Tag Archives: Quilting

Facings and holes again!

The subject of making holes in a block–on purpose–has come up again! I wrote about how I make them here, here and here but I’ll give it another go with my current pile of scraps…just because someone asked how to do it and I really, really want to use up those scraps! I’ll try to keep it short and illustrate with pictures, but it’s quite easy to do.

WHY would you want to do something like this when it’s so much easier to fuse on a shape or applique it? Well, sometimes you don’t want the stiffness of the fusible or you don’t like to applique or you might like the added texture of the facing as a frame. Or it’s fun and different…

I had some leftover triangle blocks and will demo with those. First thing is to choose a shape and get it on a piece of fabric that will be your facing. The facing fabric will not show, unless you really want it to and press it that way.


Place your facing fabric on the right side of your block and sew all around it on the line.


You will then cut out the hole, inside the line, pull the facing to the wrong side and press it down.


Circles need to have the seam allowance clipped all the way around. Squares, rectangles, triangles, etc. only need to be clipped in the corners, but right up to the last couple of threads in that corner!



Once it’s pressed, you are ready to audition fabrics behind your hole. The piece of fabric you choose only needs to be large enough to cover whatever hole you have made.


After that, you get to decide how you are going to make that fabric stay where you want it. Sometimes I reach into my jar of fusible scraps and fuse them to the facing. Then I throw on the hole fabric and it’s all fused together, waiting for the next step.



Sometimes I use a glue stick, or glue baste or liquid thread. I almost never use pins and if your hole is no larger than these (the whole block size here is about 7.5″) you probably don’t need anything but your final solution. And that’s where the fun begins!


You can do any number of things to your lovely little holey block! I used one of the built-in stitches on my machine and a metallic thread here. I’m not 100% sure that it’s gonna stay that way! But since the fabric isn’t fused, even if I rip this out the holes will close up with a little spritz and ironing.


I love to embroider and bead around my openings and so I created this piece.


And that’s why the subject of holes in quilts came up again! I’ll be showing everyone in my Creative Seasons art group how to do this Monday evening. We’ve had it demo’d to us before, but if you don’t do something right away, you forget how to do it! Or what you see in a demo doesn’t appeal to you or have any relevance until further down the line…I know that I’m going to have fun with these small blocks and their little holes! And there will not be one little scrap left when these are finished!





Filed under Art Quilts, Contemporary, Designing Quilts, Non-traditional Quilts, Quilting

I made a quilt!

Though it’s certainly not the first quilt I’ve made, it almost feels like it. It’s been a long time since I’ve made a regular quilt, not an art quilt and it feels really good. I need to do it more often.

I could definitely use up a lot of scraps this way, as well as all that yardage sitting on my shelves. I keep telling myself to use it, use it, use it but I am so easily distracted…

Check out the finished top


No borders…this is the final product. It’s hard to see, but there is a little bit of a focal point with a pathway through the top.


It’s those few blocks that were made with multi-fabric strips. They are in a trail from top to bottom. I know it’s there, anyway!

No idea what happens next, but I’m sure some lovely bit of fabric will attract me as I clean up the trimmings and yes, scraps, from this quilt. I believe I will be donating them to the lady who uses them for stuffing dog beds!

On to a new adventure…


Filed under Modern Quilts, Non-traditional Quilts, Quilt Design, Use Up the Stash

Aaaand….we’re going THIS way!

Well, I persevered and did not take a nap instead of sewing! Decisions were made, though I did not get as far as assembling the quilt top.

Yesterday, my design wall had this layout of blocks. Not a true design layout; just put up on the wall as the blocks were made.


I made some multi-fabric blocks and added them to see how I liked them.

tropical-triangles-5 tropical-triangles-4

Yep-worth the time it took to make them, but I’m not going to have very many of them. And I will NOT be placing the blocks randomly. I only want it to LOOK like I did!

The blocks are all trimmed now and ready to start assembly. I trimmed them to the same height so rows will be easy to put together, but the widths will be different. The columns will not line up and I think that will be much more interesting.


There is still a small pile of fabric left. If I were a pillow person, I’d make some pillows to go with the quilt. For now, I can let the pile sit there–without guilt! But that fabric WILL NOT be returning to my stash. I am done with it!


Bag of scraps will be going to another home, one way or another!

One more day of sewing should get this top finished. First full size quilt in a long, long time and it feels good!



Filed under Art Quilts, Contemporary, Designing Quilts, Use Up the Stash

Which way to go?

As you are reading this, I am in the phase of the design process where I seem to have more questions than answers.

Should I trim the blocks to all the same exact size? Or, due to the way I made them, it would be easy to trim them to all the same height and have some variety in the widths. You know I’m good with things not lining up exactly as they would with the first option.


Do I want the blocks edge-to-edge or do I want some random strips of fabric here and there to break the rhythm of all triangles?

And color–do I want truly random? Or do I want it all planned out and then get freaky if things get out of order? (I think you can tell which way I’m leaning on this question!)

And here’s the hardest question of all…I have NOT used up all the fabric in this group. I have not made any funky triangles out of the smaller bits. That’s quite time consuming but could be the sparks of interest to use instead of random bits of color thrown in. Yes, all the fabric could go into the quilt back–and probably will–but I really hate piecing the backs. Would my time be better spent fussy cutting for the front or the back? Or throw/give away the rest of the scraps? Or make them up into a second, smaller piece? Or make my quilt top bigger?


There are so many questions to answer when you are making things up as you go along. Sometimes it’s a lot easier to follow someone else’s pattern and measurements and simply sew, after they have answered all those questions and served up a design to you!

Okay, back to the design board. I am going to stay strong and answer those questions, NOT procrastinate and take a nap!


Filed under Art Quilts, Contemporary, Designing Quilts, Thinking About Quilting!

Barely sewing…

The days around Christmas have always been relaxing, do-nothing times for me and this year was no exception. Jigsaw puzzles are a big part of how I spend my time and sometimes I actually do get a little sewing done. Not so much this week, but I did a little thinking about sewing!

When I put up the scrap fabrics I had stitched together on the design wall, I wasn’t sure where I was going with them.


Making the triangles is a super easy process, but I also saw a couple pictures with related tutorials about making wonky triangle blocks as I browsed the internet this past week. I have a LOT of fabric that I could put into this piece and having several methods of using up those scraps allows me to use all sizes of scraps and end up with blocks the same size…okay, that’s part of the design decision process.

This piece is only going to have the triangles, not the other chunks of scrap pieces. Those are all in a colorway that I also have tons of, enough to make another whole quilt, at least! I also decided that I’m not going to make my triangle blocks different sizes…probably not! I’m going to start out with that plan, but if it gets too boring, I’ll throw in some sections with different size blocks.

The plan here also is to concentrate on the contrast between the light and dark. The blocks will vary with some dark triangles and bright backgrounds and vice-versa. So with all those design decisions made–and not much sewing done–this is where I’m at with the quilt.


I’m going to keep going until I use up all the scraps in this designated “group” even if it makes enough for more than 1 quilt! It can be back and front or two quilts. I don’t care…I just need to get rid of some of my mountains of scraps and this is a start! I need to stay disciplined enough to avoid the distractions of new projects and pretty fabrics.

Wish me luck!


Filed under Color, Designing Quilts, Fabric, Thinking About Quilting!

Stack of fabrics

Today was a day with no pressing chores to do, no appointments–a day made for playing with fabric. I’m done, over it, for making more Christmas ornaments, but don’t have the energy to start a “real” creative project. So I did what I always do–grabbed a stack of fabrics from the scrap pile.


I’ve been wanting to play with triangles like I saw in someone’s post a few days ago. Stack and cut–right up my alley. The thing to remember, though, is to cut right through on one side and cut down a little from the top on the other. That gives you room to trim without cutting off your point.


Switch the triangles and sew each side…and I hit a “Duh!” moment. I sewed the full cut side (right side in the picture) first and then sewed the shorter cut side.


It will work, but take a closer look at the top.


It’s supposed to have the full cut side covering that shorter cut side! I did sew the rest of the them the correct way

stack-of-fabrics-6 stack-of-fabrics-5

and now I’m trying to decide if I want to combine them with some other blocks that I created on another ‘stack of fabrics play day.’


I have plenty of additional fabrics from both stacks.


I can just keep going and make a full size quilt or I can try to make some artsy stuff and keep them separate. I’m leaning towards ‘making’ because I do want to use things up. But those triangles are so cute! Not enough of those brights to make a full quilt…but maybe I have enough hand dyes to fill in when I run out of prints.

Stack of fabrics play days always lead to something even if it’s not at all what I expected!


Filed under Art Quilts, Fabric, Use Up the Stash

Home and gone again!

Finally home from Florida, and very happy that my family is so strong and supportive during this time of sorrow. I’m also so very glad that we are an irreverent bunch that can find the humor in any situation. We cried a little and laughed a lot and said a final good bye to my mom, with all the love we have.

And now I have to organize myself to go and teach two workshops and give a lecture in Grand Rapids, for the West Michigan Quilter’s Guild. I bring quilts when I do a lecture so I haul a LOT of stuff. That got organized today…I think.


The stuff I bring for classes usually only takes a small box–nothing compared to the pile of stuff for the lecture. I am so thankful that I never had to do this for a living. My admiration for those who do raises each time I pack up and go. Of course, that’s the reason many teachers are forced to present slide lectures. There is just no way you can fly around the country with a bigger suitcase for your samples than you need for your clothes!

Haven’t had a chance to re-introduce myself to the concept of needle and thread, and may not be able to do that for a while. My studio had never been the shining example of neatness and organization that some people enjoy, but right now it’s too bad for even ME!

studio-mess-2 studio-mess-1

Every where I turn I see messes like these and it must be addressed before I can function again! I’m always complaining about how much ‘stuff’ I have and whining about needing to get rid of some of it, but I think I have truly reached my limit. It seems to be a common theme right now among many of the bloggers I follow and I think we all suffer from the same disease…addiction to beautiful fabric!

My schedule is very light after Thanksgiving, all the way through Christmas, so there will be action taken! I don’t promise to have a total studio makeover, but I will return the space to functional!

It will also be a time for me to take stock of my intentions. What is it I truly want to do? Certainly I have changed directions over all the years I’ve been a textile addict, but I know that there are things I will not revisit. That’s where I need to start at least.

In the meantime, I get to teach again! Hooray!



Filed under Art Quilts, Fabric, Family news, Life, Teaching