Saturday, September 19, 2009

Halloween Project I

Get an early start on a quick Halloween project!

This fast and easy wallhanging was mystery quilt 3 on Quilting Passion. There are many examples of finished projects so to give you an idea of how to begin yours. There are several options available; keep it simple or add more dimension.

Should you decide to make this project, please provide a finished photograph so that I can add it to my gallery? It would be greatly appreciated!

Also, be on the lookout for more Halloween (and non-Halloween) projects before the end of October!

All comments and/or suggestions are greatly appreciated!

Friday, September 11, 2009

September Door Decor

Well, the day is almost over and I removed my 09/11 quilted door decors and replaced it with September. The photo shown is as you come up onto my front porch.

The no-sew applique instructions done in the top placemat are found in the article directly beneath this one. The bottom placemat was one that I purchased already appliqued.

September Project of the Month


Each month, I am going to try to provide a quick and easy project. There will sometimes be options available for the projects and one can make these as simple, or complex, as time and energy allows. Some of these projects (such as this one!) would make an inexpensive, but very cute, gift.

The project of the month (POM) for September is a "September" wallhanging. It is simple, fast, and inexpensive! This project costs about $5 and took me about 20 minutes. It is important to note that this no-sew appliqué project is highly adaptable to any season, holiday, month, or occasion. The fabric does most of the work!

This summer, a deck was built across the front of my home and each month I hang some type of "quilt" (loosely used!) to the right of my front door (and sometimes the left, if I need the room!). This can easily be seen when anyone comes to my door and it serves as a "welcome" greeting. I change, what I call "the door decor", my quilt on the first day of each month.

The September door decor can easily be made with no sewing! If you choose, however, you could finish it off by either hand- or machine-appliqué. I am choosing not to sew mine for several reasons. Why would I choose not to finish mine off by sewing? 1) Because of its location, it is subject to the elements of the weather, so I do not want to invest a lot of time, energy, and money on something that I do not yet know how long will last (time will tell!), 2) Because I make several of these and the less I have to do, the better!, and 3) I plan on using this same project for October by utilizing the back side of the finished wallhanging. I also save my sewing time for higher priority projects.

Read through this project before beginning! I learned a few things as my first project went along and share them throughout this page.

Supplies needed for this project are (I have about $5-$6 invested in each of mine):

1) Sewing supplies (needle, thread, scissors, etc.).
2) 1 large bow (either handmade or purchased; mine is purchased and has fall leaves and colors on it).
3) 1 placemat, any color that you want for "September" to represent. My placemat came pre-quilted, and it did effect the wallhanging, somewhat. Since you will be ironing on fusible webbing, the appliqué does not adhere as well if there is a texture (I really pressed all of the nooks and crannies to make sure it stuck). If you plan on sewing (appliquéing) the things onto your quilt, then the texture would need to be considered for your hands or sewing machine. It is also important that the placemat be able to withstand heat, since you will be ironing the surface of it. Mine is also forest green.
4) 1/8 (or less!) yard of a fabric that says "September" (either fall or school-related). This fabric should have a smaller-scale print, if any. Mine is of fall leaves.
5) 1/8 (or less!) yard of a second fabric that says "September" to you. This fabric should have a large-scale print (you can "fussy cut" it). Mine is a geometric design with sunflowers.
6) Some type of double-sided fusible webbing (about 1/2 yard will do... if you have leftover, you can use it for October!).
7) The "September" appliqué pattern (or you can print off one using a different font). The pattern provided disappointed me when placed upon my project. It is too hard to read, and in the future, I will probably use a different font for the months/words that have quite a few letters of the alphabet.

To make the project:

1) Trace the pattern onto the paper side of the fusible webbing.
2) Press the fusible webbing pattern onto the WRONG side of the smaller-scale fabric. Mine is a fabric with small-scale fall leaves on it.
3) Cut each letter of "September" out carefully.
4) Roughly plan your layout for the project. I am placing my bow in the top, left corner and the lettering scattered horizontally along the placemat. The longest parts of the placemat are the top and bottom of your project, by the way.
5) Once you get an idea of the layout, you'll then know how much of the second, large-scale, fabric to use. "Fussy cut" motifs or patterns from this fabric. Mine is a coordinating fabric to the first, with fall leaves and sunflowers. Mine also has geometric designs (squares) surrounding the sunflowers and this looked perfect for me to use. Cut enough to satisfy the layout.
6) Follow the directions on the fusible webbing to press all of the fabric pieces into place. The bow goes on last, however, I simply laid it in place while I adjusted the other pieces to get an overall idea of what the finished project would look like.
7) At this point, you can choose to appliqué these pieces, by either hand or machine, in place if you want.
8) Attach the bow! Mine is pinned on from the back using a safety pin. That way, I can reuse this bow in October and November.

Since mine is outside, I merely use small tacks to attach it to the house. This would easily hang indoors using straight pins. You could also attach ribbons to the ends and the middle or sew on hanging rings.

Voilà! The project is finished.

I certainly hope that you enjoy making this one. I would love photos to share if you do! Thank you!

This project can be found in its entirety on Quilting Passion. All comments and/or suggestions are greatly appreciated. Also, I would love to have a photo of this project finished, if you would like to share!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Recycled Pillowcase Apron Project

My aunt Fern dearly loves making aprons! At our family reunion tonight, I was honored by her gifting me with a handmade apron made from a vintage pillowcase. As she described her sewing project, how fast and easy it was, it dawned on me that this would make a great project. So, without further ado, here are the instructions!

NOTE: The length of the ties and the width of the pillowcase may vary, dependent upon the size/build of the person that is going to be wearing it. Make allowances as needed.

* 1 pillowcase (the photo shown above is of an old pillowcase that my aunt purchased at a yard sale for a quarter!),
* 1 washcloth (new or used!),
* 2 strips of pillowcase (use several to piece into this measurement, if needed) that measures approximately 2.5" x 26". These are the ties.
* 1 strip of the pillowcase (use several to piece into this measurement, if needed) that measures approximately 3" x 20". This is the waistband.
* General sewing supplies, i.e. thread, sewing machine, iron, scissors, etc.

First, cut a corner off of the washcloth. Measure in from the outside corner approximately 4.5" - 5" from both directions and cut off the triangle formed. (You can wait to do this later if you're unsure about how much you want to cut off.)

Second, remove the side and bottom seams from the pillowcase. If you are lazy like me, I would simply cut it, instead of removing the stitches. :)

Third, note that in the photo above, the TOP of the pillowcase is the BOTTOM of the apron. That hem is already sewn for you, so all that needs done is to trim the pillowcase. Trim to approximately (see the note above) 19" x 38". This allows for 1/4" seam allowances. I might mention that my apron is quite wide. I wear a size 10, but it would even fit a plus size.

Fourth, turn each of the sides under (twice, so as to have pretty hem with no fraying) and topstitch into place.

Fifth, take one of the pieces of fabric to be used for a tie and fold it in half with wrong sides together, lengthwise. Stitch 1/4" across the short end and around the long edge. Be sure to leave one end open! Do this for both ties. Turn the "tubes" right side out and press.

Sixth, take the waistband fabric and fold it in half with wrong sides together, lengthwise. Lay a tie at each end (with the unfinished edge of the tie on the waistband), being very careful that when you turn it back to the right side, that the tie is going to be going in the direction opposite of the waistband! Stitch 1/4" across each of the ends. Leave the length open, at this point. Turn it right side out and press. It is a good idea, at this point, to go ahead and press the 1/4" seams flat across the width, even though it is not yet sewn. This makes it easier to attach to the apron when the time comes. You should have a semi-finished waistband with the ties that is pretty long! If it is short, check the direction those ties are going.

It is important to note here that perfection is not expected. If the waistband is a tad wider than the tie, no one will call the sewing police. And if the recipient of the gift complains, take it back and give it to someone who appreciates it!

Seventh, baste a "gathering" stitch across the raw edge (the top of the apron) approximately 1/4" in. Gather this to approximately 19" wide (which is about one-half of the width of the bottom of the apron).

Eighth, take the raw edge (with the triangle cut off) of the washcloth and sew it with a 1/4" seam onto the apron (on top of the gathers). Measure approximately 4" in from the outer edge of the apron for placement.

Ninth, carefully "snug" the gathered edge of the apron up into the "pressed under, open" seam of the waistband. Pin this in place. Either topstitch it down or whipstitch it in place (mine is hand-whip stitched!).

Voila! The apron is finished.

Please keep in mind that the measurements given are only suggestions and that adjustments should be made based upon who is going to be wearing it. Also keep in mind that I did not make this apron; merely took notes as my aunt described the process. So, if you find an error, please
notify me
as soon as possible!

This project can be found in its entirety on Quilting Passion. All comments and/or suggestions are greatly appreciated. Also, I would love to have a photo of this project finished, if you would like to share!

Remembering 09/11/01

In preparation for 09/11/09, I plan on honoring those who lost their lives in 2001 with the World Trade Center tragedy. I will replace my fall yard flag with the American flag, and will also hang my paper-pieced flag quilt beside my front door. The pattern for this small, quick, and easy project is located at:

What, if anything will you be doing?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The History of Planning a Quilt

Wow, talk about an article opening up a Pandora's Box! This stage of the quiltmaking process is extremely important both today and years gone by. Do it thoroughly and the rewards are so satisfying and unimaginable. Rush the planning and not thinking it through can prove utterly disastrous. And devastating. So great care should be given to the planning of a quilt. This was especially true in the past, which is the focus of this article. While there are many ideas that are still good, it is easy to see that some of the techniques and methods used are now outdated, tedious, and made much simpler via the utilization of modern technology.

Have you ever built a new house? Or remodeled? Or redecorated a room? Much thought is given to the end result. How everything is placed is vital to your plan and, hopefully, well thought out. Once the project is finished, you more than likely thought, "I wish I had put that there and this over here..." and on... and on... and on! It is inevitable: Experiencing the process makes one wiser! I have been blessed in that I have had the privilege of building four homes. I would like to say that it was perfect, but, alas, they were not. I designed each and every one of them and yet at the end, I discovered ways that I could have improved my design (my builders hated me, as I would change plans during construction). With each experience, however, I became wiser. Now I sit in my fourth home and see a couple of things I wish I had done differently, but overall, most of it was planned according to prior knowledge gained.

The same can be said of quilting, past and present. And a plan that works for one person may not necessarily work for another. It may look appealing when you decide to copy (legally, of course) a pattern, but once finished, you may realize that the colors just do not fit your style or purpose. So part of this learning process is in discovering your own personal tastes and being able to adapt your own style into your planning. Learning this valuable lesson can be a useful tool in preventing any disappointments in the finished product. It simply takes too long, too much energy, and too much expense to haphazardly complete a quilt.

Several considerations were given to the planning of a quilt long ago: Purpose, Size, Color(s), Layout, Borders, Technique(s), and the Quilting. To read more detail about each of these, please read this article in its entirety at Quilting Passion.

Comments, suggestions, ideas, and thoughts are greatly appreciated!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Enjoy The Day!

"This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." - Psalms 118:24

http://barrysclipart.comAs we celebrate today, let us bask in the wonder of the day and be thankful that God has been merciful in providing us this marvellous (Verse 23), blessed day!

Find "Our Daily Inspiration" on Facebook and become a fan or follow the blog for more detailed commentary. Your support is greatly appreciated!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

White Quilts

"White quilts" are splendidly rich in historical value!

But first, what is a white quilt? It is just what its name indicates: A white quilt. A quilt that is void of any color. It is often interchangeably referred to as a "whole cloth quilt", but sometimes when this term is applied, it has the potential to be misleading, because it can include color. The characteristic that both terms have in common is that the outer layer is a white, whole (not patched) cloth.

During the reign of Queen Anne (Queen of England/Great Britain, lifespan 1665-1714), there were many utterly exquisite white quilts made. With absolutely no color to help enhance the beauty of the quilts, it was essential that the craftsmanship be superb. These quilts were made with the greatest of care, with beautiful quilting designs sewn with the finest of stitches. Much attention was given to detail and planning was vital to this type of quilt.

There were basically two types of white quilts: One made for warmth and used as a quilt, the other not made for warmth, probably used as curtains, tablecloths, etc. There were also three methods used for making white quilts: 1) For a bed (warmth), 2) Stuffing from the backing side of the quilt (not for warmth), and 3) Stuffing from the wrong side of the top layer of the quilt (also not used for warmth).

1) If a white quilt was made as a quilt for a bed, it was created with at least three layers of thickness were sewn together with what was referred to as the "ordinary quilting stitch". The name of the stitch, however, does not in any way indicate that the stitch was "ordinary"! Quite the contrary, this stitch was "ordinary" because it was a plain, but very fine running stitch.

2) Another method was to quilt two layers (not used for warmth) with either a back stitch, a chain stitch, or a plain running stitch. Or maybe any combination of these stitches. For this quilt, the outer layer was made from the finest of all linen, and the backing was a loosely woven material (an explanation of the "why" follows!). The quilting designs for this type of quilt were made up of scrolls, feathers, small flowers, small leaves, and other patterns that allowed the quilter to "stuff" either cording or some type of padding directly beneath the linen. The process was simple, yet also complex. First, the layers were put in place and then temporarily sewn (basted) together. Second, the design/pattern(s) were all quilted with precision, the quilter being constantly aware that this quilt had no color, and that the work put into it would be highly visible. At this point, one would think it was almost complete, but there is yet another technique used to enhance the beauty of the quilt. This is where the loosely woven backing was utilized! Once quilted, the quilt was turned over to the backing and the threads of each quilted area were gently separated (never cut!) from one another in quilted areas. Still working from the back, the quilter then stuffed each detail of the pattern/design with bits of cotton or other fabrics, or even narrow cording (which was run through with a fine bodkin). Once all of the "stuffing" was complete, the threads that had been separated were carefully pushed back together again. Today, this technique is referred to as "trapunto".

3) Based on the method discussed in the paragraph above, an improvement emerged with regard to stuffing with cording. Quilters are intelligent people (as you know!) and it did not take long for them to figure out that the cording could be added in a much easier and faster way. Before the layers were basted together, the design/pattern was traced onto the wrong side of the outer linen fabric. The cording was then attached from the wrong side of the linen with the same stitch that is used in shadow embroidery, the "cat stitch" or "brier stitch". Then the process continued as the quilter put the layers together (forming a quilt "sandwich") and finished using the second method above.

The last two methods were used for tablecloths, window curtains, four-poster bed curtains, home decor, etc.

Many white quilts from the Queen Anne era (and others) can be found in museums today. These quilts are still quite popular and thought to be for a more-experienced quilter. These antique quilts are collectible and many online Web sites offer them for sale.

Hopefully, this article has been interesting and informative. Comments are definitely appreciated!

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Beginnings of Quilting, Part IX

When a young man entered into a marriage, he hopefully did not go in without a freedom quilt! Freedom quilts were made by the girls a young man was acquainted with, upon the celebration of his twenty-first birthday. Once married, this quilt was added to his bride's dower chest. This type of quilt was put together much like a friendship quilt.

We have to remember that long ago, entertainment and celebrations were limited: Probably due to being so rural (distance-wise), the difficulties of planning a "party" while getting everyday chores done, etc. These events usually lasted all day and evening; perhaps to give the horses time to rest or to make the entertainment worth the time it took for all of the preparations (including the travel time!). It may have even appeared inhospitable to invite guests for just a short period of time.

So, why is it called a "freedom" quilt? Up until his twenty-first birthday, a young man was completely under his parent's thumb. The parents had all authority; even to the point that they could dictate to him where to work, when to work, or what to do with any wages he might earn (even give it all to them for upkeep!). So, when he turned 21, it was very special. He became his own boss, you might say! He had his freedom, legally.

This may seem a strange tradition today, but a freedom quilt was expected to be added to a bride's dower chest. The lack of one might have appeared to show that her groom had uncaring, or no, friends!

Today, freedom quilts have entirely different meanings. One of the most recent is to honor soldiers that have lost their lives fighting terrorism since 09/11/01. This organization was founded by Betty Neilson from Fonda, IA. To show my respect for the events of 09/11/01, I designed a paper-piece pattern of a flag, shown at the top.

Freedom quilts (teacher's resource!) were also used as secret maps used by slaves in what is currently the USA to escape slavery. Each block signified a special meaning. Freedom quilts also have numerous other meanings that can be researched (keywords: Freedom + Quilts) on the Internet (Please use Quilting Passion Organization as the charity!)., as well as numerous other resources, also has many books based upon freedom quilts.

Hopefully, this section of the article has been informative and comments to this article are definitely appreciated!

This also concludes this entire journey on the early history of types of quilts. A secondary article will be published this coming week (09/06/09), if not sooner!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Beginnings of Quilting, Part VIII

"Comfort" is defined as "to give strength and hope to", "cheer", "to ease the grief or trouble of", "console". Knowing this definition pretty much describes what comfort quilts are all about. These quilts are made for someone that is in need of comfort, for one reason or another. It could be illness, a death in the family, or any number of reasons.

A comfort quilt can be made by one person to give to another, or a comfort quilt can be a group effort, where several quilters work together to make a quilt. In 2003, I was diagnosed with multiple heart conditions and my online friends joined together and made me a beautiful comfort quilt. Then, in 2007, I experienced multiple medical issues, a huge move, and a new job. Again, several of my online friends got together and made me a comfort quilt, called "Spring Has Sprung". It is absolutely gorgeous! I think of them every time I snuggle underneath them... which is almost daily.

So, what types of people provide the comfort? Comforters, of course! And, according to Merriam-Webster, "comforter" has four definitions: "HOLY SPIRIT", "One that gives comfort", "A long narrow, usually knitted neck scarf", and "A thick bed covering made of two layers of cloth containing a filling (as down)". All of these definitions are very true for me. And I know first-hand how wonderful it feels to be on the giving and receiving end (I've also contributed to numerous comfort quilts). I have heard it said before that quilters are the most kind-hearted and generous people on this earth. I believe it!

To read the original article in its entirety, please visit Quilting Passion.

And, as usual, all comments are certainly appreciated!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

September Give-Away!

Congrats to Wilma, the winner of the August fabric give-away!

All comments are certainly appreciated, as I continue to try to generate traffic for my blog! Stay tuned for another give-away at the end of this month, so post, post, post!

September Desktop Wallpaper Calendar

If you are like me, you love to have a calendar conveniently located near your computer. Well, it cannot get much closer than on your PC desktop! And if you are a quilt lover, then this is perfect!

For complete instructions and the quilt calendar, visit Quilting Passion!