Square Dance Quilt Pattern

I have been working on this quilt pattern for over a year, and I’m really excited to be able to share it with you today!  The Square Dance Quilt Pattern is now available in my Craftsy store.

Square Dance pattern Cover

This is a paper pieced version of a traditional block – one of the traditional names for this block is Square Dance, and I thought it was the most appropriate name for the quilt once you see the overall movement created by the blocks.

Square Dance Quilt

I experimented with many different sizes of blocks, and the result of that work is that this pattern includes 6″, 8″ and 10″ versions.  I also tried a 4″ version, but it’s not practical for a quilt of any size!  The instructions include fabric requirements to make 6 quilt sizes (Baby/Crib, Lap, Twin, Double, Queen, and King) from all three block sizes.

This paper pieced block is a great introduction to paper piecing!  I used this pattern to teach a group to paper piece and was very impressed by their results in a couple of short hours.  A full color photo tutorial on how to paper piece is included with this pattern, so if you are new to paper piecing this is a great way to get started.

The cover quilt uses the 8″ version of the block.

Square Dance Quilt

I had help making some of the blocks from my bee last year – the 2014 Stash Bee Hive 12.  For this version, I custom quilted it and entered it in the North Carolina State Fair, where it earned 2nd place in the competitive Group category.

Square Dance Quilt

Sharon of ShaShaLaRue Quilts also made a Frolic Square Dance Quilt.  She can also be found on Facebook or on Instagram @ShaShaLaRueQuilts.  Her playful version demonstrates the versatility of this block because this is perfect for a crib or baby’s playroom!

FroclicSquareDance_SChalle171 copy

The 6″ version is also great for Sampler Quilts or bee blocks because if you make 4 of them, it results in a 12.5″ unfinished block, which is what so many samplers or bees ask for!

Square Dance in red

I made the block above to add to my “real world red & white” quilt.

My guild, the Tarheel Quilter’s Guild in Fayetteville, NC makes quilts for the NICU.  Our local hospital likes the quilts to be approximately 40″ square, so I used 16 of the 10″ blocks and made the little boy version of the quilt below.  This quilt is made up of blocks made by my Quilting Circle – most of whom had never paper pieced before!

Boy 10inch square dance

In order to create variation like the cover quilt, a variety of fabric should be used.  This quilt would also look amazing in just two colors, or invert the color scheme.  Use any combination you can dream for your own look!

You can make any of the block sizes or quilt sizes using fat quarters, half yards or full yards so this quilt is stash friendly!

The pattern is available in my Craftsy store – Quilts Actually Patterns.  It is on sale through Mother’s Day (May 10th, 2015) for $7.50.

If you make this quilt, please share it with the hashtag #squaredancequilt or by tagging me @QACreations.  You can also email me pictures or a link to your blog post at quilts actually(at)gmail.com.  I would love to see what you make!

- Heather

Linking up to some of the following: Fabric Tuesday @ Quilt StorySew Cute Tuesday @ Blossom Heart QuiltsScraptastic Tuesday @ She Can QuiltLet’s Bee Social Wednesday @ SewFreshQuiltsNeedle and Thread Thursday @ My Quilt InfatuationFinish it up Friday @ Crazy Mom QuiltsWhoop Whoop Fridays @ Confessions of a Quilt AddictTGIFFFabric Frenzy Friday @ Ft. Worth Fabric, and Show off Saturday at Sew Can She.

 

Squared Away Placemats

I’ve had a secret project in the works for a few months now, and I’m really excited to share the good news!

Squared Away Placemat

My first pattern was published in Make Modern‘s May issue!  If you would like to purchase the issue, it is available here.  My project is in home section, and is called the Squared Away Placemats.

Make Modern Project cover page

I made these placemats based off a design I first came up with for the Schnitzel & Boo Mini Swap last summer.  It was one of my early attempts at a more modern look, and I was so grateful for signing up for that swap because it pushed me out of my comfort zone.  I would not have come up with this design without that push, and I still really like how it turned out!

Schnitzel & Boo Mini Swap

You can see the inspiration from the mini quilt in the finished placemats.  One or two of the fabrics have even made an appearance in both items.

Squared Away Placemat

If you follow me on instagram (@QACreations) or Facebook (Quilts Actually), you’ve seen a preview of the quilting on these.  I love the wave panto for a modern look.

Wave quilting

These are a simple, quick project that is great for using up some of those precious scraps you’ve been hoarding of your favorite fabrics… I know you have those tiny scraps saved!  It is also perfect for that mini charm pack you picked up at the store because they are cute, and then you get home and realize, what am I ever going to use this for?

Squared Away Placemat

We’ve all been there, it’s ok!  Use those bits to make a placemat so that you can see those beautiful little bits everyday.  My daughter loves this rainbow version because she gets to point out all the colors.

If you make set of these placemats, please let me know!  I would love to see what you do with my pattern.  Send me a picture, direct me to a blog post, or share on instagram with #squaredawaytable.

Also, these smaller quilted items are great to practice quilting on your machine, but if you just don’t have time or want to make a bunch as gifts you can always send them to me to be quilted.  Use one continuous length of fabric for the back, and send me the placemats to use as the top.  It’s an even better deal if you have another quilt – make the backing extra long and I can quilt those extra smaller pieces on the end of the backing below the quilt.  Contact me if you are interested!

- Heather

Linking up to some of the following: Fabric Tuesday @ Quilt StorySew Cute Tuesday @ Blossom Heart QuiltsScraptastic Tuesday @ She Can QuiltLet’s Bee Social Wednesday @ SewFreshQuiltsNeedle and Thread Thursday @ My Quilt InfatuationFinish it up Friday @ Crazy Mom QuiltsWhoop Whoop Fridays @ Confessions of a Quilt AddictTGIFFFabric Frenzy Friday @ Ft. Worth FabricShow off Saturday at Sew Can She

 

One of Those Days Mini Quilt

We all have those days… and those projects!  This project is the front of the mini quilt I showed yesterday in my mini quilt hanging tutorial.  This mini quilt was my design for the Fort Worth Fabric Studio Mini Quilt Mania for the month of April.

One of Those Days

To see the other mini quilts designers this month, visit the following links:

April 1st : Lindsey – FWFS
April 2: Melissa – My Fabric Relish
April 6: Nettie – FWFS pattern tester
April 8: Afton  – Quilting Mod
April 13: Amanda – The Cozy Pumpkin
April 14: Trina – Will Cook For Shoes
April 22: Wendy - Sugarlane Quilts
April 27: Paula – The Sassy Quilter
April 28: Heather – Quilts Actually

It’s a challenging little miniature quilt.  The blocks are 3.5″ finished, so each of those little squares and HSTs finish at 1/2″.

tiny HSTs

I really like the secondary design that is created by this block, and really wanted to try the block out, so it seemed like a good idea to try it out really small.  Ask me again in a couple weeks if it was a good idea or not!

Not to scare anyone off, but there are 448 tiny pieces in this quilt.

tiny pieces

If you are careful and precise, it is a do-able project, I promise!

nested seams

I called it one of those days because as I was assembling it, I was making pretty good progress.  Then, I noticed that one of these things was not like the others.  So, I seam ripped, and pulled the offending section out and resewed it in place correctly.

One of these things is not like the other

What I did not notice, was that a second thing was not like the others.  Not through pressing, adding borders, or until I was about 2/3 of the way done quilting and it was too late to tear it out and redo it because I had quilted too close around it.  Like I said, one of those days!

one of those days mini

 

At least my test to see how this block looks as a quilt was successful!  Now to move on to the full sized version!

Linking up to: Finish it up Friday @ Crazy Mom QuiltsWhoop Whoop Fridays @ Confessions of a Quilt Addict, and TGIFF

 

How to hang a mini quilt

If you are visiting from Fort Worth Fabric Studio Mini Quilt Mania, Welcome!  I have a quick tip on an easy way to hang mini quilts.

how to hang a mini quilt_square

If I am making a mini to keep or give away, I generally do the corner tab hanging method.

When I first started making mini quilts, I didn’t add any sort of sleeve or tab to hang it with.  As a result, I never hung them up.  This is an easy way to  make it easy to hang your mini quilt up.  You made it, enjoy it and show it off!

Corner Hanging tab

To do this, I cut two squares from scrap fabric.  In this case, I cut (2) 4″ squares.  Fold them in half diagonally, and press with wrong sides together.

I then use a very small line of Elmer’s Washable School Glue within the seam that will be covered by the binding, and glue the triangle in place with the raw edges flush against the raw edges of the quilt.  Press to heat set.

This will keep those triangles in place so that they will be sewn down when you sew the binding down.

So, why on earth you would let a wire cutter get near your hard work?

Hanging tools

To hang, I cut the bottom part of a wire clothes hanger to match the width of the quilt.  I used a wire cutter to cut the hanger.

The wire clothes hanger fits perfectly inside a Command Clear Mini Strip.  Depending on the size of the mini, I will use one or two of the Command Mini Strips, and gently press the hanger into the gap.

Example of how to hang mini quilt

This gives me a removable system that does no damage to walls, and I can rearrange easily if I want to.

You can see the front of the mini quilt here!

1/2 yard skirt

I managed to make a 2nd item for Kids Clothes Week!  This was just a quick rectangle skirt made from 1/2 yard of fabric with a gathered waist and a deep hem, but it was the perfect spirit item to wear to my husband’s picnic for his department at NC State.

NC State Skirt

 

This fabric was printed ridiculously off grain, so I cut based on the print rather than the grain, and then ironed it into submission.

NC State Skirt

 

It was a little long – like Little House on the Prairie long, so I hemmed it up 3 inches, and it’s still slightly long.

NC State Skirt

 

It was a quick and easy skirt – or would have been if I didn’t have the owner of said skirt on my lap “helping” unthread the serger and sewing machine.  She loved the attention she got wearing the skirt, and many of the students loved her support of their school.  Plus, it’s long enough that it will still fit if my husband goes back to NC State to get his PhD someday ;)

Go Wolfpack!

 

Little Zippy Top

I originally had not planned to participate in Kid’s Clothes Week this week because I have quite a few other obligations that need to be finished.  Then, I was working on a particularly frustrating quilt top, so I needed to just take a break from quilting/piecing for a morning.  I decided that following an easy pattern was just what I needed before tackling that other project.  Therefore, I present to you the Little Zippy Top.

Little Zippy Top

Pattern: Little Zippy Top from See Kate Sew

Pattern Description (from designer): This top is a versatile woven top with an exposed zipper on the back! Make it with all your favorite fabrics! This top is perfect for beginners and quick and fun to sew! Requires very little fabric and a little zipper!

Pattern Price: $9 full price, but watch for sales.

Fabric Required: 1/2 yard for size 4T and smaller

Amount of fabric used: 1/2 yard!

Sizing: Comes in size 18M to 10.

Alterations:  This shirt is a little short, in my opinion.  I used the 4T length hoping to get a little more wear out of the shirt, and it needed that length just to be wearable now on my daughter.

Little Zippy Top

Instructions: Some of the steps were in a little bit of a weird order.  For example, you don’t stay stitch the neckline until step 6 by which point you’ve already handled it quite a bit so if it was going to stretch out, I think it would have by then.  I also prefer to do prep-type work at the beginning, but that’s my personal preference versus a pattern issue.  For example, step 7 is to fuse the interfacing to the facing pieces.  That’s something I prefer to do first before I get into sewing the piece of clothing.

Pattern Issues: Instructions are adequate, but not my preferred style of construction.  For example, you don’t under stitch the facing to the seam allowance.  Instead, you just topstitch the whole neckline.  Which is fine, but that step has you also topstitch around the zipper opening prior to the zipper being installed, which leads you to have to install the zipper while insanely carefully trying to topstitch over the line of stitching already there.  I probably made more work for myself by under stitching the neckline, then installing the zipper and just continuing on to topstitch around the neckline in one go.

Fabric Choice: Cute cupcake fabric that was on sale from Fort Worth Fabric Studio.  The actual name of the fabric is Love At First Bite by Color Bakery for Windham Fabrics.  Quilting cotton works fine for the shirt.

Finished Product: It’s a cute shirt.  I wish the neck was a little bit higher in front.  Sometimes the shirt has a tendency to sit forward a little more than it should, so that may be why the neckline looks lower than it should.

Little Zippy Top

Husband’s opinion: I like the exposed zipper, and the fabric.

Notes for future makes: I think I will go up a size in width, and at least one more size in length (to 5T for a little girl that wears 2T in ready to wear).  My daughter is pretty skinny, but likes to “help” put her clothes on by sticking her arms out straight in whatever direction that makes it impossible to get a woven shirt on, so I’m hoping a little extra width will help make dressing her a little bit easier.

Little Zippy Top

Final Thoughts: I had high hopes for this shirt being one that I go to again and again, but I’m not sure that I will.  It’s like when someone tells you a restaurant has the best hamburger they’ve ever had in their entire life… your hopes get high and no hamburger is going to live up to what you have built up in your head.  I had higher hopes for this pattern, so I think that’s why I’m a little disappointed.

I didn’t keep track of time, but it wasn’t quite as fast of a make as I was hoping.  Then again, if I made multiples, it would go faster.  Making sure the zipper is evenly installed takes longer than buttonholes and sleeves do for me.  I also don’t really like how the zipper is installed.  The zipper seemed to be annoying my daughter last night when we were sitting on the couch together.  I still like how little fabric it uses, so I may try it again just for that reason.

I guess for now, I’ll see how often I dress her in it before deciding if it’s a total win or bust.

Franklin Dress

I made the Franklin dress pattern for my daughter for Easter.  Unfortunately, it ended up being a little chilly, so almost all of the pictures of her that day are covered up by a sweater.  Then, I made her an Easter basket from the Fabric Basket Tutorial from Ellison Lane, which she also ended up not using because a bucket was provided at the Easter Egg Hunt.  Oh well!  She had a blast running around and picking up eggs, and that is what mattered.

Pattern: The Franklin Dress is the first dress pattern offered by the Brooklyn Pattern Company.

Franklin Dress

Pattern Description (from designer): A surprisingly simple dress with playful details and endless options. Whether romping in the dirt with frogs in her pockets or strolling across the Brooklyn Bridge, both mom and daughter will appreciate the versatility. A pleated yoke frames the face while gathered sleeves add a special touch. Go casual with a sweet polka dot cotton or dress it up with linen or silk.

Pattern Price: $12

Fabric Required: For 12 month size, it requires 1- 1.5 yards depending on width.

Amount of fabric used: I used 1 yard of 54″ wide fabric and did not have garment sewing usable scraps after.

Sizing: Includes sizes 6 months – 8 years.  I made size 2T.  Actual measurements are not included, which I am so used to using to decide what size to make that I was lost without it.

Franklin Dress

Alterations: I made the pattern as written.

Instructions: Instructions are good and there is also a sew-a-long for beginners or anyone who needs extra help.  Diagrams are included in the pattern.  My only issue is below.

Pattern Issues: My only complain is that the diagram showing where to place the interfacing behind the buttonholes makes it look like it should be placed again the cut edge of the fabric, instead of inside the seam or even just centered on the line you are going to put the buttonholes on.  I knew it didn’t seem right as I was doing it, but I try to follow the instructions as written for the first time I make a pattern so I went with it in case there was some reason it was done that way.  There wasn’t.

Fabric Choice: I made it in a lovely purple stretch poplin purchased from Mood, now out of stock.  I originally purchased it for me (back when I had a short-lived misconception that I could make a woven shirt for myself out of 1 yard of fabric).  I used 1 yard of fabric for her dress.

Franklin Dress

Finished Product: It is a very sweet dress.

Husband’s opinion: Why did I make it a dress when we never dress our daughter in dresses?

Notes for future makes: The bodice width is a bit wide.  Not crazy wide, more room to grow wide, but if in doubt about size I would probably go with the lower size.  Also, I would shorten it to make as a shirt so she would wear it more often.

Final Thoughts: It’s a pretty easy sew that makes a cute dress.

Ellison Lane Fabric Basket as Easter basket

I had to include the Easter Basket somewhere!  It was used during the practice egg hunts, so it wasn’t a total waste.  I’m probably going to remove the handles and use it as a thread catcher.  I like how it turned it!

Linking up to Frances Suzanne’s Link Party for the Franklin Dress Flip this Pattern, even though I didn’t flip it at all.

 

Quilts Actually on the move….

Quilts Actually Moving Announcement 2015

 

As you may know, my husband is in the Army.  Therefore, every few years they notify us that it is time to move.  This summer we will be moving from North Carolina to New York.

What that means to me and my family:

We will be putting all our belongings on a truck in early June, to include my longarm.  That means I need to finish all customer quilts before I take down my longarm prior to the arrival of the packers and movers.  I do not want to move any quilts that are not my own because I don’t want your quilt subject to any of the risk inherent when other people move your belongings.

moving truck

What does that mean to you?
I am setting a cutoff date of May 1st for you to mail your quilts if you want it completed prior to my move.  That will give me time to quilt it for you and give it the attention it deserves before I pack everything up.  You will receive your completed quilt as I finish it, but guarenteed before the end of May.
If you will not have your quilt ready to mail by May 1st, I will be setting up my longarm back up and still doing quilting for others in New York.  We are tentatively hoping to be unpacked and settled in sometime in July.
The only thing that will change will be my physical location.  Instead of being a little over an hour from Raleigh, I will be a little over an hour from New York City.

house border

When I am ready to accept quilts again, I will let you know and we will celebrate with a Quilts Actually Grand Re-Opening!

Thank you for your understanding and patience, and I hope to quilt for you in the future!
- Heather

Heart Quilting

Here is a beautiful quilt that I finished while ago, but forgot to share.  If you follow me on instagram (@QACreations) or Facebook, you may have already seen some pictures of this quilt.

Heart Quilt

This cheerful quilt had hearts at the center of log cabins.  The borders were fabric made to look like chocolate.  This was literally a sweet quilt!

Heart Quilt

I kept the sweet + heart theme going and used light pink thread to quilt a heart panto all the quilt.

Heart Quilt

My daughter even decided to “help” out with the quilting… by re-arranging thread!

Heart Quilt

I hope its future owner loves it!

– Heather

Linking to: Linky Tuesday @ Freemotion by the RiverLet’s Bee Social Wednesday @ SewFreshQuiltsWhoop Whoop Fridays @ Confessions of a Quilt Addict

Bee Blocks, 1st Quarter 2015

I am a member of the Stash Bee.  This is my second year with that group, and I like it because it gets me to try new color combinations and new blocks and new techniques without the commitment of having to do an entire quilt!  I’m trying to avoid starting new WiPs, so anytime I get to try something new without have to make a whole quilts worth, it’s a win in my book.

We’ll go in reverse order…  March was the month for flying geese!  Carolyn from Sweet Boater Chick asked for these large blocks with many flying geese, so I won’t be making any flying geese soon, but I do love her color scheme and can’t wait to see it finished.

March Hive 3 Stash Bee Block

February was for Bonnie .  She asked for a relaxed strip block – made up of strips of brown.  I’m not so good at not sewing in straight lines, so even without pins and telling myself to sew crooked, mine is not very wonky.

Hive 3 February Block

January’s block was for Ruth from Charly & Ben’s Crafty Corner.  It was kind of cool to send a block away to Ireland since my family background is 1/2 Irish.  She asked for book blocks, and is going to make a quilt that looks like a bookshelf from the blocks.

Stash Bee Hive 3 January 2015

April is my month, so I can’t wait to see what I get!  I’m trying to finished up my “Real World Red & White” sampler, and getting these blocks will really help me along my way.

– Heather

Linking to: Scraptastic Tuesday @ She Can QuiltWiP Wednesday @ Freshly PiecedLet’s Bee Social Wednesday @ SewFreshQuiltsWhoop Whoop Fridays @ Confessions of a Quilt Addict and Fabric Frenzy Friday @ Ft. Worth Fabric

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