Published – Mini Mitten Coasters

Mini Mitten Coasters by lori Miller Designs

I am pleased to share my latest published work, mini mitten coasters!  They are super cute, easy to stitch up and you can use some cute coordinating holiday prints or make them super scrappy with some leftover holiday fabric.

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They are featured on page 34 of Modern Patchwork Gifts 2016.  This is the third year I have been published in the holiday issue and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Mini Mitten

Even though this was basically a one block design, I still used Electric Quilt 7 to design it.  This tool is really versatile and it really helps you to visualize your project before you stitch it up.

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I worked on this little pattern back in March.  I had a really cute snowman print that I started with.  But sometimes the white of the snowman blended with the white of the background and I was worried that they would not photograph well.  I headed off to a local quilt shop, Cristina’s in Rochester, Mi to try to find holiday fabric in March.

And I wanted some fabric that looked modern but still holiday.  She had these lovely prints tucked in a back corner.  They are Winter Wonderland by Free Spirit Fabrics.  And when I saw that candy cane print, all I could think of was the perfect ribbing for a mitten.  These little guys are totally pieced and stitch up really fast.  You could make them in an afternoon.

I decided to do some straight line quilting and make it easy.  I think it adds some nice texture.  Then I put on that tiny binding.  It was not as hard as I thought.  My usual method for joining worked just fine.

Isn’t this little mitten just adorable?  You can make them with some fat eighths and a fat quarter for the backing and binding or use up your holiday scraps.

These are the perfect hostess, coworker or teacher gifts.  Add a mug and some tea or cocoa and you are all set.  Happy Stitching!

New Pattern: Monarch Butterfly Paper Pieced Block

SONY DSCThis stunning Monarch Butterfly Quilt block is foundation paper pieced.  I made this little block about a year ago for one of my Girlfriends special birthdays.  But the Monarch butterfly has always been special to me.  Even today, when I see one fly by, I expect to have good luck!  Now the cute little butterfly is available as a paper pieced pattern in 3 sizes, small, medium and large.  Although knowledge of foundation paper piecing is very helpful, this butterfly is made in five sections and I think it could be doable for a quick learning beginner.  You just might want to start with the larger sizes.

I actually drew this little butterfly in a little graph paper book I have.  I keep it with me to doodle and jot down ideas and designs for quilts and quilt motifs.  Then I used Electric Quilt 7 to draw up the paper pieced pattern.  One of my recent craft teachers taught me about critical thinking.  A very important concept when you are designing paper pieced patterns.  You need to be able to visualize how to put it together from start to finish to make sure you can get there from here.  You don’t want to sew yourself into a corner!  The section above is how the pattern prints out from electric quilt – it can create your foundation pieces for you – super nifty!

You line up your fabric on the back side of the foundation pattern and sew from the front.

A bottom wing is taking shape.  You just sew each piece step by step, each piece is numbered for the order that you sew it in.

Here is the wing trimmed with a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Doesn’t it look so crisp?  I used all of my orange scraps to make this one.

Here are three sections sewn together.  I used some polkadot swirly fabric to mimic the coloring of the monarch butterfly wings.

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Here are all three sizes made up.   Finished sizes are small – 4.5″ x 5.5″, medium – 7″ x 9″, and large – 10″ x 12″.  I think I am going to make the large block into a mini quilt for my bedroom.

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Here is the little paper pieced block.  I put it into this wide open zipper pouch that I made for my girlfriend.  She loves the color orange and she loved it.  I have another friend with a favorite color of orange and I think I will be whipping another little pouch for her too.  You can use your paper pieced blocks any way you wish.  You could add some fabric to the large block and make it 12″ square.  I think a whole quilt of those flutterbys would be so pretty.

You can find my Monarch Butterfly paper pieced pattern in three sizes for sale by following either link for My Patterns or My Shop.

Thanks for letting me share!  Tag me on Instagram at lorimillerdesigns, I would love to see your version!

 

 

Published – Infinity Quilt

Infinity Quilt by Lori Miller Designs

I am so pleased to share my Infinity Quilt that is published in the Spring 2016 issue of Modern Quilts Unlimited.

modern quilts unlimited spring 2016

There are so many lovely quilts in this issue, but my beauty starts on Page 24.

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Photo Courtesy of Rebekah Craft

This quilt is also well traveled.  The wonderful people at Free Spirit fabrics provided the lovely designer solids that I used to stitch up this design.  They asked to show the quilt in their booth at Quiltcon West 2016, an offer that I could not refuse.  MQU graciously let me loan it to them for the show.  I was inspired to design this quilt after coming across a traditional Belt Buckle Block.  I really like taking a traditional block and making it something special with  bright colors, an alternate grid, and free motion quilting.

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Here you can see the blocks are made up of very simple shapes, but the design looks complex.

 

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Here is my fancy design wall, not!  I just use my bed to arrange and lay out the blocks for my quilt.  You can see my picture that I printed out of Electric Quilt 7 on the corner of the bed.  It is a very handy reference when you are assembling the quilt too.

Infinity Rainbow

This is right out of EQ7.  I really like the software to design my quilts and it is so handy to have the image when I am submitting for magazine publication.  I found when I used the alternate grid, i could arrange the blocks to form an infinity circle.  I loved the idea.

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I wanted to quilt it myself, so i did some straight line quilting and some free motion quilting that looks like lines.  Then in the large grey spaces, I added some modern feathers and pearls.  I ended up just drawing a squiggley line down the center and eyeballing the feathers.

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Here you can see those lines and feathers.  Such lovely texture after it was washed.SONY DSC

Oreo Cat did his inspection and approved.  Thanks for letting me share my Infinity Quilt and a little bit of my design process with you.

 

Swoon Mini for EQ 25 and Moda Challenge

The Electric Quilt Company is celebrating its 25th Anniversary in business this year and is hosting monthly contests.  They joined with sponsor Moda for the March challenge.  You needed to make a mini quilt with Moda Fabrics.  Luckily, I had a Mini Swoon Quilt Kit by Thimble Blossoms that I had picked up when I was at the AQS Grand Rapids show last year.  I hadn’t had a chance to make it yet, so this was the perfect opportunity to stitch it up.

The kit had really pretty fabrics by V and Co. Color Me Happy.  They have some smaller prints that work well for this mini.

This pattern has a lot of intricate pieces and I think it almost takes as long as piecing a larger quilt.  I tried very hard to get all of the pieces to align and match carefully.  There are a few artistic licenses but overall, I was pretty pleased with my effort.

I decided to quilt a feathered medallion motif inside each of the blocks.  I had a feathered wreath stencil shape that was just the right size and I marked it with washout markers.

Natalia Bonner book

I was looking for designs and saw the feathered medallion in Natalia Bonner’s latest book, Next Steps in Machine Quilting.  So all I had to add was a crosshatch section in the center of the wreath to add some pizzazz.

I added a little flower in each of the cornerstones and free motion quilted rolling parallel lines in the rest of the sashing.

Here is a closer look at the crosshatching.  The wreath template was for traditional quilting, but I just used it as a guideline for continuous line free motion quilting.  The small size made the free motion quilting so much easier.  All that quilting really added some interesting texture.

I didn’t win the challenge for the month, but I certainly stitched up a treasure.  I need to get all of these mini’s up on the wall in my studio so I can admire them!

 

 

DAMQG SEW-IN Day – Making a Plus Sign Zipper Bag

Plus zip bag Lori Miller Designs

 

Back in January, one of our DAMQG members, Lynn, held a class to make a Plus Sign Zipper Bag.  It was her own design.  Our guild came together for a Saturday sew-in and we all made these bags.


plus bag

I decided to make mine in scrappy colors of red, yellow and orange.  I did some homework ahead of time so that hopefully I could finish my bag on the sew-in day.

I pulled out all of my weird and random tan fabrics for the background.  They just became a neutral and worked well with the warm reds and oranges.

Here you can see that unusually large stash of tan and brown scraps for the background squares.  Where did they all come from?

We made two panels for the front and back.

cookie cat plus bag

Cookie cat came to inspect my work.  Like he usually does.  I think it passed.

Plus zip bag Lori Miller Designs

And here is the finished project and I was able to get it done on the DAMQG Sew-in Saturday.  I deviated from Lynn’s pattern a little and made faux leather handles for it.  I really like it and it is a BIG bag and holds a lot!

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Here is a picture of Lynn’s original tote that she made.  Nice and scrappy.  Don’t you love her little kitty zipper pull?

gift bags

Lynn even provided these super cute bags as prizes for the day.  Aren’t they adorable?  I think I need to make some of those first aid bags as gifts.

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And finally, here is a picture from the Detroit Area Modern Guild meeting showing off our lovely Plus sign bags.

 

 

 

Quilting Roundup

quilt roundup collage lori miller designs

Dear friends, I have been neglecting you.  This year my only son, Colin, graduates from high school.  We went on a much needed vacation to warmer climes in February and then all the busyness caught up to me.  Let’s catch up with a quilting roundup from January – yes January.  That just means I will have a few more roundups to share to get us caught up to April.  January, it was cold outside so a good time to stitch away.  I worked on some old UFO’s, some newer things and some I even got finished.  I thought you might like a peek into the studio to see what I have been working on .

lori miller designs birch tree red bird

I saw this pattern for birch trees and red birds and I thought it would be perfect for a January wall hanging in my dining room.  The birch trees are pieced in black and white prints and then I quilted them with wavy natural lines.

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The little cardinals are just machine appliqued onto a few of the trees.

 Here it is finished.  Don’t the cardinals make it such a cheery winter scene?

go cutouts qov

I belong to the Stitching Sisters Quilts of Valor Group in Clawson, Michigan.  We have an Accuquilt GO cutter machine and it was my month to try it out.  I made this awesome eagle medallion and the scrappy log cabins using the cutting die.

log cabin qov

Here is the center medallion being pieced in the center of the scrappy log cabins.  I added white fabric to make the medallion really stand out.  I did not think I would ever do a log cabin but the fabric die cutting machine made it so easy and really easy to cut up those left over fabric scraps.

Here it is all finished. I used up a lot of scraps and Katy S longarm quilted it with feathers.  It is beautiful.

paper dolls lori miller designs

These are the blocks from my Sit and Stitch group.  We have a group of seven gals who get together each month.  We each have a box with our quilt project inside and we pass the boxes around to each other each month.  This month I had Tina’s box of paper doll blocks.  She wanted each row a different color and I chose green for my row of dolls.

charity bee

My Detroit Area Modern Quilt Guild does charity bee blocks each month.  Then someone volunteers to make a quilt from all of the ones that each member made for the month.  Rebekah, our president, sends out a block design and a color pallette and we stitch away.  They always turn out great.

charity bee block

Here is the latest block that we did for January.

charity blocks at guild meeting

And here are the blocks on the table at my Detroit Area Modern Quilt Guild Meeting.

I also worked on some messenger bags and totes, but I will save that for another post.  Happy Stitching!

My NY Beauty Mini for the EQ25 and MMF Challenge

If you had not heard, The Electric Quilt Company is celebrating their 25th Anniversary this year.  They are having contests and giveaways all year long.  For January, they issued a challenge to create a mini quilt with Michael Miller Fabrics.  I happened to have a Charm pack of 5″ squares of Michael Miller Modern Basics.  I grabbed some white polkadot fabric at my local quilt shop and started planning.   I decided I wanted to try a New York Beauty block because I had never made one of those and this fun little quilt is the result.

I started this adventure by going to my Electric Quilt 7 software and searching for New York Beauty quilt block.  I found a fancier block which I edited to simplify it a bit. Then I sized the block down to a 4 1/2″ finished block so I could use my 5″ square charm pack.  My EQ7 software made it so easy to size it perfectly and I could print out template pieces and the paper piecing foundation pattern as well.

Here are 3 charms I started with.

I used the templates to cut out the pieces and as a guide to overcut the paper pieced components.

Here are all the pieces after I have finished the paperpieced center and getting ready to tackle those little curves.  I just pinned the middle and sewed out from the center a few stitches at a time.  I stopped to adjust about every 3 – 4 stitches.

Here is the little block all together before I trimmed.

I made a total of nine blocks.  They were really pretty fun and one you got going they went pretty fast.  I really like this pattern.

Last step, I used free motion quilting to add some contrast to the squares.  I just love the little zig zag in the center white curved piece.

My little cutie did not win any prizes, but I did learn alot about editing a quilt block in Electric Quilt 7 and how to sew curved seams.  I think that is the best happy circumstance from participating in a quilt challenge, you get to learn something new!