Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas Projects

So this Christmas I found myself wanting to make quick lap quilts because to me the lap quilt size is the most useful. Don't get me wrong, I do love the large bed quilts but have found that the lap quilt size is perfect for just covering up with on the couch or in the Lazy Boy recliner.

What I did for the pictured Christmas quilts is use a Moda Advent box that I had left over from last year for each quilt. The box contains a dozen strips that are 4 1/2 inches wide by width of fabric. Using a Moda Dessert roll would yield a similar result. Sew 11 of the strips together. Square up the resulting large block and then chop off about six to seven inches from the top. Note, this is just a fun project with no math but do consider that the strip across the top that comes next will sew to 4 inches wide. You now have two rectangles from the original large block.  Take one more width of fabric strip and sew to the bottom of the smallest rectangle and then sew the strip to the top of the large rectangle for the resulting pieced block.  The quilt will now measure approximately 44 by 48.  I like lap quilts to be a little longer than they are wide so I added a 4 1/2 inch wide strip of coordinating fabric to the top and to the bottom of the quilt to give it some length. Since this is a Christmas themed quilt, I appliqued a few AccuQuilt cut trees along the bottom. For the quilt backing, I pieced a couple of coordinating fabric strips together for the long narrow piece of fabric. I then split the width of one long piece of backing fabric about 10 inches from the selvage edge and sewed the narrow strip to the two backing fabric pieces. I added another AccuQuilt applique tree to the narrow strip near the bottom. Just adding that extra strip of fabric to the fabric backing makes the quilt backing the perfect size for quilting and adds a bit of character to the quilt back.

For the second quilt, I sorted through the strips and grouped strips together in sets of three to make four strip sets for my rail fence blocks.  After sewing the set of three strips together, I cut off one selvage end then sub-cut the strips into three 12 1/2 inch strips. I retained the leftover 6 or so inches for the quilt back.  Play with the 12 blocks that you created from your four strip sets to make a pleasing layout. Sew the blocks three wide by four long. Add a border to all four sides. I think my border strips were 4 1/2 inches wide but you can make them as wide as you like.  For the quilt back, I created one long narrow strip by sewing together the four pieces I cut off the strip sets to make one long narrow piece for the quilt back inset.  I did have to add a few coordinating fabric pieces so the inset would be long enough.  I then split the quilt back as in the first quilt and added the long strip to the quilt back. 

The last quilt I made was for my dad. I love the double sliced layer cake pattern so I used a civil war reproduction layer cake and added a paisley print for the quilt outside border and a little red stripe print for a faux piping inner border. I love just that little bit of color break a faux piping border provides for a busy quilt center. Since I think paisley prints are manly, I used a paisley print for the borders and the backing. I like to use mitered corners for my outside border which worked perfect for this quilt since I also used the paisley print for the quilt backing. Since I used the length of fabric for the border, I had plenty of fabric to piece the backing with one width of fabric and the remaining border fabric. Binding for the quilt was with the red stripe print used in the faux piping.  I thought the finished quilt looked nice with my dad's paisley couch. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Having Fun with Fabric Panels

Fabric panels are fun to work with. I love the art work on the panels but as we all know not all panels are ready to quilt just as they are. At quilt market, I took a school house class that gave suggestions on what to do with fabric panels.  There were lots of great ideas that would transform fabric panels into just about any size project.  The art work of the  Joy fabric panel by Kate Spain is so fun and bright. The panel is a Christmas panel that can be quilted as is or cut apart for multiple projects. Using the idea of cut up the panel and add sashing fabric to the panel pieces; I played around with the panel cut outs until a quilt was born. I chose to use piecing and applique for the quilt that measures 40 by 50 inches which is a perfect size for a lap quilt great for snuggling up under on a cold December day.    Pictured is the fabric panel and the completed Joy quilt.

Joy fabric is available at Suzzett's Fabric

The white fabric used for the block sashing and background on the applique blocks is the Moda Muslin Makes Falling Snow on White which worked out great. I love writing phrases into my quilting designs and found this fabric perfect for the Christmas phrases.  Border and binding fabric is from the Joy fabric collectionThere were two large fabric blocks left from the fabric panel that are the perfect size for quilted placemats. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Paper Piecing

Paper Piecing is one of my new favorite quilting techniques. Judy Niemeyer patterns inspired me to take a paper piecing class recently at the Our House in Milford retreat center. I loved the perfection that paper piecing affords. I started with a pattern called Desert Sky and created my first Judy quilt.  Choosing the fabric is maybe the hardest part of the project.

Picture of my Desert Sky quilt....someday I will quilt it.
My daughter found a pattern for me to use to make my niece’s wedding quilt. I didn’t quite like the entire pattern so I opened up Electric Quilt version 7 (EQ7) and went to work designing my own pattern.  After a bit of trial and error, I completed the design phase. Of course after sewing the first two blocks together I found out I had to go back to the design board and tweak the angles a bit to make the secondary blocks work better.   I used Carol Doak paper for printing my blocks and used the templates form EQ7 with an enlarged block to cut the individual fabric pieces using the stack and whack method as much as possible. Posted below is a picture of the flow for designing the quilt with a picture of the final quilt as well. 

Be sure and check out all the batik fabric on my website www.suzzettsfabric.com or directly at

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Strip Quilts from Stash

Scrappy Quilts just say "Nostalgia". How many of our grandmother's quilts were made from just left over fabric? Often the leftovers were from used clothing or even old flour and feed sacks. The folks at The Fabric Shop Network encouraged quilters worldwide to sew strip quilts for charity on World Wide Quilt Day held in March. Suzzett's Fabric, Quilts and More joined the campaign to get quilters sewing strip quilts for charity for the event. Quilters from the Italy, Texas area joined together to make 12 strip quilts for the event. Strip sewing seemed the way to go to put my large amount of stash to work for this endeavor so a couple of us broke out the Accuquilt Go cutter and cut 2 1/2 inch strips from my stash and some of my shop fabric. In total, we had six people sewing in the shop with two helpers assisting with pressing and keeping the strips from tangling. We completed 13 strip quilts for the event. As they say in the old community newspaper columns found in rural America, "A good time was had by all." I will use up more of my stash to make backings for the quilts and then perhaps have another workday to quilt the quilts. Most of the quilts will be donated to the VA Hospital in Dallas.