My Sewful Retirement

A Quilting Journey

Tri Recs Ruler Fun

Happy Thursday!

Our embroidery/quilt club this week focused on using the Tri-Recs tool.

tri recs ruler combo
tri recs ruler combo

The Tri-Recs ruler combination is the easy way to make triangles with in a square – a popular feature in many patchwork quilt patterns. I find it to be one of the handiest ruler sets I own. There is a cut off angle on the recs portion of the combo set that makes aligning and sewing the units extremely accurate.

Initially I had trouble with the set but after watching Bonnie Hunter’s videos the light bulb came on and I’ve loved the Tri-Recs rulers ever since.

The recs portion of the tool allows you to make half rectangle triangles — which is my favorite. The tricky part is understanding if you need a right or left diagonal seam – it’s best to sketch out your design before cutting the fabric — I learned the hard way 😦

Our first project was piecing simple hrt units for placemats using the recs only portion of the tool. The placemats are 12 x 18 inches, each half rectangle unit measures 3 x 6 inches – you need 12 units to make one placemat. The fabric I used was from Moda’s V&Co ombre basics line.

Tri Recs placemat
Tri Recs placemat

For our table runner I created a petal block and used the 6.5 x 6.5 inch square of background fabric in the center for the embroidery. The petal block finishes at 12 x 12 inches. Each triangle in a square finishes at 3 inches — you need 8 units to make the petal block, you also need (4) 3.5 x 3.5 unfinished squares of background fabric for the corners.

tri recs petaal
tri recs petal

Again using recs only portion I designed a funky pinwheel block that also finishes at 12 inches. Each quarter section of the pinwheel is made with a 3 x 6 half rectangle triangle, a 3.5 x 3.5 inch half square triangle, plus (1) 3.5 x 3.5 unfinished squares of background fabric for the corners.

Tri Recs Pinwheel
tri recs pinwheel

After adding sashing and border the table runner measures 15 x 41 inches.

tri recs
tri recs table runner

I absolutely loved the backing fabric used for both placemats and table runner. I found it a JoAnn’s!

I also displayed another table topper using the tool — I hope to have it finished soon.

tri recs
tri recs wip

If you are interested in making larger triangle in a square units or half rectangle units, Creative Grids offers the Perfect Rectangle and the Triangle Squared Rulers. Definitely more pricey and aren’t sold as a set.

I used the Creative Grids rulers to create a candy corn pinwheel – my sample pillow block is pictured below.

tri recs candy corn
tri recs

Have you tried the Tri-Recs tool? If so what’s your favorite quilt block to make using this ruler set?

Happy Sewing!

Sew Ready for Autumn

Happy Friday!

While planning my fall themed projects for our home this year I decided to use ombre fabrics with a black grunge background. Hubby likes bright colors and I like rust/gold/burgundy for fall. So to keep peace and make both of us happy I chose ombre/black fabric combinations.

Are you wondering what ombre fabrics are? Ombre fabric fades from light to dark over a length of the fabric. It’s all the same hue but different tints and shades over the length.

I used both Moda’s Basic Ombre and Wilmington’s Ombre Washart fabrics along with Moda’s Grunge in Onyx for most of my projects.

I fell in love with fellow blogger and friend Roseanne’s Las Vegas Leaves Quilt and knew I wanted to make my own version. I decided to go smaller and make a table runner for the family room.

ombre fabric fall table runner
maple table runner

When I was sketching out potential layouts for the maple leaf quilt block, I discovered if I removed the stem block I was able to get really cool secondary designs — the plus sign and a cross — how cool! My wall hanging was created from that realization!

ombre fabric maple quilt
maple wh

Of course I had to make a few pillows

and coasters….

scrap coasters
fall coasters

Finally for myself a wall hanging in rust, gold and dark red♥♥

hst fall wall hanging
fall wall hanging

Have you started decorating for fall?

Hope you have a great weekend and happy sewing!

Sharing Techniques

Happy Friday!

Life in our small town here in Florida has been quite feverish with the anticipation of Hurricane Dorian! I haven’t gotten nervous yet….

Our embroidery/quilt club meeting focused on techniques this week. The ladies wanted to know how I design my quilt projects using embroidery.

I am self taught so I’m sure there are better ways of designing quilt projects incorporating machine embroidery but I was happy to share my techniques with the group.

I brought in a few smaller quilt samples. I gave each member graph paper, pencils and crayons to follow along as we discussed each sample. I talked about:

  • should you create the quilt first
  • should you do the the embroidery first
  • simple quilt math
  • stabilizing the fabric before embroidery
  • using heavy weight rayon threads
  • Centering designs
  • the importance/value of printing embroidery templates when designing quilt projects

Samples I displayed:

It was a good class, the two hours went by quickly — we had fun and I really could tell they were absorbing what I had to say — they asked excellent questions!

The “homework” assignment was to create the wall hanging almost a log cabin using their own designs similar to the layout I used below.

Log cabin mini
Log cabin mini

Hope you have a wonderful weekend — be safe!

Scattered sunflowers

Happy Monday!

I got a new toy last week, a Brother ScanNCut DX. I spent the weekend learning how to use it.

I love applique and spend a lot of my crafting time doing applique with my embroidery machine. I chose the Brother ScanNCut primarily because it works with my embroidery files easily and it’s super easy to scan images for other applique projects I want to make.

After practicing the basics I decided to make a project using both the quilting and applique features.

Brother ScanNCut Quilt Applique
sunflower tumbler
ScanNCut Quilt Applique
sunflower tumbler

I used the ScanNCut to cut the tumbler shapes for the background – once the image was scanned in I was able to add in the seam allowance in the editing mode. The fabrics for the sunflower applique pieces were cut to size so I didn’t need to stop my embroidery machine to do any trimming — that alone is worth every penny I spent on the machine!

You can also scan in hand drawn images – which is what I did for the placemats.

Brother ScanNCut Project
hand drawn sunflower

The machine is quiet and user friendly. My husband will need to make a table for it — I have it set up in my office which is a little inconvenient right now, other than that I’m quite happy with the purchase!

Happy Sewing!

Fall Will Be Here Soon!

Happy Monday!

Its been awhile since I last posted. I’ve been busy creating fall projects for the embroidery/quilting club I’m a member of.

Fall is my favorite time of year and was more than happy to volunteer to lead our group for a few weeks.

Pumpkins seem to be the universal symbol of fall and my brain has been swimming with ideas! Our group tends to focus on budget friendly small quilting projects that can be made quickly.

Inspiration for this project came from a refrigerator magnet I saw at Cracker Barrel! As soon as I saw it I was hooked and couldn’t wait to bring it to life with fabric.

For the quilt top I used (8) 2.5 x WOF strips of Kona Cotton in fall colors, 1/2 yard of a cream tonal print and a scrap of brown fabric measuring 2.5 x 4.5.

Using my Fons & Porter Quarter/Half Square triangle ruler I cut the needed triangles – 44 quarter triangles and 6 half square triangles. If you don’t have the Fons and Porter ruler, the easy angle and companion ruler work also. Or any other quarter triangle ruler that uses strips for cutting.

I laid out 32 quarter triangles into 8 hourglass blocks and stitched them together with a quarter inch seam. The hour glass blocks are 4.5 x 4.5 inches unfinished.

The remaining 12 quarter triangles were stitched together with the 6 half square triangles creating the leaf and corner blocks which also measured 4.5 x 4.5 inches unfinished.

To create the stem I used the stitch and flip method using a 2.5 x 2.5 inch square of background fabric with the brown 2.5 x 4.5 rectangle.

I arrange the assembled blocks into the pumpkin shape, added a 4.5 x 6.5 rectangle of background fabric to the left of the stem and sewed all the rows together.

Finally I added a 3.5 inch border all around. I then quilted the pumpkin – I prefer to do my quilting before adding the embroidery.

Pumpkin Mini Quilt
Pumpkin Mini Quilt

I chose 4 embroidery designs from Embroidery Library to use for this project. The members of the group aren’t required to use the same designs. I did give the members heads up on what I was planning because the designs were on sale when I created this project.

After quilting I added the embroidery designs. To attach the backing I used mono-filament thread on top to stitch in the ditch around the pumpkin, stem and leaves. I used the remaining pieces of the 2.5 strips to create a scrappy binding.

The mini quilt measures 22 x 22 inches and I’m looking forward to hanging it in my office.

Pumpkin Mini Quilt
Pumpkin Mini Quilt w embroidery

The shading on the leaf designs is awesome!

fall mini quilt
leaf shading

Happy Sewing!

Scrappy Fun

Happy Wednesday!

I spent Tuesday relaxing and doing some mindless sewing. I pulled out my scrap bag of 1.5 inch wide strips and got busy. I recently joined a book club that meets on Friday nights at one of the local Starbucks. I wanted to make something to keep everything I need for the book club in one place.

I went to my trusty “someday” list and decided to make the Fat Quarter Shop Simple Zipper Pouch. I altered the pattern to use my scraps and went with a broken herringbone design. I made 3 panels for the front, using a QAYG method. The panels were pieced directly onto a 4 x 11 inch scrap of batting . Once I joined the panels I followed the Fat Quarter shop tutorial in its entirety. My pouch finishes at 11 inches tall and 12 inches wide.

I really liked this pattern and would make it again. You can see the video here.

After I got in the groove of making the herringbone design I made a matching cover for my IPhone and a cozy for my water bottle. My kindle, journal and phone all fit comfortably in the pouch. Do you have a favorite pouch pattern?

Herringbone zipper pouch
Scrap Accessories

Below are pics from the weekend with two of my kids and son in law.

Happy Sewing!

Friday Finishes – Quilted Tote Bag

Happy Friday!

My youngest turns 30 next week and I will turn 60 at the end of the year! Kids and I decided to take a mini beach vacation this weekend to celebrate both milestones 🙂

I needed a larger tote bag for all my beach necessities ♥

I just finished taking a wonky log cabin class at our LQS and decided to use those blocks to make the tote. I used leftover layer cake squares cut into 2.5 inch strips to make the blocks. It was a fun technique to learn, I am a creature of habit so my blocks tend to look the same — but I’m OK with that.

I had 12 blocks finished — not exactly beach colors but what the heck!

  • I used 9 blocks for the front and 3 on the back.
  • The blocks were 6.5 inches unfinished.
  • I added borders around the blocks to make a 20 inch square
  • Quilted the front and back using fusible foam – Pellon Brand
  • Created the lining (20 x 20 inch square) fused with Shape Flex Interfacing – added pocket 14 x 20 inches –subdivided into 4 sections
  • Sewed front pieces to back pieces for both the exterior fabrics and lining, leaving an opening on the lining for turning
  • Cut out a 3 inch square for boxing out corners
  • fabric for handles 5 x 30 inches – I used fusible fleece in the handles
  • fabric for button loop 4 x 10 inches – used shape flex interfacing
  • assembled the bag normally and edge stitched around the top
  • finished size 19 x 16 – I still need to find a button 🙂
wonky log cabin tote bag
wonky log cabin blocks
wonky log cabin tote bag
wonky log cabin tote bag back

I’ve made several totes in the past, this was the first time I used foam. It was wonderful to work with. The body of the tote is amazing — soft and very sturdy — stands on its own.

Hopefully hurricane Barry doesn’t interfere with the kids flying out of Houston — if not I will post a picture of us next week.

Have a great weekend!

Quilty Summer Favorites

Happy Thursday!

As a child growing up I spent my summers living with my grandparents on their farm in Georgia. My grandfather’s sisters lived on the same rural route so most of my cousins spent their summers visiting also.

My grandmother and aunts were all home economics teachers — handmade goodies were everywhere. Presentation to them was everything — even simple servings of refreshments were a big deal! We’d have fruit as our “meal” before bed; one of my fondest memories of my grandmother was her watermelon pie — slices of watermelon arranged on a circular pan – in the center of the pan were crafty cut pieces of paper with bible verses for each of us to learn.

My cousin’s son is getting married and all of us “older” cousins are getting together. I made a watermelon pie table topper for the hostess as tribute to our younger summer visits!

watermelon table topper
watermelon table topper

I enjoy having a glass or two of wine every night. Normally I drink Merlot wines — during the summer I switch to sweet fruity wines. Strawberry is my favorite sweet wine. We travel to Wisconsin every year so I can purchase Door County Wines –they have the best fruity wines!

Recently I finished a custom order using fabric with strawberry prints. The scraps included an orphan nine patch quilt block, 6 bonus half square triangles, some squares and one large scrap of fabric. I was enjoying a glass of my Door County Strawberry wine and decided to use the scraps to make myself a strawberry wall quilt for my sewing room.

strawberry mini quilt
strawberry mini quilt

Have you ever made a quilt to remind you of a favorite time in your life?

Happy Sewing and Quilting!

Friday Finishes

Happy Friday!

After reading/seeing Wendy’s post about the beautiful reversible placemats she made I knew it was time for me to pull out a similar UFO to get them finished so we can use them this summer!

I purchased a small fat quarter bundle of Katarina Roccella Avant Garde fabric a couple of years ago. I loved the bright colors and the modern prints. The Avant Garde fabric collection is poplin, a 100% cotton that feels like silk but is still strong. The poplin was great to work with — except it wasn’t frixion pen friendly!

I cut the fat quarters into 5 inch charm squares and sewed them into a nine patch arrangement to make the placemats.

quilted round placemats
quilted round placemats

I also made a small quilt also using the 5 inch squares.

beach ball quilt
beach ball quilt

Using the scraps from the quilt and placemats I did some crumb sewing to make mug rugs and a trivet.

scrap fabric 1
scrap fabric 1

Step 2 – quilted the crumbs

scrap fabric 2
scrap fabric 2

Step 3 – cut the crumbs into circles

scrap fabric 3
scrap fabric 3

Step 4 – bind and finish!

scrap mug rugs
scrap mug rugs

Hope you have a wonderful weekend that includes some quilty fun!

2019 Red White & Blue

Happy Monday! I can’t believe it’s July already — don’t know about you but this year feels like it’s going by quickly!

We’re leaving for another trip in a couple of weeks so hubby and I have a quiet day planned for July 4th. We’ve been working on a couple of patio projects — we mounted a TV on the outside wall in the lanai that can seen and heard from the pool and hot tub. Now I have my own private resort area in my backyard! I can layout and drink, read, listen to music and watch TV . Our other project was adding an outdoor antenna. We gave up cable a few ago and decided to stream TV shows and movies..we added the antenna to get local news –especially weather updates.

Not the best picture — it’s raining but you can see the reflection of the antenna. Everything is against the wall to keep it rain free.

The items below are patriotic projects I’ve made over the past few months but not shared here on the blog.

My continual obsession with embroidered pillows: The USA design I purchased from Itch 2 Stitch. It is a sketch design — super quick stitch out comes in several sizes. The “God Bless America” design was purchased from Embrotique — also a quick stitch that comes in several sizes.

2019 Patriotic Quilted Pillows w Embroidery
2019 Patriotic Quilted Pillows w Embroidery

Our May club project was a QAYG table runner using RWB fabrics. Our starting block had to include a patriotic embroidery design. We used this YouTube video by Scrappy Patch for making the table runner. This was a great scrap busting project also perfect for jelly roll strips or any other pre cut 2.5 inch strips. I made placemats to match. I purchased the flag heart embroidery designs from Planet Applique.

This was my attempt at making a QAYG hexie mug rug. I didn’t do a good job — it’s very distorted — the shape is weird!

Log Cabin Hexie Mug Rug
Log Cabin Hexie Mug Rug

I used the free pattern Yankee Doodle Flag Gems found on the Quilt Inspiration blog which is home to lots of free patterns and inspiration to make the wall hanging below. I plan on adding fusible white stars in the blue section and some embroidery to one of the white stripes. Another scrappy project great for 2.5 inch strips.

RWB Strip Pieced Flag Wall Hanging or Table Topper
RWB Strip Pieced Flag Wall Hanging or Table Topper

Runner and log cabin coasters for my coffee table.

I did take my Juki sewing machine on our travels to make this RWB log cabin quilt. I basted the quilt this past weekend and plan on quilting and binding it today.

RWB Log Cabin Lap Quilt
RWB Log Cabin lap quilt

I guess that’s enough for today! Hope you are having a relaxing Monday 🙂

Thanks for stopping by ♥♥

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