Between Christmas and New Year

Everybody home, no school, those “mammy” days all days, the gifts/food race before christmas followed by the “floating felling” until the next year… Sometimes things can be blurry, especially when you are trying to work on a project with a deadline in early January. In this situation what I like to do is back off for a while, start another new and fresh project usually one I can start and see finished on the same day. And this is my Gipsy Vibes quilt, my “detox project” from a very intense project.

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A couple of weeks ago, I bought two junior jelly rolls (20 stripes each) on my local quilt shop and saved them for a future project idea. I love precuts, layer cakes and jelly rolls are my favorite, they work so well with almost every pattern and you can also make them bigger with some extra background fabrics from your stash.

One jelly roll was from Denyse Schmidt past fabric collections (Shelburne Falls and Chicopee) and the other one was a kona solid turquoise. It was 40 stripes in total and I decided to mix them with some kona solids green and some white fabric for sashing the triangles.

Sew 2 blocks of 19 mixed strips together, alternating the sewing directions to avoid any “distortion” on the blocks. My “stripe blocks” were about 37 1/2″ higher, so I used this measure to square them (two 37 1/2″ square blocks).

Cut them in both diagonal (like a “x”), at the end I had 8 triangle shapes, 4 with “horizontal” stripes and 4 with “vertical”stripes.

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Sew one vertical triangle with a 2 1/2″ white stripe, press to the dark side and sew a horizontal triangle, making one of the 4 blocks. Repeat the same process for the next 3 blocks.

 

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Arrange the blocks with the “horizontal” stripes triangles on the center. Sew another 2 1/2″ white stripe between the two blocks on the top, and repeat the same with the two blocks at the bottom.

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Now is time to sew the 2 1/2″ white stripes with the 2 1/2″ green square on the center, the top part and the bottom to this stripe.

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The quilt top is DONE! My final size was something like 60″ square, definitely not bad for 2 junior jelly rolls and a couple 2 1/2″ white fabric stripes. I also used Aurifil 50wt 2783 (yes it is a dark blue) for piecing because I didn’t want to “show” any thread between the stripes so I coordinated the thread color with my darker color fabric. Why??? Because I want to highlight my quilting design on this baby 😉 Stay tuned for the Gipsy Vibes quilting plans!

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Liberty Dresden Quilt

In these “Internet days” we never know for sure who say what and when, so… no names. Some people say “move is the best way to survive”. So here I am, from Wangen, ZH, Switzerland to Wilton, CT, USA. Another country, another language, “why not???”, everything new again. And it is a really good sensation, I like beginnings.

IMG_4103Last Autumn we were in London, for a lovely trip. And I was at Liberty (he-a-ven) buying some fabric bundles. At this occasion the liberty lady was telling me about my great choices (they know everything about all the bundles), and I was telling her, I was not sure about one of the bundles, because it was a “Dresden quilt wanna be”, and I was not a big fan of dresden quilts. And she told me “why not???”

I did a Dresden block once, in Amy Gibson class for Craftsy, Block of the Month 2012, was awesome, but I was more than happy with just one dresden block. I like the dresden, I don’t like to use “zigzag stitch” to appliqué  or hand stitching because takes a lot of time. But I was pretty much obsessed with the dresden idea, and decided to create my own solutions to make this fun for me (maybe for you too!).

IMG_4104The Liberty Patchwork Bundles are 11 100% coordinated cotton strips (132 cm/52″ long). I opened and choose one strip to be the centers of my dresdens. I decided to make a quilt with 9 big dresden blocks, with 2.5″ sashing between the blocks, plus borders.

What I love about Liberty fabrics is, it really doesn’t matter where or how you are going to cut the fabric, you always will have a magical moment. Is like discover a new design inside the old one, they do an amazing job with their designs.

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So I started to cut my templates. And, before that I printed DresdenTemplate (18º Dresden Plate, 5 1/2″ for 20 Wedges), because I still don’t have a properly dresden acrylic template (you know, I will not use to much!).

I did the dresden template 2 times on each fabric. At the end you should have 180 dresden plates for 9 dresden blocks (don’t worry is quick!).

To make the “petals” fold the Dresden blade in half lengthwise with rights sides together and sew 1⁄4” seam across the top. Clip the top corner, carefully! Turn right side out and gently push out the corner. From the back of the blade press down lining up the seam with the centre of the blade. Repeat with all the dresden plates.

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Sew blades together in series of 10 (half dresden circle), starting from the center. Press the seams to same direction, sew the 2 half parts together.

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For the center, use a paper circle template (mine was 4 1/2″) to cut the fabric and sew a gathering stitch (long running stitch) around the edge of the circle on the right side of the fabric. Gently pull the thread to gather the fabric over the circle template than secure the seam and tie off. Press your circle and remove the paper template from the back.

IMG_4333And now is the most interesting part about this quilt… DON’T USE ZIGZAG STITCH, pleaaaassse! You know all those decorative stitches you almost never (I NEVER) use?! Now it’s the time for them to shine 😉 If you look at them, most of them are kind off zig zag stitches, but with decorative flowers, arrows and different designs. Pick one, make a test on  a small scrap of fabric, pay attention where you are going to stop and turn the dresden to make sure you are following the circle.

 

I cut 14 1/2″ squares from background fabric, so this is also the finished size of my blocks, it’s possible to make them bigger, smaller. I did hand appliqué to sew the dresden on the blocks.

I also did a 2 1/2″ sashing border in all the 9 blocks, and added a 4 1/2″ border at the end.

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And voylà!

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January Winter Cosy

Cold, cold, plus snow, plus rain… Winter is here! This makes me want to spend the day holding a nice warm mug, but…  I really need my hands to continue sewing like a crazy lady.  So nothing better than a termoinsulated mug rug to keep my beverage warm.

Ok, so now you must be thinking “yet another mug rug pattern”… YES!  Because winter has just started, and mug rugs are never too much, because you can dedicate your 10+ sewing minutes, because it is a great opportunity to train new free motion quilt techniques and, most importantly, because it is FUN!

So, pick your reason and follow me!

My “Piecing Puzzle Mug Rug”, I know the name sounds complicated but it is actually really easy and fun and VERY scrappy friendly!

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For this project I used four different fabrics from Art GalleryCuriosities Heritage Medals Klar-Fabric by Jeni Baker for “template A”, Cotton and Steel Mesa Collection Dining Car Turquoise for “template B”, Nocturnal Pure Elements Fabric for “template C”, the side pocket and binding, Cotton and Steel Basics for backing. I buy all my Art Gallery Fabrics on Etsy from my friend’s Shop, SnowflakesFabric (if you live in Europe is an excellent option).

The threads are Aurifil 50 wt (the orange bobbins, if you need a visual help like ME), also from my other friend’s Shop  Busy Needle.

Finished Size: 5″ x 6 1/2″

MATERIAL LIST:

(1) 5 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ square of floral fabric for (4) templates A

(1) 5 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ square of turquoise fabric for (4) templates B

(1) 1″ x 1″ square of navy fabric for template C

(1) 2 1/2″ x 30″ strip of navy fabric (same fabric used for template C) for binding

(1) 2″ x 5″ strip of floral fabric for “sashing” one side of the block

(1) 2″ x 6″ strip of navy fabric for the pocket

(1) 7″ x 8″ piece from Cotton Steel Basics for backing

(2) 7″ x 8″ piece of cotton batting (yes I used 2 pieces, but you can use only one or even just the insulated batting)

(1) 7″ x 8″ piece of insulated batting

(1) 1 1/2″ x 3″ strip of the navy fabric for loop

First download and print the page with the block templates (piecingpuzzlemugrug) and cut all them (just the outside lines!), than transfer the shapes to the fabrics and cut again.

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(4) Templates A

(4) Templates B

(1) Template C

 

 

Now you have all your templates to construct the block! Sew a template A to each side template B.

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You can sew them together like you do with the drunkard’s path finding the centre of the pieces first, than join the sides use how many pins you find necessary! Press to the turquoise fabric.

You will need two pieces like the image (1 template B with 2 templates A).

Then next step is sew two templates B with on template C (the centre of the block).

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Now sew the 3 pieces together. Press always to the turquoise fabric 😉 And your block is ready!

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To make the pocket, press the navy piece of fabric (2″ x 6″) in half widthwise (you will have a 2″ x 3″ rectangle). You can top stitch along the folded edge (or not), I used some embroidery stitch just for fun (and because I don’t use to much!).

Align the sashing floral strip right side up, than the pocket above and sew with your block together (right sides together). Press to the block side.

Layer the backing (right side down), the batting (I did a sandwich cotton, insulate, cotton) and the top quilt together. Your backing and batting will be slightly larger than the block. Pin the layers together. Quilt “as desired”… Noooo! Just joking! You can stitched in the ditch, sew right along the seam lines.

 

To make the loop, press the piece of the navy fabric (1 1/2″ x 3”) in half lenghtwise, then open up and press the raw edges toward the centre fold. Then fold in half lenghtwise again and top stitch along edge.  Fold in a half, making the loop and sew to top left edge of front of mug rug. Now the loop is secure on right place, time for binding and voilà! Mug rug ready for Winter!

I hope you enjoyed! I will be delighted to see pictures of your mug rug, just drop me an email or post your photos using #piecingpuzzlemugrug (my is already on Instagram @carolasmussen).

 

 

 

 

 

They are not quilts, they are HUGS!

They are not “blanquets”, or “decken” (in german is even worse!) because sometimes they are not “just” quilts, most of the times they are HUGS!

 

IMG_2775Last year, my dear Auntie had a very complicated heart surgery. It was a difficult time for my family, and for me too. It’s very hard to be so far away when these things happen. I wished I could be there so badly… So I decided to make a quilt for her.

A king size quilt would take to long and I didn’t have time to finish it. A “HUG”, exactly the distance my own arms can reach and embrace was the perfect size.

I found a great pattern on allpeoplequilt called Scrappy Romance (you can download it for free). For the first time I followed all the instructions, same fabric (Rambling Rose, from Moda Fabrics) and that was just what I needed.

I was not there but my quilt was, a hug for my Auntie!