Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Have You Noticed Quilting Shrinkage?

The weather is turning cooler here in North Carolina. It's a good thing I had a piecing party this weekend with my Anna Maria Horner flannel blocks.

Anna Maria Horner Flannel Blocks

After laying out the blocks, I decided to add 22 more blocks to make the quilt bigger. I figured that I had the extra fabric so why not? Plus, I've noticed that dense machine quilting tends to make the quilt shrink. Have you noticed that?

Quilting shrinkage is not from the fabrics shrinking because you didn't pre-wash them or from the batting shrinking when the quilt is washed. Both not pre-washing fabrics or batting can create shrinkage, but there is also shrinking that can happen from dense machine stitching. With dense quilting, the stitches in effect "pull" at the fabrics and create shrinkage.

It's difficult to estimate just how much shrinking will occur from machine quilting, so I like to make the top a little bigger to account for the quilting shrinkage so that the quilt is large enough after quilting. For this quilt, I made an extra column and row, which meant an extra 22 blocks. In total, I pieced 132 blocks.


Now I've got a top ready for quilting.


Let's see if I can get it done before the temperatures drop even further!

Linking to W.i.P. Wednesday and Needle and Thread Thursday

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Getting Ready for Winter

When visions of a bed quilt of Anna Maria Horner flannel started dancing in my head, I pushed through and finished an extra 38 blocks to go from a throw-sized quilt to one large enough for my queen bed. For more on the making of these magic number blocks, check out my previous post here.

Anna Maria Horner Flannel Stack1_L

I'm so glad that I made the extra blocks. I love the warm colors of these fabrics. The pinks, reds, and oranges are my favorites. Plus, can I just say that AMH flannel is no ordinary flannel?!? This flannel is so soft and thick. It is unlike any I have ever felt.

Now to piece 110 blocks into a quilt top. This could take me a while.

Anna Maria Horner Flannel Stack2_L

But, I'm planning for this quilt to be on my bed before the first cold wind of the season blows through North Carolina. Wish me luck!

Linking to W.i.P. Wednesday

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Raising a Stitcher

I'm one of those mamas who wants to pass on my love of stitching to my daughters. So you can see why I almost did a backflip when my six-year old asked for an embroidery kit during a recent visit to a fabric shop.

The kit came with everything she needed to get started including needles, embroidery floss, and a hoop.
But one thing the kit did not include was a needle book.

So I stitched this one for her.


I used a tutorial by Amy at nanaCompany and made an I-spy patchwork version. Here's what the back looks like.


Inside I stitched a pale blue piece of wool felt for the needles.


I did a few things differently than the tutorial. First, I added a layer of duck canvas, along with batting, to give the needle book a little extra firmness.

Second, I opted to machine quilt the needle book rather than hand quilting to give it another dimension of firmness and because my hand quilting skills are still under development!


I used the quilting to outline the squares and reinforce the binding.


The third thing I did differently is add a pocket to the inside of the needle book. I decided to add the pocket after I had already assembled the main part of the needle book. I didn't want to take it apart and redo it so I stitched the pockets onto the inside of the needle book. If I were to do it over again, I would add the pockets to the lining before stitching the layers together and turning it inside out.  The pockets will come in handy for storing my daughter's scissors and needle threader.


I am thrilled with how this little needle book came out. And I think my daughter is too. Shortly after I gave her the needle book, she made me a thank you note. Inside she writes, "I love it!"

I'm hoping that her interest in embroidery will continue to grow over time and that she will get as much joy from stitching as I do.

Are you "raising stitchers"? If so, what are you doing to pass on your love of stitching to the next generation?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Magic Continues

I've been having fun working on my magic numbers blocks. I love seeing how many different combinations of squares and rectangles I can put together to make a block.The possibilities are endless!


I met my goal of making 72 blocks, which would be enough to make a nice sized throw quilt.

Stack2 copy

But I still have plenty of scraps left over.

Scraps copy

I debated about whether to finish the quilt using the72 blocks or press on and make more blocks. What would you do?

Visions of a flannel bed quilt dance in my head so I'm going to make more blocks. Let's see how big this quilt will get!

Linking up with W.i.P. Wednesday!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

W.i.P. Wednesday

In the midst of this North Carolina summer I decided to work on a flannel quilt. Gotta get ready for winter, right?!?

I'm using magic numbers. Have you heard about magic number quilts? It's improv with parameters. You pick a number of the block size that you want to make and then pick the "magic" numbers that will make up that number.

Magic block1

So for example, I'm working with blocks that will finish at 8" so my magic numbers are 1, 2, 4, and 8. If I sew squares or rectangles with different combinations of dimensions of 1", 2" and 4" (adding an extra 1/2" for seam allowances), they will give me blocks that finish at 8". It's a great way to use up scraps, which is what I'm doing with some AMH Folksy Flannel and Loulouthi flannel leftovers. For more on magic numbers, check out Sew Katie Did

Magic block2

So far I have 21 blocks up on my design wall.

Magic blocks

Only 51 more to go for a cozy throw-sized quilt.

If you haven't worked with magic numbers, I encourage you to give it a try. It's fun! 

Linking up to W.i.P. Wednesday!

Monday, August 11, 2014

An Essential Guide

Have you been following the Sew Mama Sew series on the Lucky Spool's Essential Guide to Modern Quilt Making? Sew Mama Sew is featuring excerpts from chapters in the book. The latest excerpt is of Jacquie Gering's chapter on the alternative grid.

I love the book.

And not just because one of my quilts is on page 178!

It's a great book filled with information on the different types of modern quilting. The book is divided into workshops. Each workshop is designed to help you learn new skills, from using color in your quilt to machine quilting.

At the end is a section called, "A Study of Modern Quilts," which is where you'll find my quilt, Helix. Check it out - Amazon will give you a peek inside!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like...


July was Marla's month in the That Stash Bee. She requested patchwork blocks using Christmas fabrics. Here's what I stitched for her.

TSB_July 2014_2

A simple 4-patch...

TSB_July 2014_4

and a 36-patch.

TSB_July 2014

Playing with these Christmas fabrics got me thinking that maybe I should start a Christmas quilt too...

Christmas block layout

Which must mean I've lifted my "no-new projects" restriction!