Saturday, February 25, 2017

Geesed and Goosed

Last Saturday at our Guild meeting we had a paper piecing class.  Half the class did what we referred to as 'traditional' paper piecing and the other half did freezer paper paper piecing.  Some people had a lot of experience and some not so much.  We thought it might be a fun way to introduce and expand some techniques that we all gained collectively.  

I remember when I first started paper piecing how intimidating it seemed.  Since then I have learned a lot, and it doesn't scare me as it once did.  We picked a couple basic patterns to work with, and began the fun!

16 1/2" x 16 1/2"
'Circle of Geese' is a free pattern available on Craftsy from Piece By Number.  This was one of my first projects and where I got my 'feet wet' with paper piecing.  I've only made it once before, but I was so excited and happy with my first endeavor...it pretty much got me hooked on this wacky paper piece craze!  So, I was pretty excited to give it another try.  



I made a test piece to share at the meeting because I was one of the co-teachers.  I was surprised at how quickly it came together this time around.  Chalk that up to a couple years of paper piecing under my belt.



I should note that the pattern is just the center circle of geese.  When I got home, I decided to add a border.  

I've been a little obsessed with geese lately, geese and this color scheme!  I'm happy to say that every piece is from my scrap heap.  I was looking for a way to use the scraps and consciously veered away from the rainbow.



The little geese are 1" x 2" and paper pieced.  The corner geese I had tried to get the same size as the center and it just about worked!  Looking at the back of a paper piece project (or EPP or quilt) is always interesting!  It's always worth a look and nine times out of ten...worth a picture!



After letting the top stew for a few days, an idea for quilting finally came to me.  Concentric circles in the center and phantom geese along the border.  This would have been a great project to share as a concentric circle tutorial!  By the time I realized that I was nearly finished with the center.  There will be a next time!



I liked this photo because it doesn't look at all like flying geese!  More like a circular saw blade!

The circles are spaced 1/2" apart and again, I used the side of my walking foot.  After the first round using dark blue thread, I decided to add more circles using different thread colors.  Five different colors to be exact!



You can see the quilting better on the back as well as the thread colors.  And because I thought it would be fun, I added two different corner colors!  Frivolous fun is always fun!

Who here has a favorite paper piecing pattern?  I know paper piecing isn't for everyone.  If you have never tried it, you should.  It can be so much fun and it's another skill to add to your arsenal!

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Mini Mini Bug Strikes Again

It's true.  I've been bitten by the Mini Mini Quilt bug again!  There are times when we want a little project to whip up, something quick that will soothe and pacify that urge.  My remedy for that this time was a couple Mini Mini's.


3 1/2" x 3 1/2"
There's a satisfaction when completing a little quilt like these, and I'm not sure why that it! It may be the nearly instant satisfaction of a finish, the joy of having made something so small...or perhaps the fact that my itch was scratched!


3 1/2" x 3 1/2"
I've made this star many times, usually in a beautiful rainbow spectrum.  To change it up I went with shades of pink.  Pink are the colors I used in my Round Robin center block, one of my Electric Hearts...so it seems I'm in a color phase at the moment!  



Pink are the colors I used in my Round Robin center block, one of my Electric Hearts...so it seems I'm in a color phase at the moment!  


With Mini Mini's, I don't have to stress or fight with the quilting.  To me that's a win win!  


3 1/2" x 3 1/2"
Both of these blocks were paper pieced.  It allows me to go super tiny especially when I want precision.  Plus, I really love paper piecing and find that I'm doing it more and more lately.  



Mini Mini's are also a great way to use small scraps.  If I have a pile of scraps from a quilt it's hard to let them go!  A quilt I have yet to share used these fabrics, and I had a nice pile I couldn't and wouldn't let go of.  I have several other projects in the work using those scraps and the fun won't end until I can use every last piece!  I hope you like this color combination because you will be seeing it a lot...a lot!  

Have you tried your hand at a Mini Mini quilt yet?  You might consider using left over or orphan blocks, or randomly sew together scraps.  Even reduce your favorite block design...see how small you can go!


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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Round Robin :: My First

You would think after all this time I would have a Round Robin under my belt by now!  I've seen and admired many quilts that have made the rounds, and secretly hoped that one day I would be able to participate in one.  Luckily our Guild decided to try it out this year and signing up was voluntary.  So, of course I signed up!

Groups of participants are formed, usually 4-6 people.  Each person makes a center block and passes it to the next person in the group.  That person then adds to the center block. It could be borders or blocks, maybe on one side, perhaps all sides.  After that round is finished, it moves to the next person and so forth until it has made it around to every one in the group.

We can specify colors or size, provide fabric, suggest a theme.  Or like me...let them 'have at it'!  Just have fun!  

That being said, here's my center block for the Round Robin.  You may recognize those blocks from my Orange and Black paper pieced quilt.  I was testing block sizes for the pattern I'm attempting to write.



Since the test blocks were ...test blocks... the background was different on each one!  I'm cool with that and it seems to me, it will play well with each round.  No one will have to worry about variations of whites, or creams or snow.  It won't matter.  Neutrals + Scrappy = perfect!



My center block is a  rectangle measuring 12 3/4" x 15 1/4".  It'll be interesting to see if it stays that way!   I used pinks, corals and oranges to kick off the festivities, but left the color choice to the next in line.  I hope I don't stress them out with my lack of guidelines!



Look at me!  I used prints!  I needed a little extra width for my block and a row of geese came to mind.  A row of very tiny geese!  These actually should be called 'Flying Goslings', they are just little babies!  Super cute measuring in at a whopping 2" x 1".



Tomorrow we will pass our blocks to the next in line and I have to say, I'm excited to see what I get to work on!!  Suspense!


I'll keep you posted on how this all plays out!  Have you done a Round Robin before?  Did you recommend colors, themes or fabrics?  

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day :: I Couldn't Resist!

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!


The day of love, sweets, romance, chocolate, flowers, candy! 

It's probably too soon to share version two of my bias tape hearts...but it is Valentines Day after all!  A slightly different interpretation from Heart 1.

16" x 16"
This time I went smaller.  Instead of working with 1" grid, I decided to go with a 1/2" grid.  If you look at Heart 1, you will see it has more space in between the bias tape and the heart in more elongated. 

  

I starched the fabric this time, didn't use the fusible web tape and did not cut the fabric on the bias.  All three of those things...Home Run!!  It worked so much better!

I think I like this version best...so far!  I like a good chubby heart!


More match stick quilting with white and pink thread.  I like that with the light background you can clearly see the thread colors.


I'm not going to lie, I have plans for Heart #3.  I know...I'm 'beating' (beating ... heart ... pun intended) this idea to death!!  

What would it look like using a 3/4" grid?!  Plus, I need to get a secret surprise gift for another unsuspecting person.  I had so much fun with the few I did last year, I want to keep it up for 2017. With that in mind, wouldn't a pretty little heart be a nice surprise to receive?


Thank you for putting up with yet another heart...


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Monday, February 13, 2017

Electric Heart :: Bias Tape + Faux Trapunto

It wouldn't be February without a heart or two!  I've seen so many amazing heart projects the past few weeks that have inspired me to throw my hat in the ring as well!
20" x 21"
I first saw this image years ago on the television screen of all places!  As soon as I saw it, I thought "hmmm, that would be an interesting quilt'.  I paused the screen, took a picture and the image was saved.  I would revisit the image every now and again, waiting for that spark of inspiration to hit me but it never did.  Until recently...



I always thought I would figure out the code and piece a quilt, but the idea of bias tape came to mind and from there...the idea was born!

With the image printed, I marked a grid using 1" squares as my guide for when I place the bias tape.  

Bias tape, you ask?  It seemed like the perfect way to see this image become a reality.  I've tried bias tape one time with semi-success and was ready to give it one more try.



The 3/8" (9mm) Clover Bias Tape Maker was my weapon of choice for this project.  I revisited my lessons for 'Technicolor Galaxy' (which is my oldest WIP ever) and found the proper way to fold fabric so the strips are cut on the bias.  Trying to be proper here!  The strips were cut at 3/4" and sewn together for a very, very long strip.  



Now, this is the irritating, aggravating, frustrating part!  I should have used starch on my fabric first.  Second, I really didn't need my strips to be cut on the bias.  Bias cutting is great if you are doing curves, I am not, therefore why bother?!  

Also, you see that white strip?  That is bias tape fusible web, which is suppose to allow you to fuse the bias tape to your project, make it stick...my luck with that was a total bust!  A total waste of time!  I think my problem was my iron was too hot.  I didn't use steam, but I had the heat hot. I'm sure it works if you adhere it properly.  

In the end I took all the paper off and grabbed my glue!  



I grabbed my Moda Cross Weave fabric and began to mark a grid on it just like the photo. After pressing the horizontal and vertical lines, I used my Hera Marker to fill in with the 1" grid.

 

And the fun began!  Glue, bias tape, press and repeat.  You can see how the bias tape has a 'bump' and is not perfectly straight.  Starch...starch...starch and no fusible web or bias fabric cutting would have made all the difference.  

How do I know that?  I had to make another one, a smaller one and it was pretty dang perfect! I'll share that one when it's finished!



It took a lot of fiddling, fussing and rearranging at times and I did get confused.  I persisted because that's what women do...and the results were worth it.



Because I hadn't done my 'Faux Trapunto' method in a long time, I wondered if I could incorporate it into this piece.

One heart project that really inspired me I saw on Instagram.  Stephanie Ruyle @Spontaneousthreads is a great source on inspiration to me.  Her #lovemore quilt got me motivated to 'heart it out' too!

What I really wanted to say on my quilt was #shepersisted, I didn't think the heart was the right background for that.  Maybe one day.



  

I first quilted around the edges of the bias tape to make sure they were secure and now raw edges would pop out and then went with Match Stick quilting for the rest of this piece.  I ended up using a dark red, bright red, dark pink, light pink and grey thread.  


  
And yes, I did wash it!  I had to do it!  



The back uses my hanging method and the left over heart fabric.  The Heart fabric is Heavy Metal by Windham Fabrics which has a touch of gold metallic splotches on it.  



Have you tried bias tape on a quilt before?  What about bias tape adhesive?  What is the secret to applying the adhesive...I know I'm doing something wrong!

Hearts for Valentines are as old as dirt!  As is heart shaped boxes of candy!  Which frankly I love! All those little candies with sweet surprised inside of them!!


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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Purge Quilt ~ For Josephine

I'm going to coin a new phrase!  Purge Quilting.  Let's define that a little bit.  There could be a pile of undesirable fabric you really just want to use in order to be rid of.  Maybe there's a pile of scraps you accumulated and it's high time they come together as one.  Or even a pre-cut that has collected enough dust to be called a 'dust bunny'!

Purging myself from those situations have become a focus, nearly an obsession.  It's a good old fashioned cleansing of the soul!  Really, I may never eradicate myself from the bad juju fabric, but on those occasions when I do it really does feel good!  Hopefully it will all come together and turn out to be something beautiful!



I'm calling this quilt Josephine's Quilt.  She will be making her debut in a few months and I'm determined to have a quilt finished well before the big event.  

I inherited a Moda Hello Betty Honey Bun (1 1/2" x WOF strips) from my daughter years ago.  It was no longer a roll, but rather a pile of slowly unraveling, soon to be useless strips. It was a spur of the moment decision to JUST USE IT!

We all know it would be much easier to use said fabric if we had a plan at the beginning! Eventually that idea did come.  Strip piecing.  

In addition to the Honey Bun strips, I cut a few orange, grey, aqua and white strips in order to have enough fabric for each of the tube sets.



Gotta love mindless sewing!  As fast as my machine would go, I made sets of three strips.



Next you pair two sets and sew 1/4" on each side to create a tube.



This is so easy...you gotta try it!  



This ruler is really handy and takes the guess work out of cutting.  If you don't have one, don't worry...you can use a square ruler.  



Line the tip at the stitch line, make sure the ruler is straight...and...



Slice and dice!  Flip the ruler...and...



Do it again.  Depending on how you want your final blocks to look, I recommend that you do not mix the blocks.  



You will need 4 blocks to make one bigger block.  I cut 4 blocks in each direction from my strip. 



You do have a couple options with your blocks.  You could 'throw caution to the wind' and go totally scrappy or you could go this way...



or that way...

Same 4 blocks, except turned creating a different center.



I have made a total of four 7" blocks!  I figure I have time before Josephine gets here, so I'll take my time.  Besides, I know I'll have to figure out a layout and most likely add additional blocks...blah, blah, blah!  Another rabbit hole I've fallen into!



These are really fun blocks to make and they look so cool!  Maybe next time I'll use wider strips.  Maybe even use my 'undesirable' fabric!  The possibilities!

I see a lot of Purge Quilting in my future!  How do you handle fabric you want to purge?  Do you use it, ignore it or throw it into a quilt?!



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TGIFF