Thursday, December 31, 2015

Good Bye 2015, Hello 2016!

Time to say so long to 2015, and welcome a new year full of possibilities! 

Hello 2016! 

This past year had it's ups - high school graduation and acceptance to my son's first choice college, a wonderful trip to Germany, and tons of quilts made. And it's downs - creator's block, a sick cat, and a pancreatic cancer diagnosis for my father-in-law (who's doing well since recovering from major surgery). But overall, I'd say it was a pretty good year.

I, personally, have high hopes for next year, as 16 is one of my favorite numbers! A major milestone to look forward to: my oldest graduating college - already? Hopefully there will be no health issues, but maybe another family vacation, and of course, quilt shows to attend, patterns to write, and quilts to make!

Speaking of quilts, I'm ending the year finishing up two twin size quilts that use up the majority of Christmas fabric I have. If those two, plus two others I didn't show you, are added to the Quilt Gallery for 2015, then I'm at 45 quilts made for the year. I think that's a new personal record!

So I'm ringing in the New Year in style tonight - sleeping! I need all the sleep I can get to finish up those quilts!

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Free Form Piecing Tutorial

The long awaited free form piecing tutorial on how I put George together is here! 

So many have given George the Alligator tremendous amounts of love! 

And he sends it right back!

And he's all smiles to be featured at Free Motion by the River this week!

The first time he surfaced, I explained how his spiky spines, eyes, and eyebrows were stitched in, which you can read about here. It's taken a bit of thought to explain how I pieced him into the background, and I've had re-create the process because my original pictures were terrible. Now I've got lots of visuals for everyone to follow. 

To start this project, I made paper pattern pieces of his tail, body, and head.

The pieces were cut with straight seams in mind, no curves. Hopefully those would land in the background's pieced seams, but if they didn't, well, I just dealt with it. I was more interested in getting George's proportions correct.

In the following pictures, I'm using George's body pattern, and scrap pieces of fabric to demonstrate the piecing.

His body is cut out with a 1/4" seam allowance all around.

and positioned onto the background, so that the top of his body is stitched into the background seam.

For this technique, I'm using 2 1/2" squares in the background, which helps when lining up seams, and stitching short seams. I have not tried this piecing technique with larger background pieces.

The background above his body has already been pieced together, but the sides around his body are free. This is what the background looks like if I remove the body piece.

Now I can stitch the top of the body to the background, but only in between the backgrounds' two outer vertical seams.

It's important to not stitch in this area at this time.

The side pieces are attached by sewing only an inch, starting from the outer edges and stitching toward the body.

Left side with vertical seam free.

Right side with vertical seam free.

Seams are pressed because it helps to line everything up in the next steps. The body and background now look like this, with some wings flapping at the top side of the body.

Now starts the fun part! 

The background gets taped down to a rotary cutting mat, with edges and seams lined up with marks on the mat. 

The body stays free.

When I was making George, the biggest issue I faced was having the correct angled piece in the background to sew the body to. Then it dawned on me - seams are 1/4" which means there is a 1/2" overlap between raw edges. So, using a ruler, I laid it on top of the background with the body overlapping onto the ruler by 1/2" inch.

Taking note of the change in angle before flipping the body up and out of the way, that spot is marked with a pin. 

The background is then cut from the pin to the top, using scissors to cut the last bit to avoid the rest of the background.

The same steps are done on the left side, before removing from the tape.

The left fabric edge at 1/2" line.

The pin mark for the angle change.

And the cut from pin to top.

After matching up the edges of the body and background on the sides, those seams are stitched.

On the right side, I stopped stitching 1/2" away from the angle change.

On the left side, I stitched to the angle change point, back stitching a couple stitches.

Why the different end treatments? I wanted to see which was easier to deal with for the next seam. Personally, I prefer stopping 1/2" back, because it allows for easier trimming later.

Now the unit looks like this, with sides seams sewn but gaps at the top. 

The body is flipped up and over, and those gaps stitched closed.

One part done!

The rest is treated the same way. The unit is taped down to the mat, with seams lined up. The ruler is used to find where to cut the background. Here, the right side is shown.

Since the prior seam was not sewn all the way to the point, that needs to be stitched, stopping with the needle down.

After pivoting the top fabric to match up the fabric edges, the seam is stitched, with a stop before the next angle change.

And that's more of the body pieced in!

Continuing on using the same technique finished the rest.

Awesome technique, isn't it? Using the ruler at the 1/2" mark to cut the same angle on the background has rocked my piecing world. It makes so many more ideas possible. Maybe I've invented something new! 

Happy Quilting!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Holly Jolly

Just can't stop making items to decorate for Christmas this year! I started out really feeling the red and green, creating the two table runners, O Tannenbaum and Peppermint Candy. And even though it's close to Christmas, I'm still stitching away! This time, I was determined to use up old Christmas fabric, to make room for more fabric of course. I'm calling this lap size scrappy quilt Holly Jolly.

This is a pattern from the Precut Quilt book I gave away last week, and was really quick to put together. Measuring 54" x 69", it hardly made a dent in those Christmas fabrics. 

I did use some bigger yardage pieces for the back,

but I still have enough for another quilt. Still thinking about how to use it up, as it's nice to have an empty drawer.

For the quilting, I used the panto Holly Berry Flowers in gold Glide thread. The pattern is really hard to see, and turned out more dense than I expected.

Yet, it's very pretty, and the quilt adds more red and green to the living room. Merry Christmas!

Have a great day quilting!

Linking up this week with all the wonderful linky parties on the sidebar - be sure to check them out for quilty inspiration!

And starting in two weeks, I'm hosting my own linky party, Midweek Makers!

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Come join the fun January 6, 2016!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Giveaway Winners!

Wow! This has certainly been a fun three days of partying, reading all of the great responses to my questions, and giving away fun quilty items. Thanks to everyone for celebrating with me!

Now on to announce the winners of yesterday's prizes, the two beautiful fat quarter bundles and bobbin holders.

The first winner, from 70 responses, Mr Random Number Generator has chosen #21

which is Cheryl at Texas Quilting Gal! Congrats!

And the second winner is, according the Mr Random, #15

which is Betsy at Quilting Fiesta! Congrats! 

I've sent both of you an email requesting your mail info so I can send your prizes. Enjoy!

Thanks again for celebrating with me!
Have a great weekend quilting!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Blogiversary Giveaway #3

Today is my official Blogiversary! 
It all started 3 years ago with a post about White Birches,

a quilt which is currently hanging in my front entryway. It's one of my favorite quilts to celebrate the season.

Yesterday, I asked the question about precuts. Fat quarters and charms were the most favorite, with nary a layer cake or strip in sight! Very interesting to see what quilters really use. Maybe manufactures should start asking these questions.

And who was the lucky winner of the Nickel Quilts book and charm pack? According to Mr Random Number generator,

entry #18, 

which is Lisa Marie! Congratulations! I've sent you an email about your win!

Now for today's giveaway. These beautiful fat quarters, and bobbin holders!

Today there will be not just one winner, but two! To enter, leave a comment answering the following question: how many quilts have you finished this year?

For a second entry, show your Quiltfabrication love! You can do that by following on Bloglovin, or by email. Or you can like Quiltfabrication on InstagramPinterestFlickr, or Facebook. Just be sure to comment on how you show your love!

Thank you all for celebrating with me - it has been an awesome party! I've had so much fun, I'm starting a different kind of party January 6, 2016 - the Midweek Makers linky party! I invite you to come and party weekly next year!

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As for this party, I'll announce the two winners tomorrow morning. 

Have a great day quilting and good luck!

The giveaway is now closed - see the next post for the winners!