Valentine’s Day Projects

I love to decorate for the holidays and Valentine’s Day is special to me because my anniversary falls so close to it. I bought a quilt kit a few years ago to make a Valentine’s wall hanging and I loved it so much, I bought another one to make for my mom plus more fabric to make a table runner and accesories. The quilt is called Flirt by Pieces From My Heart and it went together quickly because it uses a Moda panel for the center.

 

The kit came with 2 panels because you cut flowers out of the second panel to appliqué to the corners of the quilt.

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Next, I made a table runner. I didn’t use a published pattern but made my own. I cut the hearts using a Go Cutter and template then appliquéd them onto background fabric using a blanket stitch and matching thread.

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I pieced the first border of the runner to match the wall hanging and appliquéd a few extra hearts to the final border. It was quilted on my domestic sewing machine since it was a smaller project.

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Pic taken before adding final borders and appliqués

I also made a banner for my mantle using the party time font in Monogram Wizard Plus. I purchased the heart appliqué from Etsy and used sequined fabric for the center. I simply cut the desired size out of burlap and serged the edges using matching thread. I folded the tops over and stitched to make a sleeve to slide onto rope for hanging. I centered my letters and floated them on the stabilizer using a little basting spray to hold them in place.

 

To complete the decor, I made a mini quilt using scraps of leftover fabric. I had cut several different hearts for the table runner before deciding on the layout and design so I used the extras in the mini quilt. I also quilted it on my domestic sewing machine since it was so small.

 

Do I over decorate for the holidays? Probably… Do I love it? Absolutely!!

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Kitchen chalkboard

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Anniversary Trip

My husband and I celebrated 24 years of wedded bliss yesterday. We always go away for our anniversary and this year when he asked what I wanted to do, I could only think of 2 things… I wanted to visit our son who attends college out of state and stop by some of my favorite quilt shops! We started our trip off by visiting our son in Wake Forest N.C. We spent a couple of days with him and attended church with him on Sunday.

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Windy day

Afterwards, we headed to Gastonia N.C so I could go to one of my favorite stores, Mary Jo’s Cloth Store.

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This store has been around for many, many years and they have the largest selection of fabrics and notions that I have ever found in one place.

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We also visited another favorite; Foust Textiles, Inc. in Kings Mountain N.C.  They have the friendliest, most helpful staff of any place I have ever shopped. You have to be a professional with a tax ID number to shop here daily but they do offer a few days per year in which the warehouse is open to the public (check online for dates). You  have to purchase fabric by the bolt, they do not cut so it is a great place to purchase fabric for quilt backings!

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I bought 5 bolts of fabric, some thread and a roll of king sized batting. I also purchased a bolt of woven stabilizer because I use this on all of my customer t-shirt and memory quilts.

I’m also in the market for a new longarm machine. I want a computerized machine that has more bells and whistles than the one I currently own. I looked at the new Babylock Regalia but it wasn’t set up for sewing yet so I will have to go back and try it out another time.

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The table is adjustable which I love because I am tall, 5’9 to be exact! It has a 20″ throat space which means I will be losing 2″ from my current set up, but with all of the added features I probably wouldn’t miss them. I’m determined NOT to buy the first machine that I love but to try out everything in my price range! This will be a test of patience for me because I did that with the machine I currently have and  found out later I could have gotten a lot more bang for my buck if I had shopped around. I have 3 quilt shows on my schedule to attend in the next month so hopefully I will be able to narrow down my choices soon! I’m thankful for a husband who supports me and doesn’t mind hanging out in quilts shops on our anniversary!

Side Clamps for Longarm Quilting

I get excited when I find something great for a good price! I have been searching for the perfect side clamps for my longarm without having to spend a small fortune. After trying out every kind imaginable, I decided to order the Red Edge clamps from Nancy’s Notions. I wasn’t happy about spending over $50 on simple, plastic clamps though. I searched Amazon to see if I could find them cheaper and came across some interesting chip clips that I decided to give a try first.  They are called OXO Good Grips and cost $5.99 for 2 clips. I have tried chip clips in the past but these were different because they have rubber strips on the inside to help keep them from slipping.

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My machine has a 22″ throat space so I ordered 2 clips for each side. Each clip is 6″ wide so I space them out accordingly. Since 4 of these clips were about 1/4  of the cost of the Red Edge clamps ($11.98 plus free Prime shipping) I figured if they didn’t work I could use them in the kitchen. Clamps I have used previously have either been too hard to open, or they slip off of the quilt edges because they don’t close tight enough. These open very easily but don’t slip due to the rubber grips!

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I attached them to the velcro straps on the machine temporarily to be sure they would work but today I am going to sew them on permanently. I’m happy my search is finally over!

 

Convex Illusions

I love taking quilt classes and I’ve taken a lot of them over the years. Most of the time I could have made the quilt without the class but I continue to take them because I enjoy spending time with other quilters and always learn something new. The class I completed yesterday was no exception. The quilt we made is called Convex Illusions by Kathleen Andrews.

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This quilt has challenged me on many levels, most importantly, patience and organization. Every piece has to be carefully numbered and laid out correctly or a mistake is inevitable. Also, the seams have to be perfect (1/4” and alignment) or you won’t get the 3D effect in the center of the quilt.

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I’m sure a lot of you can relate to this problem!

The class was a 2 day class, with a week between each one. We started the center on the first day and finished it for homework.

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We completed the rest of the blocks in the next class and began putting it together. I only lacked adding the final 4 corners but the class ended before I could get them sewn on.

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Completed in the second day of class

I woke up at the crack of dawn this morning wanting to finish this quilt. The most difficult part of the entire process were the appliqué corners. To give the quilt the appearance of floating on the background, triangle corners have to be appliquéd to the next pieces added. It can be done by hand or machine and I chose to do it by machine with a small blanket stitch. You have to sew the border in place leaving the appliqué section un-sewn. The reason for the difficulty is there are so many seams that it was hard to make it lay square while stitching and lay flat when done. Using a square ruler, I made a chalk outline of where it needed to be placed and that helped. Then I put a few dots of glue to keep it from shifting while sewing. Before sewing, I turned the edges under with a narrow fusible hem tape to hold them down and keep the fabric edges from unraveling.

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Border sewn on leaving the piece to be appliquéd.

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The pattern recommends cutting away the extra fabric after appliquéing the corners. The sticky, white residue is leftover glue.

I probably wouldn’t have attempted to make this quilt without the help of someone who had made it previously. The class was a lot of fun and the instructor was terrific. I’m very happy with the finished result and I can’t wait to get it quilted (another story) and hang it in my entrance foyer. I’ve been trying to push myself out of my comfort zone and make quilts that are more challenging and this one definitely fit that description.

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Finished quilt top measures 60″x60″

Design Wall

I have been quilting for over 13 years and have never used a design wall. I have always arranged my quilts by laying the blocks on the floor and although that works well, I can’t leave them there because my dog or cats will be all over them. I have been working on a test quilt for a pattern designer since October and it is very aggravating to lay it out and pick up constantly. I decided it was time for a design wall. I went to Lowes and bought 2- 4’x8’ pieces of thick foam board. I covered the boards with batting and attached them to the wall with mounting tape.

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I still have a lot of work to do on the quilt and it nearly filled the new design wall so it needed to be larger. Back to Lowes I went for 2 more pieces of foam board. My wall is now 16 feet across and 8 feet tall. It is large enough that I can put blocks for multiple quilts on it which is really nice!

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Four quilts I’m currently working on

It doesn’t look great but it is very functional and since no one sees my sewing room but me it’s fine. I’m sure I’ll still use the floor occasionally but it will be nice not to have to crawl around on my hands and knees arranging blocks all the time!

Quilted Three Fabric Bargello

 

I finally quilted my 3 fabric bargello quilt top. I have been wanting to quilt it for several weeks but couldn’t decide what design to stitch on it. Since I don’t have a computer on my long arm and my free-motion skills are pretty limited, I settled on a flame design. It was perfect and really compliments the pattern! IMG_1675

This was a little out of my comfort zone, I usually do an edge to edge meander on my tops but it was actually very simple. Since this throw is for my husband, I think the flames give it a masculine touch. It was fun trying something new and hopefully it will motivate me to try some other designs I’ve been practicing on paper.

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Before binding

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New Hobby!

I finally got to play with my Christmas present this morning. My husband bought me a heat press for Christmas and I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time to mess with it.

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Heat press purchased from Amazon and can be found here.

My daughter in law has a vinyl business and I am in awe of some of the things she creates! This is one of the quickest and easiest projects I have ever made. First, I used the Silhouette software that came free with the vinyl cutter and typed in my favorite verse. I used the Airplanes in the Sky font which was a free download from dafont.com.

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The software reminds you to ‘mirror image’ the design before cutting which is nice!

When the vinyl cutting was complete, I had to ‘weed’ the excess vinyl from the transfer sheet.

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Silhouette Cameo was also purchased from Amazon and it can be found here.

Then I used the press for 30 seconds to press it to the shirt. Finally,  I gently removed the transfer sheet and my shirt was finished!

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The process took about 10 minutes from start to finish and the majority of the time was spent weeding the vinyl. I pressed a large wrinkle onto the shirt so I’ll have to be careful to smooth the next one out before pressing. Since it’s a running tank it will be washed many times and it will go away when washed. I’m so excited to have found a fun, new hobby and I look forward to making lots of gifts!