Happy Birthday Peach!

Today, my little Peach turns 1!  I thought that Monster’s first year went quickly, but it was nothing compared to hers.  She has learned so much so quickly in her attempt to keep up with her big brother.  Here is a list of all the things she can do already:

  • Walking – first independent steps at 9 months(!), walking consistently at about 10 months
  • Words: Dada (her very favorite), Mama
  • Loves giving kisses
  • Hates bananas
  • Starting to learn to climb, but clever about getting down without falling

The one thing she’s done slower than Monster is getting teeth!  He got his first at 8 months and had 12 teeth on his first birthday (I’m not exaggerating here), but she’s still just got the first 4, which she loves to show off!  I guess her hair is a little slower than his too haha!

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She also loves peanut butter… and some of it even makes it into her mouth.

A friend of mine was so sweet and sent Peach a package for her birthday (they’re birthday “twins” on August 29th) that had a gorgeous quilt for her!  I love the fabric, it has yellow giraffes, pink rhinos and orange elephants, and she used a decorative stitch on the binding that just adds such a nice touch.

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Gorgeous girl on a gorgeous quilt!

She also included a little gifty for me, a few different varieties of Heat N Bond that I haven’t used before – be on the lookout for me giving them a try in future posts!  You can check out her blog here – she does a lot of recipes and sewing, too!

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I normally use the Lite (on the left), but I’ve never tried the regular and I’m super excited about the Ultrahold!

On a more serious note, my grandmother who was battling pancreatic cancer passed away on August 3rd.  Today is the memorial service, so I’m in Arizona with the family while the kids hang out with Radar’s parents.

Nana and Zaidy actually happened to be passing through Jacksonville a year ago when Peach was born, and got to hold her even before Grammy (my mom)!

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Nana was talking – what she was most known for 😛

I’ll get back to tutorials and recipes and fun stuff with my next post.  I’ll close today with a big happy birthday to my little girl, and a rest in peace, Nana.

Southern Comfort Food

For those of you who don’t know, I’m from Canada.  I think it sort of surprises people because I say “y’all” and I don’t say “aboot.”  My family moved to Florida when I was 9, but the nail in the coffin (as it were) was going to Georgia Tech in Atlanta at 17.  Since then, I’ve lived in Georgia, Texas, and now we’re back in Florida – and I have developed quite the taste for southern food!  Even though I’m a transplant, I’ve got a couple of good and easy recipes to share with you today to make pulled pork sandwiches and collard greens.

Radar loves to cook, and he actually came up with the recipe for the pulled pork (no idea where he got his inspiration, so I can’t give credit on this one!).  On deployment, he feeds his crew on the plane anytime they have a flight longer than 6 hours… which equates to feeding about 10 hungry dudes in an airplane equipped with a tiny oven and the crock pot he brings aboard himself, sometimes 4 times a week.  So you know this recipe is going to be easy – he doesn’t have time for it to be complicated!  It also freezes really well.  I’ll make a batch for me and the kids, we eat a quarter of it right away and I’ll freeze 3 Ziploc bags full, ready for nights I just don’t feel like cooking.  The best part is, the crock pot does all the work!  Aren’t those recipes the best??

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • Pork shoulder or blade (you pay more per pound on the blade, but there’s significantly less bone so it more or less works out the same)
  • 2 20 oz or 1 2 liter of root beer (1 20 oz would probably do it, but I prefer to have more in case I need it)
  • 1/4 cup liquid smoke – the secret ingredient
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp pepper
  • Bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce – we like Sweet Baby Ray’s Original

Place the pork shoulder in the crock pot and season with salt and pepper.  Pour in liquid smoke and root beer until it’s about 1/2-3/4 full (don’t go all the way, as you’ll find it expands a little and you’ll have a mess to clean up!).  Put on high for 8 hours (you can’t over-cook it, but it won’t shred if it’s not on long enough).  Remove meat from crock pot and shred.  Reserve 2 cups cooking juices and dump the rest.  Return shredded pork to the crock pot (on warm) and add BBQ sauce (the amount depends on your taste).  If it seems dry, add some of the reserved cooking juices back in.  Serve on buns, or just as-is!  I also recommend having more BBQ sauce available if you want it.

After college, I went to work for Frito Lay in Perry, Georgia.  Never heard of Perry?  I hadn’t either, until I moved there!  Anyway, while I was there, I worked with some of the best cooks in the south.  Miss Gladys made her collard greens every time my team celebrated something, and I got hooked.  I couldn’t get her to share her recipe, and I won’t even pretend that this recipe is as good as hers, but they’re good enough for me now that I’ve moved on from there.  They have a little zing to them, thanks to red pepper flakes, and of course bacon is a requirement.  It just takes a little prep-work, then they simmer and get tender while you enjoy a glass of wine or other beverage of choice.  I’ll note that our collards only come in 2 lb bags, so I always double the recipe (they also reheat really well, but never last long when I’m around!).

Kickin’ Collard Greens (from allrecipes.com)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 slices bacon
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 lb fresh collard greens, cut into bite-sized pieces

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add bacon, and cook until crisp.  Remove bacon from pan, crumble and return to pan.  Add onion, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic, and cook until just fragrant.  Add collard greens and fry until they start to wilt (I usually add a bit at a time, as they start quite fluffy but shrink considerably as they wilt).  Pour in chicken broth and season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.  Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes, or until greens are tender.

This deployment, the OSC members are taking turns hosting laid-back Sunday night dinners.  Usually it’s about 3 or 4 people (plus kids), and we just have a nice dinner and enjoy an evening of not eating alone.  Last week I hosted, and made these two recipes along with some corn.  I don’t know about the other girls, but I went to bed satisfied that night!

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YUM!!

Fox Applique Mini Pillow

I follow Patchwork Posse on facebook, and she always has such clever patterns and ideas!  When I saw her “What Does a Fox Say” applique, though, I knew it was just the gift for my secret fox!  Rather than a theme from the song, though, I chose to use just the fox face and add NFLAMF, which stands for the first letters in our squadron’s motto (in royal blue, which is the squadron’s color).  I stuck with the idea of a little pillow, so she can use it if she does any traveling during deployment.

Supplies:

  • Fox template (credit: patchworkposse.com)
  • 2 13″x17″ pieces of cotton, with light iron-on interfacing already attached
  • 2 2″x5″ pieces of the same cotton, without interfacing
  • Small pieces of cotton for fox’s face (I used white and pink) and other details, like the letters and nose
  • Heat N Bond Lite
  • Zipper at least 14″ long
  • Coordinating thread
  • 12″x16″ small pillow (I got mine at Walmart)

Trace the fox template onto the paper side of the Heat N Bond (don’t forget to reverse one of the cheek pieces).  Iron onto desired fabric and cut out.  Remove paper and iron onto one of the 13″x17″ rectangles (be sure to put the ears on the bottom layer).  Repeat for any letters or words you want to add (remember, you need to use the mirror image; look at my applique tutorial for a reminder of how to do this).  Applique around the edges using coordinating thread.  Mark the eyes on your pillow case and stitch.

Fox Face

Left: All pieces have been ironed on (the fabric is just wet… long story; also the reason the design looks puckered in future photos). Right: I found it easiest to mark 3 points for the eyes and draw a curve.

Once you’ve completed the front of the pillow case, it’s time to start putting it together.  Iron the two 2″x5″ pieces of cotton in half, then fold 1/4″ of each end in; see picture below.

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Front of pillow case, back of pillow case, zipper, and 2 2″x5″ pieces of cotton (one open and one folded up to show creases)

First you’ll prepare and attach your zipper.  Pin one of the 2″x5″ pieces on the open end of the zipper, being sure that all metal is well away from the edge so you don’t catch it with your needle.  Trim your zipper about 13″ along, and pin the other 2″x5″ piece 12″ down from the first piece.  Sew two ends in place with a scant 1/4″ seam allowance.  Then, with the front piece of the pillow case good side (or fox side) up and up-side down (so you’re sewing on the bottom of the front), line the zipper up good side down and stitch about 1/4″ from the zipper teeth using your zipper foot.  It’s easiest to raise your presser foot and move the pull out of the way to where you’ve already sewn as you approach it.  Then fold the zipper open and topstitch a scant 1/4″ from the seam attaching the front of the pillowcase and the zipper.  Repeat with the back of the pillowcase, lining up the sides of the front and back.

Zipper

Top: Pin the 2″x5″ pieces to the zipper ends and secure in place. Bottom: Attach the zipper to the pillow case.

Once the zipper in installed, this is what you end up with:

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You’re almost done!

OPEN THE ZIPPER HALFWAY (I speak from experience), fold the pillow case along the zipper right sides together, and stitch around the remaining 3 edges with 1/4″ seam allowance.  Turn right side out and put the pillow in its new case!

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Ready for sweet dreams of her hubby!

Turtle Screen Cleaner

When I saw this turtle screen cleaner on Pinterest, I knew I had to make one for Radar.  He loves the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (the ones from the 90’s, not the scary ones today), and uses his tablet daily, so I know it gets dirty.  I’ve never made a hexagon, so this was a new experience for me.  I don’t think I’ll be making scads of them like some other quilters do, but it was fun to make 2 of them for this cute little guy.

Supplies:

  • Turtle screen cleaner pattern (credit: wildolive.blogspot.com)
  • Green felt
  • Cotton for shell
  • Microfiber or fleece for belly
  • Quilt batting for “stuffing”
  • Embroidery thread

Cut out the pattern from the pdf file linked above.  Pin the body shape onto the green felt and cut it out.

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Radar likes Mikey, so I added an orange headband (done with puffy paint)

Pin the hexagon pattern onto the quilt batting and cut it out.  Then pin the quilt batting you just cut out onto the cotton you want to use for the shell, and cut out about 3/8″ away from the edges (doesn’t need to be perfect, but it’s easier if you err on the side of more fabric).  Leave the batting pinned to the cotton.  Now pin the hexagon pattern to the microfiber material and cut out your hexagon again with 3/8″ extra on the edges; again, leave the pattern pinned to the microfiber.  Using the quilt batting or the paper pattern as a guideline, hold down and secure each corner of the hexagon for the cotton shell and the microfiber belly (if you’ve never sewn a hexagon, check out Wild Olive’s tutorial here, it has great pictures – it’s how I learned!).  The batting will stay in the shell, but remove the paper pattern from the belly.

Turtle Belly

Here’s my turtle belly. I just used a microfiber cloth from the optical department at Walmart – I’ll be able to make another from this piece.

Turtle Back

Aaaand my turtle shell

 Lastly, sandwich the body between the shell and belly hexagons.  Pin in place, and use embroidery floss to stitch around the edge.  The photos below show how to hide the ends of your threads.

Construction

Left: Pin your turtle sandwich together. Center: Knot your thread to start, and tuck it between the layers. Right: After your last stitch, knot the thread, then poke the needle between the layers and out the back or the belly; clip the thread to hide the tail.

And that’s it!  You’ve made a cute little turtle to keep someone company while they use their electronics.  This is an easy, half-hour project that doesn’t require a sewing machine, or even any great skill!

Finished Turtle

Mikey is ready to go to Japan to live with Radar!

 

Watermelon

I saw this great idea on Pinterest to cut your watermelon up like fries to make it easier for little ones to eat.  For Monster, this was a Pinterest fail!  He is so used to eating it sideways from a wedge that I COULD NOT get him to turn it the other way!

BlogI guess technically this is a kid fail, but it’s still funny either way!

T-Shirt Quilt, Part 2

This is the second (and final) installment of my post on how to make your own easy t-shirt quilt.  In part 1, I did a tutorial on making each t-shirt’s block, including cutting the shirt, using fusible batting, and quilting the complete block, including the back.  Then I laid out my shirts to determine how they were going to be put together in the finished product.

I found the most brilliant way to turn my 25 blocks into a quilt here.  I can’t believe I never thought of this method!  It’s a way to quilt as you go for the blocks, then attach them with minimal effort compared to machine quilting an entire quilt without a long-arm quilting machine.  I went a little picture-crazy here, but it’s necessary to keep things straight and clear.

I recommend using a grid method to label the location for each block.  In my case, my columns were A, B, C, D, and E, and my rows were 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.  I wrote each block’s location on a sticky note and safety pinned it to the block so that I wouldn’t get them mixed up in the next steps.  I also drew myself up a key, just in case I got confused about letters and numbers being rows or columns, or if any of the sticky notes tore off.  Better safe than sorry!

So once you’ve figured out where everything is going and labeled appropriately, it’s time to start sewing again!  Well, in a minute… first you need to cut some more fabric.  For each vertical seam between pieces, you’ll need a strip that’s 1 inch longer than the height of the blocks and 2 inches wide and a strip the same length and 3 inches wide.  For each of my internal 11″ blocks, I cut a 12″x2″ piece and a 12″x3″ piece.  I had 16 vertical connections inside the quilt (4 rows and 4 columns), so I cut 16 of each.  Then press the 3″ blocks in half so they’re 1.5″ wide.

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All my vertical connection pieces

Starting with your top left block (A1 in my case), pin a 12″x2″ piece along the right side on the back, and a folded 12″x3″ piece with the raw edges also on the right.  Be sure to remove the pins from the back before you sew, or it can mess up your machine.

Assembly 1

1: Block A1. 2: Pin the 12″x2″ piece on the back of the right (when t-shirt-side-up) side. 3: Flip it over. 4: Pin the folded 12″x3″ piece with the raw edges on the right side.

Sew the 3 pieces (12×2, quilt block, folded 12×3) together using a 1/2″ seam allowance.  The seam allowance must be as exact as possible, as I will demonstrate in a little bit!  Repeat this process on the right side of all blocks EXCEPT the last column (hence, I only needed 16 for a 25 block quilt).

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I’ve found a production line method is easiest: rather than pulling off and clipping the threads after each square, I pin them all at once, then just stitch on nothing for an inch or two before feeding in the next square. When I’m done, I just clip the threads between the blocks.

Once you’ve completed this, it’s time to start putting the blocks together into rows.  Place your first block, A1, right side up and line up the 12″x2″ piece with the left side back of the block to its right, in my case B1 (2nd column, 1st row).  Be sure to line up the blocks, not the strips between them!  Stitch along the edge with a 1/2″ seam allowance (again, precision is necessary).  I recommend doing this for all of the first and second columns at once: adjoin the A piece’s 2″ strip to the left side of the back of the B piece with pins, then sew all of them at once.  When you look at the back side, you’ll see that there’s now a strip of fabric (that was your 2″ strip) sewn neatly between the backs of the two blocks.

Assembly 2

Left: A1 upside-down, and B1 with the left side at the top. Center: A1’s 2″ strip pinned to the back side of B1’s left side. Right: The back side once the seam has been sewn.

Once you’ve sewn the back(s), it’s time to attach the front flap(s).  Flip the block over to look at the front, and you’ll see the 3″ piece that’s folded is flapping in the breeze.  Fold it down onto the right quilt block and stitch along the edge, making sure to cover any seam that may show from the back.

Assembly 3

Left: Pin it up. Right: Sew right along the edge to secure.

It’s starting to look like a completed quilt already, isn’t it?  If you look from the top or the bottom, you’ll see why you needed to stick to the 1/2″ seam allowance:

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I didn’t follow my own rules – I went with a scant 1/2″, so there’s a small gap between the blocks. Learn from my mistakes!

Repeat a bunch of times until you have each row all stitched together.  Be careful with that last column, make sure your blocks are right side up (it’s a little trickier without the strips already attached to identify the right side).  Trim the excess length from the strips between the blocks so it’s all even and pretty.

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The rows are completed (see, I told you I’d get that last block in there!)

Now it’s time to follow the same process for attaching the rows.  Cut 2″ strips of fabric the length of each row (plus a little, for wiggle room) and 3″ strips of the same length (ironing them in half just like before).  Mine ended up being about 56″ long!  Pin the 2″ strip to the bottom of the back side of the top row, then flip it over and pin the folded 3″ strip with the raw sides aligned with the bottom also.  As before, stitch in place with a 1/2″ seam allowance.  Repeat for all rows except the bottom one (just like you left out the last column above).

Rows 1

Left: Pin the 2″ strip along the bottom of the back of all rows but the last one. Right: Flip over and pin the raw edges of the folded 3″ strip also along the bottom.

Just like when you created the rows, you’ll connect them by first sewing a 1/2″ seam with the first row right side up, attaching the 2″ strip to the top of the 2nd row.  Then flip over and pin down the flap from the 3″ strip, covering any seams from the back.

Rows 2

Left: Back of 2nd row, front of 1st row, lined up and pinned. Center: Be sure to align the columns between each block. Right: Fold the flap down on the front and stitch down on the edge.

Now it’s REALLY starting to look like a quilt – all you have left is the binding!  To make the binding (which does not need to be done on the bias), cut strips of fabric 4″ wide.  You need to make one long strip, long enough to go around the entire quilt – measure it, you don’t want to find out you’re short while you’re sewing it on!  To connect pieces of fabric to make the binding, lay the pieces at a 90 degree angle and sew from corner to corner along the diagonal (PAY ATTENTION TO WHICH SIDE IS “GOOD” AND WHICH IS “BAD” – I had to redo about 6 of these because I wasn’t paying attention!).  You want all your seams on the same side of the strip so that they’re all hidden when you’re done.  Then trim the excess off, leaving about 1/4 inch, press to one side, and turn over to admire your work.

Binding 1

Left: Sew along the diagonal with the two adjacent pieces at a 90 degree angle. Center: Iron the seam to one side. Right: Pretty binding ready to be folded in half.

Once you’ve got about 12 miles of your binding (that’s an approximate number, but what it will feel like), fold in half and iron so you have a 2″ strip with a fold on one side and 2 lined up raw edges on the other.

To bind your quilt, pin your binding on the back side of the quilt with the raw edges lined up with the outer edge of the quilt.  At this point, I recommend switching to a walking foot. If you’ve never used one, the purpose of this tool is to help your machine push the fabric forward from both the bottom AND the top.  It’s helpful when you have many layers of fabric going through (like a t-shirt, batting, quilt backing, and 2 layers of binding, for instance).  It’s not absolutely necessary, but it will make your life much easier.

Walking Foot

This contraption is a walking foot. The plastic pieces right by the presser foot act as dog feeds on the top of your fabric, helping it to feed through the machine. Consult your manual for proper installation – it can be a bit tricky!

Start stitching a few inches from the end of the binding, using a 1/2″ seam allowance.  When you approach a corner, stop stitching 1/2″ from the end of the quilt (I used chalk because it’s not going to show anyway).  If you’re not using a walking foot, backstitch a few times.  If you are using a walking foot, you’ll find out quickly that you can’t backstitch – that’s ok, just stop where you are.  Clip the threads and fold the binding fabric up so that the 45 degree angle goes through the corner of the quilt.  Then fold it down so the fold matches the top of the quilt, and pin in place.  Pick up stitching again 1/2″ from the top of the quilt (maintaining a 1/2″ seam allowance).  Repeat at each corner.

Binding 2

Top: Start about where my pin is, a few inches from the end of the binding. Center: At the corner, stop 1/2″ from the edge of the quilt. Left: Fold binding up to match the corner of the quilt. Right: Fold binding down to match the top of the quilt, then begin stitching 1/2″ from the top.

When you approach your starting point, stop a few inches from where the binding begins (about 6 inches from where your first stitches started).  Trim excess binding off so there’s about 1″ overlap, and fold each edge of the binding back so the folds meet.  Pin in place, and iron binding.  Then, pull the binding away from the quilt and attach the two ends along the creases you just made.  Replace binding onto quilt back, pin in place, and sew the last bit in place, overlapping the stitches already there.

Binding 3

Left: Pin the binding ends and iron so folds touch. Center: Stitch along the creases. Right: Pin down binding and finish attaching to quilt back.

Finally, we are at the last step!  Fold the binding piece around to the front side of the quilt and pin in place.  Work the corners to create a mitered finish.  Stitch along the edge of the binding to secure.  Your stitches will show on the back side, so be sure to use a coordinating thread.

Binding 4

Left: Pin the binding to the front. Center: Wiggle the fabric to get a mitered corner. Right: Back side of corner.

You probably noticed that I used black thread to first attach the binding to the back of the quilt; I recommend buying 2 spools of thread for this project!  I BARELY had enough to finish the binding… there was a lot of appealing to the gods of sewing to help me have enough thread to finish!

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Too close for comfort!

But I finished it!  And I think it looks great if I do say so myself!

Completed Quilt

My dad held it up for me… don’t you just love the designs on the back?? Such a unique way to show off your favorite shirts!

T-Shirt Quilt, Part 1

Normally I just sew whatever strikes me, usually for the kids (as you’ve probably noticed).  But a friend approached me a few weeks ago to ask if she could commission a T-shirt quilt.  Normally, I’m not into sewing for pay (although Radar wishes I were!), but I’ve been wanting to tackle a T-shirt quilt and this was just the excuse to do it!  The problem is, I HATE rolling up and trying to stuff a quilt into the small space under the arm of my machine to quilt it.  Because of this, you may have noticed I tend to use various quilt-as-you-go methods (like here and here).  But so far, I haven’t figured out how to put the blocks together and not make it into a rag quilt or look like kindergartener sewed it.  Finally, though, all my Pinteresting and web browsing paid off, and I found a method!  So, I’m going to do a tutorial for a T-shirt quilt that does not require advanced quilting techniques to sew, in 2 parts: part 1 will be about making the blocks, and part 2 will be about putting it together.

To start off, choose your shirts!  The number you need will depend on the size of each block and the size you want your finished quilt to be.  My friend will be mailing hers to her husband who is deployed with Radar, so we didn’t want to go too big – we ended up with 25 11″x11″ blocks to make a square quilt that will be about 55″x55″ when we’re all said and done.  I would recommend 11″ or 12″ blocks for adult shirts (you’ll get most of the design printed on each shirt, but it will still work for size small shirts).  If you’re using smaller shirts, like onesies or kid’s shirts, you’ll need to make your blocks smaller.  Also, be aware that you’ll lose about 1/2″ on each edge of each block when you put it together.  Cut out each of your shirts with a clear ruler and rotary cutter, trying to keep the fabric from stretching.  I find it’s easiest to cut up the sides and across the shoulders of the shirt first.  It gives me maximum placement room but gets rid of the bulk and lumps of the back.

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I folded in the edges to really show where it was cut – up the sides and just below the shoulder seams

Now let’s discuss the batting for the quilt.  As you were cutting your shirts, you probably noticed the knit fabric stretched all over the place.  That property makes a shirt comfy, but more difficult to sew.  So, rather than using regular batting, I recommend using the iron-on thicker batting, like Pellon Fusible Thermolam, to stabilize the shirts.  But the directions on the batting say to lay the batting glue side up, place your fabric right side up on top, and iron on the right side of the fabric.  Unfortunately, screen-printed T-shirts don’t take well to direct ironing!  They will stick to your iron, peel off the shirt, and make a general mess.  So, after some playing around, I recommend the following method:

  • Cut your batting to the same size as your shirt square.
  • Lay batting glue side up on your ironing board.
  • Place shirt square right side up, lined up with batting.
  • Set your iron to the cotton setting.
  • CAREFULLY press (down, no side-to-side motion) any parts of the shirt that DO NOT have screen printing.
  • Lay a damp presscloth (I recommend a light tea towel or other lighter cotton towel) over the screen printed parts and press until towel goes dry.
  • Your shirts will be damp when you’re finished, and the bond isn’t perfect, but you won’t melt the shirts and it will hold long enough for you to quilt it!
  • If your screen printing is really old and doesn’t have that plastic-y feel to it any more, you can be less careful with the iron – it won’t stick.

Now you need to cut out the backing for each square.  I cut them to be the same size as my finished blocks, but I suggest you cut them a little larger; you’ll see in pictures later, if I didn’t make my squares perfectly, I had some pulling and the backing was a little too small.  It’s easier to trim later than to wish it was bigger!

Now you finally have all your layers together, so it’s time to start quilting!  Lay your backing good side out on the back side of the batting and flip over.  Use safety pins (quilter’s safety pins are even better, if you have them) to pin up your block.  Try to avoid pinning through the screen printing, as the holes will stay forever.  Also, keep in mind that you need to get your machine through, so don’t put the pins too close to where you plan to sew.  There is pretty much no such thing as too many safety pins!  If you don’t use enough, your backing will move around and you’ll have to take your stitches out – trust me, I have experience with this!  Then use the design on your shirt to guide you as you quilt around.  You can get as intricate as you want, although I prefer to keep it simple.  And whatever design you follow on the front will show up on the back of your block – pretty nifty, huh?  I used matching thread for the front of the shirt, and maroon to match the back, but contrasting thread would give a nice effect, too.

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See how many pins I used on this one? And I was super careful not to poke through the printing. I also put an unused pin in the corner so you can really see the bend in the quilter’s pins.

You’ll just repeat this process as many times as you need until all your shirts are turned into perfect, quilted blocks!

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It’s so satisfying to look at your stack of finished blocks!

The really fun part now is laying them all out and deciding how to arrange the blocks!  Below, you can see all the fronts, and I also got a shot of all the backs with their unique quilted patterns.  I tried to mix up colors on the front, and intricacy of patterns on the back.

Blocks Front Back

I know there is one missing, but don’t worry, it’ll be there on the finished product! I was just waiting on one more shirt from my friend.

Stay tuned for part 2, where I’ll show you an easy way to put all your blocks together into your finished quilt!