Thursday, September 20, 2012


I did this in acrylics about three weeks ago.  I had just purchased my oil paints, but had those all lined up looking so new and pretty and intimidating and I decided to paint this with my acrylics instead.  Go figure.  I do have a thing for numbers...well, only the shapes of them, ha, ha.  

I'm up early gathering my art supplies and heading to LaJolla to take an oil painting class.  All giggly here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Yes, a May tutorial in September.  I made this quilt for my granddaughter before we moved.  Hopefully, this one is worth the wait?


Have you ever wanted to try your hand at making a quilt, but think it’s too difficult a task?  Then you are going to love this project.  By purchasing a ready-made quilt in the size of your choice (available in most bed and bath departments for a bargain) you can make this appliqued beauty in a weekend.  Easy. Fun. Done.

½ yard cotton quilt weight fabric for stripe
Cotton quilt weight fabric scraps for approx. 15 circles
1 yard lightweight fusible interfacing
Purchased ready-made cotton quilt in either twin, full/queen, or king size
Circular items for tracing circles in a variety of sizes
Sewing machine
Cotton thread to match quilt color
Thread for basting
Hand sewing needle
Pencil, pen or fabric marker

Let’s get started!

Making the Stripe

1   Cut the ½ yard fabric (18” x 44”) into three strips 6” x 44” each 

2   Sew the strips together end-to-end, right sides together, using a ½” seam allowance.  This will result in one strip 6” wide by about 131” long 

3   Press seams open.

4   Lay the long strip of fabric wrong side up.  Fold each long side ½” and press.  Press top of strip under ½”.  Finished strip will be 5” wide.

Set aside.

Making the Circles

5    Gather a variety of round dishes, saucers, drinking glasses, etc. to trace around for the circle patterns.  The circles on the quilt shown are anywhere between 2” to 8” for a total of 15 circles.  Hint: If you have a fabric with a printed pattern you’d like to center inside the circle then use clear glass, as you can see through it.
6      Trace around one of the circles onto the wrong side of a fabric.  Hint: Use larger circles for large prints, smaller circles for the smaller prints and solids.  Cut the traced circle out and pin it wrong side up to a piece of fusible interfacing fusible side up (bumpy side).  Pin and carefully sew all the way around on the traced line.  Cut a 1/8” seam.

7     Turn the circle over and cut a slit into the middle of the interfacing.

8     Pull the fabric through the cut slit in the interfacing.  Now you have a circle with the front of the fabric on the top-side and the fusible (bumpy) side of the interfacing underneath.   Finger press and voila!  Cool, huh?  Make the remaining circles.

Putting it all together

I designed this quilt so the long fabric strip and circles can lie either on the left
side or the right side of the bed by merely turning the quilt around and you can do the same.

9     The best way to begin placement is to lay the quilt on the bed and place the strip approximately 10” in from the edge of the bed.  Align the pressed top edge of the strip right under the binding of the quilt; pin in place.  Working from top to bottom start pinning both sides of the strip to the quilt, making sure to keep the strip straight.  Cut off any excess length of the strip left over at the bottom of the quilt, making sure to leave ½” to fold under right above the quilt binding; pin in place.   Baste stitch (large stitches) with a contrasting color thread ¼” in along the edge of both sides of the strip and remove pins.

Lay the circles randomly along the inside edge of the strip and pin to the quilt. Either slip a board under the quilt on the bed or lay the quilt out on the floor to press the circles.  The iron setting should correspond with the fusible interfacing directions.  Remove pins before ironing each circle 

10    The final step is to hand applique the strip and circles using the amazing blind stitch technique (one of my personal favorites).  The stitches are almost invisible and one trick to achieving invisible stitches is to use a thread color that matches the color of the quilt exactly.  Normally, you would stitch by coming up through the back of the background fabric, but since you are appliqueing onto a finished quilt you can easily make all your stitches without going through the back of the quilt.  

Here’s how:

Choose a short hand-sewing needle, usually called “sharps”.  Thread the needle and knot one end of the thread.   Roll the edge of the applique back slightly, just enough to grab a bit of the quilt fabric with your needle without going all the way through to the backside, and pull the needle and thread until the knot stops.  The knot will be hidden underneath the applique edge.  Start the first stitch by letting your needle catch a few threads from the folded edge of the applique fabric.  Bring the needle back down directly opposite and take a tiny stitch from the quilt fabric just at the edge of the applique.  Slide the needle through along the inner edge of the applique and pull it out approximately 1/16” to 1/8” beyond where you went in.  The smaller the stitch is the better, as you want the stitch to disappear.

11   Continue taking tiny stitches until you have completed sewing the applique on.  Notice the circles will bubble up slightly, which I find quite desirable.  However, don’t pull the stitches too tightly to avoid puckering.   Knot the thread off very close to the applique.  Insert the needle in between the applique and the quilt at the knot and push the needle into the center of the applique about the length of the needle.  Pull the needle and thread up and out the top of the applique taut and snip the access thread close to the applique.  The thread poking up will instantly disappear.  Amazing, I know!  Remove any basting stitches and relish in your accomplishment.  


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