Published – Baby Raccoon Bandit Quilt

This little sweet Baby Quilt with the Raccoon Bandit has been published in Fons and Porter’s Easy Quilts Summer 2017 Magazine.  I am happy to share this cozy little cutie with you.

My girlfriend called to say she had received her newest issue and had found my original pattern.  It is always a nice surprise since you make your quilt months in advance for the Magazine and have to wait for the published issue to arrive.

I used EQ7 to design this quilt.  I was able to upload swatches of the actual fabric I was going to use and get a good idea of what the quilt would look like.  Northcott Fabrics generously provided the material which was a gorgeous, heavy weight flannel.  I used prints from TeePee Time by Deborah Edwards that had a super cute little raccoon in the design and I coordinated with Toscana flannels also by Deborah Edwards that has a nice mottled look that blends well with the prints.  These sewed and washed up beautifully and they have a very nice hand feel.

For this quilt, because I had some interesting piecing directions I wanted to try, I made a prototype quilt.  And I made him super modern, a blue raccoon!

I print out the rotary cutting directions from EQ7 and then I adjust them based upon how I want to assemble the quilt using my quilting knowledge.  I like to avoid bias edges and make things as easy as possible to assemble.  So I write up all my notes as I sew.

Here is my Baby Blue Bandit.  It just gives you an idea of how by just changing colors, you can make lots of different styles from one pattern.

I used some simple constructions shortcuts to make this giant 20″ block even faster.  There is only one template for the ears.  I loved this cute little critter, I hope you enjoy making one too!

Thanks for letting me share!  Happy Stitching!

Free Tutorial – Sweetheart Quilted Zip Pouch

Love is all around.  The free tutorial for this month designed with EQ Mini Software by The Electric Quilt Company is a lovely, Sweetheart Zip Pouch.  Yes, you can design lots of quilty things with EQ Mini, even a pouch!  This uses a horizontal row quilt as a base but we sized it down to pouch size and added some half drop blocks with a center heart.  The heart block is one of the free blocks that comes with EQ Mini.  This generous pouch is sized 8″ x 11″ and is ready for you to fill with all your Valentine goodies.  A whole bag of chocolate would fit in there! The zipper is super easy to put in too, I promise.

eqmini-nohole-sm-226x300

EQ Mini is the new scaled down, simpler version of EQ7 quilt design software.  This program was created for quilters who are just getting started using software for quilt design.  EQ Mini will help you create, edit, share, and print patterns and yardage for your quilt designs.

Sweetheart Quilted Zip Pouch

Finished size is 8″ x 11″.

Materials

  • 1/4 yd dark pink print
  • 1/8 yd of light pink print
  • 1/4 yd of grey background fabric
  • 3/8 yd Lining fabric
  • 3/8 yd batting
  • 12″ zipper

Directions

Cut Fabric:

Light Pink

  • 2 — 2 1/2″ x 3 3/4″ rectangle (A)
  • 2 — 1 1/2″ x 5 3/4″ strip (C)
  • 2 — 1 ” x 2″ zipper tab pieces

Dark Pink

  • 4 — 1 1/2″ x 5 3/4″ strip (B)
  • 2 — 2″ x 12 1/2″ strips (G)
  • 1 — 6″ x 12 1/2″ rectangle (H)

Grey Background

  • 2 — 5 ” square (D)
  • 2 — 5″ square (E)
  • 4 — 3 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ rectangles (F)

Muslin

  • 1 — 13″ x 21″ rectangle

Lining

  •  2 — 12 1/2″ x 10 1/2″ rectangles

Piece the outside of the pouch

Hint:  Because you need to match seams, be sure to keep an accurate 1/4″ seam allowance.

  1. Subcut the 5″ background squares (D), diagonally into quarters.
  2. Subcut the 3″ background squares (E), diagonally in half.
  3. Sew the quarter (D) Triangle to the right side of the light pink rectangle(A).
  4. Sew the light pink strip (C) in the center of each dark pink strip (B).
  5. Attach the top of the heart to the bottom of the heart keeping the left sides even.
  6. Sew the background triangles (E) to each side of the bottom of the heart.  Be sure to overlap at the bottom point so that you have a 1/4″ seam allowance.
  7. Now sew two of the remaining background triangle (D) pieces to the top right and left sides of the heart.  Start stitching at the top points of the heart. Press.  Discard leftover piece.
  8. Center and trim the heart block to 6 1/2″ square.
  9. Make the second heart block.
    sweetheart-pouch
  10. Sew a background rectangle (f) to each side of the heart.
  11. Sew one dark pink strip (G) to the top of each block.
  12. Sew the dark pink rectangle (H) to the bottom of one heart block.
  13. Sew the bottom of the other heart block to the other side of the dark pink rectangle (H).  One heart is facing up, one is facing down.

Quilt the outside of the Pouch

  1. Make a quilt sandwich with the muslin on the bottom, then the batting, then your pieced pouch top face up.
  2. Pin baste the quilt layers together.
  3. Quilt as desired.  Trim excess batting and muslin.
  4. Carefully cut the quilted piece in half to make two – 12 1/2″ x 10 1/2″ pieces.
  5. From the bottoms of the outside pouch pieces and the lining pieces, cut a square out of each corner that is 1 1/2″ high x 1 1/2″ wide.

Finish the pouch

  1. Fold each 1″ x 2″ zipper tab in half matching the short ends, with wrong sides together, so the tabs measure 1″ x 1″.  Press.
  2. Move zipper pull to center of zipper.  Using a ruler or cutting mat, align the tabs as shown.
  3. Open the tab and sew on the center fold through the tab and zipper, ensuring the zipper teeth at the open end are aligned together.  Backstitch again across the center through the zipper teeth to secure.  Repeat on the other end of the zipper ensuring the tab placement and measurements.
  4. Trim off any excess zipper leaving 1/4″ seam allowance.  Zipper and fabric tabs should measure 12 1/2″ long.
  5. Open the zipper half way.
  6. Place the zipper face down, right sides together, along the top edge a heart section.  Align the ends and the top of the zipper.
  7. Layer a lining piece, right side down over the zipper and pin all three layers in place.
  8. Using a zipper foot, stitch approximately 1/4″ from the edge of the zipper.  When you get to the zipper pull, stop with the needle down in the fabric.  Lift up the presser foot and gently open or close the zipper to move the zipper pull out of the way to continue sewing across the top of the pouch.
  9. Open the zipper seam and press pouch and lining away from zipper.  Top stitch through all layers of fabric close to the zipper.
  10. Repeat for the other side of the zipper.
  11. Open the zipper all the way so you will be able to turn the pouch right side out.
  12. Open the pouch and match the quilted heart sections and lining sections, right sides together.
  13. Pushing the zipper to the lining side, stitch the sides of the pouch and lining.  Stitch the bottom of the pouch.  Stitch the bottom of the lining leaving a 3-4 inch opening for turning.
  14. Pinch the bag  and lining corners aligning the seams and stitch across the opening to box the corners.
  15. Turn the bag right side out with the lining hanging out.  Tuck in the raw edges and stitch the lining closed.
  16. Tuck the lining inside the bag and you are finished.


Here you can see the fun fabric I used for the inside lining.  It was in the bargain bin off season and I snapped it up.  I think it is perfect for this little zip pouch.

Oreo decided to direct the photo shoot.  He is pretty demanding.

Variation Suggestions

 

sweetheart-pouch-var

  • Use traditional red and white with a pink accent.
  • Try using sweet valentine seasonal prints and fill them with sweet treats and goodies.

This Sweetheart quilted Zip Pouch is so versatile.  It would certainly make the perfect gift for a dear friend or family member.  I would love to see your Sweetheart Pouch, tag me on instagram @lormillerdesigns.

Looking for the EQ Mini Design Instructions?  You can find them HERE.

For more projects and tips and techniques on using EQ Mini, visit my Electric Quilt blog series EQ Mini Friday Fun.

For more information on EQ Mini software, go to EQ Mini.

DIY Holiday Gift Ideas

2016 holiday by Lori Miller Designs

I enjoy making handmade gifts for the holidays to give to family and friends.  Some years they are elaborate and some years, well, they are quick and easy.  It depends on how busy I have gotten with projects to finish.  I have put together a round up of my free tutorials to make diy holiday gifts. They range from super easy to confident beginner, from quick to more involved.  I even share a few of my for sale holiday patterns at the end if they should perk your interest.  I hope you will be inspired to try some homemade gifts this year.  Just CLICK on the picture for all the details.

Holiday Yo Yo Ornament

P1050148 002

Create fun holiday yo-yo ornaments for a homemade gift for a teacher, music instructor or bus driver.  A nice sewing craft for older children to learn some basic sewing skills, even how to sew a button.  You can make it even faster with some hot glue at the finish.  Plan an afternoon to put these together for holiday gifts or your own homemade decorations.

Tissue Holder

Mini tissue cover Lori Miller Designs 1

Here is a cute quick gift you can stitch up in multiples for holiday party favors, stocking stuffers or just a little something for someone special.  I used holiday and Christmas fabric but you could tailor them for boys or girls with masculine prints, sporty fabric or another cute novelty print.  There is really very little sewing so it is perfect for a beginning stitcher.  It doesn’t take much fabric either, so use up some of your scraps or stash.

Easy Holiday Fleece Pillows

Here are a couple of ideas for some last minute holiday gifts to stitch.  You probably have a stash of fleece somewhere in your sewing room from a sale 3 years ago, if not, find yourself a couple of remnants and get sewing.  Cotton works fine too.  These are some clever and creative pillows for big and little kids to enjoy. They stitch up in a snap so they are quick and easy for a beginner to make.

Upcycled Christmas Card Bookmarks

upcycled bookmarks by lori Miller Designs

I received one of these upcycled Christmas card bookmarks as a little gift and it is just too clever not to share.  This bookmark is an ingeniously folded old christmas card.  I took it apart to figure out the pattern and I am gladly spilling its simple but intricate secrets.  Make a bunch for stocking stuffers, for an afternoon craft with the kids or to mail to friends far away for the holiday.

Holiday Table Runner

Here is a free tutorial for a project designed with EQ Mini Software by The Electric Quilt Company.  This Holiday Table Runner uses one of the built in blocks colored with traditional Christmas colors to create a lovely item for your home decor.  Just make three simple blocks to quilt up a beautiful center piece for your table.

Paper Snowflake Garland

P1050259

Here in Michigan, we manage to get our own share of snow.  I would much rather deal with these paper snowflakes from inside my warm and toasty house instead.  And the plan is to sew them together into pretty garland, so you get a little sewing and fun mixed together.  When did you last make a paper snowflake?

This would be a great afternoon activity with the kids to cut out snowflakes and drink some hot chocolate. You can even use up all that junk mail or scrap paper to make them. I love traditional white flakes, but you could mix them up with any color to make a very cool statement.

Patterns for Sale

Here are a couple of holiday patterns I have for sale in my shop.  I hope you like them too.

Gingerbread House Pincushion, Ornament and More

LMDesigns trio of gingerbread

This is my original pattern for a Gingerbread House Pincushion.  I have even added bonus instructions to make it into a soft tree ornament or a Gift Card Holder to hang on your Christmas tree.  This adorable holiday gift idea might look familiar.  It was featured in Quilting Arts Holiday Magazine in 2014.  It holds a special place in my heart because this was the very first original pattern that I had published in a Magazine.

Poinsettia Pop Throw Quilt

It is called Poinsettia Pop and it is a generous lap size to snuggle under when the weather turns cold.  The bright and cheery poinsettia blocks dance across the quilt bringing cheer to whoever receives it. This quilt is made using large 15 inch finished blocks that stitch up quickly.  You only need to piece seven Poinsettia blocks so you can whip it up in time for last minute gifts. I even included some speedy techniques to save you some time.  The bright hot pink fabrics, text print background, and alternate grid pattern give this block a very modern look.

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.

MPG16_cover_NPC

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.

I hope you found an idea you could use for some holiday gifts or just to make for yourself.

 

 

 

 

Tutorial – Holiday Table Runner

Here is another free tutorial for a project designed with EQ Mini Software by The Electric Quilt Company.  This Holiday Table Runner uses one of the built in blocks colored with traditional Christmas colors to create a lovely item for your home decor.

eqmini-nohole-sm-226x300

EQ Mini is the new scaled down, simpler version of EQ7 quilt design software.  This program was created for quilters who are just getting started using software for quilt design.  EQ Mini will help you create, edit, share, and print patterns and yardage for your quilt designs.

Holiday Table Runner

Finished size is 12 1/2″ x 36 1/2″.

Materials

  • 3/8 yd white cotton
  • 1/8 yd green cotton
  • 5/8 yd red cotton for blocks and binding
  • 1/4 yd burgundy cotton
  • 1/2 yard for backing
  • 1/4 yard batting

Directions

Cut Fabric:

White cotton

  •  24 — 2  7/8 ” squares
  • 3 — 7  1/2 ” squares

Green cotton

  • 12 — 2  7/8 ″ squares

Red cotton

  • 15 — 2  7/8 ″ squares
  • 3 — 2 1/2″ x Width of Fabric strips

Burgundy cotton

  • 3 — 7 1/2 ”  squares

Background fabric

  • 1 — 14 1/2 x 38 1/2″ strip

Create the half square triangles

  • This method will create 8 half square triangles at once.
  • On the wrong side of the white 7 1/2″ square, mark the sewing and cutting lines.  Mark from corner to corner and mark half and half as shown.
  • Stitch 1/4″ away from the diagonal line, on each side of the diagonal line.  You can see the stitching in the X shape in the diagram above.
  • Cut the half square triangles apart on the marked lines.
  • Press the seams open and then square up the half square triangle blocks to measure 2 7/8″ square.

 Sew the block:

Hint:  Because you need to match seams, be sure to keep an accurate 1/4″ seam allowance and make sure blocks are square as you sew them to keep things in alignment.

table-runner

  1. Using the diagram above as a guide, arrange the pieces for your quilt block.
  2. Sew the pieces together in rows, then sew the rows together, aligning seams.
  3. Make three quilt blocks.
  4. Sew the three blocks together in a row, aligning seams to finish piecing the top of the holiday table runner.
  5. Make a quilt sandwich with the backing face down, then the batting, then your quilt top face up.
  6. Pin baste the quilt layers together.
  7. Quilt as desired.
  8. Sew the 2 1/2″ binding strips together and add to the quilt.

Variation Suggestions

  • Try some custom quilting like I did on this table runner, the smaller size makes it easy to explore free motion quilting.
    sample-runner-colors
  • Try using holiday prints or even modern colors or even a blue color scheme to really change the look but still use the same block.

This Holiday Table Runner would look great on your table or make several to give as gifts this season.  Why not look through the provided blocks in EQ Mini and find a favorite that you can turn into a table runner?  There are so many possibilities.  I would love to see pictures of your Holiday table runners.  Just tag me on instagram @lormillerdesigns.

Looking for the EQ Mini Design Instructions?  You can find them here: EQ Mini Friday Fun Holiday Table Runner.

For more projects and tips and techniques on using EQ Mini, visit my Electric Quilt blog series EQ Mini Friday Fun.

For more information on EQ Mini software, go to EQ Mini.

Tutorial – Charming Baby Quilt

This tutorial introduces my first project designed with EQ Mini Software by The Electric Quilt Company.  Made with pre-cut charm squares, this first easy beginner project is the Charming Baby Quilt.  I am pleased to be blogging for Electric Quilt hosting EQ Mini Friday Fun and sharing how to design in EQ Mini.  In addition, on my blog here, I will be sharing tutorials to take the design from idea to finished stitched project.

eqmini-nohole-sm-226x300

EQ Mini is the new scaled down, simpler version of EQ7 quilt design software.  This program was created for quilters who are just getting started using software for quilt design.  EQ Mini will help you create, edit, share, and print patterns and yardage for your quilt designs.  I had the good fortune to beta test EQ Mini and I was very impressed with the easy flow and friendly beginner aspects of the software.

eq mini baby quilt select horiz medallion

I love the colored step by step tabs that let you easily work to create and edit a design.  And even though it is a Mini version of the Electric Quilt 7 software, it is still robust enough to offer a ton of design possibilities. It contains a block library of 300 pieced and appliqué blocks that can be set in 4 layout styles, there are 8 different border styles and a fabric library of over 3500 scanned fabrics to use to make your designs exactly how you want them.  Thats my EQ Mini spiel!  Let’s move on to the tutorial!

Charming baby quilt

Charming Baby Quilt

Finished size is 40 1/2″ x 40 1/2″.

Materials

  • 1 package of coordinating 5″ charm squares (you will need 32)
  • 1  yd for center of quilt
  • 1/2 yard for small border and binding
  • 1 1/4 yard for backing
  • 1 1/4 yard batting

Directions

Cut Fabric:

Center Square

  •  1 — 31 1/2 ″ x 31 1/2 ″ square

Inner Border

  • 2 — 1″ x 31  1/2″ strips
  • 2 — 1″ x 33  1/2″ strips

Outer Border

  • 32 – 5″ Charm squares

 Sew:

  1. Sew the 31 1/2″ inner border strips to opposite sides of the center 31 1/2″ square. Press seams.
  2. Sew the 33 1/2″ inner border strips to the top and bottom of the center square. Press seams.
  3. Take your charm squares and arrange them around the quilt until you get an arrangement you like.
  4. Sew together seven squares for each side.  Attach the sewn strips of seven squares to each side of the quilt center unit. Press seams.
  5. Sew together the remaining nine squares for the top and bottom of the quilt.  Attach the sewn strips of 9 squares to the top and bottom of the quilt center unit.  Press seams.
  6. Your quilt top is pieced.  Yay!
  7. Prepare the quilt backing.  You may need to piece part of the fabric on one side so that it is larger than your quilt top if needed.
  8. Make a quilt sandwich with the backing face down, then the batting, then your quilt top face up.
  9. Pin baste the quilt layers together.
  10. Quilt as desired.
    marking quilt
  11. Here is my super secret method I used to mark this quilt.  The smaller shapes were just smaller lids I found in the kitchen.
  12.  I tried quilting some large clamshells and stitched them with my walking foot.  I like the rainbow look and it echos some of the designs in the charm squares.
  13. Finally, add the binding.  I used 2 1/2″ strips to make my binding.  Here is the finished quilt in my sunroom, the lighter colors are dappled sunlight coming in the room.

Variation Suggestions

  • Mix it up and try a cute nursery print for the center and solid pre-cut 5″ squares for the outside.
  • Use that blank space in the center to personalize the quilt with baby’s name in embroidery or with applique letters.

This is a quick and easy baby quilt that you could easily put together in a diligent weekend.  I really liked the idea of using a pack of charm squares that I already had in my stash.  I would love to see pictures of your charming baby quilt.  Just tag me on instagram @lormillerdesigns.

Looking for the EQ Mini Design Instructions?  You can find them here: EQ Mini Friday Fun: Charming Baby Quilt

 

 

 

 

 

Hexie Pincushion Tutorial

I love pincushions, all kinds and I have a bunch all around my sewing studio.  I first saw a version of these pincushions at Quiltcon 2015.  I was in Carolyn Friedlander’s class and behind me on a table sat a cute hexie pincushion.  I found out later it belonged to Nicole Daksiewicz from Modern Handcraft.  (She has some amazing hexagon quilt projects, check them out on her blog!) I discovered that she had a Hexie Pincushion tutorial and I wanted to make one for myself.  She used a die cutting machine to cut out all those cute 1/2 inch hexies.  I bought a bunch of wool felt and decided I would cut them out by hand.  Fast forward to December 2015 and my hubbie gifted me a Sizzix Fabi machine and that little 1/2 inch hexie die. I decided to make some of those pincushions inspired by Nicole but I added my own twist.  Here is how I made it.

First, here is my new Sizzix Fabi die cutting machine and the dies I received for my holiday gift.  Isn’t it so cute? (Check out the cute storage bag I made for it too.)

sizzix hexies

I had several colors of wool felt and I ran them through the machine.  I used a muffin tin to organize all of the colors of hexies.

 

I cut a 6 inch strip of a linen blend.

I folded the fabric in half with the fold at the bottom.  Then I used a 60 degree triangle and positioned it so that the  top and sides measured 3 1/2 “.  This is an old Kay Wood ruler that I had.  I am thinking I really need to update some of my rulers, but this one still worked.

When you open up the fabric, you have a nice large hexie shape.  I fold it to mark the center and then iron out the fold lines.

Then, using some fabric glue stick, I arrange the hexies in a sort of circle shape.

Once the shapes are all arranged, I get a piece of scrap batting and start to quilt.

First you stitch through the center of each little hexie starting at the edge of the big hexie.  I like to use a large stitch and a walking foot to quilt this part.

Then you just keep quilting across the little hexies from point to point.

This shows the final quilting of the last corners of the little hexagons.

Here is a picture of one trimmed after the quilting.  Now you are ready to stitch on the bottom of the pincushion.

Trim the excess batting from the top of the pincushion.  Using the same method as the linen hexagon top, cut a coordinating bottom for the pincushion.

Stitch a 1/4″ seam all around the hexie leaving an opening for turning on one side.  Trim the corners and turn right side out.

Tuck in the open sides and press.

I stuffed my pincushion with a bunch of batting scraps I had.  You can stuff it with your favorite pincushion filling.  Then just whip stitch the opening closed.

These would make great gifts or be a good project for a sewing group to stitch up together.  Happy Sewing!

 

 

Holiday Yo-Yo Ornament (free tutorial)

yo yo ornament by Lori Miller Designs

Create fun holiday yo-yo ornaments for a homemade gift for a teacher, music instructor or bus driver.  A nice sewing craft for older children to learn some basic sewing skills, even how to sew a button.  You can make it even faster with some hot glue at the finish.  Plan an afternoon to put these together for holiday gifts or your own homemade decorations.

Materials needed:

  • 1 giant yo-yo (6 inch circle)
  • 1 large yo-yo (4 1/2 inch circle)
  • 1 button
  • 12 inches of ribbon
  • Thread
  • Needed
  • (hot glue optional)

Directions:
P1050138 001

  1. First make your yo-yos.  Take the 6 inch circle of holiday fabric.P1050139 001
  2. Carefully fold over the raw edge (wrong sides together) about 1/4″ and baste all around.  You can use pretty large basting stitches – yo-yos are pretty forgiving.P1050140 001P1050142 001
  3. Once you have basted the whole circle, pull the thread to gather the yo-yo tight.P1050143 001
  4. Tie a sturdy knot and bury the end of the thread in one of the folds of the yo-yo.
  5. Make the 4 1/2″ smaller yo-yo in the same way.P1050146 001
  6. Assemble the ornament together.  Loop the ribbon to form a hanger and tack it in place with thread at the center of the giant yo-yo.P1050147 001
  7. Layer the large yo-yo on top of the giant yo-yo and tack or sew it to the center of the giant yo-yo.P1050148 002
  8. Finish the ornament by sewing a button to the center of the large yo-yo.

Tip:  You could have ready made yo-yo’s and just hot glue the ribbon, yo-yos and button together to make them up in a jiffy.  

CAUTION:  Hot glue is HOT!  Protect your fingers and have an adult help and supervise children.

 

 

Upcycled Christmas Card Bookmarks

upcycled bookmarks by lori Miller Designs

I received one of these upcycled Christmas card bookmarks as a little gift and it is just too clever not to share.  This bookmark is an ingeniously folded old christmas card.  I took it apart to figure out the pattern and I am gladly spilling its simple but intricate secrets.  Make a bunch for stocking stuffers, for an afternoon craft with the kids or to mail to friends far away for the holiday.

Materials Needed:

  • Fronts of old christmas cards (thin ones work the best)
  • Yarn or Thread Tassel (optional)

Directions:

cards

  1. Grab your assortment of pretty christmas cards. (Any cards will really do)P1090143
  2. Measure and cut the card down to 4 x 7 inches.P1090145-001
  3. Try to capture the bulk of the picture or design.
    P1090147-001
  4. Fold the card in half the long way, right sides together.
    P1090149-001
    P1090151-001
  5. Now, fold the card in half again.  I like to fold each side separately so it is a crisper fold before putting it together to fold in half.P1090156-001
  6. Measure 1/4 inch down the single fold side of the bookmark.  mark this so that you do not cut past it later.P1090157-001
  7. Now, on the double folded edge, measure up 1/2 inch from the bottom and mark at 1/2 inch intervals until you have 11 marks.P1090158
  8. On the other side on your 1/2 inch line, measure up from the bottom of the card 1 1/2 inches. Mark at 1/2 inch intervals until you have 11 marks.bookmark
  9. These marks should be offset at an angle.  It will look something like this above.P1090163
  10. You will now cut the angles every half inch being careful to stop 1/4 inch from the edge.  Make sure you are cutting from the double folded edge.  You will make 11 cuts.P1090166
  11. Now open the card back up carefully.P1090167
  12. Fold it in half again with the right sides facing out.  Make sure that the angle cuts from a V shape as you look at them.P1090172
    P1090177
  13. Begin folding up every other V shape starting from the bottom.  As you fold them up, tuck them under the next  V shape.  Move up the bookmark folding and tucking.  Tuck the last V shape under the top V.  They should hold in place.P1090178
  14. You can leave the bookmark as is or punch a hole in the top and string a yarn tassel through it.P1090140-001

A beautiful bookmark from a card you might have thrown away!

Hint:  If you have a smaller card, just make fewer cuts.  You will just need an ODD number of cuts for the folds to work.

 

Easy Holiday Fleece Pillows (free tutorial)

Here are a couple of ideas for some last minute holiday gifts to stitch.  You probably have a stash of fleece somewhere in your sewing room from a sale at JoAnns Fabrics 3 years ago, if not, find yourself a couple of remnants and get sewing.  These are some clever and creative pillows for big and little kids to enjoy. They stitch up in a snap so they are quick and easy for a beginner to make.

Fleece Dog Bone Neck Pillow (For the BIG Kids)

I really wish I had thought up this pattern. My girlfriend Wanda said it was the best little neck pillow ever, great for napping on an airplane, in the car or just drifting off in the lazy chair. I found this pattern at sew4home.com.  It is a free pdf pattern.

You just cut out the pattern and tape it together. Then cut out three of these shapes.

You are going to stitch around 1/2 of two shapes.

Then add the third piece and sew all around leaving only a small opening for turning.

Turn it right side out and stuff it with some polyester stuffing. Then just whip stitch the opening closed.  All done!
Sew4home has the full pattern with instructions. You can whip one up in about 30 minutes. It will use up about 1/2 a yard of 45″ wide  fleece.

Fleece Friendly  Holiday Tree Pillow (For the LITTLE Kids)

This pattern is from me.  I thought it would be a cute accent for the chair or a great little gift for the little ones to get as an early gift before the holiday.

Here is my Free Tree Pattern for the cute little tree pillow.

Finished Size: 10″ x 12″

Materials Needed:

  • 1/3 yard of green fleece
  • Assorted scraps of fleece for the ornaments, eyes, note and mouth.
  • Polyester stuffing
  • Embroidery floss for the mouth
  • Coordinating threads

Directions:

Note: Use a 1/4 ” seam allowance.

  1. Print out the pattern and use it to cut out two pieces of  green fleece placing the center of the tree on the fold.
  2. Embellish the front of the tree.  I cut out little circles for eyes, mouth and ornaments.
  3. Then I pinned them where I wanted them and then used a narrow zig zag stitch in matching thread to sew them all on. It goes pretty fast once you get started, the longest part is changing the thread color. I just used little circles for ornaments, but you can get fancy, add shapes, add rick rack, decorate your tree how you like it!
  4. Embroider the mouth with a large stem or running stitch.
  5. With wrong sides together, stitch ¼ inch from the edge of the fleece leaving an opening at the bottom for stuffing.
  6. Clip the points and turn right side out.
  7. Stuff the tree with polyester stuffing and whip stitch the opening at the bottom closed.

Now you have a cute, washable, and huggable holiday tree!  Enjoy!

 

 

Heirloom Thanksgiving Bread Cloth (free tutorial)

It is not Thanksgiving at my house without some fresh homemade rolls.   If my son does not eat them all, they are pretty tasty for little turkey-cranberry sandwiches. I have a very pretty bread cloth that my mother in law gave me many years ago.  It makes me think of her when I use it and we lost her last year.  Everyone needs a little bread cloth to make Thanksgiving special and perhaps it will become an family tradition.  Here is how to make an heirloom Thanksgiving bread cloth for your hot, buttered rolls (homemade or not!). Use the fancy stitches on your sewing machine to sew the heirloom inspired hem. Then embroider one of my designs in fall colors for to match your Thanksgiving decor.  This would be a great gift too!

Materials needed:

  • 18″ x 18″ square of heavy cotton fabric (1/2 yd of linen or a heavy white kona works well)
  • Size 100/16 Wing needle (for those fancy heirloom stitches on your sewing machine)
  • White thread
  • Embroidery floss in Fall Colors
  • Free breadcloth pattern below

Directions:

  1. First make the bread cloth.
  2. Cut out the Thanksgiving bread cloth using my FREE Pattern. It also has my free embroidery designs too!
  3. Iron and starch the cloth really well.  You may want to put down something on your ironing board for the overspray as it gets pretty crunchy with a lot of layers.bread cloth
  4.  Fold over 1/2″ all the way around the cloth and iron.bread cloth
  5. You will need to snip the inner corners to get the fabric to fold.bread cloth
  6. For the pointy corners, fold in the corner.bread cloth
  7. Then fold each side to form a miter.bread cloth lori miller designs
  8. After you have ironed,I like to hand sew the inner corners so that there are no raw edges. The rest of the sides get caught by the fancy heirloom stitching. Just fold each edge under and take some tiny whip stitches to hold them down. At the point in the corner, I just make about 3 or 4 satin stitches and it looks just fine.

Stitch the fancy hem

  1. Put your wing needle in your sewing machine.  I just used regular white all purpose thread.P1090318
  2. Choose an heirloom fancy stitch. Here are couple to try.  The ones I used were 701 and 711 on my Bernina 630. Just find a stitch on your machine that looks like one of these.P1090322
  3. Stitch about 1/2″ away from the edge so that the fancy stitch catches the raw edge of the hem underneath. Hint: If the fabric is puckering, add a little stitch and tear stabilizer underneath it.
  4. Stitch all the way around. This will take some time so be patient, but you will be so happy because it looks awesome. Now your bread cloth is ready for embroidery.
  5. I have included two FREE embroidery designs to try on the pattern, a little pumpkin and a fall tree.

     

  6. Here is the pumpkin.P1090326
  7. Using three strands of embroidery floss, embroider the pumkin and leaves with a stem stitch.stem-stitch-clean-and-sized-600x276
  8. Here is a diagram of a stem stitch.


  9. For the little tree, I made the trunk with a chain stitch (just a bunch of lazy daisies strung together) and the leaves are just lazy daisy stitch.lazy-daisy-stitch-clean-and-sized-600x276
  10. Now your bread cloth is all ready to place in your basket and fill with rolls or bread for Thanksgiving.  These would also be great with a holly design for christmas gifts.  Happy Stitching and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

Crochet Halloween Skull Pins (free tutorial)

Halloween is just around the corner. Get a head start and join in the fun with these crocheted scary, silly, skull pins.  You can whip one up in just a few minutes. This is a great beginner crochet project as there are only a few stitches to learn. They are also a great stash buster since you only need a few scraps of yarn and some buttons to make one.

Materials Required:

  • Bits of Yarn (White, black, red, or any creepy color you want)
  • Buttons for eyes (Black, red, white, green)
  • Size H Crochet hook
  • Yarn needle
  • Thread needle
  • Pin Back (Optional)

Directions:

DC = Double Crochet

 

First create a magic circle to start your work. This is an alternative way to start your crocheted circle that achieves a very tight crochet (no hole). Instead of chaining and doing multiple crochets in the second chain from the hook, you create a kind of slip knot.

The magic circle is a deceptively simple way to start your crocheted circle that achieves a very tight crochet (to keep all that stuffing in). Instead of chaining and doing multiple crochets in the second chain from the hook, you create a kind of slip knot. The best way to explain this is to see it, so check out these two excellent examples from YouTube:

Round1 (R1): Chain 2, 11 DC in the magic circle.

Pull or work the yarn tail from the magic circle to tighten the loop of stitches so there is no center hole.

Slip Stitch in top of next DC to complete the circle.

R2: 2 DC in every stitch (24 stitches total), slip stitch to top of next DC to close circle.


R3: Chain 3, DC in next 4 stitches, chain 3 and slip stitch to next stitch to form the chin.
Then fasten off and weave the ends in the back. Viola! The main skull is done.

Now all you have to do is embellish them with some eyes and mouth.

Here are a few ideas:

 You can use double buttons, an X, or even felt for the eyes. I just used big stitches for the teeth and mouth. Once you make a few, you can get creative.  Make the skull more zombie like with weird leftover colors of yarn and mix up the sizes of the  eyes. I even found neon yarn that stitched up very cute.  You could add a ribbon bow and make it fancy.

Add a pin back , or just safety pin it.  This would be cute to add to a headband or hair clip for Halloween style.  Enjoy!

 

Stitch up some Tailgate Napkins (free tutorial)

Are you ready for some tailgating? It is football season, and the crisp air and smell of the brats on the grill are here. A little party with friends and good food is in order before the game, so make it easy and fill these cute DIY napkin pockets with silverware, and set them out for your guests. The napkins are super easy to stitch up. Then you just fold ‘em, stuff ‘em and arrange ‘em in a pretty basket or container. Clean up is a snap — just toss them in the washing machine and they are ready to go for the next game.  Below are directions on how to make the hem and how to fold the napkins to hold that silverware.

Materials required:

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  • 2 yds of a football themed cotton or a mix of your teams colors
  • Coordinating thread

Finished size: 16″ x 16″, 8″ x 8″ folded.  Makes 8 napkins.

Directions:

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  1. Cut 8 – 17 1/2″ x 17 1/2″ squares.
  2. Stitch a 1/4 inch double fold hem all around the fabric to form napkins.  Here is how to make a double fold hem.basics hem 3
  3. Fold the material over 1/4″ with wrong sides together.  Fold it over 1/4″ again to encase the raw edge inside of the hem; pin in place.basics hem 4
  4. Sew the hem about 1/8 inch from the folded edge of the fabric. Backstitch one or two stitches at each end to secure the threads. Pull out  pins as you go, so you don’t sew over them.basics hem 7
  5. Trim your threads.basics hem 8
  6. Iron the hem flat to finish.

 Here is another way that you can sew the corners on your napkins:

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Fold the corner up 1/4 inch twice.

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Then when you fold the sides, it will form a tiny miter that you can sew through.

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Here is the finish of the corner.

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I stitched the top side with red thread for a nice accent.

Here are directions on how to fold your napkins for the tailgate party.

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Iron the napkin flat, wrong side up.

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Fold the napkin in half, with the fold on the bottom.

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Bringing the left edge to the right edge, fold the napkin in half again with a fold on the left.

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The top right of the napkin will have all the corners.

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Taking the top right layer, fold down in half and iron a crease.

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Open back up and fold the corner to the crease.

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Take the folded top edge and fold down to the crease again.

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Fold the whole thing down again.

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Now, take the next top right layer and fold down the corner about an inch or so.

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Fold again two more times until it meets the first folded corner.  Iron it all flat.

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Flip over and fold over each side in thirds to form the pocket on the front side. Iron the napkin flat.

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Flip it back over and you can see the little pocket on the bottom half your napkin.

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Just tuck your silverware  into the bottom pocket. Make sure you get them in the right place or the silverware will slip out.  Pretty nifty, huh?  You can stack them in a basket or bucket for the tailgating party so everyone can grab them as they go!

Happy Tailgating!

Mod Apple Hotpad (free tutorial)

mod apple hotpad lori miller designs

I am happy to share my Mod Apple Hotpad post that I presented as a guest blogger for the American Quilting Society’s (AQS) OnPoint Newsletter.  I have been an AQS Member for many years. They sponsor wonderful quiltshows and classes.  If you have not checked them out, start with their free newsletter which features free patterns, tips and other quilty information.  You can sign up HERE. And check out their Blog too!  Now, on to my post!

I spent a week at my cottage in northern Michigan and I was able to visit the local farmers market.  I was thrilled to find my favorite early apple, Ginger Gold. They are a cross between an early apple and a yellow delicious: tender skin and tangy flavor. They were the only thing I could eat when I was pregnant many years ago with my son and I still love them. They are the inspiration for this fancy little apple hot pad. This one is a Pink Lady apple, but you could easily make a tasty Red Jonathan, yummy Yellow Delicious or Green Granny Smith. Make your favorite apple to celebrate the arrival of fall.

Materials:

  • 1 – 3 ¼” x 40” strip for apple center
  • 1 – 1 ½” x 40” strip for outer apple skin
  • 1 – 1 ¼” x 40” strip for inner apple skin
  • 1 – 3” x 6” rectangle for leaf
  • 1 – 12” x 12” square for back of apple hotpad
  • 1 – 12” x 12” square of Insul-Bright insulated batting (Note: This batting by The Warm Company reflects energy, hot or cold, back to itself. You can find it with the utility fabrics.)
  • 60 degree ruler or my triangle template

Directions:

Cut:

  1. Print out my FREE Mod Apple Hotpad Templates.
  2. Using the hexagon template, cut out the back of the hotpad.
  3. Using the same hexagon template, but out the insul-bright batting.
    apple hotpad 2

Sew:

  1. Stitch the strips together, one at a time, ironing seams open. Make sure the narrow strip for the inner apple skin is in the center.
    apple hotpad 3
  2. Using a 60 degree ruler, cut six equilateral triangles. If you have a 60 degree ruler, this goes pretty fast. I had an old Starmaker ® 6 ruler from a Kaye Wood class that I had attended. Several companies make them, but if you don’t have one, just use my template, a regular rotary cutter and straight rotary cutting ruler.
    apple hotpad 4
  3. Position the ruler to start cutting with the outside apple skin on the bottom.
    apple hotpad 5
  4. Cut out a triangle.
    apple hotpad 6
  5. Flip the ruler and cut another triangle from the top, Lay these aside and save them for another project or make them into another hotpad.
    apple hotpad 7
  6. Cut six triangles total. There should be enough fabric to cut six apple triangles and six other triangles.  Stitch your triangles together. Be sure to line up the seams on each side so they match.
    apple hotpad 8
  7. Piece them in groups of three and press seams open.
    apple hotpad 9
  8. Stitch the two halves of the apple together, aligning the seams and iron flat
    apple hotpad 10
  9. Fold the leaf fabric right sides together and mark the leaf.
    apple hotpad 11
  10. Layer a small piece of batting underneath and stitch around the leaf leaving a place to turn. Snip curves and turn right side out. Whip stitch the opening closed.
    apple hotpad 12
  11. Quilt the leaf.
    apple hotpad 13
  12. Make a quilt sandwich. Lay the backing right side up, the pieced apple right side down and the Insul-bright batting on the top. Pin and stitch all around, leaving an opening to turn.  Turn the apple right side out and whipstitch the opening closed.
    apple hotpad 14
  13. Quilt the apple. I just used straight line quilting with my walking foot.
    apple hotpad 15
  14. Here is a close up of my quilting from the back.  I made the center of the apple with a couple of seeds.
    apple hotpad 16
  15. Tack on the leaf.  I just stitched a small triangle at the base.

That is it, a bright, cheery apple to decorate your table and a practical hot pad to boot. What is your favorite apple?

New Pattern: Cedar Lake Tote Bag


Introducing my latest pattern, the Cedar Lake Tote Bag.  Designed in two sizes, this cute and versatile tote bag will carry all of your goodies in style.  It is the perfect design to highlight a favorite fabric for the main body of the bag, you can simply add coordinating fabrics to the paper pieced economy block topper to create a sophisticated look.  This lined tote has one or two inside pockets and sturdy handles attached with D rings for the perfect accent.  Cedar Lake has a special meaning because that is where we go to spend our summers in Michigan – up north!

 

Yes, the economy block is paper pieced, but with my directions and cutting hints, you can easily master this block.  I give you generous pattern pieces to make the piecing so much easier.  You can use scraps or have a coordinated look, but the result is simply stunning.

The design adds a little whimsy with one of the paper pieced blocks by reversing the dominant light and dark prints.

The inside of the large tote features two pockets that you can subdivide to hold pens, pencils or even a cell phone.

The small version of the bag is just as versatile in a more petite shape with only 3 paper-pieced blocks on each side.  I had this great black cat graphic print and loads of black and white scraps for the economy block topper.  I even fussy cat a little kitty for the center block on one side.  Go bold with a lot of color or keep it in a two color simple look like this one.

The small Cedar Lake Tote features just one inside pocket.  It is sized to hold regular size 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheets of paper or a notebook easily.  Just toss in a few things and go.

 

You can purchase my quilted Cedar Lake Tote Bag pattern as a PDF download by going to MY PATTERNS tab and following the link to My Etsy Shop.

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

DIY Seed Packets – free tutorial

seed packets

Even though I am a quilter, I am also a lifelong gardener.  Both fill me with joy and help me to relax.  Now that it is September, the garden is winding down.   I find myself looking for seeds to save for next year, especially flower seeds.  I am gathering zinnia, marigold, four o’clocks and morning glory seeds right now.

seeds

It is time to organize all of the seed packets I have strewn all over the sunroom and find a way to save the seeds.  Here is how I store my seeds and a free tutorial on how make your own seed packets for seeds you might be saving.

Storing your seeds

seed container

I use an airtight container like a glass jar or plastic container with a lid to store my seeds.

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To keep out moisture, I add a few of those little packets of silica jel saved from pill containers to keep them dry.  Then I put my seeds inside a paper or cloth grocery bag to eliminate any light and I leave them in my sunroom over the winter.  It is not heated, so the seeds get freezing cold.  This simulates being in the cold ground, so when spring comes, the seeds know it is time to be planted.

Can you keep seeds for more than one year?

I say YES, you don’t have to have new seeds each year if you have some left over.  They are too expensive to just throw away!  Many seeds keep for at least two years and often many more years if you store them in a dry, cool place.  I tend to use my seeds for several years as long as they will still germinate.  Some seeds are notorious for not keeping over the season for me, like lettuce and spinach, but almost everything else works.

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Organizing your seeds

I like to organize mine by alphabetical order, but I am thinking I should switch it up and do it by the timing of when to plant them instead.  I also like to separate vegetables, flowers and herbs into their own groups.

Saving Seeds

I like to save a few seeds for the next year, some things go to seed and it is easy to gather them.  Some of my favorites that are easy to save are zinnia, morning glory, forget me not, and marigold seeds.  I will also save seeds from melons, cucumbers and anything that gets too big before I pick it!  Just remember that if you planted a hybrid seed, the seeds will not grow true.  I like to pick heirloom seeds that you can easily save and get the same plant.  I have some funky heirloom cherry tomato seeds right now that I can hardly wait to plant next year.

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Make your own seed envelopes

I let the seeds dry and then I make these cute envelopes and labels to store and keep them.  I have found the heavy weight scrapbook paper is perfect for this, but you could recycle junk mail or catalogs too.  Here is the FREE DIY Seed Envelope Pattern in two sizes and a FREE DIY Seed Labels Template  (The labels are in an MS Word file template using Return address labels sized 1″ x 2 5/8″).

Materials:

  • 12″ x 12″ Scrapbook Papers
  • Heavy Cardstock for template
  • Glue Stick
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Return address labels sized 1″ x 2 5/8″ for printer

Directions:

  1. Print out the template and cut it out of heavy cardstock or cardboard to use to trace around.P1080669
  2. Position it on your scrap book paper and use a pencil on the wrong side to trace around it.P1080671
  3. You can fit 2 large and 2 small envelopes on a standard 12 x 12 scrapbook paper.P1080675
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  4. Cut out your envelopes.P1080679
  5. First fold the large side flap.P1080680
  6. Use a glue stick to glue the outside edge of the flap.P1080682
  7. Fold the small flap over and crease in place.P1080687
  8. Glue the bottom flap and fold it up into place.P1080690
  9. Let the envelope and glue dry for a bit.P1080693
  10. They are so easy, make a bunch of envelopes.P1080697
  11. Print out your labels and attach one to each  envelope.P1080699-001
  12. Mark the label with the type of seed and date and then fill them up with your saved seeds.  Fold the top flap down and secure with a sticky dot or  a little glue and organize them in your container.

Gift idea!  Make these for Mother’s day or for a garden party for favors.  These would make nice gifts to slip inside a birthday card too.

What seeds do you like to save?