Thursday, February 23, 2017

How To: Orange Peels

Last month I posted about a mini orange peel quilt that I was making just for fun.  Here's a look at how it turned out!

I love everything about this little quilt—the saturated colors, the graphic design, even the simple machine quilting.  I'm not sure why I waited to so long to give the orange peel a try, but I'm glad I finally did!  Along the way, I picked up a few tricks for making smooth edges and fairly sharp points that I'd like to share with you today.

Here's my method for making orange peels:

1.  Start by adhering two sheets of freezer paper together by lightly pressing one atop the other with a medium hot iron, making sure that the matte side of both sheets of paper is up and the shiny side down. (This step results in thicker templates)

2.  Next, trace the orange peel shapes onto the matte side (not shiny) of the double layer of freezer paper and cut out each shape (through both layers) along the drawn lines.  Lightly press a freezer paper shape to the wrong side of your fabric with the shiny side of the freezer paper down.

3.  Cut out fabric shape being sure to leave a ¼" allowance around the outside edges of the freezer paper template and trim the pointed ends as pictured below.  Pull the freezer paper template off and use a fabric glue stick on the matte side of the freezer paper to lightly glue the template back to the center of the fabric shape.  At this point, the shiny side of the paper should be facing up away from the fabric.

4.  Using the tip of a medium hot iron, press the ¼" fabric allowance to the freezer paper template as indicated below.  Pay particular attention to how the fabric overlaps at the ends of the orange peel shape.  Don't worry about the little dog ears that hang over the shape at this point.  By taking care to overlap as follows, you'll be able to neatly tuck them in when you're appliquéing.  If you're left handed, you should overlap your points in the opposite direction.

5.  Finger press your background fabric square lightly on the diagonal to help with the placement of the orange peel shape.  Align the center of the orange peel shape with the pressed diagonal line of the background fabric and pin shape in place.  (Note:  To help make sure your finished appliqués are centered, cut your background fabric squares a little bigger than necessary and then trim them to size after appliquéing.)

Begin stitching along the lower right side of the shape and appliqué up to the point of the shape.  Once you've stitched the point to the background fabric, gently fold and tuck in the dog ear under the fabric shape and up against the stitching already in place.  Then continue appliquéing the remainder of the shape, stitching around the second point in the same manner.

6.  After you've finished appliquéing your orange peel to the fabric background, use sharp scissors to cut a small slit in the background fabric behind the orange peel shape and gently loosen and remove the freezer paper template from your work.  Press your appliqué from the wrong side and trim the block, making sure the orange peel is centered in all directions.

And that's it!  Perfect-ish orange peels!

Now that I've tackled my first orange peel project, I can't wait to give it a try again.  If you'd like to make your own little quilt, here's a link to the orange peel template I used for 2" finished blocks.

Happy Quilting!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Hearts and Tarts

Happy February!

This morning I flipped over the calendar page and ta-da!

It's my Hearts and Tarts table runner and it's the February quilt in the Better Homes and Gardens American Patchwork & Quilting 2017 Calendar.  

This beautiful calendar, available online at The Meredith Store, features 12 gorgeous quilts, complete with full project instructions and even suggestions for alternate colors and sizes.  

My Hearts and Tarts table runner is simplicity itself.  I paper pieced the heart blocks with a variety of pink solids and used candy pink perle cotton to big stitch quilt in the sashing and borders.  This quilt is soft and pretty—perfect for Valentine's Day!

Here's a close-up of the big stitch quilting:

And here's the little quilt I made to test the idea for Hearts and Tarts.  The blocks in this little cutie are 3" square.

And because I can't get enough of these sweet hearts, here's a fun little project that you can make with a single block.  It's a 4½" square pillow that you can use as a pin cushion or embroider with a message and give as a valentine.

If you'd like to make your own little heart pillow, you'll need to print a foundation pattern for the 3" heart block (find the pdf here).  You'll also need some scraps of pink and white solid fabrics.  

From the pink solid, cut:
1 rectangle, 1¾" x 2½" (area A1)
1 rectangle, 2¼" x 3¼" (area A4)
1 square, 5" x 5" (pillow back)

From the white solid, cut:
1 square, 2" x 2" (area A2)
1 square 2½" x 2½" cut once diagonally to yield 2 triangles (areas A3 and A5)
1 square 3" x 3" cut once diagonally to yield 2 triangles (areas A6 and A7)
2 strips 1¼" x 3½" (side borders)
2 strips 1¼" x 5" (top and bottom borders)

Putting this little pillow together is very easy.  Once you've got the block made, stitch a white 1¼" x 3½" strip to either side of the block, pressing seams towards the white strips.  Then stitch a white 1¼" x 5" strip to the top and bottom of the block, again pressing seams towards the white strips.

Layer your pillow top with a small piece of batting and then embellish it as desired. I embroidered the "Be Mine" and "XOXO" using a backstitch and two strands of embroidery floss.  Then I used perle cotton to big stitch quilt in the border ¼" around the outside of the block.  The layer of batting will give the stitching a bit of dimension and will help keep the front of your pillow smooth when you stuff it.

Once your pillow top is embellished/quilted, layer the pillow back atop the pillow top with right sides together.  Stitch on all sides using a ¼" seam allowance, but leave a little space unsewn at the bottom of the pillow for turning.  Press the seam to set it, clip your corners, and turn the pillow right side out.  Stuff the pillow gently using fiberfill and blindstitch the opening closed.  And that's it!  

Before I go, here's another example of the gorgeous photography that you'll find in the APQ 2017 Calendar.  December features my Winter Wraps lap quilt in the most charming scene—I just love this picture!

Happy Quilting!