Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs is hosting a Best of 2020 Linky Party, inviting bloggers to highlight their top five posts of the year. It’s a fun way to look back over the last 12 months and identify some of the high points. (And wouldn’t we all much rather dwell on the high points of 2020 than the low points?!)
My top five are below, in reverse order. Clicking on the links will take you to the original posts.
5. Uptown Funk. My version of Dresden Neighborhood by Kim Lapacek of Persimon Dreams. It was so much fun to make!
4. Something in Red: New Oven Mitts. Every oven mitt I’ve tried on in a store has been oversized, and every tutorial I’ve found online has included a pattern that’s too big. What’s a quilter to do? Why, make her own, of course! I just started making oven mitts in December and am still tweaking my process but I plan to offer my own tutorial and free pattern in early 2021.
2. Love Rocks. All You Need Is Love, made using the Love Rocks pattern and alphabet (both contained in Sew Kind of Wonderful’s latest book, Text Me) and the Wonder Curve ruler.
1. Scattered Stars, an original design using a block first seen in Jenifer Gaston’s quilt Churning Stars.
Thank you so much for checking out my “top five” blog posts. If you’re a blogger, you can join Cheryl’s party, too. The link is open until January 2. Be sure to check out the top five posts of the other quilting/blogging partygoers — and prepare to be inspired!
Do you ever buy a piece of fabric that you have no idea what to do with but you just know you have to have it? A couple years ago I was in a quilt shop in Bend, Oregon and spotted a succulent print in greens from the “Canyon” line designed by Kate Spain for Moda. I had to have some!
It sat on a shelf in my sewing room cabinet until a few weeks ago when I pulled it out to make this test block from a new pattern by Margot Languedoc called Pretty Little Baskets:
The pattern is definitely on my “to do” list but I only made one block with that fabric.
Then very recently Sew Kind of Wonderful released a new pattern called Curvy Bow Tieusing the new Wonder Curve Ruler and I used a bit more of the fabric to make this test block:
Such a cute block but I wondered if the fabric would look better as the background of the block rather than the focal point. I made another block to see:
Oh yes, I like that better. But I’m not ready to make an entire quilt out of it just yet. (I love the Curvy Bow Tie pattern, though, and do plan to make a quilt when I’ve decided on a color scheme.)
What I really wanted to do with that fabric was make a pair of pillowcases for the Portland White House (using my own tutorial). So I did:
And I used some scraps to try out a new mask tutorial:
Now I can’t stop thinking of ways to use this fabric. Wouldn’t it make a great camp shirt?
I made a serendipitous discovery today when making the label for All You Need Is Love, my latest quilt. Before I explain, let me show you a few photos of the quilt taken outdoors this afternoon. The photos are so much better than the indoor shots I showed you in my last post. I’m especially loving the contrast between the red of the quilt and the green of the grass:
Did you happen to notice the label in the lower left corner in the photo above?
No? How about in the photo below, showing the front of the quilt with one corner turned back?
It’s not very noticeable, is it? That was my goal!
Here’s a close-up:
The label contains important information: the name of the quilt, who designed it, who made it, where it was made, who quilted it, and the year it was finished. But I wanted the label to take a back seat to the message on the back of the quilt.
To achieve that I did three things: printed the label from my computer so that I could use smaller letters than I can comfortably write by hand; used red ink, which blends into the background better than black ink would; and reduced the size of my circle pattern from my usual measurement of 4⅝” in diameter (the width of a compact disc) to 3¾” in diameter . The quilt finishes at 38″ x 44″ so a smaller label was definitely called for.
This is my second experience printing a label using my inkjet printer. The first time was a few months ago when I made the label for Give Me the Simple Life. The procedure was pretty straightforward. You start with label fabric and freezer paper that are both cut larger than a standard piece of paper, press the shiny side of the freezer paper to the wrong side of the label fabric, and trim the result very carefully to exactly 8½” x 11″. You create a label on your computer, determining the font and point size based on the desired finished size of your label. You insert the fabric/freezer paper combo into your printer and print the label.
When I tried this the first time I found I had to use two layers of freezer paper to get my printer to accept the combo and even then it was a bit temperamental, jamming my printer a couple of times until I got the the result I wanted.
I would have followed the same procedure this time but for my concern that the bright little flowers on my background fabric would show through the white label fabric. I was using the same white fabric for the back of the label but I wanted an extra layer in the middle to make sure those bright little flowers stayed hidden.
I decided to try fusing featherweight interfacing to the back of my label fabric before pressing it to one layer of freezer paper. I’m so glad I did! The interfacing gave the fabric just the right amount of body to feed smoothly through my printer. Serendipity!
I previewed my label first on paper using two different shades of red:
The bottom red was a better match with the red in the quilt. Next I printed the label on my fabric/interfacing/freezer paper combo:
The ink on fabric wasn’t quite as bright as the ink on paper but would certainly be fine for my purpose.
After determining a circle 3¾” in diameter would work well as a finished label size (based on the width of the longest line), I wandered around my kitchen opening cupboard doors until I found something just the right size to trace around for the back of the label:
In the next photo the fabric for the back of the label is on top of the label fabric, right sides together and pinned in place. You can just make out the printing on the label through the top layer:
After stitching all the way around the circle (taking out the pins as I come to them) and trimming very close to the stitched edge with pinking shears, I cut a slit in the back of the label so it can be turned inside out:
With the label turned, pressed, and hand appliquéd in place, the slit in the back will never be seen. And I’m very happy with the result:
I have a feeling I will be using this method on future labels!
May I present my latest quilt finish? It’s called All You Need Is Love based on the pattern Love Rocks from the new book Text Me from Sew Kind of Wonderful:
The book features several sizes of alphabets made using Sew Kind of Wonderful’s new Wonder Curve ruler. I like to piece the backs of my quilts so I decided to have some fun with the alphabet and carry a message from the front of the quilt to the back:
My little quilt — 38″ x 44″ — sports an edge-to-edge quilting design. I wanted something modern and was attracted to this design that looks a bit like doodling:
“Modern Ties” is a whimsical design that offers a pleasing counterpoint to the precision of the letters. Sherry Wadley did such a nice job on this for me. The quilting enhances the design of the quilt without overpowering it, just the effect I was going for.
A lot of quilters I know don’t enjoy binding their quilts but I do. Stitching down the binding on this quilt was a breeze both because the quilt is small and because I used a nifty little “sticky thimble” to push the needle through the fabric:
The thimble is called a Poke-a-Dot — how cute is that? — and comes in a little round tin containing 24 dots. Each thimble can be used multiple times so I probably have a lifetime supply. I could have ordered just the small tin of Poke-A-Dots but I treated myself to a bigger tin — the full Appliqué Set from Jillily Studio — several weeks ago:
Having learned how to do needleturn appliqué last year in the making of Give Me the Simple Life, I’m interested in learning other approaches. And I do confess that the tin this appliqué set comes in influenced my decision to purchase it. (This is not a paid endorsement, by the way; I just happen to like these products.)
Another confession: I jumped the gun in showing you my latest quilt. It’s not quite finished. Still to come: the label.
All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need.
— the Beatles (1967)
When I made my Love Rocks quilt top a couple weeks ago using Sew Kind of Wonderful’s design from the new book Text Me, I decided I wanted to put a message on the back. Of course, it took me much longer to piece the back of the quilt than it did the front. The individual letters on the back range from 6″ to 9″ tall and are made from blocks that finish at 1½” square.
I still have to add borders to the back but here’s a collage photo showing you both sides:
You may remember I was using a positive/negative print from Riley Blake Fabrics (“Blossom” by Christopher Thompson) when working on the top:
After finishing the top I needed more of both fabrics so I went back to cool cottons, one of the best quilt shops in Portland, for more. There was plenty of the red print in stock but the background fabric was gone. Look what I found instead:
The very same “Blossom” print in the colors of the rainbow!
Nope. What I have here is a short stack of curves, ready to sew into letters for a message on the back of my Love Rocks quilt:
The markings on the new Wonder Curve Ruler from Sew Kind of Wonderful make it easy to cut the curves. Once I’ve sewn and pressed the curves, I’ll trim the resulting blocks into 2″ squares and sew those blocks together to form letters that will be 9″ tall when finished.
Tall letters from a short stack. And I’ll have to cut several more stacks of curves to have enough blocks for the simple message I have in mind.
The pattern is Love Rocks, from the brand new book Text Me by those talented sisters at Sew Kind of Wonderful. The curves were made with the Wonder Curve Ruler, also by Sew Kind of Wonderful, which made its debut last fall:
The book was just released at the end of January. Being a huge fan of Sew Kind of Wonderful’s other rulers and designs, I ordered Text Me as soon as it was available. And even though I couldn’t possibly justify starting a brand new project, I absolutely couldn’t wait to try out the new ruler and one of the designs in the book.
I already had the perfect fabric in my stash: a pair of positive/negative prints in red and white from the “Blossom” collection by Christopher Thompson for Riley Blake Fabrics. Here’s a close-up of the print:
To give you some perspective, the block above is 4″ square. The letters L, V, and E in my quilt top measure 17½” tall! The quilt finishes at 35″ x 40″. (Mine will be a little larger because I cut my borders a bit wider.)
Here’s a photo of the Love Rocks quilt on the back cover of Text Me:
As you can see, I reversed the red and white fabrics in my version. Doesn’t have to be red and white, of course. Wouldn’t it be a darling baby quilt in just about any combination of fabric and colors?
The book has instructions for making letters and numbers in three different sizes. Also included are directions for five quilts plus two bonus quilts made with leftover blocks. And there are 16 fun emoji blocks. The sisters even included an alphabet made from half square triangles (HSTs) in case you want to create letters without sewing curves.
Gosh, my post sounds like a commercial endorsement, doesn’t it? I’m not being sponsored by Sew Kind of Wonderful. I just love their designs and enjoy sewing curves using their rulers and no-pin method of sewing them.
And I have an idea in mind for the back of my quilt that may just involve some letters . . . and maybe an emoji . . .