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Kitty Coaster

New Obsession: Coasters!

I have a new quilting obsession, well two new obsessions combined into one.  Coasters and paper piecing.

 For Christmas I made my sister a set of Kitty Coasters, cute little 4x4" blocks.  You can find the tutorial here.  I really liked how quick the project was, and the blocks are so small and adorable!  They make great gifts, they're nice to have around the house, and I'm hoping to make a bazzilion sets in order to get a jump on holiday gifts this year.

Kitty Coasters!

Kitty Coasters!

My other new obsession is paper piecing.  This is a technique I had been interested in for a while but was always a bit intimidated in trying.  And then I was forced to learn how to paper piece when one of the blocks used it in the 52 Week QAL with the Quilter's Planner.  OMG I can't believe I never tired it before! I think all of my projects might have to be pieced according to this method.  There is the potential for extra waste when paper piecing, but that doesn't necessarily have to be the case, and the results are amazing!  Accurate points, smooth curves, wonky shapes, and tiny pieces are all possible with paper piecing, your projects can make you look way more talented than you actually feel! (that's what happened for me at least)

Since I'm new to paper piecing I chose to use simple patterns.  There are tons of patterns floating around on Pinterest, here's my board for paper piecing patterns and ideas.  There are some patterns that I absolutely love, like Mariner's Compass, and I'm working my way up to making them.

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I've been making coasters in sets of 6, each coaster is 4x4".  They've been great to use up scraps.  A while ago I really splurged and bought several Cotton andSteele 50 fat quarter bundles from Craftsy when they were on super clearance.  (I may or may not have put them and several other hundreds of dollars of fabric on Handsomepant's credit card, and then I may or may not have received a frantic phone call from said husband telling me his credit card information had been stolen.  That was an awkward conversation.  Good thing he loves me, and I really was going to tell him at dinner that night!  P.S. if you value your marriage, learn from my lesson!)  

 So far I've just been making the tops of the coasters, I'm planning on dedicating a day to a marathon of quilting and binding these babies.  

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The yellow one reminds me of queso and chips for some reason.

The yellow one reminds me of queso and chips for some reason.

I'm trying to make each set a different pattern.  As you can see I need more practice with this sail boat pattern.  I think I'm going to redraft the pattern so bits of it are pieced separately and then sewn together.  I'm definitely going to have to do some more research on how to complete more advanced patterns. 

I am really excited with how easy and neat the pineapple blocks have turned out.  For the longest time I've had pillow covers on my quilting to-do list.  I've decided I'm going to use the pineapple block for them.  Now all that's left is to find some fabrics that match the couch.

Have you made any coasters? What about tips and tricks on paper piecing? Leave them in the comments below.

Happy Quilting!

- Rita

 

January 2017 Recap

Since I made and committed to my New Years resolutions, you can find those here, I thought it would be a good idea to follow each month with a recap of all the things I accomplished (or not) for that month.  So here's what happened in January:

 

Resolution: Blogging

My goal was to write a blog post per week. To help me with that goal, in my Quilter's Planner I scheduled time every Monday specifically for writing.  That's great and all, but I didn't post new content every Monday.  I did post three articles though if you include my first post of 2017 with my list of New Year's resolutions, the other two are here, and here.

If I really want to stick to this resolution, I need to step it up on my content ideas and creation, and stick to my calendar and scheduling.  I guess we'll see how well that goes in February's recap.

 

Resolution: Organize the Closet

RESOLUTION COMPLETE! Over the last week of January and into February I completely organized my quilting closet (post is here.)  What a breath of fresh air to have everything nice and neat and in its place, plus I'm done with a resolution!  Hooray for me!

 

Resolution: Join 3 QAL's

I am well on my way to completing this resolution.  I have officially joined 2 1/2 quilt-a-longs.  The first is the 52 Weeks with the Quilter's Planner QAL.  I broke down and actually bought the planner, and I do not regret that decision.  It's an awesome planner (which is huge for me!), makes the QAL easier to complete, and I'm now eligible for the multiple giveaways offered every week and month. (Fingers crossed!)  Also, because of this QAL, I learned how to paper piece! This was a new technique for me an I am hooked!

Week 1 

Week 1 

Week 2

Week 2

Week 3

Week 3

Week 4

Week 4

Week 1 Sewcial Bee

Week 1 Sewcial Bee

The second QAL is the Sewcial Bee Sampler by Maureen Cracknell.  I am super excited about the possiblities with this QAL.  It's shorter than the Quilter's Planner QAL with only 25 blocks, and I'm using a fat quarter stack from Cotton & Steele fabrics so this quilt should look more cohesive than the Quilter's Planner QAL since I've pledged to use scraps.

The 1/2 QAL is a full QAL that I've joined late, like almost a year late!  I borrowed Lori Holt's book Farm Girl Vintage from my mother in law.  My goal is to make one of every 6" block in the book, along with some of the larger 14" blocks to make an entire quilt top.  I think I'm going to have to make a few blocks from Lori's website to fill in some open spaces in the layout I designed, but I'm very excited about this quilt.  I'm using it as a skill builder, I'm being very meticulous with my piecing, more than I usual. I really want the points of my blocks to be spot on and the pride of this quilt.  These are just a few of the blocks I've made so far.

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Resolution: Make a Quilt by Hand

I'm off to a good start on this resolution.  Using a small fat quarter stash and a charm pack, as well as some templates from Love & Patchwork Quilting Magazine, I have chosen a pattern, color scheme, and started cutting and sewing.  If I stick to pace that I've been moving, I think I could be done with all my blocks by about June.  Thinking about it now, I'm not sure if I can complete this resolution in one year, but it never helps to be pessimistic. 

 

Resolution: Machine Binding

I'm not sure about this resolution, I haven't really done anything about building this skill since I haven't finished that many projects.  I need more practice before I can call this resolution complete.

 

Resolution: Finish 10 WIPs

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I have almost completed my first WIP!  I'm making a wedding quilt for some dear friends from college.  I feel a little bad that the quilt wasn't finished for their wedding (in September!) but I had a baby half way through piecing the top, so I don't feel that bad.  This is first quilt I've made with a center medallion.  It looks pretty cute and I'm pleased with the way it's turned out, but I have to admit that applique is not my cup of tea! Holy smokes is that tedious! So far I'm about half done with quilting it, I did some FMQ around the medallion then simple top stitching over the rest of the blocks.  

I've also been doing some small quilting that really has no place in my schedule but it's super fun and eating up my scraps.  Like I said earlier, I learned how to paper piece while constructing a block for the 52 Weeks with the Quilter's Planner QAL, and I am in love with this new-to-me technique!  It does create some more waste than other quilting techniques, but the accuracy is on point! I've been piecing together 4" blocks for coasters.  I decided that I need a set of coasters after I made some Kitty Coasters for my awesome little sister for Christmas. 

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Besides all of the success' and short comings of January, this family has been busy! M broke her finger the day after Christmas and that was traumatic for everyone involved, (it is incredibly difficult to protect a broken finger on an 18 month old!)  Goose started back to preschool and I am actively procrastinating enrolling her into kindergarten (there is no way my baby is almost 5!)  Handsomepants got a promotion at work (I'm so proud!) and I have had a couple of exciting opportunities fall my way.  I have been invited to become an instructor at a local karate school and I surprised myself by becoming a Norwex consultant!  

So far 2017 has turned out to be pretty awesome (except for M's finger) and exciting.  I hope it stays that way! How has your first month been? Have you completed any of your New Year's resolutions? Leave a comment and let me know!

Happy Quilting!

- Rita

Kitty Coasters!

My sister's a crazy cat-lady. Not the scary kind of crazy, but her cat has it's own Instagram account.  For Christmas I decided to make her these kitty coasters.  I knew she would like something cat related,  but I didn't want something over the top.  At first I thought about making a sweater for her cat, but I didn't know the measurements I would need so I decided against it.  Gifts can be so difficult sometimes.

Naturally I turned to Pinterest for ideas and I found tons of different quilt blocks with cat designs, everything from applique to variations of the Snail Trail block.  I really liked a wall hanging from Elizabeth Hartman that featured cat faces (you can find it on her blog here!).  I liked how identifiable the blocks where without being overstated and decided some coasters would be cute, quick to make, and nice way to showcase the blocks.

The only problem with Elizabeth's blocks is that they are rectangular, and I thought that would be an awkward shape for coasters, so I rewrote the pattern to make a 4x4" block.  This changed the face shape a bit, but the effect is the same.

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The coasters where a great way to use up some scraps. I used some random leftovers from some charm packs for the faces and I found a basic neutral in my stash for the background fabric.  You can't really tell from the pictures,  but the neutral fabric also has a bit of a gold sparkle to it!


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You will need to cut:

2 (1.5 x 1.5") squares

1 (1.5 x 4") rectangle - background fabric

1 (4 x 3.5") rectangle

2 (1.5 x 1.5" squares - background fabric

STEP 1

Take the four squares and on the wrong side of the fabric, use a ruler and pencil to mark a line from  corner to corner.

Place the two colored squares on the neutral rectangle, and the two neutral squares on the colored rectangle. Make sure right sides are together, and the lines on the squares are arranged so the angles of the lines run towards each other at the bottom of the rectangles.

Sew along the lines and trim a 1/4" seam.

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STEP 2

Press seams away from the rectangles.  Line up the ear rectangle with the face rectangle and sew together.  Press seams towards the face rectangle.  I didn't press seams open because I found that the stitches loosened and came undone some times.  By pressing them together, there was no strain on the stitches.  I you prefer to press your seams open I suggest using a small stitch length.

Trim and square up the block so that it measures 4 x 4 1/4".  I used the seam line between the ear and face rectangles as my guide line.  

To finish the coasters I quilted the blocks onto some left over batting and used the neutral background fabric for the backing and binding.  You can make the quilting as intricate as you like, but did a simple stitch-in-the-ditch along the seam lines.

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This block was quick and easy and the results are super cute.  I'm adding it to my to-do list to make a full sized quilt with this block, but I'll probably increase it's size by a couple of inches.  

These are the six coasters I made for my sister.  I think they're cool enough for a suave twenty-something law student.

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If you make any of your own be sure to share them on Instagram with the hashtag #kittycoaster so we can see your inner cat-lady skills!

Happy Quilting!

- Rita