Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Spools - Piecing and Quilting with Precuts Blog Hop

Welcome to my stop on the Piece and Quilt with Precuts Blog Hop! I’m so excited to finally share the quilt I chose to make. Take a look at “Spools.”

Yeah, she’s gorgeous isn’t she? Christa Watson opened up a chance to make a quilt in her new book, Piece and Quilt with Precuts and I jumped at the chance. I chose to make Spools as a challenge to myself. I am very much a straight and narrow type of person/quilter. To do any kind of improvisational piecing takes me way out of my comfort zone, but sometimes that’s a good thing. So how does a perfectionist at heart embrace improv piecing without hiding in the corner and crying? I would love to show you how!

Christa has her patterns precut and/or scrap friendly (hence the name) however I rarely buy precuts and I’m not a big scrap person. I know, I know, I broke two of the biggest quilting loves. What can I say…it’s just the way I am.

I chose to make my own scraps however, because I felt that would give me the most success with the improv piecing. To do this I gathered the colors I would be using (following Christa’s choices, because lets face it, I was already in over my traditional, straight-lined, black and white little head) and began cutting.

Here is where you take a breath and let go, but don’t close your eyes. Cutting with your eyes closed is a bad idea. I cut into strips, then rectangles, squares and triangles. Don’t worry about the size, though you don’t want to cut less than 3/4” wide, because of the seam allowance. 

I didn’t really count how many pieces I cut from each fabric, I just made a sure I had a variety of sizes from each one and a good pile, because once you start sewing and trimming the pieces seam to shrink. It’s weird. So make sure you start with a bunch.

After the first seam, I start trimming for straight edges. This made my perfectionistic heart much happier. Using the seam as my straight edge I trimmed each side.

(PS I did press all the seams open. You know I’m not the press seams open type, but it makes complete sense when you see the amount of seams you are dealing with. Trust Christa, press open.)

I loved making the pieces with angles.

Trimmed nicely I've got a piece with a little "extra."

 As you go along and the seams build up, you can still use your regular foot to piece.

When it's time to put blocks together, I put a pin on either side of the seams to make sure my corners came together nicely.

I would suggest making each block separately. I ended up making all of the background pieces at one time, and while I still enjoyed the process, working with white on white on white forever and ever wasn’t as fun as adding that  color. Plus, it’s fun to see the progress. I made the blue spool block to share a picture with Christa, and it definitely revitalized my excitement in the quilt.

I used two quilting patterns in Christa’s book to quilt the Spools quilt, neither of the ones she used, because frankly there wasn’t time and there was no patience within me. Patience is important when free motion quilting.
In the background of the blocks I used her Arrowhead Design, or rather a variation of it.  That time constraint things really wreaked havoc with my plans, but such is life.

In the sashing I used the Quilting Modern Zig Zags quilting pattern. 
I left the spools open. Confession: I’m a lazy quilter. If it doesn’t NEED to be quilted, I don’t quilt it. Shhhhhh….

I bound in a scrappy fashion that started out awesome and then I realized as I started on the pink that I hadn’t calculated the binding correctly. Pink was the 3rd color in the binding strip, so I could have ripped, but that’s just silly and scrappy is scrappy right? Don’t tell the perfectionist half that the lazy half won.

Then I had this awesome idea to make a spool for the label. White, because it’s empty, because the quilt is done. Get it? Yep, awww-some!! Yep, I'm a little corny.

Have you ever had an idea that you had to just  make? I kept thinking about this quilt and those who might be like me and a little reluctant to step out of the tried and true. Would this quilt look just as awesome if it was made with tradition pieces, not improv? I knew there was no way I could get another quilt made, as easily as this went together, but I was dying to try a simplified block.

Spool pillow anyone? I think every sewing room should have one. I. Love. This. Pillow. I took one block, used fusible fleece on the back and quilted just a little bit using squiggle lines quilting pattern from Christa’s book.  I couldn’t picture it without piping, so that happened, too.

Ready to make your Spools quilt? You could win a digital copy of Piece and Quilt with Precuts just by leaving a comment. Comments open until midnight, August 31st CST. Need a comment idea? What color will you make your Spool pillow?

Giveaway is closed! Congratulations Hyde!!

If you want a hold in your hand book, pick yours up fromChrista HERE and she will autograph it for you. It is well worth it! The instructions are easy to follow, and you get multiple quilting designs that mix match for all the quilts.

I’m so glad you stopped by on the Piece and Quilt with Precuts Blog Hop! Please stick around and check out some of the happenings going on here at PBJ. There is a Beginners Unite Quilt Along starting September 5th and on the 1st of every month there is a new mug rug pattern released as part of the Muggamo series.
Follow me on Instagram and Facebook for daily updates and sneak peeks.

Happy Stitching!

After you’ve had a look around check out the earlier stops on the blog hop.


Here’s the schedule of bloggers to follow with their names, links to their blogs, plus their Instagram handles so you can follow them there. After all, this is a talented bunch who you will want to get to know better!


Kathy Bruckman Blog: Kathy’s Kwilts and More IG: @kathyskwiltsandmore

Kate Colleran Blog: Seams Like a Dream IG: @seamslikeadreamquilts
Sharon Parcel Blog: Yellow Cat Quilt Designs IG: @punkydoodle53


Sandy Maxfield Blog: Sandy Star Designs IG: @sandystardesigns

Joanne Harris Blog: Quilts by Joanne IG: @turtlequilterjo
Teresa Mairal-Barreu Blog Sewn Up: IG: @teresadownunder


Nancy Scott Blog: Masterpiece Quilting IG: @masterpiecequilting

Martingale’s Blog: Stitch This! IG: @martingaletpp
Lorinda Davis Blog: Laurel Poppy & Pine IG: @laurelpoppyandpine


Sherry Shish Blog: Powered by Quilting IG: @poweredbyquilting

Michelle Bartholomew Blog: Michelle Bartholomew IG: @michellebartholomew
Allison Dutton Blog: Allison Sews IG: @allisonsews


Lissa LaGreca Blog: Lovingly Lissa IG: @lovinglylissa

Sherri Noel Blog: Rebecca Mae Designs  IG: @rebeccamaedesigns
Sandra Healy Blog: Sandra Healy Designs IG: @sandrahealydesigns


Laura Piland Blog: Slice of Pi Quilts IG: @sliceofpiquilts

Cheryl Brickey Blog: Meadow Mist Designs IG: @meadowmistdesigns
Jen Frost Blog: Faith and Fabric IG: @faithandfabric


Jessee Maloney Blog: Art School Dropout IG: @jessee_artschooldropout

Jessica Caldwell Blog: Desert Bloom Quilting IG: @desertbloomquilting
Anjeanette Klinder Blog: Anjeanette Klinder IG: @anjeanetteklinder


Terri Vanden Bosch Blog: Meanderings Along Lizard Creek IG: @lizardcreekquilter

Suzy Webster Blog: Webster Quilt IG: @websterquilt
Katie Joy Church Blog: Wild Prairie Studio IG: @katie_joyquilts


Pam Cobb Blog: The Stitch TV Show IG: @thestitchtvshow

Jen Rosin Blog: A Dream and a Stitch: IG: @adreamandastitch
Rashida Khanbhai Blog:  No. 3 Quilt Studio IG: @no3quiltstudio


Lynn Kline Blog: Monkey Needle IG: @monkeyneedle

Kathy Bruckman Blog: Kathy’s Kwilts and More IG: @kathyskwiltsandmore


Jen Shaffer Blog: Patterns by Jen IG: @patternsbyjen

Sandra Starley Blog: Textile Time Travels IG: @textiletimetravels

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Beginners Unite Quilt Along

The Beginners Unite Quilt Along is almost here!

This first post is just going to talk about fabric requirements and "the plan." You can download the free lap sized quilt pattern HERE. 

Fabric Requirements

Teal -  1 1/3 yard
White  - 1 ¼ yard
Black – 3 ¼ yard
Grey – 2 yards

I will be making my quilt using the Haiku 2 fabric line from Monaluna. 

Teal is the Clover 2 (I used 2 yards for fussy cutting the center)
White is the Shimmer 2
Grey is the Shimmer Lawn

The Quilt Along starts September 5 and will continue every Tuesday through October 31. This will take us from the first cut to the quilting.

September 12 - Cutting (including fussy cutting the center)
September 19 - Center block
September 21 - Look at marking tools
September 26 - Flying Geese week 1
October 3 - Flying Geese week 2
October 10 - Half Square Triangles
October 17 - Corner Units
October 24 - Block Assembly
October 31 - Top Assembly
November 7 - Add borders
November 14 - Quilting and Binding

I hope you will join us in this fun quilt along! To receive email notices sign up HERE. This is a new set up for me, so please be patient as I work out any bugs that may come along.

I've just started a new Facebook group called Quilt and Learn with Patterns By Jen. I would love to have you join. We can share our progress pictures and get questions answered fast.

Happy Stitching!

**Share your progress on social media using #BUQuiltAlong

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Picked By Jen - Two-hand Casserole Pot Holder

This Picked By Jen is from Hey Lets Make Stuff

You can find the pattern and tutorial here: The Easy-Sew Two-Handed Casserole Pot Holder.

This really is a quick and easy sew and makes a great gift. In fact this Picked By Jen came about because my husband requested some like his mom's. Since his birthday was yesterday I thought it would be the perfect time to whip it up.

The instructions are easy to follow, but definitely take the time to cut slowly. I was in a hurry and my cuts weren't exactly equal. I made my seam allowance larger to accommodate. Looking at this picture I think it's time I finally bite the bullet and get a pair of pinking shears. What do you think?

Now, because I was in a hurry I pinned just one side, stitched to the other, laid the second side layers together and stitched, only to find out I hadn't paid close enough attention to the sequence. Isn't that the way it goes? When you are in a hurry you will always end up taking out the seam ripper.  You could always twist it in the middle to have the mitts work, but I wanted to make sure I gave him something nice, since he actually asked for it.

  See the opening where you pull it all through right side out? I always back stitch each side, that way if I have to put it all back, and then pull it right side out again, the stitching stays. I can guarantee that works, because I always have to go back and fix something.

Top stitched and ready to use. They turned out great, mistakes and all, and he loved the gift. I will definitely be making this one again, but I will be making it a bit wider and the mitt part a bit longer to fit "man sized" hands.

Fun Fact in Minnesota the casserole is known as a hot dish. What do you call it? 

Happy Stitching!

Friday, August 18, 2017

New digital patterns!

I am excited to add two digital patterns to my Etsy shop.

The first is Criss Crossing. This pattern is for a 78" x 103" quilt top. Using a large block this quilt is quick to build. It is perfect for the college dorm beds as there is a little extra length from the large blocks.

You can also choose to make just one block and turn it into a pillow instead. This quilt is for the advance beginner as accurate seam allowances are important. 

The second pattern is Quilt Crush. This pattern is for a 63" x 81" quilt top. 

The blocks are large enough to showcase some of your beautiful fabric finishing at 9" square. This quilt is perfect for a beginner. 

Follow me on Instagram and Facebook for daily peeks at my work. 

Happy Stitching!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Beginners Unite! Labels

Welcome to the last Beginners Unite! 

We're talking labels. As with everything in quilting, there is more than one way to add a label. Have I said that before? ;) There really isn't one way to do anything in the quilting world, you will enjoy it more if you do it your way.

Here are the tools I use for making my labels:
Scrap of muslin or light fabric
Heat n Bond, or any adhesive
Pigma pen/marker
Coordinating fabric strip (here I had extra binding, so I used that)

For this particular label I used a 4" x 3 1/2" muslin rectangle. I cut my heat n bond at 3 1/4" x 2 3/4". This gives me a 1/4" seam allowance all the way around plus a little extra. Leave the paper on the heat n bond for now, this helps stabilize the fabric when you are writing.

I write on the muslin before stitching my "border" pieces on, of course I forgot to take a picture of that. I will also stick a piece of lined paper behind the fabric to give me nice straight lines to follow when writing.

 I like to write the name of the pattern, who it's designed by (still trying to find that info for this one, the perils of not finishing something for 2 years), who it's for, then my name and phone number. On the quilts I mail to my photographer I write directly on the back of the quilt with permanent pigma; name of the quilt, Patterns by Jen, my name, address and phone number.
Once I have written down the pertinent information I will attach the borders, pressing out towards the borders.

When the label is written, the borders are on, then I will remove the paper from the heat n bond and attach it to the back of the quilt. I like the back right hand side. I don't know why, it just feels right.

I fold over the border until I can feel the seam allowance in the fold.

I start stitching the label the exact same way I start the binding.

I also stitch 1/4" stitches.

When I get to the corners where the border is folded I make sure to stitch just the border, not the fabric folded under. This keeps that fold under the border and not peeking out the sides.When I get to the end I knot off the same way I do the binding.

Now you have a nice labeled quilt or wall hanging. If you want to add a hanging sleeve to your wall hanging I have a tutorial HERE.

I hope you have enjoyed the Beginners Unite series!  Next Tuesday I will go over fabric amounts for the Beginners Unite Quilt Along! I hope you will join me.

Happy Stitching!

**Here is the info on the designer of this wall hanging, you may have heard of her, Kimberly Jolly of the Fat Quarter Shop. Follow this link and if you page down to the 2015 March mini, you will find it! Thank you, Pat Sloan, for helping me find my way back to this pattern!**

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Beginners Unite! Hand stitching the binding

It's time for the binding!

I love hand stitching the binding. It's my favorite part. I love sitting and stitching down the binding. Here is how I do my binding.

First we need to square our quilt. While I am showing you on a  wall hanging, I do the same thing for any size quilt I am putting binding on. It is important to have square corners and straight borders. 

Find a place to measure from. With this wall hanging, it's easy, I'm just going to use the border for my measurement. Here I'm using 1 3/4" as my mark.

I use this same measurement all away around. When marking the cutting line, I also make sure the cut I made before is straight as well.

Once the quilt is squared measure your sides and add them all together. For this one it is 13" x 18". 

Once I have this number I'm going to divide it by the width of fabric (WOF). I always use 40" as my go to.

62/40= 1.55

This is how many strips I need to cut for my binding. I take that number and multiply it times the width that I cut my strips. I cut my binding strips at 2" wide. Since I will be cutting two strips I multiply 2 x 2 and know I need 4" x WOF. Find information for Accurate Cutting here.

Place your binding strips right sides together (RST) as shown. Leave 1/4" edge of both strips over the end. 

Stitch from one corner to the other. 

Trim 1/4" from seam.

Now press the binding in half. Years ago I read in a magazine (I don't remember which one) that it's better to press the binding with it hanging over like this, and not have it stretched out along the length of the ironing board. Something about stretching and pulling. 

Press the seams to one side, not open.

Ilike to roll my binding up, it's easy to keep from getting bunched up and knotted. You can also put it in a bag and have it come out slowly. Side note: it's important to know how to get the correct amount for your binding or you will end up with a baggie like the one pictured. That is a sandwich sized bag filled with a long strip of binding. That binding is leftover from the first TWO twin size quilts I ever made. Yes, that is how much extra I made. It was funny then, and still funny now! I hope you have funny quilting stories to tell, but hopefully, not binding if I've done this right!

I leave about 6" when starting to attach the binding. Here is a video to help show how I do the binding. I believe it's easier to watch than to try and do pictures. 

Here is Part 2 of the Binding Tutorial, because YouTube editor wouldn't let me go over 15 minutes. Since I have limited knowledge of video editing, and my family was headed out the door for a family day at the time of this upload, it stays in two segments until I can come back and figure it out. Thank you for understanding!

Do you hand stitch or machine stitch your binding? Let me know in the comments!

While this was the last planned post for Beginners Unite, I'm going to add one more to the list. Next week Tuesday I'll show how I put on my labels.  Don't forget we are going to have a Beginners Unite Quilt Along beginning the first Tuesday of September. More information in the next couple of weeks, but you can check out the quilt we'll be making here: Here a Square, There a Square. It is currently a free lap sized quilt pattern.

Happy Stitching!

1) Intro - May 2 
7) HST - Half Square Triangles (My one true love) - June 13
8) Flying Geese - June 20
13) Sandwich that top - July 25
14) Quilting - Aug 1
15) Binding - You are here!
16) Labels - August 15