Friday, December 28, 2018

Stitching for the Seasons: Meet Little House!


Little House—Winter

Little House was born as a Christmas present for my mom.  My mom is also a quilter and the person who taught me to sew, bake, paint, knit and generally be creative.  And because she's a fellow maker, I wanted to give her a small handmade project that evoked the warm, cozy feeling of winter (and Christmas!) in New England.  I'm a sucker for all things miniature, so I decided that a little house, surrounded by little quilt blocks and little embellishments was the perfect idea.  (Hmmm, now that I think about it, maybe I was making the perfect gift for me?!)

I had so much fun making Little House for my mom and was thrilled with how it turned out, so I made a second one for my sister.  And because I was sad to part with the Little Houses at Christmas, of course I made a third one for myself.

And then I got carried away.  I started to wonder what life would be like at Little House during the other seasons—what color palettes, blocks and embellishments would best represent spring, summer and fall?  I sketched out ideas for the different seasons and experimented with color and stitching and over time Little House became a series.

Little House—Spring

I realized that it wasn't just the darling end result that I loved about the Little House series, but also the process of combining of my favorite quilting and handwork techniques in one tidy package.  Paper piecing made easy work of the miniature quilt blocks, and simple wool appliqué and embroidery added warmth and interest and helped to tell a story.  And as I worked away with the four seasons and quilting and wool and stitching circling around in my brain, I began to think that maybe I had an idea for a book.

Little House—Summer
  
I remembered once hearing an author say that she wrote the books that she wanted to see on her bookshelf.  And I definitely wanted to have a book of seasonal quilt projects that combined patchwork, wool appliqué and embroidery!  One that was full of color and charming details—eye candy that would get me busy creating and might even inspire me to try something new.


Little House—Fall


So with an idea in mind and a quartet of Little Houses that would inspire and inform my journey, I set out to write Stitching for the Seasons.



Stay tuned to read more about how four Little Houses turned into a book!

—jen

Friday, December 21, 2018

Deck the Halls QAL - Day 9

Update:  The complete pattern for Deck the Halls is now available for download in my Etsy shop.  The pattern includes material requirements, step-by-step instructions and full color diagrams to help you on your way.  Click here to view the pattern.

Welcome back for Day 9 of the Deck the Halls QAL!


For our final day we're going to be adding a ribbon border to our medallion quilts using the split quarter square triangles blocks that we made on Day 6.  I love how this surprisingly easy border frames and finishes the quilt—definitely worth the trimming we did last week!


Day 9:  Ribbon Border

You'll need to gather:

52 split quarter square triangle blocks ("split QST blocks") from Day 6
2 red print #1 half square triangle blocks ("HST blocks") from Day 6
2 green print #1 HST blocks from Day 6
2 red print #3 strips 1¼" x 30½"
2 red print #3 strips 1¼" x 32"



Making the Ribbon Borders:

Before sewing, make sure your split QST blocks are sorted into two piles—26 split quarter square triangles in one and 26 mirror split QST blocks in the other.  For the split QST blocks, when the red triangle is pointing up and to the left, the long edge of the green triangle should be on the right edge of the block.  For the mirror split QST blocks, when the red triangle is pointing up and to the left, the long edge of the green triangle should be on the bottom of the block.  (In the photo above, the mirror split QSTs are the stack on the left.)

1.  Lay out 13 split QST blocks in a row as follows.  Make sure that you orient the blocks correctly to create a ribbon effect.  The red triangle of the first block on the left should point up and to the left.  Join the pieces in each row to make a split QST border.  Press seam allowances open.  Repeat to make a second split QST border.

Make 2 for top and bottom.

2.  Lay out 13 mirror split QST blocks in a row as follows.  Make sure that you orient the blocks correctly to create a ribbon effect.  The red triangle of the first block on the left should point up and to the right.  Join the pieces in each row to make a mirror split QST border.  Press seam allowances open.  Repeat to make a second mirror split QST border.

Make 2 for left and right.

Finished ribbon borders.


Adding the Borders:


1.  Lay out your quilt center, 4 Ribbon borders, 2 red print #1 HST blocks, and 2 green print #1 HST blocks as shown.  Make sure that you orient the borders and HST blocks correctly so that the ribbon appears to wrap in a continuous unit around the quilt.



2. Sew the left and right ribbon borders to the quilt first, pressing seam allowances toward the red print #3 strip from Day 8.  Sew a red print #1 HST block to the left end of the top ribbon border and a green print #1 HST block to the right end of the top ribbon border.  Press seam allowances toward the HST blocks.  Sew a green print #1 HST block to the left end of the bottom ribbon border and a red print #1 HST block to the right end of the bottom ribbon border.  Press seam allowances toward the HST blocks.  Sew the top and bottom Ribbon/HST borders to the top and bottom of the quilt, pressing seam allowances toward the red print #3 strip from Day 8.



3.  Sew a red print #3 1¼" x 30½" strip to the left and right sides of the quilt.  Press seam allowances toward the red strip.  Sew a red print #3 1¼" x 32" strip to the top and bottom of the quilt.  Press seam allowances toward the red strip.  (Note:  You may be wondering why the outermost red strips are 1¼" wide rather than 1½". I chose to make them narrower so that when the binding is sewn on, the outermost strips appear to be the same width as strips in the interior of the quilt.)




Finishing the Quilt:

Layer the quilt top with batting and backing fabric and baste.  Quilt as desired.  I machine quilted in the ditch around all of the pieced elements of my quilt.  I used red thread in the star and around the ribbon border and tan thread for the rest.  I wanted to add a bit more detail in the center medallion, so I used green Valdani size 12 perle cotton to stitch a line down the center of each holly leaf and in the larger patches of the wreath.  I also used red Valdani size 12 perle cotton to stitch a line down the center of the lighter red "ribbons" between each set of holly leaves.



Bind your quilt using the 4 red print #3 binding strips.  Finally, congratulate yourself for a job well done!


I've loved making a medallion quilt for the QAL this year!  It was so much fun to see the quilt unfold with the addition of each border.  All that's left now is to decide whether to hang my Deck the Halls quilt on my wall:


or to display it on my kitchen table:


Hmmm....

And that's a wrap for the 2018 Deck the Halls Quilt Along!  It's been an absolute pleasure sharing this project with you and connecting with you via email and social media.  I'd love to see pictures of your quilts when they're finished, so please tag me @jendalyquilts when you post your quilts or even send a photo to me at jendalyquilts@gmail.com.

If you weren't able to quilt along with us this year, but you'd like to make your own Deck the Halls quilt, the QAL posts will be available on my blog through the month of January.  The complete (and compressed) pattern for Deck the Halls will also be available in my Etsy shop in the new year.

Thank you all so much for following and quilting along!  I wish you all Happy Holidays, a Happy New Year, and Happy Quilting!!

Cheers!  jen


Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Deck the Halls QAL - Day 8

Welcome back for Day 8 of the Deck the Halls QAL!♬♫♪




Today we're adding an Hourglass border to our medallion centers, and the extra time we spent carefully pressing the seam allowances on our Hourglass blocks on Day 3 is going to pay off big time!

Let's get started!

Day 8:  Hourglass Border

You'll need to gather:
  • 40 Hourglass blocks from Day 3
  • 4 green print #2 squares 2½" x 2½"
  • 2 red print #3 strips 1½" x 24½"
  • 2 red print #3 strips 1½" x 26½"


Making the Hourglass Borders:

Before sewing, take a few minutes to organize your Hourglass blocks.  Make 4 stacks of 10 blocks each, labeled and sorted as follows:

Stack A:  Green print #3/red blocks pressed first toward the background, then toward the red
Stack B:  Green print #2/red blocks pressed first toward the color, then toward the green
Stack C:  Green print #3/red blocks pressed first toward the color, then toward the green 
Stack D:  Green print #2/red blocks pressed first toward the background, then toward the red

1.  Starting with an A block in the upper left, lay out the 4 Hourglass borders in a clockwise direction using the key (below) as a guide.  Each Hourglass border should have 10 Hourglass blocks in it.  Note that the A and C blocks should always have the green print #3 triangles closest to the center medallion and the red triangles facing toward the outside of the quilt.  The B and D blocks should always have the red triangles closest to the center medallion and the green print #2 triangles facing toward the outside of the quilt.  In the key below, the green corners represent the green print #2 2½" squares.  They are just there as markers for now.




Here's what my top border looked like before I sewed it together:



2.  When you're satisfied that the borders are laid out correctly, join together the 10 blocks in each border.  (The seam allowances should nest beautifully when you sew the blocks together—pressing matters!)  Press seam allowances open.  You should end up with something like the following:  


In the above photo, the top is my top border, the 2nd down is the right, the 3rd down is the bottom and the 4th down is the left.  


Adding the Borders:

1.  Lay out your quilt center, 4 Hourglass borders and 4 green print #2 2½" squares as shown.  



2.  Stitch the left and right borders to the quilt center first, pressing seam allowances toward the red print #3 strip from Day 7.  Sew a green print #2 2½" square to opposite ends of the top and bottom Hourglass borders, pressing seam allowances toward the green square.  Sew the top and bottom Hourglass/green square border strips to the top and bottom of the quilt center, pressing seam allowances toward the red print #3 strip from Day 7.



3.  Sew a red print #3 1½" x 24½" strip to the left and right sides of the quilt.  Press seam allowances toward the red strip.  Sew a red print #3 1½" x 26½" strip to the top and bottom of the quilt.  Press seam allowances toward the red strip.




And that's it for today!  I can't believe it, but we've only got one day left!   Have fun adding your Hourglass borders and I'll see you back here Friday for the final day of the QAL.

—jen

Monday, December 17, 2018

Deck the Halls QAL - Day 7

Welcome back for Day 7 of the Deck the Halls QAL!  ♪♫  Today we're moving on to assembly!!!

Here's where we're headed...


This year we're making a medallion quilt!  And what a center medallion it is—wouldn't it be beautiful on its own as a mini quilt or even a pillow?!

I'm sure you're eager to see your own beautiful medallion emerge, so let's jump right in!


Day 7:  Center Medallion Assembly

First we'll start with some additional cutting.

You'll need:
  • the 5 background print strips, 1½" x WOF that you set aside on Day 1
  • the  yard of red print #3 

From the background print strips, crosscut:
  • 2 strips 1½" x 18½"
  • 2 strips 1½" x 16½"
  • 4 strips 1½" x 10½"
  • 4 rectangles 1½" x 6½"
  • 8 rectangles 1½" x 2½"



From red print #3, cut:
  • 4 binding strips 2¼" x WOF (if you're using red print #3 for the binding)
  • 2 strips 1¼" x 32"
  • 2 strips 1¼" x 30½"
  • 2 strips 1½" x 26½"
  • 2 strips 1½" x 24½"
  • 2 strips 1½" x 20½"
  • 2 strips 1½" x 18½"


You'll also need to gather:
  • 12 Holly Leaf blocks from Day 2
  • 4 Mystery Block As from Day 4
  • 4 Mystery Block Bs from Day 5
  • 1 Pinwheel block from Day 5
  • 4 red print #1 squares 1½" x 1½"
  • 4 red print #2 rectangles 1½" x 6½"


Assembling the Center Medallion:

1.  Lay out 4 Mystery Block As, 4 Mystery Block Bs, and Pinwheel block in 3 rows of 3 as shown.




2.  Join together the pieces in each row.  Press seam allowances open.



3.  Join together the rows to complete the center Rolling Star block (measuring 10½" square unfinished).  Press seam allowances open.



4.  Sew a red print #1 1½" x 1½" square to opposite ends of 2 background 1½" x 10½" strips.  Press seam allowances toward the background strips.



5.  Sew a background 1½" x 10½" strip to the left and right sides of the Rolling Star block from step 3.  Press seam allowances toward the background strips.  Sew a unit from step 4 to the top and bottom of the Rolling Star block.  Press seam allowances away from the center.




6.  Join together a background 1½" x 6½" rectangle and a red print #2 1½" x 6½" rectangle.  Press seam allowances toward the red.  Repeat to make 4 units.

Make 4.

7.  Sew a Holly Leaf block with one red corner and one background corner to opposite ends of each of the units from step 6.  Make sure that the red corner of the Holly Leaf block aligns with the red rectangle as shown.  Press seam allowances open.

Make 4.

8.  Sew a background 1½" x 2½" rectangle to opposite ends of 2 of the units from step 7.  Press seam allowances toward the Holly Leaves to make 2 short Holly Leaf borders.   

Make 2 short Holly Leaf borders.

9.  Sew a background 1½" x 2½" rectangle to opposite ends of the 2 remaining units from step 7.  Press seam allowances away from the Holly Leaves.  Sew a Holly Leaf block (with 2 background corners) to opposite ends of the unit.  Press seam allowances away from the Holly Leaves to make 2 long Holly Leaf borders.

Make 2 long Holly Leaf borders.

10.  Sew a short Holly Leaf border (from step 8) to the left and right sides of the unit from step 5.  Press seam allowances away from the center.  Sew a long Holly Leaf border (from step 9) to the top and bottom of the unit from step 5.  Press seam allowances away from the center.


 


11.  Sew a background 1½" x 16½" strip to the left and right sides of the unit from step 10.  Press seam allowances away from the center.  Sew a background 1½" x 18½" strip to the top and bottom of the unit from step 10.  Press seam allowances away from the center.




12.  Sew a red print #3 1½" x 18½" strip to the left and right sides of the unit from step 11.  Press seam allowances toward the red.  Sew a red print #3 1½" x 20½" strip to the top and bottom of the unit from step 11.  Press seam allowances toward the red.


Center medallion measuring 20½" x 20½" unfinished.

And that's it for the first day of assembly.  It's so exciting to finally see the quilt taking shape!  Have fun making your medallions and I'll see you back here Wednesday.  More lovely borders to come!!

—jen

Friday, December 14, 2018

Deck the Halls QAL - Day 6

Welcome back to the Deck the Halls QAL! ♫♪  It's Day 6 already and our last day of piecing blocks!



Today we'll be making Half Square Triangles and Split Quarter Square Triangles, which means marking and trimming, BUT because it's Friday we have an extra day to finish the blocks.  Funny how that worked out!  :)

Brace yourself...  Here we go!


Day 6:  Half Square Triangles and Split Quarter Square Triangles

You'll need to gather:

13 green print #1 squares 3½" x 3½"
1 green print #1 square 3" x 3"
27 red print #1 squares 3" x 3"
13 background squares 3½" x 3½"
2 background squares 3" x 3"



To make your Half Square Triangles:

1.  On the wrong side of the 2 background 3" squares, use a pencil to lightly draw a diagonal line from corner to corner.



2.  Layer 1 marked background 3" square atop the green print #1 3" square and the remaining marked background 3" square atop 1 red print #1 3" square with right sides together and raw edges aligned.



3.  Stitch the pairs together a scant ¼" from either side of the drawn line.  Press to set seams.



4.  Cut the pairs in half on the drawn line to make 4 half square triangles blocks ("HSTs")—2 green print #1/background and 2 red print #1/background.



5.  Press the seam allowances toward the green or red and trim the HST blocks to measure 2½" x 2½" unfinished.  Set blocks aside for next week.




To make your Split Quarter Square Triangles:

1.  On the wrong side of each of the 13 background 3½" squares, use a pencil to lightly draw a diagonal line from corner to corner.



2.  Layer a marked background 3½" square atop a green print #1 3½" square with right sides together and raw edges aligned.



3.  Stitch the pair together a scant ¼" from either side of the drawn line.  Press to set seams.



4.  Cut the pair in half on the drawn line to make 2 half square triangles units.



5.  Press the seam allowances toward the green and trim the HST units to measure 3" x 3" unfinished.  Repeat with remaining green print #1 and background 3½" squares to make 26 HST units total.

Make 26.

6.  On the wrong side of each of the 26 red print #1 3" squares, use a pencil to lightly draw a diagonal line from corner to corner.



7.  Layer a marked red print #1 3" square atop a green print #1/background 3" HST unit from step 5 with right sides together.  Make sure that the line drawn on the red 3" square is perpendicular to the seam between the green and background triangles on the HST unit.



8.  Stitch the pair together a scant ¼" from either side of the drawn line.  Press to set seams.



9.  Cut the pair in half on the drawn line to make 2 split quarter square triangle blocks.



10.  Press seam allowances toward the red print.  Notice that the 2 split quarter square triangle blocks are the mirror of one another



11.  Trim the split quarter square triangle blocks to measure 2½" x 2½" unfinished.



12.  Repeat with the remaining red print #1 3" squares and green print #1/background 3" half square triangle units to make 52 split quarter square triangle blocks—26 with the green print triangle in one quarter and 26 with the green print triangle in the adjacent, or mirror, quarter.

Make 52 total—26 of each.

Lots of little blocks today, but it'll all be worth it! 



Enjoy your weekend and I'll see you back here Monday.  We're moving on to assembly and I can't wait!!

—jen