Monday, July 30, 2012

Super Mario Brothers Quilt Along - Guest Post by Jennifer Overstreet

Cut To Pieces

This is part of an ongoing series of posts for The Super Mario Brothers Quilt Along I'm hosting here on my blog. You can join in at any time! You will find the links to all steps in my top bar. Also please feel free to join the Super Mario Brothers Quilt Along Flickr Group.

♪do do da do. Da do da do da do do do da do do do♪

I'd like to welcome Jennifer today who has some tips and tricks for you all on alternate interfacing ideas. I think you all will be excited to read about her success with other stabilizers that are a bit less expensive and probably more readily available to you.

Hi everyone!

I am Jennifer Overstreet from gh quilting and I along with many of you am excited about the about the Super Mario Brother's Quilt Along.  And like most of you out there I all ready have both Mario and Lugi finished.

SMB MarioLugi

But before I could get to the end process of each block I had a little issue of what interfacing to use since Pellon's Stick and Wash was out of my budget. I did take on Angela's suggestion of buying the 542 Pellon or the 820 Quilter's Grid which is also made by Pellon. I don't know if you would call it lucky or unlucky that my local Jo-Ann's was out of the 542 Pellon.

So I ended up buying the 820 Quilter's Grid for $4.99 a yard and I lucked out and got it all on sale for 50% off.
* Keep your eye on Jo-Ann's sale flyer for interfacing 50%off of the yard for a more affordable way to get your interfacing.

I was all excited that I had everything need for this Quilt Along.

However, I know most of you out there are like me and are on tight budget.  Trust me I do feel your pain!

So after reading about all the complaints to Angela, I went out to my local Jo-Ann's and found a solution that will hopefully solve the affordability of this QAL. Since you will be more likely be prone to draw the 1 1/2" grid to your interfacing; there is no reason why you would need to buy the 820 quilter's grid. What you need something affordable and a blank slate to work on.

This is what I would suggest:

Pellon Shirt - Taylor 950F.

The 950F is very durable and very light weight. It will take the beating of a #2 pencil running across it. The best part of it all is that this interfacing runs $2.99 a yard. For the 12 yards needed that will run you $35.88 before taxes and if you luck out with a 50% off sale it will run you $17.94 before taxes.


Pellon P44F

This interfacing is light weight but you will have to be careful when running a #2 pencil across it because it will easily tear. Best part is that this interfacing is really affordable! It runs .99 cents a yard. For the 12 yards needed that will run you $11.88 before taxes and if you do luck out with a 50% off sale it will run you $5.94 before taxes.

Before I go I wanted to mention a few things about the interfacing.

Unlike Stick and Wash the interfacing can not be removed once you have pressed to the fabric. Well, it can but it is a huge pain to do!

But unlike Stick and Wash after it is removed, interfacing will keep your blocks in shape.
You will have no worries of washing it away or the fabric stretching . However, once your quilt is finished and washed a million times over the interfacing will eventually wear away and over time the quilt will become less stiff.

Oh, ??? over the #2 pencil.
Yes, I use a #2 pencil on stuff like this so I can see it. It will wash away just as easily as a water soluble marker will. Also from a recent experience my water soluble marker disappeared just as quickly as it appeared on to my interfacing.
That is why I also use a #2 pencil.

Well, thank everyone for lending me your eyes and ears to day on Angela's blog.
I hope that this new found information will help any one out there who is really excited to be apart of the QAL.

Also thank you Angela for asking me to guest post this information to all of you!
Looking forward to seeing your Super Mario Brothers QAL process over at Flickr!


Thank you so much for sharing all of that valuable information Jennifer! We need all the help we can get. I also know that there are bunches of people making the quilt with no stabilizer at all. Which is also great! This is what the quilting community is all about. Sharing our methods and techniques with each other so we can all make an informed decision on how WE want to tackle the quilt.

Super Mario Brothers Quilt Along - Goomba Block

Cut To Pieces

This is part of an ongoing series of posts for The Super Mario Brothers Quilt Along I'm hosting here on my blog. You can join in at any time! You will find the links to all steps in my top bar. Also please feel free to join the Super Mario Brothers Quilt Along Flickr Group.

♪do do da do. Da do da do da do do do da do do do♪

Ready? It's Goomba time!

Goomba - Block #3 in the Super Mario Bros QAL

This quirky little fella is one of main bad guys in the Mario World. You see him everywhere and often. He's one of the easiest to beat, yes, but darn if he doesn't take you down pretty easily if you are not careful!

Quilting wise, he's a little tricky because he's made up mainly of the three shades of brown. It can be easy to use the wrong brown. So keep them in order from light to dark to help yourself out...and double check your work!

All three blocks so far!

If I kept him this large he would be a much more formidable opponent to our heroes Mario and Luigi! lol

You can find all of the PDF's for the Super Mario Brothers QAL available HERE.
You can download the PDF of the Goomba HERE.

If you are looking for other blocks from the quilt, look HERE.

Be sure to add your creations to the flickr group so we can all see how we are doing!

Also stay tuned for a special blog post here by Jennifer who has some tips and tricks to share on alternate interfacing ideas!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Paper Piecing Like I'm loving it

I've managed to keep myself in only ONE bee for this year and what a lovely bee it is. The Stash Trad Bee...a rather tame name for a group of uber talented ladies who can made complicated traditionally styled blocks from their personal stash of fabrics. I was the very first month of the year, so I've been making blocks for other quilts ever since. And there are just a couple more months to go!

Kati's month was July and she had a lovely color scheme of Yellows and Greys which we mixed with a Kona Snow Background. Kati asked for any paper pieced star pattern. Well surprise, surprise...I didn't make it easy on myself.

Starburst Spools for Kati - July Stash Trad Bee

You see, I had fallen in love with Charise's pattern and bought it from her little shop on Etsy. It is called Starburst Spools. I checked with Kati before making it to make sure it was "star" enough for her vision and she gave me the green light to work on it.

I'm not going to lie. It's not my best work in the world. I found the pattern difficult and more time consuming than I expected (but I ALWAYS underestimate time). Those spools are definitely the toughest part of the block. This block is only 12.5" big, so everything is pretty darn tiny.

Starburst Spools for Kati - July Stash Trad Bee

But overall I'm pleased that I tackled it. My husband laughed and said I wouldn't be happy if I wasn't pushing myself...which is true. But that also means that I will have moments that I am not as happy as I would have liked to be. I've evaluated what I did and I think I have figured out what I would do differently if I were ever inclined to make this again...but it's sort of a one of a kind block.

I know I see this with the eyes of the maker, so I'm a bit skewed. But it pushed me to tackle the next block for our bee for Brioni. She chose the lone starburst pattern that can be found HERE.

Lone Starburst for Brioni - Stash Trad Bee

I was a bit anxious because the patterns are fairly similar and I wanted to prove to myself that I could indeed handle it. And I'm MUCH happier with this one. In fact, I really want to keep it! lol

Lone Starburst for Brioni - Stash Trad Bee

I decided if I was going to paper piece this then I would go ahead and fussy cut those centers. Why not? That's the fun part about paper piecing. You can get some awesome fussy cut moments. And this makes me want to make a whole star with the Tufted Tweets Chairs especially. It was just the perfect scale for the star. But all of the pieces were fun to fussy cut and put "just so".

Lone Starburst for Brioni - Stash Trad Bee

I did what I read suggested under the original designer's instructions I believe and tried to alternate warm and cool colors around the star. It really helps make for a vibrant but balanced look.

Two and half days of intense paper piecing makes me long for a bit of a break, but if/when I get the bug to paper piece again I would definitely come back to the bottom star and make one for myself. And if I'm feeling REALLY confident, I'll tackle the starburst spools again. But I wouldn't hold your breath. lol I have more and more respect for Charise who designed that and other paper pieced patterns. Incredible.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Getting Things Done

I've been actually making a list for myself these days of the things I want to accomplish during the day.  And I may even be keeping it reasonable!  I love lists and I used to live by them during my school days.  I'm one of those people that relishes checking something off a list.

So I tackled a couple of blocks that I agreed to make for a special quilt.  They are done in a scrappy, quilt as you go style.  And I include selvages for the first time I think!  This was the perfect way for me to try them out.  And I think I might be hooked.

Scrappy Quilt as You Go Blocks

We were doing colors mixed with neutral backgrounds with lots of delicious fabrics thrown in. It was a ton of fun to pull out some Munki Munki fabrics to use and other precious scraps.

Scrappy Quilt as You Go Blocks

This method can be found all over the internet, so just google "Quilt as You go". I did mine with a 1/4" quilting throughout the top layer and the batting. Then the backing for each piece is added later and quilted separately. I just quilted in the ditch in each block and that was perfect for quilting all three layers together.

Scrappy Quilt as You Go Blocks

Then I send these off to someone else who has agreed to connect the blocks to make this special quilt. I don't know too much about how that is done, so you can probably find more information with the details on the method itself if you search. But from what I've seen so far, this quilt is going to be GORGEOUS and I'm already jealous. lol

PS.  What do we think of the shots of the blocks in front of my fabric?  Too colorful?  Distracting?  Perfection?  I haven't made up my mind yet but I love the light I get there...  I did do a couple of shots where I cropped out the background.

Scrappy Quilt as You Go Blocks

Scrappy Quilt as You Go Blocks

Better?  Blah?  No Difference?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sew-Less Summer - Featuring Katy Cameron

Today is another installment in the Sew-Less Summer series.  Today I am happy to welcome Katy Cameron of The Littlest Thistle.  Katy has been a loyal follower of my blog for a while now (for some reason she keeps coming back!) and this gal never fails to make me laugh.  Our emails generally include casual references to crossing the atlantic via swimming or sacrificing goats to help a deadline happen...that sort of normal stuff. ;)

I've been sewing for years, doing embroidery when I was little, moving through some mad fleece garments when I was at Uni, followed by teddy bears after I graduated, a good few bags over the years, and some more structured clothes last spring.  I made my first quilt last September :o)

Hi everyone, I had so much fun creating these as part of Angela's Sew-Less Summer series, in fact I think it's a project that you could rope your kids into too (if you happened to have any).

I'm sure I'm not the only one that is a little mournful looking at the tiny scraps in their scrap bucket, and wishing there was a use for them, so I decided that this was the moment to leap in.  I can be quite sensible about only keeping pieces at least 1 1/2" square in my scrap bags, because I do regretfully have to admit that anything smaller cannot be used for sewing except, perhaps for applique.  I did think I would maybe have a go at creating my own fabric at some point - one of those projects where you put the scraps between water soluble interfacing, sew like crazy all over the top and then dissolve the interfacing away, so I'd been emptying my little scrap bucket into a special 'mini scraps' bag for the purpose.   It was this that I raided for this project, however, it wouldn't take long to collect scraps like this to make your own, without undignified dumpster diving in your workroom bins ;o)  I *may* have spent about twice the amount of time picking out scraps as I spent actually making these, but we'll gloss over that for now... 

You will need:

As many plain tiles as you would like coasters + 1 (I got a pack of 25 for £5 from my local DIY store)

Tiny fabric scraps

Mod Podge

Foam brush for Mod Podge

1. Lay your tiles out on your working area, setting your extra one to the side for now. 

2. Arrange your scraps on top of each tile in a pleasing manner - feel free to hack them around a bit more so that they fit better, after all, there wasn't any other use for them!

3. Once you're happy with them, bring back your extra tile.  Coat the top of the extra tile in Mod Podge, and then move your scraps from one of your arranged coasters over on top of the glue, keeping the arrangement the same.   

4. Repeat until all your scraps are stuck down, then remove your extra blank one again.  Now starting with the first tile you stuck down, brush another layer of Mod Podge over the top, making sure that you don't end up curling any of the scraps over or moving them around too much. 

5. Sit back and wait patiently to dry - be aware that this may take a while, especially if it's hot outside!  If, like me, you're in the 'we've entirely forgotten it's meant to be summer' UK though, 24 hours should be plenty...

Now go off and host fabulous drinks parties just so that you have an excuse to show these off...

Thank you so much for sharing this fun idea with us Katy!  I think I need to make a drink now. ;)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Kind of Thing I should Finish

What's Old is New...UFO

So I knew that I had this quilt top floating around in my world. But I've just been too busy to get to it. I think that I started the Project UFO group just to push me to finish things like this. It hasn't helped me finish it, but I think it has helped me decide to keep it. I'm growing a bit sentimental over it.

UFO from 6 years ago!

There is not a single curved seam in this top believe it or not. This pattern was all about clever angles. At the time it was a bit of a challenge for me...I think I started this about 8 years ago. At some point while living in New Orleans I pulled it out and finished it. I even purchased some Amy Butler fabric for the backing (which may well have been my first online fabric purchase). I recently decided to use the AB fabric for another quilt, so now I need to decide what to do with this one.

This quilt top is sort of a memento for me because it marked a time when I officially decided to pursue quilting again. I had made a few quilts already but this one marked that I was definitely NOT done with quilting. I'm still not!!

She's newer than the quilt top!

It amuses me that this unfinished top is years older than my daughter. I kind of hate that...I don't like to let projects go for this long. I'm hoping that blogging about this will somehow make me feel more accountable for finishing this top up. The fabrics are not my favorite but I do still love the colors. And I think I could find a family member who would be happy to own this. Now to just decide on the backing and then I might actually baste it. Then quilt it. Then bind it. Oiy!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Super Mario Brothers Quilt Along - Luigi Block (and giveaway!)

*the giveaway is now closed*

Cut To Pieces

This is part of an ongoing series of posts for The Super Mario Brothers Quilt Along I'm hosting here on my blog. You can join in at any time! You will find the links to all steps in my top bar. Also please feel free to join the Super Mario Brothers Quilt Along Flickr Group.

♪do do da do. Da do da do da do do do da do do do♪

Ready? It's Luigi time!

I'm partially through my block and you can see my progress...I opted to finish up that new quilt for Caitlyn (and yes it is done! pictures soon!) so I got a little behind on my schedule. But given that Luigi and Mario are the same except for the shirt and hat color, you will all get the point. ;) Although I need to check and see if I used the right green fabric. I think my instagramed photo might be throwing me off a bit here.


And can I just say that I love the Flickr group and all the creativity over there. I jump up and down each time I see a new block pop up! (I'm channeling my inner Luigi...I always liked Luigi better because of the green...yes, I'm totally shallow like that)

Stephanie already finished her Mario AND Luigi blocks and she rather geniusly flipped Luigi to face the opposite direction as Mario. Love that.



I know that some people are talking about making one of the fellas a jumping version of himself as well for more variety. I love that idea too!

Be sure to add your creations to the flickr group so we can all see how we are doing!

You can find all of the PDF's for the Super Mario Brothers QAL available HERE.
You can download the PDF of Luigi HERE. And I've tried to arrange all of the PDFs so that you can find them easily. So all the blocks will be available in the same folder/collection on this site. So if you are looking for other blocks from the quilt, look HERE.

Now for the giveaway!  

I know that you don't all have access to the stabilizer that I am using...It has been rather frustratingly hard to find.  But Pellon has been lovely to work with and offered up a giveaway for one lucky reader of a yard of the Pellon Stick-n-wash and 2 yards of their rayon batting! 

And just to help us out more, they have arranged for a coupon code with McCalls for those purchasing a bolt of the Pellon Stick -n - wash.  Use the coupon code 'PELLON542' on Shops@McCalls for a total 20% discount off the 10yd board of Pellon® 542 Stick-n-Washaway™. Customers can input the code in their shopping cart, and the discount will be confirmed and reflected immediately in the cart total.

I hope that some of you are able to take advantage of the coupon code!  Even if you don't want the whole bolt, perhaps a couple of people could split a bolt.  The flickr group would be a great place to set that up.
Especially if you wanted to help out an international friend as Pellon does not manufacturer internationally and McCalls does not ship there either.  (Contact me if you want more information on this)

For a chance to enter the giveaway for the 1 yard of Pellon Stick n Wash and 2 yards of rayon batting, we'll keep it simple today. 

 Leave me a comment letting me know your very favorite way to see a quilt photographed.  Do you like to see people using the quilt?  The whole picture of the quilt?  A random close up shot of the fabrics?  A cat lying on the quilt?  (How many people just smiled and how many just shuddered?!)  

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sew-Less Summer - Featuring Rebecca of Sew Festive Handmade

Today is another installment in the Sew-Less Summer series.  Today I am happy to welcome Rebecca of Sew Festive Handmade. Again, another super adorable quilter! (Honestly I'm having a little bit of hair envy right now! lol)

Rebecca lives in sunny Florida with her boyfriend and teaches sewing classes at a local shop. She taught herself to sew a couple years ago, but once she found the modern quilting community she never looked back! She's actually never made a quilt from a pattern because her favorite thing to do is make up her own quilt designs. Recently she's started dabbling in apparel sewing as well as producing cross-stitch and embroidery patterns.

Hi everyone! I'm Rebecca and I blog over at Sew Festive Handmade. I'm in the middle of hosting a Christmas in July event on my blog with lots of great tutorials and chances at prizes, so if you're looking to get holiday sewing started in advance then feel free to join the fun!

When Angela posted her idea of Sew-Less Summer I had an idea instantly: Scandinavian woven hearts! I used to make these all the time as a kid, but they're usually made out of paper. Last year I thought I'd try making them out of fabric! I love to make them with scraps and attach them to gifts in place of tags.

  • Template [found here; print with no scaling]
  • Two fabric pieces that are 5"x16"
  • Interfacing [optional]
  • Steam-a-Seam or similar
  • Tracing pen
  • Scrap of ribbon/twine/ric-rac that is at least 6" long
  • Pinking shears [optional]
 1. Cut the template on all the solid lines.

2. Fold one of your fabric pieces in half. I pressed the fold with a hot iron so it would be nice and creased. *Note: At this point if you'd like your finished woven heart to have a little more structure you can use a light to medium weight fusible interfacing on the fabric pieces before you fold and trace your template.

3. Trace template onto your fabric. I fold back each strip one at a time so that I can trace the lines in the middle. The straight edge of the template should be lined up on the fold.

4. Cut on the lines. Make sure you don't cut along the fold! I used pinking shears to give the finished product a little extra pizzazz. This also helps keep the fabric from fraying. If you don't have pinking shears that's totally ok! Regular scissors work just as well, and I haven't noticed any fraying in any of the others I've made.

5. Repeat steps 2-4 on your other piece of fabric.

6. Now it's time to start weaving the fabric together! For simplicity's sake, I'm going to describe the weaving using "print" and "solid" to differentiate which fabric I'm talking about during which step. Take the strip on the right of one of your pieces of fabric [my printed fabric] and the strip on the left of the other piece [solid]. Slide the solid strip through the first printed strip. Then slide the second printed strip through the solid strip. Continue alternating until you've woven the solid strip through all of the printed strips.

7. Slide the solid strip all the way to the top of the slits.

8. Continue weaving the rest of the strips. Make sure that you alternate every other row to get the woven pattern. When all the strips are woven you can wiggle and reposition so that they're evenly spaced.

The great thing about these is that they open up and create a little pocket! I'm turning all my woven hearts into sachets, so I'm putting little bags of potpourri inside. If you'd like to put something inside the heart, be it potpourri or just stuffing, you can finish the heart in a number of ways. You could finish the top edges with a blanket stitch, but I chose a Sew-Less version instead :)

Using your template, trace around the top curve and then connect the sides of the curve with a straight line onto your Steam-a-Seam. Cut out two of these little wedge shapes. Cut out two little squares if you'd like to put ribbon inside the heart to make a hanging loop.

Stuff the heart as desired. Place Steam-a-Seam squares at the position on each side of the inside of the heart where the two fabrics start to intersect [the "dip" of the heart]. Put your ribbon ends in between the Steam-a-Seam squares. Place the wedge-shaped Steam-a-Seam on the inside on the curves of the heart. Press with iron according to Steam-a-Seam instructions.

Voila! I plan on putting these around my house and in some dresser drawers to make things smell nice! I think they'd also look awesome in coordinating prints and colors as bunting.

Thanks Angela for letting me share this project! I absolutely love to sew, but sometimes it's nice to have a quick project that doesn't take any time at the machine but where I still get to use pretty fabric!

And thank you Rebecca for such a fun tutorial!  I think the garland or bunting idea is really fabulous.  It's always amazing to me what modern fabrics can do for a traditional design.


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