Applique’ Task

The Food Quilt #2 still needs a back. I have been putting it off, because I wanted to applique’ the recipient’s name on to a piece of fabric as part of the back. The idea is to discourage theft. We’ll see if it works.

I had a good chunk of time over the weekend. Thus, I spent most of the afternoon on Sunday preparing and appliqueing the name to a piece of fabric.

Applique' Back
Applique’ Back

I accomplished the job, but it was a really big pain and not very pleasant. I fought with the fusible the whole time. It wouldn’t stick and then it stuck too much. I felt the whole process took much more time than it should have.

The picture (left) is part of the work I did. I am not showing the whole name, because of privacy, but you can see the work.

The alphabet is from a pattern called Critters Alphabet. I like it because it is cheerful and different. I used it on another quilt I made for a nephew. I bought the pattern at PIQF about a zillion years ago and I am pretty sure I saw it there last year. I did a search and found it under a new name, Alphabet Critters.

Next time, though, I might try paper piecing for the letters. We’ll see.

Going for Broke with Peacocks

Enchanted Plume panel by Timeless Treasures
Enchanted Plume panel by Timeless Treasures

I decided to make the peacock One Block Wonder project. I was really on the fence, as you may have gathered from my previous posts, about making it. I talked about some of my concerns in the last post and had decided not to make it. Things change.

There were a couple of things that made me decide to do it. 1) I was able to find the Timeless Treasure panel on a website. 2) I saw Maureen’s blocks and 3) I really like the colors in this panel.

I was easily able to buy the panel from Miller’s Dry Goods, which I found unexpectedly after doing a simple Google search. The line is fairly new so I wasn’t expecting that it would be available yet. I am still interested in the group of solids shown with the panel, but they are not as important. I think they might make a good addition to the quilt, but I don’t know what the final quilt will look like, which means I don’t know how they would fit in so we’ll have to see.

Maureen read one of my previous posts and brought her One Block Wonder blocks, as well as a piece of the original fabric to show me at the retreat. I didn’t even know she had worked on a One Block Wonder and was very pleased to see what she had done. Pam’s class using a panel seems very different from using fabric, but there are quite a few similarities as well. I was pleased to see how different Maureen’s blocks looked from each other and she confirmed that it is fairly easy to avoid ending up with the same blocks, which adds to the variety of the quilt. We encouraged her to work on her OBW quilt, but she worked on other projects. I would love to see what she does with those blocks.

I do like the colors of the panel. There is no cream, as there was in the other yardage I considered, which is a bonus. I am annoyed at cream backgrounds lately. They look dirty to me.

Maureen assured me, as did looking at her blocks, that the black would not overwhelm the piece. There is plenty of blue, especially turquoise (!!!), in the panel as well.

This is a limited collection for Timeless Treasures and I only bought the panel. If it doesn’t work out, the effort will make a great donation quilt.

More Peacocks

Enchanted Plume Panel by Timeless Treasures
Enchanted Plume Panel by Timeless Treasures

 I had pretty much decided to skip the One Block Wonder this time. I really like how Pam’s piece came out, but wasn’t sure I could replicate her success with work as interesting or cheerful. I have seen others that are not as nice.

When I saw the fabric on sale I looked at it and really made a conscious decision not to make a One Block Wonder project. I thought really hard about the logistics, time and money required to make the project and decided no, not now. I didn’t like the fabric enough to commit. I took the book back to the library and that was that.

Yay! Done deal. Moving on.

Then, yesterday morning, I went on Instagram and saw a new Peacock range by Timeless Treasures (damn you, social media!).

 The colors in the panel are much richer and bolder. The design of the panel is more complex and way more interesting. The motifs are much more stylized and lush. Oh, and, Timeless Treasures, thanks for including those awesome solids that match the panel. Just what I needed. More temptation!

This is another good reason NOT to keep your tablet by your bed.

So, now this idea is back in the thinking pile. Here are some questions for you to answer:

  1. What do you think of the panel?
  2. If you saw it in the store, would you think of me? (since, of course, I am always first on your mind. 😉   )
  3. Do you think a finished pieced piece would be too dark?

Tsukineko Inks Class

Work area
Work area

I have a lot of Tsukineko Inks. I love the idea of them. They don’t change the hand of the fabric. They purport to be permanent (have not Googled that nor do I have personal experience). They are not too messy and have fabulous colors.

Sadly, I have never had a lot of time to learn to use them or practice with them. Awhile ago, Nancy and I got together one time to try them out. I had fun and was inspired, but I haven’t really had a chance to work with them since. I love them so they have been on my mind.

It turns out that my class was with Judy Coates Perez. She is awesome and then I read my blog and found out that the first time I wrote about Tsukineko Inks had to do with Judy Coates Perez!

So, this was an EBHQ workshop and I signed up a few months ago knowing I would be on the East Coast around the same time. I signed up and made plans to be sure and be home by the time the class started.

Then I found out I was on the waiting list.

I was #8.

I had no chance of getting in. I was disappointed. Supremely disappointed.

What else could I do? I moved on. The inks stayed on the shelf.

Then I went on my trip. Practically as soon as I settled into the East Coast I got an email from the workshop coordinator saying I had gotten into the class and needed to confirm ASAP. I couldn’t believe that I, #8, had gotten into the class. That is practically a 50% dropout rate. I found out later that the dropout number was the most people who had ever dropped out of a workshop in recent memory and the most people on the waitlist who had ever gotten into a class.

I was really happy! I RSVPed ASAP and then panicked. Did I have the right colors? How could I know? I wasn’t at home to check. I panicked about it on and off until I got home. Finally, when I checked, I was completely astounded to find that I had all but one of the colors. I must have bought a ‘basics’ kit at some point. It didn’t even matter than I didn’t have that color once I was in the class.

Judy Coates Perez is an awesome teacher and I would take a class from her again in an instant. She is caring, giving and very easy going. She has a lot of extra colors (yes, I bought a few more) and supplies. Since I didn’t really have a chance to buy anything on the supply list, I scrounged a water cup from Peet’s when I got an extra cup of morning tea and bought the rest from her: brushes, etc. Fortunately, the supply list was short and sweet.

Blending
Blending

The first thing we did was work on getting used to the ink and blending. I wrote the colors down next to my practice pieces so I would know what I had done in the future.

It takes practice.

The technique requires a light touch. Having a light touch, I found is not my strength. I also found that, since I was determined to succeed, that I made an effort to calm down, slow down, be patient and realize that this technique was a commitment and not a sprint.

I really like the slow and careful way one has to apply the inks. It is soothing in a lot of ways.

Leaf and Flower
Leaf and Flower

Once we started in on leaves and flowers, my rhythm was in full force and, though, my first leaf was a little heavy handed, but the practice helped and I got better. I needed to slow down and apply the ink more lightly. I tried to do that with the second leaf. It isn’t perfect, but it is much better.

The squiggly lines are me trying to get a smaller amount of ink of the applicator.

Tsukineko ink Flower, January 2015
Tsukineko ink Flower, January 2015

I made a really nice flower. It isn’t as good as Judy’s, of course. For having only worked with Tsukineko inks for  a few hours, I was pretty happy with my work. I can see shading and some shadows. I can also see how the blending changed the original tangerine I used for the first coat.

In the afternoon we switched to using paintbrushes. It is completely different and you make the inks more transparent and lighter in color using aloe vera gel (no additives).

I had to get used to a whole new technique, but I tried to take my patience with me into this new technique. The key with the paintbrushes is to have synthetic brushes (boar bristle for oils are too stiff and sable used for watercolors absorb too much liquid) and work in small spaces at a time.

Tsukineko inks, Peony in progress
Tsukineko inks, Peony in progress

Judy had copies of botanical line drawings and I picked a peony. I didn’t want to get the snail! My neighbor did, however, and she did a really great job with it. Snails, though, YUCK!

While trying to make the ink looks smooth and even, I was also practicing managing the amount of ink I was using. I got better as I went along.

I could tell other people were getting frustrated with the technique and the inks as the noise level grew as people stood up and started to chat. I just sat and worked away at my little spaces on my Peony.

Tsukineko inks, Peony in progress 2
Tsukineko inks, Peony in progress 2

I used Orchid Odyssey for the petals, Thistle for the shadows on the petals and Tropical Lagoon for the leaves. I wanted to something a little different in terms of color and to try out some of my other inks.

Way too early they chivvied us along and got us to pay our bills and clean up our areas. I didn’t finish, but I am pleased with my progress.

The inks get heat set and are permanent when they dry. I learned in this particular exercise to heat set areas once I am happy with them.

I am trying to think of a way to use these inks in my work. I can’t think of anything at the moment, but will keep thinking as I want to use them.

Thanks for reading!

 

JCP Samples
JCP Samples

When Leaders & Enders Go Wrong

I was thinking about my WIPs last Sunday as I tried to adjust to the horror that is Daylight Savings Time. There is a lot of chaos in my head about projects lately. I couldn’t figure out why until I realized that I had too many leaders and enders projects and not enough front burner projects.

At the moment my leaders and enders projects are:

  • The Disappearing Pinwheel
  • Black/grey donation quilt
  • Brown mosaic piecing

I really was quite happy with the progress I was making on each of those projects when they were the only leaders and enders project on which I was working. Then I finished Scrapitude and all I had with a quarter inch seam allowance were leaders and enders projects. Now none of them are looking very appealing.

To make matters worse, the Scrap Lab Backpack, as I mentioned, uses a 1/2″ seam allowance which requires a different foot, so there is no progress being made on the leaders and enders projects.

I tried to work on the DPW as a front burner project and I just wasn’t as happy. I like that project, but it isn’t exciting enough to be  front burner project. This is the moment when projects get derailed. I don’t want to replenish my UFO list so I need to power through these projects and get them done.

Hhmm.  I guess I had better finish that backpack.

Tutorial: LeMoyne Star

Finished LeMoyne Star
Finished LeMoyne Star

This is a tutorial on making a LeMoyne Star. This block is also called an Eight Pointed Star. This is one of the ways that I make it. There are many methods and I encourage you to try different techniques.

Alex Anderson has a great tutorial on one of the Quilt Show episodes on making a Split LeMoyne Star.

Before you do anything else, print the rotary cutting instructions below (first item under supplies). All the sizes, etc are there.

Supplies:

  • 8 Pointed Star Rotary Cutting Directions
  • 4.5″x 12.5″ Creative Grids ruler
  • 4.5 x8.5″ Creative Grids ruler
  • Optional: Jinny Beyer Perfect Piecer ruler
  • Optional: Mary Ellen’s Best Press or similar
  • Optional: stiletto
  • fabric marking implement (pencil, Sewline, Pilot SCUF, Pigma Micron, mechanical pencil, etc)
  • rotary cutter
  • mat
  • sewing machine
  • thread
  • iron
  • ironing board
  • 3 fabrics (I will name them A, B, C)
    • 3″x23″ strip of fabric A for 4 diamonds
    • 3″x23″ strip of fabric B for 4 diamonds
    • 1 fat quarter for the background (fabric C)

Important information:

  • Block is 12.5″ unfinished, 12″ finished
  • These directions use a quarter inch seam allowance.
  • You will be creating Y seams.
  • Chain piecing is not part of this tutorial.
  • Respect the bias.
  • Do not sew into the seam allowance.

Cutting

Line Up Ruler to Cut 1 Side of Diamond
Line Up Ruler to Cut 1 Side of Diamond

Cut a 3″x23″ strips. That should be long enough for 4 diamonds (parallelograms). Cutting a 3″ strip across the width of a half yard of fabric will generate a strip that is long enough. You will need two and using 2 different fabrics looks good.

As shown (left), line your ruler up so the 45 degree angle on your ruler is along the bottom of the strip.The side of the ruler should be lined up right in the corner of your strip.

The idea is to cut off the end of the strip, so you have the correct angle of one pointy end of the diamond. I did try my diamond ruler, but none of the lines were quite the right size, so I couldn’t use it for this particular block.

Line Up Rulers to Cut the Second End
Line Up Rulers to Cut the Second End

I used the two rulers to  make sure that the diamond were accurate. The first ruler, on the left, should be even with the far left [soon to be] diamond point so that it would measure 4.25″ along the bottom edge. I used that measurement to line up the 45 degree angle of the second ruler so I could cut the angle in the right place. I butted the second ruler up against the first ruler (carefully) so everything was in alignment. The second ruler (on the right) must have a 45 degree angle that intersects with a corner or this trick won’t work.

I removed the left ruler before I started cutting, as it was easier to cut with just one ruler on the mat. I was careful not to jostle the ruler in the 45 degree angle position. Line your ruler up exactly as shown in the photo. You don’t have to have exactly the rulers I have. You can use any rulers with the correct lines.

Cut 2d End of Diamond
Cut 2d End of Diamond

I found that the method really does work. You will need to repeat the step above 8 times to get 8 diamonds. After the first diamond, it will be easier, since you can use the 2d cut for each diamond as the first cut for the next diamond.

Aside from having to watch out for ruler jostling, I was really pleased with how easy this was and well these diamonds came out. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t have wanted to cut the 300+ diamonds for FOTY 2010 using this method, but for a LeMoyne Star, it works very well.

I cut all the diamonds at once from two strips of two different fabrics. My fabrics are:

  • background: Lil Plain Jane
  • red diamonds: Moda Bliss #55021
  • aqua dot diamonds: Moda Bliss #55023
Side Triangles
Side Triangles

Cut the squares and triangles according to the cutting directions on the PDF in the supply list. The triangles are quarter square triangles, which means that you cut the triangles so the straight of the grain will be along the hypotenuse (the long side of the traingle).

If you have some reason for not being able to cut the side triangles as shown, be careful sewing the block together and then stay stitch the outside of the block once you are finished.

Pieces cut
Pieces cut

Once your pieces are cut, lay them out or adhere them to your design wall, so you know what you have.

Cut Diamond, Face down
Cut Diamond, Face down

I like to keep them where I can see them because it helps me know where I am. As I sew, I put the sewn elements of the block back up on the design wall.

Once you have cut all the diamonds, you will need to mark them. You need to mark 1/4″ away from the seam line, because if you want this block to come out right, you cannot sew into the seam allowance. The biggest rule I have for making the LeMoyne/8 pointed star block is NOT to sew into the seam allowance. There are exceptions, but I am not going into those now.

Put your diamonds face down on a writing surface and prepare to mark. As you can see from the photo, I used my cutting mat as the hard surface. You can use a table or whatever else works for your work area. I used the Sewline pencil to make the marks. Pilot SCUF pens, a mechanical pencil, etc also work.

Get ready to mark the seam allowance on all of your pieces (squares, triangles, diamonds).

Mark with Perfect Piecer
Mark with Perfect Piecer

I like using the Perfect Piecer ruler by Jinny Beyer for marking weird angles, because I only have to move the ruler once to mark the ‘corner.’

With the Perfect Piecer (they aren’t giving me free stuff, BTW!), you put the ruler in the ‘corner’ as shown in the photo. Where I have placed the circle is a hole. Note it is a small hole, so a regular No.2 pencil usually won’t work. Stick your Sewline (or other fabric marking implement with a very thin point) in there and make a dot. Voilà!

You will need to use two different parts of

Ruler Angle Does Not Fit Side
Ruler Angle Does Not Fit Side

the Perfect Piecer ruler to make the marks on all four ‘corners’. There is no angle for the sides of the diamonds, so just use the straight edge (as I describe below). You don’t need to know the angles, if angles make you crazy. Just match up the shape of the ruler with your cut piece.

Use Straight Edge for Marking
Use Straight Edge for Marking

You can certainly use any kind of ruler. Take your regular ruler and line up the 1/4″ line with the cut edge. Make a line around where you think the quarter inch would be. Make it longer, so you don’t have to go back and do it over. Move the ruler to the opposite cut edge of the diamond and cross your first line with a new line. It makes an X. I have done this numerous time and there is no problem using an X instead of the Perfect Piecer dot.

Beautiful marks!
Beautiful marks!

In case you were wondering what the marks look like, the photo (red diamond with blue circles, left) shows  examples.

The upper left hand mark inside the blue circle is the mark made with a Perfect Piecer and the Sewline pencil.

The lower right hand mark is made using a regular rotary cutting ruler and the Sewline pencil. Either mark works, as I said. You will use these marks to stop and start your seam lines. NO sewing into the seam allowance!

You will need to mark the squares and the triangles, too. You can use the Perfect Piecer to mark those pieces as well.

At this point, you might want to use some Mary Ellen’s Best Press to stiffen your pieces since you will be sewing along a lot of bias edges. You can either spray it on all of your pieces all at once, or as you are getting ready to sew. If you don’t want to use Mary Ellen’s Best Press or spray starch, no problem. Just keep in mind that you are working with bias edges, so work with them carefully. You don’t need to be afraid of bias edges. Just work slowly and carefully. Respect the Bias! 😉

Position Triangle over Diamond
Position Triangle over Diamond

Sew Segments Together

Now you are ready to sew!

First, position one of your side triangles over the diamond as shown, right sides together. You are lining up the diamond with the left non-hypotenuse side of the side triangle.

Line up the marks you have made on the diamond with the marks you made on the triangles.

I used pins, but only stuck them through vertically one time to keep them in place until I got to the sewing machine.

You can give the pieces a little press to stick them together, too, if you want.

Sew from Mark to Mark
Sew from Mark to Mark

Next you sew from mark to mark. Stay out of the seam allowance! You can back stitch, if you want, but stay out of the seam allowance. Start sewing at one mark and stop at the second mark. Easy!

An Aside: You are probably wondering about the lemon fabric. I press fabric on my ironing board and if I am pressing a lot of pieces, then I will put a larger piece of fabric so that I can get more bang for my buck. As I press the smaller pieces the larger piece gets pressed as well.

Press Carefully
Press Carefully

You can press now. If you do, press carefully (remember the bias, respect the bias) towards the diamond. If you don’t want to press until later, that is ok, too. I usually create the entire segment (2 diamonds, one triangle) before I press.

Now you have your first piece. YAY!

Not hard or scary, right?

Repeat this step for all of the diamonds that will be in the same position as my aqua with white dot diamonds.

 

2d Diamond with Pieced Segment
2d Diamond with Pieced

The next step is to sew the second diamond on to the segment (above: aqua with white dot & Lil Plain Jane fabrics) you have just made. You will be doing an inset seam. An inset seam is also called a Y seam. A lot of people hear this and panic. It isn’t difficult, but you can’t chain piece them and you have to pay attention. This method is similar to sewing hexagons together. Y seams really expand your quilt block piecing repertoire.

As you can see I have lined the red diamond up with the segment I sewed and am ready to line up the pieces, pin and sew.

Line Up 2d Diamond & Pin
Line Up 2d Diamond & Pin

First, line up the marks on the triangle and the diamond.

I just used vertical pins to make sure that everything was lined up before I sewed. I put a pin in the middle of seam line right before I sewed just to hold everything together.

You will be sewing in two stages. I like to sew the triangle to the second diamond before I sew the two diamonds together.

 

Sew 2d Diamond
Sew 2d Diamond

Next, place the group of 3 patches (2 diamonds and a triangle) under the needle, lining up the marks so that the needle misses the seam allowance and goes straight into the first mark.

Sew from mark to mark. The triangle and the second diamond will now be sewed together.

Sew from Top to Middle
Sew from Top to Middle

Second, line up the new diamond with the diamond you have already sewed to the triangle.

Line Up 2d Diamond & Pin
Line Up 2d Diamond & Pin

Match up the marks on the top and sides of the diamond. Right sides should be together.

Put the top of the 2 diamonds into the machine. You will start sewing at the mark, which is 1/4″ in from the top of the diamond. Sew between the two marks, avoiding the seam allowance.

 

Top View of Sewing Mark to Mark
Top View of Sewing Mark to Mark

Sew down to the mark at the bottom of the diamond. If the pressed seam allowance looks like it will go under the needle, move it out of the way with your finger, the tip of some sharp scissors or a stiletto.

Stop at the second mark.

Remove the piece from the machine.

 

Segment 1 Complete
Segment 1 Complete

Once you have sewed the the three patches together, you will have one full segment completed.

Next, press the 3 seam allowances into a swirl. This is similar to what you do with hexagons. As a guide, use the first seam that you pressed after sewing the first diamond to your triangle.

The reason I suggest the ‘Swirl’ is that it reduces bulk later. This particular pressing point isn’t as important in terms of bulk as the center, which has a crazy number of layers, once finished. Consistency is good, though.

Repeat to make four of the above segments.

 

 

 

Sew Quarters into Halves

Segment and Square
Segment and Square
Sew Square to Segment
Sew Square to Segment

Line up the square to the [red] diamond, matching the marks.

Arrange your pieces like I have done.

Line up the marks in the square with the marks on the outside side of the bottom (in the picture it is red) diamond.

Press, if you like.  Pin, if you like. Go back to the sewing machine and sew from mark to mark.

Repeat this step for all four segments.

Sew Square to Segment 1
Sew Square to Segment 1

If you just look at the next photo, you might have a heart attack. Please don’t. Add the square is not hard. The key is to NOT sew into the seam allowance.

 

Two Quarters of the Block
Two Quarters of the Block

Once you have two segments sewn to two squares, prepare to sew the two quarters together.

An Aside: You can actually sew into the seam allowance on any seam that will end up on the outside of the block. If this thought is going to make your head explode, then just remember my mantra: don’t sew into the seam allowance and you will be fine.

 

 

Line up 2 Halves along the Center Diamond
Line up 2 Halves along the Center Diamond

 

Sew Diamond Only
Sew Diamond Only

Sew the [red] diamond to the aqua diamond on the bottom. Stay out of the seam allowance and sew mark to mark.

Seam Line After Sewing Diamonds
Seam Line After Sewing Diamonds

 

After Diamonds are Sewn
After Diamonds are Sewn

It looks weird once you have sewn the diamonds together, but it will work out.

Line up Square
Line up Square

Line up the square with the [aqua] diamond and sew from mark to mark.

 

You Finished Half of Your LeMoyne Star
You Finished Half of Your LeMoyne Star

Two Halves of Block

Center detail
Center detail

Finally, we are ready to sew the two halves together. You should have pressed in such a way that you can nestle the diamonds together using your pressed opposing seams.

Match up the marks with pins. I used really thin ones this time. I normally use the kind shown in the center detail photo, but switched to thinner ones as I worked on this step, because my normal pins weren’t giving me the results I needed for this tricky piecing. Note that I don’t pin right in the center. I pin well where I am not going to sew and may put another vertical pin in the center temporarily. There are so many layers in the center that it doesn’t always make sense to pin there. Do what works for you.

Sew Halves Together
Sew Halves Together

Line up your piece carefully.

Hold on to your pinned halves tightly.

Sew over the center only. Start about an inch from one side of the center and stop about an inch after the center.

Sewing only a couple of inches makes it much easier to rip out, which I had to do. You might think that this will be a piece of cake, which it might be for you. It can be tricky also, because of the many layers of fabric that you are sewing through. My sewing machine did not want to go straight over that center section, which is why I had to rip out the first time.

Take the piece out of your machine, open it and see if you were able to match the center.

Once you have the center matched to your satisfaction, sew from the edge of one diamond across the entire center to the edge of the opposite diamond. Remember the mantra? Refrain from sewing into the seam allowance.

 

Finished and Pressed (full)
Finished and Pressed (full)

Once you have sewn the squares to the last sides of the last diamonds, pressing becomes very important. I have indicated with the circles how your pressing should look. If you need to re-press, spray the piece with water and that will make it easier.

By creating a swirl during the pressing of the center, you will reduce bulk for your quilting step. You will thank yourself if you quilt your own quilts. Your quilter will thank you, if you have someone quilt your quilts.

Finished and Pressed (detail)
Finished and Pressed (detail)

Once you have sewn the squares to the last sides of the last diamonds and pressed the piece, you should have a gorgeous block and feel very proud of yourself.

Finished LeMoyne Star
Finished LeMoyne Star

Triangle Technique

The other night I caught a new episode of Love of Quilting and Jo Morton was a guest again. She was showing another technique for making half square triangles. I first became aware of Jo last year when I watched a previous episode of Love of Quilting.

Jo Morton is a fabric designer, writer and quilt designer. She has a website, where she sells, apparently, self-published, books, and a blog. She is also a designer for Andover Fabrics and has a large number of collections and projects on their site.

Based on what I saw Marianne and Jo do on the show, I tried the technique and was pleased with the results.

I got in touch with Jo, who was very quick about getting back to me, and asked whether she had technique sheets or sections in her books discussing the scalability of her techniques. She said that the market is geared towards projects and she didn’t have technique sheets. Too bad. I had trouble with her Flying Geese technique, but found the half square triangle (HST ) technique to be one of the best I have seen. It is straightforward, there is a minimum of dealing with bias and the squares magically appear all at once.

Since she didn’t have technique sheets, searched the web.  I found a similar one posted on Wet Canvas. The Wet Canvas tutorial does a good job of showing the different ways of using the half square triangles. Most of the techniques were the square method (like what I describe below, but with one square making 2 HSTs, rather than a larger square making 8 HSTs) like the p.s. i quilt tutorial. I am also interested in the Quilt in a Day method and this tutorial talks about that. B’s Modern Quilting has the fish tutorial method.

I started with 5″ squares, which is the size they used on the show. The 5″ squares make 8 HSTs. I thought this would be a great way to use charm packs.

2 5
2 5
Draw an X
Draw an X
Put 2 squares together
Put 2 squares together

First, I drew an X, corner to corner, on the lighter square. Then I put the 2 squares right sides together and pressed them. If I had wanted to pin I would have pinned far away from any of the lines. I walked on the wild side and didn’t use pins.

Next, I sewed on each side of the lines, 1/4″ away from each line

Measure 2.5
Measure 2.5

After sewing, I measured 2.5″ from the side of the square.

Cut in a + Configuration
Cut in a + Configuration

Cut the square in a plus configuration 2.5″ (middle of the X). I think you could cut on the pencil lines, but you have to cut in a plus configuration at some point and it seems to make sense to cut in the plus configuration first.

Cut in +, then X
Cut in +, then X

After you cut the plus, you will have four squares, each with a line drawn diagonally across the middle. Cut the squares in half diagonally. You can use the line as a guide. It is more important to line your ruler up corner to corner.

HSTs from 5
HSTs from 5

The result is 8 2″ half square triangles. The above are actually a thread or two larger than 2″, which leaves the perfect opportunity for trimming to make them an absolutely perfect 2″.

Trim
Trim

Trim the squares to 2″. Trim on all four sides. Don’t be tempted to trim just on two sides. Line the 45 degree angle line on your ruler up with the diagonal seam line on your HST and trim on all four sides.

Beautiful HSTs
Beautiful HSTs

Now you have 8 beautiful HSTs. The bias edges shouldn’t be scary for you on the regular method, but this method makes HSTs much easier. I think this would be a fabulous method to make a lot of HSTs in a short amount of time. It is similar to a tutorial that p.s. i quilt posted, but times 4. I am planning to try out different sized beginning squares to see what sized HSTs I come up with.

I talked over the math with my DH and came up with a chart showing the different sizes you can make with this technique.

AQ HST Size Chart

Links:

  1. Jo Morton website
  2. Jo Morton blog
  3. Jo Morton on Andover
  4. Wet Canvas tutorial
  5. Carole’s Quilting Adventures tutorial
  6. B’s Modern Quilting Fish Tutorial
  7. p.s. i quilt HST tutorial

Flying Geese Tutorial

This is a thinking girl’s tutorial to making flying geese.Knowing how to make Flying Geese allows you to make Sawtooth Star blocks, Dutchman’s Puzzle blocks, borders and other parts needed for your quilts.

You are going to have to use the technique with your own measurements to make the geese that fit your project. There are many other ways to make flying geese.

Cut 2 Squares for each Flying Geese Element
Cut 2 Squares for each Flying Geese Element

This fabric will be used for the ‘wings’.

Draw diagonal line from corner to corner
Draw diagonal line from corner to corner

Turn the squares over and draw a diagonal line from corner to corner. You will need to do this on all of the squares for your Flying Geese.

Cut background
Cut background

Cut background, or goose, fabric.

Lay wing 1 on goose
Lay wing 1 on goose

Lay first square that will be a wing on the goose (background) fabric and pin. Make sure the pin is out of the way. You will be sewing on that drawn line, so you will need to pin far enough away so the pin doesn’t interfere with the operation of the machine.

Sew along line
Sew along line

Sew along line and trim threads. I use a foot that has an arrow on it. I can line that arrow up with the drawn line and sew away.

Trim
Trim

Trim 1/4″ through the wing and the goose away from the sewn line as shown above. Press the wing so the front of the wing fabric is showing.

Lay 2d square on goose.
Lay 2d square on goose.

Place the second wing on the other side of the background fabric.

Trim 2d sewn wing
Trim 2d sewn wing
Sew and trim second wing
Sew and trim second wing

Sew and trim as above. Sew so that you cross the previous sewing line.

Press back 2d wing
Press back 2d wing

Press back the 2d wing and, voila’, you have a Flying Geese element.

You need four of these to make a Sawtooth Star or eight of them to make a Dutchman’s Puzzle.

 

Twirling Triangles Test

I think this might be alliteration week. First, Food Fabric FQs and now Twirling Triangles Test.

I got the Pyramid Ruler from Fons & Porter and decided, once I started sort scraps for various scrap projects, that it was time to use it.

Last weekend, one of the tasks I did was try making the Twirling Triangles patches. First I cut a strip from Kona Snow that was 4″ wide. The strips had been sitting around for a little while.

Sewing Scraps to Strips
Sewing Scraps to Strips

Then, I went through my scrap basket and cut pieces that were 4″x5.5″ and carefully sewed the squared scraps to the strip. Frankly, 4″x5.5″ isn’t exactly a scrap and that became apparent as soon as I started trying to cut pieces. I don’t have a lot of scraps that size. Why would I?

Pieced Strips Ready to Trim
Pieced Strips Ready to Trim

Once I had sewn patches to the strip, I only had to cut the Kona Snow strips to make the strips sets above. The size of the commercial printed fabric patch meant that I didn’t really have to measure. I just used the printed fabric as a guide.

Trimming using Pyramid Ruler
Trimming using Pyramid Ruler

The Fons & Porter Pyramid Ruler is very easy to use and that trimmed corner on the top is awesome!

Test Pieces Arranged
Test Pieces Arranged

Here are the test pieces laid out. This ‘block’ is about the size of a dinner plate!

Test Pieces Arranged #2
Test Pieces Arranged #2

I think the patches are too big, because they make blocks that will be enormous. I think I will cut them down.

Cutting Down the Wedges
Cutting Down the Wedges

I think I have pretty much decided to cut these wedges down to the size shown above. I believe the strips will have to be cut 4.5″ wide and the scraps will be cut 4″x4.5″ wide. I think it will be easier to use scraps with these sizes as well. I haven’t actually done any cutting, but will do it soon. There is always more fabric, right?

Chunking It – For Frances

If you haven’t started listening to the Off Kilter Quilter podcast, I suggest that you go over and start right away!

TFQ taught me this method of putting quilts together. I have adopted it as my own and use it for block quilts. Very occasionally I’ll put a long border on after the center of the quilt is complete, but otherwise I try to avoid the long seams required to put quilts together in rows.

Step 1
Step 1

The basic idea is to put the quilt together as you would a block. Sew smaller pieces together to make larger pieces. I avoid sewing in rows as I think the quilt gets out of square if you sew it together in rows.

Step 2
Step 2

This step makes a larger piece.

Step 2A
Step 2A

This will be for the bottom of Block 1 in the drawing in Step 2.

Step 3
Step 3

This way of sewing a quilt together makes the pieces much easier to manage, because you are mostly handling smaller pieces.

Optional Step 3A
Optional Step 3A

You can also divide the border into blocks (plan it that way as you make your quilt) so you can include border pieces as chunks.

Optional Step 3B
Optional Step 3B

You have to pay attention to what you do with the corners if you choose to add the borders this way. This technique works better if you are making a self bordering design.

Step 4
Step 4

Refer to the drawing of your pieces in Step 1.

Step 5
Step 5
Step 5A
Step 5A
Step 5B
Step 5B

You have to sew the bottom sashing + cornerstone to Block 3 and Block 4.

 Step 6
Step 6
Step 7
Step 7

You really need to do the two steps above before Step 5B2 even though my numbering is off. Sorry about that.

Step 5B2
Step 5B2

I got a little ahead of myself in my drawing. Sew the sashing and the cornerstone to Block 2 and then sew Block 2 (with side and bottom sashing and one cornerstone) to Block 1 with all of it’s sashing.

 Step 7A
Step 7A

The above step will make your next chunk.

Step 8
Step 8

After this first chunk, do the same things for the rest of the blocks in your quilt and keep putting chunks together into larger and larger pieces.

Let me know if you have questions.

Dale Fleming Class

Butterfly by Dale Fleming
Butterfly by Dale Fleming

I took the Dale Fleming circles class through EBHQ last weekend. Short Answer: AWESOME.

I was a little skeptical when I saw the supply list and began trying to gather the items required for the class. I talked about this class a few times in various posts in the last few months. The supplies required me to get out of my comfort zone, which is good, but never welcome.

Freezer paper for Background
Freezer paper for Background
Freezer paper on Background
Freezer paper on Background
Background trimmed around Freezer paper
Background trimmed around Freezer paper

The effort was totally worth it. There was nothing on the list that was a waste. This class used A LOT of freezer paper. The above circle steps use two layers of freezer paper and, apparently, I can only use the freezer paper template once, because of something to do with the amount of glue stick glue required for the process. I didn’t really ask, because it was so early in the process I was still floundering a bit. I’ll have to try using the templates over and see if there is a problem.  If I were going to make a circle quilt, as I had planned, I would use TV time to make the freezer paper templates.

Step outs
JL Second Circle

Ms. Fleming was an excellent teacher. I found out later that she has magnificently minded (LD) children so she was very cognizant of the different learning styles a teacher has to teach. She had detailed step outs for each part of the process, to which we could refer. She also explained the process and then showed us the process.

I didn’t find Ms. Fleming to be a prima donna. She was generous in allowing us photograph her quilts, step outs and her demos.

JL Second Circle
JL Second Circle

I feel really confident, after the class, that I can piece a perfect circle. The circle + background above is my second circle and I think it looks great! I used a pairing of fabric that you may be wondering about. I wanted to use fabrics that were really different that I could see well. No, they don’t really go together, but the above block will stay in my class file and not become part of a quilt. Perhaps that circle quilt that has been on my mind for a few months will come to fruition?

If you don’t want to take a class with Dale, or there is not one happening in your area, you can buy her book: Pieced Curves So Simple. If you don’t like that either, check out Becky’s blog where she talks about creating and using a circle stitcher.

JL Waves
JL Waves

Dale taught us a variety of techniques, including hearts (tips and cleavage!), layered circles (see photo below) and waves. There just wasn’t enough time for me to focus on learning all of them. 6 hours was definitely not enough time with her and I really could have spent at least a whole additional day just working on really getting the technique in my mind. I suggested that she have a work day for students who had taken a workshop. She said she had never thought of that, but would contact me if she decided to do it.

One that I tried was the waves. Her version is a lot easier than the version that I learned in 1989 when I was taking my second quilt class at the adult school. It took a lot of freezer paper, but I finally found a use for the freezer paper roll I have had for a long time. Also, it is possible to make the strips on your piece really thin. Borders are rolling around in my head, especially for the Original Bullseye.

Dale said that after making 5 circles, you can make them on your own without notes. I got up to three during the class and in the few days thereafter. I haven’t gotten back to it.

Circle Making Alone
Circle Making Alone

I really like technique workshops rather than project workshops. I like to be able to put a technique into my arsenal and then pull it out when I need it. I think I will be a lot less reluctant to think about adding circles to my quilts now that I have taken this class.

To date, I haven’t gotten back to circle making. The circle above is hanging, all alone, on my design wall. As I mentioned, my original thought in taking this class was to make a circle quilt. I think the above fabrics don’t express the idea in my mind, but I am also thinking that, perhaps I don’t really want to make a circle quilt. I haven’t decided. I think I need to make a few more test blocks just to see. I definitely want to try making a really small circle and see if I can do it.

An unexpected bonus of this class is that I am now not reluctant to change feet.Changing the snapoff feet is not an issue, but changing fee that required the foot holder to be removed somehow stopped me. After putting on and taking off the zipper foot 37 times, I have no reason to worry about changing feet.

Gallery of Dale Fleming Quilts

Butterfly by Dale Fleming
Butterfly by Dale Fleming
Butterfly Quilt by Dale Fleming (detail)
Butterfly Quilt by Dale Fleming (detail)
Waves by Dale Fleming
Waves by Dale Fleming
It's all about the Fabric style by Dale Fleming
It's all about the Fabric style by Dale Fleming
It's all about the Fabric style by Dale Fleming (detail)
It's all about the Fabric style by Dale Fleming (detail)

Notice the slightly wonky sashing.

Circles by Dale Fleming
Circles by Dale Fleming

This was probably my favorite quilt. She did this using a different method than we learned. I tried to understand it, but my brain was very full.

Circles by Dale Fleming (detail)
Circles by Dale Fleming (detail)
Circle Quilt by Dale Fleming
Circle Quilt by Dale Fleming

This quilt was made using the method we learned. After putting on the first circle, the maker uses that piece (circle and background) as the background.

Flower Petals by Dale Fleming
Flower Petals by Dale Fleming

These look like flowers. I really like how the quilts show she is exploring the technique a lot of different ways. I think that shows mastery.

Flower Petals by Dale Fleming (detail)
Flower Petals by Dale Fleming (detail)
Straight Flower Petals by Dale Fleming
Straight Flower Petals by Dale Fleming
Four Patch Circles by Dale Fleming
Four Patch Circles by Dale Fleming

Summary: I highly recommend her as a teacher! Get her book! Take her class! Make some circles!

N.b. I think my camera is acting up, so I apologize for any bleary photos!

Update re: Stellar Quilts

Last week, I posted an Odds and Ends post that included some information about a new Judy Martin video. Hope you watched it.

After I watched it I had the following question:

“I was just wondering if I cut the black line off before I stick the template on to the ruler or if I cut on the black line? Or do I leave the entire black line on the template?”

Judy got back to me with the following answer:

“That’s a good question. Do not cut off the black line. Cut on the outside edge of the black line. Technically, the center of the black line is the perfect size. However, including all of the black line in the template will compensate for the take-up due to seam allowances upon stitching.  Judy Martin”

Put that in your arsenal! Thanks, Judy!

My New Best Friend

Janome Roller Foot
Janome Roller Foot

As soon as I got home on Friday, I pulled out the Jem and set it up. I figured that if I didn’t do it right then, I would put it off and all of my sewing projects would languish.

Janome Jem, July 2009
Janome Jem, July 2009

I pulled out the vinyl tablecloth tote bag parts, put on the roller foot and tried it out. I used Valdani quilting thread that I bought at the Chicago Quilt Festival Show a number of years ago. I am now the proud owner of a tablecloth vinyl tote bag.

The roller foot worked really well. REALLY WELL. AMAZINGLY WELL. It really got the job done and I have high hopes that I can make the bathroom “quilt” as well. Perhaps I can even get it done before the 9000 comes back. Perhaps I’ll make one for each bath!

The roller foot worked really well, but wasn’t perfect. I have always had some trouble with the curved corners of the Eco Market tote bag pattern from Favorite Things. Going around the curves with two layers of vinyl was difficult.

Clear tote, July 2009
Clear tote, July 2009

I didn’t line the bag. I didn’t really think it was necessary so the seams all show and it looks a bit unfinished. There are a number of thread blobs that I would have unsewed with normal fabric, but were pretty difficult to deal with the vinyl, so I left them. On the plus side, the bag was very quick to finish.

I get the feeling that I won’t be able to stuff this bag full of heavy stuff either, but I will try it out and we will see.  It sounds dumb, but I felt like a renegade working with the material. In general, I highly recommend the roller foot if you are going to make something with tablecloth vinyl.

One of my CQFA colleagues, as I may have mentioned, borrowed my Jem machine for about 5 months while her Viking was in the shop. She saw some oilcloth type fabric (vinyl or something on one side and flannel-like fabric on the other) pillows and totes and decided to make them. She made them using the Jem and didn’t have any problems. I was amazed that she could do that. I know now that the flannel probably allowed the oilcloth to feed through the machine. I am interested in trying some of that fabric to make a tote bag.

Clear tote, July 2009
Clear tote, July 2009

Thinking about Throw Pillows

Some years ago I took a pillow making class at the Sewing Workshop. Sewing Workshop classes are fabulous: thorough, and inspiring. I am sorry to say that, although the class was fabulous (with Linda Lee, no less), the pillows are still part of my UFO pile. I recently saw Stitch magazine.

Stitch Magazine, Spring 2009
Stitch Magazine, Spring 2009
I fell in love with the pillow on the cover and may make some pillow covers using the pattern (or my version of the pattern) to brighten up some tired couch pillows to go along with the promised new paint job. If all goes well, I may discard the half made purple covers from the Sewing Workshop class and use the Stitch idea/pattern to cover those rather large forms (14″ or 16″) as well. For once I feel excited about throw pillows!
I also may make a pillow or two to raise money for Cleft Palete. MIL suggested using some poppy fabric for the centers. If I had some squares of that California poppy from a few years ago, it would be perfect, but I don’t, so I will have to make do.
Certain individuals are on a statewide board of directors for an organization that among other things, raises money for Cleft Palete. Each year, as part of the process of running for office, the nominees make gift baskets in order to draw people ino their suites/campaign headquarters. They raffle the gift baskets to raise money for Cleft Palete. Certain individuals came up second in the most money raised this year for his gift baskets.
The convention is always in May, so I, usually, cannot attend due to the demands of The Child. There is a small thing called school and another called food. Leaving him at home alone is really not an option. This has the effect of organization voters wondering if I support him in his volunteer endeavors. I think they might forget what it is like to have school age children. Anyway, I thought a couple of throw pillows would:
  • show my support
  • be something different that would draw the wives into the raffle
  • allow me to try something without having to commit to having it in my house
  • get some new readers to the blog

I might have showed this site before. I thought the pillows they show are similar to the Stitch magazine pillows and I could use their directions to supplement the Stitch magazine directions. More on Stitch magazine in another post.

clipped from sew4home.com

Click to Enlarge
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Perfect Circles from Linda M. Poole

Linda M. Poole, appliquer extraordinaire has posted a tutorial for making perfect circles on her blog (http://www.lmpoole.blogspot.com). Take a look. The lightweight fusible, I think is the secret. I have seen similar techniques, but not using the lightweight fusible.
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