Monday, June 17, 2019

Modern by the Yard:: Interlocked

It's time for another installment of Modern By The Yard!  For those who aren't familiar with the magazine it's published by Benartex and features quilted projects of all kinds along with a few fun extras.  The E-Zine is free and available to everyone.

I was asked to design a quilt using Weeks Ringle & Bill Kerr's yarn dyed collection 
Warp & Weft.  The woven fabrics are right up my alley!  The plaids, stripes and checkerboard are a beautiful combination and packed full of color.  

To view Issue #11 and all the previous issues by following this link:  Modern By The Yard.

Now on to the project...INTERLOCKED!

It was a challenge picking which fabrics were going to be featured in my design.  Normally I'd go crazy and use as many as I could, but I restrained myself and narrowed it to 
seven (7) woven and one (1) solid.

The block used in the quilt is a rectangle (6" x 13") graphic design that appears to connect or join together like a puzzle.  You may recognize the block from my Neon Pink in progress quilt, which is still in progress!

I love woven fabric whether it's stripes or shot cotton solids, but there is one thing that I've found is critical when working with this type of fabric.  Starch, starch and more starch!  The weave of woven fabrics is not as tight as regular cotton fabric and it can easily stretch or distort.  Starch makes the fabric stiff which helps when cutting and sewing.  This is a crucial step for me when I'm working with stripes or plaids.  Starch helps to keep the lines straighter, but I will say you will be hard pressed to get them perfect.  Never the less, I love woven fabrics and won't shy away from using them!

I used Aurifil white thread for a simple plaid like design and finished the quilt off using the dark blue plaid for the binding.  I will say it's a dream hand sewing the bindings on when its a woven fabric!  

The backing is the Tiny Plaid green, and for extra oomph I added a strip using left over pieces from the blocks across the back.  Who doesn't like doing that?!  It's such a great way of dealing with leftovers!

34" x 49 1/2"
I like to fine tune my designs (if it's going to become a pattern) by making is a couple times.  Besides my Neon Pink WIP, I also made the Interlocked version using just solids. 

Peach, apricot, coral, it's all there!  After making this one I knew it was going to live on and become the next quilt for my very own bed!  

It seems pretty modern to me and I don't know about you, but I see many possibilities with this design! From fabric, to background to colors.  It would make a great scrappy quilt, don't you think?!

I hope you check out the latest Modern by the Yard issue and all the others too!  There are some beautiful designs and lots of inspiration.

I'd love to see your quilt if you decide to make this design!  


Sunday, June 9, 2019

Tested and Mother Approved :: Half Circle Runner

Much like the old commercial for Kix the cereal...this design has been tested and approved!  Approved by me, but I don't think that matters in this case!

Half circles have been intriguing to me and when I finally made the time to play with them, I was hooked and inspired!  There are so many options and I was determined to make my mark in the world of circles.  

When I was testing I made several blocks in order to be sure I could line up the seams and get a feel for circles.  Half Circles :: The Test is the result of my efforts.  Efforts I was all to happy to make, happy with the results and happy to use said 'test' blocks and make a runner out of them!
15" x 42"
In my mind, that was the easy part.  The hardest part, and the part I struggle with the most is quilting.  I remember when I first started quilting and blogging I asked once if quilting really mattered that much.  Naive.  Newbie.  In my mind I thought back then that the design is what spoke, not quilting.  Perhaps that gives you a glimpse into my mind and why quilting scares me!  Quilting does matter.  It's the make or break of any design.    

So we stress about it.  We set projects aside until an idea feels right.  Or maybe we even send it off to a professional who can make the determination of the right design for us.  Granted, this is just a runner.  A small piece that is inconsequential in the long run, but one I want to be killer good!  Which leads me to continually trying to make quilting a part of the design.

I decided to just do...and not think too much about it.  My first decision was thread.  I used Aurifil #5022 in Mustard.  I felt like it would be a good choice to blend into all the colors and not standout too much. 

The first thing I did was stitch in the ditch around the circles.  Then it was diagonal lines around the outside.   I first had my lines marked at 1", and then decided to make them 1/2".  It seemed so simple.  I struggled with making the lines line up, spaced evenly and at the right angle!

Struggle, yes!  I made it through and then had the circles to focus on.  I've never been one to see the big to say this was easy is a stretch!  It seemed appropriate to add some circles and that's just what I attempted to do!  

I will never say I nailed a pebble! some point it doesn't matter!  I will always and forever factor in the fact that pebbles are not perfectly round and after washing and the crinkle matters very little!

After pebbles, was a little swag action and a geometric star of sorts.  

I'm comfortable with how it turned out, enough so that it was time to bind it with a dark purple!  Which made for a very happy night of hand stitching Which I love to do so much.  No sarcasm...I really do!

I'm going to call this little adventure a test that panned out!!  It gave me the confidence to make an actual quilt using larger blocks. The troubling part for me is...lets revisit the to quilt it!


I don't want to quilt this.  I do not want to quilt this one!!  I do not want to do sub par quilting on this quilt....HELP!

That's where I'm at right now!  My mind says that there is so many options for this design, my common sense says 'you ain't gonna do it justice'!  I believe this is going to hang on my design wall for many months to come!

Normally I don't bring personal into my quilting blog.  However the past few days have been so devastating and heartbreaking that I'd like to make mention and request that you pray for a couple of families.

One of my daughters best friends husband just passed on Thursday of brain cancer.  He first had tumors four years ago and had a clean bill of health until a year ago when the tumors returned. His family grew since then to include Julian (8 months old) as the little brother to Elvie (9).  Aaron and Jessica were one of those couples who you knew were destined to be together as one.  Aaron passed on Thursday at the very young age of 33.  His brain cancer brought everyone to their knees.  Unexpected to say the least.

Also, my ex-sister-in-law succumbed to brain cancer just this morning.  She fought for ten years with colon cancer and in the past month she received the devastating news that she had brain cancer.  She fought valiantly for so long only to have another death sentence handed down to her. 

If you can send a prayer, I know that these families would receive it with open arms.  It's such a devastating diagnosis for anyone.  One, but two...Prayers...that's all that matters.


Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Making Waves :: Improv Curves

There isn't anything more humbling or satisfying than watching the waves from a beach.  The pure power of the water, the serene sound of the waves and the warmth of the sand beneath your feet.  It is my happiest place to be on earth.  

However, being land locked in Tennessee and not being able to travel to the beach often I have to make my own paradise through my quilts.  I've made several versions of this quilt throughout the years and absolutely love the process.  So, why did I stop?  Not an easily answered question other than to say there are only so many hours in a day, days in a week and weeks in a year!

17 1/2" x 19 1/2"
That's not to say it hasn't been on my mind!  The tough part is making myself do it.  Then with many other things, once I start I can't stop and wonder why it took me so damn long!

I was contemplating whether I should quilt some of my finished quilts, clean the house again or do something different.  I choose something different!

The first step was pulling every blue I had on hand.  With these improv curves you need to make sure you have a good length (whatever size your are after), a wide enough width (because you want to make sure you can get good curve action) and a huge variety of shades.  

You don't have to have all the strip widths the same, but a comfortable width for me is 1-3".  Some strips may be thin curves, some will have a gentle curve but wide, and then there are some that are wide and have deep curves.  

One thing about these curves is you cannot be worried about waste!  Oh waste will happen, but you have to look at the big picture.  Trust me when I say I like to use every scrap and hate to waste the tiniest of pieces!  Its a compromise and a dance with the devil!  If you are like'll find a way to use some of the excess waste for another project.  

Which is exactly what I did with my scraps!  After making some of the waves, I had scraps that could easily be used for this mini quilt!  Waste not want not! 

Now is a good time to give a couple stats for this quilt.  The large wall quilt is 17 1/2" x 19 1/2" and features 30 shades of blue.  The mini quilt is 6 1/4" x 5 1/4" and has 13 different shades packed into that small space. 

I'm including a picture of all the seams on the back.  I'd say 99% were pressed open which is something I don't normally do when I work with curves.  This time I thought I'd give it a try.  You might think that by doing that your seams might pucker, but I didn't find that to be true.  I did encounter a slight amount of puckering when I made deeper curves, but I also knew that after quilting it wouldn't be an issue.

As you can see, pucker power nearly eliminated with dense quilting!  Hooray for that!  I like to quilt dense curves on these Wave pieces.  It fits the theme, it's so satisfying and believe it or much fun!  I can't be sure how many different shades of thread I used, but I'm guessing 10+.  I had a few colors that I could only get a few passes from before it ran out.  So what ever you do, don't toss spools of thread when they are nearly empty!!

The texture is amazing!  Beware!  Once you start dense quilting you cannot stop!  That could mean you can't stop because you started or it could mean you can't stop because it's so addicting!  In my case it was addicting, fun and after quilting a large satisfying!  

The earlier versions of my wave quilts all received pieced bindings.  Take a look here:  Improv Mini Wall Hangings to see what I mean and to see the different variations that I've done before.  It's a difficult and bulky way of finishing off one of these quilts.  Over the years I've learned a few things and one of those things was a faced binding.  

I learned how to do a faced or knife edge binding from this tutorial: 
Knife Edge Binding by Bloomin' Workshop.

I attempted using this method on a mini curve quilt, Mini Waves, but I didn't think it was very successful.  I learned faced binding for larger quilts and do not do it on mini mini quilts!

6 1/4" x 5 1/4"
This time I wasn't taking any chances and went with my usual method for mini mini quilts. 

I'm pretty sure you noticed from this mini mini and the faced quilt that I haven't actually sewn the bindings on yet!  I was so excited to share something different that I ignored the usual protocol of sharing a true finish!  Tonight will be spent happily hand stitching on both of these!  

My plans are to make another using blues/turquoise/aqua/teal for a tropical version very soon.  And...hopefully...I can do a more in depth process/tutorial on how I do it.  I will say that improv curves is something that comes with trial and error.  I taught myself how to do it and how to make it work for me and my skill level.  Something that has been fine tuned throughout the years.  What I can share is my version of curves and hope that it spurs you to try, and is the catalyst to let you discover and learn what works for you!!


Thursday, May 30, 2019

Bohemian Churn Dash :: At Long Last!

Let's just say this quilt has been moved from here to there on numerous occasions the past 15 months!  Once the blocks were finished, the top pieced, the back pieced ... I was over it!!  

First I'll give you a little back story about this quilt.  I first made this quilt for myself way back in 2010.  It saw the pattern in an issue of American Patchwork and Quilting 2/2008 and knew I had to make it.  These days I don't make many patterns from magazines or designers, back then it never occurred to me that I could design my own.  This design is one that I've always wanted to make again.  

When I was planning on what projects to take to our Guild Retreat in February 2018, I decided it was time to give the pattern another go!  The plan was to use Anna Maria Horner prints from my stash and solids for the background.  Which I did. 

76" X 93"
One of the main reasons I put of finishing this quilt was the size!  It's large twin.  There is a reason why I love making lap quilts...a lap quilt this isn't!  I do not enjoy quilting big quilts regardless of how simple the quilting design is.  It just isn't fun!

That being said, it's finished!  It's quite the scrappy specimen and my itch to remake it has thoroughly been scratched forever!

The Anna Marie Horner prints are mostly older prints that I have been hoarding for a very long time.  The days of holding on to what I considered 'sacred' fabric was over!  If you think about it, what's the point of having it if you don't use it?!  Preaching to the choir!

The pattern uses four sizes of the Churn Dash block: 16", 10", 6" and 4", and it all magically fits together within the quilt.  It's a puzzle!  With each print I made one of the four sizes of blocks, but used a different color for the background.  Why make it too easy right?!  My goal was to use a different color for each block as to not have any repeats, but there might be a couple duplicates.

Like I said, I did not want to quilt this!  With no alternative in sight, no quilting fairy popping in to surprise me over night with a beautifully finished quilt, I had to suck it up and get to it.  

Since it was literally all on my back (or shoulders!), I didn't try to do anything fancy.  Horizontal and vertical lines were my best friend!  I used my 6" x 24" ruler and marked on each side, from the left line I marked in 3", from the 3" line I marked in 2" which then left me with a 1" line.  I'm here to confuse know that!  Doing that method vertically and horizontally I ended up with a grid of sorts, like a lovely plaid!

With this finish I have my first Christmas gift of the year checked off!  Come on guys...December will be here before you know it!  I am not an early shopper or maker when it comes to Christmas, so you still have time!

I am relieved to have this quilt finished!  My next 'anything larger than a bread box' quilt is certainly going to be sent to a professional!  I haven't got the desire or muscles these days!