Saturday, November 28, 2020

Play Time :: Frivolous Fun!

I've been longing to make a quilt where I could let loose and have fun.  Not that most of my projects aren't fun.  I wanted a creative release and what better way than combining improv, scraps and circles?!

Enter Frivolous Fun!  And it was just that...a lot of fun!  I grabbed some Kona Haze for the background,

Flipped open my scrap bins, and began picking larger pieces for the half circles.  I didn't want to cut from yardage, so whatever was in the bins was what I was going to use.

Once the half circles were cut I began piecing background sections.  With each background I tried to use a different color.  And, since it was pieced together I could position the pieces so that they filled the curve section in a haphazardly way.  As long as I could cut the size I needed I was good to go.  

I ended up making five different circle sizes, 8", 6", 4 1/2", 3 3/4" and 3".  The largest being half circles and sewn together, but the four remaining sizes I wanted to use the six-minute circle method.  I love this method and have used it many times.  It's simple and very satisfying.  Who would have ever thought freezer paper could be used in quilting?!

I cut out background squares in four sizes for each circle, making sure that after they were inset I had enough border for trimming when it came time to assemble all the blocks.  I ended up making two solid circle sizes

The 6" and 4 1/2" circles were first pieced with scraps and then inset.  Keeping with the background of the half circle theme but different.  

Last time I made a similar quilt to this one I actually pieced together a black and white stripe because I didn't have fabric I could use.  I learned my lesson and ended up buying some 1/4" stripes just in case I might need it one day.  

This was the day!  I cut 1 1/2" (1" finished) strips of the stripe fabric and began the design layout.  After randomly placing my circles on the design wall (by randomly I mean I rearranged them over and over and over again) I started adding the stripes.  I didn't want to go overboard and add too much, so I slowed down and tried to think logically!

One thing about designing a quilt like this that needs to be puzzled together is I can trim my circle blocks to any size I need them to be.  As long as there is enough background, I can make each one work.  Which is the perfect way to make the stripe fabric work too!  

Since the stripes are 1/4" wide, I was able to trim the stripes so that they started and ended with black using the 1/4" to my advantage for the seams.  Because I allowed for extra background, I could trim my circles to the exact size needed to make the stripes work.   


Nothing is ever set in stone when 'puzzling' together a quilt.  Having the leeway to adjust and trim so that each circle or background piece fits together is both fun and stressful!  I try and plan out sections that line up without having to do partial seams...that would be a whole different level of brain power for me!  All in all, I'm pleased with the results.  I fulfilled my desire to have some frivolous fun!

I have the top pinned but will have to put off quilting for a few more days.  We have our quarantine partner family coming today!


Sunday, November 22, 2020

Where Did Time Go?!

I cannot believe it's been three weeks since my last post!  So much has been going on, yet nothing that has been earth shattering or newsworthy.  With the exception of the election!  

Halloween was filled with three happy children who trick & treated throughout our house.  Front door, back door, side door, bedroom doors...all the doors!  It was so much fun and we always enjoy and delight in the chaos that these children bring into our lives.  I will point out that our family and their family take every precaution when we get together.  We are extremely diligent and cautious with Covid protocol and we quarantine for two weeks before each visit.  Which is what we are doing right now for Thanksgiving.  Neither of our families are worried as we both limit our contact to a very short list of like minded people.

I just wanted to be clear that we are safe and therefore keeping everyone else safe.

I kept thinking I need to write a blog post.  I'd then tell myself I'll do it tomorrow.  And tomorrow, and tomorrow!  Before I knew it it had been three weeks.  So in order to get back in the swing of things I figure a small post about small things might be solution to get back on track!

5" X 5"

What better way than a Holiday Heart of the Home Neighborhood?!  I knew I didn't have holiday themed fabric when the idea came to me, but for the first time in 10 months I was able to hit a shop in person.  Besides buying a stack of sale solids (which is why I went in the first place), I was on the lookout for themed fabric for my tiny house windows.  Easier said than done!  

The windows are 1/2" x 1" finished  (1" x 1 1/2" unfinished) and finding the right scale is near impossible.  I was able to find this Snowman fabric and I immediately jumped in with both feet!  You'd never guess that I was obsessed with these mini houses, would you?!

Occasionally I like to add embellishments to the chimneys.  In this case a sweet little bird.  Fabric I also found on my outing!  

This version is with a smaller heart in the center.  The strip below the roof is perfect for selvedges from fabric.  However since I mainly use solids and never kept selvedges from the prints I've had, I don't have much of a selection to play with.  The skinny strip is 1/2" finished and about 5" long.  I've managed thus far and can always use the same 'house' fabric instead.

As you can see the main part of the house takes very little fabric.  Which makes it a good project for our scrap heaps!  I don't know about you, but I have a ton of scraps that I can't quite toss.  It still doesn't make the scrap pile dwindle down though!

The center hearts can be customized as well.  Red, pink, prints...all are fair game.  I'm having a rainbow vision that I hope to explore in the coming weeks.  

I'm always on the hunt these days for 'tiny' window coverings from animals to people.  Once you get something imbedded into your mind it's hard to let it go!

After so much time away from blogland, it feels good to be back!  I've got projects to share and I hope now that the gates have opened I can share on a regular basis again!

The PDF pattern for 'Heart Of The Home' is available here:  HEART OF THE HOME

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Scrappy Snowball Quilt

Here I go again!  Busting the stash!  This time I was inspired by a stack of white charm squares I've had for nearly a year.  The have been staring me down almost daring me to use it, and so I did!

But first I had to come up with a plan.  What would I make?  After weighing my options the idea of a snowball block smacked me in the head.  Not only could I use the charm pack, I could use more neutral scraps stash of 2 1/2" print squares.

34" x 43"

Knowing that the charm pack wouldn't be enough to make something substantial, and knowing that all whites are never the same white, I opted to use more neutral scraps to round out my plan.  The subtle variation of the white, snow, natural and whatever I had on hand is pleasing to my eye!

The first thing I did was trim the 2 1/2" squares to 2".  Crazy I know, but I felt that size would best suit the 5" neutral squares.  I was able to pick and choose which prints I wanted to use from my previously cut stash, plus I was able to use other scraps that I crammed away.  A lot of trimming and cutting, but I was sure it would be worth it.     

The white charm pack wasn't going to be enough as I needed 80-5" squares for this quilt.  I gathered other fabric and in no time I had all I needed.  

The basic block is simple.  Sew a square in each corner.  There was a lot of mindless chain piecing involved.  I didn't want to put too much thought into each block, so by randomly picking a print each time, I cut my 'overthinking' out of the process.

Once I had all the corner blocks sewn on trimming soon followed.  It seems like this was going to be the quilt that I wasn't going to stress about sewing, piecing or assembling.  I decided right from the start that if at all possible I wanted my seams to nest together.  That way I didn't need to worry about pinning.  I was hoping for the best!

With each block I pressed two opposite corners in, and the remaining two to the outside.  Nesting 101!  This was going to be a breeze to assemble.  

I guess the most difficult part of this quilt was making sure the blocks were oriented the same way in order to achieve the seam nesting.  Other than that it was stress free.  I rearranged a few blocks here and there, but for the most part it was totally random.  

There seems to be a cohesive 'modern meets vintage' vibe to this quilt.  Modern because of the open airiness and vintage most likely because of the mixed neutral background.  My opinion of course!  

Pile up!

This was my opportunity to add some FMQ ruler work by adding the circles.  With a small quilt I actually feel in control when I'm using rulers.  Not so much with large quilts!  I've never been able to maneuver big quilts with FMQ...ever!

You aren't seeing things!  The top and bottom are different shades!  This was another way for me to use more stash squares and keep the theme throughout.  

I've significantly depleted my scrap squares and I couldn't be happier about that!  I'm not sure how many more stash busting quilts there will be this year, but I know I have significantly worked through my stash.  From unloved fabric to fabric I love...nothing is off limits this year! 


Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Precision Heaven :: DP Circles

After so many improv projects I was ready to get back to a little more precision quilting.  It's funny, when I do a lot of one kind of quilting such as improv, I can't wait to get back to something that requires a bit more structure.  Going back and forth between different methods and techniques is what keeps things fresh and exciting!

It was also another opportunity to bust more of my stash.  It's been a great year for stash busting and I've lighten my load enormously!  After collecting, hoarding and accumulating over the years, there's nothing more satisfying than finally...finally using what I have!

51.5" X 63"

I totally love circles!  So picking the Drunkard Path block was an easy choice.  I grabbed my totes of less than loved fabric along with some that I love but could part with, and decided I'd use a 5" DP block.  The background is a combination of  neutrals such as Kona white, snow, ivory, bone and natural.  I've also accumulated random pieces of neutrals that were either too small for quilt backs or not enough for a full size quilt.  Turned out to be a win win!

Once I had all my DP blocks pieced, pressed and trimmed I was ready to lay them out on the design wall.  My original plan was to simply stack the blocks in neat and tidy rows, but that soon fell by the wayside.  The size was not at all what I wanted if I went that way, so I brainstormed and decided to stagger the circles.  By adding side strips on each horizontal row I was able to increase the size.  It's a simple fix that works every time!  

One thing I love about scrappy quilts is you can basically throw the kitchen sink of prints and colors together and it always looks amazing!  Isn't that true?  Or is it just me?!

Another way to use up scraps is in the binding.  I had plenty to work with and always have skinny strips of prints that are waiting to be used.  

But let's not forget about the back!  It's a good way to use up bits and pieces or stray blocks.  If I have a backing that isn't quite large enough, I often add a strip or two to enlarge the backing and make it work.  

The quilting was all about lines.  Vertical, horizontal and diagonal.  Nothing too crazy, nothing too special, but effective and perfect for this quilt.   

What would a post be without the obligatory quilt pile?!  Probably not my post!  It was fun seeing the different prints while I was making the blocks.  I got to reminisce about when I bought the fabric or what quilt I used it in.  Many times I was doing a happy dance to have finally used every.last.piece!  Rewarding, exciting and done!