ADDING 3-D EMBELLISHMENTS for texture and just plain fun.
More than just quilts, I offer you patterns for throws, runners, hot pads, totes, decorated clothing and gift items. I’m not only a prize-winning designer (over 100 ribbons); I’m also a military wife, an award-winning photographer, and I taught high school/college English for 42 years. That makes me……………….. old–let’s call it EXPERIENCED, ha!– but I know how important clear instructions are. I also include lots of diagrams and photos in my patterns. Try them out!
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Libby Christensen of Christensen Creations Scroll down for my weekly chats!
Are you spring cleaning? I am. Room by room. Drawer by drawer. Dust bunny by dust bunny.
And….I’m catching up on pre-washing my fabric.
Do you prewash? Some quilters do; some don’t. I won’t argue about it. However, I have found that some fabrics of saturated color do release color in the wash, and I, for one, would not like that excess color to turn up as stains on lighter colors. Believe me; it happens.
Also, I even wash the lighter colors if the fabric seems a little stiff or managed to get itself wrinkled.
What I do is separate the piles of my stash into similar colors. Today is St. Patrick’s Day, so I did green!! I serge the raw edges to prevent raveling. Then I put them in the washer with a “Color Catcher,” warm water and laundry detergent. You can use special soap if you like or omit the soap, but I like to see how the fabric does in “real” use.
If there’s a lot of color caught, I wash it again and again until not much comes out on a new white color catcher sheet. I’ve never used vinegar, but if you want to, it supposedly sets the color. Ask an expert, not me.
Then I dry the load in the dryer and pull it out when freshly dried to fold before it gets wrinkled!
I myself have another step. I make a little tag that gives the date, price, and yardage and staple it on the edge. It coincides with my spreadsheets, but doing spreadsheets is more for business purposes. Still, it IS nice to be able to glance to see how much fabric there is without having to remeasure. After using some of the fabric, I change the measurement to the amount left.
So part of MY spring cleaning is playing with fabric! That’s the fun part. I get to look at it, think about it, caress it, and maybe even make a plan to use it! Hey, we’re “collectors,” right?
No new pattern this week, but I renewed an old coupon. If you read all the way down to here, you deserve a little treat. Use TULO19 for $3.00 off any sale. That’ll make some of the patterns just .50! So it’s a great time to try one!
and it’ll be recorded for later viewing. Just join the Facebook group www.thefabrichut.com, which is a great group with quilters from all over the world. You can find several of my videos posted.
TODAY is the “Hearts for the Sweet” quilt #CC2323, but I tweaked it to use thefabrichut.com‘s special “fat fifths.” However it’s almost identical to the pattern on sewgocreate.com website, which has normal fabric sizing.
It’s a sweet baby quilt with optional ruffle and pieced hearts as we say good-bye to February.
How is it where YOU are? We’ve had frost a couple days and cold temperatures, but expect up to 80 degrees in a couple days. It’s hard to figure out how to dress and what you want to quilt, too. Are we finishing winter projects or starting in new spring colors?
Well, here’s a fun and quick project that is really flexible. You can choose the colors to suit your room or your mood or even the season! Still just $3.50 before I have to raise prices this summer (to pay for the website fees!!)
I designed it for a lark just because I liked bright colors with black. Then I realized it wouldn’t look good in either the dining room or kitchen–oops! So I hung it above closets in my sewing room just for fun.
However, whenever you’re looking at quilt patterns, you can usually re-color them to suit your needs or the needs of the person who is getting the quilt. I once saw a beige quilt I’d NEVER select myself–too subdued for me–but it was perfect for her mother’s bedroom. I chided myself for thinking it was boring because quite frankly, subdued can be VERY elegant, and people might very well prefer to put their bright colors as accents. That makes sense.
THIS quick table runner is so versatile that you can use it for ANY color range and any table in any mood or season, subdued or brilliant. Directions come for four lengths, too. Look at how it can be changed!
So consider it for the next break while you’re finishing up a UFO (Un-Finished Object) or make it to use up scraps or to prepare for Mother’s Day or even make for the autumn and get ahead of the curve. It’s even a great Christmas present, but I won’t push you THAT far.
literally! No time left to make a valentine quilt? It’s OK–you can add a little love to many items by simply machine-appliqueing a heart. It doesn’t even have to be red or pink or lacy, though it could be. Just use your imagination.
IDEA: Buy or make a baby bib and add an embroidered heart with his/her name like this one–so sweet! Or embroider “Sweetheart”–not just for Valentine’s Day!
Tip 1) Usually fuse the fusible paper-backed web first, then cut the shape.
Tip 2) If the applique fabric is light and might let the background show through, try first fusing a solid white to the back for a double layer.
Tip 3) STOP!! After fusing, go ahead and hoop to embroider. THEN you can cut the shape to include the embroidery.
Tip 4) It’s easy to remove the paper from paper-backed fusible web if you score it with a pin or needle! (Just let it cool/dry first.) After removing the back paper, you can iron it to the fabric–much easier than trying to pin something.
Tip 5) Satin-stitch around the edge using an edgestitch foot or open-toe foot (NOTE: You can get a generic one for ANY machine fromMadamSew.com) , taking one stitch INSIDE the applique and the other on the OUTSIDE background fabric. Sew slowly but steadily for best result.
Tip 6) Try other dense stitches, too. Always test the stitch on some remnants to get it adjusted.
Tip 7) If using embroidery thread, use an embroidery needle (with longer eye) or at least a size 90; you might also need to loosen the upper tension just a bit. Whatever thread you use, be sure to insert embroidery stabilizer (such as Tear Easy) BEHIND the applique/embroidered area.
IDEA: Make a quick hot pad. Use this Christensen Creations pattern or make your own. The pattern also makes an 8 1/2″ quilt block or can easily be adapted to 10 1/2″ or 12 1/2″ by adding borders:
Tip 8) Search internet for simple shapes like a heart. Simple coloring books for toddlers also have basic shapes.
Tip 9) Instead of a satin stitch, attach with simple zigzag and cover it with lace or cord.
Tip 10) Try placing applique on a diagonal for a block “on point.”
IDEA: Add a heart to any totebag pattern. This is one in the works using TheFabricHut.com‘s fat fifths (video to come this spring).
Tip 11) For tote bags and many clothing items, it’s much easier to applique on the piece BEFORE all the pieces are sewn together
Tip 12) Make a heart or other shape from an orphan block or quickly make up a little block of small scraps (like this one or the one below). Just piece first before fusing the web and cutting the shape.
IDEA: Decorate a T-shirt or sweatshirt.
Tip 12) It can be hard to get to the area to sew, so just cut open the sides and restitch afterwards.
Of course, you could hand-applique any of these if you prefer. Just be sure to add 1/4″ to turn under and cut a lot of little notches in order to turn those curves on a heart. I have no objections to hand-applique; however, I’ll be using the machine because it’s quicker and I NEVER EVER have enough time!
If you DO have plenty of time this weekend, here are a few little quilts to consider, from simple to more complex, but it might be better to start the fussier ones for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or a birthday!!
PS Don’t forget that you can use these same techniques and tips to applique a flower for spring, a sailboat for summer, a leaf for autumn or a candy cane for Christmas….and hearts are for loving, not just for Valentine’s Day.
…for the NEW YEAR. Now that I’ve rested with a long winter’s nap, I can refresh and renew…and share some excitement. I’ve been collaborating with www.thefabrichut.com , using their fabrics to design special quilts. They have special “fat fifths” and extra-wide fabric that is closely woven with a delicate polish and also awesome buys on titanium rotary blades!! That collaboration is continuing as I’ve designed a pretty little baby heart quilt and await the fabric to arrive any day. I’ll have a sweetheart pattern with the scraps, too. Join their Facebook group to enjoy quilts from all over the world and fun conversation.
However, I’m also starting some collaboration with https://madamsew.com/ , which is another company I love. They specialize in sewing tools to make sewing easier and more fun. Full confession–I’ve already bought almost every item in their inventory! They find wonderful tools and often run special prices. They are incredibly active on Facebook and other social media. Check them out! I’m thrilled to collaborate with them.
I’ll be soon making some videos featuring my patterns using their tools and sharing the techniques, which you then can apply to other projects. They cater to “sewists” of all kinds, not just quilters. Since I offer totebags, aprons, sweatshirt jackets, etc., that concept appeals to me as well. I’ve certainly done a lot of custom sewing and especially alterations over my many decades. I’ll share some of those tips, too.
I’m starting my year with lots of new ideas and plans; since I’m calling this a “new leaf”, I’ll tell you how to make a leaf or page or door. It’s so easy that I’m almost embarrassed to call it a tip.
1) If you plan to add some embroidery on the little “door”–it’s easier to hoop and embroider BEFORE cutting. Leave the embroidery stabilizer in place–it can remain as interfacing.
2) Take two pieces of fabric the same size, as little as 3/4 in. or as big as maybe 5-8 in. (For a larger one, you might want to add some interfacing to stiffen it or possibly fleece–I’m fond of fusible fleece for this.) The pieces don’t have to be square, just matching (e.g., a petal, leaf, flag). Think NOW about whether or not you want a closure–you might want to sew on Velcro, for instance, to just the right side INSIDE or add a little elastic loop in the seam for a button.
3) Put the two pieces together right side-to-right side and sew around 3 sides (1/4″ seam) like a pillowcase, leaving the side to be inserted into the seam unstitched. (Clip a little triangle off the corners to make it easier to turn.)
4) Turn it right side out. Now it’s ready to press. Also add any quilting, and if you want, a closure, such as a buttonhole.
5) Finally, insert the side with the raw edges into the piecing seam, making sure the little “door, flap, leaf, even tooth!” is right side up on top of the quilt.
The flags are tucked under an applique, but the little square “castellations” are sewn in the seams. (This pattern is on the drawing board! It’s a twin-size quilt.) The real “door” is below–it’s a drawbridge! Notice TWO buttons because it can open and close.
Another set of “real” barn doors in the art quilt below (pattern not available).
I hope that adding 3D details will be a new leaf in your own quilt adventures. Keep watching my posts for the “Rainbow Castle” and hearts patterns soon to come. Happy New Year!
This celebratory table runner can be made for any season–Christmas, Hanukkah, wedding, anniversary. The pattern is an easy quilt-as-you go technique and has 4 lengths. Add ribbons and bows for embellishment. Christensen Creations cc2408
Have you done your shopping? No matter. You can still wrap gifts, which is fun, right? Well, I’ve put them right onto your table. Use any 8 fat quarters (or scraps or “fat fifths” from www.thefabrichut.com) and 4-5 spools of ribbons, quilt-as-you-go, and PRESTO! The cutest table runner!
“Gift Boxes Table Runner” by LJ Christensen
These are bright colors, but clearly, you can choose your own and decorate perfectly to match your decor. Or choose wedding colors or maybe Hanukkah or an anniversary celebration?
“Glitzy Gifts” is a traditional quilt construction, but the new pattern is…
Quilt-as-You Go!!! I purposely designed the blocks to line up in vertical lines so that you sew through the edge of the block, the block underneath, the batting and the back at one time. Then fold, press. Sew on next block and fold again.
Not only does it sew up quickly, but I recommend fusible fleece to speed it up even more–virtually NO pinning. Then I use narrow fusible paper-backed tape (such as Heat and Bond) or you can cut slivers of fusible yardage to tack down the ribbons. Later you edge-stitch them through all layers, adding a little more quilting, and stitch right through the knots to attach the bows. How’s that for fast and easy?
As usual, you bind the edges, but I include the instructions for that, too.
Personally, I just wrap my binding from the back and top-stitch it, clip it with Wonder Clips (best buy ever from www.thefabrichut.com),, but you can do as you please. If you go to www.thefabrichut.com, check out their price on superb titanium rotary cutting blades–I use them all the time.
Also, if you join thefabrichut.com free Facebook quilting group (quilters from all over the world), you can look for my latest video–a 55-min sewalong that’s recorded—on THIS PATTERN and all my little tips. I think you’ll like the group–lots of fun and discussion and photos of stunning quilts.
For once, I’m actually ahead of the curve for a Christmas project! And if you’re near Wetumpka, come to The Kelly Art Gallery in downtown during our huge Dickens Christmas celebration this weekend….and sales through NEXT weekend for the Christmas parade as well. I’ll have this runner out for sale! Hurry! It’s going out tonight for the Kelly members-only Sneak Preview shopping night!
Onward to Christmas shopping. I’m still not done. Are you?? L
If so, you’ll get a huge kick of this homage wall hanging. “Bubba Bass Wears Plaid” is a new pattern of the tail-waggling bass. Made of shirt flannels, it’s sure to please the fisherman (or fisherwoman) in your family and is a perfect homey wall hanging to display in a lake home! So cute, the fins and chin all flap, and the tail is wired–full instructions in the pattern.
Making 3D fins and tail is easy–“Bubba Bass Wears Plaid” cc2110
Don’t let anyone tell you that quilts must be made of special quilter’s cotton, which is getting more and more expensive. I lived in Montana a couple years, and believe me, THOSE quilter ranchers learned that soft flannel (cotton version is sometimes dubbed “flannelette” to distinguish it from wool flannel, but I’m OK with just “flannel”)–anyway, they not only BACKED their quilts with it, but they used it as the main ingredient for the blocks! Nice and warm and comfy. These days it comes in all colors.
The turquoise and blue shades made me think of water, so I ran strips going from the darkest blue near the bottom to the light ones on top. That made a great contrast for the red bass. Apparently I did something right because this hanging just made a “1st Place” in the Fine Crafts category of a Montgomery Society of Arts and Crafts art show. Woohoo! Who knew? The judge had probably had one in her family and must have had a good sense of humor! These days the singing bass originals are found in vintage store or thrift shops–maybe even garage sales–so you can go looking or you can get this new version that’s less dusty and doesn’t sing an annoying song over and over and over and….you get the point.
As for quilts–quilters used to use men’s old wool suits–ugly but very warm, my mother told me. She grew up in a house without central heating, so she knew the importance of a truly warm quilt back then! On the other hand, they used elegant silk and satins, especially for those divinely embroidered crazy quilts. They were using up every possible scrap of a luxury item! And I have to say that a woven polyester sheet (cheap from Big Lots) makes a lightweight, silky backing! (On mine, the color ran, so it’s good that I had pre-washed it multiple times!)
So don’t be afraid to break the quilters’ cotton code. Wait! Flannelette IS cotton, right? You could even search for old plaid shirts in thrift stores if so inclined! Then there’s fur! I knew some American quilters in what was then West Berlin who shopped for old used furs in the thrift stores and made teddy bears!
Don’t be afraid to be adventurous. This pattern has flexible wire in the tail! I might not do it for a BLANKET….but if it hangs on the wall, it shouldn’t poke anybody!
Watch for next video–coming soon, “Button Button…” and if you happen to be near Wetumpka, find me on Saturday, Nov 5, at the vendors’ tent just off Main Street for the huge Wildlife Arts Festival. Lots of photos and some cute crafts. The following weekend, I’ll be a Charis Crafters’ 3-day sale in the Wetumpka Civic Ctr. Now that this pattern is published, I’ve got to get back to tagging!
Halloween is just a hair’s breadth away, or maybe a ghost’s breath? It’s not too late, though, to add a spider web, always a great touch for Halloween spookiness. (Personally, I like to put up webs around my doorbell so that trick-or-treaters get a spooky experience..is that too mean?)
It’s easy to sew a spider web. Just make some spokes, even or uneven, and make concentric circles. Even easier, use the trick in the “Halloweensie Weensie Spider” wall quilt below. The web is made by top-stitching double-fold biack bias tape. You could substitute soutache (sometimes called “middy braid) or even ribbon. I recommend using the open-toe foot and holding the tape or braid up and taut to keep it threading under the foot without slipping. You might even have a special braid foot. Just zigzag the web in place. If you’re a quilter, you can piece the pie shapes if you want and make this any size.
If you want to sew a smaller web, just stitch it. Draw on your fabric or print off my pattern, “Ms. Spider Spins at Night cc2027.” Be sure to use stabilizer under the fabric. Pin the paper onto the fabric and sew right through it, the fabric and the stabilizer, following the lines. Sew regular stitching (as the web) or zigzag (closely) to make a satin-stitch for a wider stitch (the pumpkin and moon). If you have newsprint foundation paper, you can use it, but it’s not necessary to go out and buy it. Regular computer paper works. It’s just harder on your needle and a little hard to tear. Just make smaller stitches. Tweezers help pull off the small pieces of paper.
Sewing with metallic thread, especially slick, ribbony “Sliver” (by Suilky) can be really challenging, but I have a really great tip. See my brief video on my landing page, https://sewgocreate.com, to hear my tip or buy the pattern. It’s spook-tacular and quick, very quick! Happy Haunting!
If you don’t do Halloween projects, it’s OK: don’t forget that you can also put spider webs in GARDENS…and I even have a few in my house!)
quilt labels on the back of quilts. They are especially important for quilts that are likely to be handed down to the younger generations and can contain everything from the name of the quilt and quilter to the date and information about the material or content.
If you have a lap quilt, it’s also important that the back be attractive and interesting because it will be seen. Sometimes you can find really unique backing fabrics like the rather “moony” one I found for the yellow, black and white “The Cat on the Moon”below.
If you machine-embroider a label, I recommend that you cut the fabric a lot bigger than the finished label. It’s easier to hoop and can be cut down. I usually just make a rectangle, but I’ve found it’s often nice to give it a little bound edge.
To make a bound edge, just sew a strip 1 or 1 1/4″ wide along the top and bottom, then strips along the side. Press the raw edges under to the back of the label. I use a dab of Elmer’s purple washable glue stick to hold them in place! If you prefer, you can use one long strip and miter it like a regular quilt binding.
If you have the time and inclination, you can “up your game” a little and add some embroidery, such as the butterfly on the label of “Butterflies Fly Free.”
For “The Cat in the Moon,” I decided to applique a cat in front of the moon on the back as well as the front. I left the embroidery stabilizer on the back of the label for the applique. The circle template was just a pan lid, and gathering with a basting stitch pulled the seam allowance to the back!
Labels can be small or large, with hand or machine embroidery, and as unique and fun as you want.
For more details, see the 17-min. video here on the landing page (on right hand side near top.) For a video explanation of the cat quilt, become a member of www.thefabrichut.com‘s Facebook quilting group. Just ask. It’s a fun group with lots of photos and sharing from all over the world. I’m collaborating with them to make some designs from their fabrics and then do Facebook LIVE presentations, but those are recorded so that they can be watched any time. I can only upload brief ones on my website or Facebook page; they host the longer ones. Watch me for lots of tips!
Now collaborating with www.thefabrichut.com and https://madamsew.com! Dismiss