by Emma Thomas-McGinnis, artist & quilter
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The last challenge of season three was to play with zig zags. I had seen zig zags made with half square triangles and thought it looked pretty fun. I also just got a hand-me-down charm pack (Thank you, Veronica!) so I decided to use it for this challenge.  Lastly, I had seen this video from Missouri Star Quilt Company about how to make half-square triangles from charms….that’s how it all started. (more…)

Project Quilting 3:4 Barn Quilt

February 26th, 2012 | Posted by Emma in All | Quilting - (5 Comments)
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The theme for Project Quilting Challenge 4 of Season 3 is Barn Quilts. I did some research and found some beautiful barn quilt images from Iowa.

Luchsinger/Butler Barn, Dike Iowa

Bernie & Elaine Schnell, Parkersburg Iowa

Robert & Eileen Murra

So my concept started with a red barn sewing machine cover. I recently read that you should cover your machine to keep out dust. I’ve only ever thought of the dust that accumulates while I’m sewing, but I suppose there is just dust that will get in by sitting out too, so now I will keep it covered more while I’m not using it. I only had one good red fabric, so instead of piecing it together, I just quilted the lines for the slats of the barn wood, horizontal for most of it, vertical for the door. I added white windows and trim, like the Luchsinger barn and so many others. And I just happened to have a nice gray shingle-looking fabric for the roof. I constructed it in three pieces, the middle and two sides. The roof has a peltex stiff interfacing inside it that is pretty stiff. That way, the top is straight like a roof and the sides drape down nicely. Otherwise, I think it would have been lumpy and look more like my sewing machine than a barn.

Here are some photos.

Most barn quilts are painted onto plywood and hung as signs on the barns, so that’s how I did my barn quilts too, sort of! I painted white fabric, then sandwiched it into a little quilt and hung that on the side of the barn with some whipstitching. I like how they stand out a little from the barn. The painting was a little tricky and impossible to get totally smooth lines and pointy points. I taped it down, but it was still painting on fabric. But not as tricky as if I had tried to piece a three inch block that complicated!

Overall, I’m very happy with my new sewing machine cover! And I’m proud to have it done before the Sunday morning deadline!

Project Quilting 3:3 Tools

February 12th, 2012 | Posted by Emma in All | Quilting - (0 Comments)
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mmmm PIE

For the Project Quilting Challenge theme of “Tools”, I chose pie-making tools as my subject. Pies are a big deal in my family; my mom is an expert pie-maker. We all love to eat pies on holidays. I have been making them for years and I’m fine at it, but it’s never quite as good as my mom’s pie. This year for Christmas she gave me a few tools of the trade, so maybe someday my pies will come close to the quality of hers!

I also enjoy making pies because it seems like such an old-fashioned homemaker-thing to do, so I made this quilt a little old-fashioned too with hand-quilting and a little primitive style. Because of all the hand-stitching I planned to do (and to give it a more kitcheny heritage) the quilt sandwich is made with kitchen-towel woven cotton for the batting. That made it a breeze to stitch through, but gave it a nice quilt weight too.

This mini quilt is 16″ x 19″

I gave it some three-dimensional details, such as the braid for the pie crust….I wish I could make pretty fluted crust edges like my mom can do!! The pastry blender has real wires. They are plastic-coated wires so they won’t rust on my quilt! The rolling pin is stuffed to be slightly rounded. The rolling cloth is the same kitchen towel fabric that is inside the quilt. I hemmed it before sewing on the appliqué to make it look more like a kitchen cloth.

One of my favorite features is the bottom border fabric. It is a leftover from the first curtain I made from my very first kitchen!

I hung it in my dining room recently because I had to wash my other cafe curtain. Look at that cute patchwork! It’s so fun to see old fabric like that be put to another good use. I love my new PIE quilt!

See the other Project Quilting entries at www.KimsCraftyApple.blogspot.com or The Project Quilting Flikr Group.

Oh, and I think you should see my mom, Ginny, the master pie-maker that inspired me to make this quilt. Here she is with her grandson. I’m pretty sure there was a pie in the oven when this photo was taken!

Strawberry Fields Forever!

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

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The first challenge of the season ended this Sunday, so here’s how it turned out…

There were more entries than ever before! Click the collage image at the bottom of the post to be brought to the Flickr Gallery and see them all. The only real direction given was to be inspired by Architecture. So my inspiration came from architecture close to home…the tiles on the Iowa State Capitol floor. I thought they were beautiful when I visited the capitol a few years ago and took lots of photos, because I knew I wanted to make a quilt from them someday. This challenge was the perfect opportunity! I almost copied the design, using a photo as a reference and enlarging the pattern at a copy shop. But I changed the colors a bit, to include a shiny gold lamé, to symbolize our favorite part of the state capitol, the gold dome. My boys love “the Shiny Place” as they call the capitol and Brennan helped me pick out the shiniest fabric we could find at Joann. (We didn’t consider what a pain in the butt it would be to use!)  The rest of the fabric had to come from my stash, but I seemed to have the perfect mix of marbley batiks and prints that had stonelike textures. The yellow even has metallic gold spots.

The Finished Size is 29″ square…don’t ask me why I made it so big! I was asking myself that all week!

I didn’t bother cropping out Conal’s head and hands, because I wanted to give you an idea of how big I made it! I guess I just got too excited that I could get an enlargement at the copy shop and went crazy with it! But thankfully it was smaller than the width of fabric!

Here are some photos of my inspiration!

Pin It

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Wow! There’s a lot of action this month in the quilting world. Everywhere I look there’s a new project or quilt-along to join! I’m still deciding what to focus my energies on…how about you?!

Project Quilting!

Near and dear to my heart, as I’ve participated in two seaons and TWELVE challenges…this is the top of my list. I’m definitely joining Project Quilting Season 3 and counting down until this Sunday at noon when the first challenge is issued.

Here’s an inspiring collage of all those challenges I did…it’s getting me so excited for the next challenge!

Project Quilting

 The challenges are a week long, wide open for creative interpretation and there are prizes that that everyone has an equal chance at this season (no judging or voting). Go to Kim’sCraftyApple.blogspot.com to find out more or to join in the next challenge!

Free Motion Quilting Project Quilt Along Wednesdays

Free Motion Quilting Project

Now that she’s finished 365 designs, Leah Day is going with a more interactive approach to teaching free motion quilting. She’ll be hosting “Quilt-along on Wednesdays” and answering questions on Thursdays. She’s starting out pretty basic, with loops that eventually turn into stippling. She is working bigger and quilting larger areas to help us fill full quilts…a practical approach that I’m really excited about. I’m sure practicing free motion quilting would be good for me, so I’ll probably participate when I can. The first video is pretty basic, about stippling and I’m sort of set in my ways with stippling! I could practice making it different sizes, though. I notice that I can do different sizes of stipple based on the space I have to fill, but I have to work to keep it consistent in scale.

For even more free motion, Leah also mentioned another challenge project focused on free motion quilting. She will even teach one of the months.

2012 Free Motion Quilting Challenge

I’m not familiar with the blog of SewCalGal (although I will be now, it looks great!) but she is hosting another challenge that will go on all year. Each month another free motion quilting expert will post a video or instructions on a technique, with a challenge. To participate, you simply practice the technique they teach and post pics of your work on your blog or flickr gallery. Then you can win prizes too. I’m still considering whether I will join in this one. It looks like good practice as well. The first tutorial was about quilting leaves, another technique I’m familiar with, but could always practice!

The prizes include thread packs, books, EQuilter software and gift certificates. That would be fun!

I just participated in a contest from a webinar and won myself a free coaching session with Darla LeDoux of Profit SOS, so maybe luck is with me on this whole prize-winning thing!

Quilt Along: Farmer’s Wife

One thing I’m really committed to is a project I’m doing with my small group, a “Farmer’s Wife” quilt-along. But you can also do that online. There’s a yahoo group for it and flickr group and lots of bloggers out there when you start looking. We’re working from the book “The Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt” by Laurie Aaron Hird. There’s lots of info on a website here, as well as links to the groups online. Basically it’s a sampler quilt of 111 different blocks, all with stories based on the answer to the question “If you had a daughter of marriageable age, would you, in light of your own experience, have her marry a farmer?” from the 1922 Farmer’s Wife Magazine.

I’ll be doing a few blocks each month to bring to my small group meeting and I’ll probably post them here too. Right now I’m still choosing my fabrics and colors.

Quilt-Along: Craftsy Block of the Month

When I’m not busy piecing for my Farmer’s Wife swap, there is another block project that looked like so much fun I signed up. I don’t know yet if I’ll join in, but Craftsy has a very cool platform for taking classes online and the first few videos were really amazing for their FREE Block of the Month! You can enroll for free any time of the year at http://www.craftsy.com/class/The-Craftsy-Block-of-the-Month  It looks like it will be a fun modern project, to contrast with the Farmer’s Wife style!

Quilt-Along: House and Trees

This is another project of Kim’s at the Crafty Apple is this quilt-along, which I promised to design a block for! It will be a quilt made up of sixteen 12.5″ blocks all from different designers but all to include a tree or house or combination of such. So, I’ll at least have one block to make, but participating in the whole project might be fun too. Here’s her write up about it, and here’s her inspiration quilt photo! Silly Kim, she thought we weren’t going to have anything to do in the weeks where there wasn’t a Project Quilting Challenge issued! Ah, this post will prove her wrong!

Stitch-Along at Feeling Stitchy

If you’re not in the mood for quilting OR piecing, how about some stitching?! There have been monthly stitch-alongs at Feeling Stitchy for a while and it seems they are still going, as January’s design has been posted. They’re using hand-written letters, something I do on a lot of quilties, but on cute little buntings! Oh and it’s with couching, that’s a fun technique for someone who has a small stash of yarn from the time she tried knitting but didn’t stick with it! Worth a try, I think!

2012 Sew Scraps Along 150

 

“Sew Scraps Along” at Pleasant Home

 

Ok, funny name and from the sound of it, it will be way more than just a simple project to follow along with…it will be more like lots of projects, tutorials, stories, blogs to follow and giveaways to enter, so I think I’ll just try to keep checking in with Pleasant Home this year…you know, because I’ll have so many scraps created from all those other projects I plan on working on in 2012!

Ok, phew, that’s all I have time to write about tonight…I hope there’s nothing really good I missed. If there is, be sure to let me know!

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.”

Initials/Colors Challenge

May 3rd, 2011 | Posted by Emma in All | Quilting - (2 Comments)

Progress report…this is a really fun project!!

Step 1: Go to paint store and marvel at all the pretty colors! DONE!

Step 2: Try not to draw too much attention to yourself grabbing almost every swatch…too bad they don’t place all the swatches in the holders with their names showing. Anyway, DONE.

Step 3: Find all the color names that start with my initials. I’m working with Emma Lea Thomas-McGinnis. E L T M.

Step 4: Start looking at color combinations. Then start matching the swatches to my fabrics and finding combinations of fabrics I already have. (Can’t do another trip to JoAnn today, so I have to find the right fabrics here!)

I actually found way more close matches than I thought I would!!

Making combinations with only one of each initial was tricky. (I really wanted to use Mermaid Water Dance AND Monet Lily at the same time, but that wouldn’t fit the challenge!)

Picking names I liked was almost as much fun as picking colors. Some of my favorites…

Elephant Skin
Lullaby Green
Tropical Lagoon
Medieval Forest
Mirage Lake

but those were the ones I didn’t have fabrics for. Twilight chimes, egg yolk, maple leaf and Maine Lobster were pretty good too!

The chosen color scheme was finalized when I saw this perfect complementary floral, a great blender for all the colors.

So, Everlasting, Lantana, Mermaid Water Dance, Traditional it is.
And here’s the pattern I’m designing…

I’m not sure now, if the sashing fabric will give it enough contrast with the blocks. It might all match too well, if you know what I mean!! Maybe I’ll have to add some kind of embellishment. It’s also a pretty straightforward design and a little traditional. Something I haven’t done in a while with other Project Quilting projects, so it’s refreshing and new in that way. Should be pleasing and pretty.

Weird that the teal is not showing up in the photos as green as I see it. It really pops in real life. I can’t decide yet if the blocks need one or two leaves.

But there’s my progress. Hope to show you a completed quilt soon!

Happy Spring!

oh, almost forgot Step 5: Enjoy spring with some real life lavender-colored flowers! (and a sweet boy!)

Off Season Challenge Coincidence

April 25th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in All | Quilting - (0 Comments)

Project Quilting and my “Seams Sew Easy” small group have collided this month by issuing the same challenge!!!

So I’m thinking about color names and my initials…ELTM (project quilting doesn’t allow 5 initials, though I have them!) The only difference in the two challenges is that my small group specified I find the color names on paint chips! So I’m not using Lavender, I’m going to find something exotic like “Elite Wisteria” or “Little Pond.” (those are actual names I just found using Behr.com’s ColorSmart tool! This is going to be fun.

Here’s the link to the Project Quilting Off-season Challenge if you’d like to join me. You never have to commit to the whole season to join Project Quilting, but this is even more low-key…so if you’ve been waiting to join in, now’s the time!!

p.s. I hope my Seams Sew Easy friends post their projects on the Project Quilting group!