Thursday, October 19, 2017

X-Squared Block :: Tutorial

It finally happened!  I finished a tutorial!  This 16" (finished) 'X-Squared' block is fast fun and so easy.  Great for beginners, perfect for scraps and you'll love the results!

16" Blocks = 64" x 80" Quilt
The PDF pattern is available through my Craftsy Pattern Shop where I have also included a 10" (finished) block and a coloring page for the block.  While bigger can be better, it's always nice to have options!

16" x 16" (finished)
Let's begin, shall we?!

Choosing your fabric is arguably the biggest challenge for this block.  I had a color combination in mind when I made mine using corals, pinks and peach.  And I knew it was going to be as scrappy as I could get with the fabrics I had on hand. 

This block is made up of four (4) blocks assembled together to make one large block.  It's as easy as it gets!


(4) - 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" Squares
(4) - 5 1/4" x 5 1/4" Squares

Four (4) Assorted Prints:
From each print, cut the following:
(1) - 5 1/4" x 5 1/4" Squares
(1) - 4 1/2" x 8 1/2" Rectangle

Four (4) Assorted Solids:
From each print, cut the following:
(1) - 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" Square
Step 1:
With right sides together, pair one (1) 5 1/4" print squares with one (1) 5 1/4" white squares.  

Draw a line from corner to corner and stitch 1/4" on either side of the marked diagonal line. 

Cut along the marked line and press seams towards the print.

Repeat for the remaining three (3) HST's.

Trim each HST to 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" square.  
 ***For one (1) block you will need one (1) HST.  The 2-in-1 method makes two (2) HST's in the same print or color.  If you are making a large quilt, you will need to cut an additional 4 1/2" x 8 1/2" print rectangle and one (1) 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" white square.

Step 2:  
Following the diagram, pair each 4 1/2" HST with one (1) 4 1/2" solid square.  Orientation is important!  This unit along with the next unit need to match up.
Stitch the two (2) squares together using a 1/4" seam allowance.

Press seams open.

Repeat with the remaining three (3) HST's and solid squares.  You will have a total of four units. 
Step 3:
Place one (1) 4 1/2" white squares right sides together on top of one (1) 4 1/2" x 8 1/2" print rectangles.
Draw a diagonal line from the top left corner to the bottom right corner.  Stitch along the diagonal line.

Trim 1/4" from stitch line (red line in diagram) and press seams towards the print.

Repeat for the remaining three (3) rectangle prints.  You will have a total of four (4) units. 

Before you trim the corners off these units, draw a line 1/2" from the diagonal corner line.  Stitch along the diagonal line and the marked 1/2" line, trim between the stitched lines.  You will have a bonus HST to use in a future project. 
Step 4:
Matching prints, pair the each section together.  Following the diagram for orientation, stitch the two sections together and press seams open. 

 Assemble the remaining three (3) blocks.
Step 5:
Layout your pieces.  Match seams, pin and stitch.  Press seams open.

Finish the block by matching seams, pin and stitch the two sections together.  Press seams open.

And viola!  You have completed one big beautiful X-Squared blocks!
For a quilt using a 4 x 5 layout of a 16" block, your quilt will be 64" x 80".  Or a 3 x 4 layout will be 48" x 64"!  See...options!

I would love to see what you make with this block!  A quilt, a pillow, a mini quilt?!  Email me a photo to jaynebug(at)gmail(dot)com, or tag me on Instagram using @twiggyandopal and #xsquaredquiltblock!

And remember...the PDF pattern is available in my Craftsy Pattern Shop!


Friday, October 13, 2017

Good Things Come In Small Packages

I'm hoping to have an action packed quilting weekend with my daughter Britt!  There was a time when we would quilt with each other, collaborate on a design and spend time cutting and piecing.  Hanging out talking fabric while I strip pieced and she pressed, making what sometimes could be a dull and uneventful process into something fun and enjoyable.  With that in mind, I thought I had better get a post put together for my latest quilt since I'll be undoubtedly preoccupied with spending time with her.  Not a bad thing at all!

5" x 6 1/4"
And now your thinking...what the heck?!  This isn't a quilt, not a real quilt...but, Oh yes it is!

I was making a Half Square Triangle quilt just like the one above, except baby quilt size, and decided to keep the tiny bonus HST's for just in case.  Normally I do not keep such small pieces, but what can I say?  I couldn't resist another challenge!

I trimmed the HST's to 1 1/4" and then stitched four of the same shades of color together.  My intention was to have each square have a center square, but as you can see that didn't work out.  Bad planning on my part!  The top left has a bit of what I wanted in all the centers.  

Not exactly a beautiful sight all those unruly seams!  I guess I must have thought it was pretty interesting since I took pictures of it!!

The inside border is 1/4" and the outside gray border is 3/4".  If you pretend there are centers in all six squares, this would be exactly like my larger baby quilts...which is where I was heading.

I layered my little quilt like any other quilt and proceeded to quilt it in the smallest of scale, exactly like I would quilt the big quilts.  I used the foot on my machine to guide the width of each row instead of marking like I normally do.  

I used Aurifil Thread #2615 Aluminum, also what I use on many of my gray or HST quilts.  Naturally on a large quilt the quilting stitches wouldn't stand out quite as much as these do.  So much for scale!

It isn't unusual for me to make mini mini's.  I had the mini obsession bug for quite a while.  Check out: Mini Mini Quilt, Star Thistle and Micro Mini Mini just to share a few.  This one was different.  I wanted to replicate a quilt, keep it to scale and piece/quilt/bind exactly like a larger quilt.

And I did just that!  I cut my bindings 1 1/4" wide, pressed the strip in half and stitched the binding on using 1/8" seams.  Mitered corners and all!

My quilts wouldn't be complete until the binding is hand stitched to the back.  This little exception!  

Making a quilt this size and quilting the bejebbers out of it tends to leave the quilt ridged and stiff.  Which makes stitching the binding on a little harder than usual. 

While making this mini quilt, I kept thinking how fun it would be to make a mini of each quilt I make.  Unrealistic for sure, but can you imagine doing something like that?  Shoot me...I can!

The sewing machine in the picture was my Mom's when she was a little girl.  She received it for Christmas in 1939, and somehow after all these years it's still around.  A little wear and tear, but it matters not one little bit to me!  I wrote a post back in December 2014 - Priceless To Me.  

I couldn't resist using the mini sewing machine and the mini quilt for a fun photo!  You could almost believe it was a full size quilt on first glance!

What do you think?  Would you like to make a mini of one of your full size quilts?!


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Endless-Ness Of Scraps

I swear I must have a condition!  It isn't enough that I make a quilt filled with glorious fabric and color.  It should end there.  Make the quilt, quilt it...boom done!  

It's made.  Not quilted.  Why?  Because I had to use the scraps, the bonus half square triangles and make a baby quilt.  

I know.  I tried to resist.  It was pointless to fight it, so I caved and just went for it.  That should be the end of it then.  

It should be.  I've tried to create diversions, to no avail.  I hadn't yet put the larger scraps away and they were just sitting there.  I should have either put them away or out of sight.  Why not use the rest of them and then I wouldn't have to worry about putting them away!


Same block, different size.  I was writing up a tutorial for the 16" block and now I have a 10" block for variety!  I will get the tutorial finished very soon...very soon.  

The 10" block needed to be tested.  I couldn't very well publish with out testing!  And like the other two quilt tops, this one is also not quilted.  Plans:  quilt like a madwomen, finish the tutorial before it's forgotten and get a new color palette!


Sunday, October 8, 2017

Between The Pages

I've talked about Curated Quilts a couple of times, the last being when I made my mini Log Cabin quilt for their mini challenge.  Sadly, my mini wasn't selected but I'll try again!  

The premier issue arrived at my door the other day and WOW!  It's stunning from the cover to the very last page!  I was honored to have been asked to submit one of my quilts for the first issue.  

I can tell you that there are Quilt Rock Stars in this issue that I admire and that have inspired me.  Being along side a dream...come...true!

Curated Quilts is not like any other magazine, it's curate (hence the name) and has a gallery made to inspire.  Interviews, quilt patterns, trends and so much more!

My quilt in the gallery is 'Threads'.  One of my favorite quilts of all times.  I would be remiss if I didn't credit my inspiration for this quilt.  Debbie @A Quilter's Table is one of my Rock Stars.  When I saw her quilt Monochrome, I was impressed and couldn't wait to see what I could come up with!  I busted out the scraps in a big way for this quilt!  Debbie has two quilts in the gallery, one of them being Monochrome! 
When I ripped open the package and found my quilt between the pages, I have to say I was excited.  That was over shadowed when I saw I was side by side with ... 'drum roll' (Rock Star)...Denyse Schmidt!  I don't even know what to say...  

Now that I have shown just how easily I can turn into a bumbling idiot when it comes to Rock Stars...and it was only on paper!!  I've very excited about this feature, it's like no other!

Who is your Rock Star, the one who would leave you weak in the knees, tongue tied and a big bowl of jello?  


Thursday, October 5, 2017

New Design Wall :: Super Sized

I've been wanting to increase the size of my design wall for a long time now.  The other day I decided to just do it!  Figure it out and go for it!

It doesn't look that big with this mammoth quilt on it, but trust me when I say it's twice the size as my previous design wall!

The first step was deciding what kind of wall and what materials to use.  There's the very popular foam insulation boards covered in flannel, flannel sheets, a large piece of batting and of course, pre-made walls.

Mine needed to be portable to some extent.  I need it to hang while designing, but I need to be able to take it down when I want to take photo's of a finished quilt.  My wall doubles as a design/photo wall.  I kicked around buying a big white piece of batting or flannel and in the end decided to stick with what has worked for me for all these years of quilting.  Flannel backed vinyl.

Another reason I went with the vinyl is because it's heavy.  The weight allows for it to hang nice, neat and straight.   

I knew Joann's carried what I needed, so I yoinked a 50% off coupon and went on an adventure!  The vinyl was 6.99 a yard, I needed 5 1/2 yards...50% off...less than $20 dollars for a super sized new design wall!  Here is the link to the vinyl I used:  54" Table Pad.

The first thing I did was fold the vinyl in half and line up the sides.  I cut on the fold and trimmed up the bottom.

Next was to make a hem for the board I was going to use.  Since we had the perfect boards already in our basement, I didn't have to make a trip to the lumber store!  That made me happy and my husband too!  The board I'm using is 1 1/2" x 1/4" thick.  It needs to be thick enough to drill a small hole in the edge for a hook & eye screw.  

Once I figured out the hem size to insert the wood, I folded the vinyl over and drew a line from edge to edge.  I drew the line on the vinyl side.  This made it easier to line it up for sewing.  

I stitched from edge to edge close to the edge and then added another line 1/4" from the first for added strength.

Next was turning up the charm and getting my husband to help!  I had him cut the boards to 54".  He didn't complain...really!

We inserted the board, measured 8" from each end for the hook & eye screw.  A quick hole was drilled (as always we had to wait for the drill battery to recharge!) and the screw was in!  One thing I've learned from my husband...always drill a hole first.  If you try and screw the screw in without it you could split the wood or screw it in crooked.  

Let's hang it up!!  We used a basic picture hanger (also on hand) for this step.  Truth time!  My husband drives me crazy sometimes.  He has to do things the right way, the perfect way...that's not a bad thing...but it drives me up a wall!  Plus, he tells me where the design wall should go!  Who's the quilter here?!  We made it through and placed both design walls up without yelling, killing or crying!  I honestly couldn't have done it without him and I'm very thankful that he knows what he's doing and is willing to help me out in these situations!

We butted the design walls up to each other to create one big one.  Together it is 108" wide by 90" high or 9' x 7 1/2'.  Yes, there is a line in the center where the two meet, but it isn't going to make a difference when I'm using it.

My first design wall was was very similar to this one.  Except from the two hook & eye screws I tied a ribbon from hook to hook and hung it on one picture hanger.  It tended to shift sideways as you can imagine, but it worked.  When my 'studio' was also my dining room, it worked well.  I could design on it and take it down when we needed to.  This new way is going to be so much better!  I can actually have several projects hanging at once!

What kind of design wall do you have?  There was a time when I didn't have a design wall and the floor was it...I can't imagine not having one these days!


Sunday, October 1, 2017

Diamond Hexie Stars :: Update

These little things...So addicting!  So quick!  So rewarding!  And so pretty!  

I started this English Paper Piecing project for my trip to Oregon the beginning of August.  Check out this post for details and for a link to the EPP templates:  Star Light, Star Bright
I was in need of something to keep my mind and hands busy while I was away from home.  It was a last minute idea to take something along to stitch, so picking something simple was a must.

I settled on 2" diamonds that would be arranged in diamond hexies.  Fabric needed to be something bright and happy.  That's why I settled on Kaffe Fasset.  It has a big bang for the buck!

There was no plan on what I was going to do with these when I started, and there is still no plan!  It was suppose to be a long term project!  You know, something to pick up now and again.  It appears that isn't how it's going to play out!


The first round consisted of nine Diamond Hexie Stars.  At this point I was hooked.  This was not suppose to happen.  I wasn't suppose to get attached, to fall in was meant to be a brief fling.

Round two was quite a bit more serious.  More of a romantic relationship began developing rather quickly.  Be still my heart!

Is it possible that the third round was a cooling off period for us?  Were we moving too quickly and needed to take a break from each other?  Hmmm...I don't think so.  If anything we settled in to a comfortable arrangement and will take it one day at a time.

At this point with Round four, we have an unspoken commitment.  There is a comfort level having my EPP tote next to me every night.  I can glue baste one night and start stitching the next.  

What I like to do is stitch a batch of the center stars and then go back and add the solid diamonds.  After which I pop out the templates from the star and use them for the next round.  The outside templates stay in until after all of the hexies are stitched together.  

Round five is another day in paradise!  Our relationship is solid and strong at this point.  And it should be after 41 blocks!  

I have stacks of diamonds lined up for then next month, but after that I can't be sure what will happen.  Since I'm making to make and haven't a solid idea in mind, I'll play it by ear.  


This is what most of my Kaffe fabric looks like these days!  Swiss cheese!  It is getting harder to find the perfect cuts when it gets to this point.  I'm not giving up, just getting more clever!

Okay, now I must go...Diamond Dear is calling...we have a thing...perhaps an obsession...