Monday, January 31, 2011

Love Nest Quilt Contest

So have you heard of Gen X Quilters?  It is a super fun little blog ran by AnneMarie.  She happens to be hosting a Love Nest Quilt Contest  right now.  The request is for quilts that are finished bed sized quilt and Modern.  I figured my Braided Irish Chain is a perfect fit.  So here is a blast from October past :)

 I love Irish Chain quilts.  My mother made me a double Irish Chain queen size quilt for my wedding that resided on my bed for years.  After the children "loved" it a little to much I decided it was time to make a new one.  I wanted to make an Irish Chain Quilt but add some Modern twist to it.   So I began designing.   My design started with a simple Single Irish Chain, a very large Single Irish Chain.  Then I started adding "braids" for that modern flair.  And wha-la, The Braided Irish Chain pattern was created!   I had some much fun designing this quilt and was so surprised and pleased with the secondary patterns that came from it.

This quilt became my second Moda Bake Shop tutorial.  That's right, you can click right here for step by step directions on how to make it.  This was the largest quilt I have made as well as quilted.  Yes, I quilted it on my little Bernina, and yes, my shoulder was sore the next morning :)    I put this quilt together in a two weeks, however, those were some sewing intense 2 weeks :)  This quilt was a blast to put together and I am so super pleased with the final result!!  (Oh, but if I were to make it again some day, I would add a border along the 2 sides so that it hangs a little lower on the bed :)

Oh, and tomorrow is February 1st, and you know what that means, the start of my Quilt-A-Long :)  See you tomorrow!!!!
Pin It!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Block-A-Palooza #2

Okay, so this post is going up about hour after it was planned, but unfortunately, I didn't have my full attention on my blocks and sewed 4 of the little 9 patch sets completely backwards.  Enter Mr. Seam Ripper.  Ah well, that is what happens when you are doing a few to many things at once.  So, here it is.  Block #2 designed by Elizabeth Fransson.  (I varied slightly from the design to keep all of my blocks the same size, but that is something probably only I will notice :)

I also put this little block together and will soon be turning it into an adorable mug rug.  There is a challenge to make a mug rug that represents you.  I thought what better than my new quilting mantra :)

Pin It!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hugs and Kisses from the Park

It's Here or I guess I should say They're Here!!!!!  Surprise, it is a 2 for 1 special this time around!!

So after all the sneaky peeks I am so happy to say that my Hugs and Kisses from the Park tutorial is out at the Moda Bake Shop today!!

Growing up, we visited Grandma and Grandpa each summer and the trip was always filled with lots of laughs and more importantly, lots of love. Our favorite to do was to play at the park across the street with Grandma and Grandpa.  When I saw Kate Spain's collection of Central Park I knew I wanted to design something inspired by my grandparents.  Grandma and Grandpa would always sign letters to me with XOXO.  My mother explained that it meant hugs and kisses.  I always cherished those little X's (kisses) and O's (hugs) from my grandparents.  And that is how Hugs and Kisses was inspired.

And now that this Moda Bake Shop Tutorial has been published for a while, I can now post it here on my blog for your convenience ;)   So just follow along below for the full step-by-step tutorial.  And if you love it, you can get the printer friendly version here :)  

1 Central Park by Kate Spain Jelly Roll
1 Moda Bella Solids White Jelly Roll
1 1/8 yards of Moda Bella Solids White  (or a second White Jelly Roll that you will use 16 strips out of)
1 1/4 yards backing for your Hugs and Kisses Citrus Quilt
1 1/4 yards backing for your Hugs and Kisses Berry Quilt

That's right... that is all you need to make 2 Hugs and Kisses Quilts, one in Berry and one in Citrus :)

Just a note before we start... if you have any questions about putting these quilts together, please feel free to contact me at happyquiltingmelissa (at) gmail (dot) com.  And as always, you are welcome to come by my stomping grounds over at Happy Quilting.


Grab your Central Park Jelly Roll and open it up.  Isn't it fun to watch them unroll? :)  Now go ahead and divide the 40 strips into 2 piles of 20 strips each.  Here are the strips for the Berry version.

Here are the strips for the Citrus version.

Lay 5 - 7 strips out horizontally along your cutting mat with the selvages over the 0 vertical line.  Trim your selvage edge off.

Without moving your strips, line your ruler up along the 26" vertical line on your mat.  Cut. Repeat with all 40 strips, making sure to keep them in two separate piles.  (I like to do all of my cutting first, so I cut out the pieces for both quilts.  If you want to do one at a time, cut 20 now and 20 later.)

You should now have 20 Citrus pieces and 20 Berry pieces that are 26" long and 20 Citrus pieces and 20 Berry pieces that are 17" long.  Set the 17" pieces aside.  They will be used later for appliqué and binding.

Grab your Bella Solids White jelly roll and unroll it.  This time lay your strips on your mat vertically, lining the folds up along the 0 Horizontal line on your mat.  Cut along the 13" horizontal line on your mat.  (This gives you a 26" piece when unfolded)  Without moving the pieces, move your ruler up to the 21 1/2" Horizontal line.

If your mat is like mine, you don't have a 21 1/2" line.  So here is how to do it.  Line your ruler up so that the first 1/2" mark is aligned with the 21 inch line on your mat.  Check to make sure it is aligned along that 1/2" mark between your strips.  And tada, your ruler is on 21 1/2".

Cut across your strips, giving you two 8 1/2" pieces per strip.  Repeat with all 40 strips (or 20 if you are only doing one right now).

Lastly, Grab your White yardage and cut 16 strips 2 1/2" x WOF to be used for sashing.  Or just grab your second jelly roll and take 16 strips out of it.  Set the rest aside for a future project.   For both quilts you should have  (40) 26" strips, (80) 8 1/2" strips, and (16) WOF strips.  (If you are making one quilt, just have halve those numbers.)


***Starting here, the instructions will be for making one quilt (the Berry version).

Strip piecing is a great way to save a lot of time when quilting because you sew your strips together first, and then cut your squares.  To start, take your first 26" strip and a white 26" strip.  This is what it will look like:

Match up your pieces with right sides together.  Sew a 1/4" seam down the full length of your strip.  Don't worry about pinning, just line them up by hand and feed them through your machine.  If you get to the bottom and your pieces aren't perfectly even, no worries because I made allowances for that.   Once you get to the bottom of the strip, simply feed the next set of strips through.  Continue chain stitching all 20 strip sets.

You will now have a pile that looks like this.  Clip the threads between each strip set.

Press your strip sets to the print side.  I prefer not to press my seams open when strip piecing; but feel free to press which ever way you are comfortable with.  (I was at a hotel for this picture, so you don't get to see my smiley face ironing board!)

Now that the strips are made, we can cut them into proper pieces.  Lay your strips out horizontally along the mat. You can do 5 -7 at a time. Once again, I was at a hotel so I had my travel size mat and could only fit 2 :)  Trim a nice straight edge.

Measure over 2 1/2" and cut.  Continue this process all the way across your strip sets.

You should have 10 Two-Patch blocks out of each strip set and a little leftover scrap at the end.

Repeat this process with all 20 of your strip sets.  You will need 192 Two-Patch blocks for this quilt, so go ahead and pull out 8 blocks and add them to your scraps.  I just love scraps... mine are going to be mug rugs :)


Now we are ready to start turning those 2 patch pieces into X and O blocks.  We'll start by making        4-Patch blocks.  Grab two 2-Patch pieces and lay them out like shown.

Lay your second piece on top of your first piece.  Don't spin it or anything, just flop it over.  You know you have done this right if your white block is on top of a print block.  Pin along the edge where you will be sewing your seam.  When pinning, make sure to line up your center seam first.  Your seams should "nest" together.  Go ahead and pin all your 2 patch pieces ( 96 sets).

Stitch a 1/4" seam along your pinned edge, making sure to remove pins as you sew. When you are finished with one piece, feed the next piece through.  Continue chain stitching all 96 sets.

Clip the threads between pieces and press.

You should have 96 4-Patch blocks.  Aren't they fun?

Now we are going to sew the 4-Patch blocks together.  Lay 2 blocks out like so.

Lay your first block onto your second block (just flop it over).  You know you did it right if the white blocks are on top of white blocks and the print blocks are on top of print blocks.  Pin along the seam edge, taking care to line up your center seam first and then the sides.  Pin all 96 blocks into sets of 2 (making a total of 48 sets).

By now you are a master at the next few steps and don't need pictures.  Chain stitch your 1/4" seam along all 48 pieces.  Cut the threads between blocks and press.  You will have 48 pieces that look like this.

There is where the blocks take the X and O shape.  There are two layouts for the next step.  You will be doing 12 blocks in the X layout and 12 blocks in the O layout.

Lay your top piece onto your bottom piece.  Once again, you know you have done it right if all of the print blocks are on top of print blocks and the white blocks on top of white blocks in both layouts.  Pin along your center seams (nesting your seams).

You know what is next :) Chain stitch you 1/4" seam, clip the threads between blocks, and press.  Now your blocks are done.

Next, we are going to add a sashing to each block.  Grab your 8 1/2" white strips.  It doesn't matter what side you sew them onto.

Simply lay your piece on top of any side of your block and stitch 1/4" seam.  Continue chain stitching a sashing onto all 12 of your X blocks and all 12 of your O blocks.  Clip the threads between blocks and press.


Now that your blocks are all done, you are ready to start putting your rows together.  This is the layout for your rows.  You will be making 6 rows.  First, we have to add one more sashing to the end of each row.

Lay a 8 1/2" white strip along the edge of your last O block in the row.  Stitch a 1/4" seam and press.  Repeat for all 6 rows.

So this is what it should look like now.

I like to start by laying my first block on my second block and my third block on my fourth block.  Pin along the two seam edges.  You don't have any seams to worry about lining up now.  Stitch a 1/4" seam and press.  Repeat for all 6 rows.

Now your rows should look like this.  Only one thing left :)

Lay your sewn together blocks one and two onto your sewn together blocks three and four.   Pin along the edge and sew a 1/4" seam. Press and repeat this process for all 6 rows.

Now your rows are complete.  Way to go!!!


It's time to finish putting your top together.  You will need 5 rows to make the top. Set the remaining one aside.  It will be used in the pieced back.  You will also need 6 of your white WOF strips.  Lay your rows and sashing out as follows.  You will be alternating your X and O rows.  Once you have a layout, I find it easiest to take a picture so you have something to refer to when you start picking up your rows.

We will attach the sashing first.  Lay your sashing strip along the top of your block.  Note that your last row will have a sashing along the top and the bottom of your quilt.  Pin sashings (or you can just line it up as you go if you feel comfortable with that).  Stitch a 1/4" seam (where the arrows point) and press.  There will be a bit of excess at the end of each strip.  Just trim it off.

So now you are here.  Finishing it is just like when you are sewing your rows together but on a bigger, longer scale.

Lay row one onto row two.  Lay row four onto row 4 and pin, sew 1/4" seam, and press.  Then lay row three onto your now stitched together row one and two.  Pin, sew 1/4" seam and press.  Lastly, lay your now sewn together rows four and five onto your now sewn together rows one, two, and three.  Pin, sew 1/4" seam and press.

Your top is now done!!!  Yippee Skipee!!  Time to move to the back :)


Grab that row that you set aside and 2 more WOF white strips.  Layout just like you did the rows on the front.

Using the same instructions from the quilt top, attach the two sashing to the top and bottom of your row.

*Now, this next little bit is for applique.  It is completely optional.  If you love appliqué, follow along, if you don't like appliqué, go ahead and skip down to Step 7

Pick your favorite 13 prints and cut one 2 1/2" square out of each 13 prints.  Add a 2 1/2' square of  Heat N Bond to each square.

Cut out the letters for "hugs and kisses".  I used my Slice machine to cut these.  But you don't have to have one.  You can draw your letters or print them off the computer, whatever works best for you.  You will want 2" letters :)  I cut out both sets at once since I had everything pulled out.  Aren't they just adorable?

Take your applique letters and play with a layout along the bottom of your row.   You don't have to have your's straight, that is just the way i liked it.  Just remember to leave a 1/4" along the bottom where you will piece it to the back.  When you like your layout, press to set it.

Stitch around your appliqué letters.  I choose to do a small zig zag in brown.  You could do a zig-zag stitch, a blanket stitch, or even raw edge appliqué.  I am by no means an expert at this, but practice makes perfect :)


Now your row for the back is all put together.  We are going to add just a little extra so that we have some wiggle room when quilting.  Grab 4 more 8 1/2" strips.  (there will be a few leftover that you can add to your scrap pile).  Sew 2 sets of the strips together, edge to edge with a 1/4" seam and press.  Then go lay them onto the right and left of your row.

There will be extra on the top and bottom, so try to make sure that you line the center seam of your white sashing along the center strip of your block.  This just gives it a nice finish look.  Stitch your 1/4" seam, press, and trim the top and bottom of your sashing to be even with your row.

Your row now looks like this.

You're almost done.  Grab your 1 1/4 yard print for the back.  Unfold and refold it so that the selvage edges are together on the left and right sides of your piece rather than the top (this way your print will be vertical and not horizontal).  Cut along the fold to make two pieces that measure 44 x 22 1/2".

Grab your row and your two strip pieces and lay them out as follows.

Lay your row onto your bottom print piece.  Your row will be slightly longer, just center it on top of the piece.  Pin along the edge, stitch a 1/4" seam and press.  Repeat the same process for your top piece.

Trim your row pieces that are hanging out to match the sides of your quilt.  Your backing is all done!!!!  Don't you just love it?  I can't get over how cute those little letters are!!


So now it is time to turn that finished quilt top into a finished Quilt ;)  Time to  Baste It, Quilt It, and Bind It!!!  Which is a whole lot in one little sentence.  If you are new to quilting, you can see my Finishing Your Quilt Series of video tutorials that will walk you through Basting, Quilting, and Binding step by step ;)

Now just enjoy your Two adorable Hugs and Kisses Quilts, measuring 39 x 48 each.  One in a Citrus color way and one in a Berry color way.  Go find two people you want to send some Hugs and Kisses to :)

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial and if you make your own Hugs and Kisses from the Park Quilt I would love to see it!!  You can email me a picture at, post it to social media with #happyquiltingwithmc  or or add it to my flickr group here ;)  I can't wait to see your Hugs and Kisses from the Park Quilts!!!
Pin It!