It has been such a pleasure to stitch up two quilts from this book! I can assure you that the patterns are fast, easy, and fun! They are perfect for both gift-giving and a quick, snuggle-on-the-sofa quilt. I am going to have a hard time giving this one away–but I think it is bound for Texas. My aunt and uncle lost just about everything in Hurricane Harvey, and what better way to make a new house a home, but with the addition of a quilt.
It was super windy the day we took these photos, so I was lucky to get just a few! I really love the quilt back on this–it makes it such a happy quilt!
Once my sewing machine woes were fixed, quilting this was a pleasure. Christa lays out such fun, doable motifs. I don’t usually mix and match motifs in a single quilt, but I did with this one. Breaking up the quilting into small areas makes such a big difference! If all you have to do is quilt a 2″ x 12″ area–how hard can that be? You have a built-in resting place to get re-positioned and gather your wits every few minutes. It really made the whole quilting experience more fun and interesting.
And I think the scrappy binding on this one is just perfect.
I spent much of this week hand sewing the binding on this one (two episodes of This is Us, three episodes of Poldark Season 3, if memory serves), so I don’t have any additional quilting to show. But that’s how it goes. I whole-heartedly recommend both this book and Modern Marks fabric!
And a special thanks to my son (aka Quilt Sherpa), without whom these photos would not have been possible.
For your chance to win both, don’t forget to enter the giveaway! Here are the particulars:
There will be two winners . One winner will receive one copy of Piece and Quilt with Precutsby Christa Watson. If the winner resides in the United States or Canada, they will have their choice of a physical or digital copy of the book. If they reside outside the US and Canada, the winner will receive a digital copy.
The second winner will receive a “jellyroll” of Modern Marks fabrics (hand cut by me). This is one 2.5″ strip from each one of Christa’s (31) beautiful fabrics! (U.S. only due to shipping costs)
You can enter below anytime between October 9-20, 2017.
This quilt went together so fast! If you start with jellyrolls, you already have such a head start on putting this quilt together. I started with a jellyroll of the background, and cut strips from yardage, and it was still super quick.
Here’s a little secret–I love nothing more that sewing fabric together. This quilt is chain piecing at its finest. And because it is scrappy, I literally just picked up the scrap nearest to me and started sewing them together. I wondered if I would regret not having a plan when it came time to sew it all together, like would I get stuck with too many of the same fabrics lining up, etc. But it worked out just fine. There are a few places that that I had to let go of my perfectionism and let two patches of the same color touch. Which is what happens with random, right? But I like a little more “controlled random”.
Another new-to-me technique was pressing seams open. It was a great idea for this quilt because then you didn’t have to worry about which way to press your seams to have them nest. And since it was so random–I didn’t really know how the final layout would go. I have to say–the blocks lie so flat! This little tool really helped to get them opened up before pressing. I had to set my stitch length quite a bit smaller, as I noticed that the edges of blocks would start to come apart–so there was a bit of a learning curve. You definitely need pin to get those seams to line up. But I got pretty good at getting a pin right in the seam line and had good results with it. All in all, I love how it came out.
The Quilting (Nightmare)
This is where our story takes a dark turn. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it, but this quilt is headed to Quilt Market to show off both Christa’s pattern and fabrics in the Benartex booth. So, of course, I wanted it to be perfect (sigh). I decided to quilt it pretty much the way Christa showed in the book. It looked perfect for the quilt and very doable.
My newly beloved Juki started breaking thread in a way it never had before. I did all the things. I re-threaded, I cleaned out the bobbin case, I changed the needle. It broke three needles in a row. I started wearing glasses every time I changed the needle, just in case, (I didn’t want to lose an eye over this). If it worked, it would start skipping stitches after a few minutes. This quilt has so many stops and starts in the quilting–something that of course, I was trying to minimize.
So, I drove 40 minutes to the Juki dealer. They showed me a place where I was threading it wrong (although it had worked fine the way I had it threaded all summer), and of course, it behaved itself at the dealer, so I took it back home. You know how this goes, right? It started acting up as soon as I got home. I spent hours trying to get it to work. Then I finally pulled the old Babylock out of the closet.
It’s amazing how you get used to a new machine! The Bablylock felt so different and I had become so used to having all that extra harp space on the Juki. But, I pushed on. I was quickly reminded of why I wanted the Juki in the first place. The free motion tension on the Babylock is not great. And I wanted the quilting to be great! So I did all the things. Changed the needle. Opened it up to clean out the bobbin area, etc. Then I put it all back together and I couldn’t get the bobbin thread up. A tangled mess! I got up and ran it to the dealer. Turns out the bobbin hook was broken. Nooooo! Am I cursed or what?!
At this point, I am up against a deadline and I start looking for Plan B. Luckily, my friend Vicki tells me that I can send it to her and she will finish it (God bless you Vicki!). This plan is looking pretty good about now. But, I get up early on Saturday morning and drive the 40 minutes back to the Juki dealer. They understand my plight at this point and the technician sits down with it then and there to figure it out. I won’t bore you with the details–but it had something to do with the needle threader, which resulted in the timing being off. He fixed it right there. The threader will not be replaced for a couple of weeks–but in the meantime I have a working sewing machine!!
I finished up the wavy line motif that I had been struggling with before (because of the machine–the motif is fun!) and then moved onto some simple zig-zags. It was then that I felt my love for machine quilting return. It felt so good to get back in the zone.
After that nice warm-up, I got up the nerve to start on some crazy eights. They are so fun and fast! Definitely not perfect, but they keep getting better and the they give the quilt a beautiful texture.
Whew! If you made it this far, you deserve a giveaway! Martingale has generously provided each of the Blog Hoppers a copy of the book to giveaway, plus we are each throwing in some free Modern Marks fabric as well! So, make sure you also visit Vickiand HollyAnne.
Here are the details for my giveaway: There will be two winners . One winner will receive one copy of Piece and Quilt with Precutsby Christa Watson. If the winner resides in the United States or Canada, they will have their choice of a physical or digital copy of the book. If they reside outside the US and Canada, the winner will receive a digital copy.
The second winner will receive a “jellyroll” of Modern Marks fabrics. This is one 2.5″ strip from each one of Christa’s (31) beautiful fabrics! (U.S. only due to shipping costs)
You can enter below anytime between October 9-20, 2017.
I’m so excited to show you my finished Squiggles quilt! As I mentioned last week, the wavy line quilting went quickly and was so relaxing. And unlike so many people, I LOVE to hand bind my quilts. It gives me a great excuse to sit down with a cup of tea (or wine, depending on the time) and binge watch my latest show. During the making of this quilt, I was loving Victoria and our whole family is getting a kick out of watching The Office together. We have actually taken to calling that time our family “Office Hour”.
I presented my college-bound daughter with a stack of quilts and asked her if she would like to pick one to take to school with her. This is the one she chose. It made me happy to place it, folded at the foot of her bed when we moved her in. When we said goodbye I told her, “Anytime you need a hug, just wrap yourself in that quilt. It’s a hug from me. ” The ultimate in Mama Love.
Modern Marks Fabric
Now, on to the next quilt! I was lucky enough receive an early shipment of Christa Watson’s new fabric line from Benartex, called Modern Marks. This fabric so perfectly represents Christa’s style. The colors are spot-on, in this luscious, fully-saturated way. I could not way to cut into it!
The next quilt on my list from Piece and Quilt is called Dot ‘n’ Dash. Here is Christa’s beautiful version.
I can’t wait to see this remade in Modern Marks! Instead of the solid gray, I’m using a jelly roll of low volume gray prints on white fabric–I think it will look fabulous!
Honestly, what with finishing up one quilt and starting another, I didn’t do as much machine quilting practice this week. Part of the issue is the mental hurdle of taking the piecing foot off of my machine and setting it up for free motion quilting. I know in reality, it only takes a couple of minutes–but some days it seems like an insurmountable obstacle. My dream is to someday have enough space to have both machines set up at the same time. One for piecing and one for quilting. (sigh)
Anyway, I didn’t do a ton of practice, and it shows. I practiced some more crazy eights, because I want to quilt Dot ‘n’ Dash using that motif, and then a flower motif, and some wishbones. Not my best, but it all counts as practice, right? And just like all of Christa’s books, she gives you wonderful instructions on how to do each motif.
Remember, if you are sewing along with us, remember to use the hastag #pieceandquilthopalong on Instagram to share your work. We’d love to see it!
This week I finished up the Squiggles quilt top and could not be more pleased with how it came out! Such a bright and happy quilt! It was so quick and easy to make–lots of chain piecing–and not too many seams to worry about matching.
So, next up is my least favorite part–basting. I’ll spare you the late night, grainy pictures of that, but I spray basted, which is my favorite way to baste these days. Christa does some simple wavy line walking foot quilting on her version in the book. I’ve been wanting to try that motif on a full quilt for a while now. It seems like it would be so fun and relaxing. And, as it turns out–it is!
First up was securing the quilt by quilting the wavy line right down each column of blocks. The photo above shows the back of the quilt (cutest backing fabric or what?! Again–Creekside by Moda)
Then it was simply filling in each column of blocks with about four more lines of wavy stitching. My new Juki did not disappoint! It was so much easier to get a full quilt through that luxurious throat space!
The quilting went quickly over a couple of evenings. I’m totally obsessed with the show Victoria right now–so it went quickly! Now all is left to bind! Let’s see if I can get that done before next week. I’m really looking forward to having this quilt finished–I just love it. And, my college-bound daughter has her eye on it. I’d love to send her with a little extra quilt love when she heads back to school next week.
In addition to the hours I put in on the wavy line quilting, I also practiced some other motifs from the book. I started off with a free-motion arrowhead motif, which is like a spiraling triangle. I wasn’t sure I was going to like this one, but as soon as I figured out how to get it to fill a space, I was hooked! Again, a low-stress design that would be perfect for a boy quilt or any bright, geometric fabric.
Next up was what Christa calls crazy-eights. This is basically ribbon candy that overlaps and can be a bit…messier. Sounds good to me! It still needs some work (it got really messy in a few places), but it is really fun and fills a space so quickly! I look forward to continuing to practice this one.
It’s not too late for you to grab a copy of Piece and Quilt with Precuts, pick your favorite quilt and sew along with us for the next four weeks! If you do, use the hastag #pieceandquilthopalong on Instagram to share your work. We’d love to see it!
Christa has done it again designing fast, easy, and beautiful quilts with precut fabrics (did I say fast?!). And instead of the standard “Quilt as desired” line at the end of the pattern–of course Christa walks you through how to quilt it as well. She includes 18 quilting designs, both walking foot as well as free motion motifs, so you are free to mix and match to your heart’s desire.
Vicki, HollyAnne and I are each going to do our own thing with this hop–so make sure you check out each of the posts for the different perspectives. I am going to quilt my way through two (count ’em, two!) quilts over the next five weeks, as well as practice some different quilting motifs that Christa provides along the way. I learned so much and gained so much confidence quilting my way through Christa’s other book the Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting. I’m really looking forward to continuing to polish my machine quilting skills, and learn some new motifs.
For my first quilt, I chose Squiggles. Here is Christa’s version:
I love the simplicity yet striking graphic quality of this quilt design. And boy, am I a sucker for a charm pack quilt! I chose the new Creekside line from Moda for my version–I absolutely fell in love with this line while making this quilt. The simplicity of the design means lots of chain piecing, which is my happy place. Though I used charm packs for the main fabrics, I did cut the background fabrics and finally got around to using my June Tailor Shape Cut ruler and OH MY! It makes cutting strips so fast and easy!
I don’t think I’ve mentioned it, but I ended up buying a Juki TL-2200qvp mini sewing machine (review to come soon!) to give myself a better domestic machine quilting experience. And it turns out that I love it for piecing as well as quilting. I’ve put my Babylock away for awhile as I get to know this machine, and so far I am loving it! There is so much room to sew. And I love the simplicity of this straight stitch machine. No bells or whistles, but that suits me just fine.
Squiggles was quick, simple piecing and sewing rows together. Easy peasy and so much fun! Don’t you just love this fabric line?
Christa quilts this particular quilt with an organic curves motif–which I have been dying to use on an actual quilt, so I did a bit of practice to get ready for it. It is a simple walking foot design that is so fun to do–you can really get into the zen of it. I love the quality of stitches that I get with my new Juki–something I was struggling with on my last machine.
I also wanted to practice some free motion designs, so first up was a jagged stipple design.
I didn’t think I would like to quilt this design–but it was fun, easy, and I ended up loving the way it looks! I actually think it is easier than a standard meander design.
Next up was a design that I avoided for ten weeks during the Machine Quilting Blog Hop: Ribbon Candy. This design intimidates me so much! I have spent literally hours doodling this design in meetings to try to get the muscle memory down for it. I think I want to use it on an upcoming quilt, so I want to practice it every week.
I have to say that it looks better in the pictures than it does in real life (is there a lesson there?). But I will continue to work on it. I actually find that getting it started is the hardest part, then you sort of get into the rhythm of it . I find it challenging to fill the entire vertical space with it, so that is another aspect to work on.
I encourage you to pick up a copy of Piece and Quilt with Precuts, pick your favorite quilt and sew along with us for the next five weeks! Use the hastag #pieceandquilthopalong on Instagram to share your work. We’d love to see it!
I’ve always known that I like hand work–I love to bind quilts, I knit and embroider a little–but I really had no idea how much I would love hand piecing. When I started this crazy idea, I wasn’t at all sure that I would be able to see it through. About halfway through my first block I thought, “What have I gotten myself into?” But I pushed through, and now, a mere three months into this project, I can very clearly see my progress.
The actual motion of hand piecing is becoming second nature, and it feels so good to just slow down. I tend to do things very quickly–I walk fast, talk fast, and do most tasks as if I am getting a medal for speed. I’ve made a big effort this last year to slow down my machine sewing as well. I am always working on improving my accuracy, and slowing down is a big part of that for me. I hear about these sewing machines that sew 1500 stitches a minute and wonder how in the world someone can sew that fast without careening out of control.
Hand sewing takes time–something that always feels in short supply these days. I do all my prep work up front–I cut out all six blocks for the Patchwork Quilt Along and then mark the stitching lines on the back of them (I wrote about my favorite hand piecing tools here). This takes a good evening or two–usually while listening to a podcast or watching Netflix. Then I just keep everything I need to hand sew in a basket.
I drag this basket from room to room–or even in the car, using found moments to sew a seam or two. I think that this is one of the most unexpected parts about hand sewing–all the memories that are being sewn into this quilt. I will always remember that I worked on it in the car as we drove up to do a college tour for Jonah, that I binge-watched and cried my way through the entire season of This is Us, and that I worked on it pretty much every night when we gather as a family to share a TV show together before bed.
At first hand sewing a whole quilt seemed a little daunting, but now I realize that just like everything else–it is so much more doable when you break it down into small chunks. In this case, six blocks a month. I seem to need to be reminded of this over and over again–break it down and tackle it one bit at a time.
This may be crazy. And I may totally fail. But I hope not.
Ever since I learned to quilt, about seven years ago, I’ve wanted to make a hand pieced quilt. It seems so portable and charming and fun and a little bit crazy. I’ve hand pieced coasters and mug rugs, but have always been on the lookout for the quilt project that seemed just right. Enter the Fat Quarter Shop Patchwork Quilt Along.
I really had no idea it was going to lead to this, but I love the simple patchwork blocks and clean lines of this quilt and decided, very last minute, to jump on the bandwagon. This pattern has the awesome side benefit of raising money for charity–and I was happy to donate to Make a Wish.
I really didn’t want to buy fabric (but I did), so I started out with some Bonnie and Camille fabric from my stash. I downloaded the pattern, made my donation, and started cutting. These pieces are small! Like 1″ finished squares! I was pondering how careful and accurate I needed to be as I sat down at my sewing machine. Now, my accuracy has been improving steadily these last couple of years, but still. It was then that I realized that this would be a perfect hand piecing project! It ‘s much easier to be accurate when sewing by hand.
The blocks are only 5″ and fairly simple. So I stepped away from the machine and got out the needle and thread. I confess, it has been awhile since I did any hand piecing and my skills were quite rusty. Let’s just say I made a few mistakes early on.
The first was that I only marked the seam allowance on the one edge of the fabric that I was going to sew first. Mistake. You are eventually going to sew all four sides of the fabric, so go ahead and mark them all while it is a nice, flat piece of fabric and not all lumpy and bumpy from being sewn to other tiny pieces of fabric.
The second mistake was that I used a Frixion pen to mark the seam allowances. This seemed like a good idea at first, but now that I’ve ironed them, all the marks are gone, and I will want them back when I sew these blocks together. (Forehead smack.)
The third was that I forgot how to get really neat points and corners. The first two blocks are off a bit, but I pulled out my Quiltmaking by Hand book from hand sewing guru Jinny Beyer, and read up on it. The last block, the red one, came out much better. Progress! I thought about redoing the first two blocks, but they aren’t horrible, and I decided to look at this quilt as my journey in hand piecing. It will be a visible record of my improvement.
I decided that I wanted to use a variety of Bonnie and Camille fabrics for this project, and my stash was not adequate, so I ordered a layer cake of Bonnie and Camille Basics to get a bit more variety. As a matter of fact, I am (im)patiently waiting for the UPS man right now, so that I can get back to it.
To stay up with the Patchwork Quilt Along, you only need to make six blocks a month. It seems pretty do-able–even by hand! I plan to just tackle it one month at a time. It’s amazing how many “found” moments there are in a day to sew a quick seam. It is a goal of mine to use my time more effectively, and using these small moments to stop and hand sew for a bit makes me unreasonably happy.
Anyone else sewing along? I’d love to hear about it!
I’ve launched a podcast! I like to chat about quilting, knitting, what I’m reading and even a little bit about keeping a cozy, organized home. I hope that you give it a listen and let me know what you think. I love comments!
Here are the links to the things I talk about in this episode:
I have a deep and abiding love for all things tea. From the ceremony of it, to the delicate tea cups and tea pots, to the beautiful utility of the tea cozy. I have several teapots, all different sizes and shapes, and they all need different size tea cozies to keep that cuppa warm while you chat with a friend.
So, instead of a tutorial on how to make a tea cozy for my teapot, I thought it would be more useful to give you some instructions on how to make a tea cozy to fit any teapot. And if you are anything like me, you’ll need more than one.
Note: The exact amount of fabric needed depends on the size of your teapot
¼- ½ yard linen or neutral cotton fabric
25-30 squares of various prints for patchwork, cut to 2 ½ ” (a mini charm pack is perfect for this)
¼- ½ yard cotton fabric for lining
¼- ½ yard Insul-Bright (insulated batting) or cotton batting (such as Warm and Natural)
1 ½ yards of cotton trim (optional)
Freezer paper or several sheets of printer paper
(Seam allowance is ¼”, unless otherwise noted.)
Measure Your Teapot
Measure the width of your teapot around the widest point and jot down the measurement. Mine is 18.5″.
Measure the height of your teapot all the way around, top to bottom. Mine is 15.5″.
Take the width measurement, divide by 2 and add 1.5″. For mine this is: 18.5 ÷ 2 + 1.5= 10.7
Take the height measurement and divide by 2 and add 1.25″. For mine this is: 15.5 ÷ 2+1.25= 9.
Make the Pattern
Take a length of freezer paper and fold in half. You can also use plain printer paper taped together, but freezer paper has the advantage of sticking to the fabric when you iron it, eliminating the need for pinning the pattern to the fabric later on.
Mark the height of your teapot on the freezer paper. Mine is 9″.
Divide the width measurement by 2 and mark on the freezer paper. Mine is actually 5.375″, so I rounded to 5.5″
Draw a curve from one point to the other. Cut out on the line and unfold. I like to write which teapot this is for and what the formula was, for future reference.