Two finishes for the price of one!

I spent a bit of time the last few days finishing up two little mini-quilts I've had in the works for the last week or so. The first one I'll be giving away at my schoolhouse in Houston next month. I really love how this quilt turned out, and in honor of its larger sibling quilt in my book, Polaris, I'm calling it Polaris Junior.

Polaris Jr - Full frontal

I'm really digging the way the low-volume background prints, all pulled from my stash, work together to create additional dimension and movement throughout the background of the quilt. I need to make one more of these for an upcoming class sample in the near future, and I might just make an exact duplicate for once because I so love how this one turned out!

Polaris Jr - Binding close up

The quilting is very simple, in a white 50 wt Aurifil thread, in an orange peel all-over design. I love doing that kind of quilting with grid-based quilts like this. I think for the next one, I might try my hand at some simple wavy stitches, see how that goes.

Polaris Jr - Side view

The second quilt I finished up is for my partner in the Sew Sew Modern swap. It's a mini using three of my Lucky Stars Block of the Month Club blocks, and one that didn't make the cut (that might just be a part of next year's block of the month club!). My partner's favorite colors weren't colors that I usually like to use in my sewing, so it was a challenge for me to really try to put something together that she'll love, but I'm hoping I've done it.

Sew Sew Modern Swap Mini - full shot

Quilting this mini was a challenge - I was terribly indecisive about how to stitch, so I went with an all-over basic stipple. It may be boring, but it's my go-to stitch when I get stumped. I like how this quilt finished up, especially the binding, which is another Briar Rose print I picked up and wound up not really using much of in the mini. I also sewed up a little pleated zippered clutch for her and got the package in the mail yesterday.

In the mail to you, partner! A little mini and a pouch

Quilt Stats
name: Polaris Junior
pattern: Polaris, from my new book, Becoming a Confident Quilter (in stock at my Pattern Shop!!)
size: 24" square
fabrics: Scrap bag bonanza! Boatloads of scraps from my scrap bin
binding: The Road in Mist from Road 15 by Sweetwater for Moda
quilting: Orange peel continuous line stitching in white 50 wt Aurifil

Sew Sew Modern Swap Mini - binding detail

Quilt Stats part two
name: SewSew Modern Swap Mini
pattern: Lucky Stars Block of the Month Club blocks
size: 24" square
fabrics: several prints from Briar Rose by Heather Ross for Windham Fabrics, Lime green leafy stripe from Simply Color by V and Co for Moda Fabrics, yellow Hex Box from Prince Charming by Tula Pink for Free Spirit Fabrics, dark pink floral from Darla by Tanya Whelan, background faux tweed fabric from Mod Century by Jenn Ski for Moda Fabrics
quilting: All-over meandering stipple in white 50 wt Aurifil thread

Mini Bookshelf Quilt: The Tutorial!

First off, if you are part of the Make Mine Modern swap, can I just beg you to hold off on making this for yourself?  It might just be headed to your house this week when mailing begins!!  Secondly, I was so touched by how many people out there loved that little miniquilt and wanted a tute to make their own.  I read each and every comment here on my blog and I want you to know I appreciate every one of them.  Enough with the sap, on to the tutorial.  If you make a bookshelf mini, I'd love to see it!!


You will need:
13 various scraps for your books   **see cutting step #1**
Various scraps of white fabric or another neutral, background color
1" x 20" strip of gray, brown, or other bookshelf colored solid fabric
Selvages or textual fabrics for book titles
Steam-a-Seam 2
Fat quarter for the background
Binding of your choice

Cutting Instructions:
1. From your various book fabrics, use the list below to cut your books.  Feel free to adjust these guidelines as necessary, to best suit the fabric you're using.
  • Book #1 - 2" x 10"
  • Book #2 - 1" x 12"
  • Book #3 - 2" x 6.5"
  • Book #4 - 1.25" x 9"
  • Book #5 - 1.5" x 11"
  • Book #6 - 1.5" x 9.5"
  • Book #7 - 2.5" x 8.25"
  • Book #8 - 1.5" x 9.5"
  • Book #9 - 1" x 10"
  • Book #10 - 2" x 11"
  • Book #11 - 1.75" x 12"
  • Book #12 - 2" x 12"
  • Book #13 - Up to you!  This is your leaning book, and should be at least 18" long or longer, depending on how much of a lean you're going to create for your last book.

2. From your background fabric, cut:
  • 1 - 2" x 20" - This piece will sit under the "bookshelf"
  • 1 - 1.5" x 15" - This piece will be used for sashing on the left side of the books
  • 1 - 2" x 3" - This piece will sit on top of your leaning book
  • 1 - 6" x 15" - This piece will be the right side of your leaning book
  • 1 - 4" x 12" - This piece will be to the left of your leaning book
  • 1 - 10" x 2" - This piece will sit at the bottom of your leaning book
  • 1 - 10" x ??" - Use scraps here, if you've got them.  We will use these pieces to make the negative space above the books.

3. From your binding fabric, cut 2.5" strips to yield 98" of binding.  If you are cutting WOF, this is a total of two 2.5" strips.

4. From your bookshelf fabric, cut a strip, 1"x24".

Sewing Instructions:
1. Lay out your various 10" long pieces of background fabric. Pin each of your book fabrics, 1/4"-1/2" apart, right sides together, raw edges aligned.  It should look something like this.


Sew a 1/4" seam down the length, and press seams open.  Then trim your pieces to match the width of your book. Trim each book plus background strip to a uniform 15" tall.


2. Pair the books together and set your leaning book (#13) off to the side for now.  Sew Book #1 to Book #2, right sides together, raw edges aligned, then Book #3 and Book #4, and so on until you have sewn all of the books in pairs. Press seams open.


3. Continue to seam the book pairs together, right sides together, raw edges aligned until all of your books are together in one solid piece.  Press all seams open.  Set aside.


4. Add your 2" square of background fabric to the top of your leaning book (#13), right sides together, raw edges aligned.  Sew using a 1/4" seam.  Press seams open.  Next add the 4" x12" piece to the left side of your leaning book, right sides together, raw edges aligned.  Sew using a 1/4" seam, and press seams open.  Do the same with the 6" x 15" piece of background, adding it to the right side of the leaning book.  Finally, add the 2" x 10" sashing to the bottom of your leaning book.  It should now be sashed around all four sides.

5. Next, it's time to line up your leaning book.  First, lay your bookshelf so far on your cutting mat, then lay your leaning book beside it, as you see below.


Try to line up the leaning book so that the bottom left corner of the book matches the bottom of the other books.  Then, measure 1/4" inch from where you've decided to place your leaning book, take a deep breath, and cut.


Seam leaning book and bookshelf together using a 1/4" seam, right sides together, raw edges aligned.  Press seams open and your shelf should be starting to look complete.


6. Trim leaning bookshelf to match the other books.  For the right side of the leaning book, line your ruler up with the right edge of the bottom of the leaning book, and measure 1.5" inches to the right (even though the picture seems to indicate otherwise!).  This is where you will make your cut.


Also trim the top of the books to a uniform 15" tall.


7. Add a strip of 1.5" x 15" strip of sashing to the left side of the books, matching right sides together and seaming with a 1/4" seam.  Press seam open.

8. Take your 1" x 20" strip of bookshelf material and seam to the bottom of the books, right sides together, raw edges aligned, using a 1/4" seam.  Press seam open.


9. Next, seam your 2" x 20" strip of white/background fabric and seam to the bottom of the bookshelf, right sides together, raw edges aligned, using a 1/4" seam.  Press seam open.  You have now completed the top of your miniquilt!

10. And now for the book titles.  Take your selvages and/or textual fabrics and trim as desired - but leave approximately 1/4" excess fabric all the way around.  Cut a piece of your double-sided fusible web (Steam-a-Seam or similar) to match, and peel off one side of the web.  Add your fabric here.


Use the tip of your hot iron to get your book title to stay put, then go back to your cutting mat and trim your web more precisely to match the fabric (which will still be slightly too big).  Use your iron to press your webbing in place well, then trim your book title down as desired.


To add title to a book, peel the backing of the web off, place the title where you'd like it, and iron it on.  Ta da!  Make sure your iron is nice and hot for this step.


11.  Baste miniquilt, batting, and backing together.  I used spray baste, which is super wonderful and makes the quilting so much faster!

12. Quilt to your heart's content, as desired.  I recommend sewing down the edges of the book titles you have added, for extra security and because it looks nice.  It's entirely optional.


13. Bind, and enjoy!


I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, I know I enjoyed making another one of these miniquilts.  If you make one, I'd love to see it :)

I'm linking up today with {Sew} Modern Monday. Make sure to go see what everyone else is finishing up today, I always finds ton of inspiration over there!  I'll also be linking up with QuiltStory's Fabric Tuesday, which is another place to see tons of eye candy!

{Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations

Fresh Poppy Design

Bookshelf mini quilt - finished!

I've officially finished off my bookshelf mini-quilt for my Make Mine Modern swap partner.  I really love how this turned out, after being terribly unsure of whether or not this would be any good for not.  I think my partner will really like it.  I like this little mini-quilt so much that I'm thinking of making another one, since I have a good number of selvages hanging around and quite a few friends and family who love books.  Would you guys be interested in a little tutorial?

Better shot - Finished MMM bookshelf mini-quilt

This mini-quilt was shamelessly inspired by a quilt block I spotted on Flickr a while back, made by the wonderful Amber of One Shabby Chick for the super awesome Ringo Pie bee.  I loved what she did, and favorited it for a rainy day.  Fast forward a while to my partner assignment in Make Mine Modern, and I knew that I wanted to do this mini-quilt for my partner.  I had a lot of fun working on this one, sketching it out and figuring out how to make it as awesome in reality as it seemed in my head.

The book titles, with one exception, are all selvages, which I added some simple double-sided fusible web to, and then adhered them in place after stitching the book fabrics all together in a layout that was pleasing to me.  The one book title that is not a selvage comes from Sweetwater's Make Life collection.  I tell you, Sweetwater makes the best fabrics currently that use text.  I especially love their fresh Sweetwater collection, the colors are so cheery and some of the text fabrics are just gorgeous.  But, I digress...

The binding on this little mini-quilt comes from AMH's Innocent Crush collection.  I love the varying sizes of the stripes.  I'm a big fan of striped binding, and I really like how it works here.

I also love the back of this quilt.  This fabric is a completely random find I stumbled upon at Fabricworm, from Victoria & Albert's Grand Tour collection.  The whole collection is a series of reproduction prints from the Victoria and Albert Museum, and some of them (like this one) are just so stunning!  And just so you know, the painter's tape on the back?  Totally not some kind of weird artistic thing, I was just covering up my partner's name :)

I added the embroidery at the bottom after I finished the rest of the top and thought it needed something extra.  After an hour of digging through quotes about reading, I stumbled on this one and felt it was just the sentiment I was going for, and it wasn't fifty words long, so it was perfect.  My embroidery skills still need a bit of work, but I like how the embroidery turned out.

All I need to do now for this swap is find the right box to start packaging up all of the goodies in.  I simply cannot wait to get this swap mailed out and see what my partner thinks.  Stay tuned!

I'm linking up with {Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations.  Pop on over to see some other recent modern finishes!

{Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations

I'm also linking up with Fabric Tuesday over at QuiltStory!

Castle Peeps Doll Quilt - done!

Woo hoo, my first homemade Christmas gift is done!

I have officially finished a doll quilt for my six year old niece, made to (sort of) match her twin sized Castle Peeps quilt.  I actually wound up having to rip this quilt apart before it turned into what it is now.  I royally screwed up the sashing and then forgot to take pictures of how shoddy it looked, so you'll just have to take my word for it.  It was seriously, heinously bad.

I also wound up scaling down the size of the quilt considerably.  I had started out using Elizabeth Hartman's Mixtape Quilts pattern, but between recutting the quilt blocks after my sashing disaster and then shrinking the quilt to better match the cradle it will be going with, it's turned into a pretty different quilt.  I like how it turned out, all in all.

My sister told me recently that my aunt happened to be in her area, and got a chance to see the quilts I made for my niece and nephew.  I can't even describe how excited that made me.  My aunt is the person who got me interested in quilting, back when I was a kid and my mom would tell me about how my aunt used to quilt.  She wound up getting carpel tunnel syndrome in both hands, and had to stop sewing, so I wasn't lucky enough to receive one of her quilts, but I heard lots of stories about the quilts she made for people.  My sister mentioned that my aunt was quite impressed with how much I'd learned about quilting already, which made me so happy.  It was so good to hear that she was proud of me.  That meant almost more to me than my niece gushing about how much she loves her quilt.

This is one of my first attempts at straight-line quilting, and it was kind of fun.  Great for a small quilt, but I can't imagine straight-line quilting something big, like a bed-sized quilt.  I did gridlines on this quilt, marking them with various chalk and wash-away fabric markers to make sure they showed up while I was quilting.  I've heard about using painter's tape, I'll have to try that next time around.

I'll be linking up with Fabric Tuesday, over at QuiltStory.  Make sure to check them out, I always spot some great inspiration there!

P.S. - I'm being featured on QuiltStory today!  Have you checked their features out before?  They tell the stories behind quilts, which is something I think is really cool.  I love hearing about how someone was inspired to make a quilt, and more than that, I love to read about what a quilt means to someone.  Good reads!