Sunday, March 30, 2014

Rainbow Waves on the Design Wall

Another weekend full of sewing has flown by!  Today was spent visiting wit a friend, watching movies, and beginning to assemble the 48 HST blocks into 4-block sections.  We watched Waking Ned Devine today, which is possibly my favorite movie of all time.  If you haven't ever seen it you should fix that ASAP :)

Remember this is the Ocean Waves variation I found in this blog post.  Unfortunately the quilter does not seem to be actively blogging any more. It's an awesome block!

I have 9 of these 4-block units done, 3 more to go and then I begin assembling the top.  (Six units are shown above, that's half the quilt.) Here's to a quick work week and plenty of time to sew!

Linking up to Judy's Design Wall Monday.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Cloudy sewing day

After my late start I got on the ball first thing this morning and cut out all my triangles for the triangle quilt along. I love this fabric pull ever more in the daylight!

I appreciated Paula's detailed instructions on how to cut the triangles using various rulers.  Like some others, I have the funky Marti Michell ruler (it was the only one available locally.)  The unique thing about this ruler is that the lines on the ruler are labeled with the finished side lengths of the triangles.  I think it might be useful for a beginner quilter, but since I have been quilting for (could it be?) almost 5 years now, I have already learned to think in terms of cut sizes and seam allowances, so it's just frustrating.

I also sewed more blocks for the Rainbow Waves quilt. I am up to 24 now, half way there!  Here's to a weekend of happy sewing :)

Linking up to the Triangle Quilt Along.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Triangle Quilt Along, and life in general

So, at pretty much the very last possible minute, I have decided to join the Triangle Quilt Along.  The deadline for posing a fabric pull is midnight tonight; here is what I came up with.  I used the squirrel fabric as my inspiration and added some teal, too.

Other things that happened this week... This is on my design wall.  I'm planning to frame these three sections and then set the whole thing in dark blue solid.

I'm up to 12 blocks done on the Rainbow Waves quilt.  Oh, and this happened. Rotary cutter injury (yes, Again!)  Same finger, not quite as bad.  There were some very bad words said when that occurred, but no blood was shed on fabric :)  It's healing well already, thankfully.

Linking up to Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation and the Triangle Quilt Along fabric pull linkup.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Rainbow Waves on the Design Wall

Work has been keeping me way too busy lately, but here's what's on the design wall today.  The first four blocks of the Rainbow Waves quilt!

Also, look what came in the mail today!


Linking up to Judy's DesignWall Monday.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

768 Half Square Triangles

 Yes! I finally have all my HSTs sewn, pressed, and  trimmed for the scrappy Rainbow (Ocean) Waves quilt. 

Trimming the last 88 HSTs
Turns out the scraps I initially cut gave me 680 HSTs, which would have been plenty, but a last minute design change meant I needed more.  Flipping through Pintrest last night I found this blog post from the Cre8tive Quilter with a fabulous ocean waves variation.

In case you were wondering what 768 HSTs looks like
After carefully counting and stacking all my HSTs I needed to randomize them for sewing in to blocks, so I tossed them all in a drawer and stirred.  This quilt is going to be heavy on the blues and greens because, let's face it, all my quilts are :)

Here's the layout for the blocks in this quilt.  These squares were initially cut to 3.5", sewn into HSTs, then trimmed to 3", so they will finish at 2.5" in the quilt.  Each block should finish at 10".

Block one, done! Now I just need to make 47 more...

Linking up to Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

An Impatient Quilt

I'm still sewing, pressing, trimming, and sorting HSTs for my latest scrap project.  I've been at this for, what, two weeks now?  Needless to say, it's getting old, but I am making progress.  All the HSTs are sewn and pressed, now I am just trimming them up.

Each of the tall stacks in the back has 120 finished HSTs.  The stacks in the front still need to be trimmed and counted.  I needed 576 HSTs for a bed size quilt and it's looking like that will be no problem. 

After trimming a few hundred HSTs today I was tired and bored so I decided to sew something quick and fun. I got out this great babushka fabric I got in a scrap pack and started pulling fabrics to match the colors.  Everything got cut to whatever width was available x WOF and thrown up on the design wall.

Almost all of these fabrics are from Hawthorne Threads scrap packs. I know I have said before how much I love these.  They truly are the greatest.  I've ended up with quite a few large scale prints that are definitely not my usual color scheme; I used a couple in this top and they look perfect.

I can't take credit for the idea to ruffle two of the strips. I saw it on a blog somewhere, and I've no idea where. Can't wait to get busy with some FMQ on this top!

Linking up to Judy's Design Wall Monday.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Sew, cut, press, trim (repeat)

Here's the progress this week on the HST project.  180 HSTs so far pieced, cut, pressed, and trimmed.  And many, many more to go!  Ultimately these blocks will become a scrappy ocean waves quilt (inspired by the blocks they are making this month on the d.GS Joy circle).  Ocean waves is one of my very favorite blocks, I made a quilt of it before here.  That one was all blues, but this time I'm going rainbow.

I think I may have gone overboard cutting my scraps, though. I didn't count ahead of time but it's looking like I'll have way more blocks than I'll need to make even a pretty large quilt. Too many HSTs; good problem to have, huh?  :)

Linking up to Lee's WIP Wednesday.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Simple Scrappy Top (& yet more strings)

I had a busy few days sewing before I got caught up in work for the weekend. First of all, on the design wall, is a baby quilt I made with the leftover ends of strings that were too short for the Scrappy Puddles quilt.

I like it, but it's sort of plain. I think I'm going to rip out a few seams tomorrow and spice it up a little.  I'm really looking forward to quilting this one. 

I also started on another new scrap quilt by cutting 3.5" squares from every brightly colored fabric I could find in my scraps.  I was sort of planning to do this as a leader-ender but, let's face it, I don't have the patience to drag a project like that.  It'll probably be done soon :)  I already have an idea for another scrap quilt I'm itching to start on. I can't wait to wake up tomorrow and get sewing!

Linking up to Judy's Design Wall Monday.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

String 'Splosion is a Finish!

Another week, another finish :) This small scrap quilt is made from the leftovers from the Country Home quilt.  It's kind of hard to tell with all the busy-ness, but there are 4 crumb blocks, bordered by muslin sashing, floating in a sea of strings.

I finally got to take some "snowy" quilt pics like everyone else in blog land.  This isn't exactly snow, but what passes for it in Texas. A couple of inches of sleet, frozen into a solid sheet of ice.  Note the lack of footprints in these pictures-- that's because this stuff doesn't crunch, you just slide all over it.

I like to quilt my scrappy quilts fairly densely.  I chose to do a stipple in the crumb blocks, while most of the string rows got ribbon candy.

I also snuck in a few feathers, in the style from Angela Walter's book, because I wanted to practice them and it's busy quilt so I can mix my motifs without it standing out.

It's fun to look closely at the scraps and see different ones pop out.  It's amazing how well all the different fabrics work together when you stand back and look at the whole thing.

The binding is scrappy (of course) pieced together from my stash of leftover bindings.  I attached it by machine.

Backing is this fun, intricate print that was on sale at my LQS.  The quilt measures 50"x 42".

Our fruitless pear is already blooming. It must be so confused!
Linking up with Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation, Link a Finish Friday at Richard and Tanya Quilts and Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Scrap Puddles Tutorial

Thank you to everyone who posted such nice comments on Monday's design wall post about this quilt! I had been planning to write up a tutorial but you guys gave me the push to go ahead and get it done.

"Sidewalk Puddles" quilted. Better pics coming later :)

I've tried to make this as simple as I can, but please feel free to email me or leave a comment if you have any questions, just make sure I have a way to get back to you.  It may be helpful to bear in mind that the construction of this quilt is very similar to a basic stack-and-whack (one example here) except with curvy lines, and you have to be careful to keep your blocks in a particular order.

Don't be scared off by the curves in this. Sewing these kind of long, gentle curve is super super easy and you can do it, no pins required. Now, dump out those strings scraps and let's get sewing!

blue and grey string in situ :)
Step 1: Narrow your strips to the colorway(s) you're interested in and sort those strings out. Then pick a common length to cut your strings to. Pick a length you think you'll be able to get plenty of scraps in.  Also, you don't want to go below, say, 6.5".  I picked 8.5" for my length.  Sort through your strings, cutting as many segments of your common length as you can.

Step 2: Sew your strings together along their common-length side. I strongly recommend chain piecing this. Sew pairs, then sew the pairs into quads, etc until you have one loooooooong strip of strings in the width you started out cutting your scraps to.

Step 3: Quilt Math!  To determine how large of a quilt you can make from your scraps (or conversely, to determine how many strings you need to make a quilt of a certain size) first measure the length of your loooong strip of strings.  Double that measurement, because you'll be adding an equal amount of solid fabric.  This number is now the maximum total height of all the columns in your quilt.  For example:
My strip was 156" long.  Multiply by 2= 312".
Now start playing with different combinations of quilt width and height to determine what size you can make. 
I decided to start conservative.  Say I made a quilt 36" tall.  Now I need to come up with a complimentary width that is a multiple of 8 (the length I originally cut my strings to and also the width of each column in the quilt).  So say 36" high by 32" wide, that's 4 columns wide.  Each column is 36" high x 4 columns = 144".  Remember my maximum number was 312", so I can go way bigger.
What about a height of 55x48?  55" high x 6 columns wide = 330"  Much better, it's just a little too big.  At this point I decided to wanted to make my blocks 12.5" (unfinished) high, so my height needed to be in a multiple of 12.  I went with 48" high by 48" wide.  48"x 6 columns = 288".  Should use most of my strip and leave some wiggle room for seam allowances.

(If you are intimidated by all that and skipped past it, here are some common quilt sizes and the length string strip you need to make them, based on a 8.5" string length from step 1 and a 12.5" block height.)

Step 4: Cut an equal amount of solid to match your pieced strip.  Cut WOF strips the same width as you originally cut your strings to. You can determine approximately how many strips you need by taking your length of scrappy strip and dividing by 42" (common WOF).  156" / 42" = 3.7. We have to round up, so I need to cut 4 WOF strips.

Step 5:  Take the number of blocks in your quilt (my 48"x48" quilt is (4) 12" blocks high by (6) 8" blocks wide, so 4 x 6 = 24 blocks.)  Divide that number in half. You need to cut this many blocks from each of your strips (solid and pieced).  So, I cut (12) 12.5" x 8.5" blocks from each fabric.

Step 6Layer the blocks in pairs and set them on your cutting board.  You'll be cutting through both layers at once. In order to have continuous curves through the columns you need to line them up as they will be in the quilt.  I recommend cutting, then sewing the blocks in each column before starting on the next.  My columns are 4 blocks high, so I needed to cut a continuous line through 4 blocks. I can only fit 2 at a time on my cutting board so I cut through one and a half, slid them both down and put another on top, continue the line, repeat.

Hints: You need to keep these curves gentle so they you'll be able to sew them easily and without pins. Also, try not to put much of a curve in the area where you are crossing between two blocks. It will help your seams to line up later.

Carefully keep the pairs together and keep the blocks in order so you can assemble them correctly in the quilt.

Step 7:  Take each pair of blocks to the sewing machine. Be sure you keep track of which way is "up" so you'll be able to reassemble them with the others in the right order.  Swap the solid and pieced pieces on one side of the block.

Sew these into two matching blocks. I recommend piecing with the strings on bottom due to the crazy bias edges in scraps.  I know everyone is scared of curves, but sewing this kind of gentle curves is seriously easy.  Just go slow and use both hands to line up the edges just as they pass under the presser foot.  Remember-  the only place that the edge need to line up is just as they pass under the needle.

Here's one page with an explanation of the same technique. Also check out the links at the bottom of my Drunken Circles tutorial for tips on sewing curves without pinning There are several helpful videos there.

Press seams toward the solid fabric.  Again, keep track of your blocks and put them up on the design wall in order.  Each set of blocks cut together ultimately yields 2 matching columns, but until you finalize your layout you don't know which blocks will be in which column. I recommend sewing all your individual blocks before beginning to sew columns together, so you can finalize your layout.  BUT, be sure to keep them sorted carefully so you don't lose track of which blocks line up together.

Step 8: One of the best things about this pattern is the many layout options with one simple block. Above is the layout I chose. To make this one you sew columns where the colored/solid side of the blocks alternate.  Keeping each column with its "inverse" or "twin" column is not important for this layout, in fact I deliberately mixed them up.  (Remember the you can also turn a column upside down if you need more variety.)

(Only 4 columns shown)
Here is another possible layout. For this one you would sew columns where the pieced strip and solid stayed consistently on one side of the column.  I also kept each column matched with its twin here, which lets the strings continue across the seam in the blocks and makes the curves line up across the strings giving the impression of streams of water.  You could also mix up the columns from their twins so that you didn't have to worry about lining up the seams on each individual string.

Here's a pretty modern, kind of interesting layout. This one also uses the columns where the blocks alternate solid/pieced from side to side.  Use your imagination, I'm sure there are some other possible layouts!  Once you decide on a layout sew together your columns, then sew the columns into a finished top.

Well, I feel like those instructions were about as clear as mud, but I hope if you are interested in making a similar quilt you can figure it out. Like I said, please feel free to comment or email with any questions!

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

More Scrappy Strings

My teal and grey string have come together into this top, which I'm calling Sidewalk Puddles :) Tutorial for this coming later this week.

I also had time this weekend to get my March do. Good Stitches blocks done. Carla asked for paperpieced economy-style blocks with fussy cut centers.

It was really fun to pick the centers and develop a theme within each mini block.

And that's all for now! Linking up to Judy at Patchwork Times.