Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Shadow Block ~ Charm Pack Tutorial

I've acquired many charm packs and have a stack of 5" blocks cut from scraps.  The problem for me was whatever will I do with them?  Not that they aren't pretty sitting in a perfect little stack, I was bound and determined not to let them sit any longer.

I decided a shadow block (or illusion block) was the answer!  These blocks are simple, quick and the effect after piecing them together is gorgeous!


SHADOW BLOCK
5 1/4" Finished

For each block, you will need the following:

1 - Charm Square or 5" Block
1 - 1 1/4" x 5" Gray Strip
1 - 1 1/4" x 4 1/4" Gray Strip
2 - 1 1/4" Squares White



Place (1) white square on the end of each of the gray strips.  Using a 1/4" seam, sew and press towards the gray fabric.



On the bottom of the 5" square, place the short 'shadow' (5") piece with the white on the left side.  Sew and press seam towards the 5" square.



Next, place the last strip along the right side of the block with the white at the top.  Sew. Press towards the 5" square.



And there you have it!  The block will be 5 1/4" when finished (5 3/4" unfinished).


When you are making multiples of this block, strip cutting and piecing is the way to go! They go together quickly and the results are wonderful!  



 This is the quilt I made using 40 Charm Squares.  You can read about it here: 
After all my blocks were pieced, I added 1 1/4" white sashing between the rows.  First vertical and then horizontal. 


LINKING:

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Charm Pack ~ Cool Waters Quilt

It feels good to finally use some fabric that could easily have sat around for a long, long time. I have a hard time with pre-cuts.  Mainly, Charm Packs and Jelly Rolls.  Yes, they are pre-cut and ready to go, but finding something that gets my heart going is hard to do!  

Back in June, I won gorgeous Denyse Schmidt Modern Solids Charm Pack from Blossom Heart Quilts.  The colors are amazing and that stack made me long for a project where I could use them.  



Am I right?  They are gorgeous!  I was getting excited to make something, frustrated that I didn't know what and determined that it was going to happen...like NOW!  

I popped the wrap off the squares, picked through the colors and thought...sure, I could use all of them.  A good rainbow is hard to beat.  I could slice them in half, make half square triangles...I could do so many things if only I would settle on something!!  

And then it happened!  Light bulb moment!  While playing with the colors I somehow gravitated towards the cool colors.  The blues!  The greens!  Cool, so now what?  If it hadn't been early afternoon, I would have had a glass of wine to calm my frustration!!  

I reminded myself over and over that it's okay if you screw it up, if it doesn't turn out.  We (me), want each and every project to work the first time, but it sometimes just doesn't.

With a shadow block swirling in my head, I went about figuring out the math on the shadow part.  A couple test blocks and 'Cool Waters' was born! 


COOL WATERS
Charm Packs are no longer something to be scared of!  I found a cool (no pun intended) and effective way to tackle squares!



I set about sewing the shadows on to each block.  First the bottom, then the side.  



Which led to a lot of these.  I used 40 charm squares for this quilt, which still leaves me 60 more from the pack!  It's a start, right?


After rearranging a few times, I came up with a layout that worked for me.  The next step was connecting the rows.  I added the short sashing strips first, connecting the rows horizontally. Vertically, the longer strips took more time.  I marked and pinned in an attempt to keep everything as lined up as possible.  


With the panel pieced, I was feeling pretty good about this!  I thought long and hard about how and where to place the panel.  Centered? Off center?  I went with off center.  The next big decision will be quilting.  Maybe some waves for motion and to break up the grid.  That remains to be seen!

If you are like me, have charm squares sitting on a shelf and are looking for a way to use them...I recommend this design!  I think solids work, I think prints would work.  Just a panel or an entire quilt full.

This quilt will be roughly 56" x 74".  The grey is Bella Grey (all scraps!), the background is Kona Snow.

You can find the tutorial for the block here: 

LINKING:

Friday, July 24, 2015

Twist & Shout

I've had this quilt hanging on my design wall far too long!  It seems like a long time.  Back in I decided it was time to wrangle my hand dyed scraps.  It started here:  Scrap It Out.

I was playing around with Half Rectangles Triangles and came up this a block:  HRT With A Twist.  Because I was messing around...I ended up with two different sizes and didn't really have a plan for either.  This is a fun block for me to make, I really couldn't help myself. 


Before I knew it, there was a little stack of these!


They hung on the wall for weeks while I pondered their fate.  What can I do, what should I do, what will I do?!



I added a frame around the smaller blocks which paired with the larger blocks, gave me a stack to work with.



That worked!  A seemingly complicated and busy block became a little quilt after all!

HRT WITH A TWIST
31 1/2" x 38 1/2"

The addition of the border increased the size and neutralized the design.  


I machine quilted a geometric grid design.  I'm loving the little grids in each center square!


For the back, I used Kona Honeydew.  Honeydew has such a fresh clean look, I love it! There are still plenty of hand dyed scraps lingering in my bin.  Won't there always be?! Most have been cleaned up and cut into squares for future use.  You know, just in case a brilliant idea comes knocking at my door!

LINKING:



Tuesday, July 21, 2015

In A Galaxy Far, Far Away

Oh, Technicolor Galaxy, you look so pretty nestled snugly on a shelf...far, far away! Remember this project?


TECHNICOLOR GALAXY
Pile O' Fabric

I kind of got behind.  Way behind.  The hardest part of this project for me is bringing out the kit, fabric, templates every month for one block.  I thought I would wait another month and have two to work on.  The next think I knew, four months had passed and I was light years behind!

I felt like I needed a big, swift kick in the butt!  The butt kicking came from Jenn at A Quarter Inch From The Edge!  She didn't exactly kick my butt!  She did however, encourage (ever so gently), motivate and nudge me along.  Thank you Jenn!!

This is where I ended back in March!  See how fast time gets away from you?!  




I began with Block #3, Piano Keys.  



Once the fabric was selected for the blocks, it was on!  As always, picking the fabric took the longest!



I enjoyed making these.  I went with solids on top and prints on the bottom.  This block is paper pieced and pretty simple.

Block # 4, Scattered Geese.


I did not enjoy this one very much.  I love geese, I love paper piecing.  I was overwhelmed with all the pieces!  Once all the pieces had their 'geese', the sections had to be sewn together.  My seam ripper was used on more than one occasion.  There ended up being a section or two that were upside down!


Block #5, Arrowheads.



After block 3 and 4, this less complicated block was a welcome relief!  Applique time!  You know the drill!  Choosing the fabric!  Tick, tock, tick, tock...finally got that figured out!  This involved cutting fabric squares, ironing the fusible web to the back, cutting the arrowheads out, peeling the backing off, arranging and then iron those suckers down.  Done!


Block #6, Orange Peel.



Fortunately for me, when I ordered supplies for this Block Of The Month, I bought the orange peel stabilizer templates.  Good and bad about this one.  Good: they are glued down.  Bad: a lot of scissor cutting and prep! I found it super hard to get perfect points and clean edges.


They are done.  They are not perfect.  But they are done, done, done!!  Except for the quilting, but that will be another story!

Some where along the line, I found a couple mistakes!  Can you figure out what they are? The entire time I kept reminding myself to make sure I placed the colors in the correct place. I didn't.  The violet and gold/green arrowheads ended reversed.  As of right now, they will have to do.  



I thought it was a good idea to save up four months worth of blocks and do them all at once. That was not a good plan.  It was exhausting.  Mentally, physically.  I was overwhelmed with 'gotta get this done' thoughts and it took away from the pleasure of learning new things and enjoying the process.  Plus, it led to rookie mistakes (color flow)!  

Do you think I should redo the two arrowheads?  Once you see the mistake, it stands out like a sore thumb! 

UPDATE:  
I decided it was worth the time and effort to make this right ~ I would have been disappointed in myself had I not done the right thing and fixed the arrowheads!  Thank you for the advice!


LINKING:

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Eye Candy ~ Shop Hop Procurement

Being a restrained fabric buyer has worked well for me.  That was until today!  You can't blame me, it was inevitable, something that could not and should be on a short leash today of all days!

Today was was the day many of the ladies from our guild threw caution to the wind and went on a Shop Hop!  My first ever...hopefully not my last, just not too often.  

It was so much fun, a lot of driving, tons of fabric to see and hotter than Haites!  The hottest day of the year so far.  Did we let that stop us?  Did it put a damper on the excitement?  Oh, hell no!


We hit five shops in and around the Nashville area.  Believe it or not, I have only ever been to one before.  


Our first stop was The Quilting Squares.  We were greeted with smiling faces and donuts! Then of course, there was fabric to look at.

I warmed up with a couple Grunge Fat Quarters and a few Low Volume pieces.  Plans for these?  Umm...no!


The second stop was the highly anticipated visit to Craft South.  If you aren't familiar, it's Anna Maria Horner's new brick & mortar shop!  My eyes were popping out of my head with all the gorgeousness!  One day I would love to take a class there!  

The yellow is perhaps my favorite color ever, Honor Roll ~ Misguided Gingham, a beautiful ruby pink Fat Quarter bundle and two others that I couldn't say no to.


For the third stop we visited The Fabric Studio.  This small shop packed a punch!  While I only ended up with a couple pieces, I could have easily went wild instead!

Echo and polka dots!  I'm looking forward to cutting in to both of these!  I'm a sucker for polka dots and this color combination caught my attention!

The fourth stop, I actually didn't buy any fabric!  Instead I bought a quarter inch ruler and the ever handy Frixion pen.  Boring!  Quilters Attic had a wide range of fabric to make your eyes pop out!

Lastly... 


Our last stop of the day was the most anticipated.  I've been here before and have to admit it raises my anxiety level to the top!  Stitcher's Garden.  The infamous Stitcher's Garden! This place is packed to the rafters, I kid you not!  Every think imaginable is in this space, notions, feed sack, batiks, solids, civil war...Kaffe, Amy, Anna Maria, new stuff, old stuff, red stuff, blue stuff!  Not one piece of fabric is ever on sale, the fat quarters perhaps could be a Guinness World Record!  The owner knows where every bolt is, if she has it or not and one of the only shops that rips their fabric! 

I will say, this trip was my first in ages and I was pleasantly surprised!  It was the cleanest I have ever seen it!

What I ended up getting was a few shot cottons.  I couldn't remember if I had those colors or not.  And two fat quarters.  


These were not from the Shop Hop today, but I just received them last week!  Super gorgeous!


Four new Peppered Cottons for good measure!  They are so gorgeous in person, I could eat them up!

Long day today!  The best way to finish it off, is with an ice cold frosty beer!  Awww...the dog days of summer!

Linking:

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Lip Smackin' Good! Baby Gears.

It wasn't that long ago (9 or 10 months actually), that we found out our neighbors were going to be having a baby.  I was so excited that I could actually make a quilt specifically for someone!  

The months passed and winter came and went.  The end of March little Sofia made her debut! Naturally, I didn't have a quilt made, but I thought about it...a lot, I just never quite got around to it. One day it just hit me like a ton of bricks what I wanted to make for Sofia.

BABY GEARS
34" x 50 1/2"

Every time I saw the baby she was in pink.  I figured it was a safe bet to stick with her trademark color!


I had a bundle of Riley Blake Cream on Cream fat quarters and thought they would a perfect background.  Just enough texture and interest, but not too much where the pink gears were lost.


My stacks were cut and ready to go.  I have to say, it was a nice change to work with plans! Even though I didn't use the exact design I made on EQ7, it was a wonderful guide to work from.


It's a good combination, don't you think?  I want to make this one again...really bad!  I have some charm squares that would be a cool variation!  

Each pink center is 3" finished.  Each block is 6" and when all nine magically go together you end up with one large 18" block.


The options for quilting were endless. You all know I'm a sucker for dense straight line quilting.  This time I'll still stick with being dense (the quilting, not me), but try some concentric circles.  I have always loved the look of concentric circles.  They are so gorgeous!  No time like the present to give it a whirl!


I picked my starting point, making it slightly off center and began the dizzying process.  I used my dual feed (like a walking foot), and slowly started from the center outward.  The first circles went pretty slow, you have to take your time, go slow and adjust the quilt a lot.  I was happy with the progress and even when I went a little 'wonky', I wasn't concerned.  I knew a good wash & dry would hide the inconsistencies.  


Eventually it was time to tackle that pesky center!  I ended up getting a few more circles in, but it got pretty tough!   Which left me one little area to conquer. 


I busted out the big guns!  Free motion quilting.  Let's not look too closely, just close enough to make out the 'S' in the center.  It'll work!


Sofia is nearly 4 month old now.  I don't think she will care one way or another if this is a little over due.  What I do know is this:  There really isn't a bad time to receive a quilt.  Ever! 



For the backing and binding I used a bright Kona Honeysuckle pink.  Because  I had a few extra blocks, why not add them to the back?!



She will be wrapped up, covered up and waking up with her pretty little pink quilt for years to come!  That's if I ever get it to her!

LINKING: