Saturday, September 22, 2018

Scrap Buster Pumpkins Tutorial

If you're looking for a quick, fun, scrappy fall sewing project, these Scrap Buster Pumpkins (#ScrapBusterPumpkins) are the perfect thing for you this season.

I used my pumpkin blocks for a table runner, and 2 hot pads - 
but a throw pillow would be so cute, as well.
#scrapbusterpumpkins
One thing to keep in mind as you make these blocks:  The dimensions I'm going to give you are just a jumping off point.  You can make these any size you want!

At first I stuck to an exact 5"x6" orange piece, and simply rotated it sideways to achieve two different pumpkins (a taller/thinner, and a shorter/fatter pumpkin).  But the more I made, the more I switched things up.  I trimmed a little off the side to make a short, squatty pumpkin.  Then I pulled out some long, thin scraps to make a tall, skinny pumpkin.  

For me, this isn't as easy as it is for some of you.  I'm a rule-follower, and I stick to the pattern!  This time I forced myself to just sew pieces together, and in doing so, I experienced the fun of letting go, simply sewing pieces on, and trimming things up at the end.  I highly suggest you try it!

So here's what I used to make my Scrap Buster Pumpkins:
PUMPKINS
5" x 6" (makes 2 different pumpkins, when rotated)
5" x 4.5" (short, squatty pumpkins)
6.5" x 3.75" (tall, skinny pumpkins)

PUMPKIN CORNERS (low-volume)
1.5"-2" squares

STEMS
1-1.5" wide x 2" tall (or whatever height you want)

LEAVES
1.75-2" square (makes 2)

BACKGROUND FABRICS
dig through those scraps!

Step 1 - Leaves.  (Note: I added leaves to most of my blocks, but I left a few without!)
Use (1) 1.75-2" square of green, and (1) same size background square.  Mark a line diagonally from corner to corner, and sew on either side.  Cut apart on marked line and press open. (This yields two.)
Step 2 - Sew your stem piece next to your leaf.  
Now add scraps of low volume pieces on either side, to make it as wide as (or wider than) the body of your pumpkin.
Don't worry about these background pieces being exactly the same height as your leaf or stem.  Just line up the bottom as good as you can, because you will trim the top to match your leaf later on.
Step 3 - to make the pumpkin body, use your small low-volume squares (1.5"-2").  Draw a diagonal line on each, place one in each corner, and sew on the drawn line.  Trim off corners, and press out.
 Step 4 - Sew stem/leaf panel to pumpkin, and then trim (if necessary) to square up your block.
Now for the fun part!  I have a bin full of fabric scrap "strings".  These are scraps that vary in length and width, but each one is a consistent width.  These work fabulously for finishing the blocks.

*Note: to do this part of my blocks, I used a method that Emily (@SimpleGirlSimpleLife) showed us when she made her Wonky Log Cabin Blocks.  I would highly recommend reading her great tutorial.  It's got lots of good details and info for all of us who have a hard time going improv!

Ok here we go! 
You will be sewing a piece of background fabric to the top and the left side of your pumpkins only.
To start, measure your tallest pumpkin.  This will be the height you'll make your smaller blocks.  Mine tall pumpkins ended up being 8.25" tall.
After you measure your tallest pumpkin, find a scrap to sew to the top of a shorter pumpkin.  Use a piece that is a little too big, so you have room to trim it later.  Sew and press.
(In the photo above, you can see that I used a very large scrap for the top of my short pumpkin.  After sewing it on,  I trimmed it to 8.25" tall, and then trimmed the sides even with my pumpkin. (To save time, you can wait to trim the top of your blocks down till the end.)

Now add a scrap to the left side of your pumpkin block (this can be ANY width).  
Sew it on, and trim off any extra length.  
And now you have a pumpkin! Isn't it cute?

I found it easiest to make these in groups of 4.  
Once I had my pumpkins sewn, I laid them out, and chose scraps to sew on the tops.
Then scraps for the the left sides of the pumpkins.  
(I used my scissors to cut super long scraps down to workable lengths.)
Now for trimming and squaring up your blocks.
Line the bare side of the pumpkin (side that does NOT have a background scrap sewn to it) along the left side of your cutting mat.  Trim the RIGHT side square. (This is easy, because the width of your block doesn't matter, remember?)
Then if you haven't already, trim the top of your block to whatever your tallest pumpkin is. 
And this one is done!

To make my table runner, I made 18 pumpkins. (this fit my table well, but you might need less/more).
Lay out your pumpkins.  Once you have the layout you like, you will need to add a side scrap to the pumpkins on the ends that don't have one! 
(See blow photo, with the pumpkin on the left.  It needs a backround strip sewn to its side.)
scrappy pumpkins
I also noticed that my right side was a tad bit shorter than my left.  I decided to add a small strip of background fabric to one of the pumpkins, to even this out.
I then sewed my pumpkins together into 2 long rows.  

Using some larger scraps, I cut them down into 2" strips, and pieced them end to end for a middle sashing.  

To attach the sashing, I made sure to start my rows even with each other at one end, but I didn't worry about them ending up exactly the same length, as long as the larger piece was one that ended with a background scrap (so I could trim it even).

In the photo below you can see that my bottom row was a bit longer than the top row.  
After sewing the two rows together, I left them laying right sides together (photo on left), and simply trimmed the larger scrap down even with the row on top. (photo on right)
 I added 2" wide sashing to both outside long edges as well.
#scrapbusterpumpkins
scrap buster pumpkins
I tried to do a wiggly, zig-zag quilting stitch on my Bernina, but it kept skipping stitches when it went to the left.  I tried everything I knew to do: I cleanned it out and oiled it, changed the needle, rethreaded it, and adjusted the tension.  The only thing I didn't have was an actual "quilting" needle on hand (and wasn't about to drive 30 minutes to the store).  
I'm not sure if that would have helped or not.  
However, after the 3rd failed attempt, I changed my plan, switched over to my Juki, and went with simple straight-line stitching.  I marked my lines every 2", and then also quilted in between each of those lines - eyeballing the middle quilting lines. 
You can tell - the quilting lines aren't perfectly straight, but neither are the scrappy pumpkins, so it fits  the look perfectly.
I also made my two extra pumpkin blocks into hotpads, which will be so fun to pull out for my kitchen each fall when we get out our other decorations.  
So there you have it!  
I want to see yours too, so be sure to 
tag me on Instagram @RedRainbootsHandmade, and 
tag your photo with #ScrapBusterPumpkins, so others can see and be inspired as well!

-Julia

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Colorado Stars quilt pattern - available now

I am so thrilled to finally be able to share my Colorado Stars quilt pattern with you!  
(You can find it for sale in my Etsy shop - here.)
 A few years ago I saw a vintage quilt from a flea market, and I knew then and there that I would re-create it for myself.  I fell in love that day, and am completely smitten now that I have it on my own bed!
 I started this quilt at a quilting retreat with some of my Aunts, my Mom and my 10 year old daughter.  It snowed so much that we got snowed-in and had to stay an extra day.  No complaining here!
Red Rainboots Handmade
RedRainbootsHandmade
 My friend Abby Latimer (Latimer Lane quilting) did the long-arm quilting for me in Baptist Fans.  I know they're not the easiest pattern to do, but she did an amazing job.  I was a bit worried that I wasn't going to get it back, when she sent me this photo.  It looks so good on her bed! 
But sure enough, there it was on my doorstep 3 days later.
My pattern has 4 different size options: crib, throw, queen & king. 
So basically the options are endless!  Every time I walk past my bed it makes me incredibly happy.

RedRainbootsHandmade
And I'm already planning another!  Want to make one with me?

 (pattern available in my etsy shop: www.redrainbootshandmade.etsy.com )

Monday, October 31, 2016

Modern Maples Quilt, and some cozy flannels...

I know, I know.  It's been forever since I blogged!  It's something I would like to do more often, especially with our house remodel going.  Because who doesn't love a few Before And After photos?
Speaking of before and afters... this quilt could count as one of them.  ;-)
TWO years ago (Oct. 2014) ... I pieced this Modern Maples Quilt.  
(this is the flannel I DID NOT LOVE - bottom left corner of photo)
ONE year ago (Oct. 2015) ... I bought some flannel from JoAnns to use for the back.  But I never LOVED it.  One year later, it was still sitting in my closet... untouched.


I even basted it with the batting and all...  I kept asking myself what it was that was keeping me from finishing it, and I finally realized it was the backing.  I tend to feel guilty if I don't use every last scrap of anything, and this flannel was no exception.  But here's what I decided:  it's better to learn from a mistake, and move on, than use something you don't like and never love the finished product.  I learned a bit of that from Marie Kondo's book: "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up".  It's a very freeing thing.  (You should try it, if you haven't already!)
Robert Kaufman Mammoth Flannel
THIS YEAR (Oct. 2016) ... a sweet friend of mine bought some of this Robert Kaufman Mammoth Flannel, and it was love at first sight for me.  It was exactly the look I was going for: something cozy, that didn't scream "fall".  If there's one thing I'm learning, it's "go with what you love, not what you think others will think is good or something that you perceive to be 'in-style'".  This flannel was it.  It's not that different from my original flannel, but just enough to completely change my heart.  The texture on it is so much better, as are the whites.  They're creamy, without being dull.  

Robert Kaufman Mammoth Flannel
Anyways - you should go take a look at those Mammoth Flannels.  They have a bunch of really good ones!  (Here at Robert Kaufman Fabrics, or Fabric.com, just to name a few.)

Quilting it proved another valuable lesson in *only* using brand new needles to avoid lots of skipped stitches, and lots of frustration.  I talked about it more over on Instagram (I'm @RedRainbootsHandmade over there, too).  This quilt taught me a few good lessons, and it has now been claimed by my family as a favorite.  After all, who can resist cozy flannel when the weather begins to cool?



- Quilt Info -
Modern Maples Quilt Pattern: by Amanda of Hey Porkchop! from the book: Pretty In Patchwork - Holidays.
You can also find the {free} pattern HERE.
Backing is: Mammoth Flannel by Robert Kaufman Fabrics.  I used this one (here) from Fabric.com.

Scrap Buster Pumpkins Tutorial

If you're looking for a quick, fun, scrappy fall sewing project, these Scrap Buster Pumpkins (#ScrapBusterPumpkins) are the per...