Gone Sailing

A couple of years ago now I embarked upon the largest quilting project to date.

Stuart wanted me to make a quilt for very good friends of ours. They have been our family here in the Panhandle and we will miss them greatly when we move to Ohio.

David has a love for sailing and owns his own sailboat so I knew I wanted to do something for the boat. As a family of 4 I thought it’d be fun to do a quilt large enough that all four of them could snuggle under the quilt out on the boat watching the sunset. The quilt I designed was massive.

Gone Sailing Design

By Christmas of last year I’d reached a point where my fabric supply was running low and needed to order some more. I’d also reached a frustrating piece of the puzzle that required paper piecing uneven hour glasses. So I took a break. When I pulled it back out in February I realized just how large of a quilt it already was. And it looked finished. So those hour glasses were trimmed into squares and turned into two smaller quilts for their children.

Gone Sailing Mini Me 2 Gone Sailing Mini Me 1

The back of the quilt is Stuart’s favorite part. I spelled out their last name in Nautical Flags!

Nautical Flags

I gave the boys their quilts in February and presented the quilt top and back to their parents before it was sent off to the quilter’s. I’ll be getting it back soon. I’ve seen it quilted and it looks fabulous! I can’t wait to give it to them. Gone Sailing

Interfacing T-Shirts

If you plan on creating a T-Shirt quilt, it is highly recommended that you interface them prior to sewing.

Interfacing is a material that adds structure to flexible fabrics. Using interfacing is key when working with T-Shirts because of how flexible the cotton T-Shirt material is, it ensures that your seams will stay straight and your fabric won’t stretch.

Working with interfacing is very easy. I buy a bolt of Pellon Shape-Flex interfacing from Joann’s. (40% off coupons come in really handy for items like these!) One side of the interfacing is smooth, and the other bumpy. Those bumps you feel are the adhesive that will stick to the fabric once heated.

Although it does create a teensy bit of waste, you should cut your T-Shirt just slightly larger than your desired cut size (so desired block size + 1/2″) along with the interfacing. Iron the interfacing onto the back side of the T-Shirt and then trim the shirt to the proper size. Applying the adhesive in this way serves two purposes: 1) you won’t accidentally overlap the interfacing on your cut-to-size shirt and a) get glue all over your ironing board and b) won’t have to trim off any extra interfacing and risk damaging your shirt; and 2) it ensures that your interfacing will be at the edges of your shirt, and therefore in your seam allowance making sewing easy.

My father-in-law made me a set of T-Shirt Quilt Block Plexiglass Templates. These templates include the 1/2″ seam allowance and are marked with an X which tells me where the center is.

The example below is from my brother’s T-Shirt Quilt, Greek Eagle.

Here’s the How-To for Interfacing T-Shirts:

If you are using the method I do, the shirts need to be cut in increments of 4″. If you are not using pre-cut templates, do not forget your 1/2″ seam allowance!! Choose the size block that best fits the shirt you’re using.

Interfacing How-To

Trim your shirt slightly larger than the desired block size.  Cut interfacing to the same size (as best you can).

Interfacing How-To

Turn the shirt so that the pattern/logo is face down. Place the interfacing bumpy side down on top of the shirt. Iron on the interfacing until it adheres to the shirt.

Interfacing How-To

Now trim your shirt to the desired block size (with your 1/2″ seam allowance!).

Interfacing How-To

 

Note: Interfacing is not a requirement, however I would greatly encourage it.

Greek Eagle, a T-shirt quilt

Today my Mom’s little Valentine, my brother, turns 24! As it’s the 12th it’s like his double golden birthday!

Louie and I are 18 months apart and have always gotten along with each other. Sure, there was a stretch there when I was 2-3 yrs old and very bossy. We have home videos of me stealing all the bath toys telling him, “These are mine.”, of me pushing him off a lawn toy so I could ride it, and my absolute favorite – replacing his Looney Toons umbrella with a strap for my girly, pink strapless one. But he never seemed to mind, he always wanted to do what I did.

When Harry Pottercame out Mom would read us a chapter on the couch before bed each night. When we were old enough to read the series on our own, I’d actually read aloud to Louie. I have memories of reading with him after school and reading on vacations.

At middle school and high school age, on nights when one of us couldn’t sleep we’d sneak into each other’s rooms and play board games – Chinese Checkers, Sequenceor Harry Potter Mystery At Hogwarts. (I know, watch out, we were bad kids!)

Louie even followed me to Auburn to pursue his degree! He now has a Bachelor of Sciences in Business Administration and a Masters of Accountancy. My senior year, his sophomore, we actually lived together. My only regret is that we’d lived together sooner. It was absolutely my favorite living situation. We both had busy schedules and different circles of friends, so were never on top of each other, but were still able to enjoy childhood nights playing Monopoly Dealand watching movies. We got along perfectly, and he loves to vacuum!

I am one proud big sister of the hardworking man he’s become.

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For this blog post honoring my brother I present to you his t-shirt quilt! This weekend it will be sent to the quilter’s and I hope to get it back in April or May. Again, this quilt followed the method by Andrea T. Funk.

Quilt from College T-Shirts

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. 

Snowflake Block

Engineer Kate and I figured out how to create a Snowflake block for the back of Let it Sew. We tried surfing the web for tutorials to follow but were unsuccessful. We knew there had to be a way without resorting to paper piecing.

Playing off of a “square in a square” block and sashing we managed!

Let it Sew

Here is the how-to for a Snowflake Quilt Block:

Note: These measurements are for an 6″ snowflake block with 1″ wide snowflake lines. 

Cut fabric:

  • 4 squares 3 1/4″ white
  • 1 square 1 1/2″ white
  • 4 rectangles 1 1/2 x 3″ white
  • 8 squares 3 1/4″ blue

Layer one blue square atop a white square. Mark the center diagonal, 1/2″ off of the diagonal, and an optional another 1/4″ off of that. (A bonus half square triangle will result from the optional 1/4″ steps!)

Snowflake Block Tutorial Snowflake Block Tutorial Snowflake Block Tutorial

Sew on the 1/2″ line. Also sew on the 1/4″ if using. Cut in between the two stitches.

Snowflake Block Tutorial

Iron the blue away from the white fabric. Take another blue square piece of fabric and line it up with the white on top of the resulting “block” from the previous steps.

Snowflake Block Tutorial

Repeat the above steps and again iron the blue away from the white.

Snowflake Block Tutorial Snowflake Block Tutorial

If you used the 1/4″ lines you now have two bonus half square triangles to do with what you wish! (For a project this small I would skip this step, but if you’re doing something larger by all means enjoy your bonus blocks!)

Snowflake Block Tutorial

Using the center white line as a guide, trim the block to a square of 3×3″.

Snowflake Block Tutorial Snowflake Block Tutorial

Repeat 3 more times so that you have 4 diagonals to your snowflake.

Follow my sashing tutorial to finish off the snowflake block!

Snowflake Block Tutorial Snowflake Block Tutorial

Let it Sew

As I mentioned in my Christmas Time is Here post, 2013 is The Year of the Snowman.

My mother-in-law taught my friend and me how to quilt last August and we knew we wanted to make her a thank you gift – once our skills improved a bit. We decided on creating a Christmas gift for it. When it was declared that there’d be a theme to the presents this year we started searching Pinterest for snowman ideas. There were a handful we liked, but most quilts were beyond our skill level or not in our style.

Using Electric Quilt we decided to design our own!

My MIL’s favorite fabrics are batiks so we knew we’d go with that for our fabric palate. My friend found some great snowman batiks at a local quilt shop and we spiraled off of that.

With the back of the quilt we decided to be more ambitious than a one-, two-, or three- paneled back and added some letters! We laid out our completed letter blocks until we decided on a layout and pulled out the graph paper to determine how to piece it all together.

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When we went to the fabric store to buy the backing material the sales associate said, “You must be engineers” when we told her we’d designed the front ourselves. We laughed and said, “We are!” We still haven’t settled on whether or not that was a compliment. 😉

T-Shirt Quilt

I played golf in high school and my coach was kind enough to pick me up after school and drive me to practice and games. I got pretty close to her, and we talked about everything on our commute. One day she told me that she wanted to send off her son’s t-shirts to be made into a quilt. I, being a slightly emotionally nostalgic packrat, fell in love with this idea!

Spirit

Fast forward 4 years and I discover that my now mother-in-law makes quilts, including t-shirt quilts. Because I loved Stuart’s from his high school days, she very kindly created one for me.

Fast forward 4 more years and now I can make my own t-shirt quilt! My friend Kate and I made one out of her shirts from Auburn (her very first quilt, “Spirit”!).

1 year later I completed my first t-shirt quilt. “Aero Force” combines Stuart’s shirts from ROTC and my shirts from Aerospace Engineering. If there was a t-shirt to be bought in any of the organizations I belonged to, I shelled out the 15 bucks for it; Stuart didn’t have enough shirts on his own to make two quilts, so I did one for the both of our Auburn careers.

Aero Force

How to make a Too Cool T-shirt Quilt

*We follow the T-shirt quilt method by Andrea T. Funk.*

Sashing

Adding sashing (those pretty inner borders) to a quilt can give it a clean and completed look. It’s quick to do and actually very simple!

Heres the How-To for Sashing:

Measure your completed block. Do not cut your sashing fabric until you’ve completed all of your quilt blocks. Cut your sashing fabric into strips with a length of your block size and width of your desired sashing thickness plus ½”. For this tutorial, I’m doing a finished sashing width of 1” so these strips are cut at 1 ½”. You will also need to cut 1 ½” squares (whatever size sashing you’re using). These squares are “keystones”, you could do them as a miniature block or a different color or use the same sashing fabric like I did. These squares will ensure straight lines throughout your quilt.

Sashing Tutorial

Sew the vertical sashing strips onto the blocks, creating a row.

Sashing Tutorial

When you iron, iron towards that sashing (away from the block). I find this creates a cleaner, sharper look.

Sashing Tutorial Sashing Tutorial

Sew the horizontal sashing strips onto the keystones.

Sashing Tutorial

When you iron, iron away from the keystones. This will insure your sashings lock together nicely when you put it all together.

Sashing Tutorial Sashing Tutorial

Sew sashing row to block row.

Sashing Tutorial

Repeat until your quilt is completed.

Sashing Tutorial

For an example of a completed quilt using sashing, check out the one I made in honor of my grandmother – “Violet”.

Half Square Triangles

Adding Half Square Triangles (HSTs) to your block repertoire can add so much versatility to your quilting designs. There are multiple tutorials out there for creating HSTs, but this is the way I was taught and it works beautifully well.

Here’s the how-to for a Half Square Triangle:

Your first step will be to determine what size square you need to be working with. Think of the HST as simply replacing a solid square. Take the size of that square and add 1 1/8” to that. Example: a 4” finished HST will need to be cut to 5 1/8”. Don’t forget to ALWAYS make a practice block with scrap fabric before committing.

You will then cut your fabric to that new measurement. Sandwich the two fabrics so that right sides are together.  Half Square Triangles 1

Draw on the center line of your sandwich. Then draw on a line 1/4″ from that on each side.

Half Square Triangles 2

Sew on the two 1/4″ lines.

Half Square Triangles 3

Cut down the center line. You now have two HSTs. Open them up and iron to them open – unless your quilt pattern suggest otherwise, iron so that the folded seam is pressed against the darker of the two fabrics. “Quilters always iron to the dark side”.

Half Square Triangles 4

You will now have to trim down the HSTs to your finished size plus ½”. So for that 4” block, you need to trim the HST down to 4 1/2”. Do this by treating your diagonal seam as straight and trim off the top and right side to just slightly larger than size.

Half Square Triangles 5

Flip the block and now align your ruler with the cut edges. Finish to the right size (4 1/2″).

Half Square Triangles 6

With HSTs you can assemble pinwheels, diamonds, and even the ever-so-popular chevron. You can even use them in the border of a quilt to create a candy cane stripe zigzag!

Half Square Triangles

Four Hour Quilts

Conveniently, my quilting hobby was born in time for the baby boom that occurred in within my circle of friends. These lucky children instantly became guinea pigs. The perfect baby quilt is the Four Hour Quilt (FHQ). I’ve completed 3 baby sized FHQs so far and even though the pattern is the same, each quilt has its own personality.

Here’s the How-To for a Four Hour Quilt:

For a baby quilt that finishes to 40×48″, you will need 67  4 1/2″ squares (this is a total of approximately 1 yd of fabric). You can use as many different fabric choices or as few as you like. I typically choose 3-4 different fabrics for these squares. The strips for the inner border are cut to 2 1/2″ and the outer border to 4 1/2″. I typically use the same fabric for both borders, but you can be as creative as you want! (this is a total of 1 3/8 yd of fabric)

The center of the FHQ is assembled from 35 of the 4 1/2″ squares in 5 rows of 7.

Once your center is sewn together, measure the sides and cut two of your inner border strips to fit the top and bottom. Measure again after the top and bottom are sewn on and cut the other two inner border strips to fit. You now have a framed center.

With the remaining 4 1/2″ squares, sew 4 rows of 8. Treat these new rows as if they were the border for the FHQ center.

Repeat the border process, attaching the 4 1/2″ outer border strips to the outer squares. Your quilt top is now complete.

Create a sandwich with the quilt top, batting, and backing (1 1/2 yd of fabric). With something this small I use my sewing machine to do simple quilting – the stitch in the ditch method is always a good go-to.

Once you have your quilt, trim it, and bind it (5/8 yd of fabric). And don’t forget to give it a name! 🙂

Below are the 3 FHQs I’ve done to date. The first (forgot to take a final photo w/ binding) was for my friends little boy, Evan, on his first Christmas. I’m told he kisses every animal on the quilt before going down for his nap. ❤ The second was for my best friend’s daughter, Elle, on her first Christmas. The Chevron FHQ was for a friend back home who didn’t know if she was having a boy or girl, but I had it ready before Mason was born. She’s sent me pictures of him playing on it.

Evan's Safari
Evan’s Safari
Bug's Garden
Bug’s Garden
Chevy
Chevy

Violet

When my grandmother passed away in March, I knew I wanted to make a gift for my mother.

Mom with "Violet"
Mom with “Violet”

Busia was what we call “a snowbird” down in SWFL. She spent her summers in Lake Geneva, WI and the rest of the year in Ft. Myers Beach, FL. My parents purchased the summer home in Lake Geneva and this is my mom’s first summer continuing the “snowbird cycle”.

I wanted to make a quilt in memory of Busia to have at the Lake house. She had a twin bed in her master bedroom at the lake that I loved to sleep in, so I knew what size to make it, and the color choice was a no brainer – her favorite color was purple. I designed the quilt using a software called Electric Quilt on the flight after Busia’s memorial service and presented it to my mom 2 months later. I had a friend do the quilting for me in an afternoon so that I would have it completed before Mom left for Lake Geneva. Below is Busia at the Lake and “Violet” in its new home.

Busia  Violet

Violet Details