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Archive for the tag “Sew Mama Sew”

cathedral windows demystified

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A friend who is a violinist with the St. Louis Symphony is celebrating a significant birthday today, so I thought I’d finish a little project for her as a gift.

I pieced this mini-quilt a few years ago following a Sew Mama Sew tutorial by Elizabeth Hartman of Oh Fransson fame. It sounds weird, but you fuse the squares to lightweight fusible interfacing and then fold and sew the rows. For the beginner quilter (me!), it was very satisfying to have the seams of these bitty 2-inch squares match perfectly. At the time, I made several, and over the years I have reached up to my works-in-progress (WIP) shelf and quilted one every so often as a birthday gift for a friend. This process has allowed me to experiment with different quilting designs in a small (14-inch square) venue. “Mistakes” are hard to detect–it helps that I used no solid fabrics. I gained practice and confidence, and the gift recipients were none the wiser (I think!).

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Here are a couple of others I did. The one with the yellow border I quilted with an all-over free-motion curly-que–very brave of me. For the orange-bordered one, I used an Elizabeth Hartman-esque free-motion wonky-box pattern (it’s in her book)–even braver.

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This time around, I had fun with a new technique for me: cathedral windows/orange peel quilting. I have admired it but thought it was beyond my abilities. Then I read a blog entry by Katy of I’m a Ginger Monkey in which she confesses to being a reluctant quilter (I can certainly relate) and then explains how to do this orange peel quilting with a walking foot–cool! I had to try it out, and it worked like a charm. I am pleased to have another quilting technique in my repertoire.

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It looks great with the backing I chose.

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For the borders I used my other favorite walking-foot quilting design (explained here by Faith of Fresh Lemons Quilts). It created a little puzzle-piece pattern in the corners.

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I added a hanging sleeve so it can either be hung on a wall or used as a decorative piece on a table.

Happy Birthday, Wendy!

stars upon thars

On SewMamaSew, one of my favorite sewing websites, I came across a link to these lovely fabric stars by Sofie Legarth. She calls them “spændings skyld”, which according to Google Translate means “merged stars” in Danish. Since I don’t know Danish, I thought I would be in for a bit of a challenge, but thanks to Sofie’s instructive photos and Google Translate, I was able to figure the directions out. And despite the mangled translation from Google, Sofie’s charm shines through in her blog.

What is marvelous about this project is that it is no sew–how cool is that?

Sofie’s directions call for four 8 x 30 cm strips. Since I operate in inches and feet, I made my strips 3 x 12 inches.

After I worked out how to make the first one, I can now put one together in about 10 minutes–not bad. I found using tweezers helpful in teasing the folded fabric strips under the folded bands.

Sofie’s fabric stars would make beautiful ornaments and present decorations, or, if attached to a strip of binding, they could be made into a Christmas garland.

pincushion organizer

I made two of these weighted pincushion organizers last year: one for myself and another for my friend Sarah. My sister-in-law, Terrye, recently bought a new sewing machine, so I thought this organizer would be a good little gift for her.

I used this tutorial from Sew Mama Sew by Elizabeth Hartman, and I had no problem following along. You will want to use lightweight interfacing. I made the mistake of using heavier stuff when I assembled the first one, and it made the top rim of the bag too thick and top-heavy.

The organizer sits nicely on the edge of my sewing table or on the arm of the sofa, which is handy when I am working in front of the TV. The organizer panel has the perfect-sized slots to hold snips and a seam ripper, an unfortunate necessity for me. The detachable bag is helping to curb my bad habit of flinging stray threads to the floor, where they tangle up my vacuum cleaner.

I thought this fabric by Timeless Treasures with its twist on sewing expressions was fun and appropriate.

I have found “Keep calm” to be a good mantra while seam ripping.

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