Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Christmas in July Blog Hop: Day 5

It's Day 5 of our Christmas in July blog hop, and our final tutorial. And it's a great one! Julie from The Crafty Quilter has designed a beautiful wall hanging that includes both piecing and applique, using Michele D'Amore's Home for the Holidays collection. Check out Julie's tutorial below, and then head over to her blog to see how you can win a fat quarter bundle for yourself!

Christmas Wall Hanging by Julie Cefalu for Benartex
Hello! I'm Julie Cefalu, The Crafty Quilter, and I am so glad to be participating in the Christmas in July Blog Hop for Benartex! I designed this beautiful wall hanging using one of my favorite holiday fabric lines, Home for the Holidays. Finished size: 42-1/2" square

Fabric Requirements:

All fabric is from the Home for the Holidays collection by Michele D'Amore.
  • Ivory Damask: 1/2 yard
  • Light Red Damask: 1/2 yard
  • Aqua Damask: 1/4 yard
  • Ivory Stockings: 1 fat quarter
  • Gold Metallic Dot: 1/4 yard
  • Green Metallic Dot: 1/8 yard
  • Aqua Flower: 7/8 yard
  • Binding: 1/2 yard

Cutting Instructions:

Ivory Damask: Cut (1) 15" square for applique background. From remaining fabric cut (3) 5-1/2" strips, subcut into (12) 5-1/2" squares and (2) 5" squares for pieced border.
 Red Damask: Cut (1) 5-1/2" strip, subcut into (6) 5-1/2" squares for pieced border. Cut (1) 5" strip, subcut into (2) 5" squares for pieced border. Use remainder of this strip for applique. Cut (2) 1" strips, subcut into (2) 1" x 14-1/2" rectangle and (2) 1" x 15-1/2" rectangle for applique border.
Aqua Damask: Cut (1) 5-1/2" strip, subcut into (6) 5-1/2" squares for pieced border.
Gold Metallic Dot: Cut (4) 1-3/4" strips, subcut into (2) 1-3/4" x 22" rectangles and (2) 1-3/4" x 24-1/2" rectangles for inner border.
Ivory Stocking: Cut (2) 12" squares, cut in half diagonally once for setting triangles.
Aqua Flower: Cut (4) 5-1/2" wide strips; Measure quilt top before cutting into the following border pieces: (2) 5-1/2" x 32-1/2" rectangles and (2) 5-1/2" x 42-1/2" rectangles.
 All seams use 1/4" wide seam allowance.

Applique Instructions:

Fold 15" background square in half and in half again; press lightly. Repeat on the diagonal. This will give you placement guides for your applique pieces. applique background
 Using the applique pdf file (click here to download) and your favorite applique technique, make (1) gold star, (4) red star points, (8) green holly leaves, (4) red berries and (1) center circle. a) Place the gold star on the background square so that the points line up on the 90 degree placement lines. b) Add the red star points so that the points line up on the diagonal placement lines and at the center of the star. c) Place one red berry at the diagonal line, 2" from each corner; add two holly leaves extending from each berry as shown. d) Place one aqua circle in center of star.
  applique placement
 Applique all pieces in place. I used a turned edge applique technique and stitched with invisible thread and a blind hem stitch. You can find my tutorial for the invisible machine applique stitch here and my tutorial for raw edge machine applique can be found here. Trim the applique square to 14 1/2".

Applique borders and setting triangles:

Stitch the red 1" x 14-1/2" strips to opposite sides of the applique square. Add the remaining two 1" wide strips to the other two sides. Press toward borders. setting triangles placed 2
 Match the center of each setting triangle with the center of each side and stitch in place. Press toward setting triangles.
  setting triangle match center
 Trim the center applique unit to 22" square. trim to 22
 Stitch gold 1-3/4" x 22" inner border pieces to the center applique unit. Add remaining 1-3/4" x 24-1/2" inner border pieces. Press towards inner border. inner border in place

Pieced border assembly:

1. Draw a diagonal line on ivory 5-1/2" squares. 2. With right sides together, pair up an ivory square with 6 each red and 6 each aqua squares. 3. Stitch 1/4" on each side of drawn line. Cut in half on diagonal line. 4. Press towards dark fabric. Now you have a total of 24 half square triangle units (HST's).
  HST Steps
  5. Pair up HST's of opposite colors, matching seams. 6. Draw a diagonal line that runs perpendicular to seam. 7. Stitch 1/4" on each side of drawn line. Cut in half on the diagonal line. 8. Trim unit to 4-1/2" square. I used Quilt in a Day's triangle square up ruler which is so nice for trimming quarter square triangles.
  QST steps
9. Press seam to one side or as shown:
  QST Pressed
 10. Make four half square triangle units using the (2) 5" ivory squares and (2) 5" red squares as shown. Trim to 4-1/2" square.
  HST Steps 2
11. Stitch (6) quarter-square triangle units together, matching seams. Press seams open. Repeat to make four pieced border units. They should measure 24-1/2" long.

qst rows make

Adding borders:

Arrange pieced border units and HST's around the center applique unit. Stitch a pieced border to each side. Press towards inner border.
  pieced border placed
 Stitch the HST's to each end of a pieced border unit. Add to the top and bottom of center applique unit. Make sure to match seams at the corners. Press towards inner border. Stitch 5-1/2" aqua floral border strips to each side of wall hanging. Press towards outer border.

wall hanging side borders 2 


Layer, baste and quilt as desired. Add binding and a hanging sleeve to finish it off. Mine is not finished yet, but I'm working on it!
Star bright Wall Hanging by Julie Cefalu for Benartex
Star Bright Wall Hanging by Julie Cefalu

Thanks, Julie! What a gorgeous wall hanging! (And so nice to have it almost finished with Christmas still 5 months away!) To find out how to enter to win a fat quarter bundle of the Home for the Holidays collection, visit Julie's blog.

If you missed the other tutorials from the Christmas in the July blog hop, click on the links below:
Day 1: Ho-Ho-Ho, Let It Snow advent calendar tutorial, click here.
Day 2: Christmas Spectacular table runner tutorial, click here.  
Day 3: Snowfolk Mantel quilt tutorial, click here.
Day 4: Peppermint Twist pillow tutorial, click here.

And...don't forget to head over to our Facebook page and enter a recipe in our Christmas cookie exchange--we'll be compiling all the entries into a pdf recipe book to share!
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Monday, July 29, 2013

Christmas in July Blog Hop: Day 4

Today Wendy from Ivory Spring is sharing a peppermint pillow duo tutorial here on the blog. She paired the bold red and white Peppermint Twist fabrics from Kanvas with solid black for graphic pillows that pop! What a fun combination that would add some fresh holiday flavor to your home! After you read through Wendy's tutorial, see how to win your own Peppermint Twist bundle at the bottom, and head over to Wendy's blog to see her beautiful work! And now, here's Wendy!

Hi everyone, I'm Wendy from Ivory Spring, and I'm here to share a tutorial with a twist, using the Peppermint Twist fabrics: These simple holiday-themed pillows actually illustrate quite a few tricks and techniques: 
1.  Quilted Pillow Top.  Since I am a quilter (if you have known me for a period of time, you know that quilting and I get along really well, but not garment construction!), I like to use batting to construct my pillow top.  The idea is to prepare the pillow top as I would normally a quilt sandwich, except the finishing part is different.  I do not bind my "pillow sandwich" to make it into a quilt, but rather finish it to make a pillowcase.  Plus, I get to use up my batting scrap pieces.  I feel the batting gives my pillow top slightly more body, and so my pillow top doesn't feel "thin."
2. Fabric Selection.  
When choosing fabrics for a simple design, I like to choose fabrics that in no uncertain terms make a statement.
Contrast among fabrics often makes the final look stand out.  In this case, there are three contrasting looks, if you will, in the selected fabrics that draw the eye when one looks at the pillow.
a.  Contrast between scale of prints.  Large lollipops vs. small candy canes
b.  Contrast between busy-ness of prints.  Busy tossed candy prints vs. less busy wave print.
c.  Contrast between solid and prints.  Black vs. print fabrics.
3. Contrasting Quilting.  Red (or any color) on black quilting always produces a striking visual effect!  Simple way to embellish.
4. Piece ONCE to make two pillows.  You would piece the stripes cut across width of fabrics, and then cut from the pieced stripes 1 (16-1/2 " x 16-1/2") square and 1 (12-1/2" x 16-1/2") rectangle to make two pillow tops for two pillows.
5. Simple Complementing the Complex.  The pillows complement another pillow made previously, making a cute little display.

Note:  Please read through all instructions before attempting project.
Supplies (fabrics from the Peppermint Twist collection)
Pillow top fabrics: 
1/4 yard Swirl Lollipop Black (5710-12)
1/8 yard Black Solid
1/8 yard Wave Red/White (5341-10)
1/8 yard Candy Cane White (5709-9)

Pillow back fabric :
1/2 yard Candy Cane Black (5709-12), or fabric of choice
1/2 yard Peppermints Black (5711-12), or fabric of choice

Additional supplies for rectangular pillow:
14" x 18" batting piece
14" x 18" pillow sandwich backing fabric (anything will do because no one will see it)
(1) 12" x 16" pillow form insert

Additional supplies for square pillow:
18" x 18" batting piece
18" x 18" pillow sandwich backing fabric (anything will do because no one will see it)
(1) 16" x 16" pillow form insert

... and basic sewing notions

1.  Cut from the fabrics:
Swirl Lollipop Black 8-1/2" x WOF (width of fabric)
Black Solid 2-1/2" x (width of fabric)
Wave Red/White 3-1/2" x (width of fabric)
Candy Cane White 3-1/2" x (width of fabric)

2.  Cut from Candy Cane Black fabric, 2 (16-1/2" x 16-1/2") squares for pillow back.
3.  Cut from Peppermint Black fabric, 2 (12-1/2" x 16-1/2") rectangles for pillow back.

Asssembling Pillow Tops
1.  Now, you are ready to sew the stripes together with a 1/4" seam allowance.
2.  You should have a sewn unit of pieced strips that measures 16-1/2" (horizontal) x width of fabric (vertical), based on the shown diagram.
3.  Measure vertically and cut across the sewn unit (yellow line) to yield 1 (12-1/2" x 16-1/2") rectangle and 1 (16-1/2" x 16-1/2") square.  Those will be your two pillow tops.

4.  Assemble pillow sandwiches staring from the bottom, and pin baste: 
14" x 18" backing fabric + 14" x 18" batting piece + 12-1/2" x 16-1/2" pieced pillow top; 18"x 18" backing fabric + 18" x 18" batting piece + 16-1/2" x 16-1/2" pieced pillow top

{Note:  From now on, the construction/pillow assembly instructions should apply to both square and rectangular pillow.  Just make sure the appropriate measurements are noted and used for each pillow.}
5.  Quilt pillow sandwiches as desired.  I just did very simple straight line quilting.  I then added optional buttons to the rectangular pillow sandwich, purely for embellishment purposes.

6.  Trim excess batting and backing to the edge of pieced pillow top.  You will see that I also stay-stitched the corners 1/4" from the edge to keep the pillow top sandwich "squared up."

7.  Zig-zag around the edges to reduce the bulk.  Since I sew with 1/4" seam allowances, I make sure my "zig" is less than 1/4" wide.  I actually also zig-zag around my quilt sandwiches before I bind my quilts. Read more about it here.

[Note:  The pillow top is completed at this point - you may choose the method of your choice to complete the pillow case.  I used the envelope closure method, explained below.]
Assembling the Pillow Case (Using the square pillowcase as example)
1.  Turn under ¼” on one of the candy cane black 16-1/2" x 16-1/2" square.  Turn again about 4” and press.  Edge stitch to hold the ‘flap’ in place.  It's a great time to use your edge stitch foot if it usually just sits in your presser foot box.  Repeat for the other square.

2.  Place the  pillow top wrong side down.  Then lay the pillow backing squares on the pillow top, right sides together.  Adjust the pillow backing squares accordingly, and trim off any excess from the 16-1/2" x 16-1/2” area that is not covering the pillow top.  [Note: Place the piece which you want to be the top flap of the pillow back FIRST onto the pillow top, before the piece you want to be the bottom flap of the envelope closure.]

You see in the following diagram how the layers to place on top of each other - in real life, the edges should all be matching.  I have staggered them to give you an idea on the placement.  From the bottom up... right side of pillow top, front flap of pillow back, back flap of pillow back.

3.  Pin and stitch the pieces together.  

4.  Trim around the corners.  Finish by zig-zagging the seam allowance to reduce the bulk of all the pieces stitched together.

5.  Turn the pillowcase right side out.  Press and insert pillow form.

I have displayed the pillows with my Midwinter Night pillow I made last year using Benartex's Fossil Fern and Wintersong.  More information about Midwinter Night pillow can be found here.  A group of pillows with different looks is always an interesting display because it keeps the eye busy trying to take in everything!

Thanks Wendy! Your pillows look almost good enough to eat! :) 
To win a fat quarter bundle of the Peppermint Twist collection, sign up to follow our blog using either Bloglovin' or the email feature (both in the right sidebar). Then leave a comment below this post telling us that you are a follower and letting us know your favorite holiday flavor--is it peppermint, or something else? This giveaway will be open through Thursday, August 1 at 11:59 pm EST.

If you missed the other tutorials from the Christmas in July blog hop, click on the links below:
Day 1: Ho-Ho-Ho, Let It Snow advent calendar, click here.
Day 2: Christmas Spectacular table runner tutorial, click here.  
Day 3: Snowfolk Mantel quilt tutorial, click here.

And...don't forget to head over to our Facebook page and enter a recipe in our Christmas cookie exchange--we'll be compiling all the entries into a pdf recipe book to share!  

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Friday, July 26, 2013

Christmas in July Blog Hop: Day 3

Today Mary from Mary on Lake Pulaski is here on the blog, sharing her tutorial for a Snowfolk Portrait Gallery Mantel Quilt. This is a great technique for hanging quilted pieces on your mantel without using nails or tacks! After you check out Mary's tutorial, head over to her blog to see how to enter to win a bundle of Snowfolk fabrics for yourself! 

Hello, Mary from Mary on Lake Pulaski blog here to bring you a tutorial for your very own Mantel Quilt made with the new Snowfolk line of fabric from Benartex.

Here is what you will need to make one just like mine:

1 panel from the Snow Folk line
2 yards of Snowfolk Allover in Blue
2 yards of Snowball Texture in Blue  
approximately 30 inch by 60 inch piece of quilt batting
sewing machine thread in colors to match fabric
perle cotton #8 in colors to match fabric 
freezer paper or other large sheets of paper
white marking pencil
1.  Cut out the Snowman rectangles from the panel along the sides and bottom on the very outside edge of the frames. Cut a piece of  Snowball Texture and batting the same size leaving an extra inch + on the top side of each piece.
2. Place the two pieces of fabric right sides together and the batting on the bottom and pin.  Sew 1/4" seam along the sides and bottom. Trim the corners, turn right side out, press and then baste raw edges together 1/4" from the top of the frame.  Complete the other two in the same manner.
3.  Hand quilt with the matching perle cotton around as much detail as desired on all three "portraits" and set aside.

4.  Lay paper over mantle with straight edge along the back and crease paper along all of the outer edges.

5.  Cut out on the crease.

6.   Iron or pin to one layer of batting, one layer of Snowfolk Allover and one layer of  Snowball Texture.  Cut out adding 1/2" to all edges.   Mark center and add the portrait you want in the middle centered on this mark with all raw edges matching as shown and pin.   Add the other two portraits 1/2" from the end.

7.  Sew around all sides with 1/2" seam catching the portrait pieces as pinned.  Leave a 6" opening on the long straight side (this will be against the back of the mantle). 

8.  Trim corners and turn right side out through the opening.

9.  Press raw edges of opening under 1/2" toward inside.  Top stitch 1/4" from edge around entire mantle quilt.
10.  Place on your mantle, add whatever other decorations go with your Snow Folk Portrait Gallery and enjoy!
Let me know if you have any questions. 
Thanks Mary! What a great idea! Head over to Mary's blog to see how you can enter to win a bundle of Snowfolk fabrics. Read more about Cheryl Hayne's Snowfolk collection here.

If you missed the other tutorials from the Christmas in July blog hop, click on the links below:
Day 1: Ho-Ho-Ho, Let It Snow advent calendar, click here.
Day 2: Christmas Spectacular table runner tutorial, click here.  

And...don't forget to head over to our Facebook page and enter a recipe in our Christmas cookie exchange--we'll be compiling all the entries into a pdf recipe book to share!


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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Christmas in July Blog Hop: Day 2

It's Day 2 of our Christmas in July blog hop, and our friend Debby Kratovil from Debby Kratovil Quilts is sharing her gorgeous twisted hexagon block table runner. Her fabric choice? Christmas Spectacular by Kitty Yoshida. Debby will show you how she made the hexagon block, and then you can visit her blog to find out how to win some of this fabric yourself.

Christmas Spectacular Collection by Kitty Yoshida for Benartex Fabrics
Why did you choose these fabrics?
Holiday fabrics can oftentimes be novelty prints and santas, reindeer, snowmen and Christmas trees. To come across such an elegant group of fabrics featuring large poinsettias and glittering scrollwork was such a delight. I knew I wanted to highlight those large flowers, but I was having a hard time selecting which of the 3 colors to use!

How did you come up with your design?
Large scale fabrics do not want to be chopped up into tiny pieces. I referenced some past blocks I used in other quilts. One block is the traditional Diadem block which appears in my second book, Supersize 'Em Quilts. I began making one of those. The four corners are paper pieced with a quick, rotary cut center. I liked it, but it wasn't exactly what I had in mind.

12" Diadem Block
I've been working a lot lately with a Twisted Hexagon Block. There is a center hexagon with half-hexagons twirling around it in a log cabin-type manner. I cut out a few patches, now using the cream color of that luscious large-scale print.

Twisted Hexagon line drawing
 Did you use a specialty ruler? 
Absolutely! Hexagons and 60 degree angles can be tricky. While I could get my shapes by using the diagonal lines on my straight rulers, I have had several 60 degree rulers in my sewing room for as long as I have been quilting. They make the cutting so easy and they can cut a variety of shapes based on the equilateral triangle (sorry for the math-trash talk). 

The half-hexagons finish to half the height of the center hexagon (7"). They are cut from a 4" strip (half of 7" = 3-1/2", plus the seam allowances). Notice that I lined up the 3-1/2" finished height with the 3-1/2" line on the ruler. Perfect half-hexie!

I used my Creative Grid 60 degree ruler to cut my half-hexagons
 The whole hexagons finish to a 7" height. The template includes the 1/4" seam allowance.

I used a freezer paper whole hexagon to fussy-cut the center hexagons
To cut your freezer paper hexagon template: Cut a 7-1/2" x  9-1/2" piece of freezer paper. Fold in half lengthwise (now it's 3-1/4" x 9-1/2"). Align the 3-1/2" horizontal line of your 60 degree ruler with the top of the cut edges of the folded strip (3-1/2" is half of the finished 7" height of the hexagon). Make a cut on both sides. Your hexagon is ready!

 Twisted Hexagon with a cream center and the 6 patches, ready to sew.

I don't know if I want the cream or black centers.
 Half-hexagons are added in either a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction. I chose clockwise.

Begin with a partial seam; add next half-hexie in a clockwise direction
When you get the 6th half-hex added, now you finish the first seam you made.

Aren't you bothered by starts and stops and beginning all over again?
I cannot envision how a group of fabrics will flesh themselves out. I am not afraid to make a block - or several blocks - to see how the fabrics look together. It's the way I work. The more you sew, the more you "fail", but the more you succeed. I think I learn more from the "rejects" than I do from the published quilts. I always tell my students to JUST KEEP MOVING. And I have to trust my instincts. If I feel that something is wrong/not right with a block or a setting or even a quilt, then there IS something wrong. I have taken whole borders off of quilt centers because I just felt they weren't right.

So, how does this block look?
I had to make both a cream and black center Twisted Hexagon block in order to know which one I would like in the table runner.

Twisted Hexagon with black center
How long does it take you to sew, once you decide on a design?
I have been sewing for the camera for 20 years. I have a teaching background in high school math and English. I don't consult other people's patterns (frankly, they confuse me). I can look at a traditional block in a book, figure out what size I would like to make and then because I've done this thousands (yes, thousands) of times, I immediately start slicing and dicing. I love my rulers; I know what size strips to cut for any size block. I can cut out a quilt in a few hours and finish sewing it in a day or two. Since I'm not consulting someone's directions, but relying on the numbers in my head, the time is reduced quite a bit.

GASP! What if you run out of fabric? Well, I do - often. That just means that the quilt is finished!

Cutting the half-triangles to "square up" the Twisted Hexagon.
Again, I trust the rulers and the accuracy they provide. I used the 7-1/2" horizontal line on the 60 degree ruler with my 7-1/2" cut strip. The vertical line on the left gives me the needed seam allowance for perfect blocks.

Adding the half-triangles, two at a time.
I made a single Twisted Hexagon block with my "test" fabrics. This will be a place mat. It is 14" high by 16-1/2" wide. Perfect size for a place mat.

Here is the block with the black center

 Table runner: 27" x 52"
Three block Twisted Hexagon table runner
Anything else you want to say about this runner?
Do you notice that the red inner borders form a t-shape? That's because the height of the 3 blocks is 42-1/2" unfinished. That's all the length of the outer border (green colorway). I didn't want to piece it. So, I had to work with what I had. My two choices were: no inner border OR criss-cross the reds as you can see. This meant that I could use the full width of the floral print and not have to piece it. Out of the hundreds of quilts I've made, I probably have used this one or two times. But it is acceptable and common and the quilt top is DONE!

I will get this runner quilted in time for Christmas (yes, it's only July). I may even quilt it myself. I will use the plaid print in the collection for the binding, which will then take me up to 6 of the fabrics in the group. My holiday table will be elegant, don't you think? 

Thanks Debby! We love the runner! 
If you missed the advent calendar tutorial featuring Ho-Ho-Ho, Let It Snow (Day 1 of the Christmas in July blog hop), click here. Then head over to Debby's blog to find out to enter a giveaway for a bundle of Christmas Spectacular.

And...don't forget to head over to our Facebook page and enter a recipe in our Christmas cookie exchange--we'll be compiling all the entries into a pdf recipe book to share!
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