Monday, January 29, 2018

The Garden of Contentment Stitch-Along

You are cordially invited to a Garden Party!  Come join me in a stitch-along!

Once a week, on Mondays, I'll be doing a tutorial on how to put that week's block together.  There are nine blocks, so this will take us through to April 2, when I'll upload the final block plus finishing instructions.

I've posted the full set of templates and layout diagrams for pre-sale in my Craftsy shop.  Starting today, you can pre-order [and receive immediately] the entire set of blocks for $10, for one week.  On Monday, Feb. 5th, the full set will be taken down and each block will be uploaded separately and weekly for $1.50/each.  There will be a link in each pattern for the tutorial on the blog.  You can get the full set here:  Garden of Contentment full set

Again - the patterns in the shop will be for templates and layout ONLY.  The instructions will be on the blog.

The general instructions and finishing instructions will be free, posted here and in the shop in pdf form.  Today, I'll be sharing the general instructions and fabric requirements.

First, the backstory.....

Reading through scripture, absorbing it, and allowing God to change my heart through it has been one of the most enormous blessings I've ever known.  .  Jesus said (John 17:17) "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth."  And he really does.  (Hebrews 4:12) "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."  Quick, meaning alive!  The Holy Spirit is with us when we read God’s word, convicting us and renewing our minds.

When I started to ponder the blessings that followed, all these words stood out to me – so I’ve used them in this quilt.   They are gifts of God.  I imagined each as a flower, blossoming in my life.  One of my favorite scriptures is (Isaiah 58:11) "And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not." *

As I look upon the gifts of God, I feel like a garden, blossoming and becoming fruitful by God’s grace.  I can’t wait to hang this quilt on my wall, as a daily reminder of His gifts to me!

And so, on to the general requirements to make this quilt….

Finished size of quilt is approximately 47” x 50”

Printing templates and layout diagrams:

Make sure your pdf print settings are set to print “actual size”. 

Materials List:

2 yards white fabric for block background, sashing, and borders [you’ll be cutting your sashing and borders before beginning – you’ll want to make sure you have long enough pieces after cutting out blocks].

2 yards fusible interfacing – I’ve used Pellon’s Shape-Flex, as I wanted a stiffer interfacing since this is a wall quilt.  Pellon’s Ultra-Weft is a good choice for a more pliable and softer interfacing [not to mention easier to stitch through!].  Interfacing only comes 20” wide.

Variety of scraps – this is a scrappy quilt, although I opened a fat quarter bundle for it.  I used 19 different fat quarters, although by no means used them up!  The strips in the quilt measure 1 ½” x no more than 15”.  If you don’t have scraps long enough, why not piece them!  That would give an even scrappier look, and I’m sorry I didn’t do it myself.

Another option for framing the blocks – frame them like I did, then use larger rectangles of the same fabric [such as white] to bring them up to size.  The blocks all start out different sizes, then I added fabric to make them all the same size.  I didn’t calculate yardage for that, but I think 2 yards might do it.

Marking pen – A red Frixion pen is my choice of marking tool for white fabric – but only white fabric.  Use your favorite, heat-erasable, water-erasable, or permanent.

Fusible web

Embroidery floss to match appliqué fabric, and one color a shade darker for stitching the lettering.

Binding – 210”, or ½ yard if cutting strips width of fabric [selvage to selvage] .

Backing – 3 yards if piecing together.  I’ll be using a vintage sheet.


Pre-washing Fabric

I always pre-wash, just because I like to get the chemicals off before I handle the fabric.  I’m glad I did this time, the dark blue in the fat quarter bundle bled, although I used a Color-Catcher!  I ended up not using that fabric.  Because you’ll be appliquéing the pieces with fusible web, it’s a good idea to wash the fabric so the sizing doesn’t interfere with it adhering.  Don’t use fabric softener or a dryer sheet, that will also interfere with adhesion.

Cutting Borders and Sashing

We’re cutting the borders and sashing first to make sure we have long enough pieces before cutting the blocks.  Cut these now, then set aside.  From the white fabric:

Cut 2 – 4” x 44”
Cut 2 – 4” x 54”

Cut 6 – 1 ½” x 13”
Cut 2 – 1 ½” x 44

A word about the scrappy fabric strips – I used them in a “log cabin” style, adding them until the block measured at least 13”x14” and trimmed down as needed.  The blocks are all different sizes, basically trimmed after appliqué and embroidery to ¾” around the design before adding the scrappy strips.  To put them together I added fabric to make them uniform in size.  Each block tutorial will have full instructions on how to do this.

I’ve created a page [see above the post] for the Stitch-Along.  (If you’re reading this on your phone, you may not see it.)    That will be a permanent page – so if you want to collect the blocks, but not start right away, you can easily get to all the instructions.  And every pdf of the pattern templates will have a link to that page as well.

You can gather your supplies and cut out your borders and sashing this week, then next Monday [Feb. 5] we’ll be starting the first block!  Our last block will be uploaded on April 2, along with finishing instructions.

 If you have any questions, you can either email me, or leave a comment here [make sure to leave your email address – I get a lot of no-reply bloggers that I can’t email replies to, usually Google+ users – I can’t even comment on Google+ blogs!].  You can also come to my facebook page, Allie-oops Designs.

My prayer for every one of you that join in the Garden Party is that God will richly bless you through His word and through the work of your hands.  Actually, that’s my prayer for you even if you don’t make the quilt with us!  And how lovely is it that we’ll be gardening in the bleakest of winter months, for those of us in the northern hemisphere – this will carry us right into spring!

(Psalms 34:8) "O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him."

This page has been turned into a pdf, available in my shop for free download.  Click here:


*I loved that scripture so much I had to stitch it - it is included in my set of free Scripture stitcheries - click HERE

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Avoiding Housework and Free Pattern!

It's been far too long since I shared a free pattern with you - so just because I love you, here you go.  A free Valentine's coaster, from my heart to yours.

Available in the shop - 

(A word about Craftsy - if you're looking for a new pattern from any designer, instead of scrolling through page after page, just click the little dropdown menu on the far right side.  It will usually say "recommended", if you click on it you can switch to "newest".)

I don't normally celebrate Valentine's Day, but I have a mother who looks for any excuse to celebrate anything.  She will love these!  And I'm taking a few over to our friend's house tomorrow when we visit.  They make up really fast!!

These all came about because I was avoiding housework.  Yesterday, I got my quilt top almost put together - 

and then ran out of white fabric for the outer border.  Horrors!!!  I wasn't dressed for leaving the house, so for a short, dark period it looked as though my vacuum and I would bond again.  Fortunately, I had a little brainstorm.  I have tons of left-over strips from the quilt, and wanted to use them, so came up with the coaster idea.  Of course, I'll have to make 500 coasters to use them all up....but I may make a few mini-quilts with the blocks too.

Tomorrow I'll be running mum around on errands, so I'll pick up some more fabric while I'm at it.  The floors still need vacuuming, but they can wait, there's stitching to be done!

See ya soon!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Stand Aside, This Is A Job For Chocolate

Busy days - got all my blocks done for The Garden of Contentment, now to put them together.

I have no idea how.  They're all different sizes, so I'm going to wing it and see what happens.  I may or may not have decided on a loose layout....

We'll see.  Meanwhile, I'm running around here like a chicken with it's head cut off.  Our hot water tank is leaking, we have a cookie sheet under it to catch drips, so I have to keep the hot water turned off, unless we need to shower  - then I turn it on, bail out the cookie sheet with a sea sponge, and turn it back off.  By the way, did you know Tarpon Springs, Florida is the sea sponge capital of the world?  I love sea sponges.  40 years ago it was a pretty place, I'd love to go back.

Not much else new, today I'm quilting, and filling water bottles.

We have a reverse osmosis filter under our sink, and purify our own water.  I fill one every 11 minutes or so.  Which really cuts into the quilting time!

Took mum out to eat the other day.  She's a very naughty girl.

When the gal asked what she wanted to drink, of course she said hot chocolate with lots of whipped cream.  She probably ran out of insulin after that.  See that look?  That look says "MINE, you can't take it away from me, I will turn you into a crime scene if you try".

Back to my water bottles and putting a quilt together - see you soon!


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

In The Garden Of Contentment....

there is Gratitude.

(Hebrews 13:5) "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
(1 Timothy 6:6-8) "But godliness with contentment is great gain. {7} For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. {8} And having food and raiment let us be therewith content."

(Philippians 4:11) "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."
I've been thinking a lot about contentment lately, and this latest little quilt I'm working on reflects that. It's like a journal of what I've learned from God's word, and the fruit that's come into my life from following Jesus.  To me, it's like being in a garden....the flowering of peace that only Jesus can give.

I'm using a beloved fat quarter bundle of Aloha Girl, that has been marinating on my shelf for a few years.  I washed it before beginning, and some of the dark blues bled, but there's enough to be usable.  I'm only using the light prints.
I'll show you more blocks as I finish them.  I'm quite pleased with the first one.

I stopped using my ironing board, as it's warped, and tends to warp my blocks as I press them.  I'm back to using my ironing table.

But I couldn't find my large piece of ironing board fabric that I used to cover it with, so I've been using this small piece - it's too small!  Yesterday I bought a yard of ironing board fabric to cover it.

Just have to bind the edges somehow.  I was appalled at the price - $14.99/yd!  It's gone up!  I'll hang onto this piece with both hands, lol.  Fortunately I had a coupon!

I don't think I've showed on my blog this little quilt I finished before mom's party.

It's from a vintage sign.  No pattern, I just winged it.  Brightens up my kitchen!

We're having a warm-up at the moment, the snow is melting and icicles are dripping, it's lovely.  But it won't last.  I've come to the conclusion that the only good thing about winter is a) less bugs, and b) I can wear clothes that hide my extra lumps.  However, when it's this cold, you have to wear layers, and that makes me look even bigger.  
Apparently I'm not the only one with extra layers in winter.
At least I'm not sharing my house with this little guy this year.
Off to do housework - people around here use far too many dishes - be well, be safe, see you soon!



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