Friday, August 28, 2009

It's Raining and I'm Feeling Crafty.

So, let's make an Oh-So-No-Sew Wreath!
Gather your materials:
1 Styrofoam wreath form (I started with a square Styrofoam wreath I bought on clearance at Michael's, but you can use whatever shape you like. )
1 charm pack with at least 32 charm squares (I used Moda's Arcadia. Love it!)
scraps of batting

Begin by wrapping the wreath form with batting. Pin the batting in place.
Don't worry if it isn't perfect, you're going to cover it up!

Now choose four charm squares to cover the corners. Pin the fabric to the outer edges and then bring it up and form a mitered corner. Pin in place on the inside of the wreath.

Now the fun begins. Fold your charm squares in half diagonally and
pin in place on the back of the wreath..

Here is the back.

Pin seven triangles to each side.

This is what the back will look like when you are finished. Oh, you want to see the front?

Voila! Here is it is! Cute, huh? Well, it gets cuter.

Using a 1-inch wide grosgrain ribbon that coordinates with your charm pack, wrap the outside of the wreath and, wait for in place. Make a bow from the same ribbon, fishtail the ends and pin in the center of the wreath.

Hang on your craft room door and admire your no-sew project. Ya done good.

* No charm squares were harmed during the making of this wreath.
The wonderful thing about this project is that it can be changed at whim and the previously used charm squares can then actually be sewn into a project. Or not. It's all up to you!
I bet you can't wait for your own rainy day. :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

More Fabric Strip Fun!

A while ago my friend, Amy, posted about a necklace she had made using fabric scraps. She had found it here. I thought it was adorable, said I was going to make one and promptly forgot about it. Until now.
I made mine a bit differently, using rings and a bit of chain for a different look. Here it is:

I braided lengths of 1/2-inch wide fabric scraps together until I reached a length I liked. Since I think the length of a necklace is a personal choice, I let you decide how long to make yours.
Once I finished braiding one strip, I stitched the ends to prevent them from unwinding. That would be a terrible thing to happen.
Using a dot of fabric glue, I attached each braided strip to a silver ring and clipped them with a clothespin to dry. Once they were dry, I wrapped the joins with embroidery floss, placed a dot of fabric glue under the wrapping and threaded the floss up through it with a needle. Once the glue dried, I clipped the extra thread. I did clip some of the more lengthy threads from the braids but left the smaller ones for a more casual, summery look.
I measured a length of chain and attached it to the rings with jump rings and then added the clasp. This particular necklace is going to be worn by a mannequin at the shop, so I did not make it too long. It happens to match the fabric used in her skirt!
Thanks, Amy and Rubyellen, for the inspiration for this necklace! The mannequin will be pleased.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

What To Do, What To Do.

My sister, daughter and I went to the shop last week to buy fabric to make bags. Since there are so many patterns and fabrics from which to choose, we were there for quite a while.
Two of the girls were busy using the AccuCut machine to make 2 1/2- inch strips out of green and red fabric. I think they are the strips to make the last strip club quilt into a queen size from the throw size.
Apparently when you cut fabric this way there is a 1/4-inch to 3/4-inch strip left over from each side of the fabric. Where does it go? Well, usually in the trash bin. I mean really, there's not much use for such tiny strips. Or is there? I took a bag full home with me to see what I could come up with.
Here's what I started with:

And here is what I ended up with:

Cute, huh? These rag balls are easy-peasy lemon squeezy to make. Start with a two-inch Styrofoam ball and place a dot of glue where you want to start. Take one of the strips and place it on the glue and begin to wrap the ball, being careful not to make little poochy bits, if you know what I mean. (If a little bump develops, just place a little glue underneath the fabric and roll the ball in your hands) When you get to the end of the strip, add another dot of glue and secure it to the ball. Continue wrapping the ball with strips, varying your starting points to avoid creating an oval. It helps to occasionally roll the ball between the palms of your hands to keep it round.
The balls shown used forty strips each. Because I wanted a uniform appearance, I chose six of the same colored strip and reserved those for the outside of the ball. The rest were attached randomly. Now you can get creative!
I sprayed each rag ball with spray adhesive and rolled them in clear glitter. Then I chose a contrasting color from the jumble of strips and tied it in a bow around the balls.
They don't have to be glittered to be cute. A bowl full of plain, sweet rag balls placed on your sewing or coffee table would be adorable. Attach a hanging loop, string a ribbon through it and attach a button string, charm or tag and hang them in your window. Really, the possibilities are endless.
So, don't throw away your edges! Use them to make something cute instead. :)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Happy 3rd Birthday, AST!

Last Saturday was the third birthday of my favorite quilt shop, A Scarlet Thread. I guess by now you know how much I love that place, don't you? I wanted to do something special, so I baked them a cake and brought it over that morning.
The first thing I was greeted by was a full parking lot! Everyone was there celebrating the event. Inside, bright birthday decorations were scattered about the store, women holding armloads of fabric jostled their way to the cutting tables and throughout the shop could be heard the ripples of excitement as someone found just the right thing for their latest project.
Karen helped a lovely woman who was trying to replicate the fabrics used in a quilt she saw in a magazine. Armed with the photograph, this eagle-eyed pair found a range of fabric that made me stop in my tracks for a peek. Soft blues, vivid greens with a shot of espresso, the voices of these fabrics sang out with a siren's call beckoning me in to tempt and tease. That quilt is going to be beautiful!
I left the shop still abuzz with conversation and laughter. On my way out I told Ken there was cake. "Oh, I know! I already found it- I followed my nose!"
Happy birthday, A Scarlet Thread. May you have many more to come!

PS- If you are wondering where the photographs are, well, I forgot my camera. I know, I know! How could I have done that? Let's just say it was the cake's fault and be done with it, okay?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Off to Italy!

No, not me. Don't I wish! This is what is going to Italy- a simple one-patch quilt for a boy or girl. Probably a girl as it is pretty feminine. Thanks to Roberta, from Simply Nine Patch, quilters worldwide were given an opportunity to give to a child something warm and comforting to wrap around them and hopefully relieve them from the effects of an earthquake that hit Abruzzo in April of this year.

This little quilt was made with left over charm squares, bits from the scrap bin and pieces from my stash. I had a lot of fun putting this together, probably because it is so bright and cheery. Well, that and the thought of what it will be doing once it arrives en Italia.
I am including Roberta's original post so you can read first hand about her Project of a Thousand Colors. It is touching and beautiful, speaking to her desire to do something small for someone else. That something small has grown to something huge, and that is a good thing.
When you finish reading Roberta's post, hop over to her blog and view the photos of the quilts that have already been sent. You will be amazed.

Grab a cup of coffee and....
... please read what follows. Many of you abroad have certainly heard about the terrible earthquake that struck the Italian central region of Abruzzo the night of April 6.
298 people died, half of them were students since L' Aquila ( the capital city of Abruzzo ) has a university, 55 thousand people are now homeless, the situation is still after two weeks one of emergency and on top of it all, the earth is still shaking. The Italian people answered in a marvelous way and many are there to help, the Protezione Civile ( the Italian relief corps ) is doing an incredible job and in no time tents were up and folks were fed and given medical assistance.
Many people used what they had, their skills or just their hands to help. A pizza truck, baked pizzas, a small orchestra played music to cheer up the folks, a hairdresser went with her scissors and combs...... My answer to this is I' ll make quilts !!! Well even if i will sew 10 or 20 throws they will be like a drop in the bucket, so i felt i should involved all the quilters who feel they would like to participate with me in this project i called " A thousand colors for the children of Abruzzo ". The purpose is to provide children ages three to five ( here in Italy it is call kindergarten and most children attend all day ) with a quilt they can call their own, they do not need a blanket, you all quilters know what i mean.
In Italy quilting is not a tradition, but it is becoming more and more appreciated and many women of all ages are learning the art.
I am one of the founding members of the Italian guild Quiltitalia (1996), the founding member of one of the first local guilds Sala di Quiltatura ( 1998) the promoter of the first quilting convention in the north east Italy and the inventor of the Quilting Day ( an event that is now duplicated in many parts of Italy :)). I'm also one of the first quilting instructors and i feel a pioneer in participating with other few to make the beautiful art of quilting known in my country. I felt i should share these information to introduce myself on the blog since many of you whose blogs I read regularly, do not know me. All that I have accomplished has been to the advantage of the project for Abruzzo, since it is for this i decided to start blogging again. I shared the project on April 13th with my Italian fellow quilters, students, quilt shops and I' m not done yet....... The response i 'm getting is amazing, quilters surely know how to show their solidarity, and i felt i should extend the opportunity to all outside the boundaries of Italy to participate. Maybe you are of Italian descent, or you love Italian food or you are just a mother thinking that you sure would like your child to have a quilt that he can consider his own possession after losing all he or she had and cherished. Think about it or... do not think at all and just drop me an e mail at requesting the details of the project ( measurements , deadline etc....), I answer all the e mails that come my way. Also if you feel like you would like to involve other quilters wherever they may be, feel free to pass this message on.
I had the privilege of having the owner of Bernina Italy publish the project on the first page of their official web site and the Italian version of the quilting magazine Magic Patch will publish it on their upcoming issue. Thank you for listening , and thank you also to all who will answer.
I will post regularly the progress of " A thousand colors " on the blog, so visit when you can and if all you can do is that and think and pray for all the folks of Abruzzo, that alone will make me happy.
Always stitching,

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Sneaky Peeky

Yeah, I'm pretty much in love.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Oh, Yes.

I love it when a plan comes together.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Bits of This and That.

One of my favorite things to do when I go into a quilt shop is to head to the scrap bin. This one is at AST and it draws me in like a magnet. The basket may have something to do with it but, mostly, it is the little bits of cloth poking out through the sides that say, "Come play with us!" And I do.

For 25 cents a piece you can dig deep into the basket and put together enough scraps to make say, a table runner, a purse, a set of pot holders, a make-up bag or any other small project- cheap.

See? It took less than a minute to pull these out of the pile and
look how great they look together!

Take a minute and go through your shops scrap bin.
You'll be amazed at what's in there!!

Saturday, August 1, 2009


This morning's strip club was so much fun! Just look at what the girls accomplished. You will be amazed, I promise.

Karen shared her version of June's strip club quilt.
Altering the pattern just a tidge gave it a completely different look. Bravo!

This is Cindy's beautiful Transitions quilt.
Again, arranged differently than the pattern,
she called it Dawn to Dusk. It drew many oohs and aahs.

Linda's setting triangle and border choices make this a very tranquil quilt.

Dawn shared her incredible Hot Flashes with us. I love this quilt! On the list it goes. :)

Flash made her quilt with beautiful purples and greens.
For some reason I thought of irises when I saw this quilt.

And here, finally, is her Jacks Be Quick quilt. Yum.

Flash's daughter, Kathy, went bold with her triangles and border
which made for a spectacular quilt.

And Kathy's sister, Carol, (who would also be Flash's daughter, got that?) shared her
For Which It Stands quilt. Beautiful!

Sandy told us that this quilt nearly did her in. I understand that feeling completely, as it is the same way I felt putting Stars Aligned together. Yikes, what a challenge!

She also completed her Butterfly and Bloom from February's strip club. Suh-weet!
So that brings us to the next transition- Christmas. In August? Of course!
Here's a sneak peek of the contents of our kits:

And here is the finished quilt:

Are you still breathing? Isn't this beautiful? Ah, I cannot wait to make this one. You should have seen the flurry of activity as the girls chose their perfect background and borders. I chose a sweet black fabric with tiny white dots scattered like stars and a very bold, for me, border. I'll surprise you with a photo next month. Maybe. ;)
Until then? Start thinking Christmas!!