Saturday, July 26, 2014

!!!!Christmas in July - AGAIN, Please!!!! AND A GIVE-AWAY

Patriotic Sunbonnet Sue has Arrived.....along with Christmas Sue.....

Joan, over at Moose-Stash Quilting has done it again....and again (see below). It truly is Christmas in July around here because our July and Christmas banner samples arrived just this past week Here's Sue with her patriotic banner, all decked out in red, white and blue.

I AM late with these, I admit it. But do you understand the CREATIVE PROCESS? Artists are famous for statements about the creative process, i.e., it can't be forced; it only happens late at night; it can't be interrupted; it can't be....this and that. Really great artists, however, MUST be disciplined. Yes, yes, all that is true. Truth to tell, though, I just DIDN'T FEEL LIKE finishing the July pattern until the end of June, see?

And, now, it's finished and available on our Etsy page as a physical pattern or a PDF Download.

My partner, Erin, and I design and write the patterns for Prairie Cottage Corner. We've been doing this since 2003. When the pattern is ready, we send it to one of our pattern testers, along with fabric, etc., and they make a sample of it, suggesting corrections and changes along the way.

Joan does our samples for us in ALL machine applique'. (Our instructions, in our patterns, include fusible web applique', hand stitched. If you want to do machine applique', use the instructions that come with your machine. I suggest using the button hole stitch, about 1/8" to 1/4" wide for the edges of the fusible. You could also make any of our applique' patterns using Needle Turn and Freezer Paper techniques.)

Here's the pattern cover for July's patriotic Sue.

When finished, the first sample belongs to the pattern tester, but we take it back for a while to photograph it and show it, where possible, in the first year after it's done. After that, the pattern testers get the samples to keep. That's how it works with pattern testers. If you would like to try pattern testing, please write to me, Kathie, direct: prairiestitcher at centurytel dot net and ask about it.


And here's the sample for our December Christmas Sue, below.

Stars abound!

The block is easy (as are ALL of our blocks in these banner patterns)....Guaranteed no "Y" seams!

Here's the pattern cover.....

....and our Christmas Eve Pooch!

You can add lace and eyelet to our Sue's dresses easy as pie....


Just write a comment before Wednesday, July 30th 2014, at 5 PM PDT, answering this question: 

What's your favorite summer fun?

Thanks for stopping by. See you again, soon, I hope.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

"Bless This House" Revisited

"Bless This House" Wall Hanging Pattern

It was Tanya's birthday this past week. She's our blogging, quilter, friend in Japan. If you haven't met Tanya, you must go and visit her. There's a link below.

Well, anyway, it was her birthday and I sent her our little wall hanging pattern, "Bless this House" for a present. Yesterday, she wrote back and sent a picture of her version of it. Wow!

It's very precious. The colors are lovely, warm and vibrant. Sue's carrying a flower instead of her magic wand and she's so dressed up! And look at the fabric Tanya found for Sue's wings! And fussy-cut overskirt and bonnet to match. Will Sue even want to speak to us here at home after this? She's become such a beautifully dressed young woman! From homespun to silk, in the blink of an eye!

Seriously, friends, I love to see what our stitching sisters do with our patterns (besides line the birdcage with them). Every creative effort is a one-off......special.....individual......worthy of praise. Thank you, Tanya, so much.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

New Pattern - Winter Sports Wall Hanging

 Take advantage of all the Christmas In July fabrics now and make this cute little wall hanging.

It's simple, easy and quick with instructions for fusible web applique.

And an easy, old, snowball block. What could be more simple? 

Sue and her puppy out for a skate.

Easy shapes and pieces. Sounds great, doesn't it, when the temperature is reading 90 degrees in the shade!

"Stay cool", says Sue.

You can buy this pattern as a pdf download or a physical pattern on my Etsy site.

And, when you have a moment, go on over and tell Joan, at Moose Stash Quilting, she did a great job for us on our first sample of this pattern! We love you, Joan. You're the best! Thank you.

DIY Hand-Dandy Quilt Binding Helper - And a WINNER!

This is my DIY Handy-Dandy Quilt Binding Helper - A Box of Kleenex......, a Kleenex box. You know how quilt binding can get all twisty as you try to sew it on? It's a mess, unless you take a few minutes at the beginning to carefully wind it into a roll. 

I start by winding the quilt binding, unfolded, onto a long pencil (not a short, stubby pencil). I don't fold and iron the binding lengthwise because by the time it's sewn down and turned to the other side to be blind-stitched, the fold is no longer right on the edge to be hand why bother to iron it? Also, finishing the binding is easier without the fold (which is another blog post, altogether, which I haven't written, yet, sorry.)

Then I take my Kleenex box, which I've been using for the past FIVE YEARS....the one with the pencil-sized holes in each side about half way from every side of the box

I put the roll inside the Kleenex box (doesn't matter which way is up - it's not toilet paper!)


I mark the end of the binding 12" from the end all the way across.

And I put a mark, wider than the binding about halfway along one side of the quilt.

I place the box on the floor next to my presser foot. And away we go!

Folding the binding in half, lengthwise and matching the lines, I back stitch a few stitches, and begin sewing the folded binding to the front of the quilt, raw edges to the right. I continue folding and stitching until I get about 1" from a corner.

Then, I measure and mark 1/4" toward the presser foot from the corner edge of the fabric and mark a line I can see. I stitch to the line and stop, lifting the needle and presser foot and pulling out about 5 " of top and bobbin thread but not cutting the thread.

Turn the quilt so you are ready to begin stitching down the next side. With the thread still attached, pull the folded binding straight up in a right angle to the side you just stitched, away from you, then fold it straight toward you, forming a square with the folded edge and right hand raw edge along the edge of the quilt.

Like this.

Then, place the presser foot on the very edge of the quilt and binding and 1/4" from the quilt and binding raw edge, back stitch a few stitches and continue sewing down the side. Repeat this technique for making squared corners at each turn.

On you go! Stay tuned for instructions on seamless binding ends......

Meanwhile, you just might win a prize!

And speaking of prizes! 

Our winner of the drawing for a Prairie Cottage Quilt pattern of her choice, today, is Sandi Timmons!

 Congratulations, Sandi! 

Thank you for all your nice comments and stay tuned for our new contest early next month. 

Meanwhile, back to the drawing board. 

New patterns are on their way to you!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Quick DIY Craft Box from Two Fat Quarters - Tutorial and Give-away

Please leave a comment if you'd like to win a pattern of your choice from Prairie Cottage Corner
this week. Contest ends at 5 PM PDT, Monday, July 7th, 2014.

I used to keep a lot of my tools in Crystal Light tubes. I had eight of those boxes crammed full of my hand sewing and applique tools. They were wonderful. However, this little fabric box is better.

Know why? It holds everything I had in those Crystal Light tubes....and you can make this from stuff you have at home.

I just had this idea one day and I started working on it.

There are four variously partitioned pockets inside and outside.

The handles fold in, ready to grab....

or, out, so you can reach things....

It stands up by itself and measures about 5 1/2" per side.

The bottom is lightly quilted.

Here's what I did. I had 2 new fat quarters, unlaundered. (Laundering will shrink your fat quarter and, depending upon how much it shrinks, you may not have enough fabric to cut the cross pattern, below). Or have two scraps of laundered fabric that will measure 18" x 22" (the size of a fat quarter).

I made a 6" square and layed it out on freezer paper five times in a cross shape.

After cutting the cross from two fat quarters and a piece of polyester batting, I cut pockets and handles from the remaining scraps: 4 pockets from each of 2 fabrics and 4 handles the same. The sizes were as follows:

Pockets - 6" x 4"
Handles - 3" or 4" x 9"

These measurements depend upon the size of the fat quarters.

Sew the handles, right sides together, turn and press. Leave the ends open and raw. Use a 1/4" seam allowance throughout this pattern.

I used one print for the top of the handles and the other, for the bottom. I had a little selvage on them but needed the width, so left it would add strength to the handles, don't you think?
Hey, I'm flying by the seat of my pants, here!

Press a hem (turn the fabric to the wrong side two times forming a narrow hem) into the long side of each pocket......

and chain-stitch them down....

Then.....turn under the other edges of the pockets just one time and press.

Pin the pockets to the right side of the outside and inside pieces of the cross pattern about 1/2 inch from what will become the bottom of the box. Make sure the wrong side of the pocket is to the right side of the base fabric.

Make sure the pockets are the same distances apart across the bottom of the square and centered from side-to-side on the base fabric. Top stitch them, beginning at one hemmed corner and back-stitching to add strength at the start. Sew all around the three turned and pressed sides. End with some back stitching. Sew slowly and you will have a good outcome.


There's the new pocket with a pen in it. The bottom of the pocket is toward the bottom of the box and the top is toward the end of the cross.

Stitch the handles on with a basting stitch about 1/8" from the raw edge. It doesn't matter which piece you add the handles to. I added them to the outside piece, not the lining.

Be sure you have the right sides of the handles out (the right side is whatever side you want) so they match.....or not..... It's kind of a crazy little box, anyway.

Now, you have all the pockets sewn to the lining and outer base fabrics and the handles in place.

Next, stitch the partitions into the pockets. I guess-timated what I would need. Here, the pocket has two narrow and three wider partitions. Other pockets had two equal-sized partitions, some three, some four. Since I made this box, I've left one inside and one outside pocket full sized for larger templates and tools.

Hand baste the lining cross to the batting, going all over with long stitches several inches apart. Or, you could pin the pieces with safety pins spaced 4" to 6" apart. Whichever is convenient.

Using a contrasting removable ink or fabric pencil, lay out some lines in a chekerboard pattern on the bottom of the box from the bottom of a pocket on one side, to the bottom of a pocket on the other side. Using a long stitch, go over each line once and back-stitch a few stitches at the beginning and end of each row to secure.

Again, sew slowly. 

Here's the batting side of the quilting....

and the lining side of the quilting. Remove the basting.

Lay the crosses out with the outside piece face up, handles in.....

and the lining side, face down, batting on top.

Like this.

Mark the start and stop places about 4" apart along a cross end without a handle on it.

Baste or pin the layers together all around.

Begin with a back-stitch and sew toward the first corner.

Turn each corner with needle down.

End with a back-stitch. Trim the corners to within 1/16" of the stitching.

Clip the corners to the same distance.

Remove basting.

Start turning the piece right-side-out through the opening.

It's a little snug, but persevere......

"Just keep swimming....." (in the words of a famous, absent-minded, fish)

The handle ends come out quickly, once you get to them.

I use a large, fat, knitting needle to push the points out...but be gentle....

Use the other end of the knitting needle to push out the side seams where you can't reach with your fingers and hand.

There you have it.

Now, turn the opening in and pin together both sides, covering the batting.

Hand stitch it shut, using a blind stitch.

It's complete.....almost.

Beginning at any corner, blind stitch the sides from the top side down to the bottom of the box. Be sure to make several passes through the layers at the tops of the sides, to strengthen the stress points.

Stitch along, merrily.....

Look, two sides are done, already

Then, all four sides are up and ready to go!

I'm sure I can improve on this, and so could you.

But, for now, it's a sweet little helper.

My friend, Shari, saw this and I could tell she wanted I gave it to her. 

An actual pattern is forthcoming with all sorts of improvements in it.

So, please leave a comment and be entered to win the pattern of your choice. I want to hear your suggestions and ideas and, well, what's going on in YOUR life of threads and fat quarters?