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Ombré Jelly Roll Sample Project

I had to make a quilt from a rail fence design recently, for a possible class, and instead of using the pattern suggested I went and made my own. Happy about that too – the pattern called for 15 blocks of 5 strips sewn together plus a thin and fat border. The preview of the finished quilt pattern was not calling to me, and when I mocked it up in Photoshop, it wasn’t working there either. Also based on the quantity of jelly roll strips I wanted to work from, I needed to change it up.

I had been holding on to 2 jelly rolls of ombré fabric from Marcus fabrics, not quite sure what to do with them, but hoping for a good project. Then when this came along I figured that was it; I used a warm and a cool jelly roll of the ombré tye dye fabrics, a total of 80 strips. I grouped my sets into 4’s instead of 5, and tried to group the strips by color. As usual some colors didn’t always group perfectly together, and I ended up with an extra brown or grey or neutral here and there, but for the most part I tried to keep it all grouped by color.

Once all 80 strips were sewn into groups of 4, it was time to cut. Here you can see edge to center of a grey group:

I cut all the squares from the strip sets, but I only needed 4 squares from each, even though I had enough to cut 5 squares from each set. When you look at the entire set above, you can see where the middle gets really light and the outer edge is much richer or darker for each color, but where the midtone separates from the dark isn’t always easy to see. I cut the center section first as I wanted all the light squares. Then I cut one of the dark ends for the dark blocks, then I went back and cut 2 middle sections for the midtone blocks. With this set of green you can see the light and dark blocks on the left, and the midtone blocks on the right. Once cut, it’s a lot easier to see the separation.

Once all the blocks were cut it was time to separate out light, medium and dark blocks, and figure out how to arrange it. I wanted to keep some semblance of color order since I had grouped the strips by color, but some were easier to figure out than others. I wanted the light blocks in the center, and work out to the dark blocks on the outer edges. I also had a separate plan for the center block. This was my final photo layout, but I think it may have changed by a block or two when I went to sew it together:

For the center block, I wanted to use the leftover dark edges for a focal point. I was playing around with color combinations and ended up with this, but later realized the strips were not wide enough when you factor in all the seam allowances.

Notice in the image below, the center block has a thin grey border around it, from leftover strips, to make it the same size as the other blocks. This is the finished quilt top, currently on a store display.

And that block from above that wasn’t quite big enough? I turned it into a colorful mug rug that now resides on my cutting table. I used an extra strip piece for the back and wrapped it around on top for binding. Quick and easy.

I’m thinking an all-over design for the quilt would be interesting since there are so many lines, but I don’t know what yet. Any ideas?


Project-In-Progress Labels

Sometimes when you are working on a project you need to cut and/or sort a lot of pieces, fabric, colors, etc. into piles before you can begin. In cases like this, project labels are very handy and you don’t need to worry about post-it notes that are attached, but may fly away from the “wind” of the fabric you just moved to iron or cut. Back when I started working on my Gravity quilt top, I embroidered project labels to help the process of Gravity, because for each block you would have 6 colors and multiple cuts for A, B, C, D, E and F. I used them back when working on Gravity, but I just finished them the other day.

I embroidered each letter and number onto thick canvas. I used the Typewriter Keys Alphabet from Urban Threads. The keys shown here are the 1.02″ size key, there are also three other sizes available (0.71″, 1.50″ and 2.01″). I took a large piece of canvas and drew erasable lines roughly 3″ apart, and noting the center of where I wanted each letter. With my embroidery machine I was able to say “start here” for each letter, which made it simpler for placement on a large piece of canvas, and then cut down to the 36 individual squares shown below. I also chose 36 different colors of Madeira embroidery thread plus white for the letter and outer border. Not required, I just wanted them to be colorful.

After each letter was embroidered, I cut the squares out to about 2.5″ individual squares, and cut 2″ plain canvas squares for the back. Using fabric glue, I glued the plain 2″ square to the center back of the letter, hiding the embroidery. After letting the fabric glue dry, I went back and sewed in a circle, one by one, each typewriter key to permanently connect the front and back together. Again not a requirement, just a more finished appearance for me, plus it’s a little more weighted. Finally, I took a small ruler and measured about 1/2″ off the edge of each letter, for a final 2″ square size, and used pinking shears to trim the front canvas square to about 2″ each. They even stack together nicely.

I know there is a paper version out there that would have been much quicker, but I really like how these turned out; I like the appearance of the typewriter key, and they are colorful with 36 different embroidery threads, and made out of durable canvas. If you would like to make your own, it will probably take a few hours for embroidery, and a few hours for cutting, gluing, sewing, and cutting again – each embroidered key is almost 2000 stitches, plus the other steps. But I think it’s totally worth it. And they will be used for many, many projects in the future.

80’s T-Shirt Quilt

My husband’s 80’s T-shirt Quilt is finally finished! I started this a long time ago, right after I started sewing again, and took a class to learn how best to make a t-shirt quilt. It started as a surprise for my husband, but when I revealed what I was working on, he was very helpful with input, and adding more shirts to the design to make it much bigger than I initially planned.

I believe I started with 16 shirts for a 4×4 layout. He kept finding other shirts he wanted to add to the quilt, so first it was 16, then 20, and now the final 25 in a 5×5 layout. Luckily I ordered extra fabric for the backing and binding and I had enough to make the back and binding with the larger size.

Some shirts I bought, some were donated from my t-shirt collection, a couple from my husbands, and a few new “old” designs were added at the end for the overall collection.

M*A*S*H is his all-time favorite show, so I knew I had to get a M*A*S*H shirt in there but knew better than to cut his up, or ask him to donate it. So I donated mine. But my shirt wasn’t big enough, so I had to create borders from the back of the shirt to make it big enough. Each shirt square is 15″. The owl POPS shirt was also mine. I had hoped to grab the Sam Eagle Los Angeles 1984 Olympics shirt and add to my Olympic shirt collection, but he loves that one right in the center.

For the back of the quilt he decided to be totally different and use the same fabric I used when making a neck pillow for him for sore muscles and headaches – the back and binding fabric is from the Princeton fabric line from Northcott fabrics. And he wanted the quilting to match the back, so I used a machine quilting pattern in a simple damask for overall quilting to blend in on the back, and hopefully disappear on the shirts on the front.

And now that it is completely finished, it is folded neatly, sitting on the chair in his office so no one can damage it in any way. At least he loves it.


School Auction Seahawks Football Quilt

Last weekend my son’s elementary school had an auction to benefit the school. The auction is held every 2 years and includes big ticket items like home renovations and trips, as well as classroom projects made by all the students. This year I was asked to make a quilt to donate to the auction, and though I didn’t get to start as early as I’d hoped, I was able to complete a quilt in time, and I am hopeful that the new owner loves it.

Our school is located just outside of Seattle, so you can imagine the level of Seahawks fever around here. My quilt was packaged as part of the “sports enthusiast” basket. It included tickets to home games for the Seahawks, Mariners and Sounders {I think}. There was some Sounders memorabilia in there and probably Mariners, but the big draw was my football quilt. Oh, and a signed Richard Sherman #25 football. But really it was all about my quilt. Actually, the quilt was packaged inside out so they didn’t even know the soft fuzzy goodness they were bidding on to take home!

Initially I was going to make this out of basic cotton and I used my husband’s Seahawks football to get a good color match on the brown, but when we went to the store to buy the fabric, he said “why don’t you use this, this would be much better.” It turned out to be velour – which I have never sewn before, much less made an entire quilt and binding out of! But I got it to work. {About halfway through I was going to have my husband take over and finish…} The velour was very slippery and difficult to sew – the funny thing is it was actually easier to sew when I had larger pieces – the small pieces I was trying to sew together first were a nightmare to try and keep in place. I had to use glue to baste them together and sew, and then only after the entire section was done, and I had no more extra fabric, did I realize I used the permanent glue and it wasn’t going to wash away – the center part with the laces.

If you ever try to combine velour and glue, don’t use Fabri-Tac unless you know it won’t be an issue. Luckily there was a solution and I was able to use a combination of acetone and Q-tips and remove all of the extra glue that had oozed out, but next time I will try a different glue. I did end up getting it all out, and it is lovely and soft and fuzzy. And I have no idea who the new owner is, but I hope they enjoy watching many games at home under their new football blanket – soft and warm and fuzzy on both sides!

Once I had the quilt top de-glued and washed (that is one bonus about using velour on a quilt top, you can wash it whenever and it will be just fine!), I was ready to quilt. Even though I had fleece for the backing, and velour for the top, I decided to add a layer of batting in the middle for that extra warmth and coziness. I quilted an outline in white around the laces, and several white lines across the thick white stripes. That was it. I didn’t want to overdo it. I had wanted to quilt SEAHAWKS on one side and the logo on the other side, but just didn’t have the courage, or the time.

The back of the quilt:

And a shot of the quilt finished with velour binding – not my favorite binding to sew on, but it’s soft and fuzzy. And Barnum approved.

And I don’t have any of the other classroom projects, but my son’s class made a woven blanket! Each student made melted wax artwork in art class, and then the art was then digitized and uploaded online to be woven into a blanket. My son didn’t tell me what they were working on for the class project, I think he wanted it to be a surprise. But I was gifted with the original melted wax heart art for my birthday. That will go in my permanent collection. My Riley artwork collection.

Classroom Project Description: Woven Photo Blanket 54″ x 70″. Hearts created by all the students using melted wax crayons (encaustic). Photo images of hearts printed on woven blanket.

Quote: “With Love and Patience, Nothing is Impossible.” – Daisaku Ikeda

Minecraft Quilt Block Alternate: Ocelot

I had a recent request from Kelly who is using 9 of the Minecraft Block designs to make a quilt for her daughter’s class fundraiser; the nine blocks include the request of an Ocelot or Cheetah (the cheetah is the school mascot). I have a feeling there is going to be one happy kid at that school after the fundraiser!

I did a search for Minecraft Ocelot and Cheetah and didn’t find much for Cheetah, but found several images for Ocelot. I came up with an initial concept that I shared with both Kelly, and my son Riley. Kelly liked what I came up with and wanted to add more spots for the cheetah for school. Riley told me to remove 2 of the spots and make it an Ocelot. So with this information, you can either run with it as is and have an option for an ocelot, or add some more spots, and have a cheetah. Either way I think he’s pretty cute, and this little guy will be turning into a pillow for my son’s bed, as his quilt top is already complete!

As for why I haven’t shown you a completed Minecraft Quilt yet, my son is still debating on the back of the quilt design. I’m thinking with how detailed the front quilting will be with all the pixels, I think we should just do a solid black, quilt all the pixels, and be done! I am not looking forward to quilting all those pixels for 16 blocks, plus the 5-foot long title block! But I need to get it done. I need it off my plate! But here is a photo of the completed quilt top:

To create the Ocelot block you will need the following Kona solids:

  • Kona Banana
  • Kona Yarrow
  • Kona Raffia
  • Kona Jungle
  • Kona Coffee
  • Kona Espresso
  • Kona White

Add this pattern and all the others to your Craftsy Library.

And this morning I put together a quilt top kit listing on Etsy which will give you the fabric to make all 16 blocks as seen above, the Title Block, the sashing, borders and binding, plus the bonus Ocelot block. It will also include enough fusible grid to make all the blocks. You can find it on Etsy.

I want to thank all of you who have followed along with this Minecraft Quilt Along series and saved the patterns to your Craftsy libraries. I would love to see the progress you are making on your blocks! Share your progress on Instagram with the hashtag #MinecraftQAL. And please upload your finished projects on Craftsy – I would love to see them!

ON ANOTHER NOTE: One of my next blog posts will have an update on the Urban Pods quilt. I have had a couple requests recently to show photos of the completed quilt, as well as some tips on getting the top sewn together. I found the pattern (it was buried) and I had to fix my ruler, it snapped during construction a couple months ago, and now I just need to do a refresher course for myself on block construction and some photography. Thank you to Jane and Janet for your patience – I should have that blog post up soon!

I also have a few other patterns I am working on and hope to have those available soon as well as photos of the completed quilts, and the stories behind them.