Saturday, May 7, 2011

A beautiful exchange quilt and more work on En Vino Veritas

This incredibly beautiful quilt was made by Victoria Findlay Wolfe.  She hosted an challenge exchange over at 15 Minutes Play.  The challenge was to make something from nothing into a 12" finished quilt using the fabric making techniques we use on that site.  I have been loving all the quilts people have been making for each other, and I especially loved this one.  I was so excited today when I saw the postman put a squishy into my mail box.  Then, when I saw Victoria's return address, I was even more excited.  I am one very lucky woman to have received this quilt.  This is the quilt I made for the challenge.  It is on its way to its new home right now.

In other news of the day, I got back to working on En Vino Veritas.  I trimmed and pressed and finished piecing all 96 B units, so now I have two stacks ready to put together into squares.

I did get four blocks put together and up on the design wall so we could all get some sense of what it is going to look lie all together.  I am not really sure right now if the sage green was a good choice for the background, but I am going to live with it.  I really liked it at first, mostly because I like the color and the weight of the cotton is wonderful.  I am sure it will be fine when all is said and done.

I also washed the new fat quarters I got for the next preemie quilt.  I really don't like washing fat quarters because there is so much raveling, but it needs to be done for these quilts.  I have picked fabrics in cheddar, orange, and olive green.  Not really baby fabrics, but they are bright and cheerful.  I am going to make flying geese for this one.  Now, I have to find backing flannel that works with these colors.  Hopefully, I will have something to show you on this one tomorrow.
Happy Mother's Day to all of you who do mom-like things.
Joyful quilting, everyone.

Friday, May 6, 2011

A new AAQI quilt

Today, I made a new mini quilt for the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative.  I call this one Inside Out.  The name came from the fact that the points of the upper star are outside the red arc and the points on the smaller star are on the inside of the red arc.  I used made fabric for the corners of the stars and the background fabric.  I added the red to the turquoises for a surprise effect.  I really like the way it is working.  Playing with colors is so much fun!
Tomorrow, I am going to do more work on the ribbon quilt before I go over to watch Bella for a few hours in the early evening.  I will try and post progress before I go.
Joyful quilting, everyone.

A Blogging Award - Woo-Hoo!

I opened my email this morning and found that Cathy at Big Lake Quilter had given me this award.  I was very surprised and pleased.  I have seen these kinds of awards in blogland.  Many bloggers declare their blogs award free zones, but I am not one of them. Thank you, Cathy.  I am honored.
Now, I am supposed to tell you seven things about myself.
1.  I am married to a wonderful, very supportive man who encouraged me to set up my mid-arm quilter and frame in the living room.
2.  I am privileged to watch my almost three year old granddaughter two days a week.
3.  My favorite season is fall because of all the wonderful colors.
4.  I was a middle school teacher and librarian, then an elementary school librarian before I retired.
5.  I love playing with color and fun fabrics. 
6.  I lived in Hawaii for six years and was very happy to move back to the cold and rainy Pacific Northwest to be closer to my family.
7.  My favorite food groups are bread and chocolate.
Now, I am supposed to nominate seven more blogs for this award.  I have spent the day thinking about this.  I just can't do it.  I know it is a cop-out, but I have way too many favorite blogs.  Many of them are award-free blogs, but most are not.  So, if you are looking for great blogs about quilting, and one about Buddhism and Dharma, check out the blogs in my sidebar.
Thank you again, Cathy.  It is very nice to be recognized.
Joyful quilting, everyone.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Square in a star tutorial

This is a tutorial I did over at 15 minutes play.  I thought I would share it here for those of you who don't visit that blog.

Welcome to my square in a star 12" block tutorial.  I am excited to be the first one to do the BOM making traditional blocks using made fabric the 15 minute way. 
For this block, you need to make fabric that is at least 9" x 16", or the equivalent.  You will also need a piece of background fabric (the blue batik here) that is 11" x 15".  There will be a bit left over of each, but I think it is better to have enough.
From the made fabric, cut:

a - one 3 1/2" square
b - six 3 7/8" squares

cut two 3 7/8" square on the diagonal to get 4 triangles.

From the background fabric, cut
c - one 7 1/4" square
d - two 3" squares that are cut on the diagonal to make 4 triangles
e - four 3 1/2 inch squares.

I will refer to each piece by its corresponding letter in the piecing instructions.

You are going to make the flying geese units first.  There are many different ways to make flying geese, but this is the method I prefer when I am using them in stars.  You will get four geese without any waste.
1.  Mark diagonal lines 1/4" away from the center diagonal line on  each b square. This is a little bit of a challenge on made fabric, but I am a marker and pinner, so I made it work.
2.  Place two b pieces on opposite corners of c. 

3.  Sew just a thread toward the center from marked line.  Some people draw a line along the diagonal, then sew 1/4" away.  That works if you have a good foot that measures 1/4" for you. 
4.  At the end, turn the piece and sew down the other side.

5.  Cut these pieces in the middle between the sewn lines.

6.  This is a very important step.  Turn and press the points away from the background.  I pressed the seams toward the background for bulk sake.  Do this on both pieces.

7.  Put the remaining two b pieces right side down as shown in the top piece at left. 

8.  Stitch along drawn lines as before.

9.  Cut each in the center between the sewn lines. 

10.  Press out and trim the extra points.  This is all the waste you get with this method of making flying geese.

Now, set these four geese aside, and let's make the square within a square for the center.

1. Find piece a and the four d's.
2.  Place one d right side down with edges together on a.  It is important to try and get the point in the center between the opposite sides. There will be some overlap on the edges.
3.  Sew using a 1/4" seam.
4.  Sew another d on the opposite edge.
5.  Press open.

6.  Sew the remaining two triangles on opposite edges, and press them open.

If you have cut and sewn right, you will end up with a 4 1/2 inch square.  That is what you are looking for at this point.  Now, you are going to add the made fabric triangles.

Sew them on in the same way you did the d pieces.  Try and make sure the points are in the center before you sew.  This will give you a nice even square.

Of course, if you don't mind a bit wonky, eyeballing everything works well.  I did try to stay traditional for this block, however.

At this point, you have a 6 1/2" square and four flying geese, and you are ready to assemble the 12" block.

I find  that if I don't lay things out before I start sewing, I usually make big mistakes.
Here you can see I have put the last unused background squares (e) in each corner.  I pieced this together by making the rows first.
e + goose unit + e
goose unit + square within a square + goose unit
e + goose unit + e

Here is where you can really practice your traditional piecing.  You have points on the geese, so make sure you are paying attention to where they come together.  Pinning helps.  You also have seams to match.  Pinning helps here, as well.  I did have some trouble with pressing on this one because of all the seams on the made fabric.  My guide line was to try and avoid bulky areas.  For me, that meant some are to the left, some to the right, and some upon down the middle.  You will have to make your own decisions on this because each piece of made fabric will be unique. Once you have everything sewn together and pressed, you should have a 12 1/2" block. 
I hope you find this useful and have fun making this block.  I am really looking forward to see what other blocks we will be learning.  If you have any questions, or something is not clear, please let me know.
Joyful quilting, everyone.

Monday, May 2, 2011

H2H top finished

I try not to show the same quilt very many times here, but I got this top finished today and wanted to share it.  I am really pleased with the overall look.  Rhonda sent some fantastic fabrics.  These are colors I would not have selected on my own, so it was really fun to expand my horizons.  I used up just about every last piece she sent me.  I was able to use a large piece I had been saving for the back, the small inner border, and the short bars on the squares block.  The only thing I had to buy was the black and white for the star background and the outer 4" border.  Here is a close-up of a corner so you can see the fabric better.

The quilt is 60" x 60".  It is now hanging on the quilt rack with its backing waiting for me to have a quilting day.

Amongst the other things I did today was to design a foundation piece for a circle of flying geese to go around Hokule'a.  As soon as I decide on colors for the geese and background, I will get that started.  I finished stitching the compass to the background using a double blanket stitch (number 79 on my Bernina 350).  I used variegated King Tut in blues, golds and greens.  I am not sure I am thrilled with it yet, but I am hoping I come around.  I would hate to rip that all out.  It is raw edge stitched, so if I feel so compelled, I could rip it out.  Maybe the ring of geese will make a difference. 
Today, I finished two quilt tops, made a foundation piece pattern, made a star block with made fabric and took photos to write a tutorial for another blog, and generally had a great time in the studio.  The rain is back in our neck of the woods.  One day of sun was nice, but I am ready for at least three in a row any time now.  I hope all is going well with all of you.
Joyful quilting, everyone.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Hands to Help quilt

I finished the blocks for the H2H quilt this afternoon.  They are on the design wall.  Tomorrow, I will try and sew these together.  I am going to add two borders.  I already have the back ready, so this should be ready by the end of the week to go on the quilt frame.
I also added borders to another quilt and put the back together.  Next weekend I am going to have to do some quilting.  First, I would like to put together a back for my intuition quilt.  I think I finally know what I am going to do.  That will make three ready to go.
The sun is out here and it is a very pleasant temperature.  Could it be that spring is finally here?  That would be very nice.
Joyful quilting, everyone.