Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Stitch, Spring 2011: Fabric Nesting Bowls

Fabric nesting bowls

Stitch, Spring 2011You might not naturally put soccer balls and Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilts into the same category, but they actually have some similarities: by using pentagons for some of the pieces instead of hexagons, you can make a round ball instead of a flat quilt. Or, in this case, a bowl that (I think, anyway) looks kind of like a six-petaled flower.

After sewing these up, I can understand the addictive nature other English paper piecers have described—it’s perfect work for in front of the TV or on the go. And the bowls are kind of functionalist in that the “paper” conventionally used in English paper piecing gives the bowls their structure. But you’ll have to check out the spring issue of Stitch to see what I’m talking about!

Fabric nesting bowls

The sneaky trick the magazine doesn’t reveal, though, is die cutting: for the medium-size bowl, cut the interfacing with the Ellison 2" hexagon die (or the $5 clearance version!) and 2" pentagon die and you can save some tracing of templates. Then the larger and smaller versions just offset the edges of those pieces by ¼" either way. You could try using the three different sizes of hexagons on the AccuQuilt Go hexagon die; just make the bottom edge of the pentagon templates the same length as the corresponding hexagon.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Stitch, Spring 2011: Mellow Mushrooms Mini-Quilt

Mellow Mushroom Mini-Quilt
Stitch, Spring 2011Stitch’s “Art of Appliqué” feature was the perfect opportunity to put my stack of coordinating mushroom prints to use. Fabric manufacturers have been generous in releasing toadstools in retro colors, and I had even found a bit of vintage mushroom fabric (the brown print on the right, third up from the bottom). I knew I wanted to combine them with larger, appliquéd mushrooms, but the magazine gave me the needed kick in the behind to convert it from nebulous “someday” project to an actual quilt—and a pattern for you!

While you could easily convert the pattern to your appliqué technique of choice, I did conventional needle-turn appliqué, and I encourage you to give it a try. It’s really not tricky with a bit of practice, and the smooth curves of the mushrooms make it especially easy.

Get the pattern in the Spring 2011 issue of Stitch! And if you’re looking for more mushroom appliqués, check out the vintage mushroom pattern I posted a while back.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Stitch, Spring 2011: Banana-Peel Pencil Case

Banana-Peel Pencil Case with top open

cover_stitch_spr11_200The Other has a bit of a pen fetish and is always asking me to come up with fun pen cases for him. Sure, a simple bag with a zip is all you really need to corral a few pens and pencils, but what if you put three zippers in? Then you might get something like the Banana-Peel Pencil Case I designed for the Spring 2011 issue of Stitch, which stands up to allow easy pencil grabbing, or…

Banana-Peel Pencil Case with side open

…opens up on its side like a conventional pencil case. The exposed zippers give an extra splash of color and make the construction a little less scary too. I daresay I’m getting over zipperphobia, though—they really aren’t very frightening with a little practice.

Banana-Peel Pencil Case standing

Get the pattern for the pencil case in Stitch, out now!