Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Scrap-A-Palooza! Quilt #8 Part Three

I think some of the best things about string quilts are the endless variations you can can create, the speed at which you can sew up a large number of blocks and the fact that you usually don't have to do a lot of cutting!  This month's Scrap-A-Palooza quilt was no exception.
 
 


 Last week I shared a tutorial on how to sew these strings onto a fabric foundation.  Here is my stack of forty two 10.5" blocks trimmed and ready to get up on my design wall.  I was so pleased to see almost all of the scraps I had in these colors get used up.










My original plan was to just sew all the blocks together but once I had them laid out where I could see them, I decided it needed a little something to break up the pattern.


I pulled some black fabric from my stash and added this "hashtag" inner border (I don't know what else to call it!) 

This border treatment works great when you are working with a pieced outside border as its addition doesn't mess up the math and require you to trim any blocks to make them fit around the outside.  I cut these strips at 1.5" so the finished border is quite small at 1" but I think it has a great impact.





I should note, when I sewed the top together, I pressed all my seams open.  With the extra layer of fabric, the seams can get a bit thick.



Here is the finished quilt top outside in the sunshine.  It is really hard to say if it is mostly yellow or green, the lighting really affects the colors on this one.

 
 

 
Here is a bit of a close up on the border.  The black fabric I used has a bit of a gray swirl printed on it.  I am now planning on using this print for the binding to tie it all together nicely.  I also made some time to sew up my backing so the quilt is ready for me to sneak it into the quilting queue.


While I don't yet know how I will quilt this, I will say I usually keep the quilting easy on my string quilts, especially the multi-colored ones.  The quilting just doesn't show up much.  Which also means I sometimes use these quilts to work out a new free-motion quilting pattern.

So I hope you try something slightly outside your comfort zone when you quilt up your string quilt.  They are perfect to practice on!


Here's an overview of the important stuff to do before the next step
  • Decide on a layout
  • Sew up the top
  • Dig in that stash for a backing (it is in there - just keep looking!)
  • Try a new quilting pattern - something out of your comfort zone.


And remember, you can check out all of the previous quilts made in the Scrap-A-Palooza series by checking out the gallery tab. Not only are the steps to each part linked up but I have also shared quilts made by others so you can find lots of inspiration to sew up those scraps.

 
I'll meet you here next week with my finished quilt!

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

It all Happened so Quickly!

It all started when I got a little email from Katie at The Littlest Thistle letting me know I had won a gift certificate to the Knotted Thread for an entry in the Q2 Finish-Along for 2014.  Once I completed my little happy dance, I perused the shop...




and picked out this lovely half yard bundle of Simply Style by V & Co.  I fell in love with the colors.


Okay, so maybe this second half yard bundle of Alison Glass' Bike Path Sun Prints also made it into my shopping cart.  I deserve it, right?!?



 They made me so happy when they arrived. Almost too pretty to open!  And then as I was contemplating what to make with them....



I saw a great sale on the newest Kona colors at Gotcha Covered Quilting and had another moment of weakness and bought some one yard pieces.  My cart originally had them all but I managed to whittle them down to just these eight.



Thinking I had gotten my need for new fabric out of my system, my friend and I thought we would drop into a LQS that moved to a new building just to check it out.  And I fell hard for these Mod Geek prints by Robert Kaufman.  But this fabric isn't for me - I NEED it for the graduation quilt I am making my niece.



These additional Arizona prints are for me.  I have admired them on line but when I saw them in person, there was no way I was leaving without them.  So soft and so beautiful!


 But the really funny thing is I allowed myself to buy this giant 16.5" ruler with the agreement that I wouldn't buy any fabric this month.  Silly me...

Really. Should. Know. Better.



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Friday, August 15, 2014

With a Little Help from Friends

Recently I got together with a group of women for a sew day.  We meet monthly and I always teach a technique and we make a quilt for charity with the blocks we make.  This month we played with HSTs.

The only information I gave them prior to getting together was to pull a gray and a turquoise from their stash to bring with them to the class.  I chose these two colors purposely because they are always interpreted differently and I wanted to show how beautiful variations in color can be.


Many in the group have made HSTs in the past but none had used or even heard of the Magic 8 method.  With a little marking, sewing and cutting, from two 12" squares, you can have 8 HST units very quickly.  This tutorial on Craftsy (no affiliation) does an excellent job explaining it.




I also wanted to bring my Bloc Loc ruler for them to try out and use.  Some liked it immediately, others found it difficult to understand how it worked.  
I think it is a brilliant tool and use it for trimming up all my HSTs.

 


Above is the quilt that was made with the squares made by the group. 
 I love how it just seems to glow.



 For the quilting. I simply stitched a square spiral in each HST unit and traveled through to the next square.  This made the quilting quick and continuous.  The wonderful texture it gave the quilt was an extra bonus!



A turquoise and gray hexagon fabric from my stash was used for the backing and I bound it with an old piece of turquoise fabric from a bygone project.  The quilt ended up being 40" square.


100 Quilts for Kids 
This sweet little quilt is now added to the growing stack of quilts being donated to Bags of Love as part of the 100 Quilts for Kids event hosted by Heather at Quilts in the Queue.  A big thanks to my friends who helped get this one done so quickly (even though they worried a bit that their fabrics wouldn't all work together!)



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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Scrap-A-Palooza! Quilt #8 Part Two

  The Scrap-A-Palooza quilt for August is moving along quite nicely! This month we are putting together a string quilt and as shared in part one, I have decided to start with a nice big backing fabric out of my stash and choose the colors for my quilt.
 
 
 
There are a number of tutorials available for making string quilt blocks.  Some quilters use paper, some use temporary glue, and some draw lines on their foundations to align their strips with.  I prefer to use a fabric foundation for my blocks and not mess with glues or marking.  Rather than create another tutorial, I thought I would share this one on Craftsy (no affilitation) that is the same method I use with a few exceptions that I will share.
 
 

Here is one of my blocks.  I do not precut the lengths of my strips.  As I am sewing on my strip, once I sew off the foundation, I simply whack cut with a pair of scissors.


I also chain piece a number of blocks at a time.  This saves a lot of time getting up to press.  Last night I did this stack of 16 blocks in about 2 hours.  I spend very little time selecting the scrap I am sewing next.  I just try to get all the colors in a block and not repeat fabrics.

Note:  If you have taken the time to pull your scraps based on the color parameters you have set, theoretically, they should all go together.


I also do not pin or glue my fabrics to the foundation so my strips are not always centered.  I fix this when I trim my blocks by using the 45 degree mark on my ruler and running it down the center strip.  When I trim, I don't worry about the location of the foundation fabric on the back.


Because I cut with both hands, I orient the block like this so I can make all four cuts without picking up the block.


I am cutting my blocks to 10 1/2" square.  I find that a larger block size works well with wider strips, and that is what I have mainly in my scraps. 

Aren't they so pretty when they are trimmed?! 

This pictures also shows my favorite cutter.  I very fond of my big 60mm Olfa cutter.  While that big blade can be daunting, I love it to trim up these string blocks.


 
This is definitely going to be a very colorful quilt!  And I am so happy to see some of these old scraps get worked into a finished project.




Here's an overview of the important stuff to do before the next step!

  • Determine a desired block size
  • Cut your foundations
  • Sew on your strings
  • Trim your blocks to size


Hope you decide to give string quilts a try.  They are simple, fast and very forgiving!  A great project to use up some of those scraps.

And remember, if you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me.
Now let's sew up some string blocks!


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Monday, August 11, 2014

Architextures Quilt - ALYOF


For my August goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes, I wanted to take these orphan blocks given to me by a friend and turn them into a quilt for the 100 Quilts for Kids event.

Well, once again I found myself filled with some time and sewing mojo on a Friday night. Not having anything else on my design walls,  I grabbed these and thought I would play around with them.





I quickly laid them out in an alternating pattern.  Just by adding some sashing, this would make a cute baby quilt.


But I really wanted to make something a bit more challenging.
















Playing with the blocks a bit more on my design wall, I really liked the look of the lime green and dark gray creating a bar across the quilt.

I thought this might be a fun starting point.






From the moment I saw these blocks, I knew I wanted to see some Kona navy with them.  So I started by simply adding a strip between all the lime blocks. So far so good!




I then pulled out some Kona charcoal and added borders around the other blocks.  I wanted them to be staggered so I simply made one side of the border a bit bigger.




Because I only had a few blocks to work with, I needed something to stretch these blocks a little bit further.  I knew I had been hoarding some of the white and lime green shrub fabric from this line so I decided to add a bit from my stash.  I simply incorporated some strips of the white vertically between the gray blocks...








Then used the lime shrub fabric to bring back the navy on the top and bottom of the quilt.


I adore how this turned out!  The top is a nice size now (45" x 55") so it can be loved by an older kid.  Plus it will be great for some young boy as I am told by charities that boy quilts are always hard to come by.



Sunday I was able to get this on my longarm and quilt it up.  Then Monday evening was spent sewing on the binding.  I went with more of the navy for the binding to tie the whole quilt together.




For the quilting, I opted to just quilt horizontal way lines. Quick and Easy!





And while it was really hard to do, I gave up more of the white Architextures print for the backing.  I really didn't have anything else that looked good and it was just about the perfect size.  I did need to add a gray inset to make it wide enough but that gave me the opportunity to use the last of the lime orphan blocks.

ALYoF2014
I can't believe it is so early in the month and I am already finished with my August A Lovely Year of Finishes quilt. Could be I was jazzed having won a prize last month?

A big thanks to Sew Bittersweet Designs for helping me keep focused in my efforts to finish up the half finished and to Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs for donating some of her great patterns!
Can't wait to try out her Peanut Butter Pinwheel pattern.





100 Quilts for Kids
This quilt will be donated to a local organization called Bags of Love as part of the 100 Quilts for Kids event hosted by Heather at Quilts in the Queue.  It will be added to the Triangle quilt I recently finished.  Now I get to figure out what to do next!!





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Friday, August 8, 2014

Spook-tacular Finishes

Out of all the holiday themed quilts I have the pleasure of quilting for my customers, my favorites by far are the Halloween quilts.  And with the holiday just around the corner, I am starting to see quite a few of them.




I just finished one that I had to share because the fabrics were so fun..  The fabrics consist of skulls and zombies!

And lucky me, there was a whole bunch of negative space for me to quilt.









I had to start out with a web in the corner with a spider hanging by a thread waiting for dinner...



Maybe it will be one of these bats.















I quilted this quilt in rows so you can see the bats here again on the other side.



Bats are super easy and I did these freehand.  You can easily just add them to loops and have a fun allover quilting design.




My customer made this quilt for her son. (Okay, adult son.) So I didn't want to get too Halloween-y and try and make my designs a bit more Zombie-ish.




I had an empty area in the design so I put in a Z for Zombie.

Or it can be an N for Noah
(so no one steals his quilt!)










My zombie knowledge is pretty limited but looking at the fabrics for inspiration, they all seem to be sporting band-aids.  So I thought, why not add some of those right in the quilting. 

This is what happens when my customers give me free reign!









And because I can't quilt brains, down toward the bottom of the quilt, I quilted in a little halloween candy.  Which I prefer to brains.




Here is a snapshot of the entire quilt.  You really have to snuggle up close to it to see all the detail in the fabrics and the quilting.

This quilt is one of three Halloween quilts from this customer.  When she dropped them off for me to quilt, she also brought me a bag of her leftover scraps.  (Sqeee!)  And as many of them were already cut into strings, I knew right away what I would make with them.


 So Friday night I sewed away into the wee hours and finished up the top.  (Yes, I am quite the party girl!)  I randomly sewed the string onto a fabric foundation.  This allowed me to easily sew the fabrics at different angles.





 And Saturday night I spent quilting up the top.


I thought it would be perfect to share as we are making a string quilt this month as part of Scrap-A-Palooza!  See why I love them so much!!



 The backing is quite the surprise.  Safety orange, lime green and yellow!
Perfect for Halloween.


The backing fabric I had wasn't quite big enough so I used up the rest of the scraps and sewed in this  scrappy inset.  

It was great fun making this quilt - now I need to get back to my neglected projects!



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