Friday, August 25, 2017

Block 8 of the Growing QAL

Back again with August block to add to my collection for the Growing Up QAL, hosted by Alida over at Alida Tweloq Designs.



Block 8 of the Growing Up QAL

This month is the Bargello technique, which was actually quite fun! Because my fabric choices for this QAL are red/white/blue, I played with color arrangements EQ7 before deciding on this layout for those colors.

What started as this strip set,


Bargello strip set for Block 8 Growing Up QAL

ended as this block.


Bargello Block 8 of Growing Up QAL

At first, it seemed silly to cut two strips the same color, then sew them back together. But using rectangles in a Bargello won't work. Had to tell myself to let it go, and follow the instructions. And I'm pretty happy with the results!

Are you sewing along? If so, I'd love to hear from you!

Have a great weekend!




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Monday, August 21, 2017

Steps

Showing off Steps, my third and final strip quilt from Strip Savvy, (affiliate link).



Steps from the Strip Savvy quilt book

Simple, yet outstanding. How have I not made one of these before??? And once again, Kate does a great job on her pattern instructions, making this a quick strip quilt to put together.

                                                  Strip Savvy

As for the quilting, I liked what Kate had used on this quilt in the book - simple straight line stitching. 

Steps straight line quilting

Using a dark turquoise thread, the quilting is in the ditch along each side and in the middle of the vertical pieces. This makes for 1 inch spacing.

Steps straight line stitching

Do you realize how easy this quilting would be to accomplish on a domestic machine, especially with the help of a walking foot? Easy and effective - a win-win!

As for the backing, I chose an older, more subdued print, which works great with the front,

Steps full quilt back

because it has the perfect color scheme - lucky me!

Steps back closeup

I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed the Strip Savvy (affiliate link) book, and wish I had more time to make another. I have a lot of projects and blog hops for September, making this a very busy time for me. But I highly suggest this book as a great resource for strip quilt patterns, deserving of a place on the shelf.

Happy Quilting!




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Monday, August 14, 2017

Stitching Basics: Quilting Square Corners

Today we're going to revisit the quilting on the smaller Open Sesame quilt.


smaller Open Sesame quilting closeup

The modern, rectangular pantograph, Contempo, was stitched using a laser from the backside of the machine. No rulers, no computer. Just follow the red dot on the pattern, plain and simple.

But not so simple if the quilter hasn't learned the basic quilting skill of the hesitation or pause needed to achieve a square corner.


square corner quilting closeup

Let me explain, as this is an important skill for use on both domestic machines and longarms. 

When quilting, and the stitching changes direction either at a corner or a point, the quilter needs to pause or almost stop to allow the needle/machine to prepare for the change. It's the hesitation, or pause at that corner or point, that allows the needle to catch up, and slow down for the change. That little pause is the secret to having square corners and sharp points.

Here's a video of the square corners being stitched out by a longarm. There is no music so that you can hear the machine motor pausing at the corners. Be prepared to adjust the volume, as longarms can be noisy.



Stitching Basics:  Quilting Square Corners

Did you see and hear the pauses? That's the skill that a quilter needs develop in order to get square points and sharp points.

Take a look at this stitching again.

square corner quilting closeup

For the most part, the corners are square, not rounded as they would be if there were no pause. Now, if this was a show quilt, that needle would be coming to a full stop right at the corner to achieve a perfect right angle stitch line. That's the next level to achieve.

But for everyday quilting, working on the basic skill of pausing at corners or points will improve the looks your quilting immensely - just another helpful tip for the quilting toolbox!

Happy Quilting!

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Friday, August 11, 2017

Small Open Sesame

Showing off strip quilt #2, from the Strip Savvy (affiliate link) book today!

Open Sesame in a baby quilt size

Open Sesame is the pattern this time, 

Strip Savvy Open Sesame pattern

and once again, I made a smaller, baby size version, with no borders. It's the same fabrics as Summer Picnic, because I still had plenty of strips/fabric left. So why not use it up and make this quilt another in a series?

But wanting a change, this quilt bucks the solid white fabric trend by using Kona Green Tea instead. 

Kona Green Tea in Open Sesame quilt

The switch adds a fun bit personality to the pattern!

Granted, these are pretty simple half log cabin blocks, but when arranged the way they are, the quilt takes on a modern feel. And the angular nature of the design warrants an modern, angular quilting pattern.

Contempo quilting pantograph on Small Open Sesame quilt

So for this quilt, I chose the Contempo pantograph, a very modern, techno looking design. Along with bright Glide Neon Green thread, 

Glide thread Neon Green

this quilt is a knockout! If you're looking to improve your quilting skills, check out my video tutorial on how to quilt square corners.

The back is a bit more playful, 

Open Sesame quilt backing

cause I couldn't resist the dancing green frogs!

Open Sesame quilt backing of dancing frogs

Someone told me once that the frogs represent square dancing - has anyone else heard this? The way they're dancing around, I guess it could be true!

Can you tell I'm having a good time making quilts from the Strip Savvy (affiliate link) book? Clear instructions, lots of patterns, plus pattern variations - there's so much to choose from. What to make next?

Happy Quilting!




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Monday, August 7, 2017

Joining Quilt Binding in 3 Easy Steps

Struggle with joining quilt binding? A lot of quilters do, as did I, until I learned these 3 easy steps to make the process of joining quilt binding ends super simple.



I've given tuts on this before, but being such an awesome technique, it bears repeating. Say goodbye to complicated measuring and confusing angles. Once you try this method for joining quilt binding, your quilting life will change forever - let's get started!

  • Start with a 2 1/2" fold.



Fold back 2 1/2" at the binding beginning and pin. Start stitching 6" away, continuing all around the quilt, stopping the stitching within 6" of the folded binding.

joining quilt binding-start with a fold

  • Trim the binding end piece a bit shy of the folded piece.



Trimming that end piece a wee bit less - no more than 1/8" less - than meeting at the fold, will make for a snugger fit along the quilt edge. The last thing we want is for the quilt binding to bunch up, creating a fold or crease, where the stitching meets up!

joining quilt binding-trim at the fold

Now comes the fun part -

  • Joining the quilt binding!



Unpin, and unfold both pieces. Lay the bottom piece (the one that was folded) on top of the other at a right angle, matching the two outer edges. Mark a diagonal line to follow when stitching, if necessary, from the top corner to along the bottom of the strip. That second point matches up with the corner of the other piece.

joining quilt binding

Stitch, then check for length against the quilt for snugness. It should be a perfect fit! 

joining quilt binding-checking length



Trim the excess, finger press, and stitch down for a excellent finish!

Wasn't that easy? I am so thrilled with this method for joining quilt binding ends that I don't even think about the process anymore - it's so simple! 

If you enjoyed this tut, feel free to share it with your friends and have a great day!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Summer Picnic Sans Borders

Summer Picnic, just one of the contemporary quilt patterns in the Book of the Month selection, Strip Savvy, (affiliate link) is a finish!


Summer Picnic quilt sans borders

The pattern does include two borders, which I chose not to add on because the quilt would be quite large. I'm intending this as a baby quilt, and it's pretty big already - 48" x 48". Borders or no, I highly recommend this strip quilting pattern as a great way to use up strips or yardage.

Let's see some closeups, shall we? Look at the fun fabrics that make up this quilt -


Summer Picnic quilt fabrics

all yardage from my stash. The initial fabric pull was the dark blue/green prints, with other prints containing green added in. Just goes to show that yardage can be cut to make your own 'jelly roll'. 

And with the easy panto, Paperchase, 


Paperchase panto on Summer Picnic quilt

the quilt is soft and cuddly!

Since the color scheme makes this quilt for either a boy or a girl, a fun alphabet flannel makes up the backing.


Summer Picnic quilt backing

It also has a lot of teal and green in it, coordinating well with the front.

Here's a fuller view of the quilt, still resting on the inviting white wrought iron swing. Doesn't it just say, "Come picnic with me!"


Summer Picnic quilt


Enjoy a Summer Picnic and have a great weekend!




Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Summer Picnic Sneak Peek

Give me some fabric, a few hours, an easy pattern, and good things happen! Here's a sneak peek at Summer Picnic



Summer Picnic quilt sneak peek

a quick pattern from Strip Savvy (affiliate link).


Strip Savvy quilt book

Talk about a great pattern for jelly roll strips or yardage from the stash! I might have to make another - then I could get new fabric. Woohoo!

Today, I'll work on a backing and get this one quilted. Still some yardage left, so I'll see how I can use up the rest. Stay on the lookout for the big finish. 

Just goes to show that when you set your mind to do something, good things happen!

Happy Quilting!

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