Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Road Home to Silicon Valley

Welcome to QuiltFabrication, and Silicon Valley, home to all things tech!

When first approached by Marian at Seams to be Sew about participating in the 2016 Road Home Row-along, I immediately said yes! Such an easy decision because the area I live in, Silicon Valley, is home to all of the great tech companies that we know and love.

My row depicts four large companies that are along major roads, and within close proximity to my humble home. We're talking a 15 mile radius, that's how close. Believe or not, 'tech tourism', the visiting of these companies as if they were tourist attractions, has sprung up. Today, I'll be your tour guide to these four companies.

Let's start at Facebook, where the 'thumbs up' sign greats us at the entrance.

Awesome quilt pattern in the background, huh? The buildings are nice, with lots of open sky and the bay on the backside.

Continuing down the freeway for a few miles sits Google, which in my opinion, has the best location. Perched on a small hill, surrounded by lots of trees and open space,

and, of course, plenty of parking for the famous green, yellow, and red bikes used by employees to get from building to building.

And just a half mile away, is it's friendly neighbor, LinkedIn, another favorite company.

Before hitting the freeway again, we could make a stop at the Computer History Museum, and check out just how far we've come in all things tech.


But let's continue on, past my house, and move on to Apple, another favorite. Below are the current headquarters,

with the Apple Campus 2, (the Spaceship that's under construction) and future headquarters a mile away. 

Can you get a feel for how massive this building is? With the freeway to the south, retail west, residential north, and a hospital on the east, it's a huge campus in the middle of suburbia. 

Of course, the list of tech companies goes on and on. Sorry if I left out other favorites, but there's just so much room in a 12 1/2" x 42" row! 

I hope you've enjoyed a short tour of Silicon Valley, the birthplace of tech, and my home.

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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Polar Ice - #3 Shifting Shadows Quilt

Shifting Shadows goes together so quick and easy, I didn't stop at one. Or two. But made three. Polar Ice is the third in the series.

Polar Ice Shifting Shadows

The first two, Safari and Jungle, were made with prints in the squares and the background. For this one, prints are still in the squares (need something entertaining for a baby to look at!), but the background and shadows are solids.

Believe it or not, I actually went to my LQS and found this cute penguin, seal, and polar bear print. 

A perfect dark green solid fat quarter for the shadow was in the stash, which gave the opportunity to test whether a fat quarter would be enough fabric for 20 blocks. And yes it is, as long as it's cut into 18" lengths.

Speeding along with assembly again, this quilt was also done in a day. For the back, some leftover polar fleece from another quilt long ago, was the perfect size. It's been a long time since I used fleece, and found it to be shifty. I think I'll stick to cotton or flannel.

Polar Ice fleece back

Believe it or not, the back is quilted with white Glide thread. It sank into the fleece, so all that's visible is texture.

For the front, custom quilting ruled again. This time, the background has stippling with some loops.

Polar Ice quilting

And the shadows have 1/4" spaced lines, with a swirl in the corner. How cute is that??? And have I mentioned I love my Innova 22LS for helping create such beautiful stitches?

Polar Ice quilting closeup

Since the sewing marathon last week, there are three additions to the baby quilt stash, 1 for a girl, and 2 for boys. But I don't expect they'll stay there long.

Shifting Shadows quilts

Happy Quilting!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Jungle - #2 Shifting Shadows Quilt

The Shifting Shadows quilt saga continues with Jungle, quilt number 2.

Jungle a Shifting Shadows quilt

This quilt came about for two reasons: 1) I wanted to see what the pattern would look like with a border, and 2) I needed a boy quilt for the baby quilt stash, since the last three, Licorice Medley, Tile Works, and This and That had moved on to new homes.

Finding another focus fabric with a large print in the stash that would also be suitable for a boy (that's a lot of requirements!), I set to work making the shadow blocks.

Shadow Block

Ok, ready to quilt. Hmm, what to do for a backing? The print still had some yardage left. And some swiss cheese. Not as bad as what was left from Safari, though the pieces are saved for another idea. 

As with the back on Safari, not enough yardage. But I had shadow/background strip mistakes because someone got those two fabrics switched when cutting the initial strips. Oops! Really, they were just an opportunity in waiting - I meant to do that. Fortunately, when sewn together, they made a band to fit across the back. Backing fabric - check!

Jungle quilt back

On  to the quilting. For Safari, I used a panto which I didn't really like on this pattern. So on this quilt, it's a three fingered all-over stipple design, with outlining around the blocks, and more dense quilting in the shadow.

Shadow Block

The quilting in the shadow further pushes that dark fabric to the background, helping the focus fabric square pop. And there's outline stitching around the animals in the squares, because it's the most fitting for this fabric.

shadow block quilting

Such a fun quilt! Easy to put together and fast to quilt, I'll admit this quilt was done in a day, from cutting to binding. Part of the awesomeness of my sewing marathon! 

Inspired? Check out the quilt pattern at my Etsy store.

Happy Quilting!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Safari - a Shifting Shadows Quilt

Not to disappoint, here's the story of Safari,

my prototype for the Shifting Shadows pattern.

For many years, a bundle of three fabrics sat in my stash, waiting for the right pattern. Who knew that I would end up making/writing one to fit the fabric?

After cutting up the print into 5 1/2" squares that featured the cute animals, I was left with a mess of swiss cheese.

Hmm, save this for later. It may be useful, no matter how hole-y!

Wanting a large block, I started with what I thought was a proportional shadow size. After sewing all of the blocks, I determined a shadow needs to be rather narrow. So off went a smidge of shadow, for a final block size of 6 1/2". Reasonable size. Check out the 6 inch Shadow Block Tutorial to make your own!

shadow quilt block

Then the creativity kicked in for the block arrangement and the sashing, and presto! a quilt was born.

The front used two of the three fabrics in the bundle, the animal print and the color washed background. Designing with a  modern bent, this quilt does not have borders, and looks great in the pretty pastels.

Now for the back. Still had fabric #3, which would have also been cute on the front. Love the folds, don't you?

Well, said fabric was too small for the back, but if I turned it, 

Safari back test

the width was perfect. All I needed to do was add 12 - 15".  
Enter the swiss cheese. Staying with a length of 5 1/4" (totally random - it fit the fabric!), I started cutting various widths, ending up with a stack of usable fabric (bottom), some pieces for the scrap bin (right), and pieces to the trash (left).

Safari remnants

Since the widths varied, I sewed them with leftover shadow fabric, arranging them in narrow to wide and wide to narrow rows, with the background sashing in between the two rows.

Cutting into a third of fabric #3 and stitching in the panel, now provides a backing that is a perfect size for the quilt.

Shifting Shadows Safari back

As for quilting, I used my favorite panto Bluster,

bluster pantograph

which is nice, but this quilt design really needs custom quilting. And that's why Jungle was created, 

Shifting Shadows Jungle quilt

which has it's own story for another day.

Stay tuned!

Monday, September 12, 2016

6 inch Shadow Block Tutorial

Time to show off from my sewing marathon, three Shifting Shadows quilts.

I thought how awesome these shadow blocks would be for a baby quilt. One problem - the little blocks measure in at 3", which would mean 80 blocks for a baby size quiltSo I emailed Debora and asked if it would be okay if I enlarged them, and change up the setting. No problem! Create away! 

Since these bigger blocks are fast and easy to make, I've put together a tutorial for sewing 6 inch Shadow Blocks. And over the next few days, I'll show each quilt in more detail, as each has it's own story. There's just too much to put into one post!

Note: This block works best with focus fabrics that have a variety of medium to large distinct images throughout. Repetitive novelty fabrics could work, if there are several of them with the same theme.

Fabric Amounts

  • minimum 1 yard focus fabric, with images fitting into a 5 1/2" square - 20 images needed
  • 1/4 yard or one fat quarter for shadow. This can be grey, brown, or any dark fabric to coordinate with the focus fabric. Needs to be medium to dark to contrast.
  • 1 1/3 yard background fabric (this amount is for a baby size quilt), light value to contrast with the shadow fabric.

Cutting for Blocks
Cut 20 (twenty) 5 1/2 " squares from the focus fabric.
Cut 2 (two) strips 1 1/2" from background.
Cut 1 (one) strip 4 1/2" from shadow.
Cut 1 (one) strip 5 1/2" from shadow.
(If using a fat quarter for the shadow, cut strips 18" long which allows for two strips 4 1/2" x 18", and two strips 5 1/2" x 18". There will be very little waste.)

cut square

cut shadow strips

Making the Blocks

Sew one 1 1/2" background strip to a 4 1/2" shadow strip. Do the same for the 5 1/2" shadow strip.

Press towards the background, away from the dark 'shadow'. This will make the 'shadow' sink into the background.

Starting with the 4 1/2" combo strip, subcut the strip into 20 (twenty) 1 1/2" pieces.

shadow subcutting
Sew these strips to the bottom of the 5 1/2" squares, with the 'shadow' on the right.

shadow block placement

Press towards the 5 1/2" square to sink the 'shadow'.

Subcut the 5 1/2" combo strip into 20 (twenty) 1 1/2" pieces.

shadow subcuts

Sew these strips to the right side of the 5 1/2" squares, with the 'shadow' towards the bottom.

shadow placement

Press towards the 5 1/2" block, sinking the 'shadow'. The block is finished, measuring 6 1/2".

Arrange as desired, add sashing if you'd like - be creative. 

These blocks, along with sashing, created the three Shifting Shadow quilts, Safari, Jungle, and Polar Ice, each one just a bit different. For the full Shifting Shadows baby quilt, visit my Etsy shop. 

three Shifting Shadows quilts

Happy Quilting!