Sewing

Hand-Pieced Mini Swap Update

Hand-pieced Mini Swap WIP

I’m closing in on a finished mini-quilt top for the Hand-Pieced Mini Swap over on IG. The design for this one came to me quickly enough – a week of sketching and doodling that seemed endless at the time, but once I had the right plan, it started to come together very quickly.

But man, this project has been a pain in the bum ever since! I had two pairs of paper pieces for this one, in different sizes, but worried that the smaller sizes would take me forever to sew and I wouldn’t be able to finish in time – under the theory that you need many more smaller pieces to cover a space. So I went with the larger pieces, which (of course) I now think were too big — this mini is going to end up at about 23″ square, so within the size bounds in the swap rules, but not by much. My fingers are tightly crossed that my partner is dazzled by the pretty fabrics and doesn’t notice that I’ve sent her a tent!

I do really love how it’s coming out and I’m almost there – just a little to add to each side before I can quilt it and square it up. Photo of the full top soon enough!

Merry Medallion Quilt – Free Christmas (in July) Quilt-Along!

Yay! Christmas in July is almost upon us again, and I’m ready with loads of Very Merry Projects!

Throughout July, I’ll be posting full instructions for a jolly, surprisingly simple, Christmas quilt. I call it the Merry Medallion Quilt!

Merry Medallion Quilt design by Julie Zaichuk-Ryan

HO HO HO!

I designed this because, coming up to the holidays last year, I had a chat with some folks who said they’d have to start months ahead if they ever hoped to get a Christmas quilt done in time for the holidays – and I totally know how it is! I originally planned to make this quilt last year, but started thinking about it way too late, and really, rushing to finish by a holiday deadline (when we all have so many holiday and gift crafts going on already) just isn’t festive at all, is it?

And thus was born the Merry Medallion / Christmas In July Quilt-Along! I wanted to make a second holiday quilt for the house anyway (what on earth is cozier than tucking under holly jolly quilts to watch your favorite Christmas movies?!) and figured I might as well make it possible for you all to join along! I designed this quilt specifically to be easy to put together in an organized, week-by-week fashion, with very simple shapes and techniques, over the five weeks of July – I guarantee you a finished quilt top by the end of the month. That leaves you five more months to quilt and bind it at your leisure for a finished quilt by Christmas!

We will be making a 60″ x 60″ lap / throw-sized quilt. This design is perfect for an experienced quilter who wants a relaxing, stress-free project, or a newer quilter looking for the next step up. And I’ve designed it to be fat-quarter friendly, for the most part, so go dig in your stash and gather the following:


Merry Medallion Fabric Requirements:

finished size: 60″ x 60″

– 5 red fat quarters
– 4 green fat quarters
– 8 low volume / background fat quarters (white in the diagram above)
– 3 low volume / background 1/2-meter/yd cuts (for the long borders between rounds)
– 1 mid-volume* fat quarter or 3 7″x7″ scraps (for border corners, where red dots are shown in the diagram above)

* I may have just made up the term ‘mid-volume’ – I mean a fabric that will give a slight contrast to the border fabrics, but not compete with the red and green in the other rounds.

An important note about red and green fabric requirements: This is a scrappy design, meant to give you a scrappy look even in the center star, but even so, the amounts listed are the minimum requirement. I will provide cutting diagrams to ensure that these amounts will be enough, but I think this design will be even cuter with more prints in the mix! It’s a scrap-happy design, so feel free to gather up all of your red and green scraps or just add more fat quarters to the pile for fun!

To finish the quilt later, you’ll also need:
– 3 1/2 meters/yds backing fabric
– 1/2 meter/yd binding fabric
– Batting (amount dependent on width)


Here’s my initial fabric pull, a happy mix of novelty Christmas fabrics and regular prints – you’ll see my two ‘mid-volume’ possibilities at the bottom left there:

Merry Medallion Fabric Choices

If you’d like to play with color layout and go your own way on fabrics / colors, I’ve made you this handy-dandy coloring sheet to doodle on:

Download Merry Medallion Coloring Sheet Here

We’ll start cutting fabric on the 3rd of July, and I’ll post a new tutorial every following Friday in July. Please join in, I really love sewing with you guys! And if you have any questions, ask away – I’m here to help!

Oh, and if you want to play along, but think my quilt design is stupid, or you have other Christmas crafts to be getting on with, join us anyway! Let’s band together to banish December stress and have fun with Christmas crafting! No matter which project(s) you work on, tag photos on IG with #xmasinjulyalong and/or #merrymedallionqal to join in the festive fun!

Christmas in July Quilt-Along Teaser!

Who’s up for another quilt-along??? Where our last one was long and involved – this one will be quick and carefree. Seriously, I offer an all fun, money-back guarantee!

IMG_6399

I’m just finishing up the details on a very merry red-and-green design, created specifically for simple week-by-week instructions and quick construction. I promise you, if you sew-along, you will have a finished Christmas quilt top by the end of July. That gives you four to five months to quilt and bind it so that you can have a cozy, festive quilt in plenty of time for the holiday snuggling!

I have to admit, I’m slightly worried that no one will quilt-along with me and I’ll be playing with my pretty Christmas fabrics all by myself, so c’mon, join me – it’ll be so fun!!

I’ll post the full design and fabric requirements next week!

Fussy-Cut Hexie Challenge Blog Hop: Tiny-Scale Fussy Cutting!

Fussy-cut Hexie Challenge Blog Hop

Today I am absurdly excited to be the first stop on The Fussy-Cut Hexie Challenge Blog Hop! This blog hop is to celebrate the fantabulous new book by my awesome friend Diane Gilleland (of Craftypod fame): All Points Patchwork.

All Points Patchwork by Diane Gilleland

I cannot tell you how much I love this book, but I’ll try: I FREAKING LOVE THIS BOOK. Seriously, dudes, it rules. I love English Paper Piecing, and hand-piecing in general, and you know I don’t often go for quick or easy projects. Quick and easy is for suckers. I absolutely love that Diane wrote a technique-oriented book, with a focus on learning a very specific technique very, very well – with full attention paid to every tiny aspect of EPP, from cutting fabric to the possibilities of each shape. There’s projects included, and they’re lovely, but the real prize here is all the other content – let me tell you, friends, if you have an even slight interest in English Paper Piecing or hand-stitching, you NEED this book. Go get it now now now.

So, for this blog hop, our challenge was simple: fussy-cut some hexagons. In case you’re not familiar with the term, fussy-cutting means that you choose the exact part of a print you use, rather than using all of a piece of fabric. I’ve never done any fussy-cutting before, so this seemed like the perfect challenge for me!

Tiny-scale fussy cutting!

Erm. Except that when I got down to it, I didn’t have anything terribly fussy-cut-friendly in my stash. Fussy-cutting is typically done with large-scale prints – florals or cute illustrations – and my stash is currently mostly small-scale geometrics and blenders. So how to combine my hostile stash with this technique??

Tiny-scale fussy cutting!

Why, cut up the teensy geometric elements, of course! I used 1/2″ hexies and went for fabrics that allowed the geometrics to be easily separated from the whole.

Tiny-scale fussy cutting!

Little stand-alone elements, such as the X’s in Cotton + Steel’s XOXO print work beautifully (Cotton + Steel in general has a lot of prints that work well for tiny fussy-cutting!), as well as stripes, zigzags, etc. There was a lot of trial-and-error, making hexies I didn’t use in the end, but even then, using tiny elements that repeat often on a print created much less wastage than fussy-cutting often does.

Tiny-scale fussy cutting!

My little wee quilt turned out to be 5″ x 19″ – just a sliver of a normal mini-quilt! And as I was sewing it together, the line ‘summer autumn winter spring’ (from one of my very favorite poems – “anyone lived in a pretty how town”, by ee cummings), popped into my head. It always charmed me the way that cummings lists the seasons in different orders in that poem, the years just going ’round and ’round, and that one gets stuck in my head sometimes. Looking at my tiny quilt, I realized these four hexie-flowers are a bit like the four seasons – and so my little quilt has a name.

Tiny-scale fussy cutting!

I’ve absolutely loved taking part in this challenge and finding a fun, new way to try this technique! Be sure to stop by the other fussy-cutting blog-hoppers throughout this week and see what amazingness they’ve created for this challenge!


But wait, don’t go yet! To celebrate the release of All Points Patchwork and this blog hop and everything good in the world, there’s a giveaway to enter: a set of Clover’s Black Gold hand-sewing needles and a Quilt Needle Threader!

Clover Giveaway!

NICE. International entries welcome, and entries will close at midnight on Sunday, June 7th, so hurry up and enter via Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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