Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Seeing What Sticks

I have started working on the Tea Towel Challenge quilt again.  I use the term "working on" loosely, as my idea is basically to make a bunch of stuff and see what sticks.

So far another border has been applied and now I'm piecing some shapes that resemble feathers (or leaves, flip a coin).  I'll show you how I'm making those in a minute.  I'm sure it's not unique, but it is fun and I like to share.

About the narrow border first.  You may recall that I sometimes like to use recycled fabric from clothing, etc., in quilts.  A few years ago, a fellow blogger was willing to part with a sleeve from a funky 1970s shirt she had thrifted, and I was happy to accept her offer.

When I pulled fabrics for the Tea Towel Challenge a few months ago, that shirt sleeve was among the possibilities, albeit a remote one.  It sat on the pile and eventually fell to the sewing room floor the other day, forcing me to take note of it again when I picked it up.

One thing led to another and before you know it, I had it sliced into strips and banged on as a border.  It seems to work, I think, and it makes me smile that I was able to use it after all.

Now the feathers (or leaves, whatever).  I'm excited about those!  They started as trimmings from the orphan blocks I recently made into quilt-as-you-go-blocks for a charity quilt.

The black strips are cut 1 inch wide and the white strips are 1-3/8 inches (only because I was cutting a 2-3/4 inch strip in half).  I cut all the strips about 4 inches long.  Each feather/leaf uses 8 white strips, 6 black strips, and one longer black strip, about 7 x 1 inches, for the center.

Then I laddered and sewed them together, 4 white and 3 black per side, alternating white and black strips.  Since they were to be trimmed at an angle in the next step, I offset the edges by about 3/8 inch as I sewed each strip on. 

To trim them, and give them the proper angle, I placed both sets along the 60-degree line on the cutting mat.  One set is placed wrong side up, because it will mirror the other set, as you'll see further below.

Trim along the line.  

See how that works?  Then you sew the longer black strip down the center.

For the shape, I made a paper template by folding a 7 inch square of paper into fourths and cutting an oblong, fat feather shape.  Then I traced this onto my pieced fabric and cut it out.

Pretty cool, huh?  They're ready to applique, whenever I figure out exactly how I'm going to incorporate them into the Tea Towel Challenge quilt.  

Right now, I'm just having fun!

Linking to:
Sew Darn Crafty
Linky Tuesday


  1. I love your leaves....the proportions between dark and light is perfect. I think I'll give these a try. Thanks....

  2. I think I am going to try making some leaves

  3. Nice leaves, whether they make it into the tea towel project or not! I have a stinker of a challenge that I am just in the thinking stage of. A twist on the paint chip challenge, we are each to make an abstract banner 12" wide and at least 60" long!

  4. Yep- love the border . You have such a talented eye for putting together fabrics. Abd I love that you just go for things- you are my hero!

    Genius way to make leaves and it looks so easy I could probably do it.

  5. That funky border is a perfect fit!! Love the leaves...thanks for the 'how to', I must stitch some!!

  6. those are pretty cool! look great with the sneak peek of the center

  7. I love how your tea towel quilt is coming together! The scrappy ness is just perfect. Can't wait to see the finished piece.

  8. I love your explanations and the different types of projects you do. The border from the old sleeve is really pleasing to my eyes!

  9. Thanks for the tutorial on those leaves. I love the ease of this method. I need to try a few myself.

    And of course, work on my tea towel quilt as well. Yes, I need to get in there and do it!!

  10. I really like this tea towel challenge. Your leaves are awesome & fit really well with the rest of your quilt! I'm enjoying watching this come together.

    xo -E

  11. WOW! How did I miss this post?!?!?!? LOVE LOVE LOVE! What a wonderful idea!

  12. Reading backwards to catch up...., I have been wondering how you made those leaves! Very cool!


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