Friday, February 27, 2015

Favorites


Happy Friday! Today half-square triangles made with Aloha Girl are one of my favorite things...they are for the next "Simply Small" project...and having these finished up means my mini quilt will come together soon! I have a couple of other favorites to share today too...time-saving favorites!




Design boards are a favorite! I've used a lot of things over the years to lay out blocks: pizza boxes, paper plates, layer cake cardboard, and even my rulers. But they are all slippery. These design boards are wonderful. They are made with foam core board with batting scraps on top. The edges are bound which keeps the batting in place. Lori Holt has a terrific tutorial for making these here.

With this new batch I made the other day I now have 8 boards. I have four that are 15" square which work perfectly for laying out 12" blocks, and I also have four smaller boards measuring right about 10" square each...perfect for 6" and 8" blocks. I don't know how I lived without these, and I'm happy to now have doubled my supply.



 I like to lay out blocks for the next day before I put everything away for the night. This is especially helpful on busy days...I know I can just head into my sewing room and get a few blocks pieced because they are ready to go on the design boards. (I also can get four 6" blocks prepared on one of my 15" boards).


Another favorite sewing notion of mine is Flatter. It comes in several scents (Fig is my favorite) and is a great alternative to starch. While I do still use starch occasionally, I've been using more of this product lately. I spray my blocks lightly before setting the seams and then there is just the hint of this on the blocks for their final pressing. It seems to add a little body to the fabric without being stiff, and I really think it helps with piecing accuracy especially when working with smaller bits of fabric.

Hope you are planning on a weekend with sewing and quilting! Thanks so much for stopping by!

PS My "Friday Favorites" posts are never sponsored in any way...they are just a round up of things I like and use on a regular basis...


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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Scraps Monday: Tuesday Tip Edition



 Happy Tuesday...and welcome to what is really the Scraps Monday post! It was cloudy and rainy yesterday (so appreciative of the moisture), but it didn't make for good photos!

I'm taking the last week of the month to only work on scrap projects, nothing new until next week. But since my "Go Four It" quilt along quilt is a scraps project, I'm working on it. I still have background squares to cut, but I took a break and put a couple blocks together...240 more to go!

And I have a fun tip to share today too...


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Friday, February 20, 2015

Favorites



 Today's Friday Favorites post is kind of a mix of this and that. Hope you enjoy it! For starters, using the quilts I make is high on my list of the important aspects of being a quilter. Sometimes I have to store quilts I use for teaching and trunk show, but we also have quilts on display in nearly every room of our home: quilts on the beds, quilts draped over chairs and sofas, quilts in baskets, quilts as wall decor, and quilts on ladders. But recently I thought of one more way to display some quilts...




 A few years back my grandmother gave me the antique bassinet she used for my aunt and my mom (it's almost 75 years old); I've kept it in a storage closet for quite some time, but after seeing a bassinet used to display quilts on Pinterest I brought it in, dusted it off, and placed it in my front entry next to my white quilt ladder. It has added such a fun touch to this part of our home!



  
Now I know this project (my American Patchwork & Quilting "Go Four It" quilt) is still in bits and pieces, but it's destined to be a favorite quilt one of these days...and I finally finished up all of the four-patches.



 Before I can start  putting my blocks together, though, I need to cut about 1,000 squares from my "light" stash of Fig Tree fabrics; this will definitely go much faster than the just over 1,000 4-patch blocks!



I've had a little time this week to look through Quilt As-You-Go Made Modern: Fresh Techniques for Busy Quilters by Jera Brandvig. Jera and I met at quilt market this fall and agreed to do a book swap! Her book is delightful. I haven't done very much of the "quilt as you go" technique and was really happy to see that her book explains everything for using this technique in great detail. The photography is beautiful, the fabrics are fresh and happy, and the designs are fun. I think I have the confidence to try the table runner first and then move on to a quilt using this method.



Well...that's it for this weeks "favorites" edition...I just have to leave you with one more photo of my new "quilty corner" in my entry.  Thanks so much for stopping by, and have a wonderful weekend!

PS Lady Belle fabrics has some fun sales this weekend:  10% off fat quarter bundles,  15% off jelly rolls and sale half yards starting at $3.00.  She also has
has new lines Daysail and Fresh Cut(Bundles only, pre-cuts coming near the end of the month)--and she also has Color Theory by V and Co! Each collection is offered in fat quarter and half yard bundles.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Works in Progress



I had a little finish the other day! I added the final border to my "Sweet Honey Braids" quilt (pattern by Fig Tree & Company). I'm not sure why I was hesitant about pairing the aqua and lime green borders...I absolutely love them!


 


This is such a fun scrap project. Whenever I finish up an older work in progress I simply can't figure out what took me so long. 


I'm planning on trying to finish up a couple of other works in progress this month...no new projects until March!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

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Monday, February 16, 2015

Four Patch Quilt Block Tips



It's been four-patch after four-patch around here--I hope you're not tired of them. I'm still having fun with them. I change up color combinations pretty frequently, and I alternate between cutting, sewing and pressing. I'm well past the half-way point, so soon I'll be able to start putting these together into blocks! But I did want to share a couple of tips that I mentioned in my last American Patchwork & Quilting Quilt Along post. I'll give you the specifics today with some photos to make it a little more clear. 




  
When sewing two-patch blocks into four-patch blocks I begin by pressing seams toward the darker fabric.



When I sew these two units together the seams of the dark fabrics will meet and "nest" together.



When sewing these units, I chain piece as many sections together as I can. It saves thread and time...



 Before pressing the units open I remove the end stitches above the seam I sewed when joining the two units (you aren't removing any stitches in the horizontal seam pictured above...just stitches in the vertical seam that are above the horizontal seam). I have the tip of the seam ripper pointing at those stitches in the photo above.


 And here is a close up. There are usually 2-3 stitches above the seam line. After loosening them with my seam ripper I turn the unit over and also remove the stitches above the seam on the other side.

Although I'm showing just one unit here, this goes really fast if your units are still joined together after chain piecing. I can take a string of 100 or more and get them all ready while watching television.


When the seam is pressed you will be able to press one half of the seam one direction and the other half of the seam the other direction. The middle pieces will open flat and create a mini four-patch.


By pressing the center seams of your four-patch unit in this way you can eliminate bulk and have a more "flat" block. It takes a little bit of extra time, but does make a big difference.


 Finally, I want to share three pillows made with my Scrappy Patchwork Pillow Tutorial from last month. Above is Janet's Fig Tree version...


And here is Mindy's Boat House variation which goes along with her mini Shine quilt!






And here is Hildy's beautiful Bonnie & Camille fabrics version...love them all!


I'm working on a new Simply Small project tutorial and hope to have it ready this weekend.  Thanks so much for stopping by!

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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Snapshots Quilt Block 2



Hello! Today is the day the free pattern for block 2 in the Snapshots Quilt Along from Fat Quarter Shop is available (you can read my first post for this quilt along here).






This month's block is an adorable aqua sewing machine! I had so much fun piecing this--I have always wanted to piece a sewing machine block and even have a couple of patterns for different versions, but this is the first one I've made!



Blocks one and two together! This is going to be such a fun quilt! The pattern for block two can be found here and all of the information for the quilt along can be found on the Snapshots main page here. On the main page you can see what all of the blocks will look like, get fabric requirement information, and find links to the block pattterns and You Tube tutorials for each block. You can also find all of the information about the charity component for this quilt: read how you can help St. Jude Children's Research Hospital by participating...and Fat Quarter Shop and Moda Fabrics will match donations up to $10,000.

The Daysail fabrics used in this quilt are available in stores now...or use your stash for this fun quilt.

Thanks so much for stopping by!


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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Work in Progress Wednesday



Yesterday was one of those days where I just wanted to finish something. I have plenty of works in progress to choose from, but this one from 2010 has been calling my name.


  
The pattern is "Sweet Honey Braids" by Joanna Figueroa from one of her "Fresh Vintage" booklets. I started it not too long after the pattern came out, but then put it away for a few years (why?)!





 Last year I worked on it at a quilt retreat but then realized I hadn't brought enough light strips to finish. I ended up with mostly dark combinations that didn't work with the quilt. Back into a box it went, and this time it sat for a year.


 So yesterday I added some recent Fig Tree strips, and even added in a couple of pieces from Aloha Girl!


I had already finished the first three strip sections last year, so I just needed to finish the fourth "braid" and start putting everything together.



 I was determined to use fabrics I had on hand to finish this quilt, too. The cream polka dot sashing is some Vintage Modern by Bonnie & Camille I've been saving for awhile. The body of my quilt only has one little strip of true aqua, but nevertheless I decided a little pop of aqua from Avalon would make the perfect inner border.


I just need to add the outer border (my favorite floral from Somerset) and then I can get this off to be quilted!

It feels great to finish up something in progress...and it empties a box to start something new!

The Simply Small parade will be Monday the 16th...thanks so much for stopping by!

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Monday, February 9, 2015

Scraps Monday: Quilt Along Tips!


 Happy Monday! Welcome to the "Scraps Monday" quilt along edition! As I mentioned last week, I headed out for a few days to teach at a retreat in beautiful Bryce Canyon, Utah. My "me" sewing for the evenings was my American Patchwork & Quilting  "Go Four It" project. Since this is a scrap project, I thought today would be a good time to share a little of my progress and process.







I initially started by cutting all of my light strips. It took a little while since my quilt is going to be king-size, but I'm really glad I did that. Having all of the light strips cut from the beginning has allowed me to make sure there is plenty of contrast in each strip set. I want my four-patches to stand out.



 Next I started cutting the colored strips, but I stopped before cutting them all. I want to wait until I get several blocks assembled to make sure I have the color combinations I'm going to love and want in this quilt.


I am definitely in love with this quilt already...



I had forgotten my good iron, and so pressing the four-patches with the hotel room iron wasn't the easiest task, but I had to get some finished up! I just couldn't wait to see how they were going to turn out.

A lot of women do handwork during the trunk show/lecture portions of the retreat I was attending, so one night I took a string of over 100 of my four patch units that I had chain-pieced that afternoon. I was able to sit during the meeting and use my seam ripper to remove the end stitches from both sides of the center seams so I could "twirl" that center seam flat in order to eliminate bulk. I've never done this with my pieces still "attached" from the chain-piecing, but it went much, much faster this way! I will always use this method from now on. 



For now I'm keeping finished four-patch blocks in one plastic container...



and strip sets ready to made into four-patch units in another. It's helpful to keep things organized this way. Now that I've made a few four-patches in each color combination I'll probably work on them one color at a time. Unless of course I get bored and need to switch things up!



I couldn't finish up this post without a few snapshots from Bryce. The beauty of this national park is incredible: the contrast between the red rocks, the pines, and the patches of snow was awe-inspiring.

What scrappy projects are you working on this week? I'd love to have you link up  below.  Thanks so much for stopping by! 






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