Saturday, August 31, 2019

Tied With A Bow (Tie)

I might not be a huge fan of prints, but I am a fan of English Paper Piecing!  Or maybe I should say I'm a fan of having some sort of hand stitching to do in the evenings.

I really wanted to use my Liberty of London scraps for this project so the hunt was on for the perfect block.  Enter the mini Bow Tie Block!

20" X 20"
I started back in May making 2" blocks:  Baby Bow Ties EPP, and by July I had a pretty good stack of blocks finished:  Baby Bow Ties Getting Closer.  

The tiny Liberty floral along with the size of the block is irresistible!  It was so much fun making each block.  I was surprised, excited and delighted with every block.

I had been collecting Liberty scraps for quite sometime and knew the time was right to finally dig into them.  My goal was to make one block in each print.  And with a little help from a couple of dear friends, I was able to accomplish that goal.  

That means there are 100 blocks, 100 different prints and hours of hand stitching!  You might be wondering who in their right mind would need 100 different prints of anything?!  

Certainly not me!  I don't know how or why I got started collecting Liberty, but I will say I only bought scrap packs that were on sale.  

I used Kona white for the background and all kinds of solids for the center squares. 

The quilting is quite simple, orange peel all the way!  There were a lot of threads to bury, but worth every second!

I almost forgot the best part!  I decided to add a little extra loft in the white spaces!  I almost always use Warm & Natural cotton batting and this was no exception.  However I did add little circles of lofty wool batting in each white area.  It gave me what I was after!

What this means is I'm on the lookout for yet another hand stitching project...the madness never ends!


Sunday, August 25, 2019

Drunkard's Path + Scraps = Baby Magic

After finishing several Black & White quilts I was in the mood for some color!  What better way to feed that hunger than with this group of gorgeous colors?  

33" x 44"
I have been trying to work my way through the pile of scraps I accumulated from a previous project.  

This one might look familiar to you.  I haven't made any progress on quilting it, but it is pinned and ready to quilt as soon as I get up the courage!  

Scraps are inevitable when making circles, half circles or quarter circles.  You could consider it to be a waste of fabric.  I think of it as possibilities.  

With each project I try to design something different.  The basic shape might be the same, such as curves, but half the fun is figuring out how to use what I have in front of me and how to make it different.

Each DP block was trimmed to 3 1/4", which means the finished blocks became 2 3/4".  A little bit small!

In the beginning I decided on a Drunkards Path block.  With the curves at hand I decided to neutralize the color by adding light gray.  Once again I had scraps in different shades that weren't large enough for much of anything.  But they certainly were the right size for this project. 

After I made all the blocks I considered sewing together four and making circles.  Its the logical layout, but I wanted something different.  That's when I decided to add squares along with the DP blocks.  Not only was it a different shape to me, but it created twice as many blocks.  

Even with more blocks at my disposal, I still need a few more in order to make an actual usable sized quilt.  Four square blocks to the rescue!!

I like the addition of the four square block!  It adds a little surprise to the mix!

You'll notice I also added some blocks without the gray.  When working with specific size and shapes of scraps you often have to work with what you have.  I'm very happy I did and love how this quilt turned out!

I explored several different layouts, okay...I was flipping blocks like pancakes!  There are so many options!  In the end I decided random was the way to go.  

Then it was border time.  I used 3" strips in four different colors.  It was all about using those scraps!  You can see in this picture that I have a dark pink border on the bottom.  After I had sewn all the borders on I wasn't happy with the pink.  Out came the seam ripper and it was replaced with orange.  Much better!!

The quilt that started all this used 12" half circles and there were inverted, convex, concave...whatever you want to call them...scraps left over.  Big pieces, but scraps nonetheless!  From the 12" scraps, I made a table runner which is being quilted now, that uses 8" half circles.  I also made a small wall hanging, and now this baby quilt.  If you thought that would be the end of the scrap heap, sadly you would be wrong!  There are more, many more, way too many more!  

I might have to put an end to this madness.  Perhaps I'll shove it in a dark corner of the closet and one day I'll rediscover it with a renewed sense of excitement!  

Why is it that sometimes scraps seem like they multiply?!  I'm about out of new ideas at this time!


Sunday, August 18, 2019

I Could Resist :: B & W Mini

I hadn't intended on making another black and white mini quilt, but here we are!  Resisting the urge to make another one would be like telling me not to breathe any longer.  The 
Black & White Mini Quilt Challenge by Curated Quilts has inspired me more than I expected!

Black and white quilts can be quite striking.  The contrast between the two colors is about as graphic as it can get.  

Don't Stop Me Now
10 1/4" x 10 1/4"
This time I had three goals in mind.  One was to make it as close to 10" x 10" as I could.  The second was to use more white than the last quilt  (Spot On).  And the third goal was to use improv and make it graphic.  All three goals were met!  

I started with a simple half circle and pretty much every thing else fell into place from there. The black triangles in the white set the tone for the remainder of the quilt.  

It's so easy for me to take improv to a ridiculous level, but I wanted to keep it clean and open.  Negative space.  

Machine quilting something this small excites me!  I know I can go a little overboard because I can handle the size.  

Match stick quilting using white thread in the large white section is more than rewarding...but, I could help myself and leave one black triangle untouched.  The black circle has pebbles, and for the most part the black sections received 1/4" lines.  I made it up as I went!

Thank you Curated Quilts!  I love inspiration!  Just when I thought I was in a creative slump!

Mini Quilt Submission
I promise I have something other than mini's and black & white quilts to share!  There are a few things on the horizon!  


Monday, August 12, 2019

Mini Quilt :: Curated Quilts

Since I've been in the black & gray mode of making lately, I decided I may as well toss my hat into the Curated Quilts Mini Quilt Challenge.  Yes indeed!  The call for submissions is open and going crazy with entries!

Mini Quilt Submission
Submissions are open to everyone.  Each mini must be square from 10" to 16", it must read black and white, have a sense of motion through piecing or quilting, solids or prints, and lastly, submitted by August 31st.  

My entry started with one idea that ended up being horrific, so I changed gears and came up with something that was right up my alley!

13 1/4" x 13 1/4"
You all know I've been on a circle obsession lately and resisting is pointless.  Pair that addiction with another of my favorite techniques 'Textured Twists' and lo and get 'Spot On'!  The perfect storm in terms of creativity, technique and artistic license for me.  

The starting point began with an inset circle measuring 3 3/4" across.  From their I added a few more circles making sure they were organically imperfect, if that's a thing.  As much as I love making perfectly round circles, I thoroughly enjoyed not having to be quite as precise and accurate.  It must have been my inner improv voice coming out!

This is a true black and white mini using Kona Black and White fabric.  Once the center was finished I felt like it needed something else, so along came the idea of adding half circles on the top and bottom.  Truth be told, I didn't want to stop once I started!  Maybe it's my mature age or a moment of clarity, but I stopped before things got out of hand!  It's a mini challenge for pete's sake!

The 'textured twists' along with the organic circles create the movement required for the Curated Quilts challenge in my humble opinion.  Just to be safe, I decided to add more movement with the quilting.

With about 1/2" between each twist, quilting can be interesting to say the least.  I kept it simple and added wavy lines.  Around each circle I quilting organic lines with not a care in the world!  Pedal to the metal, round and round, and a thread color change here and there.

After it was quilted I fell in love with the back immediately!  I wish I could say the white strip on the back was intentionally placed knowing how it would look after the quilting of the white thread...but it was just dumb luck!!   


It would be nice if I could get a clear photo of the front in all it's quilting glory.  I just couldn't!  It wasn't happening with my photo skills!

After I made my Because Quilt, and before I made my Simply Complex Quilt, I also made another mini mini quilt.  Yes, I did it again and most likely will do it for the rest of my life.  One project leads to another and another, and so on and so on!  

5 3/4" x 5 3/4"
Scraps inspire me!  A mini mini using left over stripes and semi larger pieces of black and dove gray.  

I sometimes feel the need to use every piece of every project.  It's a challenge and I like that!

It's also a fun way to see just how much quilting you can cram into one tiny space! 

Are you going to submit a quilt to the Curated Quilts Mini Challenge?  Maybe two?  Luckily there's still plenty of time, so you better get hopping!  

I just might make another know...for the fun of it!


Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Simply Complex :: Life's Illusions

Ideas come and go.  Some are simple, some complex, some don't quite live up to what we visualize in our minds.  And then there are those that far exceed our imagination.  In the case of this quilt, it's Simply Complex:  a simple design that appears to be complex.  

39" x 38 1/2"
I started with scraps from a previous quilt and it soon took on the snowball effect.  A small insignificant idea or block that builds upon itself, growing bigger and bigger until either the idea has become clear and/or you have a quilt!  

This is the way I work.  The sweet spot of creativity, the mind of madness, feeding my artistic appetite, and many times the snowball effect.

Optical illusions have been around forever.  I love how they mess with our brain!  Creating perception that differs from reality.  I'm not going to pretend that my quilt is a mind altering illusion.  It has a bit of that which is way more than I ever expected it to have. 

And here I am again over analyzing a quilt of mine.  Which in reality, was nothing more than the desire to use scraps in some way or another.

The humble beginning started with a checker board.  The 1/2" stripes were cut in strips and sewn together creating 1/4" to 1 1/2" squares and rectangles.

Fabric used in this quilt is Kona Black and Kona Dove.  The gray is very light and from a distance it reads white.  I like that it isn't bright and glaring like whites can be.

Initially I was going to insert the checker board into a solid background, but my imagination got the best of me and I decided to try something different.  

Again with the Six-Minute Circle method!   I can't help it, it works for me!

It's a bit trickier inserting a circle with so many seams.  Not impossible, you just need to take it slow and steady.  

With one circle finished and liking what I saw, I made another, and another and one more for good measure.  The circles are 4 3/4", 6 1/4" and 8".  Four is enough.  Full disclosure:  I had to make more stripe fabric in order to make all the circles. 

Once I settled on the checkered background for the inset circles, it was pretty much a given as to how the rest of the background would end up.  I could have easily made the circles be the focus in the center and added black or gray around it, but I had to go with my gut.  And my gut said checker board.  

The more I thought about the background the more I wanted to add a twist to it.  Something a little different that might add a bit more interest.  That's when I decided to make the squares different widths.  Each square/rectangle is the same height at 4 1/4" finished, but the width varies from 4 1/2" to 1" finished.  I began cutting and building and adding and thinking...and somehow I ended up with this.    

During the entire process I had no idea how it would turn out.  Who would have thought by adding smaller and smaller widths of fabric that it would create the illusion that the side of a quilt is curled?!  At least that's what it looks like to me!  I couldn't have been more surprised or pleased with the results.

Quilting black and gray (or white) quilts always makes me nervous.  Do you use black thread or white thread all over?  I was worried if I use just one thread color that it would obstruct the visual impact of the design.  I decided I would alternate using Aurifil 50wt thread Black and Dove in each square.  

The back is the easiest and best way to show the quilting.  My decision to quilt vertical lines around the focal point was an easy one, but it wasn't quite as simple as it appears.  The plan was to make 1/2" lines throughout keeping it as simple as I could.  Yet, working 1/2" evenly across one block let alone all blocks proved to be hopeless.  All blocks are not created equal and it soon became evident that spacing would depend on each vertical row.

I worked up and down a couple rows at a time trying to evenly make my lines.  In the end they varied from 5/8" to 1/8" give or take a frog hair here and there.  

The center has the lines going horizontal at about 3/8" apart.  And lastly the circles.  The best idea I had for those were random vertical lines stitched in the ditch.  

I don't believe it would have turned out to be what I call a success with out a faced binding.  The quilt needed to have the design to go from edge to edge.  

I use this tutorial and highly recommend it: 
Knife Edge Binding by Bloomin' Workshop.

Usually by the end of a quilt I think of things I could have, should have or wish I had done differently.  This would be no exception!  I wish I had made both sides like the right side for the 'curl' effect.  That's about all I would have done different.  There could be another version, one never knows.  For now I'm good!

I'd just like to say thank you for letting me ramble as I do in most of my posts.  I might not be the best at writing, punctuation or explaining things...I just plain and simply love blogging!


Monday, August 5, 2019

Nido Wool Pressing Mat :: Review

Wool mats have become quite the rage the past year.  It's another tool for our quilting arsenal which is designed to make our lives easier.  

I was contacted a while back by a company called Nido and asked if I would review their wool pressing mat.  With little hesitation I agreed and was provided a mat free of charge.  It seems people either really like them or they don't.  I was about to find out!


When the mat arrived I was determined to run it through the steps and give my first hand honest opinion.  I love small and intricate piecing.  Paper piecing and improv usually leads to lots of seams and we all know that pressing is essential.  The devil is in the details!  

This wool mat is made with 100% New Zealand wool, it measures 13.5" x 13.5" and is 1/2" thick.  Tiny piecing doesn't take up a lot of space, so the size of the mat is perfect for me.  Plus, its small enough to tuck away when not in use and compact enough to take on quilting outings.   

Wool mats have very dense fibers that retain heat from your iron which ends up heating from both sides.  Perfect for seams.  I like crisp flat seams and if I can get those results quicker, I'm all for it!  Quick, easy and efficient!   

Once I had the perfect project, it was time to put the mat to the test.  This black and gray might look familiar!  My quilt 'Because', required some pieced 1/2" stripes and like most of my projects I had plenty of left over pieces.  You know I'm not about to let scraps sit for long!  This quilt is full of let the pressing begin!  


Pressing my seams open with the mat underneath, resulted in nice flat seams.  With this many seams so close together, it can be hard to keep them flat.  Factor in the Tennessee humidity even with air conditioning and well, seams aren't going to stay as crisp and flat as I want them.  

I do believe the wool mat helped and I didn't feel like I had to press down on the iron quite as hard.  I have been known to muscle seams into submission!  

I could really see the results of the mat when I inset the circle and pieced the larger pieces together.  The seams are perfectly flat.  Exactly the results we strive for.

My final review of the Nido Wool Mat is that I like the results very much.  I can get crisp flat seams with less work.  The hardest part of having a wool mat is remembering to use it!  Having limited space means there's a place for everything and everything has a place.  I have to put things away after each use and sometimes forget to use tools that make life easier!

Another thing to be aware of when using a wool mat is there is an odor associated with use.  To me it's very noticeable and fills my room.  It isn't an aroma that turns me off to using it, but if you have a sensitive nose it's something you should be aware of.  I think of it like this:  I love garlic and when cooking with it, my entire house smells like garlic...but it's worth it in the end!

For a limited time Nido is offering 15% off at checkout when you use the code:  TWIGGY15  If you are considering a wool mat, this might be the perfect time to make your dreams come true!

Thursday, August 1, 2019

BECAUSE :: A Finish!!

When I started this quilt I didn't have a plan as to what or where it would end up.  I just wanted to make more circles!  

Because...I love making them, Because...they make me happy, Because...I had the time...Because there were scraps to be used.  And the 'Because' list could go on and on.

I really enjoy starting a project just to start one and seeing how it comes together day by day.  If I'm not super excited about it, I make it a mini.  If I become inspired during the process, there's no telling what it can become.  The element of surprise is real!

47" x 67"
It all started with an idea, as do most quilts and grew from there.  Testing the waters along the way.  

The center half circles were left over from a previous quilt.  I really don't like leaving scraps laying around too long, so I came up with a plan as far as those pieces were concerned.  Which was to make a scrappy background.  Something a little different from my previous circle quilts.  This circle ended up being 5 3/4" across.

Not able to leave well enough alone, and the fact that the largest circles weren't enough to become anything, I decided to use the back ground from the large circles to make another set of circles, this time using the Six-Minute Circle method.  These 4 1/4" circles were set a bit wonky intentionally.

More, more, more!  These 2 3/4" circles were my balance blocks, filler and pure solids.

The background fabric is Kona Dove, my new favorite gray by the way!

I'm not sure where or when the idea of adding stripes came into play, but it did.  I didn't have any stripe fabric on hand so what else could I do but make my own?!

I pieced together 1" strips and soon had my very own pieced stripe fabric.  I played with a few ideas and eventually an idea took hold.  

My pile of pieces rapidly grew and it was high time I figured out the final layout and puzzle it together.  That's where the challenging part comes in, the fun part!

I was worried the stripes might be too much and not at all what I wanted.  So I took my time to place them randomly throughout the quilt.

Adding the background between the circles and stripes was interesting!  A little effort, brain power and a desire to get it done was all that was needed. 

I quilted 1/2" vertical lines from top to bottom and a 1/2" grid in the large circles.  

This is a really bad photo, but I wanted to show the the 'filigree' quilting as well.  I quilted some of the small circles like this and scattered phantom filigree circles throughout the quilt.

What would a finish be without a pieced binding of some sort?!  Probably not one of my quilts!  

The backing is Kona Honeydew, a fresh light bright greenish color that I love!

While making this quilt my husband came in and asked 'what are you making now'?  He asks that often, and I usually respond with 'I don't know yet'.  

I make Because...

There doesn't have to be a reason to make a quilt, does there?!