Monday, February 16, 2015

Serene Garden - Free Pattern - Designed by Theresa Litz

I'm thrilled to share this pattern for a quilt I designed recently.  It does require The Learning Curve Ruler designed by Linda Warren.  If you cannot find it in your local shop, you can purchase it directly from the designer at this LINK.

Serene Garden – 72” x 72”
Designed by Theresa Litz – c2014
3 yds – Focal Fabric (Asian Inspired Floral) – blocks, outer          
1 ¾ yds – Light Blue background – blocks
1 ½ yds – Light Cream background – blocks
1 yd -  Dark Teal – blocks, inner border


Focal Fabric – Asian Inspired Floral
     100 -  3 ¼” x 5 ½” rectangles for blocks
               (cut 9 – 5 ½” wide x WOF strips, then sub-cut into 100     
     25 -  4 ½” squares for center of each block (cut 3 – 4 ½” x WOF strips, sub-cut into 25 squares)
      7  -  4 ½” x WOF strips – for outer border

Light Blue –
     52 – 3 ¼” x 5 ½” rectangles for blocks -  (cut 5 – 5 ½” wide x WOF strips, then sub-cut into 52                    rectangles)
     52 – 4 ½” squares for blocks – (cut 6 – 4 ½” x WOF strips, sub-cut into 52 4 ½” squares)

Light Cream –
     48 – 3 ¼” x 5 ½” rectangles for blocks – (cut 4 – 5 ½” wide x WOF strips, then sub-cut into 48                     rectangles)
     48 – 4 ½” squares for blocks – (cut 6 – 4 ½” x WOF strips, sub-cut into 48 4 ½” squares)

Dark Teal –
     100 – 2 ½” squares for blocks – (cut 7 – 2 ½” x WOF strips, sub-cut into 100 squares)
     6  - 2 ½” x WOF strips – for inner border

(Reference Method 2 on Ruler Instruction Pamphlet)

You will use The Learning Curve Ruler, to trim all 100 - 3 ¼” x 5 ½” FOCAL FABRIC rectangles.

As photo below demonstrates, line up the left edge of the rectangle with the “A” Line of the ruler and carefully trim along the curved edge of the ruler.

 All FOCAL FABRIC rectangles should now look like this. 

 Next, trim the 52 light blue 3 ¼” x 5 ½” rectangles AND the 48 light cream 3 ¼” x 5 ½” rectangles.

As photo demonstrates, line up the left edge of the rectangle with the “C” Line of the ruler and carefully trim along the curved edge of the ruler.

 All light blue AND light cream rectangles should now look like this.

 We are now finished using The Learning Curve Ruler.

Now we just need to sew all the Focal Fabric curved pieces to the Light Blue and Light Cream curved pieces.

LINK to my tutorial showing how to sew these two pieces together.

Use the instruction sheet that came with your ruler for Method 2 to trim your curved square down to 4 1/2" - or use my past blog tutorials to view detailed photos for using the ruler to trim these units.


Draw a diagonal line on the back of all 100 Dark Teal 2 ½” squares.

Place a 2 ½” square, face to face in ONE corner of all 52 – 4 ½” light blue squares and all 48 – 4 ½” light cream squares.

Sew along the center diagonal pencil line. 

Trim approximately a ¼” from seam, flip the Dark Teal triangle face up and press with iron.

****Side note:  You may notice in the photo above that I have drawn two lines rather than just one down the center.  I am very frugal and enjoy getting "bonus triangles" that can be used in a future project rather than to throw away the corners we don't need for this quilt.  I learned how to obtain a usable, 2" unfinished Half-Square Triangle from the well-known Quilt Designer, Instructor (and too many other titles to list), Bonnie K. Hunter of Quiltville.  You can view and learn this method for Bonus Triangles at this LINK. 

 You should now have 52 – 4 ½” light blue squares that look like this:

 And 48 – 4 ½” light cream squares that look like this:

Blocks should measure 12 ½” unfinished

Assemble 13 light blue blocks using photo below as a guide.

 Assemble 12 light cream blocks using photo below as a guide.

Blocks should measure 12 1/2" once sewn together at this point.

Sew blocks into rows using quilt photo as a guide, for a total of five rows of five blocks each.

Sew rows together.  In a perfect world, if all your seams are an accurate 1/4", the center of your quilt top should measure 60 1/2" x 60 1/2" at this point.

Add Dark Teal Inner Border 

Add Focal Fabric Outer Border

If you make your own Serene Garden Lap Quilt, please share a photo!  Not only would I love to see it but I'll add the photo to this post so others can enjoy it as well!   (With your permission of course.) :)

Until next time!  By the way, I hope to be sharing the pattern for another quilt top within the next few days.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Snow, Snow and More Snow

To say I'm tired of snow doesn't even begin to explain just how 'over it' I truly am of this cold, white stuff!  This photo was taken a week ago and we've had more snow every day since.

I've been keeping myself busy with odds and ends.

First, the quilt for my uncle is not only finished but is already in his hands in Tennessee.

The label on back......

Next, one night I decided to pull out four orphan blocks (6 1/2") left over from a past project. It was fun using them to make a couple of chicken pin cushions for my boss and co-worker.

I just followed the instructional video on YouTube made by Jenny Doan of Missouri Star Quilt Company to make them.

Another small project I'm working on......

My friend Maryanne gave me a packet of 20 squares consisting of five different bird themed fabrics.  The fabric is precious and I didn't want to chop up the squares any smaller for fear of losing the pretty birds.  After some playing around, this is what I came up with and will share the directions with you soon.  I need to figure out how best to finish it, then will post a tutorial.

What's been keeping you busy lately?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Infinity Scarf Tutorial

A very popular item this past year or two has been the Infinity Scarf.  Now that my friend Lisa FINALLY opened her Christmas gift (yes, in mid-January), I am now free to share how I make them.  As tends to be my habit, I took basic ideas from several different methods of construction and came up with my personal favorite, a combination of many ideas.

I didn't have make-up on the day I took the photo below so I'm sparing you from seeing my face! :) :)

Supplies Needed - TO MAKE THREE

1 yard of Minky (60" wide)

Minky is SO VERY SOFT and cuddly and since it comes in a 60" width, one yard is perfect for making yourself a scarf and two others to use as gifts.

1)  Cut your yard of Minky into 3 equal 12" wide strips.

2)  Take one strip (12" x 60") and fold in half, right sides together, to make a long tube (approx. 6" x 60").

Pin the edges together along the 60" side tube.  

3)  Although you can use a regular sewing machine, if you own a serger, this project is PERFECT for putting that serger to good use.

Serge or sew along the 60" long side.

You will need to leave about a 4" wide opening (for turning) towards one end of the tube.  

I chose to sew approximately 8" down one side, left a 4" opening, then continued to sew the rest of the approx. 50" remaining on the tube.

4)  Gently pull the longest side of the tube through the 4" the long end is "right side out" with the pretty Minky showing.....the short end still has the wrong side showing.

5)  Now pick up the end of the tube (long side with Minky right side out) and gently insert this end BACK INTO the opening.  This will create a natural "twist" in the tube which will allow your scarf to hang nicely once finished.

6)  NOTE in picture below that the serged/sewn edge of the inside tube is aligned with the folded edge of outside tube....and vice-versa....the outside serged/sewn edge is aligned with the folded edge of the inside tube.  The tube ends themselves are now facing each other (right sides together).  

7) If your serger or sewing machine offers a free-arm is the perfect time to take advantage of it.

8)  Pin the two ends of the tube together, all around the circle, so it doesn't slip and slide while you are sewing.  The free-arm makes life so much easier when sewing the edges of a round tube (or sleeve, neckline, etc.) together.

TA-DA....the ends of the tube are now together.....

9)  Now you just need to gently continue pulling the long side of the scarf (that is right side out), through the opening.....

10)  Your Infinity Scarf should now be entirely right side out.....time to close up the 4" opening.....

11)  Fold the edges of the opening over toward the inside of the together....then hand sew the opening closed.

12)  Model your scarf.  :)  

For a dressier version to compliment an outfit, a knit fabric works great.  I've not used cotton yet, but will probably give that a try one of these days also.

If you decide to make a scarf.....please email a picture so I can share it on this page.  You can send it to:

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Im Stuck

Frustration, frustration, frustration.....I'm working on a quilt top for my uncle who was recently diagnosed with cancer.  Budget forced me to shop from my stash which is made more difficult when trying to make a "manly" quilt.

Two nights ago I made it this far before needing to sleep.  This is pretty much all of the blocks except for the top, title block.....

I was happy with it when I went to bed but when I looked at it yesterday morning I was unhappy with the uneven layout of the "two strip blocks".  If only the quilt was going to have more blocks to make it wider and allow the blocks to be more symmetrical....but this was it....per the instruction diagram that came with the word panel.

Then I moved blocks around to make it look even in my I finished the top title block/row and added that to the design wall....

I know I'm crazy but the top row looked smooshed together in relation to the rest of the rows a head attached to a body with no neck to balance it out.

So I pulled out a light strip to see if it looked better....

Then I switched the light strip to a dark brown.....

At this point I'm really confused and frustrated.  It shouldn't be this difficult! Hahaha

I THINK I like the dark strip of fabric best.  I need to keep looking at it for a little while.  Of course to add to my dilemma, I realize that I don't have enough of the fabrics used so far to do what I had thought about doing to enlarge the quilt.  It truly needs to be larger than it would finish at this point (only 42 x 56).

Any suggestions?

As I ponder this problem, I'm hoping to start loading my friend Marianne's Easy Street quilt on my longarm frame.

Stay warm and keep sewing!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Stuffed Animal Surgery and Quilt of Love

Meet Stevie, a stuffed duck belonging to my 17 year old daughter!  I find it very funny and endearing to witness those rare times when your teenager shows that they still have a child's heart, at least towards certain items dear to them.  Stevie has been around for years. He isn't an expensive stuffed animal but he holds special memories. I believe Stevie was a prize awarded at an amusement park...won and given to Kirsten by her daddy.  She has ALWAYS been daddy's little girl.

Stevie required emergency surgery today to repair some ripped stitches on his leg and foot....a result of strong shaking by our Mini-Schnauzer Scamp.  I did what any mom would do, I stopped what I was doing and repaired Stevie.  I believe he will be okay now. :)

Earlier this morning I decided to look through my fabric stash in hopes of finding suitable fabrics to make a special quilt for one of my uncles who was recently diagnosed with cancer.  I have this panel with phrases stating what cancer cannot do that was purchased in December when I heard about the diagnosis.

I found a few fat quarters and a few 1 yard pieces of batiks in neutral colors in my stash. He is a huge University of Tennessee Fan so I figure that he will like the splash of orange thrown in with all the neutrals.

Hopefully this will come together quickly. There is a pattern that was included with the panel but I'm sure I will want to enlarge it somewhat.  I will share my progress with you over the next couple of days.  He started treatment this week and it is very hard on him.  I want to get this quilt made and finished as quick as possible to send to him.

On a side note, I DID finish adding the borders to my Serene Garden quilt top and it is now temporarily hanging in the quilt shop for class sign-ups this Saturday.  I will need to finish quilting and binding it soon but didn't have time to do everything by Saturday. :)

What have you been up to these last few days?

Monday, January 5, 2015

New Year, New Projects, New Furniture

Hopefully everyone had a wonderful New Year's Day. We had a nice, low-key day....a much needed restful day.

Did you make any resolutions?  I'm not typically someone who declares specific resolutions but I do find myself thinking of some ideas I'd like to see take place in the new year.

1.  Completely finish more UFO's.  To tell the truth, I'm impressed with all the projects I DID finish completely during 2014, both brand new projects and UFO's that have been piling up waiting on a few (or many) final touches.  I hope to continue this trend in 2015.  It really is a good feeling to see your projects completed and ready to use or gift to that special loved one.

2.  Shop more from my own stash.  In a perfect world I'd like to only buy what is needed to finish a project (and really limit those "gotta have additions to my existing stash").  I didn't do a terrible job of this in 2014 but there is definitely room for improvement.  I really do need to limit my spending this new year. :)

3. I'd like to keep track of what I buy plus keep a count of yardage that is used.  The goal is to use more than I buy and if I use my stash more, then the numbers should look good at the end of 2015.

The first project for this year is something I designed myself using the Learning Curve Ruler.  I'm calling it Serene Garden and it will be offered as a one day class at the shop where I now work part-time.  Prior to the new year, I only had 6 blocks made. Since Jan. 1st, I've finished the 25 needed blocks for a lap size quilt.

Here it is on my design wall prior to borders....

I'm currently in the process of adding two borders to make a finished size of 72" x 72". Details, including instructions will be shared in a future post.

Now to switch topics to furniture. Since the new year, we have added some much needed furniture.  We have been making do with very little for quite some time and I've been dreaming of one day having enough seats for our local "living close enough to drop by" family of five to sit in the same room at the same time. We have a local "scratch and dent" store that often has quality furniture offered at deep discounts. With a house full of dogs we know better than to spend a fortune on furniture. For New Year's they advertised a BOGO sale.  Although we didn't have room or really need two sofas....that's what my husband insisted on buying.  They don't match, but nothing in my home does anyway.  He first decided on this one for "him" has two manual recliners.  Not bad for $500 when it retailed in perfect condition for $1,800.

Now we were eligible for something FREE.  Ray then picks this one out for ME...because it has electric recliners....controlled with the touch of a button.

Remember me saying there really wasn't room for two sofas?  Remember Ray insisting there WAS room?

Well, technically there was room......just as long as we never use both of the recliners in MY sofa.  Hahaha. Oh well, they are both nice and comfortable regardless.

I better scoot and finish those borders.....until next time....

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Displayed At Local Quilt Shop

I'm not accustomed to seeing my own quilts displayed anywhere except in my home so I was very excited to see them hanging at our local quilt shop.  I will be teaching a handful of classes from January through April, and these are samples for a couple of the upcoming classes.

The quilt above is my own design that I'm calling Concentric Illusion.  It is 70" x 70".  The walls at the shop are VERY tall.

Closer view....

The second quilt is called Mesmerize and will be nice for new quilters.  I didn't design it of course so students will need to purchase this pattern.

I also have a set of placemats on display for another class using a published pattern called Take Four.   I didn't take a picture of them. :)

Currently I'm hard at work trying to complete a new design of my own using the Learning Curve Ruler that I'm calling Serene Garden for a fourth class to be offered.  Once I have the quilt put together I'll share it with you.  The open house, meet the teachers/sign up for classes day will be in early January so I've got a deadline. The holidays have made it difficult to keep up with all I need to finish.

Last but not least, I've also designed a block of the month that will be demonstrated the first Saturday of each month beginning in February.  I think I will call it the Saturday Sawtooth Sampler since all the blocks will be a different variation of the sawtooth block.

Have you ever heard the saying "the faster I go, the behinder I get"?  Well, that's exactly how I'm feeling right now.

Thankfully we did get our little Christmas tree put up last week.  Here are a few pictures of my youngest and her best friend (her 11 year old Miniature Schnauzer) having fun posing....

Wishing you plenty of time to finish those Christmas gifts!  Some of mine are going to be late this year.  Some how I lost all track of time and December was here before I was ready.

Until next time....