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!


Friday, September 27, 2019

COSMOS Puzzle Mystery Quilt :: August Block

I was very excited when I received an email asking if I'd like to participate in a Mystery Puzzle Quilt Blog Hop, and after receiving my August clue I was even more excited! 
A little background first!  Each month, one of us will assemble a Puzzle Mystery Quilt clue.  At the end of the 9 month project, Cotton Cuts will finish the quilt and raffle it off, with all the proceeds going to Valley Industries.  Valley Industries is a sheltered workshop for disabled individuals that Cotton Cuts uses for their box fulfillment process.  You can enter the raffle for the quilt here: Cotton Cuts Mystery Quilt Raffle.

When I received my clue of fabric I couldn't wait to get started!  First of all, all the pieces are precut!  That means I don't have to worry about cutting and I could get right down to business!

Not only do you receive detailed easy to follow instructions for the mystery block and precut pieces, but you also get a this handy fabric chart.  I referred back to it often while putting my blocks together.


I needed to make four (4) of one block.  Each section went together quite fast.  

Have I mentioned how much I love that the pieces are precut?!

I feel like I flew through each section because I could just grab and go with the pieces.  Plus, I love the colorway we got to work with!

This is the finished block!  I'm so curious how this quilt will look in the end!  The mystery is killing me!

Since I have no clue about the layout, I took my four finished blocks and played with a few layouts.  

It isn't how they will be in the finished quilt I'm sure, but I had to satisfy my curiosity somehow!

All in all, this was a fun little project and I'm so grateful to have been a part of it!  You can get all the details about this quilt at: Cool Cottons Puzzle Mystery Quilt.  

Here is the list of bloggers that are participating in the Cosmos Puzzle Mystery Quilt:

July –   Wefty Needle
AugustTwiggy Opal
SeptemberSilly Mama Quilts
OctoberClover & Violet
NovemberColor Girl Quilts
DecemberDebby Brown Quilts
January - TheYvetteRene
February - GiucyGuice
MarchCotton Cuts

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

EPP + Paper Piecing = Rainbow Love

When I found out I was going on vacation to the beach earlier this month, I knew I was going to have to come up with a small project to bring along with me.  The best traveling option seems to be English Paper Piecing.  It's small, compact and doesn't require a lot of focus for the most part. 

My last EPP project was my Mini Bow Tie quilt and while it was pretty easy to make the blocks I didn't want to do another one.  In my mind I think of hexies as the beginners EPP...EPP 101!  I know that isn't really the case as hexies can be joined together to create a lot of spectacular and intricate designs.  It was the shape that got me into EPP and for this travel project it was the easy choice.

I found exactly what I wanted on one of my pinterest boards!  Its another project I've wanted to make for years, but never found the time to do so.  It was time!  

Honestly the hardest part was picking the fabric!  I pulled out my 2 1/2" squares and slowly began building my rainbow.  Since this was a last minute project, I didn't actually take the time I should have to get the colors perfect.  I could have done better!  Maybe if I had used solids, but my mind was stuck on prints.  

The mistake I made was starting this EPP project before I left for the beach!  I wanted to see how one section of color went together.  Just a test.  Basically you make one big 'C' shape with the hexies, and then sew all the sections together. went together so fast and easy that I couldn't stop!  Before I knew was finished!

What's a girl to do?!  This girl thought about it while basking in the sun and wondered what else could I do to put it over the top!

My first and only thought was to make mini blocks for the centers.  I had just received my Quiet Play Pattern Club patterns and noticed the Geometric Love Hearts.  I think that will work!  I ended up enlarging the middle heart in the pattern to the size I wanted and like magic I had six beautiful hearts!

Of course, I had to figure out how I would incorporate them into the hexies.  This project started with the mindset of keeping it simple and so I did the same with the hearts.  

When I decided on the center blocks I initially thought I'd piece them in a circle and lay the hexie piece over the top.  That idea quickly vanished when I regained my senses!  

I added borders around each heart that was large enough to fill the middle with extra for the back.  After carefully aligned each heart I glued them to the back.  Not the prettiest back I've ever seen, but good enough for me!

Now I have something to work with!  I was going to put a blue heart in the center space, however it didn't seem right to me.  And since I didn't really have any blue in my rainbow...  

I found a dark blue with a pretty flower and slapped that sucker in the center!  Viola!

If I were ever going to make an exact replica of this I might not add borders to the hearts, instead I might use large pieces of white during the paper piecing process to eliminate a few seams.  Maybe, maybe not!

For now, this measures 22" x 22".  I haven't had a chance to quilt it or even think about how I'll quilt it, but it'll happen!  

If you are itching to do a simple hand stitching project, I highly recommend this one!  I'm excited to make another one or which will me a mini version...big surprise right?!


Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Baby Drunkards Path

You can take the girl out of the sewing room, but you can't take the sewing out of the girl!  One thing I was sure to bring with me on vacation to the beach was a bit of hand sewing.  I love early mornings when I can sip my coffee and take in the quiet of my surroundings.  Where better than the beach?  The quiet peaceful lapping of the waves puts me in just the right state of mind.  Combine all that with a little hand stitching and this girl is in heaven!

One of my goals before leaving town was to quilt my little baby Drunkard Path quilt, add the binding and take it along to the beach.  It was stressful trying to finish it, but I knew that once I was at the beach all the stress would be alleviated and I could chill and relax. 

29" X 40"
 Once I had a basic idea of how I was going to quilt this wee one, I focused and went about the task at hand. 

I picked a spot and began with 1/2" curved lines going one way and then the other.  The remaining 1/2" lines were added randomly throughout the quilt, except there were some strategically placed spaces left wide open.  

I've been trying to expand my quilting horizons by using quilting rulers.  They aren't easy to use, but as I've been reminded ... practice, practice, practice!  

When we had our Guild destash last month I was able to sell off enough fabric to buy a set of circle quilting rulers.  With many options for circles, I went with a set by Amanda Murphy called 'Every Circle'.  There are five (5) rulers with circles ranging in size from 1/2" to 7" and the rulers have a nonslip back that helps to keep them in place.    

There are times when I want perfect circles and often wondered how a person does that!  Let's hope these rulers do the trick!  I still struggle with keeping the foot right next to the ruler, but I'm still learning.  

The circles on this quilt are 1 1/2" and fit inside the spaces I left open for them.  I still have a hard time figuring out how to use some of the lines on the rulers, they are confusing to me, but it's coming along as best as it can with the time I've devoted to ruler work.  

In the end the quilting turned out better than I expected it would!  There might be a few imperfect circles here and there, but I can't complain!

I'm anxious to give it another try!  I went with a scrappy gray binding in an effort to use some scraps, plus it fits with the scrappy gray in the quilt.  I like when I can make use of bits and pieces left over from other projects.  

You might be seeing more of this color combination in the future.  I'm slowly working through my scraps but they are never ending!  I've decided to retire them to the closet!  

14 1/4" X 54"
My first project using the circle rulers was with this table runner.  Let's just say it was interesting and leave it at that!! 

I wasn't able to add circles to all the half circles, mostly because I was getting frustrated!  In the middle of quilting I threw in the towel, thought of a simple easy design for the remaining half circles and moved on!  

I may have hit the threshold of frustration for my first circle try, but it did encourage me to try, try again!  And I did!  And I'll do it again!  But first...I'll have to make another quilt!  Now I have a valid excuse to start a new project!


Sunday, September 15, 2019

Let's Call it Done!

I promised I'd share my humongous finish (Humongous Finish) after the long arm quilting, and here it is!  It's quilted, binding stitched, washed and being slept under!

101" X 90"
Truth is, it's been finished for weeks now!  It's been a whirlwind of life events going on and I barely kept my head above water.  The photos aren't the best, so if you can look past that and share in my excitement of having this monster finished...that would be sweet!

Part of the awful photos is because the quilt is already on my bed and my room isn't the best for photo taking.  The other reason would be I was on vacation and I'm having a hard time getting back in the swing of things!  A trip to the beach will do that!  My husband surprised me with a nearly last minute surprise trip to celebrate a monumental birthday. Mine!  It made the fact that I've hit another bracket much easier to take! 

One of my Guild members quilted this for me and I love it!  I choose the design and couldn't be happier with it.  

Circles are always on my mind these days, so it's no surprise that I kept that going.  The quilting also has geometric shapes.  I thought the design would work well with the design of the front and it does.

The quilting also fits well with the strip of circles I added to the back.  

For some reason I cut far too many 2 1/2" neon pink strips when I was making my blocks.  I always wonder how I manage to miscalculate so often!  Since the strips were cut, I trimmed them to my usual binding size of 2 1/4" and a neon pink binding was born!  It took a while to hand stitch the binding on as you can imagine for the size of the quilt, but I loved every second of it!

The backing is Kona Ash.  It's much grayer than the front solid of Burlap, but it was the best option for me.  

While I waited for the quilting to be done, I decided I may as well make a couple pillow cases!  They were a quick finish and something I could do while I patiently waited for the quilt. 

There was some worry that the quilt would be too pink (if there could ever be too much pink), but much to my surprise it really isn't.  I led my husband to believe that when I started making it even when I wasn't sure that would be the case!  

In the end, we have a gorgeous new bed quilt.  Which is a good thing because I may never ever make another quilt this size again!  The blocks were simple, the colors I love, but the size pushed me to the limit!

This is the view we had for seven blissful days!  Gorgeous sunsets, beautiful weather and a lot of rest and relaxation!  Ahhh...the beach life!