Friday, March 10, 2023

Display Your Little Quilts

I'm often asked -  what do you do with all your small quilts? Many of us hang these on a wall or place them on a table. 


You can make a whole wall of quilts if you have more than a few. 

Try some rolled up in a basket. Then bring the basket indoors LOL. 

Display them on a bench.  Oops, this one's a larger "small" quilt! More like wall hanging size.

Small quilts can personalize a room and add color, texture and creativity to a space. Some quilters change them out with the seasons. I always have a few small quilts out and displayed around the house.


I have a few favorites that just brighten up my home so I occasionally rotate them in different rooms and settings.


One of the fun things about making small quilts is that they're easy to display around the house in so many different ways. Quilts really add something to a room whether they're dressing up a bed, draped over a sofa or hanging on a wall in an entryway. 


Small or large, I think that quilts make a home a home. Seeing a quilt displayed ini someone's home conveys a feeling of warmth to me. Don't just make the quilts and put them in a drawer or closet. Bring them out and display them so you and others can enjoy them.

Sunday, March 5, 2023

Simple Sewing, Mindless Piecing

I've talked about this before - how simple, mindless sewing can work wonders for your creativity. Sometimes I can't take the time or don't have the energy to focus on a large, complex project that involves a lot of work or concentration. I did that consistently for my Dear Jane and Schoolgirl Sampler. Pushing myself to get them finished as best I could. Writing books and making projects on a deadline also requires a lot of focus and that can drain your energy if you do it regularly. When I get tired, and quilting becomes "work," I have to take a break from it. Afterwards I find myself in a quilting slump and the only way to jump start my productivity or creative impulses is by playing around with fabric and making something small. Like this sweet little Valentine Mini. 

Years ago, I saw an antique strip quilt in a magazine made with what looked like mostly blues and browns. Not a good or  close-up photo. I cut out the page and filed it for "Someday." I ran across it last week, became inspired again and spent time pulling some fabrics to use in it - 

I started cutting and making a few blocks. mindlessly sewing four patches and hourglasses together. This one was just a picture and had no pattern, so I'm going to create my own. I realized I didn't really have a blue and brown quilt. I decided to add a little touch of pink to the blue and brown blocks and see what happens. 

Beginning a new project can be very exciting. I have about four or five of these types of simple, larger quilts started. Nothing fancy. Simple blocks, pretty fabrics, traditional settings and all based on antique quilts I've seen. I work on the blocks in between the sew alongs and my Dear Jane. And I'll finish each one when I finish. No pressure. Just sewing blocks until I feel I've got enough for a lap-sized quilt.

I really love mindlessly sewing simple blocks. The repetition and playing around with the fabrics and coordinating colors sparks some kind of creative flow. I find a nice box to store the blocks as I make them. And keep the fabric for the setting or borders along with the finished blocks.

When I collect enough blocks for a top I begin to put them together. No pressure. Sometimes I wonder if the reason we struggle to finish quilts is because we get bored with a specific project? Or become stressed by trying to make it perfect? If I take breaks from one quilt and move onto another one for awhile, I still make progress. Just not in a straight line, LOL.

The epitome of mindless sewing -  squares set in rows, LOL. Still plugging along every now and then. 

I love these plastic project cases for storing blocks for some of my in-progress quilts. I found them at Michaels in the Scrapbooking department. I'm sure other craft stores and maybe even Target carry them too. they stack nicely and I keep them at hand for when I feel the need to do some mindless sewing. 


My goal for the coming weeks -  just sew and have some fun! It's meditative and good for the soul. 

Monday, February 6, 2023

2023 Valentine Mini Mystery Quilt - Step 3

 Here's Step 3 of the 2023 Valentine mini quilt - 

Materials and Cutting


From a light print for the quilt background, cut

1 square, 4 ½”  x  4 ½”

                      1 square, 7”  x  7” cut twice on the diagonal for 4 triangles.

                      2 squares, 3 ¾”  x  3 ¾”.  Cut each square once on the diagonal for 4 triangles.

 From a pink or red print, cut                                                 

                        4 rectangles/strips, 2” x 11 ½ for borders                                       

                        4 squares, 2” x 2”  for corner blocks.


1.   Sew the blocks together in diagonal rows as shown with the 4 ½” setting block in the center row and the setting triangles on the ends of the first and third rows.   


2.    Add the 4 corner triangles.

 3.  Sew two border strips to the sides of the quilt. Sew two 2 ½” squares to both ends of the remaining border strips. Sew these to the top and bottom of your quilt.


                                  Ta da!  Love Letters . . . 

I thought it might be fun to applique some little hearts inside the blocks. Layer with batting and backing, quilt and add a 1 1/4" binding. 

Friday, February 3, 2023

2023 Valentine Mini Quilt - Step 2

 Step 2 - Take four matching half-square triangles from Step 1 and sew them together as shown. Do this with each set of matching HSTs. Make 4 blocks. Trim to 4 1/2"  x  4 1/2". 

Make 4 blocks. 

Step 3 will be posted on Monday, February 6. 




Wednesday, February 1, 2023

2023 Valentine Mini Quilt - Step 1

Here's the first step for making my little Valentine quilt - 


From four different red or pink fabrics, cut

            2 squares, 2 7/8"  x  2 7/8" 

From four different light or shirting prints, cut

            2 squares, 2 7/8"  x  2 7/8" 

This gives you 8 light squares and 8 pink and red squares in matching sets of 2. 

Next - Match up each red or pink print square with a light print square in matching sets of two. Make 4 sets of half-square triangles. Here's how to make half-square triangles - 

Layer a light print square together with a pink or red print square, right sides together. Draw a diagonal line from corner to corner across the lighter square. Stitch 1/4" away from the line on both sides. Cut on the drawn line. Flip open and press. Arrange in four groups of matching prints. Make 16 half-square triangles. Trim each to 2 1/2"  x  2 1/2". 

If you have trouble with half-square triangles, one of my favorite tools for making them is the Quilter's Rule Quick Quarter ruler. 

You may be able to find this tool at your local quilt shop or a quilt shop online. If not, JoAnn Fabrics and Amazon carry it. Here's how to use it: Cut 2 squares (usually light and dark) according to the directions in your pattern. Layer the right sides together. Line up the open notches of this ruler on the diagonal corners of your fabric squares as shown.


Mark a line along each side of the ruler with a fine lead pencil. These are the sewing lines. Lightly mark the center through the notches as well. This is the cutting line.

You can see that I stitched on the drawn sewing lines. Slow down and stitch your lines carefully. I always stitch a tiny bit to the INSIDE of the line to make up for the extra fabric used when pressing the squares open.

After you sew on both lines, press the squares to set the stitches. Flip open one side and press gently BEFORE you cut the squares in half. Switch and press the other side open. THEN cut in half. This will stabilize the bias edge and keep your blocks from stretching out of shape, which gives them a wonky look. If you cut and stitch accurately (slow down!) and press this way, your half-square-triangle units will come out perfectly instead of WONKY and will need minimal trimming. Try it! 

Perfect squares, minimal trimming. Just snip off those ends.

That's it! I encourage you to join my Facebook group for motivation if you haven't already. I find that if you break down these little projects into simple steps and sew along with others it's not only more fun but you'll be much more likely to finish something. 

Stop by on Friday, Feb 3, when I'll post Step 2. 


Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Sew a Little Valentine's Day Quilt

Over the weekend, I had an idea for a sweet little Valentine's Day quilt. I kept telling myself I had too many other projects to finish but I just could not resist doing one more. You're all invited to join me in making another little project beginning on Wednesday, February1. Some of you sewed along with me last year for something similar and it was a lot of fun. Small scraps, simple pieces and before you know it you have a little quilt finished. 

We'll be making this quilt in three steps beginning on Feb 1 when I'll post the first step. Second step will be on Friday or Saturday of this week. Then the third and final step next week. This will be a quick and easy little quilt for you to display around the house, on a table or doll bed or to hang on a wall. It won't take much time at all.


                                  Valentine's Day quilts are a lot of fun to make. Here are a few of my favorites -   

                      Bring out your red, pink and light fabrics or scraps and join me on Feb 1!  

Friday, January 20, 2023

Shoo Fly Blocks

My little shoo-fly runner, quilted and bound. Quick and easy. Hope you're also making something cute with the shoo fly blocks! See my website or FB group files for the little shoo-fly pattern. (Links are on the right sidebar.)


 I'll never get tired of making cute little things . . . . 

I'm still making more of these little blocks. It's hard to stop. Maybe I'll start a collection and save for a rainy day?

Combing through my scraps is the most fun. I cleaned up my sewing room a little bit and spent half an hour just sitting there, looking for more space to store everything. What if I put the table there? How about shelves? Can I consolidate anything? It's a tiny space and I make the most of it but it's beginning to feel cramped rather than "cozy."  Still, cleaning up always gives me a little motivation. 


One more handle to sew on my little red baskets. Not sure if I'll stop at four -  or make a few more.

Have a good weekend -  Take some time to sew a little something. 


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