Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day!

Today is Memorial Day and a great day for relaxing.... OR QUILTING :) Look at these beautiful lilacs blooming by the barn... smell SO good.

Al and I will be getting together with family later in the day but right now I thought I would work on a few projects.

Jenn and I were at a retreat in March and both made a Mondo Bag (from Quiltsmart). She wasn't happy with her interior. We decided that I would make another one, in colors of her choice and I would keep the one she made (it matches on of my quilts perfectly so I could store that in it).

These are the ones we made on retreat... the one she gave me is the pink one.

 For her new one, I'm using solids that she picked out of my storage bin. The lining is one I bought on a trip.. it has most of the colors she had picked. I have two of the four panels done... you iron the squares onto the marked interfacing then fold and stitch. How easy is that?!
 Here's two more panels and squares that need to be put together. This is a "no brainer" type of pattern. Takes a little time but really really easy. Just make sure the sticky side is up on your fusible interfacing! Know of a lot of ladies that have ironed it to their boards instead of to the squares ;)
 This is my other project for today... when I get bored working on the bag. It's a cross-stitch piece I found at a goodwill store. Won't it make a cute center for a quilt room pillow? After all the work someone put into it, it had to come home with me (and for 99 cents!).

Sunday, May 19, 2013

FREE Little Boys Sailboat PATTERN

I just designed a little boys sailboat quilt and thought I would share it with everyone. Email me if you're confused about any part of it. ENJOY!!


Little Sailor SAILBOAT QUILT  

 Finished size approx. 60”x60”


16 assorted scraps for sails

Hull & Mast Brown: 3/8 yard

Sky Blue: 1-3/8 yards

Water Blue & binding: 1 yard

Border 1 + 4 sails, White: 1/2  yard

Border 2, Red: 1-3/4 yards

Backing: 3-1/2 yards

Make 20 Sailboat blocks using the attached block pattern.

Make 4 rows as follows:

Cut (24) 2-1/2”x 8-1/2” SIDE sashing pieces of sky blue. Use these between sailboats and to start and end a row. Use 5 sailboats and 6 sashing pieces per row.

Cut (4) 2-1/2” x 42-1/2” strips of water blue and (1) 2-1/2” x 42-1/2” strip of sky blue. Attach water strips between rows and to the bottom of row 4. Add the sky blue strip to the TOP of row 1.

 Borders #1:

Cut (2) 1-1/2” x 42-1/2” WHITE border strips. Add to top and bottom.

Cut (2) 1-1/2” x 44-1/2” WHITE border strips (you may have to piece two strips to get the length you need). Add to each side.

Border #2:

Cut (2) 8-1/2” x 44-1/2” RED DOT strips. Add to top and bottom.

Cut (2) 8-1/2” x 60-1/2” RED DOT strips. Add to each side.

Quilt as desired.

Bind with Blue Water fabric.

©2013 NorthernDeb.  Email with comments or questions to

SAILBOAT Block Pattern:

There are 2 ways to make this block... one uses a foundation sheet and the other uses the TRI REC acrylic tools. I'll be doing the latter below. If you would like the paper pieced (foundation) pattern, email me and I'll let you know how to get it. Personally, I think it's easiest to use the TRI REC tools.
1.The sail/sky elongated triangle block is made first. Using the REC part of the TRI REC set, cut a 6-1/2" REC triangle (full size of the template) out of one of your SAIL fabric and the same of the sky. Both fabrics should be right side up so that your sail is facing the right direction.
2. Out of sky blue, cut a rectangle, 1" x 3-1/2". Attach this to the bottom of the sail square.
3. Cut a "mast" out of brown, 3/4" x 7". Attach this to the side of the sail block.
4. Out of sky blue again, cut a rectangle 3-1/4"x7. Attach this to the brown mast.
5. Cut a strip 2" x WOF out of brown for the hull. Lay the TRI tool on top of the strip (the large bottom end of the tool) lining up the long edge of the strip with the bottom edge of the TRI tool. Cut off the right and left angle to form the hull.
6. Cut a 2" x WOF strip of sky blue. Fold it in half and cut two REC triangles (top point of tool lines up with top edge of strip). Add these to each end of the hull to form a rectangle. Attach this to the bottom of the sail square. Your block should measure 6-1/2" x 8-1/2".
For the quilt above, you need to make 20 blocks. Want it longer, just add rows of sailboats and water. Don't forget to buy and cut extra border fabric also.

UPDATE 10-2-13: If anyone makes this, could you send me a picture? I'd love to post it on my blog. Thanks, Deb

Pin basting SAILING AWAY lap quilt

This is the "Sailing Away" shop sample that I've been working on this past week. It's ready for quilting which, with any luck, I'll get to later today. Don't you just love that bottom row? This would be a nice quilt to make for a guy... Al loves it. One of his favorites that I've made.

Today the weather is SO warm... over 80 degrees! Word around here is that it won't last but what's new. Sure am enjoying it!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Baking, Cooking and Stitching...

This past weekend was Al's 60th birthday. We had a party for him and his good friend, Joe, who also turned 60 the day after Al. Instead of a cake, we brought cupcakes to the resturant. I think we ended up making about 130. Turned out to be a wonderful party... lots of good friends, some family from downstate and lots of good food.
So today I'm back to working on projects and also cooking some pasta sauce. Daughter Jenns hubby, Jon, is having a birthday this weekend but they won't be in town. So we're celebrating with them this evening...we're bringing spagetti and meatballs, she's making the rolls and salad. While the sauce cooks, this Sail Away shop sample is getting worked on. Right now I'm trying to get all the sailboats appliqued on.... then a couple of clouds need to be added and it'll be ready to quilt. It's not a large quilt, probably a wall hanging size. Don't you just love the last row? That's perfect for this scene.

 And this is the other thing I was working on lately. This is the MONDO bag done in fall tone batiks. This one is for mom... it'll be a good size for her to pack up supplies when she needs to go to the hospital.
 The other day I showed almost all my UFOs... but I couldn't find a few... so here are the last three. The black and white with lime is a finished top, needs me to pick out a backing and get it quilted. The redwork has a way to go. It needs 12 blocks of redwork, there are 7 done. And the blue blocks in the upper right corner are a WIN from Hearts to Holly, block frenzy. Cassidy and I each won some blocks. These are just waiting for inspiration and sashing.

Monday, May 13, 2013

My UFOs are out of the closet!

Here's a thought... Once in a while on Monday mornings, I'm going to look through my sewing room to see how many UFOs are still lurking in boxes and bags and on hangers and containers in my sewing room closet. I'm going to pull them out and COUNT. These are what I SHOULD be working on...
So to get started today, I took pictures of my UFOs... most of them anyways. I'm going to REALLY REALLY try to work on these throughout the rest of the year (and next year) and get them out the door. Maybe by organizing them and prioritizing, it'll get done.
 The first three in the picture above are really ALMOST done. The top left is a round robin from 3 or so years ago... just needs a couple more borders and to be quilted. It will be Al's. The bottom left is a round robin from the year before the first... it needs borders and blocks and to be quilted. The Amish with a twist quilt top is finished. Just have to decide on a backing and get it to a quilter (too large for me to do on my home machine).
 Now these.... well, they're getting pretty old. The halloween quilt is going to the top of the list so that it's ready for October. That's doable, right?
The snowflake quilt needs a few more blocks but I don't think I'll work on that till winter.
And cute little Blue Sue? ... well, maybe if my daughter gets pregnant and finds out it's a girl, I'll get going on that one. I enjoy working on it but there are more pressing things to get done first.
 Okay... Top left is my "ME" quilt. That one is a round robin I'm doing myself for myself. It's a very selfish quilt ..haha... it'll be just for me and I'm being very fussy about the work in it. Of course that means it might NEVER BE FINISHED.
Below it is something I started as a sample to show how to do dresdens. That one might be worked on soon. It's bright and fun and enjoyable to play with.
The maple leaf quilt in the back is my OLDEST UFO. It's from the 1980's and is being hand quilted.... so someday that will be finished but probably not in this century.
The little doll quilt should be done soon... just needs a little quilting and binding.
AND THAT DARN aqua and black quilt... have any you're really tired of looking at? Well, my brother John likes this one so I need to finish it up quick, get it in the mail to him and never have to look at it again...
 A few of my favorites are in this pile. The blue and white is a joy to work on... just need the time.
The red and white crown of thorns is another that I really enjoy and cant wait to own... same problem.. too many quilts, not enough hours in the day.
Just peeking out at the top is a 30's Repro dresden on aqua. This will probably be for a grandchild someday so no rush on that. All the blocks are done. Just needs sashing and borders.
Top right corner is my Charlevoix quilt. It's another quilt top that is almost done... blocks are made, just have to stitch them all together.
The bottom left is the Judie Rothemal challenge quilt (no cutting yet)... just fabrics. I've designed a quilt and am ready to start cutting and sewing. This is TOP of my list (after I finish a sample for the shop, a repair job, a gift and a row robin)... that shouldn't take too long... (AHHHHH!!!! )
In the middle bottom is a UFO from, oh gosh, maybe 5 or 6 years ago? Some of the block central ladies might know. I won some Happy Blocks then made a bunch more to work with them and started adding the 1/2 square triangles around. This is another that I really like but, again, TIME... No TIME!
And the last one in the picture is Farmer's Wife. The Farmer's Wife blocks are done and will be set alternately with the white and aqua blocks. Think this one will have to be put on hold for awhile.
 The left most quilt is my SEVEN SISTERS STARS being done for my daughter Lisa... a someday quilt for her someday wedding (you just never know). It's five years in the making and the top is half done. Since she's not in a hurry to marry, I just might get it done in time (needs to be hand quilted after I'm done hand piecing it).
The stars in the background (civil war lone stars) are another project that I enjoy working on but it takes time and concentration. Maybe this winter? I have four of the 12 (or 9) blocks done.
On the floor is a strippy 30's coverlet. This just needs a few more aqua strips added to the back to cover up the seams and then to be bound... still... it might take years to finish this.
Now these three have been worked on lately and two of them might get finished this year. The top left is another Block Central block swap's from 2009 and right now, I'm quilting it. This goes to Jennifer. I was going to keep it but she loves it and that's all I need to hear to give a quilt up.
The one on the top right is my civil war medallion quilt. At the last retreat I went to, I started adding the flying geese. Probably take till the next retreat to work on it again... but that's ok... it's not going to anyone as of yet.
The Christmas quilt top is ALMOST pieced. I need one more 12" Christmas block from someone to finish it up. These blocks are all from different quilters that I met through forums. We've done block trades at Christmas. This is three years of trades. Hoping to finish this one up this summer so I have it for Christmas.

OH THAT FEELS GOOD.... all my quilting UFOs (well most) have come out of the closet. Now to get to work on something else ;)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Summer Breeze.. My newest pattern

 This is SUMMER BREEZE, my newest quilt pattern.

I wanted to use a new fabric that came into the shop that spoke to me. The line is called Colorwash from Timeless Treasures. You could use any combo of colors to make this, but blues are my favorites. The quilt takes 12 FQs (fat quarters) plus 3 additional fabrics to add into the blocks and to make the borders. It's very quick! The blocks took me a day to piece together, took a day to add borders and then I machine quilted it... that took another couple of days.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

FREE MOTION machine quilting TUTORIAL

 Today I started quilting my summer quilt. I'll show the steps I go through with pictures. There's a short video at the end that hubby Al took while I quilted. Start with your rolled up quilt and LOTS of filled bobbins. I usually start with 5 bobbins.


Put in a full bobbin, drop your feed dogs (or cover them.. see your machine manual), put on your free motion foot or darning foot (again your book should tell you what you need for your machine) and adjust your tension. Stitch length won't matter because you will control that but tension can make a big difference in the look of your stitches. Play with a quilt sandwich made of scraps from your quilt and batting to see what works for you. I loosen my top tension up a bit because of my thin nylon thread. For the most part, I don't play with the bobbin tension.

Now insert the quilt under the needle and what I do different from many machine quilters is that I start quilting in the center. This is the hardest part of the quilt to do. It's easiest for me to start there and work outward.
This quilt reminds me of sunshine and water so the quilting design will be waves and water ripples... or at least my impression of those. Plan your design ahead of time... even practice drawing it on a piece of paper with an ink pen or magic marker.

Once you can "quilt" a sheet of paper and are happy with how it looks, you'll be ready to try quilting your quilt.
So once you're in the center of the quilt, take your needle down and up to grab the bobbin thread (see the loop below?).

I'm using invisible thread so it's hard to see my top thread but the bobbin is white cotton. On most of my quilt tops I use YLI invisible nylon thread ... or Wonder thread. Using this thread, I can work over the whole quilt without any thread showing on the blue or the white or the green. If my quilt is one color, I'll use a cotton on top to match... BUT whatever I use on top, the bobbin is always cotton. I've tried the nylon in my bobbin and it works, I just prefer using cotton.

The picture below shows my bobbin thread pulled to the top.

Now the needle gets inserted right where the bobbin thread came up...

And you're off and sewing. I wear sticky fingers or garden gloves to quilt (machine quilting gloves can be bought at most quilt stores or fabric store such as JoAnns). It helps to have something on your hands or fingers to help GRIP the quilt top. There is also a C shaped hoop that sits on the top only (has some grippers on it). I haven't tried it but I hear it works well.
Watch out for pins as you quilt. Your eyes should be looking to where you're headed. DO NOT look at the needle. You'll need to see where you have open spaces to quilt and where the pins are.  If you start to get into a tight spot STOP. Stop with your needle down so you don't lose the spot you are in... then take a look around and plan your next move. If you've worked yourself into a corner, end your thread and start somewhere new. Always end and begin with multiple stitches of ZERO length to LOCK you line of stitching.
Below is a picture of the design I'm using... just a random swirl/waves all over the center of the quilt.
Click the link below to see me quilting:
Hope this helps all of you that are thinking of trying free motion machine quilting. As with anything new, practice makes perfect (well, maybe not perfect but better ;)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Name that quilter..

On Friday mornings, here in Charlevoix, we quilters get together at Hearts to Holly Quilt shop to chat and eat and... eat.. and chat... OH, we also show our projects and do some hand work but mostly we seem to eat and chat :) Sue, the owner, has a sister that is an amazing baker. She makes the treats, Sue makes the coffee and we all show up.

Not too many things will get me up at 7:30am on a day off but if you want a seat, you need to be at "Chattertime" at the beginning, at 8:30. This started out as a pretty small group but through the 5 years it's REALLY grown.

Anyone can join us... if you're in town and a quilter, stop by. We all meet most Friday mornings in the shop's classroom. Lately there have been many new ladies dropping in to join us. We don't always know each others names so Sue suggested we stitch ourselves name tags. I've been putting off making mine because I've been busy with other things. Well, after work today I stitched mine up. Using scraps from a new line that came in a couple of days ago, I came up with my summer tag (I might do another for fall)... nothing too hard... something I could stitch up in a few hours.

To get my name on the center fabric, I ironed a piece of white to freezer paper and trimmed it to a size that would go through my printer. After it printed off, I set it with a hot iron and then cut the name area down to the size I wanted for the center. I use the same process for making quilt labels.
Another project done....that was fun!

Finishing the baby's I-Spy quilt

I made the 64 block, stitched the rows together then finished the top but Jenn and I decided to make the quilt a bit bigger. It's 48&q...