Saturday, March 25, 2017

A quilt that came with learnings ...

I know it's been a while ... sigh.

My T@b Window Awning business has actually done well and has taken up a bit of my time ... but the good news is has generated a little bit of money to fund my quilting obsession!

Many of you have seen this quilt before ... today is my 3rd (and final) version ...

This quilt, comes with a story that starts back in October 2015.

That month, a good friend turned 50 and John and I joined her and about 30 other friends in Palm Springs, CA to celebrate her birthday.  As I was still working, and living in a tiny apartment in Seattle, I hadn't been able to get any quilting done in advance for a birthday gift.  So when I retired, in the spring of 2016, one of the first things I did was start thinking through potential designs for a quilt for her.

Her house is quite eclectic and I didn't know where to start, so I decided to stick with the birthday theme (Palm Springs) and go with a mid-century modern approach.  I scoured the internet, looking primarily at mid-century modern blogs, hoping to get inspiration.  Ultimately, I landed on this image from this website.

There was no back link on the image and I assumed (perhaps hastily) that it was an "Eames inspired" image like the 50 Eames-inspired chairs that are ubiquitous.

I made the quilt, posted it and it's story on my blog and received an overwhelming response!

Because I was quite impressed with myself for having figured out the mental math gymnastics to actually produce this quilt and have all the lines match up ... I also created a tutorial for it as I made my second version ... again for a friends 50th birthday who has a mid-century modern home in Seattle.

I also listed the quilt in my Etsy shop as a custom option.

Fast forward to Thanksgiving 2016.  I received an communication on Etsy from an artist.  He shared his concerns with me that I was marketing his image that he had created and was selling in his Etsy shop.  I looked ... and sure enough, there it was, plain as day ...

I immediately took down all of my links, blog posts, IG and Pinterest photos and went back to figure out how this had happened.  Once I realized what I had done, I contacted him and shared what had happened.

Turns out he's a super nice guy, who was very understanding and considerate of what had happened.  He appreciated my pulling it down and offered to let me continue to make the quilt for my family and friends as gifts, just not in a manner where I profited from it or infringed on his copyright ... which was SUPER generous of him.

The one thing I can't fix, however, are the pics that people posted on Pinterest from my blog of the quilt.  So I continue to get inquiries from people who have looked through my blog and can't find anything on it.

Today, I completed the quilt for the last time ... it is, again, for the 50th birthday of a friend who actually lives in Palm Springs.  We will be visiting soon and I will take it with me on our trip.

So I thought it appropriate to post a few pics for Pinterest browsers who continue to look for it, to share the great shop of Thedor, the original creator of the image (he has tons of other beautiful images listed as well).  I also thought it worthy of time to share a little of my learnings.

  1. I looked on line for "inspiration".  But quite honestly, in the end, I didn't move that far off the image.  That may be fine for what my intended purpose was, a gift to a friend for her birthday.
  2. But, while it's not an exact "copy", I moved too far and too fast with an image to recreate and sell/market based on positive feedback from the crowd.  I still want to make a mid-century modern quilt for my shop ... but I need to take the time to make one that reflects my design ideas as they pertain to that period and isn't as reliant as this one was on a particular image that I had seen.
  3. I didn't do my homework.  I simply found an image I liked and when it wasn't back-linked, I went for it.  I now know that had I looked on Pinterest, I would have discovered that this was a well posted image and I would have quickly discovered who the rightful owner was.  
In the end, this quilt has gotten a good deal of well deserved attention -- it is a beautiful image and I encourage you all to look at the images in Thedor's shop.  It's also a lesson on how I need to be more focused on the artistry and originality of my work and take the time to do that properly.

I hope my learnings will help others as they navigate this "images are absolutely everywhere" world ... 

All the best,

Monday, February 6, 2017

A rainbow of color ...

A good friend asked me to make a quilt for her to gift to someone for a new baby.  This is the 3rd baby quilt she's commissioned from me ... with the other two here and here.  Thrilled that she trusts me to make the 3rd (and actually 4th and 5th that were ordered at the same time), I set to work creating a design that would work for her -- a light and bright quilt with rainbow colors (but not in a rainbow) and some Hawaiian prints.

As with many quilts I design ... it started with a design on excel.   The finished size of each square is 4", which creates a design that is 56" x 44".

With 7 colors in the rainbow, there are ~22 squares from each color.  I started with white as the offset color for each square.  However, as it came to life on Excel, the white seemed to make the pattern stand out more than the colors and it literally looked like I had a bunch of white staircases on the page ;-).

Given the clients asks, I wanted to visually bring the colors to the front, not the pattern on the quilt. By using a set of neutrals, instead of all white, it seemed to calm the pattern down a bit.  For the neutral half of each block, I used fabrics in the white, natural, cream and ash grays.

For the back, I used Kona Snow (about 1/3) and Kona Ash (about 2/3).  The two colors were bisected by pieced colored print fabrics from the front.  

The binding is a gray cross-hatch.  I like the neutral with the vast amount of color in the quilt.

After the washer and dryer ... the quilt has now shrunk down to 51" x 40".

In the end, I still haven't finished the initial commissioned quilt -- I am awaiting a label for the back that I had printed at Spoonflower.  But I liked it so much, I made another one!  Which is the one that you see above.  AND ... I had another friend who saw my initial Excel post on Instagram and she has commissioned a larger version for herself -- with a twist.  Which I will share in a few weeks when it's complete.

Hope all is going well out there.

All the best,

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Not a quilt ... but a creation none-the-less

As I posted here ... John and I purchased a T@b Trailer in early 2016.  The objective was to take advantage of living in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) and spend some time visiting the amazing public lands that exist on the west coast, both in the US and Canada.

They are amazing little trailers ... well built, easy to tow on the back of most standard SUVs and easy to pull into nearly all campgrounds.

I found a template for a window awning on the T@b Camping Trailers Facebook Page.  It sits on the outside of the window and goes up and down with the awning window.  I decided that it would probably be a good addition for our trip out to Glacier National Park last summer.  The window awning provides a lot of cooling by preventing the sun from shining through the windows and heating up the interior.  It has the added bonus of increasing privacy in tight campsites while still maintaining some airflow in the interior.

I found some indoor / outdoor material at JoAnn's for one side, and made it reversible by adding a gray duck cloth for the reverse.

I made a modification ... putting some straps in the upper corners of the window to hold them in place a bit more securely in wind.

Well ... excited, I posted a pic of my new window awnings on the FB page.  I then had someone reach out to me ... and before I knew it, I had sold a few to people who were interested, but didn't have sewing machines or weren't ready to take on sewing themselves.

I had enough inquiries ... that I went back and asked the originator of the pattern if she would let me sell the awnings from my Etsy shop.  And she said YES!!!!

So I am thrilled to say that I am now offering T@b Window Awnings made with Indoor / Outdoor fabric in my Etsy shop!  I haven't announced it on the FB page yet, as I have a few orders to get complete.  Looking forward to this for two reasons ... it's really cool to make something that will be used when people are living their dreams and it will be nice to have a little extra cash to spend on material for my true passion ... quilting!

There had been a request for a couple of pics of what the inside of the T@b looks like ...

First ... the interior of this trailer is 124" long x 71" wide and 69" tall.  It includes a U shaped seating area with a table that converts to a nearly king-size (70" x 73").  It has a sink 2-burner stove, 3-way refrigerator, toilet, shower, heater, air conditioner, blue-tooth stereo system and a TV!

Seating area sans the table

The kitchen (bathroom to the left)

And just for a little humor ... the before and after pictures for the sleeping arrangements.

Ready for bed ...

Someone (ahem) doesn't want to get up ...
Did I mention that we camp in this thing with two adults and two 50+ pound dogs?

None-the-less, it has been a great experience thus far, having spent 61-nights in it in 2016 ... we are looking forward to seeing what 2017 brings!

Here's to 2017 Adventures!

All the best,

Friday, January 6, 2017

Modern Take on a Patchwork

I have made a LOT of patchworks over the past few years ... but have never been able to get too excited over a straight patchwork ... other than one I saw on the internet a long time ago and have never been able to find again ...

Anyway ... here's a modified patchwork ... the color palette for this one was inspired by the material that I used on the back.

It's comprised of 3" squares in mustards, yellow and grays ... surrounded by Kona Ash and quilted with a free motion meandering ...

There's not a lot to say about this simple quilt.

The back is a solid piece of Hexa in Honeycomb by AGF Studio.  

I have made a few attempts at other types of patchworks ... for example ... here and here and here ...

I've had a bit of time to get all this done around here ...

We live at 700' elevation at the end of a 2 mile dirt road ... and we have had snow!  Probably not a big deal for most of you ... but we live in the pacific northwest of the US ... and we don't get snow ... until this year!  We had over 15" total snow in December ... a bit of a challenge since plows don't head down dirt roads ... hence the ability to stay home a quilt a little ... it may be a little annoying ... but it is really beautiful!

Hope all is well with all of you.

Happy New Year!

All the best,

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Mom's door banners

My parents moved into assisted living a few years ago in Kansas City.  When we were out visiting them in February of 2016, my mom still had a few Christmas decorations outside her door in the main hallway.  When I asked my sister what was up with that, she indicated that she lent mom a few items and now she wouldn't return them ... she liked having decorations outside her door.

So I decided to make her some banners for her door that she could change out based on season, time of year, etc.

I started by gifting her one for Mother's Day that had a patriotic theme ... thinking that could get her through Memorial Day, 4th of July and even Labor Day!  I purchased the pattern for this one.

Next, I gifted her one in early October for her birthday, with a fall theme.  For this one, I was inspired by this picture on Pinterest ... but the link didn't take me anywhere I could buy a kit or pattern ... so I winged it by tracing a maple leaf from the internet (google maple leaf silhouette), applied that to some patchwork in the chosen colors and then appliqu├ęd them onto the squares.

Finally, one of her Christmas presents is a holiday themed banner.  She thinks that Santa gets a bit too much attention at this time of year, so I tried to go a little more traditional with meaning with the last one.  For this one, I found an online tutorial.  I actually like the one in the tutorial much better ... but think my mom with like the one that I made better ... I know that will make sense to many of you ...

These aren't exactly my style ... but my mom is tickled pink and really enjoys telling her neighbors that her daughter made them one-of-a-kind for her and anxiously awaits the next one ... since the Christmas one definitely has a limited life ... I need to get to work on one for January quickly ...

We should all be as appreciative over the little things as mom is with these ... makes me smile.

All the best,


Sunday, December 18, 2016

Quilt Machine Binding for New Quilters

I just finished 44 placemats and 12 potholders for Christmas presents ...

As I was in the midst of the binding ... I realized that I would NEVER have attempted this effort just a few short years ago ... these placemats and potholders require 3,512 lineal inches of binding, 224 corners and 56 mitered finishes in tight spaces.

As a self-taught quilter, I have learned a LOT from blogs and tutorials that people were kind enough to share ... including a number of different blog posts that taught me about binding.  So I decided to take some pictures as I went along with the intent of creating a tutorial that marries much of what I have learned together to help some of the other new quilters out there.  It's a chance to learn some tips and gain some confidence as they tackle binding ...

NOTE:  I am a machine binding person ... I have never learned how to bind by hand.  If you are new, know that you have both options and if you want to enter quilts for judging, you will need to learn the hand binding method.

Before I start, here are two of the tutorials that have been most impactful in getting me to how I bind quilts now.  I use a lot of their technique and have added a few tips in of my own.  You may find perusing them helpful as well as you seek to perfect your binding technique.

ZigZag Binding Tutorial - by Stitched in Color
Mitered & Flanged Binding Tutorial - by Karen's Quilts, Crows and Cardinals (note this one has additional information in it about how to build a flanged binding)

I will use the term "Placemat" though out this tutorial ... as that is what I am binding.  However, you can substitute the word "quilt" in anywhere for placemat as well.


Making the binding

I cut my binding at 2.375" (3/8).  I find that when using a 1/4" allowance when attaching the binding to the placemat, the 2.375" dimension creates a perfect fit.

Each placemat requires ~70" of binding, so I need to connect a few of the cut pieces together. Creating a mitered seam is easy.  Lay one piece right-side up and then lay the next piece perpendicular on top, with right sides together.  As you can see, you don't even need to trim the selvages when doing it this way.

Using the selvage for overlap is an important element here ... by doing so, you are leaving a nice overlap, which allows you to easily match the sides on the strips ... if you don't leave this overlap, you will find that the edges of your strip can be off by up to 1/4".

I use scissors to trim the sewn pieces down to 1/4" and cut off the corners that are left from the overlap.

Press the seam open, this is particularly important for a placemat, where you don't want to create a bump that could accidentally tip a wine glass.  Hmmm ... doesn't look perfectly straight here ... but it's close enough for binding ...

I trim over a small container on my cutting table and even though each placemat only takes ~70" of binding, I know I am about to do a whole bunch of placemats, so I cut about 10 pieces at one time and chain them together so that I don't have to stop and do this each time I finish a placemat.

Attaching the binding to the placemat:

Next, take the end that you are going to start with, fold the fabric down to the left to create a triangle and press in place.


Now, lay your placemat down with the back facing up.  This is important, you are going to be stitching the binding to the back of the placemat.

Note:  for placemats, I always start on one of the shorter sides.  Creating a miter seam where you start and stop can introduce a slight bump and it is less likely to impact a fragile wine glass if that bump is on the side, rather than on the top.  On this placemat, the side is ~13" long.

Take the end you're going to start with and fold it in half lengthwise (there is no need to press the material, you will simply hold it in place as you go around the placemat).  You are going to start stitching about 6" down, leaving the 1st six inches of the binding unstitched before you start stitching. (this will be important for creating the mitered edge at the end).

 Use a 1/4" stitch to attach the binding to the placemat.  Keep stitching towards the corner, stopping 1/4" from the end.

When you get to 1/4" from the end, pivot the placemat by 45°...

Stitch out to corner and then cut threads.

It's easier to see from the front (bottom) how I have pivoted and stitched over the the corner.

Fold the binding back to the right as seen in the picture above to the right.

And then fold the binding back over the top and start it down the next size of the placemat.

Position the placemat at the corner back under the machine and begin stitching from the top edge, retaining a 1/4" allowance as before.  Stitch down to within 1/4" of the next corner and repeat.

When you start your way out of the 4th and last corner ...

Stitch down about 2 to 3", anchor your stitching as you stop.  This leaves about 9 to 10" between the beginning of your stitching on your start piece and the stop of your stitching on your end piece.  You are now going to create the mitered seam between the start and end pieces.

Pull the end piece down the side of the placemat and pin it to the place just before where you started stitching the start.

Lay the end piece over to the right at the pin and place start piece on top of the end piece.

Mark the end piece just a smidge (about 1/8") above the tip of the start piece.  You can see I have used a blue dot to mark it in the picture above.

Now, lay the end piece flat ... you can see my blue dot on the top of the strip about 1/3 of the way across from the left in the picture above.

Place the opened start piece (with the crease) on top of the end piece with the opened tip sitting just on top of the blue dot marked on the end piece.

Another view of the same thing.

Use a pin to hold the top piece the bottom here.  This is a little tight and you will likely need to fold the placemat in half to get good purchase to stitch the two ends together.  Now, stitch down the crease that is in the top piece.  You may find it easier to mark down the crease to make it easier to see when you are stitching.  Before you trim the material off of what you just stitched, lay the placemat flat and see if you are happy with how it lies.  If not, this is super simple to fix by just removing the few stitches you just put it ... once you trim the material, it is very hard to fix ... so I always check it prior to trimming off the ends.

It is important for the mark that you place on the end piece is about 1/8" beyond the point.  It is better for this last side to fit a little snug (it will stretch) rather than to be too long where it will bunch when you stitch it.

You can press the seam open where you have connected the start and end pieces.  Then lay it smooth over the last side and stitch it into place.

Finishing the binding

Now flip your placemat over as you will finish the binding from the front.

I like using a zig zag stitch (instructions further below for a straight stitch).  I set the machine to a fairly small zig zag stitch.

As I top stitch, I pull the edge of the binding so that it lines up exactly on top of the 1/4" stitching from attaching the binding to the batch.  This ensures that I am sitting on top of the edge of the binding on the back and the zig zag covers the stitching on the front ... it basically gives great alignment.  I have a great notch on my presser foot right in the middle that tells me when I am right on top of the edge.

The top-stitching from the front ...

The stitching from the back.

If you prefer  not to use a zig zag stitch (or if your only machine with zig zag on it breaks like mine just did ;-(, you can use a straight stitch.

For the straight top-stitching, I pull the edge of the binding so it just covers up the stitching from the back attachment of the binding and then I stitch just in from that edge, so that it is basically stitching on top of that 1/4" line.  I like to use the inside edge of my presser foot to keep my line straight on the binding ... take it slow as you get the feel for this so that you can keep your line straight.  If you stray, you alway have a seam ripper available.

Front with the straight-line top stitching ...

Back with the straight-line stitching ...

A few of the finished placemats ... ready to send off in the mail for Christmas.

I hope that this is of assistance to some of the newer quilters out there ... good luck and, as always, let me know if you have any questions or feedback for the tutorial!

Merry Christmas!

All the best,


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...