by Emma Thomas-McGinnis, artist & quilter

Strawberry Fields Forever!

January 28th, 2012 | Posted by Emma in All | Quilting - (2 Comments)

Project Quilting 3:2 – be inspired by the title of a song

I had a piano book called “The Most Beautiful Songs Ever” open on my lap and thought that was a good place to choose a title from. There were lots of very cheesy, mucky titles about love and beauty and willow and stars…but then I asked Dave for a “visual” song title and this was his first idea. Brilliant!! I’m so glad I asked him. I wanted to make a totally recognizable “Strawberry Fields” quilt and I think I love it!  I listened to the song at least six times through while working on this.

It’s mostly improvisational. I just cut some rolling hills and arranged them right onto the batting and quilted them together. I didn’t even have the size nailed down when I started. Then I cut out a bunch of little strawberry parts while on the phone with my mom! I arranged them and stitched them on in a deliberatively sketchy way. I practiced that first on a separate piece, because I really loved my hills and didn’t want to wreck them. It almost could have been complete without the strawberries. But when I placed a strawberry on the fields, it made me smile and giggle out loud, so I knew it was right!

Then I had just a small chunk of that perfectly psychedelic binding fabric. So I chose to do a single layer, fused binding cut with a wavy rotary cutter, because I had to make it fit!  The finished quilt is 10.5″ x 18″ I made a challenge to myself that no side could be more than 20″ this time, because last time I started too big! Then I had to trim the sides a little because the binding fabric was too short! But I only used scraps and I’m proud of it!

Ok, so if you aren’t playing along with Project Quilting, I just have to tell you…on a Tuesday night, when usually I would be sitting around watching tv or cleaning the house I decided to start thinking about PQ and launched into this truly wonderful evening of quilting and being creative with time I otherwise wouldn’t have used for myself. It was a real treat, got my creative juices flowing and really energized my whole week!  The one week deadline may sound crazy, but it sure eliminates the UFO problem and I end up really enjoying the process from start to FINISH!

Valentine’s Day Quilties

January 22nd, 2012 | Posted by Emma in All | Quilting - (1 Comments)

I love hearts, I love pink, I love flowers and roses and all things Valentine’s Day!!!! I just love it! Here’s a few of the fun things I’ve made for this fabulous holiday!

This first heart wreath quiltie sold the day after I posted it. Sad to see it go so fast. I love that border fabric!

This next one is available to purchase at my etsy shop and so are these fun sets of heart sachets (click the photos to go to the listings).

UPDATE: If you would like to make some of these cute little sachets, look above to the links bar and see Projects…I made up a pdf pattern for you! It’s not a step-by-step tutorial, because it’s really simple, and I like patterns that can print in only one page. If you make some, let me know, I’d love to hear about it!

I noticed that my roses quiltie had been in a few treasuries and favorites, so I decided to make another one. Love this border fabric too, it’s a little funky, a little vintagey and really pink!

Then you might not have noticed some of my zip pouches from earlier in January, they would be great for Valentine’s Day!

Can’t wait for Heart Day!

Composition Book Covers

January 3rd, 2012 | Posted by Emma in All | Quilting - (2 Comments)

I love this for a quick quilting project that looks amazing! Here’s the tutorial I used, from the Bloomin’ Workshop. It worked so well, I made three this holiday season, and if I had had more time, I would have made more. So, next school supply season, stock up on the plain composition books with the black and white covers! (I got mine for 10 cents each on school supply clearance!)

These first two were teacher gifts for the great women who teach Brennan at preschool…

fronts, backs

The inside flap, a good place to show off your quilting and tuck a little note or card.
I made this one first, for my niece, Amaria. She enjoys writing, so I knew she would love it. I also made her a matching zip pouch and filled it with fancy pens and pencils (but I forgot to take a picture of that!)

Bookmark that tutorial, it’s a great project for practicing your quilting and using your scraps.

Happy Anniversary to Us

December 13th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in All | Quilting - (2 Comments)

Sunday was my twelfth wedding anniversary! I love you, Dave!

I made this pillow for my husband. I used Tonya Ricucci’s method of improvisational piecing to make the letters in colors that look great with our couch and other couch cushions. It’s a standard size pillow, but I still made it like a quilted pillow sham, not just a standard floppy pillow case.

The close up shows the quilting. I chose to use one of Leah Day’s Free Motion Quilting Designs, called “Heart Ripples.” It’s ok to be cheesy on your Anniversary! Dave loved his gift!!

He got me the sweetest gift yet, a “new” clarinet! I’ve had a broken down old clarinet since I stopped playing after college, but would keep trying to get back into music over the years with no luck because it was so broken. Now, I have a perfectly working clarinet and I can play music again. It’s fun to play with my fifth grade son who is learning the trombone!

…and here’s the photo of Brennan with my creation! Like I said before, he sees the camera and wants to be in the picture! Gotta love it, I know many a kid who would rather hide or make goofy faces, so I love Brennan for his smiles!

Fall Placemats

November 6th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in All | Quilting - (1 Comments)

I just finished a whirlwind of inspiration that ended with a few really pretty fall placemats; perfect for Thanksgiving! Before I go back to it and finish enough for our family meal, I had to tell my quilting friends about this idea!! Maybe you’d like to whip a few up for your fancy dinner. Seriously, I thought of this at 11 a.m. this morning and I’m already made three and wrote this post, they’re that quick!

Here’s where my inspiration started…my beautiful fall fabric stash!

I cut them up into little pieces. Ranging from 1″ – 2″ in various squares and rectangles, done with a scissors for a little imperfection and a lot more fun for me.

Then I made a simple placemat out of linen. (I got a big nice stash of it at a garage sale this summer!)

I cut two linens 11.5″ x 16.5″, one batting the same size — sandwiched, pinned and sewed around the edge leaving an opening for turning. Turned it inside out and topstitched the edges; twice just to look special.

Lastly, the fun step…I stitched on the little pieces. I just used a straight stitch close to the edge (1/8″ I think.)

Snip the threads and it’s done!

I didn’t cover the whole placemat, just the one side, so it will be better for putting a plate on and it looks a little modern being asymmetrical!

You could call them “Ticker Tape” placemats, because the technique has been done before. I think Amanda Jean of “Crazy Mom Quilts” started it. Here’s her great story about it. And Sew Mama Sew did a cute doll quilt with it. I just looked at the dates of those posts and they’re pretty old, so I guess I’m behind the times, but the technique is really fun and was a great way to dress up my linens with some beautiful fall colors!

Now, how many for dinner, Mom?!

Sashiko Round Take 2

October 16th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in All | Quilting - (2 Comments)

As soon as I finished the purple and blue “Violet Sashiko” quilt (or probably even before I was done), I knew I wanted to make another in a different colorway! It was so much fun to make and I could just see the possibilities before me.

So here is the next version!

With yo yos and an appliqué instead of folded flowers, it’s a little different, but still alot of fun, I think!

Here was the first version, in case you missed it.

I’m working on writing the pattern for it. I hope to share it with you soon!!

A Bowl of Keychains

September 30th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in All | Crafts | Quilting - (3 Comments)

I finished up those keychains you got to see a peek of last post…

I wish you could hold these, because they are really so cute in person! They’re just like little baby quilts that make you want to hug ’em!

After I had this great stack of them, I thought I should have a good way for Red Barn Retreats to display them. So I got out my trusty old book “Fast, Fun & Easy Fabric Bowls” and made a nice display bowl! Really, I love making these bowls!! If you haven’t tried them yet, you really should. (Clicking that link will take you to the book on sale for a super bargain!) You won’t be able to make just one! I have made several, one is my fabric fruit bowl for my kitchen counter. But I really have to make an updated one soon, as it no longer matches my kitchen.

Anway, here’s a photo of the keychains in the bowl.

I really hope the quilters on retreat at Red Barn want to take one home as a keepsake from what I’m sure is a wonderful quilting retreat…I mean what quilting retreat isn’t time to be savored?!

Just the bowl.

Reiman Gardens Quilt Show 2011

August 8th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in All | Quilting - (1 Comments)

Now an annual event, I love the Reiman Gardens Quilt Show at Iowa State University! Beautiful garden quilts, beautiful gardens & butterflies all in one afternoon!! My boys even enjoyed our trip! Here’s just a few photos for inspiration…be sure to click them to see each one bigger.

Janet Pitman “For Frieda”…spectacular coleus!

Also by Janet below, “Butterfly Garden.” She really has a way with batiks!

Sandi Petsche “Flourishes”

Conal and Brennan were fascinated with the butterflies, both in the display case and the atrium.

Then out in the gardens, we saw our favorite butterfly, the monarch!

And there was a little fun splashed in, a beetle and some giant bugs!!

Look at that blue sky! It was a gorgeous day. Too hot and muggy to stay outside long, but at least it was pretty! We went to the pool later to compensate for the sweltering heat. All around a wonderful Sunday with my boys!

ELTM Quilt

May 17th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in All | Quilting - (0 Comments)

Everlasting, Lantana, Mermaid Water Dance, Traditional…and an original design quilt.

See this post if you have no idea what I’m talking about.

“Everlasting Tulips”

This is an original block design, with curved piecing down the center and appliquéd flowers and leaves.

This shows the binding, where I tried a new technique my Mom just taught me. “Faux-piping binding” gave the edge of the quilt a little more dimension and color without adding to the borders or size in any way. I really liked the technique, I think I will try it again sometime, but it will take practice to get it looking really nice. Here’s a tutorial I just found online. It’s the same method I used, so I won’t go into detail describing it here.

So, I didn’t get it done in time for the Project Quilting Challenge, but I did get to bring it to my small group meeting and it is just a very happy quilt that I’m glad I made!

Oh wait, here’s another flower photo…mostly for my Mom. Thanks for showing me the cool binding trick, thank you for the lilac and happy spring!

Project Quilting Off-season

May 12th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in All | Quilting - (0 Comments)

I have been working on my challenge about the colors of my initials, but I just finished it last night, not by the Sunday deadline. I blame soccer and seam ripping!

But I thought you might be interested in seeing the Project Quilting pieces that were submitted…

Very pretty, huh?! From left to right, top row: Uniquely Nancy “Starry, Starry Night shoulder bag”, Marcia’s Crafty Sewing & Quilting “Marcia’s Tiny Treasures, ForQuiltsSake “Celebrate Your Differences” and bottom row: Kim Lapacek “The Tree”, AllthingsBelle “Garden Party, and Diane Lapacek “Pansy Fury”

I love the last two.

Middle bottom row, AllThingsBelle, said she had been wanting to try the “Sprockets” pattern. I think she’s talking about the same one I have on my ironing board (from Cluck, Cluck, Sew)…so that was fun to see. I love the embroidery hoop idea! I’ve also been wanting to try that as a mounting technique.

And lastly, Diane’s is gorgeous! She has been a judge for most (if not all) of PQ, so it was fun to see what she did with the challenge! It’s obvious she’s a great choice for a judge, her work is amazing. The color scheme is really cool, the design is interesting and the quilting intense! I’m not sure I like the lower left hand corner. She says it was for balance with the curves, but somehow it’s just too much of a contrast without anything tying them together in one composition. (except the intense colors, which by the way, she dyed herself!!)

The others are great too! I can’t believe Kim was still getting that quilt done just before her new baby was born!

So go read their stories and look closer if you’d like at Kim’s Crafty Apple….

I’ll show you mine tomorrow. Now I want to wait until after my small group meeting tonight to post a pic, so none of those friends see it here before they see it at our “reveal.”