Free Tutorial – Lucky Shamrock Pillows

I am feeling lucky!  I have two new lovely Shamrock Pillows to decorate for St. Patrick’s Day all designed with EQ Mini Quilt Design Software by The Electric Quilt Company.  For these pillows I used the pieced Shamrock quilt block, but used two different sizes and some sashing.  These pillows finish at 18″ square.  I used my favorite technique which is to quilt the top and use an envelope back and then bind all around the pillow.  Then I just have a bunch of pillow covers that I can change out with my very neutral grey couch.  I love it!

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.

Lucky Shamrock Pillows

Finished size is 18″ square

Materials

  • 1/2 yd green plaid
  • 1/2 yd linen for background
  • 1  1/2 yd shamrock print
  • 5/8 yd muslin
  • 5/8 yd batting

Directions

Cut Fabric:

Green Plaid

  • 4 — 7 1/2″ squares (A)
  • 16 — 3 1/2″ x squares (E)
  • 4 — 2 1/2″ x  WOF strips for binding

Linen

  • 12 — 2 1/2″ x squares (B)
  • 5 — 2 1/2″ x 14 1/2″ strips (C)
  • 4 — 2 1/2″ x 18 1/2″ strips (D)
  • 48 — 1 1/2″ squares (F)
  • 2 — 2 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ strips (G)

Shamrock Print

  • 4 — 18 1/2″ x 24″ rectangles

Muslin

  • 2 — 19″ squares

Batting

  •  2 — 19″ squares

 

Piece the large Shamrock Pillow

  1. Place a 2 1/2″ linen square (B) on a corner of a large shamrock leaf (A).  Sew a diagonal corner.  Mark a diagonal line onto the wrong side of the square with a pencil or water soluble marker.  With right sides together (RST), stitch the square onto the leaf on the marked diagonal line. Trim the excess to a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Press seam to the darker fabric side.
  2. Sew a diagonal corner to 3 of the corners on each of the four large shamrock leaves.
  3. Sew the four leaves together to form the shamrock matching the seams.
    large-shamrock
  4. Add the outside border by sewing two 14 1/2″ linen strips (C) to the side of the shamrock.  Sew two 18 1/2″ linen strips (d) to the top and bottom of the shamrock.  Set aside.

 

Piece the smaller shamrocks pillow

  1. Place a 1 1/2″ linen square (F) on a corner of a small shamrock leaf (E).  Sew a diagonal corner using the same instructions as for the larger shamrock.
  2. Sew a diagonal corner on 3  corners of each small shamrock leaf (16 total leaves)
  3. Sew four leaves together as shown to form a shamrock matching the seams.  Repeat for the other 3 small shamrocks.
    small-shamrock
  4. Sew the sashing.  Stitch a 6 1/2″ linen strip (G) between two small shamrocks.  Repeat for remaining two small shamrocks.
  5. Sew a 14 1/2″ linen strip (C) in the center of the pillow to join the two shamrock panels.  Sew a 14 1/2″ linen strip (C) to each side of the shamrocks.
  6. Sew an 18 1/2″ linen strip (D) to the top and bottom of the pillow.

Hint: If you used linen, baste very close to the outside edge of the pillow top to keep the linen from fraying.

Quilt the top side of the pillows

  1. Layer pillow top with the muslin, batting and pillow top, right side up.
  2. Pin baste the quilt layers together.
  3. Quilt as desired.  Trim quilted pillow top to 18 1/2″ square.

Note:  I found this Celtic Shamrock design for a tattoo on the internet, it had a nice continuous design I could adapt for the quilting.  Inspiration comes from all sorts of places!

Here is the beginning of the design.

Here you can see the design on one of the little shamrocks.

And here is the design on the shamrocks with the detail on the linen as well.  The texture crinkled so well after washing.

Finish the Pillow

  1. Fold each 18 1/2″ x 24″ rectangle in half, wrong sides together, to form four 12″ x 18 1/2″ rectangles. Press.
  2. Top stitch along the folded edge of the pillow about 1/2″ away from the fold.
  3. Place the quilted pillow top, right side down.
    pillow-back
  4. Place two folded rectangles over each pillow, overlapping the folded edges in the center by about 4″.
  5. Baste 1/8″ along the outside of the layers.
  6. Bind with the green plaid binding strips.
  7. Insert a pillow form through the opening.

.shamrock-pillow-2   shamrock-pillow-1

Here are pictures from EQ Mini of my quilt design.

Show me pictures of your lucky pillows!  Tag me on Facebook or Instagram @lorimillerdesigns

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.

Published – Clockwise Pillow

Photo Courtesy of AllPeopleQuilt.com from Quilts and More Spring 2017 Magazine

Photo Courtesy of AllPeopleQuilt.com from Quilts and More Spring 2017 Magazine

It is January, but I am thinking of spring with my new Clockwise Pillow published in the Spring 2017 issue of Quilts and More.  It is a rainbow of arrows pointing in a clockwise direction and I could not be more pleased.


qm-spring-digital-cover_600

Here is the current issue of Quilts and More, I even found it at my local Kroger store.  In my store, the magazines are opposite the aisle from the eggs and butter, those people shopping thought I was a little strange when I discovered this magazine and yelled “Yay” out loud right in the store.

mod-arrows-pillow

I started out designing my pillow with Electric Quilt 7, quilt design software.

I usually print out a picture of my project and some of the rotary fabric cutting suggestions.  Then I use my own favorite assembly methods and scribble, make notes and write all my updates all over the papers to create my pattern.

Then I start to assemble the blocks trying the ways I think I want to put it together.

Here is the red and orange block coming together.  I used different low volume grey prints for the backgrounds.

I really like how it has that clockwise rotation and movement in just the first block.

This is a pretty large block.  I love large blocks, less to sew and a they really make a big impact!  I am grooving on this apple green.

Here is the top all pieced.  The assembly directions are really straight forward and they went together in a jiffy.

I decided to try quilting a large spiral for this pillow.  It is a nice look and the texture is great.  If you have not tried quilting some spirals, you need to add it to your list.  A pillow is a nice size to start and practice spirals.  This stunning pillow will be going in my family room.

SONY DSCThis is why it took me a long time to spiral quilt this pillow. Oh Cookie cat!

Check it out in the latest issue of Quilts and More Spring 2017.

Tutorial – Winter Icicles Throw Quilt

This months free tutorial for a project designed with EQ Mini Software by The Electric Quilt Company is this icy blue Winter Icicles Throw Quilt.  It uses vertical strips of giant flying geese to create modern icicles.  This frosty quilt will keep you cozy warm and the large pieces will stitch up quickly.  I even used a blue polkadot binding that made me think of little snowflakes.

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.

Winter Icicles Throw Quilt

Finished size is 48″ x 56″.

Materials

  • 3 5/8 yd white background
  • 1 3/8 yd Light blue
  • 1 3/8 yd medium blue
  • 1 3/8 yd dark blue
  • 1/2 yard blue polkadot for binding
  • 3 1/2 yards flannel for backing
  • 54″ x 62″ batting
  • Icicle Templates (Download HERE) (Please note there is a 1/4″ seam  allowance printed around the templates so be careful when cutting them out to include that.)

Directions

Cut Fabric:

White background

  •  14 — 4 3/4 ” x 9 1/2″ rectangles
  •  8 — 4 3/4 ” x 15 3/4″ rectangles
  •  10 — 4 3/4 ” x 13″ rectangles

Light blue

  • 14 — Template A triangles

Dark Blue

  • 8 — Template B Triangles

Medium Blue

  • 10 — Template C Triangles

Blue Polkadot

  • Cut 7 — 2 1/2″ x Width of Fabric strips

 

Make Icicle Blocks

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.

  1. Take the 4 3/4″ x 9 1/2″ rectangles and stack them in two’s right sides together.
    icicle background
  2. Cut diagonally from the upper left corner to the bottom right corner.
  3. Cut off 1 inch from the pointy skinny end.
    icicle-diagram-2
  4. Using left and right pieces, carefully sew the sides onto the template A Icicle.icicle-diagram-3
  5. Continue to make a total of 14 Template A icicle blocks.
  6. Using the same method above, take the dark blue 4 3/4″ x 15 3/4″ rectangles and stack them in two’s right sides together.
  7. Cut diagonally from the upper left corner to the bottom right corner.
  8. Cut off 1 inch from the pointy skinny end.
  9. Using left and right pieces, carefully sew the sides onto the Template B Icicle.
    icicle-diagram-4
  10. Continue to make a total of 8 template B icicle blocks.
  11. Using the same method above, take the medium blue 4 3/4″ x 13″ rectangles and stack them in two’s right sides together.
  12. Cut diagonally from the upper left corner to the bottom right corner.
  13. Cut off 1 inch from the pointy skinny end.
  14. Using left and right pieces, carefully sew the sides onto the template C Icicle.
    icicle-diagram-5
  15. Continue to make a total of 10 template C icicle blocks.winter-icicles
  16. Sew the icicle blocks together in vertical rows per the diagram above.
  17. Sew the pieces together in vertical rows, then sew the rows together, aligning edges.
  18. Piece together the backing.
  19. Make a quilt sandwich with the backing face down, then the batting, then your quilt top face up.
  20. Pin baste the quilt layers together.
  21. Quilt as desired.  I used organic wavy lines.
  22. Sew the 2 1/2″ binding strips together and add to the quilt.

Variation Suggestions
winter-icicles-reverse

  • Reverse the background and icicle colors for a different look or color in a scheme to match your decor.
  • Try using frosty winter prints, the large icicles really show off larger prints.

This quick throw is perfect to snuggle under with a cup of cocoa and your favorite book this winter.  It will look perfect with my January snowman decor.  I would love to see your icicle quilt, 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.

Quilting Roundup – Summer 2016

It has been a while since I posted the projects I have been working on, so it was time to do a little round up to at least catch us up to the beginning of the summer.  My only son graduated from high school and the day after his graduation party, I decided to get appendicitis and it had to come out.  Mix in some recovery time, summer vacation, weekends at our cottage up north, and well, you get the idea.  The picture above is of my new grey couch(what a great setting for any color quilt, I can mix it up whenever I like.)  I finished my pow wow quilt (Pattern by Cluck Cluck Sew) and two pillows from all of the scraps.

I did some wiggly quilting in the sashing and just wavy, organic lines over the arrow shapes.  It was a quick way to quilt and it washed up great.

Next up, I had some lovely organic cotton prints with kitties on them.  I used the Ballerina quilt pattern by Jaybird Quilts.  It is a great way to use a special fat quarter bundle where you want to see the prints.  My good friend, Laura, had celebrated a big birthday, so this throw quilt was her gift.  I even did kitty themed allover quilting with curly que lines and yarn balls.

Here is a good view of the quilt and my yarn ball quilting.

I think the grey, aqua and yellow look so great together and she loved it.

 baby quilt
I had picked up another cute bundle of fat quarters from Pink Castle fabrics in Ann Arbor, Mi.  I thought they would make a great baby quilt.  I thought this was a very cute pattern but I forgot about the one way prints, so that made piecing a little more challenging.  I just straight line quilted around the larger squares.  Then I hand drew a starburst design in the blocks.

I stitched the star burst with free motion quilting on my little bernina and on the outside big white corners, I did a some close lines for extra texture.


Here it is all finished.  I had just enough yellow for the border to make it pop.  Thanks to my son who is holding it up for me.

This little mini quilt was a kit that I bought in Grand Rapids at the AQS show.  The pattern is Puddle Jumping Mini by Thimble Blossoms.

All those tiny pieces.  I think it takes as long as a big quilt to piece these babies.

Even though it was only about 12 inches across, I still pinbasted it like crazy before quilting.

Here is my finished quilt.  I just stitched some diagonal straight line quilting.  It was some work, but it is so cute all finished up.

Finally, this red, white and blue beautry.  I belong to the Stitching Sisters Quilt of Valor group and I finished up this large block quilt.qov-001

I was given the opportunity to award my quilt to Jerry.  You can see Katy to the right, she did the longarm quilting on it.  She simply does beautiful work and donates her time for many QOV quilts.

qov2-001

And of course, every service member gets a quilty hug to welcome them home.  After serving 10 years in the National Guard myself, I have a special soft spot for all of the men and women who have served our country.  It is a joy to honor them in this way.

I hope these projects inspire you to quilt up something special for yourself, a friend or even a service person.  Happy Stitching!

Grandma Town BOM #11 – Apron Quilt Block

Can you believe it?  This is the last block for the Grandma Town Row by Row.  It is the green gingham apron my Grandmother wore.  She always cooked wearing an apron and I have a lovely green calico apron that I made her for a gift that was given back to me as a keepsake.  It is a cherished item.  This large apron block finishes at 12″ x 12″.  You will only need one apron block for this quilt and it is centered between the pies and canning jars.

grandma town Apron

 

Grandma Mabel’s favorite color was green.  I always thought that was strange as most girls said they loved pink.  I actually am more in tune with Grandma now and love the freshness of a bright apple green color.   I can still see Grandma rolling out some pies or working on Sunday dinner wearing her faithful aprons to keep her dress clean.  I have a collection of vintage aprons and they make me think of my special Grandma.

Are you sewing along?  If you are, post it on Instagram and tag me @lorimillerdesigns and #GrandmaTownBOM so I can see what lovely things you are stitching up.  A comprehensive pattern and directions for the Apron block along with the whole BOM is currently in development.

Enjoy!
grandma Town Quilt A

Grandma Town Block of the Month

If you are new to the Grandma Town BOM, this row by row quilt was a labor of love to celebrate my Iowa roots.  I spent my childhood visiting my Grandparents on their farm just west of Des Moines in Earlham, Iowa.  It is especially a tribute to my dear Grandma.

When my sisters, brother and I were little and my parents would drive us to my grandparents farm, my brother would yell, “We are going to Grandma Town!”.  It was a loving tribute that stuck.  This little quilt is full of those reminders of the farm and of Grandma, who loved to garden and loved to cook.  Each block is a sweet memory of my youth growing up on that country farm.

I hope you will find some shared love for your family, a cherished farm  or your own grandma in my quilt.  You can make all of these sweet blocks or pick and choose the blocks you like the most to make something special for yourself or a dear loved one.

 

Released Blocks – 2015

FEB  Block 1 – Forget Me Not Flower

MAR  Block 2 – Sewing Machine

APR Block 3 – Nine Patch and Color Block Rows

MAY Block 4 – Ear of Corn

JUN Block 5 – Sweet Hearts

JUL  Block 6 – Canning Jar

AUG Block 7 – Barnyard Double Block

SEP Block 8 – Pie Quilt Block

OCT Block 9 – Home Sweet Home Double Block

NOV Block 10 – Chicken and Egg Block

Modern Swallow Trail Tiny Quilt goes to Road to California 2016

My mini quilt, Modern Swallow Trail, has been selected to be part of a special exhibit of 40 mini quilts at the Road to California  Quilt Conference in January 2016.  With lots of bright colors and straight line quilting, this cute little quilt was so much fun to make.  I did make the mistake of trying to piece this quilt.  I should have paper-pieced it for some sharper edges, but I had a really good reason why I didn’t. Really.  Read on to find out how I tackled this project.

american-made-brand-cotton-solids

American Made Brand Cotton Solid Fabric is sourced and and manufactured entirely in the United States.  American Made Brand  issued a challenge.

AMB Tiny quilt challenge

It was called the tiny quilt challenge and you needed to make an original mini quilt from their American Made Cotton Solids in any style you wished.  I saw the notice but I did not pay much attention.  Then they sent a reminder.  I thought about it, but I did not have any material, or so I thought.  Then another reminder came and now it was the end of August.   I had an idea in my head but I did not have time to make this thing.  Well creativity is a weird thing, I could not stop thinking about it.  Then I ran across something, a rainbow mini charm pack of AMB solids from Quiltcon 2015.  That sealed it and I was off and designing.

I needed background fabric.  I called every quilt shop within a 40 mile radius of metro Detroit.  A small quilt shop 30 miles away said they had some fabric so off I went.  They had 3 bolts and one happened to be a kind of khaki grey color  called Taupe which I thought was a perfect neutral for the bright mini charms.  I saw a large round swallow tail pattern but this had to be mini.  I drafted my swirling trail pattern on some graph paper and cut out templates.  I only had a couple mini charms of each fabric and I needed to cut out two diamonds from each plus a binding.  There was simply no extra fabric for paper piecing, so I cut and pieced the bright colors.

I took the colors in the mini charm pack and picked the ones I liked and then tried to arrange them in a rainbow pattern.  I varied the flow a little from the top to bottom and the colors really blended well together.  I had just enough fabric to add my signature colored border snippets.  I just straight line quilted it how my heart desired.  I love the texture of the matchstick quilting.

Although my quilt was not one of the main winners in the challenge, I was thrilled that AMB asked if I would provide my mini quilt for the Road to California exhibit in January 2016.  Road to California is the premiere Quilters’ Conference & Showcase west of the Rocky Mountains!

 

 

Grandma Town BOM #10 – Chicken and Egg

chicken and egg


Are you sewing along?  Grandma Town Block of the Month continues with this cute little chicken and egg.  On the farm, Grandma raised chickens for the eggs and for Sunday dinner.  There was a large hen house behind the house.  I never helped gather eggs, maybe grandma thought I would break them.  We did get to throw the food scraps and potato peelings over the fence for them and sometimes some cracked corn.  There were all kinds of chickens including little banny hens that ran around everywhere.  The Chicken blocks finish at 8” x 7”.  The Egg blocks finish at 3” x 7”.  You will need 6 chicken block and 5 egg blocks for the row of the quilt.

Grandma Town Chicken&Egg

Grandma’s favorite chicken was a big red hen she named Molly.  Molly laid large colored eggs, they were sort of grayish green color.  Grandma also made delicious fried chicken, but the best was a scalloped chicken that she made which was kind of like chicken and stuffing.  It was crispy on the top and tasty all the way through.


I know my grandparents raised their own chickens, but luckily I did not ever have to experience how they got to the table.  This chicken pattern reminds me of Molly and her jumbo eggs.

Are you sewing along?  If you are, post it on Instagram and tag me @lorimillerdesigns and #GrandmaTownBOM so I can see what lovely things you are stitching up. A comprehensive pattern and directions for the Chicken and Egg block along with the whole BOM is currently in development.

Enjoy!
grandma Town Quilt A

Grandma Town Block of the Month

If you are new to the Grandma Town BOM, this row by row quilt was a labor of love to celebrate my Iowa roots.  I spent my childhood visiting my Grandparents on their farm just west of Des Moines in Earlham, Iowa.  It is especially a tribute to my dear Grandma.

When my sisters, brother and I were little and my parents would drive us to my grandparents farm, my brother would yell, “We are going to Grandma Town!”.  It was a loving tribute that stuck.  This little quilt is full of those reminders of the farm and of Grandma, who loved to garden and loved to cook.  Each block is a sweet memory of my youth growing up on that country farm.

I hope you will find some shared love for your family, a cherished farm  or your own grandma in my quilt.  You can make all of these sweet blocks or pick and choose the blocks you like the most to make something special for yourself or a dear loved one

Released Blocks – 2015

FEB  Block 1 – Forget Me Not Flower

MAR  Block 2 – Sewing Machine

APR Block 3 – Nine Patch and Color Block Rows

MAY Block 4 – Ear of Corn

JUN Block 5 – Sweet Hearts

JUL  Block 6 – Canning Jar

AUG Block 7 – Barnyard Double Block

SEP Block 8 – Pie Quilt Block

OCT Block 9 – Home Sweet Home Double Block

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!

Grandma Town BOM #9 – Home Sweet Home Double Quilt Block


This month’s Block of the Month is Grandma’s house and a couple of the large black walnut trees that lined the driveway.  It was a modest little house but it certainly felt like home from the moment you entered it.  This is a double block that finished at 15″ x 10″ and it is part of the center of the quilt in the same row as the Barnyard.  There are only two more blocks after this one, we are on the home stretch!

grandma town home sweet home small

Grandma’s house always smelled of delicious food.  She was always cooking and baking.  She loved to cook and would design her own recipes, especially cookie recipes.  A local radio program would sponsor a contest and Grandma’s homemade cookies won every time.   Do you remember Kitchen Klatter out of Shenandoah, Iowa?  We would listen to the program together and try to write down all of the recipes.


The trees depicted in the picture are black walnut trees.  My Grandpa would gather them up and pick nut meats all winter.  Black walnuts have a unique flavor and they tasted wonderful in a cake or eaten straight out of the bag!
Are you sewing along?  If you are, post it on Instagram and tag me @lorimillerdesigns and #GrandmaTownBOM so I can see what lovely things you are stitching up. A comprehensive pattern and directions for the Home Sweet Home double block along with the whole BOM is currently in development.

Enjoy!
grandma Town Quilt A

Grandma Town Block of the Month

If you are new to the Grandma Town BOM, this row by row quilt was a labor of love to celebrate my Iowa roots.  I spent my childhood visiting my Grandparents on their farm just west of Des Moines in Earlham, Iowa.  It is especially a tribute to my dear Grandma.

When my sisters, brother and I were little and my parents would drive us to my grandparents farm, my brother would yell, “We are going to Grandma Town!”.  It was a loving tribute that stuck.  This little quilt is full of those reminders of the farm and of Grandma, who loved to garden and loved to cook.  Each block is a sweet memory of my youth growing up on that country farm.

I hope you will find some shared love for your family, a cherished farm  or your own grandma in my quilt.  You can make all of these sweet blocks or pick and choose the blocks you like the most to make something special for yourself or a dear loved one.

 

Released Blocks – 2015

FEB  Block 1 – Forget Me Not Flower

MAR  Block 2 – Sewing Machine

APR Block 3 – Nine Patch and Color Block Rows

MAY Block 4 – Ear of Corn

JUN Block 5 – Sweet Hearts

JUL  Block 6 – Canning Jar

AUG Block 7 – Barnyard Double Block

SEP Block 8 – Pie Quilt Block

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.
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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.
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  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.
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  3. Position the ruler to start cutting with the outside apple skin on the bottom.
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  4. Cut out a triangle.
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  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.
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  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.
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  7. Piece them in groups of three and press seams open.
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  8. Stitch the two halves of the apple together, aligning the seams and iron flat
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  9. Fold the leaf fabric right sides together and mark the leaf.
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  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.
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  11. Quilt the leaf.
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  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.
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  13. Quilt the apple. I just used straight line quilting with my walking foot.
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  14. Here is a close up of my quilting from the back.  I made the center of the apple with a couple of seeds.
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  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?

Grandma Town BOM #8 – Pie Quilt Block

Pie is a glorious thing.  I choose it over cake or even chocolate.  My Grandma was a master pie maker and she taught me the secret art of a light and flaky crust.  This month’s Grandma Town Block of the Month is a PIE, of course.  My favorite pie is Gooseberry.  It is the green, tart cousin of the red currant.  It is simply heaven.
Grandma Town Pie Grandma always made two pies at a time and I have the recipe memorized.  She taught me how to spin that rolling pin on a giant wooden board that pulled out of an old spice cabinet hutch.  Her pies were the highlight of any meal, made with real lard and served with vanilla ice cream.  I think of her every time I pick gooseberries and make a tasty, sour lip smacking pie.  You can make any kind of pie you like, I made blueberry and cherry.  Are you sewing along?  If you are, post it on Instagram and tag me @lorimillerdesigns and #GrandmaTownBOM so I can see what lovely things you are stitching up. A comprehensive pattern and directions for the Pie block along with the whole BOM is currently in development.

Enjoy! grandma Town Quilt A

Grandma Town Block of the Month

If you are new to the Grandma Town BOM, this row by row quilt was a labor of love to celebrate my Iowa roots.  I spent my childhood visiting my Grandparents on their farm just west of Des Moines in Earlham, Iowa.  It is especially a tribute to my dear Grandma.

When my sisters, brother and I were little and my parents would drive us to my grandparents farm, my brother would yell, “We are going to Grandma Town!”.  It was a loving tribute that stuck.  This little quilt is full of those reminders of the farm and of Grandma, who loved to garden and loved to cook.  Each block is a sweet memory of my youth growing up on that country farm.

I hope you will find some shared love for your family, a cherished farm  or your own grandma in my quilt.  You can make all of these sweet blocks or pick and choose the blocks you like the most to make something special for yourself or a dear loved one.

 

Released Blocks – 2015

FEB  Block 1 – Forget Me Not Flower

MAR  Block 2 – Sewing Machine

APR Block 3 – Nine Patch and Color Block Rows

MAY Block 4 – Ear of Corn

JUN Block 5 – Sweet Hearts

JUL  Block 6 – Canning Jar

AUG Block 7 – Barnyard Double Block

Published – Fancy Cat Pillow


I have the good fortune to again be published in the Quilting Arts Holiday issue.  This time I am sharing my design for a little modern fancy cat pillow.  Whether you want to make a nice pouf for your kitty or a fun pillow for a kitty lover, this pattern fits the bill.  This fancy cat features cute coral bow ties, this coral color is so fun and I found some fabric with metallic accents.  This would be also look pretty stitched up with red bow ties for the holidays too.

quilting arts holiday 2015

This issue is always filled with lot of inspiration and ideas for handmade gifts for the holiday season.  I think the striped trees on the cover by Jennifer Heynen are just adorable.

Pillows are a great way to try out your quilting skills too.  I used straight stitch walking foot quilting as seen here as well as free motion quilting.  This pillow is an envelope style, so you can just cover a pillow form you already have if you want.


Even Cookie Cat approves of this fancy cat pillow.  He is always helpful like that when I am trying to take pictures. 🙂

Check out this issue, it should be available now in US stores.  Happy Stitching!

 

Sunburst Strip Piecing

Sunburst strip piecing Lori Miller Designs

In July, the Detroit Area Modern Quilt Guild hosted Lynn Harris from  The Little Red Hen for a class on strip piecing using techniques from her new book.  She also gave a wonderful trunk show of all of her scrappy quilts which were just beautiful.  I grabbed my box of orange scraps and a nice heathery grey fabric to work with.

Every Last Piece cover for blog


Lynn’s book is called Every Last Piece and she showcases 12 wonderful quilts that will use up your scrap stash.

2lynn harris class 1

Here are the strip pieces that we made in class using Lynn’s technique.  Make sure you have a lot of starch on hand!  Mine are the obvious orange ones.

lynn harris class 1

Here is our wonderful group of quilters.  Lynn is second from the left in the back and I am second from the right in the back.  The rest are all of my DAM girls.

I grabbed all of my orange strip pieced squares and decided to make half square triangles withe the heathery grey fabric.

I decided to make a runner for the Library Table I inherited from my Mother-in-Law.  It needs some love and care on the finish, so until I can make that happen, a pretty little runner should cover those up nicely.  I started to put them together in rows.

Using my trusty Bernina 630, I put on my BSR foot and started free motion quilting lines through the orange strips keeping them parallel to the seams and kind of even.  You don’t have to be perfect with this stitch and it still looks good.

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Here you can see all of the lines quilted in the orange strips, the texture is just amazing.  Then I wanted to put something in the triangle.  I wanted a design that was a bit more modern than feathers but was not having much luck finding what I wanted.  Then I found inspiration from Lori Kennedy of The Inbox Jaunt.  She had some sun and stars patterns that I adapted to the triangle.  She has tons of wonderful quilt designs and tutorials on her blog and I really love her name :).

Sunburst strip piecing Lori Miller Designs

Here is the sun pattern up close.  It is perfect to go with the orange rays in the strip piecing.  I also liked that it was a continuous design, I just quilted from triangle to triangle in a row without stopping.  Everyone is just a bit different, I did not even mark or plan too much, just quilted.  I really like it.

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Here is my finished runner, all quilted, washed and crinkly with texture.  I think it makes my library table look fabulous too.  I used a bunch of orange scraps but why does the box seem just as full when I was done as when I started?? HA HA  Happy scrap quilting!