Friday, June 5, 2015

Blocks from the Past Quilt Along: Pages 50, 51, and 82

First of all, I'm SO SORRY that this is later than planned. I totally spaced it. So better late than never, right?

Page 50, Robbing Peter to Pay Paul
This is one of my very favorite blocks in the book.
 It's all made of squares, rectangles, half square triangles, and flying geese, so it was very straightforward and easy to assemble. I made mine 12.5", but even at 6.5" it would be very manageable. I had a lot of fun playing with the color placement. I used the no-waste method to make my flying geese and it worked really well.

Page 51, Gentleman's Fancy
I didn't need this block in my quilt so I made this one for Marion. I let her square it up so it would be the same size as her 6.5" blocks, so it's not squared in this photo.
This one was just fine to assemble. I followed the measurements and instructions in the book more closely on this block than I did for any of my other blocks. I made sure to use a SCANT 1/4" seam which I highly recommend. To make my "E" triangles, shown in darker green here, I cut the squares 1/8" larger than recommended so I could square the center portion. The flying geese were made with the stitch and flip method which I really liked for this size. Overall I liked this block.

Page 82, Tulip
I made this block for Marion too. I'm not sure why it's called "Tulip," as it definitely does not look like a tulip. But it is still pretty and I like how it turned out.
Sometimes I really like applique, and sometimes I really don't. The day I made this block was not a day that I liked applique! I opted to fuse it, and then Marion said she would be okay with quilting it down, so I didn't sew around it at the time. Marion finished her quilt recently and the pieces stayed attached just fine until quilting time. The pieces weren't too ridiculously tiny so I think it would have been fine to needle-turn this one, if you like that kind of thing!

I will be quilting my quilt next month and then I'm excited to share it with you! I love how it looks so far.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Kimberly's "Eclipse" Quilt

It seems that each new quilt that comes through my studio becomes my favorite. I haven't been blogging much lately, especially about quilting that I have been doing for clients, but this one is definitely worth sharing. It's a stunner, and my new favorite.

Please excuse all of the phone photos.
This quilt is called "Eclipse." It was designed and pieced by Kimberly Bourne of Main Street Market Designs. The pattern is currently available as a preorder for $3 off what the regular price will be. It's paper pieced, and Kimberly's patterns are very detailed. 
 I immediately knew when I saw this quilt for the first time that it would be a perfect candidate for straight line geometric quilting within the triangles.
I took this photo at night. Mmm, texture. Most of the techniques I used on this quilt were inspired by Angela Walters' Dot-to-dot Quilting.

 I just love the rainbow of colors from the Alison Glass fabrics (Sunprints and Ex Libris).

 It was just so FUN to quilt this.
 As much as I love the front, the back is pretty great too.
 In the center I decided to quilt some curves, echoing the appearance of curves on the rest of the quilt.
 Seriously, I love the texture on the back.
You can preorder this amazing quilt pattern now here! Thank you Kimberly for letting me quilt it for you! This gorgeous quilt is hanging this weekend in the Andover Fabrics booth at International Quilt Market.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Blocks from the Past QAL: Pages 42, 43, and 78

This weeks blocks were kind of tricky, not unlike many in this book. But they were definitely doable.

Page 42: Flying Geese
I didn't need this block for my quilt so I made this one for Marion and it's the 6.5" that the book suggests. I chose to use the no-waste method to make my flying geese. Normally I really like this method, but I think these little guys were just too small to keep accurate this way. Luckily my block ended up slightly larger than 6.5" rather than smaller, but if I was to do this again I would definitely paper-piece the flying geese.
One thing I really liked about this block was being able to play with the color placement to make a star in the middle.

Page 43: Corn and Beans
This block tried to kick my butt. I won't mince words--it wasn't easy. Fitting all the shapes together was a bit of a challenging puzzle. A kind of fun puzzle. That said, I love how it turned out so it was worth it. I made mine 24" so it's a HUGE block. I wasn't really paying attention to the instructions in the book as I was assembling it so I ended up altering the background a little bit to make it work. If you notice on the corners of mine the background is made out of one square and two triangles... it's supposed to be one large triangle on each corner. I had already made half square triangles so I decided to just go with it rather than pick it out. Honestly I don't particularly like sewing on that type of corner triangle so it actually made the block a little bit easier. It also makes my low-volume background more diverse so I'm okay with that. 

Page 78: Princess Feather
I made this one for Marion too. I cut the background slightly larger than 7" so it could be trimmed down to an accurate 6.5" after finishing the applique. These pieces were TINY. Thinking of doing turned-edge hand applique with these itty bitty pieces nearly gave me heart palpitations, so I decided to use fusible web and then sew it down with a tiny stitch with monofilament thread. Overall it worked out very well and I would definitely do it this way again.

I finished sewing my top together and I love how it turned out! It will be a while until I have time to quilt it so I'll wait to share it here until then, but you can scroll back a ways in my Instagram feed if you would like to see it.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Tips For Quiltmaking That Will Make Your Longarmer Happy

I had the opportunity today to be a guest at the Nebo Modern Quilt Guild's meeting, sharing some ideas to help your longarm quilter. I thought it would be good to post some of that information here. I forgot to mention a couple of things in my presentation today that I have included below.

First: Keep your quilt flat
Basic stuff here: accurate cutting, accurate seam allowance, keeping things as square as you can will help keep your quilt flat and avoid puckers. If there is extra fullness in the quilt some of it can be "quilted out" but it's really, really nice if we don't have to try.
This part I cannot stress enough!!!! If you add borders, you MUST MEASURE and PIN the borders onto the quilt to make sure that they are the correct length. Make sure to cut the borders the exact length that you need them, pin both ends, and then pin the middle. If you just cut them extra long and go for it, the edges of the quilt will stretch, making your borders longer than the rest of your quilt which makes them wavy. This can be extremely difficult to quilt and sometimes even requires that extra fullness be folded out of the quilt.
Personally, nothing frustrates me more as a quilter than having a beautiful quilt that I can't keep flat. Please, please, please try to keep your quilt flat.

Second: Piecing your quilt back
For proper loading on the longarm machine your quilt back needs to be 6-8" longer and wider than your quilt top. Usually this means that you will need to piece a back.
Extra wide quilt backs are available and I love using them because they are so easy, but they are not necessary.
When you need to piece your quilt back the way the seams are oriented greatly affects how easy it is to load on the machine and the ease of quilting the entire quilt. For example, if there is one seam the entire length of the quilt back and it is loaded perpendicular to the roller, as it is rolled around the rail the seam will stack on top of itself, making a really tight area on the back, while the rest of the back will not roll tightly and will actually be floppy. If all of the seams on the back of your quilt run the same direction it can be loaded with the seams parallel to the rail and will work out just fine. The direction that the seam goes on your back, whether horizontal or vertical, generally doesn't matter. It will only matter if you are having your quilt quilted with a directional design. Please keep this in mind when piecing your back.
If you want to put a pieced strip across the middle of your back go for it. Because there are many seams it will still roll evenly around the rail.
The back of this quilt that I made in 2012 was not ideal to work with because of the horizontal and vertical seams. 
If your entire back is pieced with many seams going in all directions then it should be fine. Some quilters don't like working with pieced backs so check with your quilter first. Personally I don't mind them, as long as the above guidelines are met as closely as possible.
Note: if there is a short seam, say two feet or less, that is perpendicular to the rails it is manageable. Just not the whole length or width of the quilt.
Minky: Please try to avoid piecing minky if you possibly can. It's just a pain to work with if it's not one continuous piece. Shannon Fabrics now has 90" wide minky available in eight colors. Here in Utah I know for sure that the Bernina dealer in Logan carries it as well as Gracie Lou's in Salem and at least one other place in Salt Lake, but I don't know which shop.
If there is any question at all as to which side you want showing, PLEASE LABEL IT. My idea of the "right" side may be different than yours.

We love it when you buy our batting. We keep it in stock as a convenience for you and many of us sell it at a very reasonable price. It also gives us a little extra income which is always appreciated. If you want to bring your own batting that's fine too.

If you want your applique to "pop" trim out the underneath layer of fabric to allow the batting to fill the area better. If you want it quilted down this extra step may not make a difference.
If you machine applique and are having your quilt custom quilted, ask your quilter if she can top stitch around your applique for you. Not everyone will go for this but I certainly would. If I'm going to outline the appliques anyway I can save you the step of sewing them down... as long as they are really secure either with applique glue or fusible web or interfacing. If they aren't securely attached then please sew them down.

Quilt edges:
When you piece quilts you don't need to backstitch. However, the seams that end on the edges of the quilt may stretch and pop open on the ends as we are handling the top. There are a couple of ways to avoid this. First, when you sew on borders please backstitch those. If your quilt does not have borders but instead has many seams ending on the sides it is really helpful if you sew a scant 1/4" around the entire top.

As you piece your quilt, especially if you are having your quilt custom quilted, please do not press seams open. Open seams cannot be stitched in the ditch because the thread will break and the seams will pop open.
Please also bring your quilt top and back carefully pressed. One of my clients brings her quilt tops and backs neatly pressed and folded over a hanger and they stay nice and wrinkle-free, which I really appreciate.  If you are shipping your quilt fold it as carefully as you can!

Most quilters, if not all, will baste the edges of the quilt before quilting. Some will trim off the edges for you after the quilting is finished, some don't. If you are planning to add a ruffle, prairie points, or some other special treatment to the edge of your quilt after quilting, please let your quilter know ahead of time so that your planned finish is still possible.

I hope this all makes sense. Please feel free to ask any questions or post additional tips in the comments. I'll edit this post as needed. As a quilter one of my favorite things is seeing happy customers. Keeping the above tips in mind will help me make you happy, which makes me happy too.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Blocks From the Past Quilt Along, Blocks 27, 28, and 70

If you read my last post then you saw that I am doing my quilt differently than the book. I've changed my mind on the layout I posted previously but I think I'm really going to like it! And, as a bonus, it will even fit on my bed! I'm still doing larger blocks and all of these are 12 1/2" unfinished rather than 6 1/2". 

The block on page 27, Flock of Geese, was so straight forward, just half square triangles the whole way. 
 I like to make my HSTs a little bigger and trim them down, which isn't fun, but helps SO MUCH especially with small blocks. I recently discovered the Quilt in a Day HST square-up ruler, and it's pretty fantastic. I like to press my HSTs first, then re-fold and trim after to avoid distortion. It works great for me! It's SO MUCH FASTER than trimming all four sides.

Page 28, Birds in the Air, was also fairly easy. I don't love making the HST units with attached triangles, as it was a bit tricky to keep things straight. I lined mine up on my cutting mat and drew a diagonal line to mark the stitching line. It ended up okay. 

Now for page 70, Virginia Reel. I usually don't mind applique, but I'll admit that the ones I did from the book weren't my favorite! I had originally planned to use freezer paper to turn my edges, but decided it just wasn't practical. Even though I enlarged my pattern pieces to make a 12" block instead of 6", some areas are SO SKINNY that just thinking about turning the edges under made me kind of panic. In the end I used fusible web. I zig-zagged around the edges with clear monofilament thread and it made it MUCH less painful. The block will be a bit stiff from the fusible web, but it's done, right? I won't be using any applique blocks in my quilt so I made it in Marion's colors. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Teach Yourself Blocks From the Past QAL

My friends Marion and Natalie are hosting this fun Quilt Along! It uses this book, Teach Yourself Blocks From the Past. It's from 2001 and it's all about traditional blocks. The idea is that many of these blocks would look AWESOME in more modern fabrics. Check out Marion's blog for more details about how it all will work.

 I'll be hosting three stops on the QAL, but I wanted to do a quick post about how I'm doing things differently. In the book there are 72 blocks, and they all finish at 6". These are small blocks. Small. I decided that I did not want to put effort into making a bunch of blocks and only have a small quilt to show for it at the end. So I'm making my blocks larger and arranging them into a medallion. I'm so excited about it! I've wanted to make a medallion quilt for a long time, so it should be fun.
You can see my basic layout in the photo above. I'm putting a 36" block in the center. I think I will either do a traditional Labyrinth (but with only one "border," not two like it is in the picture) or possibly a Carpenter's Star (this pattern is by my amazingly talented friend Deonn!) in that area. The center will be surrounded by Twelve 12" blocks and four 8" x 12" flying geese units, with 2" sashing. That whole section will be turned on point and each corner will have a 24" block, two 12" blocks, and four 10" triangles, which I may or may not piece. I might just use one fabric for those. Still thinking about it. I spent a bunch of quality time with my graph paper a few days ago and I'm so pleased with how this is going to turn out! The only measurement I haven't figured out yet is how wide the border/sashing around the center section will be to get it to fit. It will be somewhere between 3" and 4", but I'll have to wait to check that one before assembling it.

I'm not sure how large the original quilt in the book ends up, but with these adjustments my quilt will finish up at around 104" square. Maybe 106" if I do a 3" border instead of 2".

Have I mentioned that I like big quilts? Because I totally do.

I will not be making all of the blocks in the book. I chose the 24 that I like the best and I will be making those, and then the center block I'll do isn't in the book, but still will be a traditional pattern. I love this concept, which really isn't new, of putting a modern spin on traditional blocks. It will be fun to see what people come up with!

So what do you think? Want to join us and make a sampler? I can post more detailed measurements as we go along if anyone is interested, so PLEASE let me know if you want them. Or you can just look at my lovely graph paper in the photo above. One square =2".

Follow the QAL on Instagram with the Hashtag #BFTPqal for Blocks From the Past. Be sure to check out Marion's post today for more details!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

"Woven" quilt by Kati Spencer in Scraps, Inc.

Do you follow Kati at From the Blue Chair? She's one of the first bloggers I started following when I discovered the online quilting community and have since gotten to know her through the Salt Lake Modern Quilt Guild. She has a great eye for design and is always creating beautiful quilts. A few months ago I had the pleasure of quilting this fantastic scrappy quilt, which she called "Woven," to be included in the new book Scraps, Inc. I didn't have time to get any photos of the full quilt before returning it to Kati but I got some more detailed shots of the quilting. I've been dying to share them for months, and I finally get to!

 The scrappy blocks are all made from strips in different widths and Kati wanted those highlighted with straight lines.

I quilted swirls in the vertical sashing and ribbon candy in the horizontal sashing. 

At the intersections I alternated which design was on "top," creating a woven effect. At the time I didn't know that was the name Kati had chosen, so it ended up perfect!

I divided the border into two sections and repeated the swirls and ribbon candy from the sashing on a slightly larger scale.

Like most of Kati's quilts the back was pieced and added a whole new level of interest. 

I really, really love this quilt. The color scheme and fabrics, the design and layout, and the visual interest from the scrappiness all add up to an amazing quilt. I'm so excited that I got to be part of it. If you would like your own copy of Scraps, Inc. you can get one here. If you use the code SCRAPS30 you can get a discount, at least for the next few days. All of the quilts in the book that I have seen are wonderful. If you love scrappy quilts you will not be disappointed.

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