Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Slash the Stash--February Edition

Another month is gone of my stash busting year.  I did pretty good this month, but did buy some fabric for certain projects.  I'm not going cold turkey with fabric buying like I planned, but I have become much more careful about what I buy. 

Over the weekend I organized all my fabric.  I refolded everything using Jeni's tutorials from In Color Order.  It all looks so nice now. I have all my fabric organized by color except a certain few collections I want to keep together.  I have 1 1/2 boxes of green, but only 1/4 box of purple.  It really helped me realize what my favorite colors are. 

I finished two toy bags from fabric that has been in the stash for 2+ years.  Love this pattern

Pink Castle Fabrics

As a fun little addition to Slash the Stash this month, Pink Castle Fabrics is sponsoring our link-up party!  Brenda is giving one lucky winner this fabulous bundle of Sketch Basics.  Plus if you don't win, you can still get 15% off this fun stack.  Use the code SLASH15 in her Etsy Shop and receive 15% off right now.

The giveaway is now closed.

You have three chances to win.  Mr. Random will pick the winner Monday morning, March 5. 
  1. Just leave a comment. 
  2. Link-up a stash-busting project from February.
  3. Visit Brenda's Pink Castle Fabrics Etsy Shop, and check out her selection.  Tell us what you would like to add to your stash (I know it's kind of counter-productive, but it's still fun to shop even if you're trying to use your stash.  I figure as long as I use more than I buy, I'm still slashing the stash!).  

    So now it's your turn.  What have you been working on from the stash?

    Monday, February 27, 2012

    The Color Quilt Top

    I finished!  My sewing goal for the weekend was to finish up this quilt top.  It only took one late night.  The finished size is 70" x 90".  I used 1328 squares (2.5" cut).  That comes out to 332 charms.  So when people think I'm crazy for wanting to run a huge charm swap, this is why.  I'm just about out of charms.  And yes, I do have an idea for what I'm going to do with the next batch.

    My original plan was just to slice off the points of all the outer squares, but I just couldn't stand to do that.  I came up with this idea for the border instead.  I love the look of the pinked edges of the quilt.

    The design process was a lot of fun, despite the fact that this quilt took over my wall for close to two months.

    At this point it became too hard to design it behind our elliptical trainer so I flipped the entire quilt around to finish the design.  This is our only free wall in the house that I can use as my design wall, so I make it work. 

    I now have a naked design wall again.  Our office/sewing room looks quite boring without all the color on the wall.  Now onto the quilt back.  I need to fill that design wall up again. 

    Sunday, February 26, 2012

    Color Wheel Charm Swap Round 4

    Just a clarification.  The link for the charm swap sign up will post Thursday, March 1 at 2:00 p.m. MST (Mountain Standard Time).  I made a mistake (now corrected) in the previous post and didn't want to mess up those who had seen it.

    Saturday, February 25, 2012

    A Monster Charm Swap Is Coming

    This will be my last swap for quite a while (possibly the very last) so I figured I might as well make it a big one.  We will be swapping FIVE yards of charms this round.  The colors will be the 12 basic colors from the color wheel plus black & white prints and grey.  There are slots for 56 participants.

    Here's the rundown:

    • Each participant will be assigned ONE color.  You must buy five different yards of fabric in that color (varying shades are appropriate such as a pink fabric for the red group).  You will then cut these into 5" charms, sort them and ship to me (I will provide very specific instructions on how to sort).  One yard must be a solid, the other four yards will be prints.  A self-addressed-stamped envelope must be included (a priority envelope will be the best option for the amount of fabric being shipped).
    • You must be on Flickr and agree to participate in the swap group.  There will be discussion groups for each color assignment.  You will be paired with three to five other participants with the same color assignment.  You are expected to work together as a group to choose the best fabrics for your color and avoid duplication.  
    • Quilt shop quality fabric only.  The only exception is Kona brand solids from Jo-Ann's or Hobby Lobby.  Large scale fabrics are not appropriate unless they are tone on tone or white on tone.  Prints may include additional colors as long as they do not detract from the target color.
    • You will send me 5 sets of 56 charms and receive 280 different charms back.
    • There is no fee for US participants, but you must include a SASE with adequate postage.
    • The shipping fee for Canadian swappers is $14.00 USD.  The shipping fee for participants from any other country outside the US is $18.00 USD.  International swappers may purchase fabrics from a US vendor and have them shipped directly to me.  I will cut and sort your charms for a $5.00 fee.  All fees are billed through PayPal.
    • US swappers must ship by March 31.  Swappers from any other country must ship by March 21.
    • The link to sign up for the group will post here Thursday, March 1 at 2:00 p.m. MST.  If you aren't available to register at this time, please make arrangements for a friend to register for you.  I anticipate the group will fill quickly.  (Information required includes name, email, mailing address, flickr photostream link, & paypal email for those outside the US).

    Wednesday, February 22, 2012

    WIP Wednesday 2.22.12

    Another Wednesday already?!

    This is my biggest accomplishment this week:
    Yep, I've just finished up another charm swap.  This time was a bit different.  My buddy Amy asked me to host a charm swap for the participants in her 4x5 modern quilt bee.  We did the colors a little  different for this round.  Instead of my standard color wheel swap we did basic colors (ROYGBV) and then added in the most popular colors chosen by participants for the bee (pink, aqua, citron, mustard, tangerine, black & white, grey and brown).  It was a really fun swap.  The three kiddos and I took 40+ packages to the post office today.  Everything is officially in the mail.  To reward them for being such good kiddos this morning while I packed everything up, we played this at McD's this afternoon for almost 2 hours.  They were nice and tired for naps.

    Once I recover from this swap, I'll be gearing up to do it again.  I'm a bit addicted.  Here's my question for those who are interested in participating--would you prefer the basic 12 colors from the color wheel or a swap using the colors above?

    My sewing this week consisted of finishing up two bee blocks and that's about it.

    For Amy:

    For Emily:

    Emily asked us to design the center patchwork section with anything we'd like.  I had New York Beauty blocks in mind when designing this paper piecing section.

    Finally, don't forget the link-up next week for Slash the Stash.  Get working on those projects.  It doesn't have to be something completely finished, just something you're using your stash to complete.  Also, we may have something fun from Brenda over at Pink Castle Fabrics!  Stick around!

    Pink Castle Fabrics

    Linking up to Lee's this week.

    WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

    Tuesday, February 21, 2012

    More Print Gallery Quilts

    While I was working on my print gallery quilt for my sister at our sewing Saturday last year, a couple friends from my quilt guild decided they wanted to make it as well.  I sent them a pdf of my layout, and they created their own versions.  They both recently finished and posted their quilts.  It was so fun to see the different fabrics and takes on the pattern. 

    First up is my version that I posted a couple months ago.
    Rachel made a version with Secret Garden fabrics for her sister.

    Colleen created her own version for her sister with some Echo fabrics and goldfish in bags.

    It was fun for me to see how both Colleen and Rachel put their quilts together.  I especially love how Collen framed the goldfish bags.  I'm thinking of using this idea and framing small prints in solids using this layout again on another quilt.  I've tossed around the idea of actually creating a pattern for this quilt.  We'll see how adventurous I am in the next couple months.

    Monday, February 20, 2012

    Chevron Quilt Tips

    I've had several questions about how I did my chevron quilts.  Unfortunately, I didn't take many pictures of the process, but I thought I'd try to give a few tips.  (Just a warning with these instructions.  I am left handed and may use the angles on my mat and ruler different than a right handed person.  Keep this in mind if it seems I'm doing something backward.  Adjust however it works for you.)

    Brr Quilt:  Matching Chevron Strips

    Info about the process for this quilt:
    • There are eight rows to this quilt.  I sewed each row in 4 different sections then pieced those sections to make a complete row (as shown by the blue lines above).  
    • My strips vary in width from 1.25" - 3" cut (.75" - 2.5" finished)
    • For each section I sewed about 10 strips (width of fabric) together, pressed seams, then cut sections into 8.5" widths.  This must be done twice with identical pieces for the full width of the quilt.  You will need four 8.5" sections for each direction of the pattern (angled up and angled down).
    • I used approximately 5 yards of fabric for the front of this quilt.  
    •  I pressed seams down for this quilt, but realized this was making it hard to keep my angles consistent.  I was getting too much stretch.  I recommend carefully pressing open to help keep the angle consistent.
    • Finished size is 64" x 80".

    Scrappy Chevron:
    • This quilt is also pieced in 8 rows.  I pieced each row in 3-4 sections then sewed these together to make a complete row.
    • Fabrics varied in width from 1" - 3" cut (.5" - 2.5" finished)
    • I used fat quarters of about 18 different fabrics.
    • Rows were trimmed to 7.5".  Finished size is 7". 
    • Finished size is 56" x 72".

    How to piece scrappy sections:
    Cut fabrics into strips of varying widths.  Then cut those fabrics to size.  First cut one end on a 60 degree angle.  Cut the other end at the same angle making sure the base of the second angle is 10" from the point at the beginning of the strip.
    Sew strips as shown.

    Make sure to cut 1/2 the strips with the angles slanted up and the other half with the angles slanted down.  This is absolutely necessary unless using solids that are reversible.

    After sewing a number of strips together you will have a section like this.  (I didn't bother cutting the ends of the fabrics at an angle).

    I used the angles on my cutting mat to trim all sections.  To trim the sections on this angle, simply flip it over and cut from the back.  Line it up with the 30 degree line on the mat.

    Without moving the piece, check your top angle by lining the ruler up with the "0" line and the top of the section with the 60 degree line on your ruler.  Trim if necessary to ensure the angles are consistent.  Pressing seams open will help with consistency and reduce stretching.  (If trimming is needed it will likely only be about 1/8".  This should not greatly affect the overall appearance of the quilt.)

    Now you have one completed section.  Sew multiple sections together to complete each row.  I wouldn't recommend sewing more than 10 strips together.  If the section is too large it becomes unmanageable and difficult to cut accurately. 

    How to piece matching sections:
    For the Brr quilt, I was able to do strip piecing of each matching section.  Cut fabrics on the angle as shown above, but instead of cutting them down, sew full strips (WOF) together resulting in a large section.  Line up the entire section on the cutting mat.  Arrange the fabric on the mat, alining with the 30 degree line.  Cut along the "0" line.  Then cut at the 8.5" line.  Check the top angle to make sure it is correct.  Trim slightly if necessary.  Move the section down and start the process again, cutting four total strips.  Recheck angles each time to ensure accuracy.

    Remember you need four rows with the fabrics angled down and four rows with the fabrics angled up.  When piecing strips of fabric, make two identical sections--one angled up, one angled down.  Cut four strips from each for the width of the quilt.

    When deciding on the width of my rows, I had a couple factors to consider.  For my scrappy quilt I was using 60" minky on the back and wanted my quilt width around 56".  I cut my sections at 7.5" to give me eight rows of 7".  I could have cut these scrappy sections to 8" had I not been adjusting for the size of my backing.  For my matching chevron quilt, I conservatively cut them at 8.5".  This is a scrap from one of my strips.  I could have cut each section to 9", but just barely. 

    Wednesday, February 15, 2012

    WIP Wednesday 2.15.2012

    Although I have multiple projects going on, I tend to focus on one at a time until it is finished.  For the last week or two that focus has been on my New York Beauty Mini Quilt.  WIP Wednesday doesn't seem nearly as exciting when I'm not making progress on multiple projects.

    Old projects:
    1. Color Quilt:  No pictures this time.  I think I'll save those for the final post on this quilt top.  It's fun to have secrets.  I love how it's coming out.  I'm on blue-greens and greens right now.  That just leaves yellow-greens and then the top is done!  My plan for the back is truly a quilt on its own.  It's going to take a while.  
    2. DS Quilt: No progress.  I plan to work on this one at the retreat I'm heading to in just a couple weeks.
    3. Heather Ross Quilt:  I'm still formulating ideas on this guy.  I'm having a hard time committing to a final design.
    4. Strings Quilt: Sitting in the box.  I still need to sew these blocks together and make a quilt back.
    5. Thangles project: I'm planning to sew this into a mini quilt with grey as the background.  I worry about putting this block into a usable quilt as the tiny thangles only have 1/8" seam so a mini it is.  I had thought about framing it, but changed my mind.  I'm actually in the process of designing a similar piece in photoshop to print.  I thought it would be fun to hang this one with two different framed prints with similar, but different designs.

    New Projects:

    Rice Heating Pad
    Not exactly a WIP since I finished it in about 30 minutes.  I made a rice heating pad the other night for my neck and shoulders sore from sewing.  I cut out a small curve to better fit my neck.  It's long enough to wrap around my shoulders a bit.  I made it from a flannel I accidentally ordered a year ago.  I love it and use it already.

    Quick Curves Ruler Project:
    I was chosen to participate in a Fat Quarterly Challenge using Jenny Pedigo's curved ruler from Sew Kind of Wonderful.  I have decided on fabrics and my design and am looking forward to getting started.  Go check out Jenny's patterns using her ruler.  She has some really fun ideas.

    New York Beauty Quilt Along:
    And finally, while I was in the middle of designing my New York Beauty Mini, I was able to join up with a great group of women to do a New York Beauty tutorial series and quilt along.  It was perfect timing. This quilt along is all about paper piecing. If you've never done paper piecing before, it might sound a little bit scary, but trust me, you can do it! The quilt along will feature step-by-step photos and instructions for each block by some very talented quilters, to give you the confidence to get off and running!  

    We will be working with 10 New York Beauty blocks, and you can get a preview of the blocks here. (Edit 2/21/13: Block links are no longer working. I do not have copies of any of the patterns). Each block instruction makes one 8" x 8" block; you can either assemble 4 of the same block to make one large 15.5" x 15.5" block (like my mini pictured above), or you can mix and match to make something beautiful!

    Here are the approximate fabric requirements if you are planning on making all ten 8" x 8" blocks:

    - 10 fat eighths for main fabrics (or 5 fat quarters or scrap fabric)
    - 1-1/2 yards background fabric

    Sew Sweetness

    And here is the schedule for the block tutorials:

    March 5 - Kim from My Go-Go Life {Block 0}
    March 12 - Sara from Sew Sweetness {Block 5}
    March 19 - Megan from Canoe Ridge Creations (Block 1}
    March 26 - Kati from From the Blue Chair {Block 8}
    April 2 - Jeni from In Color Order {Block 7}
    April 9 - Amy from Sukie Don't You Know Who I Am? {Block 6}
    April 16 - Katy from The Littlest Thistle {Block 2}
    April 23 - Lee from Freshly Pieced {Block 4}
    April 30 - Amy from amylouwho {Block 3}
    May 7 - Lindsay from Lindsay Sews {Block 9}

    If you are thinking about participating, please join the Flickr Group!
    We'll be sharing fabric choices and help along the way!

    So...are you game?! Grab a button and we'll see you on March 5th for the first block of the series!!  It's just one block a week!  Totally doable, and you'll learn tons of paper piecing and curve sewing skills.

    Linking up to Lee's this week for WIP Wednesday.
    WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced