Happy Scrappy Day!

Here are some scrappy quilt ideas, including a quickie–read to the end!

After I finish a big project and am finally cleaning up, I get to curate the scraps. What fun! First are the largest scraps. If I have over a yard, I’m thrilled. I label and fold it and put it in the appropriate bin for that color. Likewise, even an 1/8th or 1/4th or so gets a label and is filed with other “under 1/2” yd. pieces. What do I label?–because I have a business, I record the amount, price, year bought and store where bought, which makes it easy to find on my inventory. Certainly, you don’t have to go that far, but knowing the amount can definitely be helpful. (By the way, I use scrap paper stapled to the selvedge).

Now for the bitties. You are probably one of three types of persons. The “clean-out” type will just throw scraps away and never bat an eyelash over it. The “keepers” will keep larger pieces for paper-piecing, applique, or scrap quilts. Then there are extreme “hoarders” for whom throwing away the tiniest piece feels like pulling out a fingernail. Those little bits I sort by color and put in plastic bags, and the teeny scraps I keep in a box and may never use, except for tiny paper-pieced brooches and necklaces. (That’s probably mostly in my imagination, but fabric is getting expensive, right? At least that’s my excuse.) Lately, though, I’ve been bagging them for a friend with young children. They make good collages.

So what do you reasonable type do with those medium scraps? One fun challenge is to make a “charm quilt,” where every piece is a different fabric. Here is my Apple Core quilt with about 900 different fabrics, based on decades of buying fabric.

Traditional Apple Core

My Apple Core is queen-sized, but you can certainly make any sized quilt you want (or have the scraps to do).

(Contact me for a free Apple Core pattern–it’s a traditional pattern available many places.)

For instance, the simple “pocket lozenge” block I’ve designed lends itself well to a scrap quilt of any size.

Pocket Lozenge Throw cc2311

For this “throw” or lap quilt, I limited the colors to blues and berries and called it “Moody Blues.” One great thing about THIS pattern is that it uses both large and small scraps. <Pocket Lozenge Throw #CC2311 – SewGoCreate>

If you’d like to make a baby quilt, below is a possibility that used a bunch of my pastels: <Bouncing Ball Baby Quilt #CC2304 Fat Quarter Friendly – SewGoCreate>. It’s a bit complex, but fun.

Bouncing Ball baby quilt cc2302

Prefer a smaller project? How about a wall hanging?

Love in a Little Log Cabin

If you like paper-piecing, try this log cabin. The heart could be reds or burgundies or even another color, such as white (different white prints on muslin tone-on-tones) and course, the background color could change to whatever you want. There are some VERY small pieces in this one! <“Love in a Little Log Cabin” #CC2108 Paper-Pieced Wall Hanging – SewGoCreate>

Kite Charmer: Sleeping on a Cloud

This kite pattern (also paper-pieced) is a little trickier. You work with a whole row; matching the corners takes some patience, but it can be a welcome challenge. Constructed done with strips of paper-pieced triangles. It, too, is a “charm quilt.” (Notice that I put Elvis in the puffy 3D clouds!) <Kite Charmer: Sleeping on a Cloud #CC2104 – SewGoCreate>.

Still too much work? Well, I have a great solution. READY?

I’ve been making “Meemaw Towels” for my booth in Poppy Layne Vintage, Wetumpka. I get 28″- square plain white “flour sack” towels (available at Walmart or on line). About 4″ up from the bottom I sew on a row of squares (yes, scraps!) I find that eleven 3″-squares work perfectly. I press under the top and bottom and use a buttonhole stitch to applique the row in place. Sometimes the squares are random and sometimes I get a few matching squares to work in–I just blend together some colors that don’t clash. In any case, they are fast to make and popular!

SEW…this has been an edition of “waste not, want not”–love those scraps!

Back at you soon–I have some big news coming up this summer. Stay tuned…..

Does LIFE get in your way?

Maybe not, but sometimes it does in mine.

(BTW, sorry if you’re receiving this a 2nd time, but the English instructor in me couldn’t stand the subject/verb agreement error; I simply HAD to update. As it republishes, emails might be re-sent, but I can’t control that.)

I have to apologize. A “few” weeks ago, I promised to finish and publish a pattern for a wall hanging called “Playing with Marbles: Oops, One Escaped!” It had just received a ribbon in an art show, and I was very excited to share the pattern. It includes 3D stuffed marbles.

“Playing with Marbles: Oops, One Escaped” by LJ Christensen

Yeah, right….excited and eager until LIFE GOT IN THE WAY!

It wasn’t bad; it was just an overwhelmingly busy time for me…you know, the times when you feel you’re juggling 12 balls (or perhaps marbles), they’re all in the air, and you’re not sure you can catch ANY….?

At least that’s my excuse.

What happened was even more exciting to me, though. A new vintage/artisan shop opened up in Wetumpka and was looking for vendors. I dived right in and now have a presence in Poppy Layne Vintage on Commerce Street as well as Market Shoppes on Market Street.

In an effort to deconflict, I’m concentrating on Wetumpka tourist items/photo gifts at Market Street and “soft creations,” quilts and patterns at Poppy Layne.

I put my photos on everything from photo cards to totes, umbrellas., puzzles and even Rubik’s cubes!

A variety of Libby’s “Funbrellas,” now primarily at Poppy Layne with ones of the bridge at Market Shoppes.

Below is one of my photos–currently at both Market Shoppes and The Kelly Art Gallery (on Commerce St. right across from Poppy Layne). I have large photos on canvas, but small copies of this one are also on custom-designed cards.

“Watching over Wetumpka” by LJ Christensen

Naturally, I was super-busy, trying to plan and set up a display in the new shop, manage a new inventory and make all new tags… while also entering another art contest. I’m so proud to have gotten an Honorable Mention at Society of Arts and Crafts’ Member Show in Montgomery on another new photo below:

“Mist on the Coosa” by LJ Christensen

Wait a minute–this is SUPPOSED TO BE a quilting blog, right? OK, I’m off topic, but my Christensen Creations label includes my photography, so I do have to tend to it now and then.

In the meantime, the marbles pattern was all ready to publish except for two photos,which I still haven’t taken–see, photography IS involved! However, just to make things crazy, TAXES were due.

Hello, IRS, it’s just really not convenient at the moment because I’m busy, but alas, the government doesn’t listen to me or run on MY schedule. All my samples and 100s of small items for sale have to be tracked for fabric, notions, thread, tags, etc. Funsies. (Not.)

So once taxes were tallied and sent, back to the pattern drawing board, which Word decided to “save and update” for me. Note to self: Do NOT let Word update files! It managed to destroy my lay-out, causing me to make literally 100s of small changes to get it back in order. My “update” became a “downdate”–you can add that to the dictionary.

Ready to publish at that point? Nope. Why? Because I’ve signed up for a booth in the Charis Crafters’ big spring craft show next Saturday (April 30, 9am-3pm, Wetumpka Civic Ctr, bring a canned food item for entry). I’m looking forward to it, but it means I’ve spent another multitude of hours retagging and planning for smaller “$25 and under” pieces, including my PATTERNS. However, my patterns are laid out for page-by-page download, like a college paper or other document. I haven’t PRINTED patterns in years, but when I do, I prefer to fold them to make a cover with photo and description and a back that has a list of the supplies. It slips in a plastic sleeve, you see.

In other words, can you say RE-lay-out? Awkward in that one pattern I had to do, but even more awkward in the 100 patterns I’ve published, mostly on line. So I guarantee they won’t all make it to the booth, but I will have a basketful–how full it is will no doubt be inversely proportional to my lack of sleep this week.

So, there I’ve laid out some good excuses, well, some excuses for getting behind. It’s not that I’ve been lollygagging. I just changed some priorities. That sounds good. I’ll use that explanation to save face.

I have to also admit that I’ve taken some time out to search on line for jewelry supplies. I’ve been working on a way to get my photos onto reversible pendants with a tiny quilt on the opposite side. My first attempts were so clunky that they became paper weights! I’m serious! What a transformation. But at least I’m back to quilting! And maybe, just maybe, I can locate my camera and finish up that pattern…..sometime soon…ish.

I’ve Got Your Back

Well, YOU have to have your back. Blog includes tips on quilt backings. Selection of valentine, love, heart quilt patterns for sale by download. Different sizes from 12″ hot pad to lap quilts. GREAT directions with diagram and some photos.

…Well, YOU have to have your back. When quilting, we have to think about how to make up the back. In my grandmother’s day, they used cheap muslin or a sheet. Actually, a sheet can be a good choice; however, if hand-quilting, be sure to examine the thread count and check if your needle is comfortable sliding through. As for muslin, it’s not a cheap as it used to be (what is?), but you can now get it in a double-wide 90″ in a nice quality.

I will admit that I recently used a (gasp!) POLYESTER microfiber bed sheet, and it was the softest, silkiest backing I’ve ever made. I had pre-washed all the fabric, so why not? We now use polyester thread, which, by the way, works MUCH better in a quilting machine. (My favorite is Omni by Superior threads).

These days, however, there are 100’s of more interesting choices for backings than a solid-color sheet. You can buy 108″-wide fabric now. Although a local shop may not carry many colors, you can go to Keepsake Quilting on line for a huge variety. They sell it by the yard or in 3-yd packages and are currently putting a few on sale every “Wide-Back Wednesday”–some fabulous prints.

You may have to piece the back, though. Buy twice the length you need, of course, but I suggest using one whole width and then distributing the next by cutting it in half lengthwise and sewing half on each side. No particular reason except I think it looks better than a seam down the middle.

Have you ever had to lengthen a back piece? I certainly HAVE. Sometimes I’m just out of fabric (or I miscut!!! ARGHH) What to do??? No naughty words–just PIECE it. Look how darling this last “Hearts for the Sweet” turned out.

Hearts for the Sweet cc2323

I only had 1 yd of fabric for a 42″ quilt, so I started with a 6 1/2″ strip of the red I’d used on the front. That was the first mistake…I forgot to count in the seam allowance of the one-yard piece. OOPS! 2nd mistake–I shouldn’t have cut the strip until I’d pre-washed the fabric. OOPS again! It shrank. I was a good inch short, yet a backing really should be a little longer and wider. Oh no!!

OK, …back to the drawing board. I had cut a lot of strips of the rainbow print for the ruffle and just happened to have one left–thank goodness! Not only was it 3″ wide, perfect width, but it’s so cute that it looks planned.

I later came back with more red for the embroidered label, which I whipped in the middle, overlapping a bit, just to be artistic. The back of this quilt is almost as darling as the front. Remember that unlike bed or wall quilts, the back on a lap quilt won’t be hidden. The morals to the story are to “Make it Attractive and Remarkable, maybe even Gushworthy” and “Two Wrongs Can Indeed be Righted.”

Hearts for the Sweet cc2323

This new valentine quilt just published this week is simple. It includes directions and lots of photos this time as well as diagrams for inserting a ruffle or a regular binding. After all, we do love our little boys, too–this could be quite masculine in primary colors with vehicles or spiders or something….ick, maybe not spiders with hearts, but you get the idea. The ruffle has lace on the edge, making it extra special, but it’s really fast to make with a binding instead– without having to tediously gather the ruffle. Another idea is to buy wide ruffled lace instead of a ruffle.

If you have plenty of time in the next week, you could attempt this “Check Out My Purple Heart,” but it’d also be great for Father’s Day with its sophisticated spin on mulberry with yellow to tone down the “pink.” It’s also a large 54″ square, a great size for a man (or woman–hey, try it in pinks ,roses or lilac!)

Check Out my Purple Heart cc2309

The wall hanging below will take considerably MORE time and may not be ready until Christmas or someone’s birthday, but it was so much fun to make from scraps. Those are little paper-pieced log cabin blocks, which are easier when sewing small blocks. However, the pattern could easily be enlarged by simply enlarging the blocks and could be sewn traditionally if you prefer. (I’d like to make it queen-sized for my bed, with a rosy burgundy heart.)

Love in a Little Log Cabin cc2108

On the other hand, you may be pressed for time. I get it! You can still create a marvelous little valentine for your sweetheart, friends or family in just a few hours. This 12″ Platter Pad is both useful and decorative. You can even replace the top-sewn lace with double-folded bias tape if lace is inappropriate–super-quick finish–you don’t have to satin-stitch the edge!

Simply Sweet Heart cc2016

I really hope you’ll take time to sew a special valentine. So precious–so few calories! I’ve omitted the links for fear of going onto SPAM lists, but you can go to my website: https://sewgocreate.com and easily search “Hearts” or “Love.” Some of these are on sale until Feb. 14….spreading MY love to you. Libby

It’s F season!

Of course, if you’re from Alabama you know that means FOOTBALL, not fall. It can still be 80-90 degrees in the fall, so we get vibes not from the trees, but from the stadiums!

Christensen Creations will not take sides, so I designed special lap quilts/wall hangings for both University of Alabama and for Auburn. If you’re from Alabama, there’s 99% chance you root for one or the other! These cute quilts are very quick to make and sized just big enough to be a cozy little stadium lap quilt or small enough to hang on the wall (or over the back of couch) or even at the end of a bed in a dorm room! You can decide how you want to use yours!

Alabama Elephant Flag cc2321

Click here to buy: U of AL Elephant Flag Lap Quilt or Hanging #CC2321

Auburn Tiger Flag cc2320

Click here to buy: Auburn Tiger Flag Lap Quilt or Hanging #CC2320

If you don’t feel like quilting, you can find both of these for sale this week at Market Shoppes in downtown Wetumpka, but I encourage you to make your own. I used Kona cotton. (The red is really a little more crimson than it looks in the photo.) The Kona white is nice and thick. Kona is readily available in most fabric stores, even Hobby Lobby, so it’s easy to find. It doesn’t seem to fade much, but I ALWAY S pre-wash several times just to make sure the intense colors don’t bleed later.

I used a gentle curve of quilting down each stripe and fancier free-motion quilting inside animals. The tiger didn’t show up well, but here’s the elephant. I used a whirl to indicate the eye, some big loops on the ear and some zigzags on the trunk to suggest wrinkles. People complain that “Quilt as desired” is not helpful, so I’m trying to include some ideas along with my patterns.

Alabama Elephant Closeup by LJ Christensen

The pattern is easy to cut because it’s primarily based on strips, mainly 2 1/2″ and 1 1/2″ strips. I love rotary cutting and strip-piecing–so much quicker than scissors and more accurate as well.

However, one issue I encountered was trying to keep track of the pieces that were so close in size: 5″, 4″, 3 1/2″, 5 1/2″, etc. Because I cut and sewed all in one evening, I just lined mine up from largest to smallest on a side table. That wasn’t too bad for the elephant because there were fewer pieces. The tiger with all the similar strips was more confusing.

One thing you can do is mark each piece. We used to mark on the back when sewing garments. Today there are water-dissolvable markers, but I like the heat-erasable even better. Wow! Those new Frixion pens erase with the touch of an iron! You don’t have to order them from a special quilt shop either; they’re are Office Depot! I’ve bought all colors, but I still prefer the black or blue.

A quicker fix is to stack same-size pieces together and just make a little paper note with the size. If it’ll be a while before I sew, I’ll pin a stack together. I love flower head pins because they’re long and very sharp. You can even get some that have numbers on them, which are great to use for inch sizes. You can also sort by colors–I’ve used rainbow order to indicate sizes. A quick tip, though, is that you can WRITE on the flowers! Just use a fine Sharpie. You can indicate sizes or rows or types of blocks. I don’t like to mark permanently, though, so my “go-to” is to have scrap paper tucked under my cutting board. I pull off a piece and write down my number or whatever to pin to a stack or a piece, then throw it away later.

I’m sure there are fancier ways of organizing block and pieces, perhaps in clear plastic bags or something like that, but for a quick quilt like these little gems, you only have to get organized for a couple hours. When worse comes to worst, it’s really not a major issue to have to find a ruler and simply remeasure!

Whether you’re a football fan or a football widow or just looking for a cute gift idea, consider one of these patterns. They’re on sale for just $3.50 for this one week~so hurry! If you have a “divided” family, you may even need both.

Fall fell! I promised and

…now it’s here! Fall fell and so did the new pattern. I call this runner “Running to Fall”; it is the promised match to the “When Autumn Leaves Start to Fall” Platter Pad. I love how it turned out with so many colors. Every one came from my stash–the stripes only take about 5-6″ and except for backing, every color in the runner is just 1/4-3/8 yd. It’s all 2 1/2″ stripes and squares, too, so it’s “jelly roll friendly.”

On sale the rest of October for just $3.50 and if you use the latest GUILD1 , you can get it $3 off. Do the math! That is practically free for my followers. (By the way, a special welcome to Eve and Tina!)

Here’s the latest pattern. Click here for info or to buy.

Running to Fall: Runner in 3 sizes by LJ Christensen

I’m happy with the way the leaves turned out; they’re simple but evocative. Sometimes just a few leaves or even just one can speak to you, like the brilliant colors, contrast or mood in my photos:

Colored and Curled by LJ Christensen
Raining Cats and Dogwood by LJ Christensen
“One is the Loneliest Number” by LJ Christensen

Another couple of fall quilted items are in process–keep watch!

Changing seasons…

…or maybe it’ll be hot summer forever here in Alabama. The only leaves in MY yard are sickly dry brown ones from the drought. However, it finally rained… and was dark and cool for a little while this weekend, which made me think of autumn. In celebration, I’ve put “When Autumn Leaves Start to Fall” Platter Pad on sale for just $1.00 the rest of the month. It’s super easy and really lovely–a nice seasonal touch for your kitchen or table. Keep watching because within a few days there will be a pattern for a matching runner. (It’s ready to quilt right now!)

Click here for more information:

“When Autumn Leaves Start to Fall” by LJ Christensen

While I miss the bright colors of flowers, I have to admit that autumn has its own magnificence and is inspiring my designs this month.

Autumn Branches by LJ Christensen
Country Colors by LJ Christensen

and especially for quilters!!!

Quilted Barn by LJ Christensen

CELEBRATING 50 PATTERNS with…

50-50-50 SALE!!!

I went over 50 posted patterns this week, so I put 50% (25) of them on sale for 50% off ($1.75-$3.75) for 25 days until the end of September. If you’ve been thinking about trying one or have a friend who quilts, NOW is the time! There won’t be this many on sale again for a LONG time.

Click here to go to sewgocreate.com

I’m also celebrating the coming of the framer…by this time next week, we may actually have some wooden beams up for the new Sewgocreate Christensen Creations Studio. So it’s a red-letter day for us!!

Create your own quilt room!
#CC1005 The Quilts in My Cupboard by LJ Christensen