Monday, 29 April 2013

Jackie's 3 dimensional fabric flowers

April 29, 2013

Help!  The Bloggosphere ate my post!  I wrote a lovely post this morning and it disappeared! we go again.
Monday Matters – because Spring arrived on the weekend and so I just had to work outside!  I was thrilled that I had 4 crocuses blooming, but by now I’m up to about 16.  How wonderful to go out to the brown garden and see orangey- yellow crocuses with a few purple ones spaced around.  That means that I no longer have to make fabric daffodils and crocuses.  The crocuses are up and the daffodils are only a couple of weeks away.
So that's why I'm at 'Monday Matters' instead of 'Sew Done Saturday'!
Back to my project of making 3D flowers for my garden quilt.  Using the method Jackie taught in her tutorial, I made the flowers you can see here.  

 She made hers for a lovely bouquet in a vase.  Since mine are going on a bed quilt, I made buttonholes in them so that they can come off when the quilt is laundered. 

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Fabric crocus

April 23, 2013
I have always respected bloggers and was amazed at their generosity in sharing what they do with strangers!  So now I'm trying to keep one and 'consistently blogging' is a real challenge.  I've been making a spring wallhanging and really wanted to make some spring flowers for it - specifically daffodils and crocuses (croci?) because that's what we're missing in my neck of the woods!  See where my daffodils and crocuses are sleeping?
So...following ideas I have seen on other blogs, I began trying to do this piece last 'Whip it up Wednesday'.  I found a great 3D daffodil developed by Staci  Her directions were excellent and I made a great daffodil (except that I cut my squares out the wrong size - but Staci can only do so much, right?  She can't ensure that I read properly!)  You'll see mine on the wallhanging later. But I couldn't finish it on Wednesday, because the only directions for a crocus on the Internet were for a crocheted one.

 After looking at photos of a crocus, I figured that I needed 3 petals on the outside of the flower, 3 on the inside and a stamen or 2 right in the middle.
You can see on the left my design (about 3 1/2" high) with a narrow section in the middle.  I actually cut out all 6 layers at once, after pairing my pieces right sides together.  That way it was easier to sew around the edge of each pair (the light purples ones).  Then I pinked the edges (you could also clip the curves) and cut them in half (the yellow ones) and turned them right side out (the dark purple ones).
Next I ran a gathering stitch near the raw edge of 3 of the units, gathered them and knotted them together like you can see below with one yellow section ready.  It was 'fiddly' and I realized that I needed some stamens for the middle.

I had read Pauline Ineson's article in the American Quilter 2013, so I returned to that for her explanation about how to make stamens.
I won't bore you with the details because you can read it for yourself or check her website and buy her book at but very briefly:
  • take 28 inches of 6-strand embroidery thread, fold it in half and tie a knot
  • rest the knot under a bobbin on the bobbin-winding 'thingee'
  • in the image to the right, I'm holding the thread tightly while running the machine slowly
  • then I carefully lifted up the bobbin and held the two ends and the middle and watched the threads wind themselves together
  • with a knot at both ends, I could fold it in half and put 2 stamens in the middle of each of my crocuses

Going back to the petals, I put the stamens inside the first set of petals, then, after gathering the second set of petals and put them outside the first set.  A few stitches at the bottom held all the sections together.
My last problem was how to show the crocus tapering at the bottom.  I used the paper half circle to the left and cut it out so the straight edge was on the fold of the fabric.  I sewed around the curve then cut a slit on the back side and turned it right side out. 
I used a bamboo stick to help roll it on the bottom of the crocus and then sewed a few stitches to hold it on.  I'm quite sure that the bottom section could be improved, but at least I've contributed a 3-d flower to the 'blogosphere'.  Thanks to Staci I didn't have to figure out how to do a daffodil!  Pauline Ineson, in her article, has another method to make daffodils.
I mentioned that I started this on 'Whip it Up Wednesday'.  Then I aimed for 'Tutorial Thursday', then 'Finish it Friday'.   I was sure I could finish on 'Sew Done Saturday', but after 'Sew thankful Sunday'  passed I had to go to a quilting bee on Monday.  So here I am on my 'Tutorial Tuesday'  - something to aim for consistently, I guess.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Flowers, flowers and flowers

April 11, 2013
OK, now the quilt is done and I'm working on flowers.  As I'm driving home from Florida and looking at all the spring bloom, that seems appropriate!  I got some fabric ready so that I could work on them when I'm not driving.
 The first kind of flower I prepared for is just circles of fabric, sewn right sides together then cut in half.  You need 6 circles the same size to make 3 sewn pieces.  I only make a 5 petal flower so I have an extra half circle left over (maybe for a multi-coloured flower!). 
And, as you can see from the photo, I decided to try sewing a length of ricrac into one set.
Once you cut them in half, use a heavy thread to make a running stitch along the raw edge of the half-circle.  When you reach the edge, keep adding the next half circle until you have 5 of them on a string.  Pull up until the 'petal' sit nicely together then make a couple of stitches to hold the flower together.

 Now, as to size....this is easy - if you want a flower that is 6 inches across, then make your circles 6 inches wide.  Then perhaps to make another layer of smaller petals, use circles 3 inches across (or 4).  You can keep layering them, or stop at any point and add a yoyo or a lovely button.

I'm going to sew it to a backing circle of felt to hide the raw edges.

Then, of course, there's the issue of adding them to a quilt that will be washed and washed!  I bought some pink velcro tape and am planning to try that on the back of some of the flowers.  What do you think of that idea?

I'm also thinking of sewing in a buttonhole in the centre of some of flowers and fastening them with a large button so that the flowers may be removed before the quilt is washed.

I'll let you know which system works!  But it will take a while before I know for sure.

Here are the components for my other flower.  I had long strips of flower fabric left over from my borders (i.e. making lemonade out of lemons).  I sewed 2 strips together with a strip of ric rac then press it.  My strips were about 44 inches long.  I used a couple of small strips of the fabric as well for the centres of my ricracruchedroses - how's that for the name of a flower?
 So, if you haven't ruched before, I folded the 7 inch strip in half and then stitched a long running stitch at 45° angles from one end to the other.  The trick is that when you get to the edge, make sure you wrap the thread over the edge and then make the next angle on the other side.
 Then, pull on the thread and you'll make a lovely ruched piece of fabric.  My photos were blurred, but what I did was sew it together at the bottom so that it made a 'flower bud' for the centre of the flower.
Next I ran a running stitch along the raw edge of the strip of ricrac fabric and pulled it as much as you can see on the left.

Place your little ruched (pronounced 'rooshed') bud at one end then start arranging the rest of the ruffled ric rac around it and keep making small stitches at the back to hold it all together.
Voila - a ricracruchedrose! 

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Mitered Borders and Bravo to Quilters!

March 30, 2013
I've been working on and off this week on mitered borders for Violet's garden quilt.

How many mistakes can I make on these? it turns out - quite a few! has a pretty complete description of what to do and how to measure the borders for adding mitered borders and I thought I followed the directions, but my inner borders were too short and I had to add a few inches to each end.  Of course, I was cutting the fabric early in the morning!  The old adage is "Measure twice, cut once".  It should be "Measure twice, sit down and finish your coffee, think about the fit, then cut once!".  The outside borders weren't long enough and I had no extra fabric, so that border is not as wide as I hoped. 
A professor once told me that what you produce is at top of your game at the moment.  Well, I guess I'd better get going and make some more quilts with mitered borders so that 'the top of my game' gets a bit closer to perfection!
Quilting keeps your quota of humility filled!  On a positive note, I think that people who dare to choose hobbies show courage because they have to face errors and failure and keep on going! 
Bravo for quilters!  

Friday, 8 March 2013

Works in Progress - WIPs

March 8, 2013
Well, I'd better get a bit more consistent, right?  Would you like to hear why I haven't been blogging - no?  I don't blame you!
Here's a few things I'm working on.  I offered to put together a 'Quilt as you Go' quilt with the blocks that my guild members made and quilted.  Finally I got it all laid out and realized that there is not enough fabric for borders and without borders, I needed more blocks.  Here's a photo of one block as I quilt it (I love the gypsy holder for free motion quilting and finally realized that on a small block or project I don't have to hold on to the handles - one finger works too).

Some of the blocks for the quilt as you go!

The 4-patch blocks are for my club's mystery quilt for this year.
The spring flowers are for our March guild - block of the month.  Flower pots and flowers - perfect for the season, right?  And the pot in the centre was made with that texture medium that you sew and then shrink.  Jackie did a tutorial on it. 

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Blogging Regularly or Not

February 26, 2013
Happy Birthday, Ian - my nephew - not that he's reading this yet!  I'll follow up with him via email and at a birthday party for his mother this weekend!
I have to go out and find my camera in my sewing room and update this blog properly!  Now I know and can say that I'm going to be lost to this blog on the third week of each month from Sept. till June.  That's because on that week I have my quilt club meeting and my guild meeting - too much going on.  This week I presented the program to my guild, the Island Quilters Guild, on how to make the Treasure Bags for the Canadian Quilters Association ( annual quilt show in Penticton, B.C. and then on Thursday, I was on the 'lunch' committee for my club, the Happy Quilters. 
So...from now on, I'll have to prepare before this week or be 'lost in transition'. 

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Weekend - Blocks and Quilting

February 9, 2013
No football on the weekends anymore (lost my Superbowl bet with my brother!  Same bottle of wine keeps on going back and forth), so I can sew and quilt
Still quilting (30 min. at a time) on the little labyrinth quilt - doing pebbles, so it's hard on the shoulders after a while, even with reminding myself to relax.
Also trying to finish a bunch of blocks ( members from my guild would probably recognize these).  You can guess what the finished block will look like and I'll show them when I finish.  Needless to say, there are a LOT of half-square triangles - 16 for each block and they are each 3" square when trimmed.  I came up with a way to deal with all the trimming time - boring as it is....I exercise while trimming.  Every time I trim a block, I have to hold in my tummy and tuck in my backside.  It seems to be working as a plan.  And I can feel that I'm actually exercising once in a while as well!
One other item on the list for the weekend is a new ebook cover.  I made one and didn't really like it, plus I hadn't added a pocket for the cables.   At a Fabricland sale I bought 2 'last sale' drapery panels that I'm using for a new laptop bag and ebook cover and other travel items - I'll be so co-ordinated!  I had to buy the one I saw because it had huge grommets along the top so it's perfect for a bag, so then I looked for a co-ordinating one for the lining.
The green is the fabric with the grommets and it is the lining for my ebook cover.  The other piece will be a pocket on the outside for the charger and USB cord.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Scrappy Four-patch blocks

February 1, 2013
It's been a busy week!  Last weekend - shovelled snow then Monday had to do it all over again.  Missed my friends on Monday because the last time we had snow like that, we build a snowman in the middle of the road - just a little surprise for the snowplow driver!  (a friend)
All that is to say that it's been a week of snow shoveling (Tuesday and Wednesday brought mild weather, but that just meant that the snow build up slowly slid off our steel roof, so that gave me the job of shoveling off the deck!) with sewing here and there.
Step 2 of our club's current mystery quilt was to make about 230 2 3/4" four-patch blocks.  Since I chose to make this quilt completely scrappy, I had cut up 460 coloured squares so that meant sewing each onto a white strip, then cutting, trimming and sewing together the pairs - much different than the efficient Fons and Porter method of making four-patch blocks that I usually use.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Another WIP for a little boy

January 26, 2013
I really didn't think that would work!  So now I'd better take a moment to thank Jackie for motivating me to try a blog!  Actually, I almost started last fall when I found the Bloggers Quilt Festival ( online and I loved the amazing collection of quilts that the quilt bloggers sent in.  I wanted to join in!  However, at the time I couldn't find a photo of the quilt I wanted to show (Note to self:  Remember to take photos of completed quilts BEFORE you give them away!), so I didn't complete the post.
This week, on the Canadian Quilters Association blog (, members are asked to share photos of their WIPs (works in progress).  Well, being a Canadian quilter, I want to join in the fun!  Nervously, I found my non-starter blog at Google, and made a post, added a couple of photos and added my WIP to the CQA blog.
Today I'm adding another photo: This little wall quilt, basted and ready to quilt, comes from a pattern called 'Labyrinth' by Lisa Penny in the book "Pretty Little Mini Quilts" published by Lark Books in 2010.  I used fabric left over from a baby quilt for a friend's baby boy.  I'm going to make 2 little 'puppets' to stick to the quilt somehow - one for the little boy and one's for the family cat.  I think the family could have fun moving the puppets around and then challenging the little boy to move through the labyrinth to find the cat puppet.  I'm not sure how I'll do this - any ideas?

Friday, 25 January 2013

Works in Progress - My First Post!!!

I'm finally writing my first post.  It will be interesting to see if I can actually keep it up!  So...I'm doing this so that I can show some of my 'WIPs' - so does that make me a 'show-off'?  Or does it mean that if I show it, I might be motivated to finish it?
Who knows?'s my WIP - first I used a bunch of charm squares to make what you see in the middle photo.  Then I used the Lil Twister to make the one under it.  Then I decided to turn it into a Christmas quilt for myself.