Have you ever wanted to try art quilting but don’t know where to start? I have a few easy ways to help get you over the hurdle of getting going! I have lots of tricks for making projects that look great but are really pretty simple when you break them down. These are all landscape style quilts.
Let’s start with the background. There are several ways to give yourself a head start. Use a watercolorish fabric, which looks like a landscape all by itself. (Seagull Sunset quilt) Or, use a panel that doesn’t have too much going on in the foreground, they are out there! (see two chickadee quilts) If you are a bit braver, you can make a simple striped background. (two single crane quilts) I like to have a bit of gradation in mine, but that’s not always necessary. If you are even braver, do a curvy stripe background. Just three carefully chosen fabrics cut with curved edges begins to look like a world! Basically, the top one needs to look skyish! (quilt with three crane silhouettes) From there, it’s not too hard to add mountains….then trees… It’s kind of addicting once you get started :-)
Once you have a background, there are some simple ways to add a foreground. The simplest of all is to do a silhouette. Several of these quilts were done that way. (more below) The Seagull Sunset quilt is done with only two fabrics other than borders! I also added a bit of thread sketching for some details, but only two fabrics. For the background, I cut it in half and flipped one half vertically so the sky and water are mirror images. So not only two fabrics, but only two pieces of each one! A step up from silhouette appliques is more detailed appliques. Those can be as detailed as you’d like. As you get more confident, you can add thread painting or other embellishments.
Another little trick is to use lots of borders. The teal tree quilt has only a small area that has the actual scene on it, the rest of the stripes are basically borders. The crane potholder is another example of that, and the iris and the swan. And I often do not make my borders the same all the way around, that is another way to make quilts artsy. I add details to borders with bead, buttons, quilting, decorative stitching or other art quilty techniques.
Once you break quilts into parts, you can see that you can do a lot of fun projects without doing anything super complicated. I hope you will give them a try, and send me a picture! Either like my On the Trail Creations Facebook page and send a message, or join my On the Trail Creations VIP facebook group.
And of course, our kits and patterns are another way to give you a head start on your art quilting journey!
I'm really trying to put more of my tutorials here instead of other forms of social media... I think they will be more accessible! I recently made a really fun bag for my Microsoft Surface Book, but it would be a great bag for many uses, and easily customized. I also was able to incorporate both cork fabric and a UFO art quilt that had been sitting around for awhile! I may do it as a class, or even two classes since the quilted part is optional. Let me know if that sounds interesting, local people!
This won't be a complete tutorial, but I will include a few things that can be applied to many different bag projects, like my favorite tote bag zipper method!
First of all, the gold strip under the buttons wasn't strictly decorative. The quilted part and the cork fabric are both fairly substantial, so to avoid a bulky seam there, I added the strip between them. If the strip is cut 4 times the seam allowance, the two thick layers will butt up together on the inside, which was my goal. Mine was 3/8" seam allowance, 1 1/2" strip, final size 3/4". Here is a photo (second photo below) of the inside at that spot. No overlap of the thick layers, but also no gap.
I made the outside with a section of quilt, then cork, then quilt, attached with the gold strips for both seams. I didn't photograph that, but here is a diagram. Mine was 16" wide and 24" long, but that can be varied to any size you want. I also made 3/4" box corners, which makes the "bottom" 1 1/2" wide. I also added the handles at this point, which I made by folding a strip of cork in half and topstitching both edges. I attached them, then covered the ends with a rounded triangle cut out of cork. Then this gets folded in half right sides together, and sides and box corners stitched. (see lining for at least partial photos of those steps.) Also any decorations such as buttons get added now.
I made the lining the same size, then I cut out a piece of Peltex stiff interfacing the same size, minus the seam allowances and the corners, and fused that to the wrong side of the lining. Then I added a larger pocket for the cord and mouse, and a smaller one on that pocket for thumb drives. Then stitched the side seams and box corners. It would have been easier to do the seams and corners first, but then adding the Peltex would have been harder, so I went with this option! Since I used binding to attach the inside and outside, the lining just tucks right in, no wrestling it through a hole, or turning it right side out, it stays just like this.
After I tucked the lining into the bag, the thickness of it caused the lining to stick up a bit, so I just trimmed it off :-)
And now for the dreaded zipper! But with this method, it really isn't bad at all. The secret is adding the zipper to strips of fabric, and then attaching those with the binding. You never have to deal with the zipper and the bag at the same time! Use a zipper that is longer than you need also, so you can open it up all the way when attaching the strips to the bag.
First, cut four strips that are one inch narrower than your bag, and about 1 1/2 inches wide, bigger if the bag is wider. Then press under 1/2" at both ends of each strip as shown. Now you are going to sandwich your zipper between these strips, two on each side, but it's easier to do one at a time. In the last photo below, the zipper is face down on the right side of the fabric. The open end is at the end of the strip, with the excess zipper tape folded over. Stitch it down fairly close to the teeth using a zipper foot. The zipper will be extra long at the other end, that's what you want.
Now add another strip directly on top of the one you just did, right sides together, with the zipper in between. Do the same to the other side of the zipper. Then, topstitch on either side of the zipper to flatten it out...hard to press with a zipper! There, that wasn't too bad, right? Much easier than putting a zipper in a bag! At this point, it's easy to add to the bag, I promise!
Center the zipper on the inside edge of the bag. Both ends should be an inch away from the corners, which keeps them from getting in the way of the binding. See how it helps to unzip the zipper past the opening? Tuck the extra zipper in the bag through the hole in the corner, mine is sticking out so you can see it... Stitch the strips to the bag, through the outside and the lining, using a narrow seam allowance that will be covered by the binding. You could even use a zig zag to reduce bulk, but I didn't think of that until now, ha! It's a good idea to zip before stitching to make sure the sides are lined up. Then unzip all the way before binding, and you won't even know it's there!
You can use your favorite binding method to finish at this point, but I thought it would be cool to try cork fabric. I knew the normal method would be too bulky, but then I thought it would be hard to catch the back side if I just used a strip folded over the edge. I ended up cutting it extra wide, and trimming it after it was stitched. I put the extra on the inside, and stitched from the outside. I cut it about 1 1/2" wide. There's a bit of waste, but I think well worth it! I had to use two pieces as my cork fabric was too narrow to use just one. I overlapped the ends just a bit. The first photo shows after stitching but before trimming the extra on the inside. I just trimmed close to the stitching, maybe 1/8". The second photo shows how you can shorten the zipper if it is WAY too long. There you have it, send me a photo if you try it, or any part of it! Send to email@example.com or post in our On the Trail Creations VIP facebook group. Happy Sewing! I'll put one more of the final bag at the end also. Ok, two... front and back. I've been using this bag and I love it!
Click here to see all of our patterns and kits! (There isn't one for this bag, let me know if that would be better than this sketchy tutorial, ha!)
It's been a crazy few months in my life, so I have been pretty absent here. I was in Minnesota for two months taking care of my mom. Nine days after we lost her, we gained our first grandbaby, Juliet Pearl. It's been a whirlwind... I'm glad to be home and getting back into my studio. As usual, I have lots of plans for more designs and tutorials, but life keeps getting in the way! I do have a lot of irons in the fire, so we have been doing a little regrouping and prioritizing. I managed to get one new pattern out while I was away, partly with the help of some faithful followers to do the sewing I couldn't do! Photos below of the pattern and my new grandbaby 😊
Here is a list of some of the things I am trying to incorporate into my business:
Who we are!
Kits and patterns: always first priority! We sell those here on this website and also wholesale to quilt shops. Always looking for ways to increase our website visibility, we've been working with Google. We recently discovered that an old business we had, which wasn't really even a business, was sabotaging this website since they had duplicate phone numbers; in the process of getting that sorted out, whew!!
Classes: kids class is going well, aside from the 7 week break... More to come! Next week I will be in Wasilla for a class with the Valley Quilters Guild. Teaching is definitely a passion of mine, I want to see creative pursuits continue with current and future generations!
Tutorials: I tend to put those on Facebook or Instagram, but I am planning to start putting them in blog posts instead, and/or pages here on the website. Also working on more YouTube videos, be sure to subscribe to our channel!
Finished products: I am still making quilted cards and wall hangings for bazaars. We did six bazaars last year! In the summer, The Quilt Tree (Anchorage) and That Old Sew and Sew (Fairbanks) are pretty much the only places I have the cards, I can't keep up with more than that right now.
Colorplay: I still have a great place to create, plus lots of cool stuff to share, so I want to get that going again! Monthly nights where people can come to learn a technique and have a fun night out. Along that same line, I would love to host private parties, whether birthday or other, older kids or adults. I have a variety of types of projects we could do, sewing, painting, and more.
Eversewn machines: I am hoping to become the local dealer for these machines. I'm just starting that process, so I hesitate to put it here, but working toward that hopefully! I would love to have machines in a reasonable price range that I can confidently recommend to people, something I have always struggled with.
Panels: In addition to kits and patterns, we have fabric panels for sale here on the website. So far they are mostly from Alaskan artist Teresa Ascone, but I'm planning to add some from Trish Stuart soon, and maybe even some of my own! They are a really fun way to have a quick project with someone else doing the actual artwork!
That's a lot of stuff, and there are even a few more smaller categories I will leave out for now! This is what comes from a brain that never stops spinning with ideas 😂 I hope you are all having a great spring, and are making some time to create!
Whew!! After the busiest bazaar season, and really year, that I've had in a long time, I'm happy to announce that we finally have the parts together for a semester long beginning sewing class for home school students! The sewing room is coming together, I just need to get a few more supplies and paint the chairs I found lots of fun colors.
For more information or to register, please see our Classes page or click on the photo. They start in about three weeks!
We've had a bit of excitement in Alaska this weekend with a big earthquake in Anchorage! Many people felt it here, I slept through it.... We're praying for everyone who was affected, and thankful that so far there have been no reports of major injuries!
I've also been busy for weeks with bazaar season, and still have three to go:
Naughty and Ice at West Valley Dec 8, 10-4
Tanana Valley Farmer's Market at the Carlson Center, Dec 9, 10-4? not sure...
Goldstream Valley at the Ken Kunkle Center, Dec 15, 10-4
So, I've been sewing like crazy, but I still managed to finally get this pattern done for two of my most popular designs! It's a fairly easy one too, with lots of ways to add your own touch. It's called Winter Trees, group one, because I'm working on another set as well :-) I'm hoping to be able to start a page of photos if people send them in! Email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or post in the On the Trail Creations VIP Facebook group.
Of course, we have to have a sale for this month too, so here it is:
Every purchase of $24 or more will get a free printed copy of the new pattern! It's a $10 value, which is already a deal since our one card patterns are $8, and this is two for $10. Click either photo to order. I was pretty excited about the little boreal chickadee photobomb :-) No code or anything, it will just be included in your order. I hope everyone is having a joyful and not stressful Christmas season!
Yep, the snow has started (barely though...) and bazaar season starts Saturday, for me at least! (see list below, Saturday only for me this year at the first one) I've had lots of visitors and other delays in getting started on card making this year, which was all really fun, but making for a busy few weeks! It looks like I'm going to hit my goal of 250 cards still though! (For this bazaar, then I hope to make another 150 by the end of bazaar season. I will also have kits and patterns, and quite a few finished wall hangings, mostly from panels. That way I get to use other people's artwork, like Teresa Ascone and other Alaskan artists! :-) I will have some of her panels for sale also, including NEXT year's exclusive design!
For local AND non local people, we are still doing a daily deal on the website, a different product and discount each day. Those are announced in the On the Trail Creations VIP group, and on Instagram, so follow us on one of those if you want to get in on the deals! The facebook group is still where I tend to post the most about what is going on. www.facebook.com/groups/614962188849895/
And I'm not the only one getting ready for bazaars at my house... My husband has caught the bug and is cranking out wooden spoons. Here is a sneak peek photo. He won't be at the one Saturday, but probably the rest after that. Here is my schedule:
November 3, UAF Women's, Pioneer Park, 10-4
Nov 17, Quota Club, Pioneer Park, 10-4
Dec 8, Naughty and Ice, West Valley, 10-4?
Dec 9, Farmer's Market, still waiting to see
Dec 15, Goldstream Valley, Ken Kunkle Community Center, 10-4
I hope to see you there! And sorry, both photos are purposefully sneak peeks only :-) This is the cards with their binding strips waiting to go on!
To see all of our kits and patterns, click the photo!
If you are in our VIP group or follow me on Instagram, (which I recommend so you get our daily deals!), you will have seen that I skipped sewing yesterday to go hiking in the mountains while my family hunted caribou. I knew it would cost me a day of sewing, but it was so worth it! I neglected to factor in, however, how sore I would be today 😭😭😂😂. Ten days until the first bazaar and I have 9 cards all the way done, still aiming for an ambitious 200-250! I do have quite a few in progress, but that's still going to take some doing! Stay tuned... 😂😂
Three things! One for everyone, one for Anchorage area, one for Fairbanks.
One, we have decided to start doing a "Daily Deal" sale on the website! We have an app with a wheel to spin for the item and the discount amount. We will probably do it around 10 pm Alaska time, so for most of you it will start first thing in the morning. (The time zone messes us up a lot!) I will only post it in the On the Trail Creations VIP group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/614962188849895/) and on Instagram (also On the Trail Creations) for now, so make sure you are in one of those!
Scroll down to see today's, which is open to everyone, not just those two groups! Since it's getting a late start, we will leave this one up through Sunday.
Two, I have been invited by the Chugach Mountain Quilter's Guild to come to Eagle River next weekend for two days of classes and a trunk show! I'm very excited to be able to share with this group of quilters! The trunk show is open to the public, and is Friday, Oct. 5, 7:00 pm, at the Skyline Family Fellowship.
And three, our first official Colorplay night is this Tuesday, Oct. 2, 6:30-8:30 pm at my shop. (748 Gaffney, Suite 206) We will be working with Inktense pencils and now I have the blocks too! I will show you how to do the iris design, but you can do whatever you want, and however many cards you have time for. Cost is $10, ages 12-adult, everything is provided! And you will get a punch card for a free one after four. I hope to see you there!
Wow, busy week coming up! Happy sewing! Beret
I'm a little overwhelmed by all of the blessings from our quick two day trip to Anchorage! Amazing weather, stopped in FIVE quilt shops, and met lots of people, including my fabric angel! She loaded my car to the gills... This isn't even everything. The pile of fabric in front of the tubs is some of what I bought, mostly for card kits, but the pile is 10 yards, so that means the tubs contain probably hundreds.... wow... And a 'teeny' bit of card stock too! I might be busy for awhile....
And I'm willing to share, I'm still planning an open house next Tuesday, the 18th, 6:30-8:30 pm, for the Colorplay craft nights I'd like to start! I will have samples and a sign up sheet for the first few sessions. Age 12- adult to start with, we'll see how it goes. Stop in and bring friends!
If you are in Alaska, these are the 5 shops I stopped at: Twisted Sisters Quilty Pleasures and Quilt Cache in Eagle River, (I'm doing two days of classes and a trunk show there next month!), Seams Like Home and Quilt Tree in Anchorage, and Two Friends in Wasilla. Three of those were new to me, so fun!
Now I'm in the mad rush for bazaar season, but boy do I have fabric to play with...
Remember, these fall Polychrome table runners are only available this month or while they last! Click the 'shop online' tab.
God's plan is always better than our plan, right? I have had a dream for years to have a cute classroom with matching sewing machines. (Photo below is NOT mine, stole online... And the 'matching' is not just for looks, more in a bit...) MY plan was to do a fundraiser involving the table runner kits shown here, starting today. But yesterday was my birthday, and my mom surprised me by funding 6 machines, which is how many I wanted! Oh my! I'm a bit of a sewing machine snob, because I want sewing to be pleasant and not frustrating for beginners, and the new brand called EverSewn is connected to Bernina somehow, but in a much lower price range, perfect for classroom machines! Matching machines don't just look nice; I would like to be able to say, "turn this knob", and everyone has the knob, especially for kids. Eventually I will have them use their own if they have them, but it would be less frustrating for everyone this way. I still plan to do most adult classes at the quilt shops, but may do some here too. Also, people who don't have machines can try them without the investment. Soooo exciting!
So, these fun table runners will still be a limited time offer, because I don't really plan to get large amounts of the leaf fabric. They will be up soon... $48, which is about 20% less than our other table runners, and will probably still go at least in part to other classroom expenses. Available through September only, or until we run out, whichever comes first! And, I finally managed to do a kit that has NO applique or free motion required, all straight stitching. I did free motion quilting on one sample, but you don't have to. Stay tuned for pics of MY new classroom, woohoo!
Local people, especially home schoolers, let me know what good times for classes might be. Everyone else, which table runner do you like best, teal (need better pic) or orange?
Beret Nelson's On The Trail Creations Blog Page
I am a homeschooling mom of three fun kids, who are now old enough that I have a little time to pursue my passion for sewing! After several years of making quilted cards and art quilts, I'm now designing kits and patterns. Some of them have even been in Keepsake Quilting! I teach classes at local quilt shops, and am starting to do more traveling and teaching. I also have many tutorials, including some on YouTube. I am blessed to live in Alaska where I am surrounded by the inspiration provided by the beauty of God's creation!
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