by Emma Thomas-McGinnis, artist & quilter
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Project Quilting 4:6 Spring!

March 29th, 2013 | Posted by Emma in All | Quilting - (0 Comments)
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So sad that this is the last challenge of Project Quilting Season 4. I had a busy week in store, including a trip to Minnesota, so I went for a smallish project, something I knew I could get finished in time for the deadline. I based my inspiration on this piece, which just sold from my etsy shop. (I was sad to see it go!) The challenge was simple, “Spring”! (more…)

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!

Fall Placemats

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

Tiger Quilt

June 30th, 2011 | Posted by Emma in Quilting | Uncategorized - (5 Comments)

Just before Father’s Day, I watched the latest episode of The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims and was immediately struck by a great project to make for my husband’s gift! Here’s a preview of the episode (#812, June 6, 2011)…

and here’s the project that I just couldn’t resist…the tiger behind him. My husband is a teacher at a school with high school spirit standards and a tiger for a mascot! I knew this would be perfect for him to hang in his large classroom and get a lot of attention!

Photos above by Gregory Case

I ordered the pattern at RobAppell.com and therefore supported the Endangered Species Quilt Project! The pattern came really quickly, so I was able to get started just a few days later!

I wanted to show your work-in-progress shots but it went together so quickly, I didn’t take many photos, I just kept working! It’s raw-edge fusible applique. The designs came full-sized, ready to trace onto fusible web, fuse to fabric and cut out. It was a lot of pieces, but that part was really fun. The most difficult part was laying out all those pieces. There was a numbered diagram to follow, but it felt a lot like drawing, seeing where everything aligned by eye.

Ok, I can’t type any more, I just can’t wait to put in the finished photo RIGHT NOW!!!
Be sure to click it to see a larger view!

Notice that I didn’t follow Rob’s quilting suggestions. I looked at photos of tigers online and free-motion quilted lines to indicate tiger fur and give it dimension and a little realism. It was really fun to do, but did take quite a bit of time!

The main thing is that Dave LOVES it! But it was also fun to bring it to my guild meeting last night and get lots of compliments! I love having a guild meeting as an incentive to getting projects finished. I was binding in front of my computer yesterday, but I got it finished. Without the guild meeting to keep me going, I might not have finished it until September!

If I can get permission from the owner, I’ll enter it in the Iowa State Fair! He will be out of town during the fair anyway, so maybe he won’t mind. That would sure be fun!

Thanks for looking and please leave me a comment if you like it.