Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Churn Dash with Stripes

As if I didn't have enough projects on my cutting mat, but for some reason I just could not turn down the opportunity to participate in Barbs Churn Dash big swap of 2018!  It's closed now, but you can follow the link for a fantastic tutorial on making a Churn Dash block.

I chose to join the Civil War theme and have chosen this paisley feather striped fabric.  Although the stripe is subtle(look closely), it's striped, and that means I need to pay attention.
And since I had to pay attention, I thought I'd draw your attention to working with stripes and 1/2 square triangles.

The details.  The 1/2 square block needs to finish at 2" so I started with 3" blocks.  Yes, I know there are other methods, but for a swap, I didn't want to be the one who gets her blocks back because I didn't pay close attention to the finished size.  So I CHOSE to trim down for precise measurements.

Using striped fabrics means you have to pay attention to the direction if you want all your blocks to run in the same direction when you are piecing the block.  Notice that the stripe is running in the same direction but the marked line is placed in opposite directions.

Here you can see my stacks of finished 1/2 sq triangles and the orientation of the stripes.

First draw a line corner to corner and use that as your guide.  Stitch a 1/4" from the line on either side.
Cut on the line.
and when you press open each piece, you will have striped running in opposite directions.  This is what you want!
Now it's time to trim down to 2 1/2" squares and any ruler with a 45 degree line will work for this task.  Line up your seam to the 45 ruler line, and make sure you have a tiny bit of overhang on all 4 sides of the 2 1/2" lines. Trim on the right side, flip the block around and trim on the left side. 
Now orient your block so the seam is running from bottom right to top left and again, use the 45 degree line on the ruler to ensure a square block.  Notice you have trimming to do on the right, and under the ruler, you can see the trimming you have on the opposite side.  It's all "just a smidge" but it's the smidge that makes for precise blocks.

Now you will have pairs with the stripes going in opposite directions.

Now you have the four corner blocks for the Churn Dash and all the striped are running in the same direction. 

If you were to sew your 1/2 square triangles all the same, below is what you will have to work with.  Notice the stripes are running up and down on the top left and bottom right, and the other two blocks are striped side to side.  Not a great design decision, especially when this can be avoided with a little pre planning in the piecing stage.

And here are 2 of my 66 blocks that are required for this swap.

This will be my focus until I get my blocks all done. I don't want to be the one asking for an extension on the shipping deadline. More sewing time and less computer time!
I hope this helps you in your quilting journey, next month or next year.

Keep stitching,

Friday, December 22, 2017

Christmas Cheer 2017

My classic 'go to' Christmas baking. Shortbread cookies. I got a request for chocolate drizzles, so my final batch is dressed and ready to gift.

My favorite Christmas textiles.  I adore this pattern by Minick and Simpson.  It's from a back issue of Primitive Quilts, and it was fast using wool for the leaves and berries.  Grunge background gives this such a vintage feel.

An oldie from days gone by when I X stitched for hours on end.

My Lonestar Christmas pillows.  I used this as a sample and didn't want to sew a second strip set. I thought a bit of big stitch and red and green french knots would finish off the solid fabric section.

This one is just too darn cute.  A Crabapple Hill pattern from years ago, but still, and always will be relevant for this time of year.

My little Charlie Brown, but real, tree this year.  I guess we purged a bit too much during the last few moves as neither of us had a tree stand.  Now we have a new one!

Hand crafted Santa, painted on foraged bark,and purchased on our Alaskan cruise in May.

I couldn't resist this ornament, again, locally made in Maui.

To support a local pressed glass studio, Whimsy, located in our county.  I fell in love with these snowflake ornaments and although I only stopped in to donate packing foam peanuts, I came home with this beauty.

We will be having a green Christmas, but we have snowmen in the house!

And look what Santa brought on Thursday......

Grinch Green, ok that's really not the factory name for this color. Sublime.....it looks fast standing still. My guy's present to himself. He does so much for others, so I am thrilled he did this for himself.  This will keep him busy in 2018 and I couldn't be happier for him. He now has a retirement project.
Wishing all my blog readers the very best the season has to offer.   It's all about good cheer, friends and family, giving and relaxing.  I have so much to be thankful for, and we count our blessings throughout the year, not just at Christmas.
The hustle and bustle and bell ringing is fun, but may you have a few minutes to relax and stitch, listen to some carols, slow down, have a cuppa cheer and enjoy the moment.
Merry Christmas to all!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Vitamin C Zig Zags

This was such a fun and fabulous quilt to quilt.  I connected with this quilter through Lori at Humble Quilts.  It's great to have my quilting showcased on other blogs, and it resulted in me getting to work on this beauty. 

Thread, something so simple, something that turns a sheet of pieced fabric into a quilt.  Oh how I love to see the transformation.

She loved the feathers I did on Lori's quilt so I figured when I got her top, feathers were on her mind.

And with all this open space with solid orange, what long arm quilter could resist filling it all up with feathers!

She pieced the back so there were places with a lighter print fabric to show the quilting.

I loved how the zig zag shows up on this light fabric.  The colors and fabrics were the star of this quilt, so I kept the quilting on the 1/2 square triangles simple.  Curves and loops were used on the pieced sections.

Oh, how I love how this one turned out.  Using the piecer's talents to be my guide, it doesn't get better than this. 

OK, I know, enough photos of the back.  But I really do love how the quilting showed up on the section of light fabric.

In case you are wondering, this quilt was approx. 100" x 110".  Yes, it is big!

I used Hobbs 80/20 and So Fine thread.  I debated moving away from the orange/red thread when doing the 1/2 square tri's, but since it was a riot of color, nothing would blend into everything, and I was very pleased with how the same thread worked on this whole quilt.

Click on the photos for close ups of her color/fabric choices. It is always a delight for me to get up close and personal with other peoples color/print choices. It expands my view;  gives me more confidence when doing my own work.

It was a pleasure to quilt this piece. It was so bright and cheerful to walk into my studio and see this.
How could you not smile when seeing this quilt. I hope your quilts make you smile!
Keep stitching,

Monday, November 20, 2017

Alicia's Stars - Tutorial

This quilt was a group project that was completed and gifted in the summer, but I thought I'd give a step by step on lining up columns of blocks with a full column of sashing.  You can see the block process HERE.  I might have also shown this quilt before, but this post is all about lining up the blocks.

First was the decision to use white strips between the blocks. This was based on a few things. These blocks were all made by different people and we didn't have a large enough pool of blocks for a lap quilt. Second, it gives the blocks some breathing room, and third, these blocks are a bear to get nested together along all those points. The last reason was that I was quilting it and since it was a comfort quilt, I wanted space to put some nice feathers for our friend.

Look closely, and you will see a little blue tick mark on the edge of this seam.  Since my blocks finished at 6" and I have 10 blocks in each column, my white strip needs to be cut 60 1/2" to account for the 1/4" seam allowance on the top and bottom block.  Now it's time to start marking my white strip.  

Here is a better shot.  The marks will be in the seam allowance, but I used a wash out blue marker.  Use a ruler to mark both sides of the white strip as that will keep things lined up properly.  Your first tick mark will be 6 1/4" from the top of the strip and then mark at every 6"  Your last tick mark should be 6 1/4" from the bottom of your white strip.

If you click on the photos, it will be easier to see, but in this photo.  Now you can pin your white strip to your strip of blocks, matching up the seams to your tick marks.  You can see how the blue tick marks are lined up with the seam where the blocks are joined together.

Once you sew the white strip in between columns of blocks, you will see how your blocks line up across the solid sashing.

This doesn't take much time at all, and the end results are definitely worth the effort.  Now your columns are nicely lined up. If you have any quilting motifs that require ruler work/line work, everything will line up.

I knew from the beginning that I wanted open spaces for some feather quilting, so that wasn't my concern, but I have had customer quilts that were challenging, bases on blocks not lining up straight across.

By using this method,  ALL the columns of stars will line up and this makes for a very nice finish.

Here is a shot of the solid columns.  I stitched a 1/4" from the seam on each side to frame the feathers, and used a continuous curve motif throughout the star blocks.

Keeping a straight visual line across the solid section to your pieced blocks is achieved using this simple method.  I wish I could remember where I heard/read/saw this being done.  I would definitely give credit back to them.  Since I can't, I shall defer to all the quilters before me, who have generously shared their lessons and knowledge. 

 By using this method it also helps keep your quilt top flat and squared up.

If you have a quilt in your future that requires this tip, give it a try. It works on any size quilt, even those mini's need to line up.

I'm wishing everyone a very happy Thanksgiving week/weekend. I hope you find time to pause and give thanks for the blessings in your life, big or small. Don't compare to others, just look at what you have and what you are thankful for. I have all that I need and then some, life is good and I count my blessings every day!

Keep stitching

Sunday, November 12, 2017

'Tis the Season

All my customer Christmas quilts are done. Well, a trip to the post office on Tuesday and it will be official! So today I started this! The process, the smell, the memories, oh the calories!.

If you want this recipe, go to this past post of mine here.
You won't regret making a batch, (or 3) of these delicious melt in your mouth shortbread cookies.

The rain held out yesterday, giving everyone a chance to stay dry during our local Remembrance Day service here in Blaine, WA.

 And in closing, here is a photo my sister uploaded to her FB account yesterday.  My dad is on the right.  1952, on furlough in Montreal, PQ  He's turning 83 next week, and going strong. 

 Hope you enjoy your week, and get some stitching time in.  I'm packing hand work projects for a plane ride.  Going to visit Pearl Harbor and learn some more history about this country.

Keep stitching,