Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Prairie Points (Part 2)

Now where were we? I have the border of my quilt complete and am ready to attach the prairie points. I had calculated that the beginning of each prairie point should be about 4-1/4" away from the beginning of the previous point at the seamline. Since I am going to use a 1/4" seam to attach the points, that means that they will be slightly over 4-3/4" away from eachother at the raw edges. I lay my first point adjacent to the quilt as pictured below. (I find it easiest to have the edge of the point that only has one fold be the one that will feed through the machine first, so in this case I am putting it on the right.) I want the end of the first point to overlap the edge of my quilt by 1/4" so that it will be flush at the seam.

I have to take that 1/4" overhang into account when I am placing the second point, so instead of measuring 4-3/4" out from the edge to place my second point, I will measure 4-1/2" from the edge and make a tiny pencil mark on the edge of the border. I continue making marks slightly more that 4-3/4" apart until I get to the center of the quilt. I lay my second right up next to the quilt, lining the left end up with the second pencil mark, making sure that the edge with only one fold is again on the right. 

I continue laying out points, until I get to the center of the border.  If you have an odd number of points, the "point" of one of them will (hopefully) line up with the center of the border, or close to it.  If you have an even number the intersection of two points will line up with the center of the border.  If it is off don't panic - just keep adjusting until you are pleased with the placement.  Once satisfied, continue placing points until you get to the end of the border.

Turn the points over onto the top of the quilt and pin.

Sew the prairie points onto the quilt with a 1/4" seam and press out, pressing the seams toward the center of the quilt.

Now for the most important part:
Whether you quilt yoru piece yourself or give it to a quilter to finish, make sure to keep the prairie points out of the way while it is quilted and do not quilt within 3/4" of the prairie point seamline!

Until next time!

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Angry Dog and Happy Teddy

I know... how can anything so adorable be so angry?

We have been experimenting with stuffed animal patterns here.

One of Caitrin's really good friends is moving away to New York City, and we wanted to make her a memento that people could sign. Since her favorite color is pink, this Ambrosia print was perfect.

The puppy pictured, made from a really cute pattern by Indygo Junction, was the unfortunate victim of a bad sewing day, hence the name - thanks kids! It was one of those days where I couldn't get a seam to line up, no matter how many pins I used. (We all have them.  If you are like me, you insist on not admitting it and battling it through to the bitter end.) We covered her less-than-perfect neckline with a little hankerchief, and she ended looking looking like quite stylish in the end.

But Angry Dog was too small for twenty kids to sign, so we had to make Happy Teddy.

Happy Teddy was the felicitous product of a good sewing day - one where ridiculously long seams line up without using any pins. Don't you LOVE those days? He is from a pattern called "... and the Three Bears" by Possibilities/Dream Spinners. I can't find in on the net, but I bought it at Cross-Stitch Junction on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, if you are interested. They had these bears made up in many different fabric lines and they made a great display.  Next, I want to make a teddy out of those patchwork squares that are being stampeded by Angry Dog.

I think Happy Teddy looks ready for her trip to the Big Apple, don't you?

Have a great weekend!

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Prairie Points (Part 1)

It has been a blur of activity here this week.

(I find this picture so funny. Considering there are three pairs of scissors on the table - one just out of the image area, I really should be able to find my scissors more easily than I do!)

In addition to working on drawings for a new line for Robert Kaufman (and fighting off a cold with the rest of the crew), I've been sewing an Ambrosia quilt for a magazine which will be on newsstands later this year. It is a fun, quick-to-piece pattern that you can piece in a weekend that features playful prairie point borders. Now I can't say which magazine it will be featured in yet, nor can I show you the quilt, but I can show you how to add a prairie point border to this quilt - or any quilt you might be currently working on. My model/assistant has made this lovely pile of prairie points for me to sew into the border of this quilt.

In case you aren't familiar with prairie points, they are triangular pieces of fabric that are sandwiched between the layers of a quilt at its edges, forming a decorative border. (They can also be sewn into seams within a quilt for an entirely different look.) Typically you see prairie points used in conjunction very traditional pieced or appliquéd blocks, but I love how they contrast with the simple lines of many quilts that are popular today. They are also a perfect fit for baby quilts - babies love to play with the folded fabric that peeks out from the border. I used prairie points on my "Circus Parade" pattern for Laurie Wisbrun's Urban Circus line for Robert Kaufman.

This 48" x 66" pattern is free at the Robert Kaufman site and is a great fit for these playful animal prints. You can fit 12 (4") prairie points across the top and bottom of this quilt, provided they don't overlap. Heidi Pridemore, who wrote the instructions, suggests that you sandwich the points between the quilt top and backing, right sides together, layer it with batting, and stitch around the edge with 1/4" inch seam allowance, leaving an opening to turn it right side out. This is the perfect way to finish a quilt of this size. More on how to make points that finish 4" at the base later...

If you are dealing with a large quilt, or dimensions that don't divide up evenly with ease, you can also use another technique. The quilt I am working on is 72-1/2" wide. I'd like to run prairie points across the top and bottom of its borders. The first thing I have to decide is the size of the prairie points. A good rule of thumb is look at your blocks and size your prairie points accordingly. My blocks for this quilt are large. In fact, I have cut several 6-1/2" strips to make this quilt, and I have leftovers that I can use for the points. So, my prairie points will be made out of 6-1/2" squares. Once I fold them and subtract 1/4" at each end for the seam allowance, I am left with a 6" base for my finished prairie points. (Always add 1/2" to your desired base dimension to figure out how large to cut your fabric.) If I divide up my 72-1/2" edge by 6", I come up with 12 points per edge.

But what if your border dimension doesn't divide up evenly with ease, or, what if, like me you've decided to have your points overlap for more visual interest? To accommodate this, I am going to add in about 3 points for a total of 15. Those 3 extra points (6" wide each) measure 18" total at their base. That 18" will be absorbed by the overlap between the points. There are 15 points and they overlap in 14 places on the border (they don't overlap at either edge), so I divide up the 18" by 14 and I come up with about a 1-1/4" overlap.

So, that is how you calculate the size and number of points you need for a prairie point quilt.

Now on to making the prairie points. Take your fabric square and fold it in half diagonally and press, matching corners. Take the triangle and fold it in half again. Press. (I like to keep a small spray bottle full of water nearby for this step to give the point a nice, crisp finish.)

That's it! Next lesson, I'll show you how to attach them on the edge of your quilt. Have a great week!


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Sunday, August 15, 2010

There are legos on this blog...

I said that there would never be legos on this blog.

I patiently explained that, while legos are awesome toys and quite rightly deserve to be the center of our nine-year-old's existence, this is a blog for sewing enthusiasts and the interests of sewing enthusiasts and lego fans don't often overlap.

There are now legos on this blog. 

There are legos on this blog because it is my husband's and my anniversary and our kids made us this amazing three-dimensional lego sign.  We feel like we are visiting Hollywood.

Note the lego carriage that sits in front.  Having never been in a real carriage we are thrilled to have the opportunity to ride in a lego carriage!

And the surprises didn't end there.  The kids decorated our daughter's room as a surprise as well.  Why our daughter's room?  Silly question.  Because the bed is close enough to the fan that you can do this...

(We have been assured that these are tissue paper strips that they found with the wrapping paper rather than the alternative.) 

Dig this groovy Greg-Brady-attic-apartment tissue style entrance... and note the use of painters' tape so as not to marr the walls.

Because of our anniversary, there is also banana cream pie on this blog.  Like legos, tissue paper, and painters' tape, it never goes out of style.

One doesn't need a special occassion to make banana cream pie, though.
Here is the recipe:

Banana Cream Pie
  • 1 baked pie crust
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • dash salt
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • 4 egg yolks, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 ripe bananas, sliced
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  1. Whisk cornstarch, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan.
  2. Gradually whisk in half-and-half.
  3. Whisk in milk.
  4. Whisk in egg yolks.
  5. Cook over medium heat until thick, stirring constantly.  (This will take about 6 minutes.)
  6. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla.
  7. Layer 1/3 of the custard mixture into the pie shell.  Top with 1/2 of the bananas.  Spread 1/3 more of the custard mixture on top.  Top with the rest of the bananas.  Cover with remaining custard.  Refrigerate until cold.
  8. Whip whipping cream, adding a tablespoon of sugar if desired.  Spread over pie and serve.
Bon appetit!


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Ambrosia Eggs

We had a lovely trip to the beach this past week. While I wasn't able to bring my sewing machine, I did finish binding my Ambrosia quilt for the complimentary pattern that I am producing for quilt shops in conjunction with Robert Kaufman. (More on that soon...) I also "dyed" some Ambrosia eggs in scraps. Yes, I know I am very late for Easter but I will just be amazingly prepared for next year!

I had brought 16 eggs but one piece of fabric flew off the porch with a sudden gust of wind. So now we have 15 Ambrosia eggs. Save your scraps for spring and "dye" some eggs using this free pattern!
Hope everyone is enjoying the last few weeks of summer!

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Ambrosia Yo-Yo Pillows

I just finished sewing two version of my Yo-Yo Pillow in Ambrosia. Here is the Summer version:

And here is the Spring version:

Adding some decorative buttons can make your pillow's back just a pretty as its front! Here are some detailed shots:

You can download the pattern here. Ask your local quilt shop to order Ambrosia by Robert Kaufman (it is shipping October 1st) or use scraps from your stash.

Special thanks goes to my model/assistant/daughter made all the yo-yos and kept me sane when I couldn't find the phone in the chaos!

Special thanks also goes to my other assistant/son who made these Ambrosia paper-airplanes for me.

I would like to point out that it is not every fabric designer who gets personalized paper airplanes made for their collections.  I am a lucky lady.

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Monday, August 2, 2010

Summer Memories

My complimentary Ambrosia photo album pattern is now available so stop in at Target and snatch up those brightly colored linen 9" x 7" albums for the bargain price of $7 each. (You can also use other albums or scrapbooks with a similar size - I explain how to adjust for this in the pattern.) You can use either Ambrosia Fat Quarter Bundles or Ambrosia fabric scraps to complete the quilted cover.

Above: Ambrosia Spring (left) and Summer (right) Fat Quarter Bundle

Ask your local quilt shop to order Ambrosia by Robert Kaufman; it will be shipping to stores October 1st!


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