy Step - Machine sew on the drawn lines of each section.....

13)  After sewing, trim the corners approximately 1/4" from seam....

14)  Now FOLD each section in half again.....match the seams previously sewn (now on top, in center).  Pin or clip to hold each section in the folded position....

15)  REPEAT STEPS 3 - 13 on each section.....

MARK.....

SEW.....

TRIM.... They look a little like toddler undies at this point. :) :)

16)  Pick up your section with batting and it should easily and naturally take on the shape of a bowl....batting on bottom, and fabric is facing up.....

17)  Now do the same with the fabric only section, make certain the bowl shape if formed with the WRONG side of fabric facing UP and the RIGHT side of fabric facing the bottom.......

18)  Next, nestle both sections together, with RIGHT sides of fabric FACING each other.....

19)  Match up seams, corners, etc., and pin or clip together......

20)  Choose one side to leave approximately a 3" wide opening......

21)  Now we will sew the two sections together using a 1/2" seam....don't forget to leave the 3" wide opening for turning....

22)  Clip each corner close to the seam.....

23)  Find your 3" opening and start turning your project inside out.....

Be gentle and go slow so you don't accidentally rip out the seams.....

24)  I used my pencil (eraser end of course) to help poke out each corner.  Using your fingers, go around the edge of your project and make sure the folds are nice and neat.....

25)  Find your 3" wide opening and turn down the edges, creating an even edge......clip or pin to hold together.....

26)  Almost done!!!  Now just top stitch around the entire bowl holder using approximately a 1/8" seam allowance........this not only closes the 3"opening but creates a nice "finish" to your project.


TA - DA!!!!!!  

BONUS:  If you'd like to make them large enough for serving bowls, cut fabric 15" square and batting 14 1/2" square.  Darts should be marked 1" up from center fold and 3" from each side edge.

For holders a tad bit larger than the ones in the tutorial....cut fabric 12" square and batting 11 1/2" square. Darts should be marked 1" up from center fold and 2 1/2" from each side edge.

I took this photo just to show you how they look with different styles of bowls.  Even with the wider bowl, there is still enough of the bowl holder to use when picking up a hot bowl from the microwave.

NOTE:
Wouldn't you know, after I made this set for my daughter I remembered that she really didn't have any round bowls.  (Her set of dishes are square.  She is unhappy with her square bowls because they won't hold soups, chilies, or even cereal in the mornings!)

So what would any good mother do?  Make a trip to Wal-Mart and purchase two adorable while bowls to go with her daughter's white square set of dishes!!!!!  Now admit it....you would do the same thing!!!! :) :)

In case you had any doubts...let me assure you that my daughter was tickled pink with her unexpected gift of two bowls and two Microwave Bowl Holders!

I'd love to hear from anyone that decides to make their own.  Let me know if you feel this tutorial is helpful, clear and easy to follow.

Keep sewing!!