Saturday, April 2, 2011

Playing with fabric

Today, I finished piecing Farmer's Market.  I won't show it again until I get it quilted and bound.  I decided not to put a containment border and will rely on the binding to do that.  I don't have batting or backing material yet, so it may be a few days before it gets done.  I have four quilts now awaiting quilting.  I just need that 50% off coupon for the batting, and Priscilla and I are in business.

 Yesterday, I decided it had been a long time time since I played building fabric.  I grabbed some of the larger scraps from the top of the basket and put this 12" x 12" piece together.  I really like the pattern and the colors.  Now, I just have to figure out what to do with it.  The problem of doing things like this, using up all the similar scraps, is where to go next.  This one may end up as part of a 12" finished quilt exchange.  That is if I can part with it.

I had so much fun yesterday, I wanted to play some more today.  This time, I grabbed the left over strips from the Nature's Choice fabric I cut the other day.  I made some strata, then sliced it all at angles.  I also added some Hawaiian fabric scraps for color.  Once I played around with it and pieced this 14" square fabric together, I asked myself  "What if I .  . . . ?"  So, I sliced 2 1/2" from each side, the top, and the bottom.  Then I added a 2 1/2" inner frame of cream on cream flowers.  I made the cut strips longer and added them to the outside.  Now, it is a 17 1/2" square.

I have some gray I can use for the next border, then a wider border of the Hawaiian print.  I think I am going to grow this one to be a lap quilt.  I am so glad I discovered 15 Minutes Play. I love that I can use my scraps in a way that is unique to me.  It also pleases me to use as much of my fabric as I can.  This is all very good.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Flying Geese Tutorial

I have been making flying geese for a while now.  I have tried several different ways:  flip and fold, paper piecing, and templates.  This is the way I have found the fastest and best way for me. The best part is I get four great geese, and no little triangles.  No waste.  With the price of fabric, that is great for me. I wanted to try my hand at a tutorial, and decided this would be a good place to start.

First, I cut my squares.  When you are making geese this way, you add 1 1/4" to the desired finished width, and make a square instead of a rectangle.  The small squares (the sky or wings) are cut 7/8" larger than the desired height.  For a finished 6" x 3" goose, I cut my 1 large square 7 1/4" and the 4 small squares 3 7/8".  I have also used this method for 2" by 4" geese with much success, cutting the squares 5 1/4" and 2 7/8".

 I always draw lines when I am doing diagonal sewing.  I use a #2 mechanical pencil because it gives me a finer line.  I use a light touch so I don't stretch the fabric, and a deep angle to get as close to the ruler as possible.  Draw a diagonal from corner to corner on each small square, then parallel lines 1/4" to each side. 

Pin two squares in opposite corners of the larger square, right sides together.  Make sure the marks line up.  The squares will overlap.  I always pin the squares so they don't wander when I sew.  Sew on the lines on each side of the center diagonal.

 Make one cut on the center diagonal line.

After you have made the cut, you need to press the sky/wings up.  This is a very important step.  If you forget, you will have one wing that folds out nicely, and one that does not.  See the bottom unit to the left.  I call this the wolf face stage. It just reminds me of a cartoon wolf.

Place the remaining two squares, right sides facing, so the lines go from the corner to the space between the two points.  Sew along the outside lines.

Cut each unit along the center diagonal line.

Press each piece.  You will have four beautiful flying geese.

This is the block I made with these flying geese.  It is 12" x 12" finished.

I hope you found this tutorial useful.  It was interesting to make.  I may have to make more some day.  Joyful quilting, everyone.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Farmer's Market Quilt

It isn't completely put together, but this is what it looks like on the design wall this evening.  I had a grand time putting together the sashing/border strips and trying not the get two fruits/veggies on the same block.  I ended up with only two blocks with repeated patterns.  Not bad, I think.  This is going to be such a fun quilt.  It is very colorful and really brightens up the studio.  Tomorrow, I think I will finish up the top.  I am still undecided about a plain border to contain all this excitement.  I welcome your feedback if you care to share.
I am also in need of a reasonably priced source for some hand-dyed cotton.  I am looking for something dark with little to no visible pattern.  I found a piece in the box from Carol Doak that I love, but don't have enough of it.  It is what I used for the background on the Sunbonnet Sue.  I need two yards, but can't afford to pay huge sums of money for it.  Any suggestions?
Tomorrow, I will be in the studio again.  Happy quilting, everyone.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Farmer's market blocks, Sunbonnet Sue, and more

I got a yummy surprise from Bella and her Grandma Edwards this morning.  They bought me these four beautiful fabrics.  More beautiful paisleys, and the polka dots.  Bella picked the polka dots, and they go beautifully with the paisleys.

I finished all the basic blocks for my Farmer's Market basket.  Twenty-five tasty fruits, vegetables, and hazelnuts.  The new fabrics I bought the other day are the bananas, carrots, and mixed berries.  The rest include oranges, summer squash, blackberries, apples, plumbs, sliced cucumbers, olives, garlic, blueberries, and the list goes on.  I did manage to get the borders on one block.  All of them will have mixed borders made from the basket fabrics.

The most fun I had today was creating my own version of Sunbonnet Sue.  Since I was in college, I have wanted to make Sue, but I never got around to it.  This afternoon, I finally did it.  I drew up a sketch, and tweaked it until it was what I wanted.  Then, I dug through my new box of batiks and came up with fabric for her and for the background.  Making Sue entailed several firsts for me.  I did fusible applique for the first time.  I then used the buttonhole stitch for decor.  On the apron, I used a different decorative stitch.  I really love how she turned out.  She will become my next Alzheimer's art quilt.

I like the back almost as well.

Joyful quilting, everyone.
I have linked this post to Quiltstory Fabric Tuesday.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Studio Day

I spend seven hours in the studio today.  I cleaned off a couple of shelves for my project baskets.  Previously, the shelves were filled with materials for my painting and collage work.  It has been a slow but steady transition from other art media to fabric.  Soon, it will all be fabric.  The best thing is that now, I don't have baskets on my work/cutting table, so I can use my new 6" x 24" Omniqrip ruler.  This is a good thing. 

I spent most of the day piecing together the units for the fruits and vegetable blocks.  I have finally settled on a new name for this quilt, Farmer's Market.  It is all fruits, veggies, and some hazelnuts, and I am going to try and finish piecing the blocks this week.  The bonus is that I have a nice little basket of 1.5" HSTs.  I think I will have enough fabric left to do one, or maybe two more fruit and veggie quilts.

The last thing I did was get out the kit I bought some time ago for a quilt called Nature Rhythms.  The pattern is free from Clothworks.  The fabric is all from the Nature Rhythms collection by Johnny Karwan.  It is a very modern quilt, and different from anything I have made before.  Tom and I saw it at Harbor Quilts in Gig Harbor, Washington.  We both really liked it, so I bought the kit.  It should go together pretty quickly.  I will post the progress as I go.

Joyful quilting, everyone!