Holiday idea: Make an ornament that can be used as an oven mitt.

Update: These are snug. I wish I would have made them bigger. The tapering of the diamond makes the pocket smaller than anticipated. If you make this shape, make them bigger than I made mine. 

Here are my ornaments that can be used as microwave finger mitts. The left one is a front view. The right one is the back view. The size of these are 9in X 4in, not including the loop. You can make these oven mitts any size, including large enough for a regular oven. 

I started with a paper piecing pattern from a larger project. That is why the numbers are all mixed up. These were leftovers that I copied to make several of the microwave oven mitts. 

I cut out my pieces when doing paper piecing so I don't waste a lot of fabric. I do make my pieces large enough that the seam allowance is slightly more than a quarter inch so that I don't have to worry about getting it exactly centered. 

I used leftover fabric one of my last years projects. You can also use a bigger, whole pieces for the front, and skip the piecing step. The fabric can be the design. You can make these any shape, circles, squares, or any abstract shape you find appealing. 

The top is an image of the back. The bottom is an image of the front. I rip away the paper before layering.  

Here are the pieces ready for assembly. The top row is the front of the pot holder. The middle row goes on the back to cover the insulation layers. The bottom row creates the pockets for fingers.  The bias strip covers the raw edges. 

With the pocket pieces, I cute a full size triangle and then folded it in half for more heft. I did not include a photo of the Insul-Bright and the cotton batting. Cut one of each to use as insulation in the mitts. 

The order of my layers are: 1) Top piece, right side facing down. 2) Insul-Bright layer. 3) Cotton batting layer. 3) The back piece, right side facing up. 4) The pockets. 

Pin to hold layers in place. I use glue basting, but I use a towel to put over the pieces when ironing to set the glue. I have had the Insul-Bright melt onto the iron and create a mess. Pieces can peek out a tiny bit. The towel prevents any visible parts from melting. 

I don't worry about the stiffness of the glue because I wash all my projects before gifting those to others or before using them myself. 

Here is an image of the back. Notice I left a 1 1/2 inch space between the two pockets to allow for insertion of fingers and more mobility. If you do not create a space, it is harder to get fingers into the mitt and it can feel awkward to use. 

I put bias trim on the top of the pockets to give it more heft. Then I used the bias to cover all the raw edges. If you notice the bias strip only has one side pressed over. That is because I sew the bias with the raw edge matching the oven mitt's raw edge. Then I fold it over to cover the raw edges and hand sew the folded edge to the front side using a ladder stitch. You can machine sew both sides if you wish to. I have trouble making each sewing line look parallel to the other or to sew directly over the initial thread line.  

I use the binding to form a loop at the top to place on the Christmas Tree or to hang in the kitchen. To create the loop, I start sewing the bias strip at the top of the mitt, leaving plenty of extra fabric, about two or three inches, and finish at the top. Then I sew the two ends together, fold the sides over to hide the raw edges, and sew into place.

This is the finished oven mitt. I am using these as stocking stuffers and fun little gifts. I had been worried that these would be too large to use as ornaments, but I have seen some rather large ornaments on trees. As stated previously, people can use these as ornaments or hang in their kitchen, or both. 

Paper piecing

There are pros and cons to paper piecing. Some of the pros are precise seams and stable fabric that doesn't distort. I have been resistant to doing a lot of paper piecing because of one major con: fabric waste. I didn't like using big chunks of fabric to cover a section only to trim so much of it off. 

Then I found a great hint on a show/article/email list. I really cannot remember where I got the idea to cut the pieces to the size needed so there is less waste.

From my EQ7 program, I print off the pattern for foundation piecing and instructions for rotary cutting. When I cut my fabric, though, I give myself a little bigger than a quarter inch just to make sure I have plenty of fabric for the seam allowance. I trim any extra after I sew the seam. I don't mind cutting off a sliver of fabric if it prevents a need for ripping my seam and trying it a second time...or third...or more. 

I create little cheaters to make my cutting easier. I use Post-it Notes to mark my cutting lines. I like to place them on the bottom of the ruler so they don't block my view. If you use a stack of 2 or more post its, it becomes a guide that fits snugly against the fabric. 

I put a cut out of the shape of my piece on the top of the ruler to guide my cuts and reduce mistakes from brain fog. That way, I don't need a special shaped ruler in various sizes for each and every project. 

With paper piecing, the image is backwards, which doesn't matter when the design is symmetrical and uses the same colors in the same areas. For example, in the above image, the triangles nearest the center square (D3 & D5 and two others not in the photo) use the same color. 

Sometimes, I print out one original pattern from my program, then I write hints on the patters such as the color of fabric or value of fabric I want at a particular spot. Then use our printer to make copies of the marked pattern. 

Usually, for my projects, I use plastic zip top bags to keep my pieces organized. I cut out both bottom corners to prevent moisture build up.  

I label the bag with a permanent marker placing the name of the quilt and the foundation piece number where I can readily see them. Then I can grab the bags I need for a particular section. 

This is great if your cat comes along to test gravity by knocking your pieces off your work station. You don't have to pick up the individual pieces... You do have a cat that supervises your work, right? 

Storm at Sea blocks

I have a started a scrappy Storm at Sea quilt. I'm making it for a young man and I hope the colors appeal to him. The blocks are six inches square and I will need 120 of them to complete the quilt. 

This is the first block. There are six of these. I'm using up the rest of one of my fat quarter bundle. 

This is the second block. There are three of these. 

This is the third block. There are two of these. 

I'm using the paper piecing method to make these blocks. I printed out the blocks on my printer, cut them apart, and sewed the pieces together. 

Pet Quilt-Bow Tie

Here is a pet quilt made from the extra blocks of the Bow Tie Quilt. 

Rainbow Trellis Quilt Top

I have completed the Rainbow Trellis Quilt top. This is a UFO (un-finished object). Now, I need to add batting, the back, and quilt it. 

 It is a lap quilt made up of 30 blocks. 

Here is the pattern. 

This is a block close up. 

Here is the pattern and the quit top side by side. 

Interlocking Bow Tie Pattern

This is the Interlocking Bow Tie Quilt. This was done by one block in different colors. If you look at the blue and yellow squares, you will see the four blue bows sitting horizontally. Then you will notice the one yellow bow in the center sitting vertically. That blue-yellow square is made from 16 squares that are 3 inches by 3 inches. 

This is my main pattern. Use the color for the bow as the large square (3 inches square). Pull the top edge down to meet the edges of the bottom to determine the center for the horizontal line. Press. Then pull the right edge to the left edge to determine the center for the vertical line. Press. Draw a line from the right line to the bottom line. That is the stitching line. Use a small square/triangle for the square of the other bow tie. Stitch along the line. 

Above, the yellow is the bow of one tie and the blue is the square of another tie. Alternate for the blue bow. Make the large square blue and the corner piece yellow. 

These are four blocks to make one blue bow. 

 Here are 16 blocks to make 4 blue bows. In my quilt, I used the Quilt as You Go method (QAYG). I used sashing between the blocks to connect them. You don't need to use the QAYG method. You can make one complete quilt with these blocks. 

Bow Tie Quilt

Here is my bow tie quilt. The front side has 12 inch blocks of dimensional bow ties. 

 The fabric is Benartex Fossil Fern

The back of the bow tie quilt has interlocking bow ties making 12 inch blocks. 

I used the Quilt-As-You-Go method. 

I echo quilted around the dimensional square of the bow tie and then I echoed the seams. 

Carved pumpkins

 I decided to carve pumpkins this year and I enjoyed carving them. Unfortunately, I can't seem to take photos at night and I didn't get the images that I have seen of other carved pumpkins. I took the photo without the flash so you could better see the image. Then I used the flash in hopes that you could see the pumpkin with the image carved into it. I drew a picture on the pumpkin and then I used the Drummel took with the wood carving attachments to trace over the penciled lines. 


Pumpkin with the carved rose.


Pumpkin with the carved butterfly.

Orphan Blocks or as I call them, Independent Blocks

Many people call their extra blocks, "Orphan blocks", but I think that sounds sad. So I call mine, "Independent blocks" because there are so many possibilities. For example, I used two of my independent blocks to make a gift bag for the two sided lap quilt I just finished. 

The recipient can use the bag to store the quilt or use it for anything, including a green grocery bag. I lined the inside of the bag and used a French seam to give it a finished look. 

Other ways that I have used my independent blocks are: pot holders, hot pads, pillows, and for the front of plain shirts. 

Some ideas that I have not yet done are: baby bibs, burping cloths, and bottle holders/insulators (baby and water bottles). 

Rose Apple Tarts

There are a lot of recipes for rose apple tarts on the internet. I tried to read the reviews and there was a criticism of lack of apple taste or not sweet enough. I didn't want that with mine. 

Therefore, I placed my rose apple tarts on top of a bed of apples with brown sugar and cinnamon, an apple pie filling. Then I drizzled caramel sauce over the top after baking. I didn't have puff pastry, but I used pie crust dough. I'll try with puff pastry next time. 

I liked how it turned out and so did my family.  

My latest quilt

 I don't have a name for this quilt, yet, but this side was made with Robert Kaufman East Asian Prints fat quarter bundle. 
This is a two sided quilt and this side was made with Benartex Fossil Fern Fat Quarter Box.

I ordered both from Craftsy. 

Trouble with color values

I have so much trouble with color values. My eyes just do not want to see it. So I cheat and use the black and white setting on my camera.

In the above image, I think the yellow goes well with the green behind it, the peach to the left, and the cream in the farthest left column. 

 However, when using the black and white setting on the camera, notice how the center yellow fabric doesn't really stand out when compared to those same colors. I haven't moved any of the fabric. The black and white setting shows the color value and that is what I often forget about when I make my quilts, the value of color. 

 Here is my current project. It is a scrappy quilt and I like how these blocks turned out. Notice the star formed in the center of the images by the borders? The values help the colors to create impact with the design. 

Here is an image where I forgot about values. I thought the greens and blues were pretty together and I still like them together, but the stars are not visible in the borders because I forgot about the values. The bottom block has the same patterns as the ones above it. It isn't just the colors that impact the stars, but the value. 

I'm not sure how I'm going to fix the value problem. I already made over 20 blocks of my quilt. Hopefully, I can arrange the blocks in a way that reduces the impact of my mistake. 

My Bulging Square Pattern on Graph Paper

I was asked to share the pattern for the bulging checkerboard. I did not make this as a tutorial. These are my scribblings from my project. If any are interested, I hope you can make sense out of my chaos. I did combine the smaller blocks to make 12 1/2 inch blocks before putting those together into a lap quilt.

Bulging Checkerboard and Magic Square Lap Quilt

 My quilt, which was supposed to be a gift, had one side which turned out wonky. I'll make another quilt for the gift. 

 This side is the Bulging Checkerboard. The middle is supposed to appear to be bulging out even though the lines are all straight. 

 This side is the Magic Square which is supposed to look like three dimensional pyramids. This is the wonky side. I'm not sure what I did, but this side stretched and grew in parts.