Sunday, March 29, 2020

Social distancing Make Nine finish: the Bristol Top

Are you weathering the COVID-19 storm? As quilters, sewers, knitters and makers, we know the power of stitching and its ability to soothe the soul and ease a worried mind. During this time of social distancing, I have been making charity quilts and checking off items on my Make Nine 2020 list. The Bristol Top is one of my Make Nine finishes.
Me in my new Bristol Top [The Sewing Workshop pattern] made with knits from Art Gallery Fabrics.
I'm standing in front of a work-in-progress, The Farmer's Wife sampler quilt.

The Bristol Top
In a garment sewing workshop I took a few years ago, I saw several people making and wearing the Bristol. It looked great on everyone! I initially passed up this pattern because I didn't see its potential. However, upon seeing how it fit on the body and what others did with color blocking, mini stripes and pattern hacks, I wanted to try it.

Bristol Dress and Top pattern from The Sewing Workshop.

This top makes up so much cuter than its line drawing schematic on the pattern package lead me to believe. This pattern paired with knits from Art Gallery Fabrics is very comfortable to wear.

Contrasting fabric for the yoke.

Pattern details
The fun details for the Bristol—the cuffs, the lower band, front and back yokes and a back panel—are part of its eight pattern pieces. All these have color blocking potential! The construction for the Bristol is straightforward. In fact, the printed instructions are only one side of a single sheet of newsprint.

Cutting out the pattern pieces.

I didn't have quite enough of this yellow knit [from Art Gallery Fabrics] for the entire top, so this situation pushed me to find a coordinating print—which I used for the yoke and neckband.

The sleeve cuffs were an easy, styling detail. They can be worn turned up or down. If you have a directional print, you'll want to pay attention to how the cuffs are attached to the sleeve (if that matters to you).

Cuffs for the Bristol Top.

The diagonal seam lines in the back would make for a slimming effect if the sides and back panels were made with contrasting fabrics. I'm looking forward to trying Bristol with other fabric combinations... and I might try a pattern hack and make it with short sleeves.

Back view of my Bristol Top.

Behind me in the photo above is my Farmer's Wife sampler quilt. It's another WIP [work in  progress] I am working on during this world-wide quarantine.

I hope you have taken up your needles, threads and fabrics to help get through this worrisome time as well. If you need patterns or supplies, contact YLQS [your local quilt shop]! Many shops have on-line shopping, respond to emails and social media requests, offer curb-side pick-up and they still need our support to get through this trying time.

(To my blog stalker: I hope you are well and accomplishing many of your quilting projects.)

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Celebrate National Quilting Day

Celebrate Quilts and Quiltmaking today!

National Quilting Day
Celebrate quilts and quiltmaking, March 21, 2020.

  • Hang a quilt outside your home. Make someone smile!
  • Contact YLQS (your local quilt shop) and order something so you can...
  • Start a quilt, work on a quilt, finish a quilt.
  • Make a quilt for someone else.
  • Make a quilt for charity.
  • Dig out your UFOs and do something with them (finish, repurpose, or give away).
  • Make something with orphan blocks (they don't have to be your blocks).
  • Play in your fabric scraps.
  • Work on your Guild Challenge.
  • Organize your quilting space... so you can do one or more of the above!

We've got a quilt hanging on the railing today. What's your plan of action?

(Geesh, that ironwork needs a paint job...)

Friday, March 20, 2020

How to support your local shops during COVID-19 social distancing

With the uncertainty surrounding the Coronavirus, many of us are practicing social distancing and self-quarantine. As quilters, sewers, knitters and makers, we have the skill set (and the supplies, no doubt) to combat this isolation time with the crafts we are passionate about. We got this!
Attending to my Farmer's Wife sampler WIP [work in progress]. Assembling blocks 2 x 2.

Don't forget YLQS (your local quilt shop)!
During this uncertain time, however, I encourage you to not forget about our beloved quilt shops, yarn shops and independent sewing centers. These small businesses still depend on us!

Farmer's Wife blocks. Fabrics from Art Gallery Fabrics.
Directory of Shops that carry Art Gallery Fabrics.

How YLQS is managing
Independent quilt, fabric and yarn shops are getting creative with ways to continue to support our quilting/sewing/crafting endeavors—offering curb-side pickup, personal local deliveries, virtual shopping via Facebook Live, Instagram and social media platforms, offering discounts on products and shipping, while figuring out how to use alternative methods to bring us instruction, tutorials and classes—in addition to keeping a sanitized shop and protecting themselves and their staff. It's an enormous feat of juggling and the learning curve for implementing new technology can be steep.

Ways WE can help and support YLQS:
Keep making and crafting!
Assembling rows of 6" bloc
  • Go through your stash and revisit those UFOs. You'll likely need borders, sashing, backing or bindings to finish them. Call or contact YLQS and have them ship what you need.
  • Visit YLQS on line. Fill the shopping cart and they will ship fabrics and supplies to you.
  • Many LQSs are making kits of their shop samples, packaging class/club/BOM projects so you have everything you need to hunker down and craft at home while we get through this time. Buy a kit for yourself or for your kids as a creative outlet from on-line learning. 
  • Ask for a personal shopping assistant. I've seen several shops walk through their store via Facebook Live and show new fabrics, kits, notions and products they have that will inspire or help you with your craft. Place an order.
  • Purchase gift certificates—for your own future buying needs or for your friends.
  • Shops are posting Flash Sales on social media and through e-news blasts. Take advantage of them.
  • Fabric companies have opened up the archives of free project patterns for us to access. Be inspired to make something!
  • Fabric and pattern designers, brand ambassadors and others are hosting "I-sew-lation" quilt-alongs and sew-alongs. Refresh your stash, buy the kit, pattern or book, and join in.
  • Follow, Like and leave comments on social media. The traffic will elevate YLQS's page in on-line rankings... making them get noticed by others with similar interests.
  • Post photos of your UFOs, WIPs and Finishes and tag and hashtag YLQS, the fabric and pattern designers and fabric companies. These small things improve on-line rankings. Spread the love!
Adding additional fabrics for a scrappier sampler quilt.

Non-quilters and non-sewers can support too!
  • Purchase gift items (books, note pads, greeting cards, jewelry, etc.), gift certificates and finished shop samples and display items
  • Inquire about and employ a shop's other services such as making T-shirt quilts, making heirloom or commemorative gifts (pillows, etc.), or embroidery services.
  • Got a quilt top you've inherited, rescued or purchased? Commission their quilting services. Get that quilt finished so it can be enjoyed.
Completed Farmer'sWife sampler top. Auditioning possible borders.
I have placed an online order with my LQS for two fabrics to audition additional options.

Out of sight but not out of mind
I'm again working on my Farmer's Wife sampler quilt during social distancing. I've ordered two fabrics from one of my quilt shops for possible borders. I hope you revisit your UFOs and order supplies to finish a few of them. Studies have shown that participating in hobbies and crafts during uncertain times relieves stress and calms nerves.

YLQS may be temporarily out of sight... but don't let them be out of mind. They are depending on all of us NOW so when the world gets back to normal, these small businesses will still be afloat!

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Make designer pillowcases with double border prints

Want a quick, easy project with a designer touch? Make pillowcases using a fabric with a double border print.
Pillowcases made with a double border fabric print offers a designer touch with no extra work!

For these pillowcases, I used fabrics from a fabric line that had endearing llamas, lions, deer and other animals are surrounded by whimsical flowers and butterflies in a grassy field. The soft color palette is reminiscent of a cheery spring or summer day.

Double border print pillow case.

So, what's a "double border print"?
A double border print has the focal design or image running along the selvedges of the fabric. A complementary solid, texture or some smaller design generally runs between the two border designs.
Delightful Days double border print blue/aqua colorway.

There were two colorways for the double border prints in the collection: aqua and pink.

Delightful Days double border print in a pink colorway.

For pillowcases, the fabric is folded in the middle with the selvedge edges meeting. The border design appears on one long side of the pillowcase. When pillows are placed side by side on a bed, the border scene continues from one pillow to the next (see top photo above).

I like the magic burrito pillowcase construction technique that uses French seams to enclose all the raw edges. Here is a tutorial for this method from Twiddletails. Note that there is no fabric waste with a double border print, which can occur with some direction prints.

Choose a complementary fabric for the pillowcase cuff.

Visit your local quilt shop or independent sewing center and seek out those double border print fabrics! Choose a complimentary print for the pillowcase cuff and you're all set. Achieve a designer look with no extra fuss!

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Crumbs, scraps, strings and test blocks for charity quilts

2020 is a Leap Year. How did you spend your extra day in February?

After assembling my crumb quilt blocks and experimenting with knit fabric scraps, I was inspired to revisit my stash of test blocks and patchwork trimmings I keep for charity projects.
Test blocks and patchwork trimmings.

With a variety of patchwork trimmings, test blocks and UFO blocks at the ready, I decided to spend the good part of February 29 feeding random scraps and strings through the sewing machine to make charity quilt tops. The weather was chilly but the beautiful sunlight poured through the windows of my studio. Natural light facilitates the ability to enjoy and choose fabrics and colors... and "charity quilts" is also an item on my 2020 Make Nine list.

Using up scraps, strips and strings
I had a stack of strip-pieced blocks from a Cuddle Quilt workshop from several years ago.
Strip pieced quilt blocks with alternate blocks.

Alternate plain blocks were cut for this set of pieced blocks. This quilt will go to my guild's Cuddle Quilt project.
Cuddle quilt top. 39.5" square.

Trimmings from the blocks above were pieced and combined with a red-white-blue star test block. When quilted, this will be a kitty quilt for the cats at the Chattanooga Cat Clinic.
A "modern" kitty quilt?
Improv piecing, light ground and lots of "negative space."    29.5" x 28" 

More string blocks were added to the block stash. These are 5" blocks that finish at 4.5".
5" (unfinished) string blocks.

I often make long strips of patchwork with fabric samples and scraps. This is easy-going, mindless piecing. These scrappy units and strips will accumulate when using the leaders and enders process.
Improv patchwork strips.

These patchwork strips make colorful borders and sashings.
Kitty quilt top. 28.5" x 25"

Printed panels and parts of panels make quick quilt tops.
Kitty quilt top from parts of two holiday panels. 28.5" x 27"

Successful results
Eleven charity quilt tops are now awaiting backings, batting, basting, quilting and finishing.
Eleven charity quilt tops ready to be quilted.

I would say my February 29 was a productive day in the quilt making department. Hope your leap day was enjoyable and productive, too!

A note about leap days: German mathematician and astronomer, Christopher Clavius [1538 - 1612], figured out how and when to insert a leap day into the Gregorian calendar. Without leap years, February would eventually be a summer month.

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