Thursday, May 18, 2017

I Mustache You A Question

Is this a quilt or a blanket? It's kinda both, a hybrid of sorts. Either, or, in any case in my house we all concur that either or way it is a cover. The top is pieced in a log cabin fashion using a feature fabric for the center, there's cotton batting in the middle, flannel for the back and pompom trim fringe, all stitched together through the layers with a machine satin stitch in select places. It's a fairly easy project to make and I thought I'd share, or at least attempt to explain, how I made this here quilt/blanket hybrid cover thingy. 

First, start with a feature fabric to which you'll add border strips to, log cabin fashion, in a measurement of your choice. If I remember correctly, the strips used for this first border were 2.5 inches wide. You could definitely vary the strip widths or keep them consistent on all four sides of each border as I did, although each border varied in strip width size. Or, you could even skip the whole piecing aspect all together and make this as a whole cloth piece. The possibilities are totally up to you, there are no rules here! Just go with your creative flow! Pull out all your scraps, make a mess and just have fun! Be spontaneous or follow a plan, maybe a design with solids, whatever suits your fabric fancy!

See? Play around with what you have. I pulled out fabrics that I didn't even use and that's okay, some just didn't make it through the auditioning phase.

Okay, once you have your top the size you want it to be you'll need to prep for the sandwich. If you don't want a middle layer of batting that's fine too. Maybe you're using heavier weight fabrics on top and back, either way it's up to you. I used a cotton batting in the middle so I'll explain what I did. I apologize but I didn't take a picture of what I'm about to describe but if you look at the next picture I think you'll probably be able to figure it out. 

Once my top was finished I actually basted it the way I would if I was going to finish it as a quilt but--in typical Kim fashion I changed my mind and then had to remove all the stinking safety pins! Oh well. Anyway, I changed my mind because I wrestled with making a decision on how to quilt the thing. After consulting one of my quilty friends, she actually suggested doing the same thing I had originally thought of but I thought it wouldn't balance, yada yada, then I thought of a balancing act and then, I remembered this sweet little quilt/blanket thingy I saw in a book that I checked out from the library several times when I lived in North Dakota and then again in Virginia, but can't seem, for the life of me, to be able to remember the title. It was some French sewing book. 

Okay, well, it was similar to how I finished this but it used a whole cloth piece without any fringe. Soooo, after I took all the safety pins out I kept the batting and top pieces together and stitched in the ditch around several of the borders starting with the feature fabric and working out to the outer border. I did this to keep the top and batting connected to keep the fabrics from shifting since it wasn't going to have allover quilting. This would also make it easier to attach the pompom trim. 

As you can see in the photo below I didn't trim off the batting until after I attached the pompom trim. This allowed me to have something to hold onto as I passed the pompom trim under the presser foot. I do the same thing when I make pillow covers with trim.  

When using pompom trim there's a right and wrong side to the trim so make sure when you lay your trim against the fabric it's right sides are together. Also, I usually start somewhere along the bottom left side of my project, also no picture of my starting point but you're smart and you can figure that out! Or start wherever you want! Remember no rules! I like to do rounded corners when I use pompom trim because it means less cuts, starts and stops but again, whatever your fancy. I don't usually use pins either because they can be a hassle but if you need to use them, by all means do what you gotta do, no judgements here either. I like a little of the loopy do-das to stick out so I start by stitching the trim to the fabric with a basting stitch. I start in the middle between the edge of my fabric and the other edge of the trim, just take a look. Once I get to the corners I just curve the trim inward and pivot my needle by lifting the presser foot and slightly turning several times until I get to the other side keeping it in the same track of the trim. It's also easier to see what your needle is doing if you have an open foot.

Okay, once you've made it back to your starting point just overlap the trim by a couple or three pompoms, and then cut your trim. Again, no picture. I do this just in case something catastrophic happens and adjustments need to be made but once the whole thing is finished then you can snip off the extra pompoms and it'll look just fine. Once this task is complete then you can go ahead and trim off the excess batting around the edges. 

After that you'll connect the top and back right sides together. I like to start somewhere along the top left of my project, or somewhere away from where I started with the trim. You're going to leave an opening so start at least 4-6 inches away from a corner and allow about 8-10 inches for your opening so you'll be able to turn your blanket, because technically speaking it's a blanket at this point. At least that's what the rule book says, but who really cares about the rules, right? There's really not a rule book, or is there? 

Anyway, onward we're making progress. Here, you may want to use a few pins to hold your junk together and you definitely want to know where to stop sewing so at least put a pin in that spot, you know for your opening. And, don't forget to change your stitch length back to normal because you used a basting stitch before when you were attaching the trim! I'm not yelling at you, just reminding you because I know it's easy to forget!! Yes, I have forgotten many times. I am human after all and can get anxious about reaching the finish line. 

Now, look at the picture below. You can see that my backing fabric sticks out. Yes, I do the same thing as I did before with the excess batting. You'll trim this up later. Now, if you look you'll see you have two lines of stitching, you're about to stitch a third line. As I said before, I like a bit of the loopy do-das to hang out so what I do is stitch right next to my basting trim line which will become the center line. Follow? Goodie good!! 

As you round your corners don't forget to pivot. See, I used a pin here to keep it from shifting as I pivoted. 

Once you've made it around your four corners you should end up at a place where you have a pin to remind you to stop sewing. Go ahead and stop sewing with a back stitch to secure if you'd like. Again, no picture. I will try to explain how I did this next step as best as I can. It's time to trim your back fabric. Seems easy enough, right? And it is, you're just not going to trim all of it evenly. At the place where you started your stitching you're going to place your thumb at that point and cut down to the edge and then trim around close to the edge until you get to a thumb width away from where you stopped and do the same as you did to begin. I do this so when I tuck it under to close the opening I can hide the top stitches in the pompom trim. See the picture below to get an idea of what I mean. 

But first, you'll need to turn your blankey inside out! Once you turn it make sure everything is secure and push out the corners. Now you're going to press it along the edge to make a nice crisp edge because once you close your opening you're going to top stitch around it to give it a nice finished look that also secures it from shifting around the trim. Okay, now you're going to turn down the excess backing edge inside the opening. Now set your stitch length to baste. Looking at the picture below you'll see a line of stitching on the green fabric. Those are basting stitches. You're going to baste stitch the opening closed and then remove the stitches after securing the trim to the back of the folded edge that's tucked inside the opening. Play with it until you figure out what I mean. This is how to hide the stitch line in the trim on the front. You'll see the stitch line on the back but it won't be that noticeable and the front will have a nice clean look when it's finished. Trust me on this. 

Ready? Okay, baste like I said and then change your top thread to match your trim. Adjust your stitch length because now you're going to securely close the opening and your top stitches will be hidden in the ditch of the trim. Once you've done this, change your top thread to match the fabric, or not if you want some contrast for design purposes. Remove the basting stitches and top stitch all around.

The picture below shows the two lines of stitching on the back.

The picture below here shows the single line of top stitching on the front. 

I think you get what I mean here...

Do you remember what I said about the excess pompoms? Can you spot where my trim started? Slightly. At this point I snipped off the extra pompoms at the loopy do-das from the back side and you really can't notice. Now. Just. One. More. Step. To. The. Finish. Line. 

Unless of course you opt out of this step which is totally fine if you wish. It's your project and you are in control. You can choose to secure with satin stitches through the layers which will then make this blanket into a quilt hybrid, or call it good and let it be a finished blanket, which is a cover too. You could even tie it with yarn or embroidery floss and it'd still be a quilt hybrid, whatever your fancy. I chose to stitch some satin stitches with my machine.

And then, the final step...take a thousand pictures and you're done!

Thanks for stopping by and suffering through this little DIY.
The finished quilt/blanket hybrid cover thingy is available for purchase in my Etsy Shop,

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Troy Boy Quilt

I mentioned in my last post that I had started another project, totally unplanned. Full disclosure on my fabric buying fast, this little project required a fabric purchase! I didn't have enough different blues and greens in my stash for what I wanted to make, this quilt by Sew Katie Did was the inspiration. I was prudent though and only bought three charm packs of "Grunge" by BASICGREY for Moda. The fabric choice was a suggestion from my sweet quilty friend Julie. I already had the fabric for the back and binding in my stash. When I separated the blues and greens from the rest of the colors in the charm packs it wasn't going to be enough to make a large enough baby sized quilt. So, rather than buy more charm packs I shopped my stash for some neutrals to fill in the blanks. Once I got all the half square triangles made I didn't over think the arrangement too much, in fact I did just what Katie said to do and as I finished trimming each one I simply stuck it up on my design wall in ten rows of eight and kept on trimming. Of course, I'll be honest here, there were some blocks that needed to be moved! A few times! But not too many times, really I only took a couple of black and white photos for help with values and called it good. The hexagon shape in the upper right area occurred completely by what I'm calling the "trim-it-and-stick-it" process, and I liked it so much that I totally didn't mess around with it! For the quilting, which is the skill I'm least confident in doing, instead of going with simple horizontal lines I decided to challenge myself with straight lines starting on one side and weaving my way around corners and such until I ended up on the other side. That first pass is what set up the rest of the quilting design. Totally spontaneous, go with the flow kind of processing that goes on in my brain! The design I wound up with took time, much more than I originally had set out to spend, but I'm really pleased with the result! It is so crinkle-licious!! 

And so, after all that about the process, you're probably curious as to the unplanned nature of project and quilt name, yes? Well, a few weeks back my husband received a text from a friend of his that another friend of his had just had his fourth child, well the wife did the actual birthing of said child but you get the idea, right? The text went a little something like, "...had a boy and named him Troy." We both laughed and then wondered if there was someone in their family named Troy that they named him after, since Troy isn't an uber popular name these days. Turns out that he was indeed named for my "hulking, handsome, ass kicking, name taking" husband and they fully expect that with a name like his, Lil' Troy will grow up to be somewhat like his namesake. As you might guess, the quilt making wife of namesake decided right then and there that a special quilt was in order! 

 Now, I must mention that one of my favorite parts of the quilt making process is the picture taking of the finished quilt. People who know me, know that I love taking pictures and when it concerns taking pictures of my finished quilts I'm always on the lookout for interesting backdrops for my quilt pictures. Since I rarely keep any of the quilts I make this part of the process is, for me, that final bit of artistry that goes into the memory of the project. I finished this little quilt last Wednesday and decided the next morning to go to this little beach near our house to do the photo shoot. I had one of my lovely quilt models with me and when we arrived it was just gorgeous outside, the water was super still and oh, so blue! We began our process of quilt photography with my daughter's fancy camera, snap, snap, snap! Oh the wonderful pictures we never actually took! That's right, the memory card wasn't in the camera and it wasn't set to not take pics without the memory card. Always make sure the memory card is in the camera Kim!! Conveniently, I had more errands to run later and so we went back to try again, after all there was still nice light. In the span of just about an hour that super still, oh so blue water was angry from the wind and colored mud. I didn't even try and decided to wait until the next morning. As we made our way back home I noticed there was someone working on a vehicle in a lot that I've had my eye on for picture taking for some time now. The property has no trespassing signs posted but when I saw there was someone there I thought I'd ask about getting permission to take photos. So, I pulled in, parked, and mustered up all my quilty charm and began chattering to the man my need to take artsy fartsy photos of my finished quilts and yada, yada, yada. George was happy to allow me to take pictures, he was such a kind gentleman with a beautiful smile, and with those words I was able to coax him into some quilt modeling to boot! Don't you agree, he has a most beautiful smile?!!

This was such a fun project from unplanned start to serendipitous finish!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Q1 Project Report

That title, I'm starting to sound like my dear husband--chuckles and shakes head. Anywho, just a quick update post on current projects. I had hoped to have finished, or at least worked on, the two baby quilts I started but they haven't moved from the pile. There's also that purple quilt I mentioned. The binding is just waiting to be attached and hand finished.

I made two more Solvy blocks and started the project for using them, going in an improv direction using denim and so far I'm enjoying the process and the result.

This one was made with trims from the Crab Trap Quilt made in January 2015. 

The improv in progress...

And the finished canvas I started...

I decided, after several weeks of walking past it, that it needed to come off the frame...

and go under the presser foot for some stitching...

and then get be continued.

Right now this is what's on my table. 
Yep, another new project! 
It's an unplanned, but need to make for a special reason, project. 
I'll elaborate more when it's finished.

That's all for now, thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


Last week I took a test block that I made a couple years ago for the Ladybug Star Block Swap and turned it into a delightful pillow cover for my daughter as a late birthday gift.

It's a simple envelope closure pillow cover and many tutorials can be found with a quick Google search. The borders that I added to the block were fabric scraps from the quilt that I made with the blocks that this was a test for. That pompom trim, so perfect for my little Sunshine!

The finished quilt is now available for purchase 
in my Etsy Shop at DolceQuilts

Thanks so much for stopping by and if you're interested 
in collaborating on a custom pillow cover or quilt, 
please contact me through a conversation via my Etsy shop.

Have a Happy Day!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Boho Quilt Finish

I have a second finish for the year to report! Yay! I purchased the fabric, 20 fat quarters of the Indie Collection by Pat Bravo for Art Gallery Fabrics, back in February, 2014 from Moona Fabrics on Etsy. I finally made the first cuts back in August last year. It's a simple quilt that didn't take long to piece.

Started by cutting from each fat quarter 9 strips. 
Three strips measuring 3 inches, 
three strips measuring 2.5 inches 
and three strips measuring 1.5 inches.

After cutting the strips I threw them in a bag and mixed them up.

From the bag I would reach in without looking and grab two strips and sew together. 
Chain piecing is very handy here!

After sewing together four pairs, then each new piece would get pressed and cut into three inch strips.

Once all the strips were cut then they went back into the bag and were sewn together end to end creating one really long strip, in this case a total of about 1920 inches in length, as in joining a jelly roll for a jelly roll race quilt.

Once all the strips were sewn together end to end then I treated it as a jelly roll race quilt.
Start by folding the one super long strip in half without tangling it and sew. The first couple of folds is the longest most tedious, but once past that it goes really fast! There are lots of jelly roll race quilt tutorials out there so feel free to Google away until you find one you can follow if you're not familiar with it. :-)

Once it was sewn together I shipped it to Sharyn of Blossoming Designs to work her quilty magic. Then all it needed was the binding and a photo shoot. My sweet quilty model made it shine!

This quilt is available for purchase in my Etsy shop, DolceQuilts