The story of my Chinese New Year quilt.
Our youngest daughter was born in Taiwan. So we get to celebrate Chinese New Year as well as our regular New Year.
Chinese New year is also called Spring Festival, as it falls at the end of the still
very cold and wintry days, but marks the end of those days and welcomes spring,
with all its new beginnings and fresh starts.
You can also call it the Lunar New Year since its date is set according to the
Lunar calendar. The Lunar calendar is still very important in China and South East Asia and all traditional holidays are still celebrated and many people calculate their birthdays according to the Lunar calendar as well.
The idea for this quilt was born in January of 2020.
I have to admit I always loved paper lanterns, they feel light, breezy and fun and always give a vibe of happiness, don't you think?
So I started my Chinese New Year series with all sorts of different paper lanterns.
There are 4 types of paper lanterns in this pattern.
The longer skinny lantern as you can see in the photo above.
A paper lantern that's shaped as a double trapeze.
The prettiest lantern of them all, called the palace lantern.
And of course the most popular paper lantern, the balloon lantern.
A quilt just with lanterns was the first idea, but it needed something more dramatic,
so I designed the dragon.
The dragon is a symbol of power, strength and good luck in East Asian culture.
They supposedly control water, rain, typhoons and anything that has to do with water. Dragons are everywhere all over East Asia - in legends, festivals, astrology, art, names and idioms.
Dragons are definitely seen as LUCKY and good, quite different from the evil, dangerous fire breathing dragons of most Western stories.
So here is my good luck dragon.
Just a dragon and lanterns didn't feel right and complete, so I added another very important Asian sign, the Yin Yang koi fish symbol.
It represents duality and harmony in life.
In Feng Shui the Koi is tied to the Yin Yang symbol and it is said to represent two Koi, one female and one male and shows that all things in life are connected.
How did I decide on the fabric and colors?
First of all, I have always been a huge fan of Art Gallery Fabrics, because they are the nicest finest cotton fabric. And when it comes to detailed foundation paper piecing patterns a high quality cotton fabric is very helpful. A light weight cotton just makes your life so much easier when piecing small segments with many seams. It was an absolute joy to work with Art Gallery Fabrics for this quilt pattern. The fabric series 'Matchmade' by Pat Bravo was a real match made in heaven.
And second of all my color choices depended heavily on traditional Chinese colors in general and for Chinese New Years in particular.
Red is Chinas favorite color which represents luck, joy and happiness as well as it wards off anything evil.
Yellow is an imperial color and represents power, royalty and prosperity.
So how perfect was the 'Matchmade' series for this quilt project?
I had to add a little more pink, since anything without a good splash of pink is just not me :-)
Therefore I mixed in some Art Gallery Pure Solids to add some more of my favorite hues.
I couldn't be happier with the fabric choices for this Chinese New Year quilt, I think it's the perfect combo. Don't you agree?
It took me about two weeks to finish this quilt top. The paper lanterns are fairly quick and easy to sew, they took me about two hours each. The dragon was a great project for a Sunday afternoon.
And while this quilt top looks really fabulous as it is, I knew I wanted something really special for it as far a quilting goes.
I am usually very content with simpler straight line quilting, but I thought this quilt asked for more.
So I called up Iva Steiner @schnigschnagquiltsandmore , and asked her if she would have the time to quilt this beauty. And yes thank goodness she did.
So I drove down to Luzern/ Switzerland and brought her my quilt top. It 's about a five hour drive from Frankfurt, but I loved the nice change during our Covid lockdown.
And all I can say, Iva did a fantastic job, her quilting is absolutely stunning and the icing on the cake of my Chinese New Year quilt, don't you agree?
Thank you so much to Art Gallery Fabrics for supplying the fantastic
'Match-Made' fabric series designed by Pat Bravo that made this stunning quilt possible.
And a special thank you to Iva Steiner for her stunning quilting in this Chinese New Year quilt.
So who is ready for a Sew Along ? Let me know :-)
Happy Lunar New Year.... Ingrid x
Oh, when I saw this new fabric line from Riley Blake Design called Ahoi Mermaids! by Melissa Mortenson, I just new I had to design a matching pattern.
This mermaid pattern comes in three different quilt block sizes and it will be perfect for too many quilting projects.
I think I need to make a mini quilt for my youngest daughter.
And just because these Mermaids are so cute and pretty,
here are some Mermaid facts or stories:
1. The earliest mention of a Mermaid legend comes from Syria.
The woman's name was Atargatis. Apparently she was beautiful and powerful and fell in love with a shepherd boy. After she had his baby girl Semiranis the boy died and Atargatis became depressed and very , very sad. So she decided to throw herself in the ocean.
But because of her beauty, the gods saved her and changed her into a Mermaid, with only her lower body being transformed into a fishtail.
2. The name Mermaid literally means 'woman of the sea'
The old English word Mer means sea and maid means woman... There we go Mermaid,
ahh woman of the sea :-)
3. The aquamarine is said to be made out of a mermaids tears
4. Seacows or Manatees were often mistaken for Mermaids.
Many lonely and maybe drunken sailor saw these huge mammals and thought they were Mermaids. Christopher Columbus was said to have seen ' ugly and fat Mermaids'.
I mean can you blame Christopher Columbus or the sailors? Months at a time at sea... but then again apparently only 5% of the ocean has been explored, so who knows for sure.
5. A Mermaids kiss gives you gills.
According to an old folks tale, if you kiss a Mermaid you can breathe under water.
6. The color of a Mermaids tail depicts her mood.
You be the judge, because whatever color a Mermaids tail is, is a clear sign of her mood.
And of course it totally reflects her personality... well if was a Mermaid what color tail would I have ?
Thank you so much to Riley Blake Designs for supplying the absolutely adorable
Ahoi Mermaids! fabric series designed by Melissa Mortenson that I used
for these adorable Mermaid quilt blocks.
So what color tail will your Mermaid have?
Happy swimming... ahh sewing
Don't these just look as if Mr. Bunny painted them himself?
This is a free pattern and step by step tutorial for adorable Easter bags... this cute little project was made especially for Riley Blake Designs.
Finished bag size : 8.5" wide, 9.5" high and 4" deep at the bottom
Fabric/ Materials needed: (all measurements are width x height)
> 1 FPP quilt block 8.5" x 8.5" (bunny pattern pattern shop here or the bunny on the pink bag is from my book 'Adorable Animal Quilting' )
> 2 strips of fabric on each side of the FPP block 2.5"x 8.5"
> 2 strips of fabric for bottom panel 12.5"x 3"
> 2 strips of fabric for top panel 12.5"x 2"
> 1 piece of fabric for back 12.5"x 8.5"
> 2 pieces of fabric for lining 12.5"x 12"
> Fusible interfacing 2 pieces 12.5"x 12"
> 2 strips of fabric for handles 2,5"x 12"
> 2 strips of fusible interfacing 2"x 12"
-Sew your Foundation paper pieced quilt block - like the little bunnies here .
the block will measure 8.5"x 8.5" unfinished.
(unfinished - meaning not sewn into a project yet).
-Cut out all the fabric, lining and fusible interfacing pieces.
-Attach the side strips to the quilt block. Then attach the bottom and top panel to the quilt block ( see pictures below).
- Do the same for the back, attach top and bottom panel to the piece of fabric for the back.
-Interfacing gives your bag more structure and stand.
-Iron on the fusible interfacing to your front and back exterior main pieces of your bag.
Sewing the handles:
- iron on fusible interfacing on fabric strips of handles, center to width of fabric,
leaving 1/4" seam allowance on both long sides of the fabric strips.
- Fold over 1/4" seam allowance on each side of the fabric strips and clip or pin in place .
- Now fold the strip in half and clip in place again. Then sew along the clipped edge and the opposite long edge with a small seam allowance to finish off the handle strip.
- Repeat for second handle.
- Quilt your exterior pieces to your liking.
- First I started with some hand quilting around the bunnies
- And then I did some diagonal and some straight line machine quilting.
- I drew the lines with a washable fabric marker ( this one can actually just be dusted off,
it's a dressmaking chalk pen, that comes with several different color refills)
- Then I machine quilted the front and back exterior fabric pieces with straight lines or
some diagonal 1" squares.
Attach the handles at 3" from the outer edge to the top of exterior front and back fabric pieces. And clip in place.
- Lay lining fabric, right sides together, on top of outer bag pieces and clip in place at top edge. Handles are now sandwiched between lining and outer piece.
- stitch along top edge with 1/4" seam allowance.
- fold exterior and lining pieces open.
- lay both Easter bag pieces on top of each other, right sides together
- Clip or pin the raw edges in place, matching up each seam and clipping or
pinning the matched up seams.
- Leave a 3"- 4" space at the center of the bottom end of the lining, this is your opening
for turning the bag later.
- Then sew along the four open sides. Do not sew the 4" opening at the end of the lining pieces.
For a flat bottom of your bag, you need to box all four corners.
Two corners of the lining and two corners of the exterior fabric.
Starting with flattening the corner, the seams, bottom seam and side seam should be on top of each other. Then measure 2" from the top corner with an acrylic ruler and draw a line across with your fabric marker or a water soluble pen.
Stitch along that line and trim off the corner, leaving a 1/4" seam allowance.
(Repeat this for all four corners)
Turn your Easter bag by turning the pieces right sides out, pulling through the opening in the lining. Push out the corners nicely. Press the lining opening under 1/4" and
stitch closed with a small 1/8" seam allowance.
- Fold lining into bag and stitch along top edge of bag to secure handles and lining.
TADAAA all done, HAPPY-EASTER-EGG-hunt.
Thank you so much to Riley Blake Designs for supplying the absolutely adorable
'Easter-Egg-Hunt' fabric series designed by Natàlia Juan Abelló that I used
in this super cute Easter bag project.
What do you think? Ready for Easter?
A design collab with Riley Blake Designs - 'From the heart' fabric collection by Sandy Gervais
Everybody needs pot-holders in the kitchen, and if they're this cute, even better, right?
So how about pulling out some fabric and getting started.
These are super easy to make and will be a perfect gift for any passionate cook.
finished size 8"x 10"
Fabrics needed per pot-holder:
- finished cupcake quilt block 8"x 8"
- cut 2 pieces of fabric for backing 8 1/2"x 10 1/2"
- cut 1 piece of fabric 8 1/2"x 8 1/2" for pocket lining
- 1 piece of fusible interfacing 8 1/2"x 8 1/2" for pocket
- 1 piece of fusible interfacing 8 1/2"x 10 1/2" for backing
- 1 piece of insul-brite 8 1/2"x 10 1/2" for backing
- cut 1 strip of fabric 1 1/2"x 10" as binding for pocket
- cut 1 strip of fabric 2"x 6" or use ribbon for hanging tab
- bias tape 2"x 40" for pot-holder binding
Sewing the potholder:
1. Finish the cup cake quilt block ( shop pattern here ) in size 8"x 8"
2. Cut all of your fabric pieces as mentioned above.
3. Iron on fusible interfacing to your quilt block .
Then lay pocket lining piece of fabric face down on flat surface and lay quilt block face up on top of it. Clip or pin in place.
4. Quilt as desired, to hold these layers together.
I did 1" diagonal squares. I used my acrylic ruler and a fabric chalk pen to draw the lines.
5. Trim to 8"x 8" size.
6. Iron on the fusible interfacing to one of the backing fabrics.
Place the other backing fabric face down on a flat surface. Position the insul-brite on top of it and finish off with the backing/fusable interfacing piece, face up.
Pin or clip all three layers in place.
Quilt as desired, I did 1" diagonal squares again, as with the pocket piece.
Make the hanging tab: ( or use a strip of ribbon)
- Fold the 2"x 6" strip in half lengthwise and press. Fold in 1/4" seam allowance on each long raw edge and press again.
- Stitch with small seam allowance.
- Fold the tab in half and clip in place at the center of the back of your pot-holder.
7. Binding for the pocket:
Take the strip of fabric 1 1/2"x 10" and pin it to the top of the cupcake pocket with the raw edges aligned and stitch in place with 1/4" seam allowance. ( photo 1)
Fold the binding over to the back ( photo 2) and stitch in place ( photo 3)
Finished binding seen from the front ( photo 4)
Trim the ends.
8. Place the quilted pocket piece on top of the backing ,
aligning the side and the bottom raw edges. Clip or pin in place.
9. Round the corners of your pot-holder.
I drew a 1/4 circle at the corners first and then cut it.
here's a template for the corners, cut it along the black line.
10. Fold the bias tape over 1/4" at one end of the binding strip and clip or pin in place around the pot-holder with the end overlapping about 1/2" ( photo 1 ) .
Stitch in place. ( photo 2 ).
Fold the binding over to the backof the pot-holder and then hand stitch in place.
Et voila .... all done.
Thank you so much to Riley Blake Designs for supplying the absolutely adorable
'From the Heart' fabric series designed by Sandy Gervais that I used
in this super cute project.
This pattern is perfect for any 8"x 8" quilt block.
I can't wait to see your makes. How do you like these pot-holders?
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Sometimes connection happens in the most unexpected ways.
This happened when I first saw Natalie Santini's profile on Instagram @sewhungryhippie
you could even say it was love at first sight, literally.
'I believe we're all interconnected, to each other and to the Earth-more than we realize.'- this is Natalie's quote and she's 100% right.
I love her quirky, fun and colorful sewing projects, photos, patterns and general approach to life.
She has some fantastic items and projects in her shop, and the thing that really caught my attention are her fun and bright colored vinyls and patterns with them.
So immediately there was a pattern idea that popped into my head and Natalie was on the same page right away.
And we created the ' TWO PIECE POUCH' #twopiecepouch
a super practical and pretty wet bag for BIKINI/SWIMMSHORTS
This is a fab combination of foundation paper piecing and vinyl.
Natalie's fantastic way of sewing a beautiful pouch with vinyl
and two of my summer, beach quilt block patterns make some useful and fantastic pouches.
I am sure it happened to you as well, you spend all day at the beach, want to pack your things but all the swimsuits are still wet, so you wrap them in the towels.
When you get home, the towels are moist, the pages of your book or magazines are wet and roll themselves.
And to top it all off, one of you ( I'm not pointing fingers :-) forgot to close the lid of your sunscreen all the way, so it's spilled nicely all over your beach bag.
Needless to say these problems will all be solved, when you store your wet bikini or shorts perfectly in this pretty vinyl pouch.
Your beach bag and all the rest of your stuff stays nice and dry, clean and safe.
Plus you will be the hit at the pool or beach with this adorable #twopiecepouch.
This pattern shows you step by step how to sew a vinyl pouch, as well as two
unusual quilt blocks . The instructions are for two different quilt block sizes each,
as well as two diffferent pouch sizes.
The pouches don't have open vinyl seams, but awesome binding covered seams inside.
Get your sewing machine ready and make yourself some stunning
beach-bikini-swimmshorts wet bags.
Shop the pattern here.
And if you share them on social media why not use #twopiecepouch
so we can cheer your makes :-)
Natalie and Ingrid xx