I am no longer actively blogging here but I’d love if you could join me at my new creative lifestyle blog A Girl in Paradise.
I hope to see you soon.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Little Something for Me…

I made myself a table runner for my Thanksgiving table this year.  I don’t make a lot of things for myself, a lot of what I make I give away as gifts or for swaps, but sometimes you just need to make a little something for yourself.  So, I decided to make myself a table runner that doubles as one large hot pad. 

I never have enough hot pads for all the hot dishes I put out.  It is kind of the family joke, never enough hot pads or serving spoon.  Then I end up using folded up dish towels and oven mitts.  Making it look messy and unorganized, which unfortunately, it is.  So, this year I decided to fix my hot pad problem and surprise my family.  Well… with the hot pads at least, I still need to make my way to the store to get those serving spoons.


The runner is quilted with a layer of Insulbrite batting instead of regular cotton batting. Insulbrite batting is a insulated lining that is used when making things like oven mitts and it can be bought by the yard. 

This runner measures about 15” x 36” and fits perfectly in the center of my table.  Now, not only do I not have to worry about having enough hot pads, when I put everything out I can sit everything close together giving me more room on the table of other things.


If you are interested in making one for yourself or for a gift for someone else, you will need:

  • enough fabric scraps to make a quilt top that measures approximately 15” x 36”.
  • Insulbrite batting
  • 1/2 yard of fabric for the backing
  • 1/4 yard of fabric for the binding, cut into three 2 1/2” strips
  • Coordinating thread

I made 21 bowtie blocks, using the tutorial I did for Moda Bake Shop.  I arranged them diagonally in a 3 x 7 layout.  I chose this block because I liked the vintage feel of the block and the fabric, but any block will do.  Get creative and have fun. 

Once you have your quilt top done, layer the top right side up, the Insulbrite batting, and then the bottom right side down to make your quilt sandwich.  Quilt by hand or by machine as desired.  Square up your runner and bind.

I think this runner goes nicely with my vintage tablecloth.  Which, for those of you who are into vintage linens, was made entirely by hand by my Great Aunt some 40 years ago. 

I will be linking this to some of these great linky parties. Be sure to stop by and check them out. If you would like me to add your linky party to my page just ask.

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Friday, October 26, 2012

Bloggers Quilt Festival

I am so glad to be participating in the Fall 2012 Bloggers' Quilt Festival, hosted by Amy Ellis of Amy's Creative Side.  It is such a great way to share our quilts and to find new inspiration in others.  I look forward to spending some time this week reading about all the wonderful quilts out there.  I truly believe that behind every great quilt is an even better story. 

Amy's Creative Side
I am entering my Vintage Modern Bowtie Quilt.  Originally, I made this throw quilt for my aunt.  She is kind of like our family historian and big into Ancestry.com.  She is a collector of family stories, pictures, and art.  So, I thought it would be fun to make her a quilt to add to her collection of family art.  She has paintings from my grandmother, carved wood blocks from my great-grandfather, and countless other items.  Now a quilt from me, which is now proudly displayed in her living room.


Along the way, as I was designing this quilt, I decided to submit the idea to Moda Bake Shop. Then to my surprise they excepted it. The tutorial is featured here. I designed this quilt around a layer cake that I had bought when the Vintage Modern by Bonnie & Camille for Moda first came out. I instantly fell in love with this line and just knew that the colors would suit my aunt perfectly. 

I re-designed the traditional bowtie block with set in seams to efficiently use a layer cake generating very little fabric waste. Then I eliminated the need for the templates by coming up with a way to cut the blocks using a rotary cutter.  It is machine quilted by me. I used a walking foot and an off white cotton thread. I echoed the bowties, added the diagonal lines, then finished it with some straight line quilting around the borders.


Blogger’s Quilt Festival Stats

Finished quilt measures : 68" by 58"

Special techniques used : set in seams,

Quilted by : Ann, A Girl in Paradise

Best Category : Home Machine Quilted Quilt, Throw Quilt, Scrap Quilt


If you're visiting my blog for the first time, please feel free to check out some of my other Quilts and Tutorials.  Below are a few of my favorite projects…

Thanks for stopping by, and have a great week!

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Little Machine Quilting Tip…

Like many of you, I am learning.  Learning all the in and out when it comes to free motion quilting, and boy there is just so much to learn.  I am a hand quilter by nature.  It was how I was taught to quilt oh so many years ago.  Now I find myself a slave to the details.  I want my starts and my finishes to be as flawless as they are when I am hand quilting.

The person who taught me to FMQ, taught me to just back stitch in place a couple of times and trim off my tread tails.  The problem is sometimes it looks a bit messy and obvious.  I am also afraid that over time the stitches will unravel.  Not good. 


So, I prefer to hand tie my knots and bury my tread tails.  Similar to the way you would when hand quilting.  I am finding as I do more of these projects this is a nifty little trick when your thread breaks or bobbins runs out in the middle of your design.  Of course, in a perfect world we would be able to machine quilt our designs in one continuous line, but of course, that is never the case.  I hate to admit it, but when straight line quilt, I have been known to rip out a whole stitch line if the thread breaks mid way through, and then start over.  I know, a little OCD, but oh well, we all have our vices don’t we… 


When I can’t start or end my stitches “off the quilt” as in straight line quilting, and have to start or end my stitches in the middle of the quilt, I like to leave myself very long tails.  When I start a stitch I will usually pull the bobbin thread up from the bottom to the top of the quilt.  That way there I will have more control of the thread.  When I end a design I pull the threads long before cutting them leaving a thread on the top and a thread on the bottom. 

Ok, so know that you know what my tread tails look like.  Now I will show you how I bury them into the quilt.  If you’re a hand quilter you probably already know how to do this, but if your not, or you are new to quilting this might helpful to you.  I will thread a needle and pull the threads through the quilt to the back, in the same hole where the stitches started.  That way there all your thread tails will be on the back side of your quilt.


Don’t worry, if for what ever reason your thread tail is short.  It can still be pulled through to the quilt.  Just insert the needle through the quilt first, then thread the needle.

I use a  needle with a large eye, but a needle threader, or a pair of tweezers could come in handy if you have trouble treading needles.


Once your thread tails are pulled through to the backside of your quilt, you can take the threads and tie them into a double knot.  Then tread your needle once more with your thread tails and insert the needle in-between the layers of your quilt in the same hole as your knot, and pull through. 


Now that you have pulled your thread tails through remove the needle and give the threads a gentle tug to pull the knot into the batting.  Then just trim the excess thread.

I hope you found this helpful. I will be linking this tutorial to some of these great linky parties. Be sure to stop by and check them out. If you would like me to add your linky party to my page just ask.

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Monday, October 22, 2012

September Bee Blocks

I have been dying to write this post for a while now, and Saturday I finally received the last of my bee blocks. So, now I feel I can share.  The lovely ladies that are in my Hive as part of the the Flickr Bee a {modern} Swapper group each made me some amazing house blocks.

And here is what they sent to me…


These were made by Deb who blogs over at Trio Stitch Studio


…and these were made by Em at Sewing by Moonlight.


T Zellers made these two…


and these lovelies were made by Kelleigh Z.


Last by not least, here are the two houses made by Kim who blogs over at My Go Go Life

All fabulous blocks that I can’t wait to put together into a quilt.  Thank you to everybody.  I am really fortunate to be part of this great quilting community where people are are so willing to share their talents.  If you have a minute be sure to stop by the blogs or Flickr pages that are linked above.  They all are extremely talented, and they all, have great inspirational pictures or stories to share.

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Friday, October 5, 2012

Hemp Bangle Bracelet {a tutorial}


Last we talked I was going to rummage through my craft bin of bits and pieces to see if I could come up with an amazing bracelet of my own. Well, it took a little time for inspiration to strike, but when it did, things came together rather quickly. 

You see, I found these plastic rings that were once used on the curtains in my family room.  Since I had an abundance of these, I just knew, I had to use them.  But how to make them into a bracelet that I could actually wear?  It wasn’t till I found this hemp cord in my daughters things, did things finally start to come together for me.   


For this bracelet you will need to take eight of the 1” plastic rings, 12 yards of crafters cord (hemp), and some craft glue. The rings can be found either in the knitting aisle or with the notions at most big box craft stores. They are typically used for curtain tie backs, knitting or crochet, or other home d├ęcor projects.

Then cut the hemp cord into eight pieces.  Each piece should measure about 1 1/2 yards.


Take one length of hemp cord and one plastic ring and start wrapping the plastic ring using a simple slip knot.  After you make your first knot you will want to make sure you leave about a 5”-6” tail. 


Continue to wrap the ring all the way around using the slip knot.


Once you have made it all the way around, and have covered the entire plastic ring, tie it off with a knot.  This should leave you with 2 tails that are about 5”-6” long.  Repeat and wrap the remaining 7 plastic rings.


Now that you have all 8 rings wrapped it is time to join them.  First, line up your rings so your tails look to be in a straight line.  Take the tail of the first ring and wrap it around the second ring several times


After the first ring is joined to the second ring you will need to tie it off.  Bring the tails from the back to the front and tie once.


Tie it once more time, wrapping the tails around again, pull it tight, and close it with a knot.

Note: Make sure all your knots are on the same side.  That way there when you join the first ring to the last ring all the knots will be on the inside.


Now that you have all eight rings together, trim away all the remaining tails expect for tail on the last ring.  Then take some crafters glue and put a bead of glue on each knot.  Wipe away any excess glue with a napkin.  This will help strengthen the knot and make sure that over time the knot does not come undone.


Last but not least you will need to join the last ring to the first ring in the same manner as before making sure all the knots are inside the bracelet and not showing on the outside.  Don’t forget to add a little glue to the last knot as well.  Let set overnight.

I hope you like my Hemp Bangle Bracelet and are inspired to make one of your own. I will be linking this project to some of these great linky parties.

Thanks for stopping by, and have a great week!

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