Friday, January 31, 2014

Yes! Got Them Done!

I seem to work great under pressure--makes me focus!  I've been cutting and sewing like mad the last two days, and the tops for the Book of the Month are done!
 They still need a thorough pressing, but they are finished by the deadline!  

I did the yellow one first, made up 16 blocks, then realized I'd have to add a lot of borders to make it at least 40" x 40".  Since I still had some strip sets and fabric, I just made up 16 more blocks, and expanded the design.  
 Turned out okay, the yellow makes it bit messy for my taste.

As for the other, monochromatic one, I put my design up on my wall, then decided to follow a design from the book, Bainbridge Delft.  Puts the blocks on point.  And again, I had to make some more blocks.  
I think I like this one better than the yellow, and my original plan.  What do you think?

And thank you to all who commented!  I loved your suggestions!

More to come on this!
Happy Quilting!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A New (to me) HST Technique

Are you faced with having to make LOTS of HSTs (half square triangles)?  I was, and really wasn't looking forward to doing it.  Cutting the squares, marking the diagonal line, stitching on either side, cutting, then squaring up EACH HST was going to take more time than I had.
Now, I don't have anything against that method, and most times it's the only way to get an HST, especially if using scraps. But because I was making a lot of them that used the same fabric, I decided to try a new method I had seen.

The following steps make approximately 24  2 1/2" HST units.  I got 32 because I didn't need to re-align and retrim.

To make 2 1/2" HSTs, cut two fabrics pieces 9" x 21".  One of my pieces was a bit longer than 21", and that's okay.
Layer them on top of each other, right sides up, with top, bottom, and left edges aligned.

Using a 6" x 24" ruler, align the 45' mark with the bottom edge of the lower left corner.
Make this initial strip close to 3", measured on the diagonal.

Continue aligning the ruler with the diagonal cut, and the 45' mark along the bottom, to cut 2 1/2" strips all along the piece.
Now for the fun part!
Take the top piece off the first strip, set it above all the cut pieces.  Take the bottom piece of the next strip set and lay it next to the first piece.  Keep alternating the strips to get these two units
Sew the strips together, offsetting the top strip by 1/4" and using an accurate 1/4" seam allowance.  I found it easiest to start by laying the top right strip over on to the next strip, and continuing in that order.  Treat these seams gently as they are on the bias.
When done, gently press the seams to the side of the darker fabric.  And I mean PRESS, don't iron!  If the iron moves, it will distort the bias seam.  
Using a 10 1/2" square ruler, line its diagonal mark up with one of the center seam lines.  Place the 6" x 24" long ruler along the left side of the square ruler, just over the fabric.
Move the square ruler up and down alongside the long ruler to double check the diagonal seams are still within 45'.  Remove the square ruler, and cut along the long ruler.  It's okay if one end has more trimmed off.

Align the 2 1/2" mark on the long ruler with the cut edge, and cut again.  But before cutting another 2 1/2" strip, place the square ruler back on the unit, aligning the diagonal, just as before.  If the unit needs trimming on the left again to make the seams at 45', then trim as necessary. 
This is the area I did not need to retrim, thus allowing a few more HSTs.

These are the strips after cutting.
Two sides of the HSTs are now done.  Now for the rest.

Align a small ruler with the right edge at the bottom seam point.  Align the top of the ruler with the rest of the strip, and the 2 1/2" mark with the top seam point.
Trim off the excess.  Move to the next group of seam points, and repeat, continuing to cut the strip.  Turn the resulting pieces 180' to trim the other side, making them 2 1/2" HSTs.
The last sequence is in the picture below, bottom to top.
Perfect, easy 2 1/2" HSTs!!!!  I love this method!  The next time I have to make a bunch, I'm doing it this way.  And I don't see why scraps couldn't be used, as long as there's enough for a bias strip in the initial unit.  

And to make different sizes, cut the bias strips 1/2" wider than the finished short side of the triangle in the HST.  But if the HST finishes larger than 3", cut the bias strips 1/4" larger than the finished short side.

Have a Happy Day Quilting!


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Matching Wall Hanging

Here's the matching wall hanging for those pretty red placemats.
Originally, this was going to be a table runner, but I have since concluded that my table is not runner worthy.  Something about it's shape--it's oval.  And I like to have placemats for everyone.  Put them all together, and my table gets crowded.  Might as well make a tablecloth!

Anyway, I thought I'd give the pattern a modern twist and add the different sized pieces on the sides, instead of making them even.  Adds more interest.  I must be on a trend, as a few days after I did that, Angela Walters posted a quilt she was working on that used the same concept.  And I thought I was being creative!

Here's some closeups:
I kept the quilting simple in the open areas, as I wanted the keep the red as the focus.  Using a homemade template, I marked those areas with a water soluble pen
then stitched on the drawn lines.  Normally, I don't mark, but I decided to take the plunge on this quilt.  Plus, I didn't have a ruler for this shape!!

I'm happy to say that the marks came out easily with a spritz of water after I was done stitching those parts.  And if any came back, a wash of the finished quilt with plain water took out any residual.

The rest of the design utilized my favorite tool, blue painters tape.  Here I'm checking that all the lines are straight.
For a bit of interest, I added in squares on point within those lines, again using the water soluble pen to mark the squares.  Sorry, forgot to take a picture of that part--I was too into the quilting!

The placemats and wall hanging have the same quilting, doubled continuous curves in just 5 squares of the nine patch, and a coordinating design in the other blocks.  Crosshatching unites everything.
Here's the back for a better look
So don't let those projects that don't quite work out as expected become UFO's.  Think about what other ways they can be utilized--the options are endless!

Happy Quilting!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Pink Lattice

Pink Lattice, my quilt from November's Book of the Month, Convergence Quilts (affiliate link) by Ricky Tims is done!
This quilt was so fun, easy, and quick to put together, and has such a bold look!  Truly a fabulous technique!  I can see that I'll use it again in the future.  And if you haven't made one yet, I highly recommend the easy to follow book,

Quilting this quilt was just as much fun!  I used a freehand, all over design, as quilting in specific areas was going to be a challenge.
Here are some closeups

The quilting is based on a design by Judi Madsen, and I spent a bit of time (and pieces of paper!) playing with it.
Whether to add pebbles; a feather hook; 2,3 or 4 feathers; and where the swirl would start (random or end of feathers).  I finally decided on this 
using it as a guide for when I got stuck.  And of course, when actually quilting, things never go as planned!   I ended up getting into the groove, and lost some of the 'S' shape of the feathers that I liked in my drawing.  But I'm very happy with the quilting, as it looks beautiful on this quilt!

I encourage you to give both the Convergence technique, and the quilting design a try.  Both of these give fabulous results!

Happy Quilting!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

January Book of the Month

Happy New Year!  And time for another Book of the Month.
To kick off the New Year, I'm bestowing the honor upon Bargello Quilts with a Twist (affiliate link) by Maggie Ball.
I once saw this technique explained in a magazine, and was thrilled to come in possession of the book this summer.  The blocks appear easy to put together, with stunning results.  I can't wait to make one!

Won't you join me?