Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Parade of Stars table runner: A Tutorial and Kit !

We just completed this festive Parade of Stars table runner, which is perfect for patriotic holiays coming up !  We love the combination of stars, fireworks, and flags.  At 16 x 46", it's perfect for a wall hanging or table runner.  We've written up a free tutorial for this post, and we are offering 2 of these pre-cut fabric kits at our store on E-Bay

(For continuous listings of free quilt patterns, please check us out on Twitter !
For low-cost quilt books, magazines, and jewelry, check us out on E-Bay - we're Top Rated Sellers !)

Parade of Stars Table Runner 16” x 46”

INSTRUCTIONS: The quilt center consists of squares in a 4 x 16 grid, using 64 squares.

1/4 yd EACH of red, white, and blue fabrics for patchwork squares.
1/4 yd  medium to large size print fabric for borders
1 piece of fabric size 21" x 54" cut lengthwise for backing
5 strips of binding fabric size 2.5 " x 40 " cut on the crosswise grain of fabric. 

CUTTING:  [instructions for quilt center, borders, and backing]
Cut 22 red squares size 2.5" x 2.5"
Cut  21 white squares size 2.5" x 2.5 "
Cut  21 blue squares size  2.5" x 2.5"
Cut top and bottom borders size 3.5" x 43" ( You will be trimming off excess at the ends)
Cut side borders size 3.5" x 20" ( You will be trimming off excess at the ends)
Cut the backing lengthwise, in one long piece, size 21" x 54". That way, you will have some excess backing fabric on the sides, in case you wish to long-arm quilt this project.

LAYOUT: Arrange the 64 squares in a grid, as shown in the diagram below.
Note that on the layout diagram, the columns are labelled 1 through 16 and the rows are labelled A, B, C, and D.

Step 1. Assemble the patches by sewing the squares together in sets. Start at the left-hand side of the diagram.  For example, sew A1,  A2 and; A3; then sew B1, B2, and B3. Our photos below show how we started sewing our sets.

Assemble a six-patch block by sewing these A and B strips together. Our photo below shows how we sewed Row A  1-3 to Row B 1-3

Continue in this fashion for the remaining blocks. (Column 16 can be assembled in sets of two patches).

Step 2.  Join the sets to make the quilt center.

Step 3. Add the borders.  There are two short and two longer strips for the border. Sew the longer strips to the top and bottom of the quilt center. Then sew the short border strips to the sides of the quilt.

Step 4.  Finish the quilt: Add the backing and your choice of batting. Bind the quilt.

It's easy to stitch up this project in a day!  The Parade of Stars table runner kit - available at our shop on eBay - contains pre-cut squares, border strips, and backing, along with binding strips.  We have 2 of these completely pre-cut  kits with complete easy-to-read instructions available for purchase at $26.99 plus shipping.
Here's what our kit looks like, with all the fabric pre-cut, so all you have to do is sew:

Image credits:  Photos and design by Quilt Inspiration.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Memorial Day USA

On Memorial Day we remember the men and women who have given their lives for our freedom. Here is a wonderful red, white and blue quilt filled with stars.

American Lone Stars by Gail Witt, quilted by Teresa Silva

For this heirloom quilt, Gail Witt designed nine classic lone star blocks.  Teresa Silva's creative quilting adds movement to the blocks and border.  American Lone Stars received third place in the Large Pieced Quilt category at the 2018 Quilt Arizona show.

Image credits:  Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Checks and Plaids Quilt from 6 Shirts : A Tutorial !

We made a quilt in patriotic red, white and blue.  In this post we'll show you how!
We used 6 men's shirts ("waste not, want not") but you can use any fabrics you like.
It's easy to make this quilt in a day, once the shirts are cut up.  Plus you'll have enough fabric for two throw quilts... you can give one as a gift!

(For continuous listings of free quilt patterns, please check us out on Twitter ! 
For low-cost  books, magazines, and jewelry, check us out on E-Bay - we're Top Rated Sellers! )

THROW QUILT or PICNIC QUILT: approx. 48” x 56” 
The quilt was made from 6 different shirts. For a nice contrast, select light and dark shirts.*

Cut each shirt as follows: Remove the cuffs, collar, back yoke, and seam allowances. 

We love this dark blue plaid by Tommy Hilfiger !

Cut the back into 4.5" strips:

Remove the shirt pocket and the front placket buttons, and open up the front button placket.  Then cut the shirt fronts into 4.5" strips:

Do the same for the sleeves:

You will end up with short and long strips ranging from 10" to 27".  Before making the quilt top, square off the ends of each strip.


You will be sewing each color into one long ribbon of that fabric, alternating short and long pieces.

Step 1. First, separate Dark Blue Plaid strips into short and long pieces. Join them end to end, as shown below.

Continue in this fashion, alternating short and long strips of the same color, until you have one very long Dark Blue Plaid ribbon.  Depending on the size of the men’s shirt (M-XL), the ribbon will range from 120” to 150” long.

Quick Sewing Tip : Use chain piecing to join pairs of strips.  The project will go even faster. :-)

Step 2. Repeat Step 1 for each one of the other fabrics, making long ribbons of each color.

Step 3. Cut each long ribbon into 30.5” and 18.5” pieces according to the chart below.

Step 4. Referring to the photo and the diagram below, lay out the 30.5” and 18.5” strips. Each row will have one 30.5” strip and one 18.5” strip. Stitch them together to make a row.

STEP 5. To complete the quilt top, join the rows along their length until all 14 rows are joined.

Sewing Tip : Sew the first row to the second row starting from the left hand side of the quilt top. Then sew strip set 1+ 2 to strip 3 starting from the right hand side of the quilt top. This helps the quilt to lie flat. We also used a walking foot to piece the long rows. 

For more patriotic inspiration: How about a project that is already cut and ready to sew from new fabrics? Check out our PRE-CUT FABRIC KIT for this "Parade of Stars" table runner at our shop at E-Bay !

Image credits: *We made a few changes to the final shirt selection, but you get the general idea. ~ Photos and design are by Quilt Inspiration.  Please do not copy or re-post this tutorial without written permission.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

More May Flowers !

“Just living is not enough," said the butterfly, 
"one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.”*

Flowers have a language all their own.  They evoke memories and emotions, and may symbolize hope and love. In quilting, flowers provide the ultimate challenge in color and design.  Here are some exemplary quilts that inspire us.

Receiving Grace, 65 x 37", by Elizabeth McDowell Heagy (Ontario, Canada)

Elizabeth Heagy says, "The Echinacea stands strong, radiant in the love of its Creator.  This study depicts a moment of spiritual enlightenment."
Receiving Grace won First Place, Art – Naturescapes, Pictorial at the 2017 National Canadian Quilters' Association show. It was created with machine piecing, hand and machine applique, hand and machine embellishment, and painted with Jacquard Textile colors.  

The background was appliqued, pieced, and quilted simultaneously, using tulle as a third layer. The tulle protrudes from the top and bottom edges of the quilt and creates a natural setting for the flower. The flower petals stand out from the surface of the quilt.

Honeysuckle by Elizabeth Habich (Massachusetts)

Elizabeth Habich was inspired by the exuberance and vivid colors of honeysuckle growing against a fence in Bar Harbor, Maine.  For the background, Elizabeth used an experimental piece she had made with black Procion MX dyes. The honeysuckle itself was created with hand-dyed fabrics by Elizabeth Habich and others, as well as commercial solid colors. She says, "Melinda Bula's fusible applique technique made it possible."

Tulipa by Karen Ponischil (Charlotte, North Carolina)

Tulipa was inspired by beautiful tulips given to Karen Ponischil by her niece as a birthday surprise.  Karen's fabric painting, thread painting and free motion quilting perfectly conveys the smooth texture of the tulip petals; see the closeup photo below.

Karen Ponischil creates quilts using whole cloth painting or raw edge appliqué. She then uses thread painting to bring the quilt to life. For more inspiration see Karen's online gallery.

The Implication of Red by Hsin-Chen Lin (Tainan City, Taiwan)

This quilt's title, The Implication of Red, is explained by Hsin-Chen Lin as follows: "Although red represents joy and happiness, it is also a symbol of stirring emotions.  For women in the Chinese-speaking world, the color red is like an invisible frame.  Our traditional values teach us to tolerate a variety of unhappiness for the sake of keeping happy lives for the majority.  Such uncertainty stops us from pursuing dreams."

Hsin-Chen Lin is President of the Taiwan Art Quilt Society. She created this piece entirely by hand; it was hand-pieced, appliqued, quilted, embroidered, and embellished.  The incredible detail of the quilting, embroidery and embellishment can be seen in the closeup photo below.

In Full Glory by Akiko Kawata (Osaka-City, Japan)

Akiko Kawata showcased brilliant hollyhock flowers against a strip pieced background.  She says, "I wished to express the beautiful hollyhock flowers in their full glory, stretching to the bright blue summer sky." In Full Glory was machine pieced, appliqued, and quilted; and hand embroidered.  The flowers and leaves were bordered with solid fabric to add emphasis. The magenta and green hues create a beautiful complimentary color scheme.

Summer in the South, 41.5 x 38.5", by Ellen Lindner (Melbourne, Florida)

Heavy with blossoms, the arching branches of Crepe Myrtle trees grace the Southern U.S. all throughout the summer. Their colors and shapes delight all who see them. Ellen Lindner created Summer in the South with fusible raw edge collage and machine stitching.

For more information on this and other works of art see Ellen's website, Adventure Quilter.

Pop Up Posies, 57 x 57", by Erin Russek (Colorado)

Erin Russek says, "I am continually inspired by folk art and the natural world.  I wanted to create a quilt of flower blocks set on point with scallops for leaves... I enjoy working with brightly colored prints and creating cheerful quilts." Pop Up Posies features 5 different applique blocks, a large scallop applique border and beautiful flowers throughout.

The flower blocks are Erin's own design and are hand appliqued (a complete pattern is available).  She also created a scalloped border with plenty of white space for Karen McTavish's beautiful quilting (see the closeup photo below).

Credits:   *Quote from The Complete Fairy Tales by by Hans Christian Andersen.
Photos were taken at the 2018 Road to California show (Pop Up Posies) and the 2017 Houston International Quilt Festival.
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