The cover sample you see above is from before I had fabric bundles in my shop, and most of the fabrics I used are no longer available.
One of the things I love about the way I do fabric bundles now is that you can use any bundle for any quilt. Here’s an example of three quilts that all use the Warm Neutrals fat quarter bundle for the animals – but different bundles for the background colors.
Changing just the background colors really changes the whole feel of the quilt – and I love them all!
So when people ask for suggestions for background colors for the Noisy Farm pattern – I want to tell them they can use anything! Go totally bright with the Solid Rainbow! Go a little more subdued with Box of Crayons! Go baby sweet with Rainbow Sherbet! Go natural with Green Batiks! Want even more suggestions? Go to the Noisy Farm pattern listing and look at the additional photos. There are a bunch showing finished quilts that other people have made with different fabrics than my samples.
One more change – I made this one a silent farm. 🙂 I left off the half-blocks with animal sounds and added sashing. I get a lot of requests about adding sashing to a Quilt As You Go quilt. There’s a tutorial here showing how you can reset (almost) any of my quilt patterns with added sashing. I even did the math for you for all the sizes. 🙂
If you’ve made any of my quilt patterns using a different color scheme – please share! Seeing all the different versions of my patterns makes me Muppet-arms-flailing happy – and it’s a great resource for your fellow makers out there to see different options. 🙂
You see – I have a specific project in mind and I’m sooooo eager to get to it!
This is the door between my office and my husband’s office.
I love that barn door – and from the very beginning we planned to cover it with a quilt. Basically, I’m going to make two quilts – one for the front and one for the back, and I’m going to hand-sew the door into them (like a model on Project Runway) with a strip of solid fabric all around the thickness of the door.
I want to improv piece the quilts – but I’ve never really done that before. So I want to practice a bit and try some things out before I start on the big door project. And for that – I really wanted to have a design wall. It helps so much to be able to see the design straight on as it’s growing!
For my practice pieces I’m making some placemats. Each one will use a different basic shape so see what I like – and what’s fun to do. 🙂
I’m starting with stripes. I love stripes!
Here are my rules for this one. . .
No rulers. I’ll use my rotary cutter and scissors – but no rulers, either for measuring or cutting. I want my lines to be slightly wobbly/crooked.
Big Stitch quilted with really dense stitching. Yay! I haven’t done any big stitch quilting for months and I’m itching to get back to it.
The first thing I did was measure out a space on my design wall – a little bigger than a placemat needs to be – and mark the four corners with pins. That way I can see what space a need to fill.
Then I started cutting and sewing. Remember – no rulers. I just grabbed some pastel scraps, cut a chunk of grey, cut them into strips, and sewed them together. This is so much fun! Once a finished a little chunk of pink, I moved on to other colors. Here’s a super short video showing each little chunk going up onto the wall.
After I was happy with all the chunks, I sewed them together. Easy peasy – nothing fancy.
At the end of the video you see it hooped up in a square frame all ready for stitching, stitching after one evening, and stitching after two evenings. So here’s a little more info about that part of the process.
I’m using Sulky 12 wt. thread for all the quilting. That’s those little spools you see on top of the basted work.
If you have the Shiny Happy Houses quilt pattern, you can use it to make a whole different quilt just by switching out the fabrics. Make a fun haunted house quilt!
For this block the arch templates that I usually use for doors and windows became fun tombstones! I used ghost and creepy eyeball buttons for extra Halloween fun. And of course – the Halloween-themed fabrics make it easy. 🙂
I’m putting the finishing touches on the new house block patterns going out this weekend and I thought I’d share a look at all my house blocks so far. Remember – I’m working on three different house quilts in three different styles and color palettes. Most people in the club are only making one. 🙂
Up top is my whimsical neighborhood – with houses in colors that most people don’t use in real life. I love them! There’s an extra house in this group because it’s what I used to make the video demo showing how to put everything together. 🙂
This is my more conventional neighborhood. The houses are still wonky and fun, but the colors are more like what you’d see driving down the streets of an actual neighborhood.
And this is my gingerbread quilt. 🙂 All the houses are gingerbread color with candy trim and lots of extras – like beading, extra stitching, buttons, and rickrack “snow” on the roof.
I’m having so much fun with these blocks! And it’s been absolutely fantastic to see the houses that members are making! Pop into the Shiny Happy People group on Facebook to see! Here’s just one fabulous example – this one from Terri.
Want to join the club? It’s never too late! If you sign up now you get instant access to all the pattern pieces and all the emails that have gone out so far. The next mailing goes out this Sunday 4/3.
Updated – The club has finished, so if you order the pattern now you get it all in one big download.
Here it is! The very last block in the Controlled Chaos scrap quilt!
What You’ll Need
52 two-inch squares in color A (shown in purple)
48 two-inch squares in color B (shown in green)
Use 1/4″ seam allowances for all sewing.
Press all the seams as you go. I’m pressing mine open for this quilt. I think it will make things simpler in the end.
Arrange your squares according to the diagram below.
For this block I worked in big chunks. I sewed things up in the following order. . .
Sew all your individual squares into pairs of matching colors. You should have 26 purple pairs and 24 green pairs.
Sew the purple pairs into 2 x 2 squares.
Pull out four of those purple squares. Sew two green pairs to opposite sides of each purple square. Sew the remaining green pairs into eight 1 x 4 rectangles.
Sew these rectangles to the top and bottom of your purple squares, so that there’s a green ring around each of the four purple squares.
Sew the rest of your purple squares into one 2×10 rectangle and two 2 x 4 rectangles.
Sew a 2 x 4 purple rectangle between two purple/green squares. Repeat with the last 2 x 4 purple rectangle and the last two purple/green squares
Assemble your chunks in rows and sew the long 2 x 10 purple rectangle between your other two rows.
Well – finished with the blocks. 🙂 I still need to join them all together with sashing strips between them and then quilt the whole thing. Here’s what it’s going to look like. . .
I’ll have a tutorial showing how to do the sashing strips (there’s a little trick to that!) and then tutorials showing basic hand quilting, quilting without marking, and big stitch hand quilting. Yes – I’m going to spend the winter hand-quilting this beauty!
But all of that is going to have to wait just a little bit. I have a new and improved website that I’m really close to launching, so that’s taking a lot of my attention behind the scenes these days. It’ll be worth it! While you wait – finish all your blocks!
Remember – you don’t have to make your quilt the same size or number of blocks as my quilt. You can make fewer quilts for a crib size, or repeat some of the designs in different colors (or make up your own additions!) for a larger quilt. Mine is going to be just the right size for curling up on the couch. 🙂
Today I’m going to share a bit of problem-solving with you for your T-shirt quilts.
Most T-shirt designes are pretty well centered, with some room all the way around.
But sometimes the design of a T-shirt goes right up to the armhole, making it difficult to cut a square corner and get all the important bits.
Take, for example, this Fraggle design.
I cut this out as close to the arm seam as possible, but Mokey Fraggle is right up against the cut. The sleeve fabric was kind of yucky and worn there – so I definitely wanted to cut it away – but I didn’t want to lose Mokey!
I made the cut and did the interfacing as though there was fabric there. (I didn’t press that loose corner of interfacing – that would have fused it to the ironing board. I just left it unpressed while I fused the rest down.) Then I cut out the image – again pretending that there was fabric in that corner.
Of course, the next step is to sew in some real fabric to replace the pretend stuff. 🙂
I cut a strip of fabric big enough to cover the missing corner, laid it along the edge of the armhole cut, and sewed it in place with a straight seam.
Then I flipped the strip over the corner and pressed the seam flat (from the back so I didn’t smear the image).
Trim the corner to square up the block.
Then frame it out just like all the other blocks.
I ran into the same issue with the Nyan Cat T-shirt.
And solved it the same way. 🙂
Here’s what the blocks look like so far.
I’m hoping to finish all the blocks this week, so next week will be joining, basting, quilting and binding. In my dreams I’m handsewing the binding while I watch Diane Gilleland’s T-shirt Quilt class and learn all the things I could have done better. (It looks amazing and it’s free! Sign up here and watch with me!) In reality I’ll probably be doing it in the car on the way to drop Jo off at school. 😛
Frankly – the thought of planning that out made my head hurt. And then the cutting and piecing would have to be really precise and I would be quickly getting far away from the kind of quilts I like to make.
Until I learn Diane’s magic secret – I decided to keep things simple.
1. I already own a 15 inch square ruler – so all the blocks will be 15 inch square blocks. Easy.
2. I cut the T-shirt images whatever size works best for the image. Then I add fabric around the image until it’s bigger than 15 inches. Then I use that handy-dandy ruler to trim it to the exact right size.
The T-shirt has interfacing fused to the back and it’s trimmed where I like it.
I hit my stash and pulled some blue that very closely matched the blue of the T-shirt.
My original plan was to use contrasting fabric for the frame – like pulling out the green of her tail or the orange of her hair – but in the end I decided that would be too busy. I want the focus to be on the T-shirt images, so my frames add a bit of extra texture (none of them are solids) without adding additional color.
I added strips all the way around the image until the block was bigger than 15 inches. I added strips to the top and bottom first, then pressed it and added strips to the two sides and pressed again.
You can add to the sides first and then the top and bottom. Or you can work your way around the block log-cabin-style. It doesn’t really matter – just get fabric on all four sides.
Press all your seams away from the T-shirt center. And press everything from the back so you don’t smear your image!
Here’s the framed block with my 15 inch ruler set on top so you can see the extra all the way around.
Now – position that ruler where you want it and cut around all four sides. I wanted my blocks off center – but straight – so I lined one of the ruler lines up with a seam between the T-shirt image and the frame so everything stays nice and straight. If you look closely (click on the image to zoom in) you can see that the one-inch line on the ruler is lined up with the seam on the right side of the block.
I think it would be fun to have the images at interesting angles in the quilt, but Jo wanted them straight. 🙂
And here’s the finished block!
You can see I added wider strips to some sides, and narrower to others. I don’t want the image centered in the block, so unevenness is good. Also – then I don’t have to measure anything. 🙂 The effect is even more noticeable in some of the blocks with smaller images. Scroll back up to the top of the post to see the rest of the blocks so far.
Tony the Tiger was the only image big enough to cut 15″ square with no framing – so he’s in there just just from the T-shirt. Everything else is getting at least some framing.
Next week I’ll be back with a post about handling T-shirts whose images go right up to the armholes.
As I mentioned yesterday – the main challenge in making a T-shirt quilt is that T-shirts are stretchy. Stretchy fabric is usually the LAST thing you would choose to make a quilt. It stretches – which makes precise measuring hard. And the edges curl when they’re cut which is really annoying.
So the first step is to make your stretchy T-shirts no longer stretchy.
For that I used interfacing.
Specifically – Pellon 906F. It’s the lightest weight interfacing I could find.
Here’s how the interfacing works. . .
The Pellon 906F is a fisuble interfacing. That means you iron it to the back of your fabric and it creates a permanent bond. You’re basically gluing a non-stretchy fabric to the back of a stretchy fabric – which makes the stretchy fabric no longer stretchy.
I chose the lightest weight interfacing I could find because I didn’t want to make my fabric overly heavy or stiff. With the 906F it still drapes nicely – so that’s good!
Here’s the step-by-step. . .
Step 1 – Cut away the front of the shirt
I cut right up the side seams and across the shoulder seams, as close as I could get to the seams without being too crazy fussy about the whole thing.
Step 2 – Add interfacing
See the interfacing peeking out where the armholes were? That gives you a sense of how big I cut the piece of interfacing. From the back it’s just a big square of white fabric stuck to some blue fabric – not the most useful image.
Cut a piece of interfacing larger than the image on the front of your shirt.
Lay the shirt front face down on your ironing board.
Iron the interfacing to the back of the image. Follow the package instructions as best you can.
This involves slowly counting to ten over and over and over and over again. It’s very boring – but it’s not hard and it’s what makes the whole thing work. Just listen to some music or a podcast or watch TV while you do it. 🙂
Important note – the instructions for the Pellon 906F say to flip the fabric over after the initial fuse and iron again with steam from the front.
Don’t do that!
A lot of the inks and image transfers used on T-shirts will melt and smear if you iron directly on them. Instead I lightly spritzed the back all over with water and pressed the whole thing again until it was dry.
For the technique I’m using I’m not measuring at all. Easy peasy! I’m just cutting around the image in a way that looks good to me for that image.
And that’s it! The T-shirt is no longer stretchy. The cut edges don’t curl. And I have a nice, easy shape to frame out for the final block. Tomorrow I’ll show you that step – how I frame the images to get blocks that are all the same size. With no measuring!
Disclaimer – This is my first T-shirt quilt ever. I’ve made a lot of quilts and I’ve worked with knit fabrics – so I’m not starting from nowhere. But I am in no way an expert! If you want to learn from an expert, sign up for Diane Gilleland’s class here. She makes some BEE-YOO-TEE-FUL T-shirt quilts and I’m definitely taking the class myself. It’s free if you RSVP for the live version!