Monday, March 23, 2015

Monday Monday

Well, Sad to say it is one of those kind of Mondays around here.  I woke up with a nasty cold and have spent the morning with a box of tissues :(  Guess that is what happens when Spring shows up ;)
My original plan for today was to sew my blocks together for the Irish Chain Twist QAL.  They have been waiting all weekend for me.  But honestly,  It just takes some of the fun out of sewing when you don't feel good, ya know.  I don't want to finish this on a groggy icky kind of day, I want it to be fun and happy.

Instead, I suppose I can tackle these  Oh ya, taxes.   I got the last of the documents I was waiting on Friday in the mail so now, I really can't procrastinate them any longer.   And if you feel miserable, you might as well get a miserable task done right ;)  

Oh ya, we can find some silver lining in this ;)  Any maybe, just maybe it will be a 24 hour thing and I will be feeling good and happy tomorrow and ready to put my Irish Chain Twist together so it is all set for Thursday's post ;)

So take that Monday, you won't get me down ;)   How is your Monday shaping up??

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Friday, March 20, 2015

Cutie Pie Baby Quilt - A Tutorial and Giveaway

This morning I am so excited to share with you a new finish.  I am calling it Cutie Pie and wouldn't it just the most adorable quilt to wrap up your little Cutie Pie in :)

Cutie Pie is made using Shabby Fabrics brand new Pre-Fused Laser-Cut Applique Shapes.   Now, if you have been around for a bit, you know I love applique, and so when the gals at Shabby Fabrics asked if I would be interested in a Bloggers Challenge using these new shapes I was all for it :)  

Shabby Fabrics has lots and lots of shapes to choose from but I just loved the hearts ;)  The great thing about the Applique Shapes is they are cut and fused which takes out the tedious time of applique, making this quilt go together in literally a day.   Perfect for one of those last minute baby shower gifts ;)  So let's show you how to make your own ;) 

You will Need:

1 X Large Hearts Solids Pre-Fused Laser-Cut Applique Shapes Pack
1 X Large Hearts Print Pre-Fused Laser-Cut Applique Shapes Pack
1 1/8 Yard of Background Fabric (I used Basic Shades in White by Riley Blake Designs)
5/8 Yard of Border Fabric  (I used a print from Best Day Ever by April Rosenthal for Moda)
3/8 Yard of Binding Fabric  (not pictured)


From your Background fabric cut:
    (23) 6 1/2" x 6 1/2" squares
    (4) 3 1/2" x 6 1/2" rectangles
    (4) 1 1/2" x Width of Fabric (42") Strips

From your Border Fabric cut:
    (4) 4 1/2" x Width of Fabric (42") Strips

Remove your Fusible Laser-Cut Shapes from their package.  Select 1 of the Solid Hearts to be set aside as you will only need 23 for the project.   I used this heart as a quilt label, so cute ;)


We will start at the ironing board so gather your Background squares and your Applique Hearts.   Fold your Background square in half and finger press the fold.  Then fold it in half once again and finger press the fold.   This will give you reference lines for centering your applique.

Remove the paper backing from your Applique Heart.  It will peel right off.

Using the folds as guide lines, center the Applique Heart on your Background Square as shown below.

Press the Applique Heart in place adhering it to the Background square.  Be sure when pressing to use an up and down motion rather than a side to side motion so as not to shift the applique.  Repeat for all 23 Applique Hearts.

Secure stitch all of  your Applique Hearts in place.  You can use a straight stitch, zig-zag stitch, blanket stitch, ect.   My favorite is a blanket stitch and I used a soft grey thread that would blend with all of the colors ;)  If you are new to secure stitching, you can see my Applique Video here that describes it in more detail ;)


With all of your hearts stitched down you are ready to sew your quilt top together ;)   Lay out your Appliqued Squares and your Background rectangles as shown below, using the rectangles to offset every other row.   I alternated prints and solids but you can lay out the hearts in any color order you like, just be sure to end up with the same square/rectangle layout as below.

And now, you are going to sew the squares into columns.  To do this, simply place the first square in the first column onto the second with right sides together.  No need for pins, just align as you go.   Sew a 1/4" seam along the edge.

Then, place the third square onto the now sewn together first and second squares with right sides together.  Sew a 1/4" seam along the edge.

Continue in this fashion, adding 1 square at a time to the column until you have sewn the entire column together.  Press the seam allowances downward.

Now repeat this process for each of the columns in the quilt top.  You are then ready to sew the Columns into a quilt top.

And this is just like sewing the columns together but on a larger scale ;)  Place the second column onto the first with right sides together.  Pin along the edge, there won't be any seams to line up, you are just keeping the columns together.   Sew a 1/4" seam along the edge.

Then, place the third column onto the now sewn together first and second columns with right sides together.  Pin along the edge and then sew a 1/4" seam along the pinned edge.  Continue this process until all of the columns have been sewn together.   Press the seams to the side.

And now the Center of your Quilt Top is all done and it should look a little something like this.  So cute!!  And it's time to add some borders ;)


Grab your 1 1/2" x WOF Background strips.  We will add the top and bottom border first.

Place your strips onto the top and bottom of the quilt with right sides together.  Sew a 1/4" seam along the edge.  Once again, no need to use pins, just align as you go.  Trim the excess Background strip using the edge of the quilt as a guide.  Press the seam allowance towards the Background strip.

Then add the side 1 1/2" x WOF Background strips in the same fashion.  Place the strips onto the sides of the quilt top with right sides together.  Sew a 1/4" seams along the edge, aligning as you go, and then trim the excess strip.

And then just one more border to add.   Add the 4 1/2" x WOF Border Strips onto the quilt top using the same method as above.  Add the Top and Bottom strips first using a 1/4" seam allowance and pressing the seam towards the Border strips.

And then add the 2 side borders.  Trim the excess strip and press the seam allowance towards the Border Strip.

And just like that your Quilt Top is done!!!  Isn't is so fun to make something so cute in such a short  amount of time!!!!!


Now all that is left is to Baste it, Quilt It, and Bind It :)  Yup, a whole lot in one little sentence.  If you are new to finishing quilts you can see my Finishing Quilt Video Series here, it will walk you through each of the 3 steps in great detail :)

When it came time to quilt mine, I decided on an echoed paisley all over stitch in the border.   I have a video tutorial here on how I do this stitch ;)  

And then in background, I quilted some adorably small swirls  (video tutorial coming, I know I have said that forever, I just have to get a few more deadlines out of the way, but I promise I haven't forgotten ;)  

I used my favorite color Pearl, 402, So Fine Thread by Superior Threads for the quilting.  I almost always use this color when quilting on a white background.  It just the perfect amount of blend, showing the quilting without detracting from the quilt design.  I love it!!!

I love how the dense quilting in the background gives the hearts a faux trapunto look.  They just want to pop right off of the quilt ;)  So fun!!!

Cutie Pie finishes at  40" x 40", just perfect so snuggle baby in ;)  I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial and if you make your own Cutie Pie quilt I would love to see it!!  You can email me a picture at or add it to my Flickr Group here ;)

For lots more Prefused Laser-Cut Appliqued Shape inspiration, be sure to check out all of the Bloggers Challenge!!  You can see their posts here :)

Melissa at Happy Quilting - Your Here

 And one last thing before I sign off . . . Didn't someone say something about a Giveaway in the title!!!  Shabby Fabrics is giving away a pack of Pre-Fused Laser Cut Applique Shapes to one lucky Happy Quilting Reader!!!


We are going to do this giveaway the same way we do the Terrific Tuesday Giveaway Days :)  You have two entry chances, the second being optional, and please leave a separate comment for each.  All Entries are welcome, including International Entries.  Please just be sure to leave an email address if you are a no-reply blogger ;)  

ENTRY 1 - Simply leave a comment that tells me if you would choose the Solid Pack of the Print Pack:)  

 ENTRY 2 - Show your Shabby Fabrics love. You can follow them on FacebookTwitterYou TubePinterest, or Instagram.  You can Sign up for the Shabby Fabrics Newsletter (top right hand corner) or Follow their Blog,  or you can Visit the Shop and then share a favorite item ;)   Just be sure to leave a comment of how you showed your Shabby Fabric Love!!!

And that's it ;)  The giveaway will be open until next Tuesday, March 24th, and I will announce a winner Wednesday Morning, the 25th:)

Thanks so much for stopping in today and Have a Happy Quilting Weekend!!!

GIVEAWAY CLOSED - THE WINNER IS #164.  Congrats DEBBIE!!!  I have emailed you ;)

Linking up to Quilt Story :)

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Irish Chain Quilt-A-Long - Appliqued Chains Block - Stitching

**  NOTE  - This post is part of a series of posts for the Irish Chain Twist Quilt-A-Long.  If you would like to join (and have a chance to win $100.00 or $75.00 Gift Certificate grand prizes sponsored by The Intrepid Thread and Fat Quarter Shop ) you can find a list of the post links here :)  Here is the schedule:

Appliqued Chains Block - Stitching - Mar 19
Piecing Top and Grand Prize Linky - Mar 26th
Parade and Grand Prizes - April 23rd

Before we get any farther,  we need to pick a winner for last weeks Appliqued Chains Assembling Block assignment.   And great job to everyone !!!  I know applique was new for a lot of you and your all rocked it out!!!

The Appliqued Chains Assembling Block winner who gets 2 Bella Solids Charm Packs  from Olie and Evie.  is . . .
#5  -  Camillesquilting!!! - Congrats :)

So here we are ready to stitch our Applique!     If you are just finding this QAL, it's never to late to join in the fun :)  Just see the schedule above for the posts you missed and start quilting along ;)  


Secure Stitching around your applique holds it in place and gives it strength.  It is the final step of the applique process.  Now, I have to say, this is probably my favorite part of applique.  It is so very relaxing for me.  I often rest my head on my sewing machine while I stitch around all of my shapes ;)  So I hope you find it fun and relaxing as well ;)  So let's get to it ;) 


First off, you have to decide what color thread you want to use to secure stitch your applique.  You will have an entire rainbow of choices, but they are most likely going to fall into 3 categories.  Matching, Blending, or Contrasting, and all are great.  It just depends on the look you want to go for.  
Matching is when your thread color is the same as your applique fabric.  Using matching thread makes it so you can hardly see the stitching lines at all.  This works great when all of your applique is the same color.  

Blending is when your thread color is not the same, but a soft color that will blend away into your applique.  Normally soft cremes, light greys, and light yellows tend to blend well with most colors.  This is a great alternative if you are doing scrappy appliques and you don't want the thread to stand out but you also don't want to have to change it a million times ;)

Contrasting thread is when you want your stitching to stand out, which can be a lot of fun ;)  So if you are going for a bold look,  pick a bold thread color that will stand out ;)  And you can pull in colors from the rest of your quilt to tie in the stitching as well ;)  

I like to lay the thread in a single strand over the applique to help me get an idea of what it will look like.  Kind of like auditioning binding fabric, only you are auditioning thread.  So you have an entire rainbow of choices, time to pick ;)   

Once you have picked a thread color, wind a bobbin with the same thread.  I like to have my top and bottom threads always match when I am secure stitching so I don't get any little bits of color showing up from the bottom that I didn't want.   And now it is time to start stitching.  I made up a little sample block to show this off, so that I could Contrast the thread so it could show up :)  I will be going over the three basic types of secure stitching.  And a good rule of thumb before we start, always have your needle in the Needle Down position, it makes pivoting much easier ;)


First off, is the Straight Stitch.  I love using this stitch when I want a little big of raw edge that will scruff up a bit in the washing machine.  It gives a super cuddly look to the quilt ;)   So to straight stitch I like to use my 1/4" foot and the basic straight stitch setting on my machine although I like to shorten the length of the stitch a bit for strength ;)

Whenever I am stitching an applique I like to start towards the outside edge and move inward.  But I don't start right in the corner as it can be tricky to finish and start there. I like to stitch an 1/8" in from the edge of my applique.  I use the inside of my foot as a guide.  Start by stitching 2 stitches, and then backstitch to secure them in place.

Then continue stitching forward down the side of the applique, using the inside of a foot as a guide so your stitch is nice and straight.  When you get 1/8" from the corner of you applique stop with your needle down.  Pivot your foot and then repeat stitching up the other side of the applique.  And you will notice that I have taken the pin out of the applique.  If you find they are getting in the way, don't be afraid to move them.  They can easily throw off your stitching if they are pushing up against or slightly under the foot.

Pivot at the outside corner again and then stitch until you meet your beginning stitching, but don't stitch over it.  Backstitch 2 stitches to secure it.

Now clip your threads right up close to the stitching.   The backstitching will keep the threads from unraveling even though you clipped them right up close ;)   I backstitch a little more than 2 stitches as I wanted it to show up in the picture, so no, it doesn't normally stand out that much ;)


Next is the zig-zag stitch.  For this stitch I like to use my Open Applique foot because it allows me to see all of the stitching, but if you don't have one of these your basic foot will do just fine ;)  Select the Zig-Zag stitch on your machine.  To start, I left my machine at the basic settings.

Once again, you are going to start towards the outside along the side of the applique.  Stitch 2 stitches and then backstitch 2.  And when backstitching zig-zag I like to go slow.  If you go to fast, your stitches won't wind up in the same place.   (sorry for the thread mess in this picture, I forgot to take it until I had already moved forward and had to improvise ;)

Now continue stitching down the side of your applique.  With the zig-zag stitch, I find that if you keep the applique centered in your foot, than your stitches should land right to the side of your applique ;)

Now when you get to the corner, and sometimes I lift my presser foot and manually shorten a stitch so it ends up right in the corner, pivot with the needle down and then continue stitching up the next side of the applique.

Then once again, pivot in the second corner, backstitch 2 stitches when you have met your stitching, and then clip your threads close.

And a fun little thing about zig-zag is you can customize it to look any way you like, all the way down to a basic satin stitch.  Play with the width and length of the stitch on a practice piece of fabric and find the look that suits you best ;)

Those simple little tweaks can really change up the look as shown below.  There are about 6 different settings on that petal, all just adjusting the width and length of the stitch :)


The blanket stitch is my personal favorite for secure stitching applique.  Once again, for this stitch I like to use an Open Foot, but your basic foot will work fine as well.   Select your Blanket Stitch on your machine, which you might have to look for a bit.  Mine is in the "fancier" stitches ;)

Like the others, start in the outer edge and stitch 2 stitches and then backstitch 2 stitches.  The important thing to remember about the blanket stitch is that the stitch is 3 parts, so you always want to end the stitch along the outside edge.  Remembering to do all 3 parts of the stitch come in hand when pivoting :)

Continue stitching down the side of the applique, aligning the straight stitch (the first stitch in the sequence of 3) with the edge of the applique.  So all you will see on the applique is the inward stitches.

Just like the others, stitch to the corner, pivot with the needle down, stitch up the second side and then backstitch to finish when you meet your stitching and clip the threads close.

And those are the basics!!!   Not to tricky, just enjoyable stitching that you can really have some fun with ;)  And I have seen some pretty fancy stitches on applique, these are the basic, but if you want to get fancy with your machines stitches you go for it ;)


Now, because our applique all touches in the center, we can speed things up a bit.  If you are doing a stitch that is along the edge of the block (blanket or zig zag in our examples) and all of your points meet in the center you can start in the center.   But please note, if you have a little bit of space in your center I don't recommend this, traveling from one to the other with space can leave you with a hot mess where everything is criss-crossing ;)

So for this little trick, start in the center of your block, stitch 2 stitches again and then backstitch 2 stitches.  Now begin stitching down the side of the first applique.  When you get to the corner pivot with the needle down and stitch along the second side of the applique.

As you near the center again, stop with the needle down and clip the thread in the front and back.  You don't want to stitch over this as it can get all sucked up in your stitches.  Now, continue stitching downward moving right on to the next applique center.  Once again, when you move from one applique to the next, it should not need any extra stitching to fill in the center but be a smooth transition.

Continue stitching around that applique and once you reach the center, again, stitch downward moving into the next applique shape.

Repeat this until you have stitched all 4 appliques and then backstitch 2 stitches to secure everything in place and clip your remaining front and back thread close ;)  Fun little trick huh ;)   Your applique won't always be touching, but when it does, traveling from one to the next can really save some time and thread :)

And you are done ;)  I hope you enjoyed your little stitching session ;)   I love to listen to a good book on cd when doing this as it really doesn't take a lot of concentration.

And just to make sure you didn't lose one from the previous week, here is the total number of stitched blocks you should have ;)

And with your Assignment all complete, you are ready to link up for a chance to win the Weekly Prize!!!!

Happy Quilting is sponsoring this weeks prize and the winner will get to pick their favorite 2 of my Happy Quilting PDF patterns :)  I mean, you are going to need a new project to start soon, right ;)  

So what do you have to do for a chance to win these patterns?  Simple . . . Just link up your Stitched Appliqued Chain Blocks at the end of this post :)  You can link to a blog post, flickr picture, Instagram, Facebook . . .  or whatever.  Just make sure to link up by next Thursday morning as I will be announcing a winner at the beginning of next weeks post :)

If you don't get your Stitched Appliqued Chain Blocks done by next week you can still link it up :) (just not in time for the prize :)    The linky will remain open until the end of the Quilt-A-Long.  So if your out of town, or just had a busy week, no worries!!!  Just link up when you can :)

And Don't forget to add your stitched blocks to the Happy Quilting Quilt-A-Long Flickr group and to post it on social media with using #irishchaintwistqal.    I am so excited for this week, because it means we are just about there!!!  I can't wait to see everyone's quilts come together!!

So let's do some stitching!!!  And if you have questions, don't hesitate to email me at  Have a Happy Quilting Day!!

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