Monday, June 27, 2016

I Adore Mini Mini's

For those who stop by my blog with any regularity, you know this already.  The mini mini craze hit me and hit me hard.  That being said, I have one more to share with you.


This was my last entry in the #MMminimini for Make Modern Magazine.  I just made the deadline by the skin of my teeth!  

I was making some 7" heart blocks for #QUILTSFORPULSE, and the idea hit me as I was carefully trimming the small corners.  I don't usually save the tiny corners, but for this mini mini I was going to make an exception.  


Many would say this is a crazy craze...I say perhaps you are right, I don't disagree!  It is fun and it is challenging.  

This little love has 36 - 1/2" squares.  All packed in a 3 1/4" x 3 1/4" square.  Seriously, I would never make a real quilt with squares this size...that would be crazy!  


After cutting the 1" squares and laying them out, I thought it was going to be too big!  I quickly came to my senses!  


The quilting is a simple grid, the bind hand stitched, the deadline to enter was met!


If you haven't made a mini mini yet, you really should!  Like I said, it's a challenge.  They are a quick and rewarding finish too!  You will swoon with pride when you see that tiny mini in the palm of your hand!  I promise!

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Friday, June 24, 2016

Hearts Win ~ Quilts For Pulse

I'm sure many of you are aware of the amazing efforts of the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild   asking for quilts or blocks to benefit the victims/survivors of the Orlando Pulse Night Club shooting.  The tragedy has touch many of us in one way or another.  


The out pour of love, donations and willingness to help is second to none.  I'm proud to be a part of the quilting community that has embraced this worthy cause.  You can find the details for quilt donations at The Orlando Modern Quilt Guild, as well as The Modern Quilt Guild.

Our Guild, Music City Modern Guild started making blocks at our last meeting.  We sat for an afternoon and made enough blocks for two quilts.  A great start!  Plus there are many others who are still making blocks and quilts.  Me for one!  


Rainbows and hearts.  The tutorial for these 10" hearts is available from Cluck Cluck Sew. Any heart, any rainbow quilt will not be turned away!  As long as they are 10" (10 1/2" unfinished)


These hearts are very easy to make and you'll soon be saying 'just one more'!  You can be creative, or make it simple.  


I made plenty 10" hearts, and then decided to give the 7" heart a try as well.  I had to add a border around the heart to make it the size requested.  But I like really like the combination of the two different sizes.  


After I finished the quilt top, I had yet another idea!  Naturally I had to give it a try or else go insane!


I wondered what a reversed heart would look like.  I tried, I like and I made....


I'm not sure if I'll be able to make another quilt top or not.  One way or another these extra blocks will make there way down to Florida in hopes of becoming a beautiful quilt that will wrap around someone for comfort, love and a great big hug.


The power of love is strong.  Love is Love.  And Love Wins!   


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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Epic-ly Caught Up Once Again

Would you look at that?!  Be still my heart...I'm all caught up again on The Epic Sampler BOM! To everyone who joins a good old block of the month or quilt-a-longs and keeps up with it, I applaud you!  It isn't easy!  I've tried.  

The hardest part for me is waiting an entire month to make a new block (or three in the Epic case).  Once the blocks are finished, you have to pack up the block and fabric, wait for the next month and hope you haven't lost interest.  The saying 'out of sight, out of mind' becomes very real!

One aspect I love the most about this block of the month is all the paper piecing!  Paper piecing is so much fun!      

For the month of June we were tasked with three paper pieced blocks.  Two 12" and finally...one of the 18" blocks.  I was so excited about that!



Last month I figured out how to add my finished blocks to a coloring sheet.  I needed a way to see the progress and the rainbow flow without laying them out each and every time.  This month I was able to look at the chart, and figure out what colors needed to be in each block...so much easier!  And it's fun to add the blocks after they are finished.  A quilting puzzle!  Plus, when the blocks are finished, I can rearrange them as needed.

Let's see what the month of June brought us!

Crown of Thorns.  Simple and paper pieced.  This block could easily be made without having to be paper pieced.

12" - Crown of Thorns
Ribbon Star.  The colors are pretty weird, I must say.  


12" - Ribbon Star
And lastly, the first 18" block ~ Good Morning Starshine !  I was super excited about this one. Not just the design, but dang it's a big one!!  And it really was a lot of fun!  

Thank goodness for coloring sheets and colored pencils!  It can be confusing without them.


18" - Good Morning Starshine
But wait...I have one more thing to show you!  

I'm always a day late and a dollar short on so many things, the One Hour Basket from Kelly at Kelbysews is no exception! 

I finally made one!  Using the scraps from my recent pillow covers, I now have a matching basket!  


  
This basket was really easy and fast.  On that alone, I highly recommend trying it.  There is one thing I would change next time I make it.  

The outside fabric requires fusible fleece and nothing on the lining.  Next time I will add a heavy interfacing to the lining.  I like my baskets to be stiff and sturdy and I think the extra interfacing would do the trick.  


Matching those two wasn't as strange as the time I matched my dining room chairs with my purse!  (Starting A New Trend)



Have you made the One Hour Basket before?  Do you have any tricks or suggestions to make fabric baskets sturdy?


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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

HST Quilt #1

Once you finish squaring up a stack of half square triangles which seems to be the most time consuming part, piecing the top is a welcome departure and goes together pretty quickly!

From this beautiful stack of Hand Dyed fabrics came endless cutting, trimming and even a few quilts.  A virtual rainbow of beauty!



While I love to 'throw' together HST's with very little planning, every so often it's fun to come up with something different.  It still packs a punch in the color department, but it's controlled...what a crazy thought!  


49" x 77"
My idea was to keep the colors grouped together.  Each big block would have two groupings of color with an added bonus of grey to spotlight the hand dyed fabric and colors.

For instance, this block has orange and teal.  It was a little challenging grouping the colors together.  I had to make sure I had the right color combination for the center HST block and then build around that.  It was fun, almost like a puzzle!




I quilted a geometric dot to dot design in each block group using a dark grey Aurifil thread.  I really wanted to quilt it into submission, but I restrained myself and kept it simple.  The sashing and border I used a light grey Aurifil and kept it simply straight lines.



I was at the end of my half square triangle pile, which made it more difficult to get the pairs matched up.

The big blocks with the sashing ended up measuring 20 1/2" square.  Let's just say...I like big blocks and I cannot lie!


The dark grey is Kona Pewter, light grey is Kona Shadow and the backing is Kona Teal.  

Not only did I use hand dyed fabrics, but I nearly always throw in a variety of Kaffe Fassett Shot Cotton.  For some reason I love the mix together!  



I don't often use sashing in my quilts, but this time it seemed like a great idea.  And I'm glad I did. I love how the blocks are framed, and did I say I like big blocks?!  



That big stack of hand dyed fabric was whittled down to nearly nothing!  There is still plenty for small HST's or maybe I'll branch out and try a quilt with rectangles.



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Saturday, June 11, 2016

Check! Off My List!

Oh ... it feels good!  I've been wanting to make all my drab ugly couch pillows into beautiful colorful ones for a while.  I have a total of six and after these two very simple yet effective pillow covers, I only have two more to go!

After finishing a couple big projects the past couple days, it was time to make a 'quicky' something!

20" x 20"
When I say simple, I mean super simple and no nonsense.  I didn't add batting, I didn't quilt them.  The most difficult part was the hidden zipper backing.  But with Svetlana's Hidden Zipper Tutorial at S.O.T.A.K. Handmade...even that was pretty simple.

My daughter came home several years ago with this IKEA Home Dec fabric just for me. Naturally I loved it at first sight, but never really knew what I would make with it.  It was and is on trend with today's fabric designs and of course the colors are wonderful too!


The fabric and zippers are from my stash and it feels just plain good to finally use some of that!


While the backing doesn't match perfectly with the Ikea fabric, it was close enough for me. (Also from my stash)  I haven't a clue what color you call this or even the manufacturer, but I had plenty for both pillows.

First part of the zipper is pinned and ready for a finishing stitch.  The tutorial for the hidden zipper doesn't use a zipper foot and I really like that!  Not that it's such a big deal to change a foot, it's just nice when you don't have too!



When your husband says they're cool...then it must be so.  Other than his creative criticism of some of my designs, he isn't exactly schooled in home decorating!  Then again...neither am I!


They don't exactly hide the brown/beige boringness of the old couch, but they certainly do help!


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Curiosity Got The Best Of Me

Do you ever wonder just how long a quilting step takes you?  Especially when you are doing a big stack of something?  For instance, half square triangles.  It feels like it takes forever to do each step, so I set out doing a very uncontrolled controlled experiment.

Arguably, the part that takes the longest is cutting your fabric.  It hadn't occurred to me when I was cutting my fabric that I was going to time each step, so that part...sadly is not a part of my experiment!

I started with a stack of 100 8" squares that I paired up making 50 sets of soon to be half square triangles.  When I cut my squares I always grab my Hera Marker and ruler and draw my diagonal line from corner to corner.  It seems to save time when it's time to pair up the squares. 



Chain stitching 1/4" from the diagonal line, I began the first phase of completing my HST's.  

The total time:  13 1/2 minutes  


Cutting the chain apart:  2 minutes


Much as the first phase...the second line took...

Second line: 13.17 seconds and Cutting the chain apart:  2 minutes


Rotary cutting the blocks in between the stitching is one of the parts I like the best!  You get to see your original stack of blocks miraculously multiply!


Cutting on the diagonal:  8 1/2 minutes

You know what's next!  Pressing.  I press my seams to one side when I'm making a big batch. The reason is,  I use my Bloc-Loc ruler to square up the HST's.  The groove in the ruler locks on the seam making trimming so much faster and accurate.


Total pressing time: 18 1/2 minutes

The one part I never really enjoyed when making HST's was squaring up the blocks!  Ugh! Hate is a strong word, but I really hate that part!  That was until I got my set of Bloc-Loc rulers. Honestly.  One of the best tools I ever bought.  The rulers come in all kinds of different sizes, they even have half rectangle and flying geese rulers.  I'm considering adding one or two of those to my collection.  And for the record...I'm not getting paid to say this, I wish...but I'm not!


I can honestly say I have no idea how long it would take to trim these the 'old fashioned' way. Far too long especially if you have a lot of them.  

When I use the Bloc-Loc to trim, I always use the back of my cutting mat.  I don't need the markings from the mat, and it saves the front from repeated use with the rotary cutter.  

The first two sides took: 23 minutes 50 seconds

The second two sides took: 23 1/2 minutes

Obviously trimming takes the bulk of the time other than cutting the fabric.  And lets not forget about assembling the quilt top, and pinning, and quilting and binding...YIKES!  



I ended up cutting my HST's to 7 1/4" square.  I'm pretty sure I could have squeezed another 1/4" out, but sometimes you just gotta make progress.  And how about that pile of shavings?!  


In the end I was left with a heaping bowl full of what should be garbage.  Should be.  Really it should be.  



But me being such a dorky freak...I did something with them...are you curious?  Something other than take crazy 'quilt porn' photos! There should be a law!  I'll share a little bit later!

For now, the total time for 100 - 7 1/4" (total) trimmed and ready HST's took:
1 and 3/4 hours

I've always felt like some of the steps take far too long, like I'm drowning in a process and can't get to the end of it.  It wasn't until I timed each step that I realized 10 minutes, 12 minutes or 30 minutes on it's own, isn't that bad!!  It just seems like it!

Of course, you understand that this isn't a scientific experiment, totally uncontrolled except for my phones stop watch!  It was a fun test and why not?  I'm sitting there chain piecing and trimming, might as well have some fun!



This is one of the quilts made from my labor of love!  I'm still quilting it, but you can see I didn't just time myself for nothing!

Do you ever wonder how long a step in a process takes you?  Do you use Bloc-Loc?  What other type of block do you think seems to take a painstakingly amount of time to finish?


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