Monday, August 25, 2014

Quilters Newsletter's Best Christmas Quilts 2014 Blog Tour

Welcome to Day 1 of QN's Best Christmas Quilts 2014 Blog Tour!!

Available now in quilt shops, in bookstores, on news stands and on-line at Quilt and Sew Shop, Best Christmas Quilts 2014 is loaded with beautiful and colorful projects designed to fill you with Christmas spirit.  No matter your style or skill level, you'll be sure to find the perfect project to make as a gift or to decorate your home for the holidays.  Quilters Newsletter has even included stocking stuffer ideas for the quilter in your life -- even if that quilter just so happens to be you!

If you're looking for a fast and easy project, check out page 18 for my Tiny Trees Christmas ornaments.

These sweet little ornaments are a snap to make and the possibilities are endless!  Use your favorite modern or traditional quilting fabrics or try something new like corduroy or velvet.  Keep them plain or simply pieced or embellish them with buttons, beads or even embroidery.  Top the trees with star buttons or crystal beads.  Just have fun!

Here's my homespun tiny tree topped with an oversized wooden star button for a primitive look:

And here are my scrappy strip pieced tiny trees:

If you'd like to take on a bigger project, try my Christmas Ribbons table runner found on page 47 of Best Christmas Quilts 2014.

Christmas Ribbons is a scrappy quilt made using straightforward patchwork with just a bit of simple piecing thrown in to create the bow.  One of my favorite things about this quilt is the binding, yes, that's right, the binding!  I couldn't decide if it should be bound in white, red or green, so I bound it in all three.  Check out the right edge in the photo below:

I think this table runner would also be perfect for Easter!  Just change the ribbon and bow to pink:

or purple:

or blue!

Finally, check out page 74 for my Merry & Bright lap quilt -- perfect for settling down for a long winter's nap!

I used a fat eighth bundle of Kate Spain's In from the Cold fabric (love the turquoise blue!) for this throw, but the 5" x 5 3/4" cascading ornament blocks are a great opportunity to show off your favorite Christmas fabrics.

Simple machine piecing and a strip pieced border make this lap quilt fun, easy and fast to put together.

And now, in the spirit of the season, here's your chance to win a bundle of Christmas fabric from Quilters Newsletter.  To enter the contest, leave a comment on this post before 11:59 pm MDT tonight (8/25/14) by clicking on the word "comments" below.  You'll be redirected to a "Post a Comment" window.  Once there, click "Jump to Comment Form" and follow the directions to leave your comment.  I'll draw one name at random, so please make sure I have your email address.  This contest is open to anyone who hasn't won something from QN in the last 90 days.

***This contest is now closed.  Thank you for all of your comments and don't forget to visit the QN blog every day this week (8/25 - 8/29) for links to other designers' blogs and more chances to win!  Good luck!***

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Christmas in August!? Free pattern and upcoming contest!!

Sadly summer is winding to a close.  With three kids, two of whom are teenagers (shudder), it seems shorter and faster every year.  But the upside is that it's about time to get back to quilting (and blogging)!  And what better way to celebrate a return to quilting than with a contest!  Check back here on Monday, August 25th for a chance to win during Quilters Newsletter's Best Christmas Quilts 2014 blog tour.

In the meantime, here's a little Christmas project to get you in the spirit.

This sweet little quilt (and no, it's not a potholder, don't even think about using it as a potholder!!) measures 7 1/2" square and it's embellished with mini buttons and a bit of embroidery.

To make this scrappy quilt you'll need:

10 red 2" x 2" squares
8 green 2" x 2" squares
18 tan 2" x 2" squares
2 tan 1" x 6 1/2" border strips
2 tan 1" x 7 1/2" border strips
8" x 8" piece of batting
8" x 8" piece of backing fabric
red fabric for binding (I used a single fold binding cut 1 1/4" x 38")
5 green buttons
4 red buttons
green embroidery floss (I used Valdani hand dyed 3 strand floss)

To make the pinwheel blocks:

On the back of each tan 2" x 2" square, draw a line a scant 1/4" from either side of the diagonal.

Pair each tan square with either a red or green square.  Each 2" x 2" square pair will result in 2 half square triangles or half of a pinwheel block, so you'll need to matching sets of pairs for each pinwheel block.  I used only one background fabric and one red or green fabric for each pinwheel block, but feel free to make it scrappier.  Place each tan square on top of each red or green square with right sides together. Stitch on each line.

Using a rotary cutter, cut on the diagonal from one corner to the other in between the stitched lines.

Open and press towards the dark side.  Pause to reflect on your favorite Star Wars quote.

Trim the half square triangle to 1 1/2" x 1 1/2".

Once you have repeated the above steps to make 36 half square triangles, you can make the 9 pinwheel blocks by sewing 4 half square triangles together for each.  But I actually chose to lay out the half square triangles in rows to form the 9 pinwheel blocks (refer to the quilt photo for layout), sewed the half square triangles together in those rows and then sewed the rows together to form the quilt top.  Not sure why I did it this way, but it worked pretty well!  I pressed the seams in alternate directions for each row and then pressed the seams between the rows open.

Now stitch one 1" x 6 1/2" border strip to the left and right sides of your quilt top.  Press towards the border.  Stitch one 1" x 7 1/2" border strip to the top and bottom of the quilt top and, you guessed it, press towards the border.

Once your quilt top is assembled, layer it with batting and sew a button to the center of each pinwheel block.  Let me reassure you that behind each button on my quilt, the pinwheel points meet up perfectly -- of course you'll have to take my word for it (handy buttons!!).

Finally, using a big running stitch and three strands of embroidery floss, stitch around the quilt 1/4" from the inside edge of the borders.  Ta da!  Finished quilt top!  Layer your quilt top with the backing fabric (wrong sides together).  I used spray basting adhesive to hold the sandwich together.  Trim the edges, bind and voilà!  A little bit of Christmas in August.  Hang this little quilt on a wall or from a door knob, display it on a small table, or turn it into a pillow.  But DO NOT use it as a potholder!!

Happy quilting!