Monday, April 29, 2013

Quilts for Boston - Boston Modern Quilt Guild

The Boston Modern Quilt Guild needs your help!

They're hoping to create quilts to share and support those who could benefit from a show of support.  If you have time, they are looking for quilt blocks to be donated by a May deadline.  They could also use any donations of material for borders, backings, bindings, etc. See more here

I'm putting in three blocks:

Thanks everyone!

Friday, April 26, 2013

HST Sampler: Block 4 Star Flower

Here she is in all her brightness! Loved how this star flower block turned out.

If you haven't been following along, you can check out block one, two, or three.

At first I made each block for each meeting.  Then this weekend I got a wild hair and decided to work on a few of the sampler blocks.  You'll be seeing them in a post coming soon.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

April Quilt Group Meeting

Last week we held our April Quilt Group meeting.  After a quick demonstration on cutting long borders we jumped into working on our half square triangle (HST) project. "A," who provided the fabric, is undecided on how to use the HSTs.  She's not quite sure if she would like to do the sampler or if she wants to do something else with the HSTs.  For now we're cutting, sewing, pressing, and trimming each of the squares.

Each meeting is wonderful as we gather together to chat and quilt. Hopefully next month will be a little more productive and a little less conversation... or not!

Happy Quilting,

Monday, April 22, 2013

Sweet Contrary: A Mosaic Contest from Stitched in Color

I took a few (or ahem many) minutes of my lunch break today to play around with colors at Lark Cottons.  Stitched in Color is hosting a contest where each person can choose 12 fabrics and create a mosaic.  The fabrics need to be in contrary colors, where warm meets cool, in a modern, beautiful way.  Next week all of the entries will be open for voting and the top two entries will receive a fat quarter bundle of their fabric selection.  Yes, PLEASE.

This contest posed an interesting challenge for me.  I tend to keep to the same colors and don't often use "contrary" colors.  I LOVE blue and green, but knew I needed to branch out of my comfort zone. Pinks, oranges, teals and grays?  Why not?!?

I quickly made this first entry, which is linked to my flickr account (I was too excited to get my entry in I couldn't even take the time to write a quick blog post!).  I'm pleasantly surprised with the results.

You are allowed to make a second entry and I think I'll let it simmer for a bit before making my selections.  I'm enjoying the creative process and how this contest is allowing me to see how different colors work beautifully together, even when I don't expect them to!

Also, did you know you can make these fun mosaics for free?  Stitched in Color recommended this tool, Mosaic Maker Tool.  I may need to play with this more later.  I could see how this would be useful when pulling different fabrics together from various online sites.  I think this has great potential.

Go join in the fun here!  As I said with the last contest, I don't mind a little competition :)


Sunday, April 21, 2013

HST Sampler: Block 3

Our quilt group is working on a half square triangle sampler quilt and here is the next block, No. 3.  Is there a name for this block?

But may favorite part is the...

So happy that I could incorporate a pocket into one of the blocks.

If you want to see some of the other blocks, I've linked block one here and block two here.

Our Quilt Group met last week and I'll post some pictures soon!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Vintage Lovelies

For my last birthday, my mother gave me a bundle of vintage fabric scraps.  Each around 4" x 3", these rectangles cover a broad spectrum of colors and patterns.

She originally picked up these vintage lovelies while fabric shopping with some friends in Globe, Arizona back in the '80s.   How awesome is that?

I think this one is my favorite.  There is something about that tangerine color that makes me happy.  What do you think?

 There are so many wonderful options for these lovelies, but it's so hard to decide.  I'm tempted to sit on them for a little bit while I brainstorm the perfect project.  

Do you have any fabric that you're saving for the perfect project? 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Strip - Piecing Quilts Progress

We've been pretty quiet this week... well quiet as in my sewing machine may be getting a little lonely.  My fingers have kept busy this week hand-quilting two lap-sized quilts.  I had nearly forgotten how wonderful and time-intensive hand-quilting can be.  Anyone recognize the prints below?

I couldn't resist using some of the prints from Sea Glass again for a gift I'm working on.  

(Typically, I use a local quilt shop for my quilting needs. Partly because I like the idea of supporting local businesses when I can.  More importantly, for a good price, I can save myself some time and get a great quality finish.  Plus I get to focus on piecing another project!)

Luckily my sewing machine is not getting jealous of the quilt frame.  We were on the best of terms as I cranked out a few blocks this morning.

I'm using the quick and easy strip piecing technique I posted a few weeks ago.  

On another note, anyone else thinking about going to the Sewing Summit in SLC this year?  Registration opens on Tuesday and I'm hoping I'll be able to snag a ticket!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Shelburne Falls Contest - Vote Now

Even though I am slightly bummed I didn't make the top 3, I wanted to encourage everyone to participate in the voting for final winner!  Thanks again Rachel, for the awesome opportunity to try :)

Here's the link: Shelburne Falls Contest  Go. Vote. Now.

Ok, back to the "real" world of concrete, steel stud framing, and paint samples!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Shelburne Falls: Rain or Shine Contest Entry

When I first saw Rachel's post announcing this contest, I was giddy with excitement.

The contest gave me the push to try a new pattern and technique.  The angles in this pattern intimidated me, but I tried and love the results.  I am so grateful for the inspiration to try a new pattern with this wonderful fabric.  It was as easy to work with as it is easy on the eyes.

The pattern from Elizabeth Hartman's The Practical Guide to Patchwork is full of great patterns, tips and advice.  I loved her pattern Rain or Shine.  Isn't it lovely?

But how to quilt it????

Hope you'll join me in the contest!  Special thanks to Rachel for the opportunity!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Tutorial: Quick & Easy Strip Piecing Quilt

Have you ever been faced with an absolute quilt deadline with little time to accomplish it? I tend to say "more like a guideline," but sometimes you can't argue with a deadline.

For me, I work with the Youth at church and need quick quilts for three wonderful girls (or should I say women?) who are graduating from High School in May.  I wanted something simple, quick, and darling.

Since this is working for me, I thought I would share it with you:

To create 16, 9.5" x 9.5" blocks you'll need the following fabric requirements:
- 1/3+ yard cuts of six different fabrics at least 40" wide
- Note: The more you cuts of fabric you add, the less yardage of each you'll need.  It will give you a "scrapier" look.

Take each 1/3 yard piece and cut into full-length (at least 40" wide) strips in various widths between 1.5" and 2.5".  For the example, I kept the strip widths to 1.5", 1.75" and 2".  I was able to get about 7-8 strips depending on how many of each width I cut.  Repeat process with remaining fabric.

Next take the strips and separate into four different groups. I like to spread out the different fabrics evenly between the quilt.  If you want to go for totally random, skip to the next step.

Lay out 8-9 strips in the order you would like.  I usually try to lay them out "randomly" which typically means whatever looks good to me.  Sorry no quilt definition of "random" comes to mind.  Thoughts anyone?

Then sew the strips together lengthwise (along the long edge) with a 1/4" seam allowance.  Repeat until you have all of the strips sewn together.  Carefully press your seams.

Once you've sewn all your strips together, make sure you have the width equal or greater than 9.5" (or whatever size block you desire if you're doing different sizes).  Check at a few different places along the piece to ensure you're not short in a place.  It's always better to be wider than too thin with this technique.  We'll trim it later :)

You should have a piece that is now roughly 40" x 9.5"+

Repeat the process until you have four (4) 40" x 9.5"+ pieces

But what if my block isn't quite as wide as I need it?  

Here's another wonderful feature of this quilt, you just sew on another strip or two until you have at least 9.5"

Once you have the at least 9.5" of width, take the roughly 40" x 9.5" piecing and cut into the 9.5" squares.  I recommend starting at one end and trimming straight.  You will use this as your straight edge.

Then measure 9.5" from the cut edge and repeat the entire length of the piecing.  If you have around 40" of length, you should end up with 4 (four), 9.5" x 9.5" blocks and a little extra.

 After you trim the ends, square up the block.  There a lot of different ways to square a block.  When I am in a rush I just use the ends I just cut and line them up on the "row" line and then use the "column" line to cut the straight edge.  Squaring up the blocks take a bit of time in the beginning, but will save you a headache later.

Once you've trimmed/squared each of your blocks lay them out perpendicular to each other in rows of 4 (four).  I like to start with one block going horizontal, then flip the next one vertical.

Next sew the blocks together, pinning carefully starting with the rows, then sewing complete rows together.

A special note about strip piecing, while it is a loved technique for saving time, one of the draw backs can be "not-so" straight lines in your blocks.  If this is something that bothers you, this may not be the project for you.

The result is a cute, darling quilt top that doesn't take too much time.  If you use a 1/4" seam you will end up with a quilt top measuring roughly 36" x 36" square.  You can leave it as, or add a border.  I think I'll be adding a 3" border to each of mine.  Or if you want something a little larger, add a coordinating sashing between each block.  This will let each block stand alone.

Here is one of the others I am putting together:

So what do you think?  Please feel free to email me with any questions or typos!


Disclaimer: This is a well-known technique and so I do not claim credit.  There may even be other tutorials out there.  Please use the one that works best for you.