Thursday, November 7, 2019

A Little Bit of Everything!

I recently got back from a five day trip to visit family.  It was quick, but we had a nice visit right up until our return trip flight was cancelled!  Turns out Denver was in for a snow event!  We had to rush to the hotel, pack and drive to the airport in order to catch a red-eye flight back home.  Not exactly the leisurely pace we wanted, but we made it home bleary eyed and safe!

All that being said, the few days before we left I was in a sort of limbo with what to do with myself.  I really couldn't start an actual quilt, so the next best thing was to focus on a few mini mini quilts.  That way my itch was scratched.  I could surely finish one or two and be happy!

DOUBLE GOOSED
6" X 6"
I love the intricate process of paper piecing!  Thankfully there are creative people out there that know how to draft patterns that we can make.  This little beauty is called 'Double Goosed' and is the creation of Jeliquilts.  You can find all of Kelly's patterns in her Payhip shop here:  Jeliquilts.



These tiny geese were a challenge to be sure, but oh what fun!  I was determined to finish it before we left on our trip, and I did.  It finished at 6" x 6", and as you can see those center geese are teeny tiny!



Once I got home I quilted it up and put on the skinny binding.  Here is a tutorial for the binding method I use just in case you'd like to try it out:  Mini Mini Binding



The Rubber Ducky and Fishy Bones was pieced before I left as well.  These two patterns I always reduce the size when I'm printing because...I like to go small!

Fishy Bones is a Unicornharts pattern, and Rubber Ducky is a Zephyr Skies pattern.  Click on the links and it'll take you to their Payhip shops!

The log cabin blocks were a last minute after I got home project.  Something fun, easy and I could use scraps.  

I'm still trying to focus on quilting some quilts and writing a pattern, but between a trip, day light savings and fall weather I haven't made much progress!  Yesterday was a beautiful day which meant it was time to deal with falling leaves!  There are still plenty more that have yet to fall and I'll be back out there before long doing a repeat of yesterday.  It's always a feeling of accomplishment when the yard is neat and tidy this time of the year...at least for a couple hours!

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Friday, November 1, 2019

HST's to the Rescue!

There is no denying HST's (half square triangles) make amazing quilt designs.  With so many possibilities for layouts it can be hard to settle on one...but we manage I think!

I've been revisiting several of my designs lately trying to revamp and remake them because sometimes it's just worth it.  It also lets me see if they are worth further exploration or let it go and move on. 


HST BABY QUILT
36" x 48"
 
There are several reasons I love HST's.  Possibilities, color options, design, and for me it makes choosing a quilting design is so much easier to come by.  How to quilt something has always been a struggle for me.  With the geometric design I feel comfortable and often eager to get down to business right away!



It's no secret that my favorite color the past couple years has been pink.  So it was an easy choice to try out this baby quilt design using loads of pink and a splash of coral/peach.  

I used two shades of pink for the square and rectangle shapes.  They add interest visually and give this quilt that geometric design that I love.

I think I used 8 -10 other pink/coral colors for the background.  I like to have a variety of shades...the more the better in my book!



The square and rectangle has concentric 1/2" to 3/4" lines quilted using pink thread.  I think there are numerous possibilities for how those could be quilted.  I just haven't gone there yet!

The centers have a 1" grid, but the fun didn't stop there!  I have a bit of everything thrown in.  Diamonds, rectangle/square grids, 1/2" lines, e/4" lines!



I may go a bit overboard when it comes to quilting geometric!  I love the texture and interest it creates.  Also, there's no denying it looks pretty fabulous after it's washed!


It isn't easy to see the quilting on the back of the Kona Bright Pink, but I think you can see just enough.  You can see the madness and then some!


Here is a close up of the back for a bit more clarity.


This isn't the best picture, but this is a lap size of the same design.  For the lap size I added one more square and rectangle to fill the space.  The background HST's are a combination of teal, aqua, green and lavender.  I love that combination!

As of today I still have to quilt the lap quilt, quilt my Shoo-Fly quilt, quilt my Half Circle quilt, write a pattern or two and fill my Etsy shop with holiday favorites!  It didn't help that I had to leave town for a week to visit relatives...but I'm doing my best at this point to keep my head above water!

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Blue Wave :: Textured Twist Finish

I can finally cross this quilt off my list!  There is always a big sigh of relief and satisfaction when a quilt is completely finished.  Especially one that you have put a ton of time and work into.  

BLUE WAVE
36" X 50"

Once I was sure the concept would work, I could barely contain myself!  Having that spark of confidence propelled me forward and finishing the piecing was pure pleasure. 

With the top finished my usual reaction to quilting is 'now I have to quilt it, but how'!  There really wasn't I could do with this quilt because of the 'Textured Twists'.  You can't quilt over the twists or it would ruin the texture and the illusion.

  

Seriously, I struggle with quilting ideas!  So when a quilt presents itself with the obvious and only solution I jump on it.



In this case dense curves were quilted between the waves.  While not a remarkable design, it suits the quilt and works for me.  



The next phase was what to do between the twists, or should I do nothing at all?!  Because some of the curve panels are quite wide, I choose to free motion quilt between every...single...twist!  I swallowed my fear of FMQ mostly because I knew it would be much quicker and easier than using a walking foot.  And, I'm happy to say it isn't too bad!



All of the quilting fits with the vibe of the quilt, and in my humble opinion it doesn't detract from the design.



The very final step was binding of course!  Again, I feel like it was predetermined just like the quilting phase.  A faced binding was added that lets the waves flow freely from edge to edge.



Honestly, I'm pretty proud of how this quilt turned out!    

I've tried to keep the 'Textured Twist' technique alive and well by bringing new ideas/designs to the table.  What will be next?!  I haven't a clue, but I'm pretty sure I'll come up with something!

 

I picked the most obvious name for this quilt...Blue Wave!  Too obvious?  I was also thinking about 'Solitude', or 'Reflections'.  What do you think?  

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Thursday, October 17, 2019

Re-D0, Re-Work, Re-Think

Every once in a while I like to revisit one of my designs and see if I can make it better.  I'd like to think that once a pattern is written, it's set in stone.  It's so good and perfect that there isn't anything I could do to make it better!  That's what I get for thinking!



The first rendition of this quilt was six years ago.  It was one of the first patterns I wanted to put to paper, but it didn't quite get there.  I had rough measurements and block placement, but it always fell short of the 'worthy' category.

Here are a few posts featuring my brilliant idea:
Feverishly Finished, Finished and Loved, Pattern Revisited

I guess the reason I keep going back to this one is because it's unfinished business to me.  I know I can make it better, do better.  And so I did...again!

 

One thing I added were sashing pieces.  They not only made the quilt 6" wider, but they staggered the main blocks.



The idea for the new version is not to have any of the Shoo-Fly blocks touching.  Which ended up being a bit more difficult that I thought it would be!  There are five (5) different Shoo-Fly block sizes that combine together to make one large block.  Two sashing strips are added per row for the off set factor.  


12"
I decided it was time to bust out the Alison Glass fabric for this version.  I have it, why not use it?!  


10"
7.5"
3" & 6"
I'm using Kona Silver for the background fabric.  It's a very light gray and frankly...I had a ton on hand!


I did get the top pieced together, but I need to tweak a few things before I can write/design/make the pattern.  

One thing I LOVE about this pattern, besides the blocks, fabric, design...Is how forgiving it is.  Quarter inch seams?  Scant 1/4" seams?  It doesn't matter how careful I am, which 1/4" seam I use or how careful and precise I try to be, my blocks are never perfectly square or the size they are suppose to be.  This pattern isn't going show the so called 'fatal flaw'.  Make your blocks, piece them into the large block and if you have to trim here and there...do it!  I love that...did I say I love that yet?!  

The Shoo-fly block doesn't have points or precision piecing to worry about.  It's still going to look like a Shoo-Fly in the end whether you have to trip 1/8" or 1/4" off!

So, that being said...I'm working on it!

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Thursday, October 10, 2019

Hexie Heart Wall Hanging

Let's see a finish!  I've had a few quilt tops finished and spent some time on finally quilting them.  It feels good to cross them off the list.  Without further ado...


HEXIE HEART
20 1/2" x 21 1/2"
What I love about small quilts is they quilt up fast!  I guess that depends on how detailed you make it, but in general...they are faster!  The reward is having a lovely little quilt and the feeling of accomplishment.



I started this quilting journey by stitching approximately 1/8" along the edges of the hexies.  Because the hexies and hearts were laid on top of a piece of fabric, I needed to make sure they were secure.  I guess you would call this applique!



The next move was quilting a circle around each heart and hexie circle.  I love how the circles on the hexies overlap to create a little more interest. 


























I did stitch in the ditch around each heart, but left the inside of the heart free and clear of any quilting.  I felt if I did any quilting there I'd feel the need to use matching thread, and I wasn't feeling that at all!  Call me lazy! 



Maybe lazy with the hearts, but I did free motion quilt around each one!  I'm calling it filigree quilting.  That sounds much more interesting than stipple quilting which is really what it is!

The lines around the outside of the hexie circle are 1/4" and 1/2" wide.  A simple design that adds a little texture I suppose!



The back is a piece of Alison Glass 'Artifact' fabric that I've been saving for no reason whatsoever!  I've been getting better about letting go of certain pieces of fabric, which is a very good feeling.  



I'm pretty happy with this quilt!  I told you when I first blogged about this (Rainbow Love) just how quickly it went together and that I was going to make another one.  

I haven't actually made another one, but I have one ready to go!  This time the hexies will be solids...and the hexies will be 1/2"!  I'm super excited about that!  I'm saving it for a trip we have to make back to Oregon to visit the in-laws.  I don't think it'll take long to whip it together once I start it.  Another stay tuned project!

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Monday, October 7, 2019

Mass Production :: HST's

With a couple quilts quilted but not photographed, I decided to take a break and make my annual stack of Half Square Triangles (HST's).  This seems to be something I do 
en masse on occasion.  For me it makes sense.  The process of selecting, cutting, sewing and trimming seems much more efficient to do all at once.  One time...BOOM...done!


  

It's a daunting process of picking the fabric and colors, but one that is the key to having a huge variety of HST's.

I mainly work with this six color combination:  Yellow, Green, Pink, Blue, Orange and purple.  This combination will give me all the colors I need for my baby quilts that I plan on making throughout the year.

So I cut and cut and cut!  Some colors I may only have one block while others I may have five.  In the end they will be paired together and give me the randomness I want.

 

This is the reason why I make so many HST's.  As you can see I arrange the center blocks by color.  Each block needs four (4) different shades of the same color.  Which is why I make so many!  



Once all the blocks have been cut I get the pleasure of making the pairs!  I enjoy this part!  It's the beginning of where the magic starts!  



This part I don't enjoy quite as much!  After I cut the squares I also mark the diagonal line with my Hera marker on every block.  It's part of the being efficient process.

And then I sew and sew and sew!  A 1/4" seam on one side of the diagonal line and then 1/4" on the other side.  Over and over!  I kind of get in a mental trance during this process.  It's anything but exciting.



Another payoff is getting to slice the blocks in half and two identical stacks of beauty!  At this point I take one stack and put it away for later in the year.  The other stack is more than enough to work with now.  But there is more work to be done!



Pressing.  Yes, it's a necessary evil.  When I press my blocks I press the seams to one side.  Why you ask?!  



I use one of my favorite tools the Bloc-Loc.  With this ruler there is a groove on the back that locks on to the seam.  It makes trimming so easy and fast!  There's that efficiency part again!

And now I have something to work with!  



Any guesses how many HST's I ended up with?  I will say this was my biggest mass production in one sitting!  

I started with 308 squares.
I made 154 block pairs.
And ended up with 308 HST's.



I might be having separation anxiety with my trimmings!  You don't know how badly I want to keep these...but I won't...not this time!

While I was cutting my squares I had no idea how many I had.  I was quite surprised at the final count!

You might be asking why I would make the same quilt over and over and over again.  Well, it's been a very good design for me.  People love it and it's the kind of quilt that will never go out of style. 

Do you mass producer of a certain block for future quilts or am I just that crazy?!


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Sunday, September 29, 2019

Textured Twist Revisited

Ever since I made my first large quilt using my Textured Twist technique (Louver), I've been subconsciously working on a design for my next quilt.  Eventually a plan started forming and I knew what I had to do.  

Doing the Textured Twists technique isn't a fast process.  It takes perseverance and you have to be in it for the long haul!  That being said, I was ready to take it on knowing there would be no turning back.  Full force ahead!


38" x 53" 
I had to be all in when I started this quilt.  This kind of quilt is better appreciated when you see it in person or see close up photos.  That most likely puts me in the 'crazy' category, but I've been there before!  Deep down I was doubting myself and wondering if all this work is worth it.  If you can't share the full impact...what's the point?!  Determination to keep my technique in the forefront, dedication to making the design come alive and refusal to fail motivated me!



The starting point of quilting always begins with the fabric.  Choosing and then cutting.  I grabbed my stack of blues and developed my 'ombre' plan ending up with 32 different shades of blue.  That's a lot!  Thankfully I have yardage and fat quarters to round out my plan.  

The second step is to press, starch and cut the strips.  With yardage I cut my 3/4" strips and then cut them in half, and with fat quarters I cut double that along the longest side.  After cutting each color I placed them on a board to keep the gradient in order.

Step three is cutting the 1" strips that sandwich the 3/4" folded strips, in this case I was using Kona White.  Again cutting off the fold to make the strips manageable.



And the final step is pressing the starched blue strips in half.  That's right!  The 3/4" folded strips in half is 3/8", factor in 1/4" seam allowance and the 'twist' becomes 1/8".  That's where the magic happens.  That's how you get the texture, the detail and the illusion.

I learned after the last quilt that pressing the strips in half becomes super painful after a while!  I wanted to dip my fingers in a jar of aloe for relief!  The steam from the iron is crucial to get a good fold, but it also scorches your fingers.  

A few months ago I saw something that I thought might be the solution to that. 



Thermal Thimbles!  I had never heard of such a thing!  Willing to take a chance I ordered a package and tucked them away until now.  They were quite inexpensive too!  Thank you Dritz for making my life easier!  Time to test them out....



Stylin' the blue!



And you know what?  They work!  Holy heck!  A tool that works and will make my life easier is always worth the money!  

I used one on my thumb and one on my index finger.  The only problem, and it really wasn't a problem, was you can't feel the fabric.  My solution was to use my middle finger to start the fold and my protected fingers for the iron part.  I highly recommend these Thermal Thimbles to anyone who does a lot of ironing.  You'll thank me I promise!

With that out of the way, I pieced together my sections of twists working on one wave at a time.  



I was fully aware of where the lighter sections were being placed because that was all a part of the plan.  



The twist illusion starts with one side of the twists sewn in the seam one way, and the opposite side in the other direction.  That's the texture part.



The illusion part is achieved by ironing and the angle you view the quilt.  It never disappoints for me!



Another way to get the full effect of the ombre and all the detail involved in making a quilt like this is the back of the top.   Of course, you'll never see that part after the quilt is finished.  But it's worth a look!

I know what some of you are thinking...the back might be better than the front!  Or maybe even...are you crazy!  Crazy, yes.  The back is gorgeous, but many quilt top backs are.  And I'm pretty sure that the majority of us are not going to flip a seam laden back and make it the front.  It's just part of quilting!



Anytime I can make my husband think I'm crazy is always a plus!  He insists I was inspired from our recent trip to the beach, but he is so wrong!  Something like this takes months and months of planning!  Not so much on paper, but it's a process that has to simmer in my mind for a time until I'm ready to fully commit!

Next up will be the quilting, which is really a no brainer.  Dense organic horizontal curves.  The last thing you want to do is quilt over the Textured Twists!


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