Thursday, February 28, 2013

Coordinated Disney Shirts Custom Made

Our winter survival plan for this year
included a planned 3-day trip to Disneyland with our four grandkids
and their parents (our daughter Kenzie and son-in-law Mikey).
We endured the extra snowy January and blowy-cold February in Utah,
and finally the time came to drive to Anaheim.
Imagine our delight as we gathered in newly unlocked hotel rooms
to be presented with colorful, "matching" tee-shirts
to wear during our outing the next day.

Imaginative Kenzie had re-created the recognizable 
three-circle mouse head, then adorned them with various head gear. 

Cut from heat-transfer velour, these flourishes were added to upper chest, with our individual letter "ID' on a sleeve. Here you see the two that came home with me: "Gramps" and "Nana Jo".

Check the Snapdragon Snippets online store Silhouette offerings for the head and hat shapes. 

Kenzie says she searched for a Disney font face online, downloaded and set up the names specifically for this project.

Thanks, Kenzie, for all the fun, 
and the great surprise fashion wear, too!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

March On the Docket Piecing Tutorial

This tutorial will demonstrate the machine paper foundation piecing that creates the center panel of this March mini banner quilt from the Spring title in the 
"On the Docket" series by Hearthsewn patterns.
 (Visit the website for purchasing information.)

Other finishing steps can be found on this blog, including tips for home machine quilting at the tutorial for the February On the Docket: Quilting & Finishing tutorial post.

 Piecing begins with Sections 1-3 for the shamrock. Make a photocopy of the sections on reg. weight paper. Trim scant 1/8" beyond OUTER solid "final trim" line.

Use a folding strip (like a bookmark or postcard) laid along each of the 3 interior solid lines to fold the paper foundation PRINT to PRINT sides. Fold on all interior lines.

Identify patch #1, the solid seam lines that will define it's final shape, and the fabric color to be used.

Use fabric glue stick (or equivalent) to adhere the BACKSIDE of the paper to the BACKSIDE of the indicated fabric.

 Once secured in place on the fabric, fold the foundation back along each INTERIOR line that bounds it and trim 1/4" BEYOND the folded edge.

NOTE: Oversize patches can be cut for this positioning, at this step and throughout. For this tutorial, a kit was used, so the patches will be positioned at the edge of the fabric section, then trimmed to size and stitched (or stitched, then trimmed).
 Here you can see Patch #1 in place from the FRONT of the piecing. (The printed side of  Section 1 is now on the underside of the paper section being held.)

Note that the fabric was trimmed approx. 1/4" BEYOND the outer two edges of the section.

From the section front side, identify the next patch to be added, patch #2. Note the fabric color to be added, and also the solid line that connects the two, which is the TARGET stitching line.  

Fold the paper section back on the TARGET seam line.

From the paper backside, other creases will help you see the reversed patch #2 shape. (I have outlined these with ink for visibility in the photos.)

Position the folded section as shown over the green fabric (FACE UP on the mat), placing near the corner for efficient use of the fabric, and also with the 1/4" trimmed edge near fold even with cut edge of green fabric. (NOTE that the two fabrics to be joined are now RIGHT sides together as in conventional piecing.)

 Carefully unfold the paper without allowing any position shift.

Re-identify the target seamline. Lift and carry the layers to the sewing machine.
Adjust machine stitches shorter than regular piecing - about half length, to around 12 stitches per inch.

Begin the seam 2 stitches BEFORE the actual line (no backstitching needed). Stitch exactly on the line.

Stitch off the paper edge to complete the seam. (If this seam would be crossed by a subsequently stitched seam, stitching would end 2 stitches beyond crossing line.)
Press back green fabric patch #2, working from the front of the work.

 Place the paper section with attached fabrics FACE DOWN on the cutting mat.

Fold back the paper on the other lines that define patch #2 and trim 1/4" beyond the folded edge.

This image shows the section folded along the #3 patch solid line, and . . . .
. . . this image shows the paper section folded along the #4 patch solid line.
Here you can see the "front" of the piecing with patches #1 and #2 in place.

Turn the work to the printed side and identify the next patch to be added, patch #3. Identify the TARGET stitching and folding line between the "new" patch to be added, and the patches that have already been added.

Fold the paper back along the TARGET line (remember, fold PRINT side to PRINT side each time).

From the backside, you can see the crease line (along with the fold edge and cut edges) that define patch #3. Position this shape over the FACE UP green fabric that was indicated as the one to be added. Again make sure that the fabric underneath completely surrounds the patch being added. 

The 1/4" cut edge from the previous patch trim step is aligned with the cut edge of the patch. 

Carefully unfold paper, lift and transport the layers to the sewing machine as before, and stitch. If the TARGET stitching line begins as the paper edge, start stitching there at the edge. Otherwise, stitch just 2 stitches before and after the actual ends of the line.
Press patch #3 back.

Turn the layers over with paper print side up. In sequence, fold back the paper on the line(s) that define patch #3 shape (this time only ONE line) and trim 1/4" beyond the paper fold.

(See the next image for this trim step.)

The paper is folded along the #4 patch line and trimmed 1/4" beyond paper crease.

After this trim, trim away excess green fabric just beyond the section trimmed edges.

Now the process is repeated for patch #4.

Here you can see the paper folded back along the #4 line, that shape is positioned over the yellow fabric identified on the printed side of the section, with trimmed #3 edge aligned at yellow cut edge.

Follow the previous routine to unfold, transport and stitch exactly on the line. Since this is the final patch of the section, the line extends from paper cut edge to cut edge. Therefore, the stitching is completed by stitching ON to the section, along the line, then OFF the section.

Press, then trim excess yellow just beyond paper cut edges.

Section 1 at top; Section 2 lower right; Section 3 left
With all fabrics in place, place the section FABRIC side down on cutting mat. Carefully position rotary cutting ruler edge ON the outer solid trim lines, one by one, and cut through paper and fabric layers.

Here you can see all shamrock layers trimmed and positioned for the shamrock section. Carefully remove paper from each one, working from HIGH number to LOW. Lay out your shamrock as shown. Identify the edges to join between #1 & #2, lay the sections RIGHT sides together, then stitch with a regular length stitch 1/4" seam, edge to edge (conventional seam). Press seam to one side, then join 3 and press

Section 4 is creased, then perforations added to show shamrock placement from backside. This time, I used an unthreaded sewing machine to perforate, but an easier way is to use a large needle or push pin. You may need only mark the corners and valleys with 3-5 pokes.

This will help with the positioning of the shamrock onto the paper.

Begin the positioning by laying the BACK side of the pieced shamrock over the BACK side of the paper. Adjust the position so that the defining green edges line up with the perforated guidelines as much as possible. Check to make sure that the fabric edges are approx. 1/4" beyond the creases defining the center patch, then use glue stick to attach. (This is much like the positioning of patch #1 on a regular section.)

Now repeat the piecing process to add Section 4's patches #2 thru #4 as has been done previously. (Adjust machine stitching shorter as before.)

Here you see patch #2 folded back (ink outlined) and positioned over the yellow background fabric.

Position, unfold paper, stitch (2 stitches before and 2 stitches after line ends), press, trim, and so forth for each of patches 2-4.

 Next to be added are the narrow rust strips 5-8. These two photos show patch strip #6 being added.

Because the strips here are "pre-cut" and narrow, it was helpful to use straight pins to hold the layers in place after positioning and while transporting to the sewing machine.

Here you can see the progress with all patches through #8 in place.

The final piecing involves the outer background shapes 9-12. Fold the paper back and position over the fabric as before.
Locate the "square" (right angle) corners of the panel rectangle (see photo). Position this folded-back shape over the fabric so that each of the two edges coming into the corner are in line with the fabric (underneath) grainlines. This may override the cut edge-to-cut edge beyond the paper fold placement that has been part of the process up 'til now.

Transfer the tail guide line to the front side. You can do this by using a light box or window BEFORE the paper is removed. Or you can use the section of paper as a template as shown here AFTER it is removed (shown left). Cut on the dashed tail lines but leave a little bit attached, turn the paper shape over, align corners at lower right, then fold away the paper and trace the paper edge with temporary marking tool (shown right). Also mark the dots for bow positions.

Follow instructions to cut three 18" lengths of green 6-ply floss. Use darning needle to thread ends through to backside at kite bottom point (either all at once, or one by one). On the backside, tie all three ends together in a large knot (so it won't pull through to front).

On the front, braid the three floss strings snugly (not loopy) until there is about 10" braided. It may be helpful to pin the banner top to an ironing board so it will offer  resistance.

Tie the three strings in a neat knot at the end of braiding to keep it from coming undone.

Trim then thread the three ends (or one by one) onto the darning needle again. Pierce through fabric at tail end point and pull through to backside until the end knot is snug to fabric on the front. Tie the ends into a knot against backside of fabric.

Position the braid over the guideline stitch in place with a single strand of matched floss. Anchor on the backside and use a 1/2" to 3/4" long back stitch. Complete curvy section and tie off thread. Re-attach and complete kite tip section and tie off. Allow the excess braid to loop away from the banner edge between the two sections.

This image shows what the backside of the braid knot, stitching thread knot and back stitch will look like.

Next follow the instructions to join the narrow and then wider borders to the center panel in sequence.

This image shows the narrow borders in place. You can see the excess loop of braid extending away from the center panel edge. Catching it in the seam this way should secure it from unraveling. For extra security, shorten machine stitch length, then re-stitch across the center of the seam including the braids.
Next is the kite string, which is added AFTER the borders and quilting is completed. (Pattern suggest the binding may be in place, too, but the images here are BEFORE the binding is done.)

Use a darning needle to add a length of cream perle cotton at top to bottom, and side to side points. Knot and tie these off separately on the backside. Then cut a 14" length,tie it at the intersection, then twist enough to reach side edge.

Lay across to right edge as shown here, pin in place, then use short length machine stitching to secure it in place. With this approach, the string thread ends will be caught in the binding seam, and an additional knot on the backside (or buried between the layers) can be eliminated.

(Refer to February On the Docket tutorial for ribbon positioning prior to binding.)

Cut and prepare the tail bows per pattern instructions. Here you can see (bottom) the rectangles of fabric, (center) folded, stitched and corner trimming - note a gap at the center is left open for turning, and (top) partially turned bow.

To attach each one by one, find the bow center, tie on and bury the knot of a matching length of thread, then cinch and wrap the thread around the center several times. Tie knot to secure cinching, BUT don't cut the thread. Instead, use it to secure the bow in place at marked dot on tail braid.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

March On the Docket - Quilts. Etc. Kit Swatch Chart

Please note that there are two yellow "kite background" cuts in the kit.
Use the long narrow strip to complete paper piecing of 3 shamrock sections.
Use the wider strip to complete the interior of the kite once the shamrock has been placed.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Two Quilts for Valentine's

"For there is nothing lost
But can be found
If sought"

These are the poet's words that inspired this special keepsake retainer wall quilt. Centerpiece over-sized crazy patch heart block has a Victorian flavor. Delicate lace and ribbon frame it up at the outer border. Trinkets and treasures galore have found refuge here: tiny framed picture of Great Grandma Caroline; lace scrap, silver buttons and a garter from Grandma Josephine's button box; a Beehive bus token & fabric scraps from a 50s "owl" print dress come from mother Helen; accent pins, tiny scissors, antique key, Paris metro tickets, pewter spoon, wedding bands. What a pleasure to bring it out and recall the tender relationships once again!

A whimsical quilt to display in February. 

Through twenty teaching years, my sampler demo blocks collected themselves into seven completed quilts, each with a color theme for varied times of the year. 

"Favorites" are to be discouraged of course, as between parent and child. Still, this one certainly feels successful. Perhaps that is built in for most samplers, in my estimation.

Released as commercial pattern "Needle Nosh Sampler", my favorite blocks include the twig wreath and the bear paw with fuchsia & black large check batik patches.

"Nothing Lost" was a featured project through House of White Birches' Creative Scrap Quilting series and may still be available through them ( 

"Needle Nosh Sampler" is available retail mail order through Hearthsewn (

Happy Valentine's Day! 2013

Friday, February 8, 2013

Valentine "Miscellany" Wreath

That "M" word in the title simply means...
"a whole bunch of my favorite things."
This time around, those include glittered mini heart accents, bottle cap lettering,
widely varied paper flowers, burlap and striped ribbon,
and a 3d hanging heart that got glittered at the same time that I did.
I even found a place for a fabric flower made for me by a
cherished sister-in-law.

Here you can see the "clustered" coffee filter rosettes being added to a fabric-wrapped straw wreath form. This time I chose unbleached instead of white filters to give my project a vintage look.

A closeup here shows the 3d hanging heart dangling inside the wreath's hollow.

Near the bottom is a darling skeleton key (one of my favorite symbols of love) created by Snapdragon Snippets. I cut and glued together 3 identical shapes to give it substance and strength.

"Starring" near the burlap and striped grosgrain bow is this wonderful damask cupid.
I added sewn tube loops of plaid print fabric to the bow, since I couldn't find those colors or that pattern available in commercial ribbon. 

These wreath projects are always so invigorating, because of the scope for creativity. My problem: I often plan too much into it, and find myself eliminating things in the assembly stage.

Happy Valentine's Day 2013!

Shapes used: 3d hanging heart, 2 short skeleton keys (from Snapdragon Snippets);
 valentine damask (cupid), miscellaneous hearts and flower or petal shapes, envelope.