Friday, February 28, 2020

Grab N' Go :: HSTs to the Rescue!

Back in early October I spent a good bit of time making Half Square Triangles.  Mass producing HSTs! (Mass Production :: HSTs)  I think some people thought I was stark raving mad, while others thought that it was a great idea.  

My thought process was to make a huge batch and when the mood strikes, I could grab my suitcase full of HSTs and go hog wild!  Which is exactly what I did!  I basically just wanted to make something and had no other projects in the works.

My suitcase has the untrimmed HST's and... box has the trimmed and sorted HSTs for my favorite baby quilt version.

This is the baby version.  Pinned and ready to quilt.  I was still in limbo on starting anything new, so I decided I may as well make a lap quilt with the untrimmed batch of HSTs.

This is where I always land when I grab my suitcase of treasures.  I love the grouping of the six colors!  Adding the frame in the form of borders, is how I like to finish off this baby quilt.  It just hits me in the right way and I see no reason to change this design up. 

I grabbed half my suitcase stash and began the trimming phase.  Some people don't care for this part, but I love it.  I enjoy the process, time invested and always love the results.  Of course, having a Bloc-Loc ruler helps a lot!  Have you ever used one?  I seriously doubt I'd be so enthusiastic about trimming if I didn't have one!

Once I got the HSTs trimmed, I arranged the color groupings, added the centers and sewed the four blocks together.  While the goal is to have color groupings in the center blocks, I try not to have like colors when the blocks of four are sewn together.  If that makes any sense at all!

I debated whether or not I should add borders to the lap quilt.  I wanted to add a more length and width without having to make more blocks and I wanted that frame look like the baby quilt.  In the end I settled on adding one 3" grey border.  

I apologize for the awful photo!  It's from my phone!  I promise the actual quilt is quite bright and bold.  When I finish quilting it you can be sure I'll get better pictures! 


Saturday, February 22, 2020

Pin Basting Made Easy :: Kwik Klip

I have always been a pin baster.  For me it's the best method to secure and prepare my quilts.  It isn't an easy process, but few methods are.  Pin basting requires space, time and a willingness to get down and dirty!  

It isn't always easy getting on the floor to pin.  It does a number on your knees!  But it is a good way to stretch and stay limber!!!

All that being said, I couldn't baste all my quilts if it wasn't for one tool.  Kwik Klip.  Have you heard of it before?  I've had mine for a good decade or longer.  It basically helps you open and close the pins efficiently, cuts basting time down, and most of all saves your fingers from getting sore.

Not all pin basters are familiar with this tool.  The reason I'm talking about basting and this amazing tool is because after 29 years production of this tool has ended and 
Paula Jean Creations, maker of the Kwik Klip, will be closing in June.  

I feel it's a tool that is actually helpful, useful and a must have for pin basters.  It isn't expensive.  A yard of fabric cost more than Kwik Klip.  It blows my mind that they have been around for 29 years!

I use these curved pins and that tool all the time.  Year after year.  Tried and true!  


Insert the pin through all three layers of the quilt sandwich.

Place the pin in the groove of Kwik Klip and clip pin closed.  Simple, fast and safe!  If you want to see it in action, check out this How To Video.  

My fingers thank me every time I baste!  If you pin baste and you are not familiar with this tool, I highly recommend investing in it before its too late!

Now's the time to get one, possible the last chance!  To entice you even more, here's a coupon code for 15% off of Kwik Klips and Quilter's Delight Pin Covers:  Get15pjc

Another method is spray basting, which I've done a few times.  For me it's not in the cards as it can be quite expensive.  I make a fair number of quilts...okay, a lot...and it is cost prohibitive.  Pins I can use over and over and over!


Thursday, February 20, 2020

'Brick By Brick' Stash Busting :: TGIFF!

This will be a triple treat post!!  I have a stash busting finish, a simple tutorial and I'm hosting my first ever Link Party for TGIFF!  

Let's start with the quilt!  My goal this year is to work through my stash.  Fabric I love, fabric I like and fabric that isn't my style, but is worth using.  Stash busting.  So far this year I have worked through my Polka Dot fabric:  Wonky Baby & Polka Dot Magic.  

Next on the list is all my Kaffe Fasset prints.  What I love about Kaffe fabric are the bright, vibrant and bold colors.

46" x 61"
See what I mean?!  Many of my prints had small pieces cut out of them.  They looked like swiss cheese!  After wrangling the mess, I came up with a game plan. I went for the easy solution and cut every single piece I had into rectangles.  If the pieces were too small they became 2 1/2" squares for future use.

I'm calling this quilt 'Brick By Brick' for the simple fact that it was much like laying bricks.  Bricks and mortar or in quilting lingo, rectangles and sashing.

Each rectangle is 3 1/2" x 9".  For the scale of the prints, larger is better.  Once I got all the rectangles cut I placed them on my design wall and arranged them to my liking.  With the variety of prints it wasn't too difficult and there ended up being very little rearranging involved.  

Next up was sashing.  I used a solid that is called 'True Red'.  I believe it was a Free Spirit fabric, but I can't be sure.  In my opinion it isn't true red at all!  It's more like a Paprika to me.  It seemed like a good color to use and I happened to have plenty on hand.

Initially I was going to use solid scraps in every color imaginable for the sashing, but thankfully I came to my senses and kept it simple.

For me the easiest way to go about putting the quilt together was to make slabs.  Three (3) rectangles, three (3) sashing pieces, or sometimes two (2) rectangles and two (2) sashing pieces.  It didn't really matter either combination would get you where you needed to go.  I pressed all the seams open.

Once the blocks were together I assembled rows, and then sewed the rows together.  

This was a quick finish to be sure!  Which when you are stash busting it's important to and for me.

I quilted horizontal straight lines using orange thread.  Crazy color, but it worked.

It wouldn't have been a true stash buster without using more fabric on the back.  I had plenty of rectangles left and decided to add a vertical strip on the side.

Here is a quick reference if you are interested in making this design.

And I couldn't resist making a few options in EQ8!  There are just too many options!

Now it's your turn to share!  What have you been working on this week?  You can link from a blog, Facebook, or Instagram post.  Please share the love and take time to check out a few of the other links!  If you'd like to learn more about TGIFF and host a link party on your blog, you can read all the details here:  TGIFF!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Runners :: A Variation

I'm not sure why more people aren't in to table runners!  The impact they make in home decor is undeniable, but more than that they are a great way to create something bold and functional.

I love making table runners.  Sometimes just making something small is all I need to get my creative juices flowing, get a chance to play with colors or design and even to experiment with quilting ideas.  

After I made my Graphically Modern quilt top, I wasn't quite done with the design.  It inspired me to play with ideas and see where it might lead.  

CORAL:  14" X 49"
PINK/GOLD/GRAY:  14 1/2" X 48"
  So it can't be much of a surprise that I took it a bit farther than most people might have.  I started this adventure with the runner on the right.  The design lead me to the colors and from there...let's just say I inspired myself!

After designing the runner in EQ8, I pulled my fabric.  Kona Carnation, Bright Pink, Azure, Pool, Dresden Blue, Bluebell, Medium Grey and Shadow.  Lastly Painters Palette Curry.  There's something about this color combination that drew me in and I didn't hold back!


The vertical strips were laid out and I made quick work on piecing the numerous pieces together. 


From there it was only a matter of time before everything was pieced and I had a runner that I felt was perfect.  It wasn't until after it was pieced that I thought perhaps I could make it better.  Could I or couldn't I?!


Once I finished quilting it with 1/2" straight lines and adding the binding, I felt I couldn't fully embrace the design without trying one more variation of color and tweaking the design just a little bit.

So, welcome 'Peach/Coral/Grey' runner!

The design from the first one is modified slightly.  But in the end I decided I like the first version better and the fact of the matter is...depending on what colors you choose, they alter the look no matter what the design is. 

I honestly think that if I had kept the original design and used the coral and peach combo, it would have been enough to change the vibe of the design without having to redesign the original.  

I don't know if that makes any sense at all.  I need to learn that color can change everything.  Or even prints.  Keep the design as is, and by changing colors so to does the design.

Both runners were quilted in different designs.  However each used thread colors that complimented the front.  In my mind, I feel that matching thread color keeps the integrity of the design, but in the end offers an interesting texture throughout.

As for the quilt that inspired all this madness...

I'm working away at slowly quilting it.  I've made amazing progress, but it's time consuming and I've yet to finish.  I do know that my shoulders are aching this weekend from twisting turning and pushing this quilt around!


Friday, February 14, 2020

Juggling Act :: Pattern Release

It's been a long time coming, happily and with great relief I finished writing a pattern!  

'JUGGLING ACT' is now a reality and ready for sale.  I couldn't have done it without a little help, encouragement and support from my friends.


The Shoo Fly quilt block is one of those traditional quilt block names that every quilter knows. Also known as Hole in the Barn Door in the mid-to-late 1800’s, this block was and still is very popular. It’s made up of nine patches, usually Half Square Triangles and squares. There have been many variations of the Shoo Fly block throughout the years and the fact that we continue to go back to the original is a testament to the tried and true quilting of yesteryear.

When designing this quilt I wanted to use a simple but classic block. I settled on the Shoo Fly block because of its playful nature and versatility.

This pattern is constructed using panels and includes instructions for two (2) quilt sizes:
Baby: 43 
1⁄2" x 49 1⁄2", and Lap: 49 1⁄2" x 65 1⁄4".

Having a Technical Editor go over my written pattern is something that gives me peace of mind.  If you ever need Tech Editing I highly recommend Yvonne @quiltingjetgirl.  She is efficient, fast and knows her stuff.  

Fabric requirements for the Shoo-Fly blocks are based on a scrappy version of the quilt. If you'd rather be more strategic with your fabric choices, this design can accommodate that as well.

My baby version has a Kona Snow background and 24 colors for the Shoo-Fly blocks.  There are five (5) different sizes of the Shoo-Fly block and it's a great way to use scraps of most any size.

43 1/2" x 49 1/2" 
Grid quilting and a few strategically placed circles, plus a black and white stripe binding bring it together in the most fun way!

I was lucky enough to have two volunteers to test my pattern.  Let's face it, it's one thing for me to make my own's quite another to have someone else do it.  Real world testing!

How pretty is that?  It's a gorgeous color combination!  Ellyn @ellyn's place choose to make the baby quilt using five (5) colors.  Kona Jade, Pool, Turquoise, Ice Frappe and Chartreuse.  The background is Kona Silver.  

Again, you can use as many colors/prints and you want!  

Wendy @Pieceful Thoughts of My Quilting Life used prints with a low volume background.  Love that!  I think I could even use prints now after seeing Wendy's!   

Another idea would be to use scrappy low volume or neutral scraps for the background.  

If Ellyn's and Wendy's quilts haven't inspired you, I made a few color/print options in EQ8.



The PDF instant download is now available for purchase in my Etsy Shop.  

Click here: 'JUGGLING ACT'  


Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Hearts :: A Trio

I really thought I was done with making hearts, but I had the urge and couldn't help myself.  Why make one when you can make three?  Is that a thing?!  

Using my Pattern for 'Trio of Hearts' I was inspired.  Except this time I wanted to enhance the design with detailed quilting.  Something that I really haven't explored with my hearts.  The great thing about this pattern is that by making the half square triangles you end up with enough to make two (2) large hearts, and two (2) mini hearts.  How you decide to use them can be totally up to you.  

Large Hearts: 15" x 15", Mini Heart 6" x 6"
I typically make a large double heart, a large single heart and a mini heart.  I'm not one to change up what has worked for me in the past!  

I don't know how many times I've made this trio.  I usually do some sort of straight line quilting and move on.  With most anything I make, somewhere in the piecing process my mind wanders to the quilting part.  For some reason an idea popped into my head and believe it or not...I was stoked to quilt them!  

Why I never thought about quilting my hearts this way before is mind boggling.  It just makes good sense to me!

Starting with the large single heart, I marked the silhouette of a heart in the center.  Inside of that I quilted pebbles of all shapes and size.  Once you get going making pebbles, it's hard to stop!  While not perfect, which of course they aren't suppose to be, they created amazing texture.  To complete the picture, I stitched 1/8" concentric heart shaped lines around the center.  

I couldn't be happier with how this turned out and like that this idea kicked the design up a notch!


The same basic idea was used for the mini heart.  The pebbles are smaller and I kept it to one row for the outline.  There's only so much you can do inside this mini heart.

I considered pebbles for the double heart, but in heart belongs to straight lines!  How's that for corny?!  

For the backs I was able to use some stash.  All pieces that were large enough for my needs and these hearts.  

My method for hanging wall quilts is quite simple and very effective.  Did you know I have a tutorial for that?  Hanging a Mini Quilt. There are a million and one ways to hang a quilt, from a push pin to Command Strips!  In case you want yet another option, I'm here for you!

With Valentines Day fast in two days, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to make my 'heart' mark in the world!