Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Christmas Star Quilt

I had hoped today would be better than yesterday for quilt photos but it was still grey and gloomy so I guess these are it. This is my finished Christmas Star quilt made with help from my bee mates in Bee Hive Swarm Anita. You can see more in the hashtag #beehiveswarmAnita on Instagram. 

This bee was part of the giant world wide "The Bee Hive" bee started by Angie of Gnome Angel and Alyce of Blossom Heart Quilts. Sign ups for 2017 have just opened today so check out Alyce's site if you want in! My bee is closing down this year after two years. We are buzzed out I guess. :)

The tutorial for this block can be found here. This block was designed by Alyce of Blossom Heart Quilts.

I pieced the backing out of Christmas prints that have been in my stash for a couple of years. The binding fabric was given to me as a gift by Darla in my Canuck Bday Club. (#canuckbdayclub on Instagram)

The blocks in the bottom row were made by me as well as the one in the top left. All the rest were made by bee mates. Two are also from a member of another bee I was in.

I am very happy that I have finished this quilt prior to December 1st! :) I already took a winter's nap under it. Big thanks to my bee mates for their help!

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Quilted Hot Water Bottle Cover with Bias Binding Free Tutorial

It is cold and flu season in Canada and my daughter was already hit with a virus that made her feel very cold. Her feet were like ice so it was the hot water bottle and quilts to the rescue. Our hot water bottle did not have a nice cover like these though. Without further ado I bring you a tutorial for a quilted hot water bottle cover!

Before I begin let me just caution you that this project was a bit of a challenge for me and I have been quilting for almost 20 years so I would not classify this as a beginner project. It is possible to finish this in a weekend for an intermediate to advanced sewist but I would not call it a fast, easy project so if that is what you're looking for maybe pin this one for later. (Please pin even if you are making it now. That would make me happy! :D ) Otherwise, read on:

Note: This post contains some affiliate links. See my "About" page for more on affiliate links.

Supplies for 1 hot water bottle cover:

2 half yards or the equivalent in fabric for front, back and lining
1 fat quarter for bias binding
half a yard of batting
a compass (the kind you use for math, not for finding direction ;) )

the usual sewing tools:
rotary cutter and mat
paper scissors
sewing machine
matching thread

If you wish to have quilt blocks in your hot water bottle cover I used 8 1/2" unfinished (8 inches finished) blocks. Mine are from Sherri Falls' book "Winter Wonderland." One block for the front and one for the back.

Here's What You Do:

1. Put a freshly sharpened pencil in your compass and set it to 1 1/2 inches.

2. Place freezer paper dull side up and lay the hot water bottle on top. Scribe around the hot water bottle with the compass. Be careful not to poke the hot water bottle with the sharp end of the compass.

3. Cut the hot water bottle template out of the freezer paper with paper scissors. If your tracing is a bit uneven pick the half you like the best, fold the freezer paper in half and cut around that half to get a perfectly symmetrical template.

4. This part is for if you are adding in quilt blocks: (if not using blocks, skip to step 5)
I don't know if all hot water bottles come in a standard size but I doubt it so we need to measure. Lay your block on your template and measure how much fabric you need to make a rectangle the size of the template.

For mine I needed two 1 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch strips for the sides of the blocks. (Four all together) A 2 1/2 x 10 1/2 inch strip for the bottom and a 5 3/4 x 10 1/4 inch rectangle for the top. (cut 2 for front and back)

5. Measure the length and width of your water bottle template to know what size of fabric to cut for front, back, lining and batting. If you are piecing blocks into your project you already have the front and back sizing from step 4. Use this step (step 5) to measure and cut for lining (cut 2) and batting (cut 2)

6. If piecing in blocks complete that first. Iron the freezer paper template to the right side of the front, back and lining pieces and cut out. (I used a rotary cutter to speed things up but if you are not used to free cutting without a ruler I recommend fabric scissors.)

Lay one of your lining pieces on the batting and  cut that as well. I do not recommend ironing the freezer paper to the batting because all the fuzz will stick to it and it will no longer stick to fabrics.

7. Once all the pieces are cut out create quilt sandwiches: layer front, batting and lining together and secure with pins or Wonder Clips. Repeat with back, batting and lining.

8. Quilt both quilt sandwiches. I used a walking foot and eyeballed a quarter inch from the edge of my foot for each pass to create diagonal lines that were (fairly) evenly spaced.

9. Lay front and back wrong sides (lining sides) together, use pins or Wonder Clips to hold in place and stitch around the edges with an 1/8" seam. I recommend using a walking foot to keep the layers from shifting too much.

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10. Create Bias Binding:

You need bias binding to bind this project because there are curves. The bias binding will stretch around the curves.

There are some videos on YouTube that show you how to cut a larger piece of fabric with some fancy folding but today we are using a fat quarter. If you want to know how to cut a larger piece such as a yard then I recommend searching YouTube for Bias Binding Tutorials.

10a. Trim the selvage edge off the fat quarter and lay it on the mat with the freshly trimmed edge at the bottom. Line the 45 degree line of the ruler up with the freshly cut edge. Make a cut across the diagonal (the bias) of the fabric. Measure off that diagonal cut 2 1/2 inches to cut binding strips all across the fabric.

Sorry this is a bit blurry. I was trying not to use my flash.
10b. Sew the binding end to end and press seams open. Now, this part can be tricky. I still get confused so here's how I do this step to avoid confusing myself and sewing things incorrectly.

 Lay the fabric end to end as it would be when sewn together.

 Flip the fabric on the right over onto the fabric on the left with right sides together. Here I have pulled the top fabric back a bit so you can see that there are 1/4 inch triangle shaped extensions on either side. You need this 1/4" seam allowance extension in order for the strips to line up when pressed open.

This is how you will place your fabric to put it through the machine. Edges are lined up with 1/4" extending from the top piece and the bottom piece. (It's just by chance that my stripes are lining up perfectly here... that doesn't usually happen so don't worry about that if you are using striped binding.) Sew with a 1/4" seam and press open. Repeat until all strips are sewn into one long binding strip.

10c. After pressing all joining seams open fold the whole long strip in half wrong sides together and press the length of the strip.

11. Sew the bias binding on one side of the water bottle cover with a 1/4" seam. Fold the binding to the other side and hand sew the binding down. I secured my binding with Wonder Clips which sped up the hand binding process for me.

12. After sewing the binding down, trim off the excess from the top of the hot water bottle cover and machine sew binding to the outside of the neck opening. This is tricky. You will need to go slowly and continually check to make sure you aren't catching the other side of the neck opening in the seam. Fold the binding to the inside and secure with clips. Hand sew the binding to the inside.

13. Fold the hot water bottle into thirds and carefully insert it into the hot water bottle cover. This can be finicky so take your time.

And there you have it. When you wish to fill the hot water bottle with hot water use a kitchen funnel or a liquid measuring cup with a pointy spout. (I have some by XOXO that are good.)

Don't forget to sign up for Daydreams of Quilts Newsletter for updates, free printables and free PDF tutorials.

Daydreams of Quilts is having a Black Friday Sale thru to Nov. 28th, 2016. Use coupon code BF2016 at checkout for 20% off all physical products in the shop. All patterns are Buy 2, Get 1 FREE. Look for the listings like the image below in the shop sections.

And don't miss Craftsy's biggest sale of the year all Weelend thru Monday! Click here to SHOP CRAFTSY.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Daydreams of Quilts Black Friday Weekend Sale

It's Black Friday Weekend and Daydreams of Quilts is having a big sale! Digital Products are Buy 2 Get 1 FREE! Physical products are 20% off!

This deal applies to all three types of patterns in my shop: sewing patterns, embroidery patterns or quilt patterns. Look for the "Buy 2 Get 1 FREE" listing in the various shop sections: Quilt Patterns, Embroidery Patterns or Sewing Patterns. 

The sewing patterns will be available for immediate download upon checkout because there are only three. For embroidery or quilt patterns you will need to leave a note in the order comments telling me which three patterns you have chosen and I will email the three PDF files to you within 24 hours.

This is what the listings will look like in my Etsy Shop.

Here are what some of the quilt patterns are like:

Physical products are 20% using the code BF2016 at checkout from Nov. 24th thru 28th. These include quilts, tree skirts, pillow covers, baby bibs, kits and supplies. (Anything that is not digital is 20% off.)

Quilts, tree skirts and pillow covers are 20% off.

More pillow covers :)

Even the new Shweshwe Rainbow bundles are included in the sale!

Also, Sticky Fabri-Solvy came in! This seems to be quite difficult to find in Canada. There are limited quantities in the Etsy shop. You can read about how I use it in this post. If you are in the USA you may wish to buy directly from Sulky as the shipping would be quicker and less expensive. (Affiliate link to Sulky in my sidebar --- > or in the post linked above )

Happy Shopping and I hope you find something for yourself or someone special on your list!

SALE ALERT! It's Black Friday All Weekend Long on Craftsy!

SALE ALERT! It's Black Friday all weekend long on Craftsy! Enjoy up to 60% off all kits and supplies. Plus enroll in any class for $17.99 USD or less. 

Note: This Post Contains affiliate links. For more information about affiliate links please see my "About" page.

To Shop Craftsy's Biggest Sale of the year: Click Here


Craftsy Classes $17.99 USD or less on all Craftsy classes

Deals on Supplies:
    Up to 70% off Quilting and Sewing project kits & supplies
    Up to 60% off Knitting and Crochet project kits & supplies 
    Up to 50% off Cake Decorating supplies
Dates: Thursday 11/24 (12:01 am MT) - Monday 11/28 (11:59 pm MT)

This is Craftsy's Biggest Sale of the Year!

Shop the Sale!

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Rainbow Fat Quarter Bundles of Shweshwe Fabrics

The post office clerk was curious about my package that arrived today. She wondered if I had ordered leather because the package was dense and heavy. "No," I said, "It's  14 yards of South African Shweshwe fabric!"

Daydreams of Quilts is very pleased to offer these beautiful vibrant rainbow bundles of 100% cotton Shweshwe in our shop!

Click here to find them

I have a quilt pattern idea in my head for these beautiful fabrics and I can't wait to get a chance to work on it!

Sunday, 20 November 2016

World Water Day 2016: Water Is Life exhibit, Rome Video

This is a video of the "Water is Life" exhibit which my quilt called "When the Tap is Finally Turned On" is a part of. This exhibit hung at the UN Headquarters in Geneva and the United States Embassy in Rome. It is currently travelling the United States. I am so pleased and honoured to be a part of this.

You can read more in this post and this post.

My quilt is pictured below:

Exhibit update:
Water is Life - The impact clean water has on the lives of women and girls around the world, was initially installed at the United Nation's Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, March 21 - April 12, 2016.

Since the Italy exhibit, September 3-9, 2016, the exhibit has travelled to the International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas, where some 60,000 viewers had the opportunity to experience the exhibit. The next venue will be the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, Mass, February 15 - April, 29, 2017. The exhibit is also due to travel with the Mancuso Quiltfest Shows, beginning in the fall of 2017.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Unboxing the Quilter's Planner

As promised in this post about the Scrappy Project Planner I have now published a video of the Quilter's Planner. So you can compare both. Don't take too long to decide though because the Quilter's Planner sold out last year. :)

I am not affiliated with either of these planner I just love them both and am lucky enough to have them.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Christmas Lights String of Characters Pattern Release and Pillow Tutorial

Daydreams of Quilts is thrilled to announce the release of the "Christmas Lights String of Characters" PDF embroidery pattern on Etsy and Craftsy.

My eleven-year-old son helped me come up with some of the ideas for this one so it's extra special to me.

This post contains affiliate links. See my "About" page for more on affiliate links.

My son thought of the idea for sunglasses for the super bright and super cool yellow light and he also thought of the Derpy Christmas Light on the end. The Derpy light has had one too many electric shocks.

The PDF pattern contains a bonus larger version of the Derpy Christmas Light. (4.5 x 5") If you only want that then you can get it for free by signing up for my newsletter or joining my Facebook group where you will find it in the files section.

The Derpy Christmas Light. (I Googled Derpy and it is a slang word for silly or foolish.)
The row of Christmas Light Characters is fairly detailed and I thought it would take a while to trace it. I have been meaning to try Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy for a while and I thought this would be the perfect time. I bought a sample pack at my local quilt shop (Creative Klutter in Irma, AB if you are in the Wainwright area) and there was one sheet of Sticky Fabri-Solvy in it. You can find a sample pack from Sulky here or a pack of 12 sheets here.

This was my first time using this product and I love it! I have already ordered four more packages of 12 sheets. Available in my Etsy shop here. It makes transferring embroidery patterns so much easier!

All you do is load a sheet into your printer tray. Make sure you know whether it needs to go face up or face down in the tray. (Mine is face down.) Then print your pattern page. Voila! It's ready to go! Trim close to the image, peel off the paper back and stick it down on your wrinkle free fabric. Stitch your design and when you are finished rinse the project under running water until the Sticky Fabri-Solvy is disolved. Lay your project flat to dry on a towel, press with an iron and proceed with finishing by either framing it in a hoop or sewing it into a project.

Here is my pattern printed on the Sticky Fabri-Solvy.

Here it is all stitched up and ready to take out of the hoop and rinse.

Pillow Tutorial:

I sewed my Christmas Lights String of Characters into a pillow cover. To make this you will need my embroidery pattern and 8 charm squares. I used Cotton + Steel charm squares for mine. You may also wish to have the Sticky Fabri-Solvy as well to save some time. You need about a 12 inch square of white fabric to stitch on and an 8" embroidery hoop. I used a size 11 embroidery needle and stitched everything with three strands of DMC embroidery floss.

Find embroidery tutorials on my blog here.

After rinsing, drying and pressing your embroidery trim it to 2 1/2 inches x 8 1/2 inches. 

A note about pressing: When you press just take the tip of your iron up to the embroidery but don't press right over it. If it's badly wrinkled lay it on a towel and press from the back.

All seams are a 1/4 inch.

Cut your 8 charm squares in quarters so that you end up with 32 - 2 1/2 inch squares. Sew one square on either end of the embroidery and press towards the squares. Sew the rest of your squares into rows of six and press seams on each row in opposite directions so your seams will nest together. (For example all odd numbered rows press to the right and all even numbered rows press to the left.)

Sew the top two rows together, then the embroidery row and then the bottom three rows. Press all row seams the same direction. You may wish to press away from your embroidery if you are using white fabric.

When you have everything sewn together lay your patchwork on a piece of cotton or cotton blend batting and quilt. Mine was free motion quilted with stippling. You can back it with muslin if you wish but it is not necessary.

Create an envelope back for your pillow. Read more about envelope backs in this tutorial

Trim the edges and sew binding as you would bind a quilt. I machine stitched mine to the front, turned it to the back and held it in place with Clover Wonder Clips. Then I machine stitched it from the back side. This gives the look of a piping edge without all the effort of adding actual piping.

Measure your pillow cover. It should be about 12 inches plus the binding. Sew a square pillow form to fit using muslin fabric. Leave an opening big enough to get your hand through on one side. Stuff the pillow form with polyfil stuffing, sew the opening closed and insert it into your pillow cover through the opening in the envelope back.

Linking up with "Finish it Up Friday" at