Monday, August 30, 2010

Raspberry Citrus Confetti Quilt

Yesterday and today were very good quilting days.  All the kiddos took fabulous afternoon naps both days and the babies even took morning naps this morning for 1 1/2 hours.  I got a lot done and was able to finish up this quilt.  I love good nap days.

Once I discovered the technique for a stack & whack wonky block I decided I wanted to make a quilt.  This started as a baby quilt for a friend, but I loved the colors so much that it grew to a twin size quilt for my daughter's bed when we move her out of her toddler bed.  It was so fun and easy to make.  I love how bright it is.  When I look at the whole quilt it certainly looks like confetti to me.  Now we just need a new bed.  The quilt has a large variety of prints; I used only one square of each.  The finished size is 66" x 88".

Check out my tutorial for my Stack & Whack Wonky Block.

I did pebble quilting on the white and scrappy borders and a loopy pattern on the rest of the quilt.

I pulled all my fabric colors from this particular fabric--Malibu in Pink from California Dreamin by Jenean Morrison.  I love this fabric and might need to order a bit more before I can't find it anymore.  I have been saving this 1/2 yd piece for something special.

This is one of the few quilts I have made with a plain backing--no piecing at all.  I think I was just being lazy, but this will be a bed quilt so I wasn't as excited about piecing a backing.  I am really liking the idea of using a sheet for quilt backing. I found this sheet at Ikea.  The color was perfect.

I love the feeling of finishing a quilt.  The hard part is choosing what to start on next.  I have about five designs in my head right now.  I'm not sure which one I will choose.  There are just too many options out there. 

Stack & Whack Wonky Block Tutorial

I really like the look of the wonky log cabin quilting style.  I made one of my first quilts using this block.  I was asked to demo a wonky log cabin in our most recent Modern Quilt Guild meeting.  While putting a few blocks together for our meeting, I had an "ah-ha" moment and came up with the following technique I'm calling the Stack & Whack Wonky Block.  It's similar to a wonky log cabin in appearance, but the construction is very different.  I know this isn't a new technique because I have seen it used in other quilts, but I have never seen a tutorial before on how to do it.  I love the versatility of using this method.  It can be used for wonky blocks as I show in this tutorial or a more squared-up version using straight cuts rather than wonky.  There are a few big positives about using this method:
  1. It wastes very little fabric whereas the wonky log cabin can waste a lot.
  2. It preserves the orientation of your fabric so your stripes and other designs aren't going 4 different directions.
  3. It's a quick way to cut several blocks.  You can rotate the finished block to vary the look.

The one drawback is that you have to be very careful not to mix up your cut strips.  It's like putting a puzzle back together without the picture if you mix up the strips. I suggest only cutting and sewing one set of blocks at a time. My quilt above is made from 9 different sets of blocks.

Step 1--Decide your block size. 
  • Add 1" to your desired finished block size for each cut border.  Also, in order to add a bit of flexibility, add 1.5" for the outside seam allowance. For example, if you want a 12" finished block, and you were to cut two borders as I did in this tutorial, you'll need to add 2" as well as an additional 1.5" for the outside seam allowance so you'll start out with a 15.5" square of fabric.  Once pieced, you will square your block to 12.5" for a finished, sewn block of 12 inches.  (These estimates are based on a 1/4 inch seam allowance.) 
Step 2--Cut
  • Stack four or five squares of fabric, lining up all edges.  If you are using a directional fabric, make sure you have it oriented correctly.  I paired three prints with one square of white.  (While I wanted quite a bit of white in this quilt, I didn't want every square to have white.)  My finished blocks have three layers--the center block and two borders.  By cutting four fabrics I was able to mix up my selection when arranging my blocks so all of my blocks have a slightly different variation of fabrics.

  • Make the first cut.  Using your ruler and rotary cutter, slice strips off each side.  The wonkiness of the cut is up to you. Keep in mind seam allowances and the number of cuts you will end up making before your block is complete. For example, don't make your cuts too wide that you don't have enough fabric for center cuts. Likewise, don't cut too narrow that you will have problems later with seam allowances. Most of my strips were around two inches wide.

  •  Next cut strips off the top and bottom.  This completes your outer border.

  • Repeat the process to cut the inner border.  First cut the sides and then the top and bottom strips.
  • Be careful to not mix up the pieces.  Now arrange the blocks on a design board.  (My design board is nothing fancy.  It's an old piece of foam board covered in Warm and White.)  I start by arranging all my outer borders first. (You'll have to look closely for the white border in the bottom right.)
  •  Next arrange your inner borders.
  •  Finally add your center blocks.  After sewing a section, I always place it back on the board while working on other blocks.  This way I don't get mixed up.  I had to undo my fair share of seams while sewing this quilt when I wasn't careful enough to keep them straight. 
 Step 3--Sew
  • Take your center block and the top and bottom strips for your inner border and sew them together.  Press seams.  Trim slightly if the edges aren't even.
  • Next sew on the side pieces for your inner border.  Notice they will be a bit long.  The center section is now shorter due to your seams.  Simply center the side strips and sew.  Press.  Trim your edges after sewing. 

  • Add the top and bottom strips of your outer border in the same manner. Trim your sides as needed to even them up.  Be careful not to change the angle of the inner borders of your block; only trim the excess off the edges. 

  •  Add your side strips for the outer border and square up your block.  I squared mine to 11.5" for an 11" finished block.  I recommend using a square ruler for this.  I find it is much more accurate. 

  • Finished! Notice that by simply rotating the finished blocks it gives them each a different look. 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Hexagon quilt binding tutorial

I had a few questions on how I did the binding for my hexagon quilt.  I put together a quick tutorial to give you tips on the corners.  I did everything else normal and simply had to adjust my angles on the corners. 

Here is our little mini practice quilt.  I didn't take pictures when I did my actual hexagon quilt so I had to improvise. 

I generally do a 1/4 inch binding, but this could certainly be adjusted for a wider binding.  Normally, when attaching a binding you want to sew then backstitch 1/4 inch from the edge.  With this wider angle it's a bit different.  Mark a line directly in the center of your corner angle as shown below.  Stop stitching where your needle intersects this diagonal line.  To make sure you stop at the correct place, you could mark this with a pin. 

I have stitched to the marked spot and am ready to fold my binding.  First fold it up so the binding strip is in line with your quilt edge.  Your fold should follow the line we marked above.

Now fold it down to again be in line with the quilt edge.  Hold with a pin while you begin sewing from the top of the new side.

Here we have a finished seam to hold the binding.

Now fold over the corners and bind as usual. (front view)

(back view)

It's very simple with just a few adjustments.  Let me know if you have more questions.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Organizing the scraps

This hasn't been a highly productive quilting week.  Things are changing around here and my quilting time has been significantly reduced.  First of all, Miss C., my 3-year-old started preschool this week!  I am trying to run all my errands during preschool because it is way easier to get things done with only two kids rather than three.  That leads to the second change.  Morning naps for the twins are a thing of the past.  They haven't been taking great afternoon naps recently so I decided it's time to eliminate the morning one.  Finally, Miss C. finds it unnecessary to take her afternoon nap anymore.  This one makes me really sad.  We have had a great run.  I think she has taken one nap in the past two weeks.  We still pretend she will sleep.  I read her stories and put her to bed and she plays "quietly" in her room while the babies sleep.  Today wasn't so quite so I took her "special crayons"--the fabulous Crayola markers that only write on their special paper.  Those are a brilliant invention.

I did learn one lesson this week.  While you are happily quilting in a quiet house during naptime, don't assume they are all truly napping.  Your 3-year-old just might be quiet because she may have found a bottle of lotion on the shelf that she is now liberally applying to herself, her sheets, her books, her bed and the carpet.  But boy will that room smell nice when she is done.

Onto what I actually did accomplish.  I was inspired by an article in the most recent issue of Fat Quarterly e-magazine on dealing with scraps.  I decided it was time to get mine under control and make them more usable. They had lots of great suggestions, and I decided to cut mine according to how I generally use fabric.  I didn't take a before and after, but I think the after looks pretty great.  I reduced the mass a lot by just cutting things up.

In general these were my guidelines.  I gave myself several different cutting options and was able to save the majority of each scrap. 
  • 5" charms for anything large enough
  • 2.5" x 5" coins for anything I couldn't make into a charm
  • 3" squares for half square triangles because I like to square them up to 2.5" squares
  • 2.5" squares for scrappy borders and smaller HST
  • 2.5" strips for anything longer than 10"
  • thinner strips went into my bags for strings quilts

The top bag is just leftover binding strips. 

If I had a lot of one particular fabric line, I kept it all together.  Here I have a ton of Figgy Pudding from Basic Grey last Christmas.  I made a quilt from this as well as skirts for my girls and had lots of smaller scraps.  I cut this into 5" charms, 2.5x5" coins, 2.5" strips (for anything long), 4" squares, 3" squares and 2.5" squares. 

I had quite a bit of Verna left over too after two quilts.  I cut it into charms and coins.

I also really cleaned up my fabric strips.  They are now all organized by color.  I'm considering making a spiderweb quilt with them.  I have to use them up somehow.

Giveaways out there

I can't keep track of how many people are giving away a Go! Cutter lately.  Here is another one that just came up.  Sherri at A Quilting Life has one to give away.

Also, check out Dandy Giveaway again this week for the weekly postings.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A new book

We had quilt group on Thursday, and someone brought her new copy of City Quilts.  I was really trying to resist buying this book.  We have a fabulous county library system here, and I tend to just borrow quilt books frequently rather than own them.  It seems there aren't many things in books anymore that I can't find on blogs.  I admit I'd rather purchase fabric than books.  My library has been very slow to get on board with this book and only has two copies on order.  I'm on the hold list, but after perusing the copy in our group, I decided this is one of the few books I truly wanted to own.  I love the photos, the color, her designs, pretty much everything.  I also happened to legitimately need something from that cost $18.  I needed to order something else to get that "free" shipping.  I decided it was a great time to order City Quilts.  Loving it!  UPS dropped it off this afternoon.

Monday, August 23, 2010

A winner!

Sorry I'm so late on this.  Our internet has been down for the past 24 hours, and it's been driving me nuts.  I'm amazed at how much I rely on it.  Though, I did get lots of stuff done since I wasn't sitting in front of the computer this afternoon during nap time.

Our winner is #32-- Jessica from Scrappy n' HappySend me your address, and I'll get these fat quarters in the mail to you. 

Thanks to all you who participated.  I have another giveaway in the works in conjunction with a tutorial I'm working on.  Stick around.  Have a great evening.  I'm off to read 50+ post in my Google reader that I missed today.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Giveaway reminder

My current giveaway will end Monday the 23rd at 8:00 a.m. MT.  Remember to get your comment in if you haven't already.

Also, if you want to win a Go Cutter, head over to Sweet P Quilting to enter her giveaway through the end of the month.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Because quilts don't always have to be rectangles

I'm not quite sure what spurred me into making this little quilt, especially after just finishing my strings quilt.  With hexagons all the rage lately in the quilting world, I have been interested in making a quilt incorporating them, but wasn't sure where to go with it.  This idea popped into my head a few weeks ago.  I thought it would be fun to try doing a mini strings hexagon quilt.  I'm pretty sure the idea started forming after seeing these potholders from jaybird quilts.  I went into this envisioning it to be a baby quilt/playmat, but after making it, I'm not quite sure.  It could also be used as a table topper for a square table. It was completely an experiment.  I just wanted to see how it would work out.

I simply cut 60 degree paper triangles 18 inches tall and started paper piecing my strips.  This height worked perfect as the triangle base was about 20 inches, and I was using fat quarters.  Any larger triangles would require strips the width of the fabric.  The fabric strips vary in cut width from 1.25 to 2.5 inches.  The fabric is Verna from Kate Spain.  It was all scraps from my whirly-gig quilt.

Here are my triangles before trimming.

I love the back.  Sometimes backs are just my favorite.  The white border was a unplanned. I realized after cutting and sewing the hexagon section that I was just a few inches short on the green (Kona Tarragon) so I improvised. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

LIttle baby birds

This afternoon while taking a few quilt pictures I will post in a day or two, I checked on our little hummingbird nest in our backyard.  Today I noticed two little beaks poking over the side. 

You can't tell by the picture, but these guys are tiny.  This little head is probably not more than 1/2 inch across.

I don't think the momma bird was too thrilled that I was checking out her territory.  She doesn't seem to understand that she is actually the squatter.  Her nest is about 15 feet up in the tree.  I was standing on a chair but used my zoom lens to get these pictures.  I wasn't close to her nest at all, but the entire time I took my pictures, she was going nuts.  This was one of the rare times she actually held still. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Another Tuesday Giveaway

For years my color scheme around my house was neutrals with a bit of dark red.  I have really changed recently, and my current favorite color combo is teal and orange.  I would paint one of my walls teal or orange, but I don't think my husband would go for it.  We also still have that fabulous hunter green carpet from the 90's so I have to tone down the colors I add into a room sometimes.

For the giveaway this week the winner will receive four fat quarters of my favorite colors, two orange and two teal, to add to your stash.

The entry for this week is easy.  You get just one comment.  Just tell us what project is on your sewing table. will help me select the winner next Monday, August 23rd.  

On a side note, I finally got my paint swatches back from my 3-year-old.  I think I have narrowed it down to a few colors.  This is a bit more daring that I have done before, but I really want something bright and fresh in our kids bathroom, but at the same time I don't want to do a kid theme because it's also the guest bathroom.

I'm really torn between the green and aqua.  I think my top choices are the top left aqua and the bottom right green.  I might head to the store in the next few days to get some samples and see how they look.