Friday, January 26, 2018

Improv Freehand Cut Striped Fabric

I'm loving this second set of improv striped fabric - this one is a winner for me! (Update: to see what became of these stripes, check out Love Match).

half inch fused black stripes
Improv Freehand Cut Fused Stripes

Though I like the first one, with it's crazy waves,

mat cut and sewn wavy stripes
Improv Freehand Cut Stripes

it's not quite what I'm wanting for my project. But both of them are definitely inspiring aren't they? Let's have a look at how these two were made, shall we?

Improv Freehand Cut and Sewn Stripes

The first set, the wavy ones, were all freehand cut, by overlaying the fabrics to get a matching cut curve. The overlay shown below starts the process.

fabrics overlaid for matching first cut

first matching freehand cut

The small black and white scrap pieces are discarded, then both fabrics are separately freehand cut again to make two strips. Makes it easier to sew!

two freehand cut stripes with matching curves in center

Remember the first overlapping cut, the one in the center of the picture above? That's the seam that gets sewn together, because the curves match up, making the process so much easier.

sewing matching curves

For the next stripe, the trick is to lay the cut curve on top of the next fabric, and cut a curve to match. Below, I've laid the white stripe onto the end of the black, leaving enough black exposed for the next stripe. Then cut, following the curve of the white.

cutting a black stripe to match curves of white fabric

And so on, and so on, until the needed size piece is sewn.

improv freehand cut and sewn curvy stripes

Those were certainly fun to make, but I wanted the stripes narrower, like a 1/2", and not as wavy. Onto my next construction idea - fusing!

Improv Freehand Cut and Fused Stripes

For this, I started with a decent width of white fabric, and a bit less of black, then added fusible web to the entire WOF piece of black.

prepping fused black for stripes

And then happily cut away, stripping that black into lots of 1/2" WOF pieces!

freehand cutting fused black into 1/2 inch WOF stripes

But the fun doesn't end there! Next came placing and fusing the strips,

placing black stripes on white

and stitching them down with a trusty zigzag (2.0 width, 2.5 length).

zigzag stitching fused black stripes

Don't you just love the rolls - keeps everything all neat and tidy! And stitching on each side of the piece also meant no scrunching in the machine throat, though it did mean stitching on the left side of the stripe. But I'm a big girl - I can do it!

zigzag stitching on the left side of the black stripe

Super happy with how this came out - it's what I envisioned!
But don't worry, I'm not throwing out the other piece - I just need to find a suitable project for it.

Now that you've seen how it's done, are you ready to make some stripes???

Happy Quilting!

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Friday, January 19, 2018

Seeking Valentine Inspiration

As far as home decor goes, snowflake season is turning to flurries, and a sea of red hearts are taking over! 

Valentine Love wall hanging

The above is a panel from years ago, with added borders. What I love about this panel is it has snowflakes made from hearts - how awesome is that?? A perfect bridge from January to February!

Can you believe Valentine's Day is just four weeks away? Which means that if there's going to be any new heart projects, then I need to get moving!

Until the next project is complete, I'm happy to decorate my home with these heart themed items:

Love Abounds table runner

Love Abounds table runner

Love Abounds, version 2, table runner

Love Abounds, version 2

Heart to Heart table runner

Heart to Heart table runner

Sweetheart table runner

Sweetheart table runner

You might think, Wow, that's a lot of table runners! Do I actually use them all? Well, yes, I do! Between counters, hutches, coffee tables, entryway tables, and of course, the dinner table, I do display all of them at once. And I still have room for more!

So, yesterday, I pulled out all of my heart fabric stash,

valentine heart fabric for quilting

seeking inspiration for a new Valentine creation. I do have a vision in mind, but not sure if it will use any of this fabric. So, today, I'll play and see if my idea works - you know I'll keep you posted!

Happy Quilting!

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Monday, January 15, 2018

Hippo Blue Quilt

It's a wrap!

Hippo Blue quilt on the grass

Or should I say, it's a quilt? Either way, the top using techniques froImprov Patchwork (affiliate link) now consists of three layers, held together by stitches - the definition of a quilt!

Introducing Hippo Blue, because it's blue and there's hippos. How creative is that?

Hippo Blue quilt side view

I'm happy with how this ultimately turned out, though I do wish I would have incorporated the orange sooner. But it all worked out, especially with the Tangled Triangles pantograph adding the perfect touch!

Hippo Blue quilt closeup

Looks like freehand random triangles, but no, it's a pantograph, with repeating rows of four nesting triangles.

Though those triangles weren't freehand, the quilt blocks were. All the strips for making the blocks were freehand cut - no ruler at all! I tend to cut fairly straight, and any wavy lines ended up disappearing when stitching. And there was no lining up of seams or squares in those blocks, which is easier to see in this pic. Stress free assembly!

Hippo Blue quilting closeup

Just so you know, I don't have a computer driven stitching system on my machine. Following the pattern with a laser light (no ruler here!) makes for a few wobbly lines. But I did my best to be smooth, and to make great points, for which I have a quilting video showing how to do this - Quilting Square Corners.

And the back? It's that cute hippo fabric I found in my stash, after I put the top together. It was that piece that was the inspiration for adding orange to the front.

Hippo Blue quilt backside

To get this to the proper size, any and all extra pieces were sewn together - no leftovers here!

Hippo Blue quilt backside closeup

Now we just need to contact mom to let her know it's ready, and her son can play away!

Hippo Blue quilt rolled

Happy Quilting!

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Friday, January 12, 2018

Improv Patchwork Update

More blocks have magically appeared, with guidance from the Improv Patchwork (affiliate link) book, and now I have a top!

Improv Patchwork quilt top after orange

Though I have a confession to make - there were minor adjustments to the top after all blocks were sewn together. Keep reading for the full story!

After the first round of sewing, the top actually looked like this:

Improv Patchwork quilt top before orange

Boring, if I do say so myself. Since it's intention is as baby quilt for one of hubby's coworkers, I figured it's fine.

Then I went hunting for a backing fabric, and found this:

hippo backing fabric for baby quilt

approximately a yard, plus pieces, in my stash. And a perfect fit for this top!

Notice the use of the blue and teal in here, plus orange and yellow. Duh!!! Wish I'd seen this first for color guidance on the top.

closeup hippo backing fabric

That's what this top is missing - should have thrown some orange in there while making the blocks. Let's take that idea for a test drive - but is it too late?

Improv Patchwork quilt top orange placement test

After playing around with a few orange squares on the top, I waffled on replacing four squares.

I really wasn't overly wild about ripping into a finished top, but, if you're like me, knowing there needs to be a bit of pop added in, one compromises. So instead of being unhappy, banishing the top to the UFO pile, or ripping the whole thing apart, I bit the bullet to replace just those four squares.

one square removed from a block

orange inserted into a quilt block

Those four were all I was willing to replace, taking maybe an hour, but at least I'm happier with the top now. It's certainly not a prize winner, but it looks better with that bit of orange.

So, now on to making the backing big enough with bits and pieces of leftovers, then I can get this quilted, and out the door. I should be showing it off next week - see you then!

Happy Quilting!

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Monday, January 8, 2018

Winter Feed Pattern Release!

It's here! Winter has arrived, and so have the cardinals who are happy to have a snack and respite from the snow.

Winter Feed wall hanging

And I'm happy to see them! All of the red and green quilt pieces are tucked away for another year, and now it's time to settle into the winter theme. Which means I get to look at these wonderful red cardinals against a blanket of freshly fallen snow - without having to go outside! What more could one ask for to brighten a winter day?

This cheerful quilt is quite easy to make, especially using the magic technique I discovered in making the bird feeders.

marking for roof placement

In fact, the bird feeder blocks were so much fun, I'd love to make another quilt with them - I just need to work out a design.

And of course, once the bird feeders are made, the rest of the quilt goes together easily. The applique birds are a snap to assemble (only four pieces), and with minor adjustments to wing placement, they take on different personalities. 

Winter Feed cardinal in the snow

Check out the original Winter Feed post describing the birds in more detail. Hmm, they may deserve names!

Interested in making your own Winter Feed wall hanging to cheer up your winter? Then hop over to Etsy, for either the Winter Feed Pattern or the Winter Feed Kit.

Happy Winter Everyone!

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Monday, January 1, 2018

January 2018 Book of the Month

Wow! Another year, and another Book of the Month to explore! This month, the honor goes to Improv Patchwork (affiliate link) by Maria Shell.

Improv Patchwork quilt book by Maria Shell

Yep, this one is a bit out of my comfort zone, but I'm willing to check it out.

Why? Well, a couple months ago, I went with a group of friends to view the quilts of a local artist. I would say her style was more free form, with added bits of buttons or lace. Some pieces I liked very much, while others I passed by. 

We analyzed her style, fabrics, technique, and overall composition. When discussing one piece, my friend commented to me that I needed to let go and be a bit free-er in my compositions. Difficult for the highly sensitive, low self-monitoring introvert that I am. (Go ahead, search those terms and see if you identify.) It's a tough request!

So, with that in mind and wanting to try something new, I'll test out this 'improv' technique present by Maria - join me for an interesting journey!

Happy Quilting!

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