Saturday, October 28, 2017

Round Robin :: It's a Success!

It's hard to believe this Round Robin hosted though my local guild has come to an end.  By end, I mean we have completed each round and the quilt has been returned to the original owner.  It's over, but there's a lot of work yet to do!  Should I add more to it or quilt it as is?!  Choices I have yet to make!

The challenge started in February with the construction of our center blocks.  We had our group of six that we would swap with roughly every month give or take.  Time for each round was set pretty loose.

This was my center block.  The only rule I had was to have fun, no pressure and enjoy it!  You can read about my block here: Round Robin :: My First.  That's easier said than done!  I felt pressure every single round!  I didn't want to disappoint or mess anything up!

Wanna see how it all came together after all the rounds?  You'll be surprised!  I was!  I intentionally avoided seeing round because I wanted it to be a surprise at the end.   Here it is!

What a transformation!  A metamorphosis took place with each round, slowly changing the vibe and design!  How fun it's been seeing what each person added for their round.  

I was thrilled to see that each person wrote a little something about round.  It's a very nice touch for this kind of challenge I think.

A few detail shots!  Love the drunkards path butterfly from Marcia!  Emily added the last round of geese.  She used fabric from her previous rounds in the geese!  Libby did the round next to the geese.  Hers reminded me of a quilt I recently finished called 'Finely Tuned'.

Katie added the pink 'ombre' stripes (above) and the Anna Maria Horner stripes (bottom).  Gotta love plus blocks!  Maria added those along with her usual sassy rebel-ness!

I don't think it will happen anytime soon, but I will do another Round Robin one day!  It was all you'd expect...stress, stress and stress!  But, it was also worth it, fun, challenging and rewarding!  Thank you ladies for making my first the best!

Here are some of the other quilts from our group:

Marcia's Quilt

Katie's Quilt

Emily's Quilt

Stay tuned for Libby and Maria's!  I told you we were playing it loose!!

This is from the other Round Robin Group, Debbie's quilt!  It's fun and festive!

I wrote about each round on my blog if you'd like to read more about it!  

I think for my rounds, each one I added somehow was tied to a project I was working on at the time or had just finished up!

When I do another Round Robin there are a few things I will do differently.  

First, try not to stress as much.  It won't work, but it's worth a try!

Decide if I want to see the progress after each round.  If not, be sure and state that.

Give more direction, not much just enough to guide whoever is in line.  That could be in the form of colors, fabrics or shapes.  Then maybe they won't have to stress as much.

If I would like a certain background, include fabric to keep it consistent.  

Include a note (which I did this time) with my wishes, thoughts and ideas.  And sure to ask each participant to write something about their experience with their round.

I was perfectly happy to let everyone do what they felt and wished with my block.  I didn't want to give too many rules that would make it too serious.  A few guidelines are not a bad thing!

When will I ever do another one?!  I'm not sure.  Would you want to join in with a Round Robin?  If you hear of one going on, I wouldn't mind hearing about it!


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Bonus Is Triangles

I've been getting behind on so many things these days.  We've been going through home repairs that ended up being a bigger can of worms than expected.  It's put my normal every day routine out of whack! 

I was able to carve out some time between the jack hammer and tile removal to finish my Bonus Triangle quilt.  The quilting was a fun adventure that was pedal to the medal...yet, not my usual straight lines.  

34 1/2" x 49"
A quick refresher:  This quilt was made with the bonus Half Square Triangles from a quilt I made using my 'X-Squared' quilt block.  While it all started with this quilt: Pink With An Attitude, I have yet to start quilting on that one!  For today we'll focus on an actual, real finish!


So, the quilting you ask?!  I will admit I'm a bit smitten with this quilting design.  When strolling through Blogs, Pinterest or Instagram we always come across something that sparks our interest and we put it in the back of our mind for 'one day'.  Sadly I cannot for the life of me remember where I saw the quilting that inspired me.  I'd be happy to give credit where credit is due and I apologize for not remembering.

I decided now was a good time to use some variegated thread.  Not just any thread, Aurifil Pink Taffy (4660) 50 wt thread.  Aurifil kindly provided me with this spool as part of the Aurifil Artisan program.  The shades of pinks in this spool are so pretty!  It's feeding my new obsession with all things pink these days.

The blocks are 2 3/4" finished squares, and the options for quilting something like this are pretty endless.  Yet, that inspiration quilting I had tucked in the back of my mind was all I could think about.  

It's like an orange peel and organic straight lines combined.  I did not mark the curves or the distance from the seams, I relied on my eagle eye for semi consistent curves.  Using my walking foot, I started at a corner seam and stitched a curve to the next corner seam.  It's much simpler than it sounds.

For those who need a visual aid, I made a quilting diagram.  It is sometimes easier to show that tell!  I quilted vertical lines and then the horizontal lines.  From this diagram, it looks like apple cores!
After the first rows, I repeated the process except quilting on the opposite side of the seams.  After a little while you find a rhythm and the curves become easier.  It really is a fun design and I know I'll use it often now!

With the front being bonus HST's and scrappy, the back seemed like a good place to make a scraptastic backing!  I had a couple 16" X-Squared blocks left over and decided to combined those with some solids.  A double sided delight!

I really wish I had more bonus HST's!  There couldn't possible be a more versatile block on the planet...could there?!

That being said...what's your all time favorite block?  What do you think is the most all around multipurpose quilt block?


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!